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The Great Falling Away and The Days of Lot

In our last article, I addressed the most common question that I am asked by people who are curious about Bible prophecy, “why prophecy?  Why now?” How do we really know that we are living in the “last days?” For myself, the answers can be found in the words of Jesus in Luke 21. In this passage Jesus gave us two very specific events that we know have happened in human history.  The first was that there would come a day when Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed and all the Jews would be dispersed throughout the world. This was primarily fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Rome did just as Jesus predicted.  The second part of what Jesus said, “Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled.”  In other words, there would come a day when Jerusalem would no longer be controlled by Gentiles.  

Israel became a nation again in 1948, but it wasn’t until 1967 that Jerusalem came back under Jewish control.  This recent event is the direct fulfillment of the words Jesus spoke almost 1900 years ago.  Let’s be honest, after 1900 years we just might need a little help in making a case that Jesus could actually be coming soon.  Then in the same passage Jesus says, “When you see these things happen, then stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.”  As Christians we are called to know our Bibles and to know what is happening in the world today.  When we see these two things converge, then we must begin to try and wake up the world to the impending return of Jesus. I believe that the church today as a whole is either not aware of the prophetic parts of the Bible or they are not aware of what is happening in the world today.  To this end we will use this series of articles, along with the clear cipher given to us by Jesus, to show that the Bible and our newspapers are converging like never before.

As we begin searching for the convergence, I want to bring the following passage to your attention:  

  • 2 Thes 2:1-4 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (rebellion / apostasy / departure / revolt), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition/Apollyon; 4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. KJV

While we are not going to take on all of this passage on right now, I do want to make it plain that before Jesus comes, there is going to be a great falling away.  Other translations use rebellion, apostasy, departure and revolt. While there are certainly other theories about the full extent of what this word means, I am going to cover this from the more traditional perspective.  Just for another perspective, there was an interesting article in “Prophecy Watchers” on 05/2017 by Dr. Andy Woods where he outlines that historically “falling away” could also be translated departure. Dr. Woods believes that this departure is likely to refer to the rapture. While the article represents an interesting possibility, the problem for me is that the entire passage is emphatically trying to show that there are going to be some pre-requisites to the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”  Dr. Woods does not include the first two verses, but they are unique in that they directly address two separate events. Whether they happen on the same day is up for debate, but neither of them can happen until the man of sin is revealed, sitting in the temple of God and showing himself to be God.  Since this “Abomination of Desolation” happens in the middle of the tribulation, many have used this passage to justify their belief in mid-tribulation rapture.  For most of us, the idea of the church being gathered to Jesus is typically thought of as the Rapture of the church. So if the rapture cannot happen until the departure — which is the rapture — then this passage just doesn’t make any sense.  Why can “the rapture” never happen until the rapture happens? Unless the gathering, like the one mentioned in Mark 14:27, is not the rapture or there is more than one rapture. Stay with me on this as this next point as it gets a little tricky. Some have asked the question just how the first rapture, which resurrects the dead and provides an escape for the church, wouldn’t also be necessary for those who are killed or survive the tribulation. Nonetheless, this is a can of worms that I am not willing to open up right now. If you are interested in examining the rapture further, then I recommend the series “Introduction to Prophecy,” which you can find on my website at prophecydays.com. When it comes to the rapture, I believe God has simply left us to debate these things and I would never break fellowship over something like the rapture.  Gary Stearman of “Prophecy Watchers” seems to agree that even though there is a great deal of disagreement over the rapture, that we shouldn’t separate further based on this issue.  See the article by Gary titled, “Things Hard To Be Understood, Peter, Paul And The Church.” For myself, I believe that God did not give us prophecy to predict the future, which even includes the rapture. I believe God gave us prophecy so that we would know that God knows the future.  This means there is a heavy veil over prophecy and that we may not know some things are going to happen until right before or sometimes after they happen.  For now, let’s proceed with the idea of a great falling away of the church as being a sign of the soon coming of Jesus.  

When I think about other passages that might give us some more information about exactly what this coming great decline in faith might look like, I think about 2 Timothy 3:1-9.

  • But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. NKJV

While I do think this passage speaks for itself, I do want to point some things out.  The first is that this passage tells us when this situation will happen, “in the last days.” While the laundry list of evil is certainly impressive, I tend to run through most of them thinking, “exactly what is specific to the last days?”  It seems like most of this could be said about many eras in human history.  But then comes several very interesting details – “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”  For me this is so definitive of the New Age Movement because they are so pushing for all this good in the world without acknowledging the presence of God because they are attempting to turn all of us into gods.  Of course, this is the signature temptation of the Devil and as such we would expect his children to continue to use it.  Since the time of Christ, I don’t believe that we have ever had a time where mankind is so obsessed with being good, but then they turn around and deny that there is a God.

The next phrase that sends me into some serious contemplation is, “always learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.”  This is a direct reference to the educational system that is in place in the last days and it matches the education system of higher learning that we have today. Never has there been a time where knowledge has increased like there is today, and yet, morally and socially we are going backward everywhere in the world.  The world has gone literally crazy!  The last morsel of deeper truth that is likely to present in this passage about the “last days” is the mention of Jannes & Jambres.  This is a clear reference to when Moses opposed by the evil magicians in Pharaoh’s court when he demand that the children of Israel be let go. (Exodus 7:10-12)  These magicians were able to cause their rods to become snakes, and they represent powerful unseen entities that are warring against God.  What I am saying is that along with this decline of the church, there is going to be a corresponding surge in evil. This may be linked to the opening of the Abyss in Revelations 9.  

The idea that we could face this kind of demonic resistance again or that there could be one last “golden pagan age” that happens just as we head into the “last days” should be somewhat shocking or at least a foreign idea to most of us.  This is something that the church just hasn’t really faced since its early history.  I honestly believe that the reason for this is because when Jesus came out of the grave, He took dominion over this unseen realm.  Wherever the church and the gospel have encountered occultism around the world, it has dried up to the point that people really wonder if there is anything supernatural in the world today.  As modern Christians we have trouble understanding how Jesus cast out demons left and right or that people really worshipped gods of wood and stone, but our Bible says that it is real with real power behind them.  More importantly, as we get closer to “last days” that we are likely to see a return of occult power that will fascinate people and entice them in.  This is why more women leave the church these days to join Wicca than any other organization.  Paul tells us exactly the same thing in Ephesians 6:12, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Funny how we quote this verse so often, but we don’t actually act like anything else is going on or that we are involved in a spiritual battle.  As the time of Christ’s return gets closer, I believe we will continue an ever growing amount of demonic activity causing many to resist the truth, corrupting young minds and becoming quite adversarial to those who have faith.

A great falling away must also mean that there are going to be a great many false churches that are preaching a false Gospel that glorifies a false god. Some of these false churches that we see today are preaching a religion of works, but the Apostle Paul is quick to point out the folly of such ideas.  

  • Gal 3:1-4 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? NKJV

Even in the church, the ecumenical movement is now in full swing and the number of players is growing.  The one world religion of those who are “spiritually enlightened” is gaining ground as we speak.  A religion is actually seen as the enemy and we must form a one-world religion in order to bring the world together as one. Chrislam (the fusion of Islam, Christianity and Judaism) is real as mankind tries to bring the danger of religion back under some kind of control.  No longer can Jesus be the only way.  In fact, we don’t need saving, just as long as we aren’t actually bad compared to someone else. I mean, as long as we weren’t Hitler right?  Any religion will get us there as long as it isn’t the God of the Bible.  The problem is that the Bible tells us that there would come a day when pastors and teachers would give to the people what their itching ears so long to hear.  

  • 2 Tim 4:3-8 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. NKJV

This passage confirms something what I have turned into one of my rules for evaluating any given doctrine or teaching.  “Be careful of anything that is exactly what you want to hear.”  Our false-self, our false-dreams and desires are huge motivators for our beliefs.  This verse is telling us that if preachers preach what people want to hear, then people will flock to them. Sometimes this even makes me leery of large churches for just such a reason.  If there is one thing that is sure about all of us, we can deceive ourselves. Masses of people can deceive themselves even easier because we get the peer pressure affect.  The Bible is full of warnings not to be deceived and it may be the signature condition of the “last days.”As if all of this does not cause us to wonder just how far the church can go in the wrong direction, then there are the examples of the seven churches in Revelations.

Church #1 – The Loveless Church (Rev 2:1-4:1)

  • “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for my name’s sake and have not become weary.  4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent.  6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”‘

This church is very bright and extremely discerning because they know their Bibles so well that they can sort out the false prophets left and right.  Honestly, they sound a little like the Pharisees.  Their works abound and from the surface they look like the perfect church because their patience is amazing!  However, they have completely forgotten that Christianity is a “love relationship” with God.  They have lost the context of Christianity, which is to simply be in love with Jesus. They have reduced the gospel to the gospel of Martha instead of sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus and basking in His presence like Mary.  When was the last time you just delighted in utter quiet of the Holy Spirit as the still small voice overwhelmed you with His love? When was the last time your church did this?  If our motivation for all we do does not go back to the fact that we love Jesus, then in the end it will fall void and be perceived as a big gong – think “Gong Show.”  (1 Corinthians 3:1) Works are great, but we cannot let works or the knowledge of the Bible replace our faith and our deep relationship with Jesus. Repent and fall back in love with Jesus by spending time with Him every day.  If the church will do this, then the joy of the Lord will become our strength again and bring a fresh wind of revival to the church.

Church #2 – The Persecuted Church

  • “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:  9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.  11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”‘  

While the persecution of the church is finally getting some attention, the year 2015 was a record year in modern times based on the sheer number of Christians that were killed for their faith. Last year, 2016 also saw a tremendous number of murders as well.  This situation has been near and dear to my heart. As a result, I have joined joshuacord.org in raising money to make a documentary about the extent of Christian persecution around the world. Currently we raised enough money to have a filmmaker visit 6-7 countries. We also saw a miracle happen when we received a visa to visit Syria. You know, the country we just bombed. Persecution is a reality of the  “last days.” The passage that I find the most interesting is the description of the beheaded Saints in heaven, who are continually asking God “how long will it be before you avenge us?” (Revelations 6:10)  Unfortunately, we are literally in a situation where the Christian population is very close to being wiped out in the Middle East and unfortunately we can expect this to only worsen around the world. I believe that we are all supposed to join together and help our brothers and sisters as much as possible. As Paul has said, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal: 6:10)

Church  #3 – The Compromising Church

 

  • “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘these things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:  13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to my name, and did not deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.  14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.  17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”‘  

 

While there is some debate about the Nicolaitans, the consensus is that there may have been sexual immorality involved, which also ties into the story of Balaam who seduced the children of Israel in a similar manner. There are those who believe that there may have even been actual ritual prostitutes involved.  This is entirely possible, as we know this was a major problem part of some pagan cultures where Christianity had spread to. The real bottom line here is that the deeds of this church were something that God hates and that means it was sin.  Today there are many churches that are literally enticing people to sin and this is yet another sign of the fallen church. The church needs to repent and to call sin for what it is instead of celebrating it. Only then can the Holy Spirit lead us to be a witness to those around us.

Church # 4 – The Corrupt Church

  • “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:  19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.  22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.  23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.  24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.  25 But hold fast what you have till I come.  26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —   27’He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father;  28 and I will give him the morning star.  29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘

There are those who use this to say that women should not lead at all in church. While I believe this issue is not decided in this passage, we do have to remember that during the history of the early church, female occult priestesses were common in the pagan / occultic world.  As we know, Jezebel through a false type of prophetic spirit actually lead Israel into this type of sin. Here again the Bible clearly warns us against this type of situation.  Sadly, any recent survey of Christians in America shows little if any difference on most of what the Bible would clearly call sin.  Christians simply don’t score much different on pre-marital sex, pornography, abortion, divorce and most other moral issues. This is exactly the type of situation that Revelations is warning us of.  As the true church we must hold fast till Jesus comes without compromise knowing we are not the author or the finisher of our faith.

Church # 5 – The Dead Church Revelation 3

  • “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘  

There are several interesting items that are brought up here.  The first is that we are told that the faith of a church is dead unless there are also works that go along with those who have heard, received and held fast to their faith.  This is exactly the same conclusion that the Apostle James makes in James 2:14-26. There is only one solution for a church that has works that are inconsistent with the faith of Christ. They need to hold fast or repent! The other thing that jumps out at me about this church is that Jesus wants them clothed in white, which happens to be just like a bride.  The other thing that may be shocking for some is that there are those in this church who are in danger of having their name blotted out of the Book of Life. The implication here is that this type of church might end up being quite common as we get closer we get to the “end times.” While this disconnect between the walk and the talk of Christians is getting worse, we know this faith devoid of works has been in full bloom since 1998.  That was the year that George Barna published “The Second Coming Of The Church.” This was the first time that we realized that there appeared to be no difference between Christians and non-Christians in the morality department. This is exactly what Revelations describes as characteristics of the Sardis and the Thyatira church.

These kind of statistics leave many of us asking, how is it possible that when it comes to divorce, adultery, drug use, pornography and, gambling that the church doesn’t score any differently that the rest of the population?  While I really do preach the gospel of grace the best I can, I have to admit that something is also very wrong with the church.  The modern church seems to keep sinning so that grace may abound, which something that Paul expressly forbid. (Romans 6:1)  Furthermore, I am not one to espouses the doctrine of a salvation of works, but I have to say it sure would be nice to see more of them coming out of the church.  The truth is that there are times that we need to examine our faith and now is one of those times.  We need to see if we are really in the Lord or are we just fooling ourselves.  (2 Corinthians 13:5) I believe that Revelations may be saying that this is exactly what is going to happen to the church, as we get closer to the end of human history.  The sad truth presented here is that such a fruitless church just might miss out on the rapture or return of Christ because of the clear warning to always be watching for the “thief that comes in the night” is a direct reference to Matthew 24, where Jesus is referring to how people are caught completely off guard by his return.

Church #  6 – The Faithful Church

  • “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:  8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied My name.  9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  10 Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.  13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘  

This church is not the biggest church or the strongest church, but they have persevered!  In fact, when it comes to worldly riches, they just might be the poorest around.  Everyone likes to ignore them or discounts them because they are so counter culture. They just don’t care what the world thinks. When all is said and done, the world will know that this church was spiritually wealthy beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.  Why? Because they remained at the feet of Jesus worshiping Him and not the world.  Indeed, the world will do the same to them and they will know just how much Jesus loves this church! I love this particular passage because God gives this church a promise that if they persevere, they will be kept from the “hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  If this idea of being kept from an “hour of trial” is speaking about the rapture, then you could also argue that many of the other types of churches in Revelations could potentially miss the rapture.  A sobering thought to say the least, but none-the-less this is the only church that the Holy spirit makes this promise to. These are the over comers and they also appear to be the ones who will be reigning and ruling with Jesus in heaven. Clearly, they are the bull’s eye of what God wants His church to be and the anti-thesis to the next church on the list.

Church # 7 – The Lukewarm Church

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘these things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  17 Because you say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.  20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘”  NKJV

Of all the churches talked about here, for me this is the one that especially rings true of America.  The earthly riches that we have here are astonishing compared to other areas of the world.  When you consider that someone making $30,000 / year is in the top 1% of the moneymakers in the world, and yet no one in America would be happy making such a small amount. Unfortunately, earthly riches can be just like the thorns in the parable of the sower. The cares, riches and pleasures of this life can choke the good seeds that God is planting in our lives, so that there will be no heavenly fruit. This church does not know that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked because they are so distracted by their wealth and need for nothing.  However, be careful when you judge them too harshly.  Then there is the political climate change that has developed here in America and around the world bringing in a new day of political correctness. No longer can we speak the truth because it might offend someone. All the while, no one is more offended by political correctness than Jesus. He wants to spit them out of His mouth.  Nothing is good or bad and nothing is hot or cold. For me it is astonishing that the Bible so correctly describes what is wrong with political correctness 2000 years ago.  

The solution that God presents here is a little puzzling at first.  God wants us to buy into the real treasure, which is a gold refined by fire. God wants us to be in white garments, so that we will be properly clothed when we meet Him. God does not want the shame of our nakedness to be exposed.  None of this can happen unless our eyes are anointed and rededicated to see things as Jesus sees them.  Then comes this amazing God that is so relational and makes a promise we can all take to heart.  God says that if we will hear His voice and open the door to our lives, then He will come in and dine and fellowship with us. His presence in our lives is what will help us to discard the treasures of this life and be an over comer of the thorns.  In the same way that Jesus will come into our lives, He will later invite us into His, to the point that we can even sit with Him on His throne.  The choice between the wealth of the world and the riches of a relationship with Jesus will determine our fate. Why is Jesus telling the politically correct he will spit them out of His mouth?  Because Jesus loves them and He doesn’t want that to happen to them.

State Of The Church

There are a few things about all of these passages that we need to contemplate.  The first thing is that these are all churches. The Bible doesn’t call them false churches or fallen churches, and yet none of them are perfect. Each church is told something different because each church has it’s own set of problems.  This is encouraging because I believe God sees all of His children this way.  It doesn’t seem to matter what character of the Bible you look at, the Bible records the good, the bad, and the ugly all in the same breathe.  God sees us as we really are, we would all be naked and ashamed if it were not for the cross and that needs to be kept in mind here.  In Christ, there is no more condemnation, but there is a clear reality that God is calling us to maturity in Him. When we look at God’s motivations behind His dealings with these churches it is clearly one of profound love. Discipline from God comes out of love and that is why God has to say some very confrontational things to all of these churches. Some may call it tough love and I think that may be a fair assessment because for the most part each of these churches is given a fair amount of warning.  The goal of the message to each church is to wake them up and to move them towards a deeper relationship with God.   It is also hard to miss the clear promise of rewards that will be given to them that overcome just as Christ overcomes.  This is the final encouragement that the Holy Spirit gives each of these churches and we like Paul need to press on to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14-15)

After finishing this brief examination of the 7 churches of Revelations, I cannot think of a more adequate message for the churches that are in existence today.  Sure human nature doesn’t change and the problems of mankind are age old, but the amazing relevance of these churches to the modern churches amazes me. Though many will argue that the church has gone up and down in the sliding away from or towards God, what I am saying here is that when Christ returns for His church, it is in decline. There is no exact finishing or defining point for this slide of the church, but there are many who believe that the false prophet of revelations, will lead a false religion that will ultimately worship the beast / anti-christ.  To this end, we have seen this same decline in the modern church and it has not escaped the attention of the previous generations.  For example, William Booth, the man who started the Salvation Army, was asked by a Bishop what he though were the biggest threats to the church were in the 20th century? This is what he said:  

 

  • The church without the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. Christianity without a price.
  2. Forgiveness without repentance.
  3. Salvation without regeneration / transformation
  4. Politics without God (AKA – Communism)
  5. Heaven (reward) with no hell (consequences).

This statement certainly does stand as a thought provoking assessment of the modern church and how they have fallen away from our true calling as the body of Christ.  As we continue to see the church falling away, I believe that we will come to the point that there really is no difference between Christians and the rest of the world and this is almost true now. We are told that this falling away is one of the signs of the times that we are supposed to look for. End times or not, now is the time where we need to sound the alarm and issue a call towards repentance.  As a church, we need to return to our first love. We need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying and walk in a different direction that may be politically incorrect.  Unfortunately, the church is more worried about what some people will say than what the Lord says.  The church is openly embracing immorality, lifting up false gods and espousing false gospels. The church, like God’s people Israel, can be caught up in a great decline. During one of these declines and falling away from God, the Bible makes this statement.  “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) Plain and simple, Jesus has ceased being the King of the modern church and now everyone does whatever they want. What kind of church will we be if we no longer look like Christ, who is the author and finisher of our faith? How do we wake them up?  I personally believe that prophecy is specifically designed for this purpose! People may have become dead to the cry of “wolf,” but they are obsessed with the supernatural!  I believe there is no more relevant or accurate book in understanding our world and the geopolitical circumstances facing the world today.  Just as prophecy proved who the Messiah was the first time, so prophecy in these times of great deception will prove that the Bible is true and that God knows the end from the beginning.  

Three More “Last Days” Clues In Luke 17

  • Luke 17:20-29 – Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
  • 22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
  • 26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. NIV

When you look at the first part of this passage, there are those who believe that the only Kingdom of God that we will ever see one earth is the one inside us. They don’t believe in the literal return of Jesus and the literal Kingdom of God being here on earth.  The idea of the Kingdom of God being inside us is difficult to take in one breath and appreciate the true significance of this statement. Consequently, I do not want to take anything away from it by arguing against it because it is real and many books on this subject could easily be written.  However, I believe there will also be a literal fulfillment as well.  I go back to Daniel in the 2nd chapter when I think about the literal Kingdom of God. When God comes, He breaks in two all the other kingdoms of the world and fills the whole earth with peace so that everyone has a place to nest. This just hasn’t happened. The kingdoms of the world are going along just fine and so many people have no portion in this world. The other way I look at this is that if we believe that Jesus was a literal person, who was literally sinless, who literally died for our sins, who literally took away our sins both past present and future, who literally rose from the grave, who literally spent time with His disciples after His resurrection, who literally predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, who literally predicted the dispersion of Israel into all the nations until one day when Jerusalem would no longer be trodden down of the Gentiles, but now we are supposed to switch gears and believe that there is no literal return of Jesus. What about the warning to those who would miss it?  The truth is we have no reason to suddenly believe that Jesus is speaking allegorically about His return. This is the same Jesus that His own generation missed Him because He came as the suffering servant instead of the reigning and ruling Messiah that had come to set up His Kingdom. This is the Jesus that I believe is coming and a Mr. Rodgers He is not.

Many Anti-christs

The next part of this passage tells us many things, but the first is that many anti-christ’s will present them selves claiming to be the Christ. In other passages, we are also told that they will deceive many believers, but this passage goes on to confirm that Jesus will return in a very specific way.  Jesus will come in the sky and flash like lightning from one end to the other.  Fairly easy to see how this would be good way to differentiate the return of the real Jesus from any false ones.  Nonetheless, this is our first of the clues about the return of Jesus is that there will be a good number of counterfeits.  Of course, the greatest of these will be the anti-christ himself, along with the false prophet that leads the world into accepting and worshiping the beast /anti-christ. While there may not be that many currently in the running for a false christ, there are a lot of groups running for false religions that run counter to Christianity. The biggest candidate for this is Islam. Not only does Islam say the opposite of the golden rule, but also the founder of Islam is nothing like Jesus. Still, Islam is soon to become the world’s #1 religion.  (For more information on Islam, go to prophecydays.com and see the teaching series with the same name.)  While Islam may be a possibility of where a false christ might come, the current best candidate for the anti-christ or false prophet is the Pope.  One doesn’t need to be a Protestant to believe this, because many Catholics have predicted the same things throughout history.  According to the prophecy of the Popes, we are on the last one. In troubling fashion, the current Pope has called for global governance and departed from the morals held by Christians for 1000’s of years. Still, this passage warns us of the coming delusion in the form of false religions and false christ’s, so we need to be on the lookout. This same warning is repeated in Matt 24:21-25 and Mark 13:22. The detail that these passages add it that there will be “signs and wonders” that accompany these false christ’s. This is the Jannes and Jambres scenario that we have already talked about.  I like to point this out to people as often as I can, because it means that there has to be an increase in supernatural occult power for this to happen. This will be an astonishing thing for most people because they don’t even believe in anything beyond what they can see, taste, smell, and touch. How will people explain this and how will these entities explain who they are?  For now, I will move on, but we will explore more about this in our article next month.

The Days Of Lot

The next clue given here is that the return of Jesus will have something to do with what was happening in the “Days of Noah.” Next months article will be fully devoted to this subject, so for now we will move on here to the next clue, which is stated as being the same as the “Days of Lot.”  Certainly, there are those who believe the Days of Lot and the Days of Noah were very similar, but I am going to take a more traditional view of what we know was obviously happening in Sodom. For our purposes, the Days of Lot are also the Days of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The idea of rampant sexual immorality being the case here goes back to the story of what happened to the angels when they came to visit Sodom and how Lot protected them from the crowd outside his house that had come for them.  The reality is that this is fast becoming the case around the world as sex trafficking is in our own back yards. Furthermore, the changing of the definition of marriage in America has not only further damaged the first institution founded by God (the family), but it has also opened up all Christians and Christian organizations to persecution because they cannot accept the law of the land. This will allow the far left to discriminate and eventually separate Christians and Christian organizations from any kind of government support, tax exemptions, involvement and even accreditation. This would have devastated the Christian community and made us outlaws.  On the other hand, God as never let a little fire or persecution on His church go un-used.  This may exactly what the Holy Spirit meant in the earlier passage about buying gold refined by fire.  

Speaking of one of the sins of Sodom, for many of us it may feel difficult to not want react differently to the sin of homosexuality. However, it is important to note that this sin did not specifically make the 10 Commandments. Yes, it is an abomination, but so is a proud look. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Unfortunately, I wonder if I have ever made it a day without committing this sin.  It is Jesus who said that we shouldn’t attempt to pick something out of our brother’s eye when we have something even bigger of our own that we aren’t dealing with.  Now I’m not trying to minimize the impact here of this movement. The family is the first institution that God founded and the whole success of our society is based on it!  I recognize that homosexuality, along with divorce, adultery, drug use and pornography, may literally destroy the family and our society. Consequently, we must stand against this movement the best we can.  However, what I mean by the best we can is that we must try to continue to love the sinners, but stand against the sin.  The challenge is to not forget that the cross was necessary for all sin, including our own. This is why we, as a church, need to be transparent about our own sin and humble ourselves before the world, so that we can share the good news that Jesus has died for all of our sins. While we may feel led to refuse to bake a cake for their wedding, we should feel compelled to make them a cake for any other reason we can think of.  We must try to kill this movement with kindness, so that the love of God can make it to their hearts. We must not let the devil take the open arms of Jesus on the cross and turn them into hate. We need new and creative ways to still show the love of Christ, while we stand firm on the foundations that God has provided in His word. This will be the challenge as we move forward into a world that is increasingly hostile towards the church and our message of hope and redemption.  

Remember, we just had a presidential candidate (Bernie Sanders) who does not believer that any born again Christian or a Christian who believes that Jesus is the only way should be in any public office.  Unfortunately, this unprecedented persecution is also another sign that we are truly living in the last days. As we end this discussion, I hope that you can see that we are truly living in a time where the church is falling away from following God. This in and of it self is not proof that we are in the last days, but as we continue to show the great convergence, the case becomes quite compelling. Thus far we have determined that we are living in the days where “Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by Gentiles.”  The geopolitical situation has progressed to the point that Jerusalem has become a “burdensome stone” for the whole world. We are living in the days where the world is starting to persecute the church in unprecedented ways and finally, we are once again living in the days of Lot. Hopefully God has gotten your attention by now, because we are just getting started!

I hope you will be able to rejoin this series next month as we look at the “Days of Noah”, but please take a few minutes to look up some of the articles listed here.  Remember, the cipher that Jesus gave us says, “when you see these things happening, then stand up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.” This means that part of our goal is not just to show you what the Bible says prophetically, but to show you that what the Bible says is really happening around the world. It is to this end that we believe you will begin to see the convergence and stand up for Jesus. After 1900 years of sleeping, maybe we need quite a few alarm clocks to wake us back up to the fact that one day Jesus is really going to literally return!

For more information on see the prophetic series, “The Convergence” please go to prophecydays.com where you will find the video, audio and notes from the series.

The Falling Away

Study Compares Christian and Non-Christian Lifestyles

Do Non-Christians and Christians Live Different Lifestyles? – https://www.christiantoday.com/article/american.study.reveals.indulgent.lifestyle.christians.no.different/9439.htm

STUNNING CLAIM: U.S. AT POINT WHERE ‘ELECTIONS DON’T MATTER’

http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/stunning-claim-u-s-at-point-where-elections-dont-matter/#AmOAbd6pTdmyHE6w.01

Of Abortion, By Abortion, For Abortion

https://www.frcaction.org/updatearticle/20160727/of-abortion

Ben Carson Ties Hillary Clinton to Lucifer at Republican Convention

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ben-carson-hillary-clinton-lucifer-republican-convention-rnc-gop-trump-166725/#2UWT7PHMWgbeEqvZ.99

Caught on Camera: Obamacare Architect Admits Deceiving Americans to Pass Law

http://dailysignal.com/2014/11/09/caught-camera-obamacare-architect-admits-deceiving-americans-pass-law/
California Steamin’: HHS Gives Abortion Rule a Pass

Welcome to a Bernie Sanders Wiccan ritual

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-sanders-prayer-circle-20160514-snap-story.html

Bernie Sanders’s Religious Test for Christians in Public Office

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/bernie-sanders-chris-van-hollen-russell-vought/529614/

California to ‘punish’ faith-based colleges for ‘holding wrong views’

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/california-to-punish-faith-based-colleges-for-holding-wrong-views/#VmObV2qGcohbk3TZ.99

Canadian Christian Law School Fights Accreditation Ban Over Opposition to Homosexuality

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canadian-christian-law-school-fights-accreditation-ban-over-opposition-homosexuality-164764/#DHxfbE2GwiforW1F.99

Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal

http://www.weeklystandard.com/obamas-foreign-policy-guru-boasts-of-how-the-administration-lied-to-sell-the-iran-deal/article/2002252#.V07nw9j_rDU.facebook

Planned Parenthood Will Not Face Justice Because There Is No Justice In America

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/planned-parenthood-will-not-face-justice-because-there-is-no-justice-in-america/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=ShareButton

Obama Can Force Coverage of Birth Control and Abortion Drugs on Churches, Admin. Lawyer Says

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/obama-force-churches-cover-birth-control-abortion-drugs-lawyer-tells-supreme-court-160019/#XLxazjeoM2tk13Ph.99

United Methodist Church Bans Intelligent Design Group From General Conference

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/united-methodist-church-bans-intelligent-design-group-general-conference-creation-evolution-155368/#kEqUZ5o27zTBqhzS.99

Justice Scalia warns that the US Supreme Court is causing the ‘destruction of our democratic system’

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/justice-scalia-warns-us-supreme-203000305.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=fb

POPE INVOKING GLOBALIZATION – Pope tearing down Christianity in bid for One World Religion

http://www.infowars.com/pope-invoking-globalization/

Bow Down, Witches: Pagans Flock to New York City for Festival

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/bow-down-witches-pagans-flock-to-new-york-city-for-festival

I put a spell on you, Mr. President – LA Times publishes an article about how to hold a spell on Donald Trump to curse him and our country.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wagman-put-a-spell-on-donald-trump-20170523-story.html

Planned Parenthood Chief Is Asked What Should Happen ‘If a Child Survives an Abortion Attempt.’ Here’s Her Response.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/09/29/planned-parenthood-boss-was-asked-what-should-happen-if-a-child-survives-an-abortion-attempt-heres-her-response/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=ShareButtons

Pope Says Having A Personal Relationship With Jesus Is Dangerous And Harmful

http://www.godfruits.tv/pope-says-personal-relationship-jesus-harmful/

Obama can kill you with a drone!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/us-drone-strike_n_2813857.html

Obama Plans To Reduce Deficit By Cutting Tax Exempt Status Of Christian Churches

http://nationalreport.net/obama-plans-reduce-deficit-cutting-tax-exempt-status-christian-churches/

VIDEO: This Rabbi Just Issued a Chilling Warning to America… And It’s Going Viral

http://conservativetribune.com/rabbi-chilling-warning/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=WesternJournalism&utm_content=2015-06-22

Persecution Of The Church

Francis Chan: Christians Will Be Relevant If They Become Rejects, Stand With Jesus

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/francis-chan-together-2016-christians-relevant-rejects-jesus-166599/#X93BrsDhDmb7yS5C.99

7 Signs That America Declared War on Christianity

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/signs-america-declared-war-christianity-163165/#lB72zEl3xBizcCJY.99

Obama Can Force Coverage of Birth Control and Abortion Drugs on Churches, Admin. Lawyer Says

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/obama-force-churches-cover-birth-control-abortion-drugs-lawyer-tells-supreme-court-160019/#DfBguOtve33DvAxU.99

Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History

Wyoming School Tells Students They Can Only Pray in Private — Here’s How Well That Went Over

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/12/21/school-cafeterias-are-not-religion-free-zones-wyoming-school-reverses-prayer-ban/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=ShareButtons

Vatican rejects “chosen people” claim, calls on Israel to end “occupation”

http://yalibnan.com/2015/06/25/vatican-rejects-chosen-people-claim-calls-on-israel-to-end-occupation/

From Pakistan to America, Christ’s Prophecy of Christian Persecution Coming to Pass

https://signsofthelastdays.org/pakistan-america-christs-prophecy-christian-persecution-coming-pass/

The Days of Lot

FEDERAL COURT BLOCKS OBAMA’S TRANSGENDER-BATHROOM ORDER

http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/judge-blocks-obamas-transgenders-schools-mandate/#dlT4u6D4YVIzUMcP.01

Christian baker takes ‘compulsion of speech’ case to Supremes

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/07/christian-baker-takes-compulsion-of-speech-case-to-supremes/#DKs9ZxSBjiI1hx0s.99

Churches Can’t Have Sex-Segregated Bathrooms, Make Transgender Feel Unwelcome, Unless Closed to Public, Iowa Commission Says

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/churches-sex-segregated-bathrooms-transgender-feel-unwelcome-closed-to-public-iowa-commission-166167/#j4F2JmqAlTEFKHou.99

Canadian Christian Law School Fights Accreditation Ban Over Opposition to Homosexuality

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canadian-christian-law-school-fights-accreditation-ban-over-opposition-homosexuality-164764/#qIDluKWiaJq73gI0.99

BISEXUALITY STUDY: 1 in 3 American Young Adults Identify on Bisexual Spectrum

http://www.advocate.com/bisexuality/2015/08/20/.V0uM8LHxIQg.facebook

Canada May Ban Anti-Transgender Speech With 2 Years in Prison

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canada-may-ban-anti-transgender-speech-with-2-years-in-prison-164382/#14qLCLmsmZ95BgCt.99

Obama Orders All Public Schools to Apply Transgender Bathroom Access Rules; Texas Ready To Fight

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/obama-order-public-schools-transgender-bathroom-access-rules-texas-163852/#5sRysz6oWYeg9iRP.99

American College of Pediatricians Says Teaching Children Transgenderism Is Normal Is Child Abuse

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/american-college-of-pediatricians-says-teaching-children-transgenderism-is-normal-is-child-abuse-159772/#8VokGWYYLRFxwhsV.99

Tom DeLay: Justice Dept. Wants to Legalize 12 ‘Perversions

Breaking News at Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Tom-DeLay-Justice-Department-perversions/2015/06/30/id/652929/#ixzz4Ih8vLPVK 

Canada Legalizes Most Sex Acts With Animals

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canada-legalizes-most-sex-acts-with-animals-165053/#tR2IdSQZZArUS0KA.99

Rubio: Gay Agenda’s ‘Next Step’ is to Define ‘Mainstream Christianity’ as ‘Hate Speech’

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/rubio-gay-agendas-next-step-define-mainstream-christianity-hate-speech

Want more?  Visit us at prophecydays.com for the complete series.

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Dr. Kevan Kruse has been practicing Chiropractic in the Bay area since 1992. Educated at the University of Tampa and Life University, Kevan received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a Doctorate of Chiropractic. Kevan was born in Florida, but he was raised with down to earth Midwestern values. These values translate into an office that is dedicated to serving patients in a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. Each patient is evaluated on an individual basis and treated appropriately.

Dr. Kruse is also open to multi-disciplinary approaches to health care, with his focus being primarily chiropractic and nutritional ways to help solve health problems. His fascination and extensive participation in sports makes his treatment of automobile accidents, work related injuries and sports injuries especially on-target. Dr. Kruse is married to Alexandra and they have two sons named Wiatte and Whestan. Dr. Kruse supports many local charities and attends Bell Shoals Baptist church, where he occasionally teaches classes on various topics.

Why is the church important? The church is where the friends of Jesus meet and grow. It is a hospital for those who admit they are sick and who want to get better. The church is not a building or an organization, it is just people. The church is also part of your spiritual family. Does anyone you know have a perfect family? Good, because that won’t happen in church either. You won’t like all the people there, but you will grow to love many of them. You may have to visit around some to find the right church for you, but if you work at it, you will be better for it. My church friends are one of my greatest sources or encouragement and joy.

Leadership Integrity

Leadership Integrity

If you were to describe your reputation as a leader, what words would you choose? What words would others choose? In the multitude of descriptions, would the word “Integrity” be one of them? A lack of integrity eats away at every good thing that is necessary for building a happy and healthy home. Integrity is the result of being honest about a set of morals you are upholding. Here are some thoughts to consider as you move forward with living a life of integrity.

One way to begin developing integrity in our relationships is doing what you say you will do. This sounds simple but like a church committee, we can fall into the old mindset of “when all is said and done, more is said than done.” Most relationships suffer because of a lack of “follow through” with commitments and promises. To make matter worst, we then make excuses to avoid taking responsibility. Remember that at some point or another, we all falter on our promises and commitments. However, these should be the exceptions and not the rule. When pride gets in the way and we act selfishly, sarcastically, and scar hearts. Tomorrow we will look at some of the impacts of this “excuse” based integrity.

Couples who turn to excuses for their lack of integrity quickly find the ground of trust they once enjoyed eroding beneath their feet. They are in no short supply of reasons for their shortcomings, infidelities, unkind words, impatience, and their selfishness. Like an attorney trying to convince the judge, the man or woman seek validation for their reasons. Without the full story, they can get their friends to support them, justify them, and cheer them on as they avoid accountability, and preserve their sense of pride, and rightness.

Because integrity is easier to disguise, it can only be measured by you. If you say you will do something but when it comes time to do it, you change your mind or bend the truth to get out of doing it, you have a situational based integrity. This means you will base your morals on the circumstance you are experiencing. If you want integrity that resembles a house of cards, choose this way. I want to warn you to watch out for the strong gusts of truth that blow through.

Have you ever felt like you were standing in a fire because of your Godly convictions? The fire, although intense, can be an integrity builder. The refining process for gold involves intense heat. Gold melts at a temperature of almost two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. That incredibly high temperature is required for gold to be ready to be used as it burns away all the dross (impurities). The life of integrity involves much the same process. Sometimes we are surprised when “bad things happen to good people.” yet James 1:2-4 tells us that fiery trials are part of God’s refining process for our lives. Remember, when integrity is tested by fire, it glows to become a beacon of truth for others to see.

Lastly, integrity is built or destroyed in the heart. Our heart feels something, then our mind thinks something, often resulting in our bodies doing something. It all starts in the heart. As an example, Matthew 15:18 states, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man”. In my marriage, I have come realize that I need to abide by a set of morals beyond my own cravings, desires, and impulses, in order for my marriage to thrive. Integrity is the fleshing out of what we truly love. When our first love is Jesus, those around us will have a deeper love from us and a life of integrity that takes our leadership to the next level.

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CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
813-767-2082 (Cell)
chaplainmiddlebrooks@hotmail.com

Personal Story:
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.

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Protect Your Mission Trip Warriors!

Melissa D. of Atlee Community Church out of Mechanicsville, Virginia, wrote on the wall of her church’s Mission Trip to Ecuador Facebook page: I am just finding out that Tommy was hurt today while on his mission trip in Ecuador. He fell through a roof onto a concrete floor. The praise report is that he was not hurt any worse than he was. He has a cracked pelvis, a broken finger on his left hand and they also had to put pins in his left wrist. Now, all that sounds bad, but I know God protected him from it being much more serious! He will have to stay in the hospital for two days and then they will decide what needs to happen next.”

The chances that your church has taken a missions trip are high. The chances that they’ve had missions trip insurance when they did so are not so high. “We’ve been taking missions trips just fine since the church was founded and never had any issues,” you might say. “What’s the point in adding unnecessary expenses to the missions budget?”

In all seriousness, when you travel, especially internationally, there’s a good chance your health insurance or even your liability insurance doesn’t travel with you, and you’re therefore exposed to significant financial risk in the event something terrible happens. You could get really sick or you could be injured. You may have to be evacuated due to a medical event, a political event, terrorism, or a natural disaster (think earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.)

Perhaps Tommy works a great steady job with awesome benefits here in the States, however, is that insurance effective overseas? Will Tommy’s doctor AND hospital bills be covered? Will he have to be moved back to the States with any added precautions, and if so, will those expenses be taken care of? Once he returns, will he be able to work at his job? If not, will his jobs benefits cover an injury he received off the job in another country in a volunteer situation? And never mind his personal insurance. What about the church insurance? Will their liability insurance take a hit?

These are all things that fall under the heading: stuff happens! No matter if your church is planning their 1st missions trip or their 100th, missions trip insurance is no longer an option; it’s a vital component, and you should customize your insurance for your specific needs – nothing more, nothing less.

Here are a few of the many options to consider:

  • Medical insurance for groups of five or more traveling abroad
  • Medical insurance for individuals involved in educational or cultural exchange

Travel protection program

  • First class travel protection
  • Medical insurance and travel protection for international travelers
  • First class travel medical insurance and travel protection for international travelers
  • Medical insurance for traveling executives
  • Medical insurance for organizations with five or more traveling executives
  • Long-term, worldwide medical insurance for individuals and groups of international students
  • Medical insurance for groups of two or more involved in educational or cultural exchange and study abroad programs

Quote taken from
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlee-Community-Church-Mission-trip-to-Ecuador/307652834933

This blog provided to you by Strong Tower Insurance, Inc. Strong Tower Insurance is pleased to partner with All Pro Pastors in support of pastors and their congregations by offering a variety of insurance solutions to protect the mission of the church!

Note: Earl and Carolyn Burkett owner’s of Strongtower Insurance specialize in Church and Ministry insurance. They are committed to serving Jesus in their business and we have asked them to provide articles and information that may help you. We can confidently say they care about those they serve!

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President of Strong Tower Insurance, Inc.
Graduate of Lee University
Credentialed minister in the Church of God
Certified Insurance Counselor
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WIVES do you “REALLY” Respect Your Husband?

2 Corinthians 13:5
For self-examination, observation and
transformation, not condemnation.

1. Do you speak to your husband in a condescending “put down”
manner? For example:
A. “What’s the matter with you?”
B. “Anybody could have done better than you did.”
C. “My Dad would have never done that.”
D. “Can you do anything right?”
E. “What you just said is ridiculous!”
F. “You old fool!”
G. “You’re too slow, I’ll do it myself.”
(It’s better to live in a desert land, than with a contentious and vexing
woman (Proverbs 21:19).
2. Do you treat your husband in private as respectfully as you do your
pastor, your neighbor, or your friends in public? Honor all men, love
the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King (I Peter 2:17).
3. Does your countenance show disrespect by angry looks, looks of
disgust, crossed arms, rolling of the eyes, etc.? Then the Lord said to
Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen
(Genesis 4:6)?
4. Do you compare your husband unfavorably with other men? For I
have learned to be content in whatever state I am (Phil. 4:11).
5. Do you respect your husband’s requests by trying to do as he asks, even
if it doesn’t seem important to you? For in this way in former times, the
holy women also who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, being
submissive to their own husbands (I Peter 3:5).
6. Do you listen carefully to your husband’s opinions, trying to
understand him? Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to
take offense and get angry (James 1:19).
RESPECTING YOUR HUSBAND
(Page Two)
7. Do you inappropriately contradict your husband in front of others?
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12).
8. Do you bring up your husband’s shortcomings to others? Her husband
is known in the gates (Proverbs 31:23).
9. Do you try to intimidate or bully your husband by making threats,
verbally attacking him or in some other way manipulating him to
have your way? The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears
it down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).
10. Are you obeying God by being respectful to your husband? Let the wife
see to it that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
“Final Thoughts”
 Respecting your husband is not an option if you are going to be in the
will of God, where God’s blessings will pursue you and overtake you
(Deut. 28:1-2).
 You may be smarter, wiser, or more gifted than your husband, but you
must still respect him and the position God has given to him.
 If your husband is not a Christian, he is still to be respected because of
his position (I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-2).
 If you are disrespectful to your husband, your children will likely
acquire the same attitude. It will be much more difficult for them to
honor their father if you are belittling him and speaking to him in a
harsh, sarcastic tone of voice.

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Pastors Jesse and Brenda McNeil are Assistant Pastors at Word Alive Ministries, Inc. in Lakeland, Florida. They are committed marriage and family pastors, advisors, and teachers, offering premarital preparation, personal advisory, post marital advisory, and wedding services to any-one who desires. Pastor Jesse is also the author of the very influential book, “Powerful Principles for Choosing a Marriage Partner.” The McNeils have been married for more than 42 years and have worked together as a dynamic, unified ministry team for over 36 years. You are sure to be blessed and in-spired by their awesome ministry.
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How to Double Your Prayer Power!

The power of prayer has changed the world many times! The Bible has countless examples of men and women who seek God on their face and on their knees and entire nations would crumble or be restored. Prayer is mankind’s expressed way to reach up to God. The children of Israel time and time again when they disobeyed God and strayed away from serving him always found his arms open when they humbled themselves and sought his face and prayed!

Have you ever prayed about something and it seemed that God is nowhere to be found? Does it appear that your prayers sometimes have NO Power at all? It is very easy to assume that all prayers are equal and each of us have the same connection with God, however you and I both know that this is not true. Some people pray for healing and it is done others pray for miracles and they are done and sometimes demonic oppression and possession is cast completely out from someones word/prayer of faith! Why do some people have great power when they pray and others do not? Why are some prayers answered and others are not? Some of this has to do with faith. Some has to do with obedience. Some has to do with intent. Some has to with knowledge. And some of this has to do with relationships! There are many reasons prayers go unanswered and some would say the answer could be NO but when we pray according to God’s Word the outcome is always fairly certain.

Today we are going to focus on one simple way to double your prayer power. Now let’s qualify this. This is for married couples. Married couples at the time of their union become one flesh according to God. The two shall come together and become one. When God says that we become “One” he takes this very seriously. From that moment on we enter into a new relationship with him. He looks at us as a unit or you could say a team of two,  one team called Family. When a husband and wife are at odds with one another, fighting with one another, criticizing each other, and looking for pleasures outside their marriage, God cannot bless their every action or request. Sure God hears you and will answer your cry for help or intercession for another but without oneness and unity in your marriage, which is sin, your prayers will hit a brick wall.

Think about this. If you and your wife make a whole, then when you are divided you are half of what God put together. You are not nearly as powerful in prayer as when you have wholeness in your marriage.

Dear friends, if you have a breakdown anywhere with your wife, if communication is strained or if you have a stagnant marriage your prayer life is suffering and thus your life is suffering. It is your responsibility to make it right, no matter how hard this may be.

Do you want to double your prayer power? Then include your wife and above all be sure that you have given NO place for the devil to reside in your marriage.

Pray together everyday and the enemy will flee and the walls will come down. Guaranteed!!

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Pastor Paul Pickern is married to his wife Linda. They have 5 children (Tony, Stephanie, Dale, Seth, Schyler) and 11 grand children. Their home is in Plant City, Florida between Tampa and Orlando. Paul was born in Belleville, Illinois and Linda was born in Charleston, West Virginia.

Experience
Paul is the Founder and CEO of All Pro Pastors Ministry, a ministry that encourages and challenges Pastors to join together as Kingdom Brothers to develop trust, accountability and unity. It is a ministry that strengthens Pastors marriages, families, and ministries by establishing “Champions Table’s”. The “Champions Table” is a safe place where Pastors can meet together and develop genuine relationships.

Paul’s wife Linda is a vital part of the ministry too. She minister’s to pastor wives and hosts a website/blog called “Women R Champions“. The many women in ministry throughout the world are connected thru this women directed ministry.

Paul speaks to 1000’s of pastors in Conferences, Lunches, Ministerial Meetings, Radio, and website conferencing about the challenges they face and how to face these challenges. The first “Champions Table” started April 2007 in Plant City Florida and can now be found in many countries as Pastors are connecting in great numbers throughout the world. Many Tables started forming in 2012 in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania by Pastors who caught the vision!

Paul comes from a deep heritage of several generations of Pastors. He has been a Christian since October 1959 and has been a student of the Bible since then. He spoke his first words to a church at the age of 3 years. Learning God’s Word was a way of life. Pastor Paul started singing and speaking at many meetings through the 60’s and 70’s in multiple denominations. He was the featured soloist from 1971-72 on the Television show “The Way”. He has written several plays, and the study guide series The Agape’ Lifestyle. He has had numerous magazine articles published.

Paul felt the call on his life at a very early age. He never had a desire to become a Pastor only to obey God whom he was called by and instructed.

Paul living as a Pastor’s son, serving as a Staff Pastor, and also counseling many Pastors gave him the experience to understand completely the needs in Pastors and their families. God instructed him specifically that he was to serve Pastors and help them from being deceived and destroyed by the world and the enemy. The vision for All Pro Pastors came to Pastor Paul in 2003 to reach ALL Pastors, Bishops, Evangelists and Ministers throughout the world. Paul has been in a “Champions Table” since November 2005. In January 2009 All Pro Pastors and Champion Tables were introduced publicly in Tampa, Florida and today hundreds of Tables and thousands of Pastors are connected worldwide. These “Tables” are saving marriages, ministries and lives!

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Grow Your Church Spiritually, Numerically, and Financially

Here is a hard-core truth: “Healthy things grow. God has woven this principle into the very fabric of creation. The converse of this is true as well. When a living thing becomes unhealthy, growth stops and even reverses. Ask any farmer or gardener.” –Robert Morris, Pastor of 20,000+ member church

 

Here are a few facts for your consideration: According to the Barna Group, roughly 60 percent of the Protestant churches in the United States have fewer than 100 members and a full 98 percent have fewer than 1,000. In other words, small churches are the rule, not the exception. These numbers reveal the failure of our churches to effectively reach out into their communities.

 

Join the “2% Club”!

 

No matter the size of your church, I want to help you reach and break the 1,000-member mark so you can enter into the top 2% Club. I have spent the past fifteen years of my ministry in the trenches teaching and coaching Senior Pastors how to exponentially grow their churches spiritually, numerically, and financially. Over the years, I can’t even count how many times I have heard pastors say, “I can’t take it anymore! I know I need help, but I desperately want something more than just another good speaker or church growth program. I think I need some leadership coaching.”

 

I know firsthand what it’s like to hit what seem to be invisible walls of growth at the 150, 300, 500, 800, and 1,000 marks. The first church I pastored in a tiny town called Trillacoochee, Florida, faced these same challenges. However, a very successful megachurch pastor coached me on how to break those “perceived” barriers. The result—my church grew larger than the community in which it was located. For the past fifteen years I have helped many pastors break these barriers.

 

Crisis among Senior Pastors

 

Why do so many ministries stagnate, marriages fail, strange doctrines appear, sinful behaviors become commonplace, and leaders quit? Why are so many pastors and ministry leaders overwhelmed, burned out, frustrated, and contemplating quitting? I believe there is a very simple yet profound answer: because they have not been properly developed and trained with the leadership intelligence (LQ) necessary to grow a thriving church.

 

LQ Deficiencies—We Should have Seen it Coming

 

We should have seen the tragedy of September 11, 2001, coming. We had warnings; the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the Kenyan Embassy, the U.S.S. Cole, etc. We can say the same thing about the tragedies we have witnessed in ministry. The following statistics about pastors have been available from pollster George Barna for years:

  • 1,800 pastors leave the ministry every month
  • 40% will not be in the ministry in 10 years
  • 15% contemplate leaving the ministry every Monday morning
  • 65% would leave their position for a similar paying position
  • 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job
  • 80% believe that pastoral ministry has adversely affected their families
  • 40% will have an extramarital affair during their career
  • 70% say they have lower self-esteem than when they started in ministry
  • 89% say they do not have the gift of leadership

 

As America’s #1 Confidence Coach, I have provided more than fifteen years of consulting, vision facilitation, and strategic planning to Senior Pastors. I have also trained over 335,000 church leaders in conferences, workshops, and Bible schools throughout the world. I know that these statistics can be turned around. There are many faithful and committed pastors and church leaders worldwide who need to know that they are not alone—there is help.

 

For years, pastors and ministry leaders have been asking:

  • How can I gain significant ground, sustain vigorous and healthy growth, and be uniquely able to accomplish all that God has given me—and survive?
  • How can I get to the point where I’m not dealing with my ministry alone?
  • How can I stop living my life at full bore before I burn out and forget who I really am?
  • How can I feel once again close to my first love, Christ?
  • Where do I go from here? I am frustrated, overwhelmed, and weary. Life seems like a cycle of endless work.
  • How can I remain strong and maintain my health, enthusiasm, zeal, supernatural love, and compassion for people?
  • How can I have confidence that I can say someday before the Lord, “I have finished the work that You gave me to do”?

 

My own personal research and the research of other successful consultants reveal that these questions stem from FIVE universal leadership deficiencies:

  1. Lack of Direction – Most pastors lack the clarity and proper structure needed to build a successful church and to leave a legacy. Result: Unfulfilled ministry dreams.
  2. Wrong Work Ethic – Because most pastors are operating out of their leadership position, they get so caught up doing the menial tasks of ministry that they do not have time to practice the two most important principles to growing their churches. Result: Church membership stagnates, morale decreases, and finances dry up.
  3. Lack of Time Management Skills – Most pastors, due to hyper-business, tend to fly by the seat of their pants and are unorganized. Result: Leader stagnates, lives with an unprotected anointing, and with a lack of intimacy with God and family. Result: Quality people leave the church, leader experiences burnout.
  4. Crisis and Change Management Skills – Most pastors have so much needless crisis and chaos going on around them. Rather than facing the facts, they avoid them, at great cost. Result: Leader becomes delusional; major ministry opportunities are missed and major mistakes are made.
  5. Lack of disciples being made through Leadership Development – Most pastors do not lead or properly disciple, coach, teach, train, or mentor those God has entrusted to them. Result: Lack of qualified and strong leaders to carry the load. We have been busy developing professional church goers instead of strong leaders needed to carry the load.

 

What Caused the Tragedy?

 

The principal reason for the dysfunction that manifests in frustration and eventually quitting the ministry is that leaders have never learned the following:

  • The wisdom to achieve all of God’s mandates while maintaining the quality of life He prescribes.
  • The understanding and practical application how to properly structure and build a ministry organization.
  • The methods, systems, strategic planning, and processes required and how to execute them.
  • The practical tools that must be worked versus falling for the clever slogans, sayings, steps, ideals, and theories that don’t work.
  • The skills that must be practiced so that the art of execution is passed down.

 

Pastors and ministry leaders have said to me repeatedly, “I’ve read all the church growth books, John Maxwell’s leadership books, have gone to conferences, and have listened to all the CDs. Can you please show me how to do this?” Most Senior Pastors have never been taught and trained in the foundational principals, personal development processes, and behavioral performance proficiencies of building a successful and efficiently functioning church. All they have been taught is “Preach the Bible, worship God, pray, stay positive, build a big building and they will come.” This philosophy worked in the “authoritarian autocratic one-man -show” leadership style of the ’80s, ’90s, and the beginning of the 21st century.

 

“My [Senior Pastors] are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6, paraphrased).

 

However, times have changed, the culture has drastically changed, and the problems we face are more complex. Without a doubt, leading a church in the 21st century demands a higher level of leadership intelligence (LQ) than at any other time in the history of the world. The old models of leadership are obsolete. Now, leadership is less about titles, positions, or how good you can preach—and more about influence and impact.

 

Learn how I built a bigger church attendance than my cities population—and you can too! FREE for Senior Pastors, my new book called The LQ Solution- Influence, Impact, and Increase. Simply click this link: http://ow.ly/6kCo30bwCEV

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Biography of Keith Johnson, America’s #1 Confidence Coach

Keith Johnson is known as one of the premier speakers on the subjects of Christian leadership, confidence building, and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, his messages, books, and leadership coaching has helped some of the largest and most prestigious churches in the world to experience spiritual, numerical, and financial growth.

Keith’s journey to becoming recognized by other leaders as America’s #1 Confidence Coach did not start out well. He failed kindergarten; and by the time he was in 5th grade, he could barely read and write and almost failed again

His parents divorced, and his father became an alcoholic, drug addict, and joined a motorcycle club called Satan’s Escorts. His own father introduced him to drugs at the young age of 13; and by 16, his father taught him how to sell drugs for a living. His mother married an alcoholic who was very abusive to the entire family.

Keith experienced a radical encounter with Jesus Christ when he was 22 years of age. He was instantly set free from alcoholism, drugs, and a promiscuous lifestyle.

Keith’s biblically based success and leadership principles have now influenced both the church and secular markets. His newest book, The Confidence Solution—Reinvent Yourself, Explode Your Business, Skyrocket Your Income became a best seller by reaching #21 in Amazon’s motivation and business category. He is a frequent television guest appearing on popular shows and stations such as New York’s PIX 11, Fox Business News, The Tom Sullivan Show, CBS, ABC, and many others. He has been recognized by Women’s World magazine as one of America’s “Ultimate Experts,” which is the most read women’s magazine in the world.

Keith Johnson, PhD, is a dedicated lifelong learner. He earned a Master’s of Christian Leadership and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from Christian Life University. He is the founder of Destiny College International, an accredited college specializing in graduate training for pastors and business leaders. He is a certified speaker, trainer, and coach for the John Maxwell team.

Dr. Johnson was jobless at the age of 35, with no money, no perceived opportunities, no influential relationships to help him—and 40 pounds overweight. He had absolutely no confidence for a better future!

Then he discovered the proven biblical strategies for success that changed his life forever. In less than three years he was earning a six-figure income, working for himself, living in the house of his dreams, and traveling around the world.

Today, he has trained over 147,000 Christian leaders, he travels worldwide in response to invitations, and he is the author of five books that share his success secrets.

Read more about Dr. Keith’s Story Here!

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Operating in Social Media Denial

Is your organization suffering from social media denial?

Despite 60 percent of Americans using some form of social media, according to the Pew Research Center, the prevailing belief by businesses is that social media is a fad, a phenomenon, just another version of the Internet.

In fact, 72 percent of businesses don’t even have a clear strategy or goals for social media activities, according to study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Darla Moore School of Business researcher Rob Ployhart is working to change that. The management professor is conducting some of the first studies on social media and its use as a business strategy. To help executives struggling with the issue now, Ployhart provided guidance in a report released late October by SHRM.

“There is a lot of hype that goes along with technology,” Ployhart says. “After doing this review, I’m convinced that social media is radically different and that existing theories about communications can’t be applied the same way. It puts incredible power in the hands of employees and customers. One person sharing on social media is more powerful than 50 or more people saying it.”

Ployhart says one of the main reasons businesses haven’t pursued a social media strategy is the lack of data tied to return on investment.

“Usually people think about social media from the employee issue part of it – for disciplinary, firing and hiring – by establishing social media policies for what employees can and can’t do. They’re not looking at it from ‘how can I use this to drive results for my business?’” Says Ployhart, the Band of America Professor of Business Administration in the University of South Carolina’s Moore School.

He says a social media strategy for an organization must be supported by a set of company-wide policies that then are implemented as necessary throughout each department.

“In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology,” Ployhart says. “I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.”

“Many employees are reaching retirement age. So, how do we push knowledge down to younger employees?” he says.

“Social media and networking is exactly the way we should start thinking about it, and it is not even on the radar screen for most managers because they themselves are not comfortable with it or use it or see it in that kind of way. What they don’t understand is that the younger generation expects to use it and expects employers to use it, too.”

Information taken from www.insurancejournal.com

If you’d like to contact Strong Tower Insurance, we’d love to hear from you!
1.800.329.0093
www.mystrongtower.com

This blog provided to you by Strong Tower Insurance, Inc. Strong Tower Insurance is pleased to partner with All Pro Pastors in support of pastors and their congregations by offering a variety of insurance solutions to protect the mission of the church!

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President of Strong Tower Insurance, Inc.
Graduate of Lee University
Credentialed minister in the Church of God
Certified Insurance Counselor
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The Command to “Love and Respect”

The Command to Love and Respect (Ephesians 5:33) “Nevertheless, let everyone of you in particular (speaking to husbands), so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence (respect) her husband.

(1) A husband is to obey the command to love, even if his wife does not obey the command to respect.

(2) A wife is to obey the command to respect, even if her husband does not obey the command to love.

(3) A husband is called to love a disrespectful wife.

(4) A wife is called to respect an unloving husband.

(5) There is no justification for a husband to say: “I will love my wife after she respects me; nor for a wife to say: I will respect my husband after he loves me.”

(6) When a husband feels disrespected, it’s very hard to love his wife.

(7) When a wife feels unloved, it is very hard to respect her husband.

(8) When a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife.

(9) When a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband.

(10) It is very important to understand – When someone reacts toward you, respond to them.

a. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

b. Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

c. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord (Ephesians 6:8)

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Pastors Jesse and Brenda McNeil are Assistant Pastors at Word Alive Ministries, Inc. in Lakeland, Florida. They are committed marriage and family pastors, advisors, and teachers, offering premarital preparation, personal advisory, post marital advisory, and wedding services to any-one who desires. Pastor Jesse is also the author of the very influential book, “Powerful Principles for Choosing a Marriage Partner.” The McNeils have been married for more than 42 years and have worked together as a dynamic, unified ministry team for over 36 years. You are sure to be blessed and in-spired by their awesome ministry.
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Seven Reasons Not to be a Champion

  1. I don’t want to buy your breakfast
  2. I have a whole congregation of close friends
  3. My church runs smoothly
  4. I don’t want to invest in anyone’s life 
  5. My family is fine 
  6. I don’t have problems 
  7. I don’t need accountability I have my spouse

So, tongue and check out of the way, I love meeting with my table mates every week!  I am human and have real needs, not just as a woman but as a pastor’s wife that takes hits from all sides that could use a friend that truly understands things from every side.  So yeah, some weeks when money is tight I might need to buy her breakfast.  My table mates have become a place where my marriage and family have been prayed over with earnest, sweet blessings and in confidentiality. It’s wonderful to see the fruits!  I love having a place to run and share.  Ultimately, I’m not the champion, my table mates are my champions!  That’s what being a part of a table is about.  I could have gone on and on, listed a scripture for every point!    What is holding you back?     Become a Champion! Be someone’s Champion!

 

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Pastor’s Wife, Mother, Worship Pastor, Teacher, Soloist
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Developing Leaders vs Gathering Followers

Developing Leaders vs. Gathering Followers

Your ultimate long‐term success as a leader will be determined by your ability to develop a team of leaders…those who know how to lead to the future and not just manage the present. In order to fulfill the vision, you must be able to guide the way the team works together in order to deliver the desired results.

Team success is the ability of their leader to rally all the team members to commit to the vision and common goals ‐ not because they have to, but because they want to.

Forming a team of mentally, emotionally, and spiritually mature leaders is worth your time and effort. The greater challenge is getting them to lay aside personal ambition and ideas for the sake of becoming a team centered only on the mission and vision. A group of followers working on the same effort is far different from a team of strategic‐thinking leaders focused on the same goals with a clear understanding and commitment to the same outcome‐based results.

Independent thinking team members normally focus on their own strengths, abilities and promote their own ideas of what success should look like. Most of the time, this leads to everyone pulling in different directions and momentum is lost, if it was ever there to begin with. As a leader, it is your primary task to inspire individual team members to check their ego at the door, set aside personal agendas and cultivate a passion for teamwork, team solutions and team wins. Look at yourself first.

Your top priority as a team leader, leader of leaders and most of all as a senior leader, is to have your team understand, focus and commit to the outcome‐based goals of the mission, vision, values and strategy. Without clarity about these four key elements, buy‐in by the team and commitment to work together as a team will never happen in any significant with developing leaders out of the followers you have gathered happens best when working together as a team is the only option. Team dynamics cannot develop in solo situations. Lone rangers, overbearing personalities and divisive behaviors have to be overcome and not tolerated for very long. As the leader, you must have the emotional strength and maturity to help clarify non‐productive behaviors in both strong‐willed and weak‐minded individuals. Somehow you must be able to persuade them to see the big picture; how every individual effort is not only valuable, but also vital to the team’s success.

Five principles critical for developing a team of leaders:

Provide adequate and accurate information; clarity about desired results and the rationale used to shape your views.

Anticipate and resolve conflicts quickly. As the leader, it’s your job to make sure overly competitive or domineering team members don’t exploit another’s vulnerability when discussing either positive or negative issues as they relate to the team’s on‐going efforts or final results.

Recruit, teach, train and deploy the right team members. Be slow to appoint so you won’t have to disappoint. No matter how talented they are, if their ego, personality and effort cannot complement the team, you have to decide what’s more important to you —individual contribution or the team’s success.

Provide prompt and adequate feedback. Waiting until the annual performance review means many significant coaching opportunities may be lost. Feedback for both individuals and the team as a whole is most effective in written form. And, I don’t mean the small and big wins on a regular basis.

Recognize and deal with promptly those that I refer to as “Vision Drainers.” The single biggest reason for teams not performing effectively and winning often is the emotional maturity of the leader. It often lies in the discomfort and sometimes the fear of giving honest feedback necessary to develop a group of followers into a team of leaders who win on a regular basis.

Remember, leaders who turn followers into leaders on a consistent basis are leaders who know what they are doing and why. Many times, there are those who give promise of being great leaders because of superficial personality and character traits. Intelligence, confidence and the ability to communicate are important. However, having all these does not mean they have the emotional maturity and ability to make good judgments, which are invaluable in turning followers into leaders.

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Dr. Larry Bennett writes from the perspective of an experienced warrior on the front lines, not one of an armchair observer. He has a strong apostolic/prophetic anointing and Dr. Bennett has served in many facets of ministry giving him the experience to share his knowledge to other leader’s. He has a strong anointing for marketplace ministry and wants to see the church rise to the new movement of releasing church members into the marketplace.
If you wish to contact Dr. Bennett you may do so through his email which is ch.larrybennett57@gmau/il.com, or call him at 863-206-2567.
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The Power of CIA!

I know you are wondering what I am talking about. CIA is one of the first benefits we receive upon accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and exercising our faith by believing Him. Consistent CIA is required for every Christian to maintain a productive growing relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. CIA is Christian Identity Assurance. It is the clear fact of a Christian completely believing and being who God says he or she is.

The word Identity is defined as the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. God made us to be who and what He said we are. In Galatians 4:6-7 the bible says “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”. This scripture and fact is absolutely clear. We as Christians are to refer to ourselves as sons of God with undeniable comfort in our spirit. We must exercise complete identity assurance in the facts of who God says we are. This means believe and behave as who God says you are. A son who sees his human father return home from work runs to the door to greet and embrace his father. A son of God should willingly want to greet and worship God without a pastor, leader or brethren asking him or her to do so. Church leaders would not need to call anyone who has Christian identity assurance to come to church. They would already know they are supposed to be in church.

We are taught in Psalm 8:6, “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet”. This is a fact of the authority given to us. Anyone given authority is accountable for the use of the authority. Brothers and Sisters don’t leave your authorities resting in the pages of the bible. Scripture teaches us to whom much is given, much is required. Partner with the Holy Spirit to properly use the authority God has given you every day. The bible teaches us in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. This is a fact of the duties (good works) given to us. Anyone given duties is responsible to be available, flexible, teachable and trainable to perform the duties. Let Godly good works be our way of life at home, place of work and all other areas of our lives.

Finally, a believer who has consistent Christian identity assurance is a Christian who truly believes and behaves as who God says he or she is consistently. Such a person has begun the successful journey of pleasing God. It is written in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Pleasing God is about first believing who God is and then who God says we are. Once we accept who God says we are, we know to yield and partner with the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s purpose. Let us not allow the world to turn us into people who doubt, fear, complain and worry. None of these are pleasing to the Lord. Remember Apostle Paul said “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Rise up beloved and constantly walk in who God says you are. Be the salt, be the light, be the blessing, yes, be the breakthrough for those waiting for you.

Shalom and Glory to you.

 

Ps: Come by next month to check out suggested consistent CIA prayers.

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Joseph Doxa is the Pastor of Glory Life Church in Tampa, Florida. He and his wife Cindy have 3 daughters and 1 son. They are originally from Nigeria. Pastor Doxa serves as the Ambassador of Prayer for All Pro Pastors and hosts our International Prayer Conference call with Pastors and leaders every Wednesday at 7:00 AM EST.
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The Legal Duty of Child Abuse Reporting by Members of the Clergy

“If I suspect a child is being harmed, don’t I have a legal and moral duty to report the suspected abuse, is a question that I’m asked from time to time by various clergy members.  And does this violate the Clergy-Penitent Privilege?”  We all want to see all children safe from abuse and live by the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing.”  But even a pastor has a duty to follow the law of our land. 

One of the most difficult facts I have to explain to my clients at times is that “morally right” and “legally right” are sometimes not the same thing.  Morally, you feel that you have a duty to report suspected abuse.  But do you legally have the right to?  When this conundrum pertains to the abuse of a child, it can create a profound ethical dilemma for the clergyman or woman who has knowledge of the abuse.

First, let’s start by examining the meaning of “child abuse.”  The statutes in Florida define child abuse as “Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;” or “An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child;” or “Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.”  While I’m certain that similar legal definitions exist in other states, it’s first and foremost important for you to know the exact language of the definition of abuse in your state.  Furthermore, child abuse reporting laws are often amended, so it is of utmost importance for you to review the statutes that govern you and apply to your church on a regular basis.  

The bottom line is that each state and venue has laws designed to protect children from abuse by designating people in certain professions as “mandatory reporters.”  In many states, members of the clergy are mandated to report known or suspected occurrences of abuse on a minor, and they may even face criminal charges for their failure to comply with this law.  However, in some states, clergy members are exempt from alerting authorities to their suspicion or knowledge of abuse if they learned about the abuse during the course and scope of a conversation that is protected by the Clergy-Penitent Privilege.

Again, in Florida, the law defines “Clergy-Penitent Privilege” [in part] as “A confidential communication is between a member of the clergy and their parishioner, if the communication is made privately for the purpose of seeking spiritual counsel and advice from the member of the clergy in the usual course of his or her practice or discipline, and the communication is not intended for further disclosure.  A clergy member has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication by the parishioner to a member of the clergy in his or her capacity as a spiritual adviser.”  

And now that we’ve seen exactly what the law [in Florida] defines as “Clergy-Penitent Privilege,” we can see that the law did not release a member of the clergy from reporting their suspicions or knowledge of child abuse if they became aware of the abuse or possible abuse while they were acting in any other capacity of a mandatory reporter.  For example, if a father comes to you privately seeking spiritual help for his alcoholism, and in confessing how his addiction affects his life, he admits to abusing his child, you are bound by the law to keep his confidence and not reveal his admission.  But if he did not come to you seeking spiritual guidance, but rather you witness him striking his child, or you saw bruises on the child, or the child told you she was being abused, then you do have a moral and legal duty to report the abuse.  

Because of this inner struggle, too often, clergy personnel can be torn between fulfilling their legal duty to report suspected abuse and upholding their ecclesiastical obligation not to breach the confidentiality of a privileged communication with their parishioner.  They then assume that they can resolve the matter offering counseling to the abuser and the victim without getting law enforcement involved.  This is a pitfall which can carry serious legal repercussions for the clergyman or woman.  

For example, clergy personnel with knowledge or suspicion of child abuse which was obtained outside of the scope of the Clergy-Penitent Privilege and who fail to comply with their state’s child abuse reporting law may face criminal prosecution.  Furthermore, some states have adopted laws which allow victims of child abuse to sue and some courts have permitted child abuse victims to sue clergy members or the church for failing to report their abuse.

This brings us to the question of whether or not a clergy member can be held liable or reap legal ramifications if they report a suspected incident of abuse that later proves to be unfounded.  The answer is that each state grants limited immunity to those who make such a report.  States encourage abuse to be reported so they can protect their children.  Because of this immunity, clergy members or the church cannot be sued simply for notifying the appropriate authorities of their suspicions of abuse, unless such a claim was made with maliciousness and the intent to harm the person being reported.

If there arises such a time that you must report a suspected incident of child abuse, you should call your state’s Department of Children and Families to file a report.  Be prepared to identify the child, the child’s guardian(s), and the identity of the alleged abuser.  You will also be asked the age of the child, the child’s address, and the nature of the abuse.

Remember, we all have a duty to protect children from abuse.  But we also want to protect ministers within the church from legal problems arising from their reporting an alleged incident of abuse.  The best way for this to be upheld is for the church to have a written policy and procedure manual dealing with mandated reporters and how they should handle such claims.  Furthermore, mandated reporters should be educated and trained by the church how to recognize possible abuse, how to protect children, and how to report an alleged incident of abuse. Your church’s insurer may have information regarding this training.  

Taking all this information into account, it should be noted that while we discuss “Clergy-Penitent Privilege,” in many states, the term “privilege” applies only to courtroom testimony or depositions, and not to the statutory duty to report to a state agency.  The bottom line:  It’s your duty to know the current Child Abuse Reporting law in your state as well as in your church, as it pertains to you.

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Dean Burnetti is a personal injury attorney who practices law in Central Florida.  He received a Pastoral Ministries degree from Oklahoma Baptist Seminary in 1980, and he dedicates a portion of time at his law practice to assisting clergy members with legal matters involved in their service to the Lord.

*Unless otherwise noted, the legal opinions given above apply to clergy personnel in the State of Florida.  It is important to note that each member of the clergy should be aware of current laws that govern their own state.  Furthermore, the information contained herein is a legal opinion, and should not be construed as legal advice.

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Dean Burnetti is a personal injury attorney who practices law in Central Florida. He received a Pastoral Ministries degree from Oklahoma Baptist Seminary in 1980, and he dedicates a portion of time at his law practice to assisting clergy members with legal matters involved in their service to the Lord.