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“When You’re Burned Out, Wounded and Overwhelmed”
By Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell ©

When Paul Pickern so graciously asked me to write some articles for All Pro Pastors International, I was deeply humbled and honored. Having just written a research book on pastor’s prayer meetings, I have thoroughly studied today’s global ministries to pastors. There is absolutely no group as crucial as pastors and no ministry more powerful than All Pro Pastors International. They even have a ministry to pray for pastors which I strongly encourage pastors to use.
Because pastors are facing unprecedented pressures, I sense this introductory article should be a testimony of encouragement and practical help. It is the story of how God’s grace transformed my life and ministry at a time of devastating difficulty and impossibility. My earnest hope is that our experience of God’s grace and deliverance will be an encouragement to pastors today. Absolutely nothing is more important than encouraging and strengthening the Lord’s shepherds. Pastors are the enemy’s primary target and God’s primary means for spreading Christ’s kingdom. They and their churches are the spiritual soul and fate of our nation and world. Loving and uplifting pastors is a burning passion of my heart.
Having been blessed to work with persecuted underground pastors, I have witnessed how God gives incredible joy and power in even the darkest places. In today’s intense conditions, it is crucial for pastors to have a joy, passion and power that is truly of the Holy Spirit, not circumstances. We are now far past what academics, personality and programs alone can overcome. But while the early Church and Christian reformers faced even worse challenges than most today, they totally transformed their world for Christ. We too can trust in the risen Lord Who is “the same yesterday, today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8) I pray this testimony brings glory to God and fresh hope to pastors and their churches.

A Story of God’s Grace in the Fire
“Be Careful What You Pray For”

We often hear the half-joking phrase, “be careful about praying for patience because you know how you get it.” While of course we definitely should pray for this important grace, it is among the more challenging of the spiritual fruits. Shortly after graduation from seminary in 1983, I unwittingly discovered another somewhat risky prayer. It was when I prayed “Lord give me some good experience for growth in ministry.” Well, the Lord definitely answered that prayer, though a lot different than I expected.
Just as I was considering a call to pastor a church with strong growth potential, I got a call from another church. It was to be the Associate Pastor/Minister of Evangelism in a church in a very high crime, declining area. Then shortly after they contacted me, the TV news erupted with a catastrophic scandal involving sex abuse allegations about their church run daycare. In that day, such a thing was virtually unheard of. There was devastating publicity on every TV station and newspaper for a six state radius. I thought “phew,” I am so glad I didn’t go there!
But surprisingly, the embattled church still wanted to proceed in trying to fill their staff position. They asked me if I would at least please pray about coming to be their Associate Pastor of Evangelism. Of course in my most spiritual voice, I told them, “Oh yes, I’ll pray about it.” Frankly, I thought to myself, that’s an easy one — I’m not going into a situation like that. No way! I just knew the Lord would surely have me to go to the much easier church where I could quickly reach more people. But when I actually prayed about it, the Lord definitely led me to go to the church in the intense battle. I wish I could say I was perfectly brave and noble, but I had some very deep concerns. I even told the Lord of many perfectly logical reasons why I shouldn’t go. But somehow, He just wasn’t buying my human reasoning. So, I told the church that I would come.
Ominously, even before I arrived on the church field more allegations erupted and soon brought additional arrests. Legal bills were exploding to shocking levels on top of a major church building debt. The surrounding community was hit with a shocking new crime wave and an even greater stream of people began moving away. But unbelievably, circumstances were about to get even much more intense. After just a few months as associate pastor, the responsibility to become their pastor suddenly fell to me. Though conditions seemed hopeless, the Lord was about to teach me that nothing is too hard for Him. But, it would require me to learn some lessons I really thought I already knew. It would also take five years of almost indescribable pain and battle.

Coming to the End of Our Own Strength

As the church entered into a continuous five year nightmare, the circumstances were far worse than I could ever describe in any article. In the first three years, the battles were so intense my life was actually threatened for trying to help “that” church. A seminary professor told me in forty years of teaching, he had never heard of anything so extreme. He said, it was essentially the “Chernobyl” of the church world. (Not exactly a title you desire.) Yet, the core people of the church truly loved their Lord, their church and their inexperienced young pastor. I owe those dear people an eternal debt of gratitude.
So for five years, we aggressively used the best evangelism, discipleship and growth programs in existence. I sought to faithfully preach the whole counsel of Scripture and we even had weekly church prayer meetings. Toward the end of the fifth year, church decline was bad enough that things were getting really desperate. As a last ditch effort we conducted a massive community-wide visitation campaign to over five thousand households. But with a rapidly declining community and constant negative news coverage, the church continued downward. Even after all of the intense efforts, we were seeing few people saved, rising disunity, very few visitors and continuing decline. Five years earlier we were four to five hundred in attendance, but had dropped to well less than two hundred and fifty.
The church was increasingly discouraged and so was their pastor. Though I could still preach and put on a fairly good face, I was seriously burned out, wounded and dry. I also began to deal with some painful ongoing health issues. Yet, I personally knew some persecuted believers who had incredible joy and evangelistic power in some of the darkest regions of earth. I also realized the early Church and Christian reformers had great joy and power even in the face of horrific torture and martyrdom. So I knew greater strength, joy and closeness with Jesus were definitely possible. Then what was wrong with me? I felt great condemnation and failure over my strong feelings of doubt, frustration and weakness. At that point, I seriously considered leaving the ministry. I actually took the air traffic controller test and passed with a high score. It was God’s grace alone that kept me from leaving. Once I committed to stay, the Lord gave me peace He would do something that would one day encourage other pastors in days of intense battles. With pandemics and growing persecutions, such days are now a reality for millions.

Three Life-Changing Revelations

As I sought the Lord for greater closeness, joy and power, He led me to do a very deep study of John 15:4-16, 1 Corinthians 2:1-4, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Acts 1:4-8, 4:29-34, 5:41 and James 5:16-18. In these texts, it became clear that abundant spiritual fruit and Spirit-empowerment flow only from deep closeness with Jesus, fervent prayer and full yieldedness of heart. As I further researched the leaders of great awakenings and persecuted believers, the Lord opened my eyes to three specific points of inadequacy in my walk with Christ. Though by today’s rushed patterns my prayer life might have seemed above average, it was definitely not sufficient by God’s standards in Scripture and historic awakenings. The Lord graciously helped me see three missing elements that ultimately made a vast difference in my life and church. I pray these insights will help fellow pastors as much as they transformed me.

First, I realized I was focusing so much on God’s love, I was neglecting the reverential fear of His holiness. As a result, I had settled for using some popular heart cleansing/surrender guides that were simply not complete enough to bring specific yielding in all key areas of sin and self. (Psalm 139:23-24; 2 Corinthians 7:1) The Lord helped me see that there were actually around seven areas I needed to yield fully and consistently. (Most cleansing/growth guides deal with only four or five general areas.) I also saw that full surrender to Jesus had to involve a continual yielding of “self, weights of hindrance and heart idols,” not just sin. (Matthew 16:24; Hebrews 12:1-2) I was discovering that Jesus wanted to be Lord of even our motives and secret thoughts. And while of course we are all very much a work in progress, we do have to at least be in serious, intentional progress.
I began to realize being “under grace” in no way meant I could marginalize ever-deeper growth and surrender. If the Apostle Paul needed to continually “press toward the mark” and “perfect holiness in the fear of God,” I surely needed it all the more! But I really didn’t have a clear enough handle on how to walk in that. The Lord was revealing that I needed to more fully revere His awesome holiness. After much prayer and study, the Lord led me to develop a seven category pattern of Scripture to pray through. There were twelve to fourteen Scriptures and issues for each major category. Bear in mind, this was to be a process prayed through over several days, not at one prayer time. It was to be a grace relationship of love and surrender, not a legalistic guilt trip.

Second, the Lord helped me recognize that my personal time in His word and prayer was stopping short of the relational abiding in Christ described in Scripture. (John 15:4-16) I realized many quiet time models either left out or marginalized two or three essential biblical elements of full surrender and empowerment in Christ. Many prayer patterns stopped at general confession (with little emphasis on specific repentance.) Most models further omitted any intentional time to meditate on God’s word and truly listen to His voice.
I also noticed many devotional patterns tended to focus more on personal desires and needs than God’s kingdom and righteousness. They were kind of a reverse of Matthew 6:33. More importantly, I sensed God wanted me to view time in His word and prayer more as truly experiencing a relationship than just doing my prayer and Bible reading. Though the changes did require some additional time, it wasn’t exorbitant, undoable or legalistic. Over the next several weeks I began to experience a major difference in closeness with Jesus.

Third, the Lord helped me more fully understand that all true growth and power flow solely from His grace and Holy Spirit-empowerment, not legalism or religious works. (Galatians 3:1-3, 5:16; Ephesians 2:8-9, 5:18) I knew as I embraced the deeper cleansing and yielding, I had to stay focused on my full acceptance by God’s grace in Christ. It was so freeing to realize God doesn’t convict His children to condemn, but to transform us by His grace and Spirit. So rather than dreading deeper cleansing and yielding, I knew I was to desire it out of love for Christ. (1 John 3:3, 5:3) So with these three biblical principles firmly in my mind, I began a twelve week focused journey of deeper surrender and more complete time in God’s word and prayer. It was the beginning of a relationship journey that would utterly transform my life, ministry and church!

A Wounded, Weary Pastor Renewed and Empowered

During the first few weeks, I slowly prayed through all seven key areas of cleansing and surrender. Those specific areas were: thoughts/heart focus, attitudes, words/social media, all relationships, sins of transgression, sins omission, yielding of self /weights and heart idols. Soon, a much greater revelation of God’s holiness gripped my heart. As the Lord brought deeper brokenness and godly sorrow, a reverential fear of the Lord became much more real. Over just those first weeks, the Lord revealed no less than eleven specific areas for confession, repentance and deeper surrender.
Several issues were things I had no idea were hindering God’s Spirit (i.e. confession without repentance, selfish motives, secret thoughts, people I had not fully forgiven, prideful ambition, desiring the praise of men, self-preservation, etc.) I found when I truly allowed the Lord to deeply search all areas, I saw things I would never have seen with the more brief, general patterns. But praise God, it was about grace, growth and empowerment, not condemnation and guilt! Above all, it was about embracing the life-long journey to ever-more fully know, love and revere the Lord. (John 17:3; Matthew 22:37; Ecclesiastes 12:13)
By the end of about nine weeks, I was becoming a very different person. Though many situations at the church were actually worse and my physical condition more painful, God gave me a joy and peace unlike anything I had ever known. He was teaching me that my peace, joy and love had to be in Jesus alone, not my personal, family or ministry circumstances. Though I have certainly had to re-learn and grow in that truth many times since, it was a huge turning point. My preaching was empowered like never before and God’s word came much more alive to me. Before long, the Lord was revealing some powerful new insights to help my beleaguered church.

Two Essential Principles of Spiritual Power

While I still had (and have) plenty of battles, pain and need for growth, God was opening my eyes to two key principles. First — it is impossible to experience full New Testament-type joy, power and intimacy with Christ without New Testament-type prayer and surrender to Christ’s Lordship. Second — we will never be any more full of the Holy Spirit, than we are willing to be daily emptied of both sin and self. While we experience it all by trusting in God’s grace and Spirit, we must nonetheless choose the continuous growth and yielding. There really isn’t a short cut and none of us ever outgrow the need to be perfecting holiness in both the love and reverence of God. (John 15:9-13; Philippians 2:12-13, 3:10-14) The Lord wants none of us to be in a spiritual coast mode.
As busy pastors, it can be easy to overlook this need and casually assume “oh yes, I’m already doing the cleansing and yielding.” Yet, we may unwittingly be doing a watered-down version rather than one of full biblical completeness and depth. That had definitely happened to me but I didn’t realize it. The truth is, the Lord wants to be taking all of us ever-deeper. No matter how long we’ve served God, there is always more to know of Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14) In the many verses describing believers’ call to ever-deeper holiness and prayer, there is absolutely no hint that we can be casual or unintentional. (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:14) But thank God, His grace and love are with us every step! Growing in Holiness is not a walk of condemnation, legalism or works that we have to endure. Rather, it is a relationship of grace we get to experience for God’s glory! (John 15:9; 1 John 5:3)

A Broken Church Revived and Empowered

As the Lord was transforming my own life, He then revealed the following two truths about my role as pastor. (1) It is impossible for believers to know, love and revere God fully if pastors do not clearly teach both His love and holiness. (2) It is impossible for churches to function in New Testament-type joy and power if pastors do not clearly teach and consistently call them to New Testament-type prayer and surrender. I realized that if I said (or implied) that a brief little devotion is all believers need, then that is all they will likely do. (And most won’t even do that.) In that moment, I knew what God wanted me to teach and preach for the next six months. So using the key Scriptures that had so transformed my life, I taught the more complete biblical patterns of abiding in Christ by His word, prayer and surrender.
First, I started by teaching my members to embrace more complete biblical times in daily prayer and Scripture. Though I was not asking that my peoples’ quiet times be unduly long, they would experience a pattern for deeper surrender, closer listening to God’s voice and prayer that was more Spirit-empowered. The goal was for their time in Scripture and prayer to be more a dialogue of talking and listening to God through His word. So for a few weeks, a core minority of my church transformed their patterns of personal prayer and Scripture. They would also seek to meditate, listen and apply God’s word, not just read it.
Second, I taught my people the seven element pattern for ongoing deep yielding of sin and self. While it was not some magic formula, it did provide a clearer biblical mark toward which we are all to be pressing continually. Indeed, how can people fully yield and daily “press toward the mark” if they really don’t have one that is clear and practical?
We also discovered that the seven elements of cleansings and growth were very practical for ongoing daily use (after the initial deeper focused cleansing.) By being seven categories, a believer could easily focus on one different life area each day. In that pattern, believers freshly surrender and grow in all key areas of life each week. Though it’s certainly not a magic formula, I have never found a better way to help believers continually “press toward the mark” and “perfect holiness in the fear of God.” And for sure, none of us will ever outgrow the seven biblical areas of cleansing and growth.

All God Needs is a Dedicated Remnant

(Judges 7:1-7)

As any pastor surely knows, it is usually just a small minority that will embrace deepest commitment to holiness and prayer. For my first few years of pastoring, I was much troubled that a majority of people seemed somewhat lukewarm about deeper prayer, repentance and soul winning. It was freeing when God revealed to me that He begins His deep working through a dedicated remnant, not the lukewarm majority. Leaders if we are not careful, it is easy to spend so much time catering to the majority, we fail to take the remnant to true New Testament depth and power.
While in my church it was only a remnant that responded to the call to deeper quiet times and surrender, I focused on deepening that remnant. And what God did through that small minority was phenomenal! Within about three months, some of my people were definitely praying both alone (and together) on a new level. The Lord was changing both our personal and corporate prayer patterns. And while answers to prayer often come quite slowly and gradually, in our particularly desperate need the Lord moved with merciful swiftness and power.
Though we had tried all the best growth programs and visited over 5,000 households in six weeks, the church was steadily declining. Yet as people began to pray on a deeper level, the Lord led several to pray specifically that He would “send laborers” into our church body. Some of us sensed God had given a promise from Matthew 9:37-38. Miraculously after a few weeks, several people just suddenly started visiting our church. And this was right in the middle of horrific publicity and a rapidly declining area.
The first Sunday when about seven walked the aisle to join our church, it was like a Red Sea miracle. In fact when the first ones came down the aisle to join, I almost felt like saying, “What do you want?” (I was so out of practice!) And as many more people joined in coming weeks, several literally said, “We want to go to work for God.” Just as He promised, the Lord was sending laborers and tithers into our struggling church! In truth, I think some of my people had more faith than their pastor. While answers to prayer definitely don’t always come fast, the effectual, fervent prayers of yielded hearts still avail much!

A New Passion and Power For Soul Winning

One crucial change was the difference that came to some marriages and family relationships. We also saw some remarkable healing in broken and strained relationships between church members. But an especially powerful change was a new passion to intercede and witness to lost people. Those who had gone deeper in prayer were definitely praying with greater effectiveness, fervency, faith and power. One particularly quiet shy woman began to fast and pray for thirty lost people. And though she had never before led anyone to Christ, she actually went to witness to most of the people on her list. Within six months, I baptized twenty-one of her thirty! For those months, the Lord probably used that unassuming little praying lady more than anyone. But the answers were just beginning.
Though our church had been praying for about sixty lost people for five years, only a very few had been saved. And as people began to pray with much greater power and faith, we saw forty-five of the sixty saved and baptized within nine months! One of our men began fasting and praying for a co-worker who was notoriously rough and violent. That rough co-worker was among those who were gloriously saved and became one of our most faithful witnesses for Jesus.
A Sunday School teacher had long been praying for a son who was drifting. For years there was no change except for the worse. But as her closeness and surrender went to another level, she said “my prayers are just different now. I truly believe God has shown me my son will be saved and become a minister.” A few weeks later, that young man gave his life to Christ. And you guessed it, for many years now he has been an ordained minister in Middle Tennessee.

Deeper Unity and Healed Relationships

As God’s moving increased, many church members at last saw wayward children restored, spouses saved and relationships healed. And though our people still didn’t all enjoy the same worship style or agree on all issues, God gave us a stronger love and unity anyway. And finally the legal and financial answers began to happen.
After five years of an intense legal battle, the Lord brought full court vindication and victory for the church and people acquitted. But then we needed another miracle. We faced over-whelming debt from over five years of legal fees. Once again through intense united prayer, God graciously moved and saved the church. The Lord led eight kind-hearted attorneys to forgive the church close to a million dollar debt. And one of those attorneys came to Jesus!
Dear pastors, while answers definitely don’t always come quick, God can yet move in even the darkest places and times. But, it still requires the effectual, fervent prayers of yielded hearts. (James 5:16) Regardless of new theories, programs, academics or strategies, these can never replace true heart-yieldedness and powerful united prayer. Yet if we are not careful, we can easily wind up placing greater focus and time on everything in the world except the one thing that brings full New Testament power. (Mark 11:17; Acts 1:8; James 5:16-18) And while it is certainly not the intent, a subtle form of spiritual inoculation creeps into our lives and churches. In “inoculation” we embrace a weakened version of something that keeps us from getting the real thing. There is little question this is a major unrecognized hindrance for countless busy leaders and churches.

Overcoming Today’s Spiritual Desensitization and Inoculation

Sadly, many well-meaning believers have unwittingly embraced prayer and surrender patterns that stop short of true biblical abiding in Christ’s fullness and power. Given society’s saturation with impurity and materialism, believers can also become “desensitized” to some common daily patterns that are seriously hindering God’s Spirit. And when the Spirit is hindered, believers are much more vulnerable to marriage and parenting failures. Because we live in a day when so few have seen true biblical revival and awakening, it is easy to become so accustomed to sub-normal patterns, we can begin to think that is all there is. We then fall into the unconscious trap of “measuring ourselves by ourselves” rather than God’s word and Spirit. (2 Corinthians 10:12) There is an important truth in a statement by late revivalist Manley Beasley. “We will generally have about as much of God as we’re willing to settle for.” (Jeremiah 29:13; Hebrews 11:6)
Though today is a sound-bite, cliffs-notes type society, fullest New Testament power and closeness just don’t come from sound-bite prayers and surface confession. Because of well-meaning efforts to give people something brief and simple, believers can quite easily get stuck in below average (or shallow) patterns. Thus with many, their spiritual life is a lot like trying to drive a car at Interstate speeds in first gear. No matter how hard someone might try, no one can travel seventy miles per hour in first gear.
Given the prevalence of overly-quick, surface devotions, it is a virtual certainly that many are experiencing an unintended form of “spiritual inoculation.” While believers will surely experience some joy and strength, it is often not the rivers of living water and powerful prayer Jesus intends for His people. (John 7:38; Mark 11:22-24; James 5:16) When people embrace weakened versions of prayer and surrender, they are hindered from experiencing the full reality of Christ’s fullness and power.
It is crucial for believers to realize there really is a major difference between a little devotional moment and God-seeking, heart yielding prayer times. And though believers may be filled with all kinds of intellectual Bible knowledge, doctrines and new methods, one thing is certain. None of us will ever rise spiritually above the height of our personal prayer life and depth of our heart surrender and closeness to Christ. (John 15:4-13; James 5:16) Yet by God’s great grace, deeper surrender and fullness are definitely not out of reach for even the busiest believers and pastors!

A Word of Grace and Hope for Pastors

In writing this testimony of my first church, I pray one thing is clear. All of the transformation was solely by the incredible grace, mercy and power of God. It certainly wasn’t some eloquent, impressive pastor because they didn’t have one. Though we aggressively tried all the programs and strategies of the day, they were not what turned the tide. And while we certainly “said” a lot of prayers, during the first five years, most were not quite the “effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous that avail much.” But in His marvelous grace, the Lord helped us see that James 5:16 has an opposite truth it is all-too easy to ignore.
Just as the “effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous avails much,” the ineffective, casual prayers of the unyielded avail little. This is almost surely a major reason so many have been “praying for revival” and so few churches have actually seen it. The Bible is clear that just “saying” voluminous prayers does not mean they are necessarily powerful. (Isaiah 58:1-6, 59:1-2) In His grace, the Lord was showing our church that prayers and surrender needed to go higher. Yet with some fairly simple and practical biblical adjustments, the Lord helped a broken, discouraged people move more into the flow of His grace and power. And though we were far from perfect, the Lord did a “surprising work of grace.” If He could move in a setting like ours, there is surely hope for those who now read these words.
More each day, my fervent prayer is to encourage and help pastors in the fiery assaults they now face from every angle. And I very much write as a fellow learner, not some exalted lecturer of others. In sharing my testimony of God’s grace in a broken church, I am mindful of the importance of accuracy and balance. So to be clear, I am definitely not suggesting God led us to some magic formula that guarantees quick answers and continuous growth. The precise timing and number of how God moves is always in His hands, not ours. Neither am I implying if we just pray and surrender enough, everything will be rosy and we’ll see miracles by the minute. That is definitely not the case. We still live in earthen vessels of flesh with persecutions and spiritual warfare ever-increasing. Yet as we cast ourselves on God’s grace, there is great hope in His mercy and strength. The Lord Jesus has not lost His power and can still do “surprising works of grace!”

Christ’s Great Desire to Strengthen Pastors

Above all else, I pray this article brings encouragement and hope to fellow soldiers of the cross. The last thing I desire is for any pastor to feel condemned or discouraged about their difficult settings or lack of growth numbers. Thank the Lord, He does not judge us by church size or growth patterns. In some cases, church members just will not respond to serious calls to deeper prayer and surrender. All we can do is faithfully seek to encourage and equip. The response is ultimately up to them. I am further convinced some of the greatest eternal rewards may well go to pastors who were never called to write a book or privileged to see explosive growth. God most rewards the faithfulness, humility and purity with which we serve in our own appointed places. In fact, among God’s greatest heroes of faith are some of our bi-vocational pastors. Though they may be called “part-time,” there is nothing part-time about the hearts and ministries of so many.
It is also true that some of God’s greatest pastors have at one time or another been viciously attacked, fired, falsely scandalized or abandoned. (Some examples are the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Jonathan Edwards, etc.) Obviously, none of these were failures! And sometimes, it is the next pastor that gets to see the church grow. Our call there was to plow and deal with hindrances. That too is surely no failure. In truth, plowing and sowing are often harder than reaping. But remember, our gracious Lord definitely notices and rewards “degree of difficulty and sacrifice.” (Mark 12:41-44)
And pastors, even when we have totally blown it and it is all our fault, remember the ignominious failures of several leaders in the Bible. Yet, the Lord still loved them and used many again! Even as I write these words, I have a sense some readers need the encouraging message of Psalm 24:16. “Though a righteous man fall seven times, he will get up.” If the Lord still loved and used Peter, there is hope for us. So please don’t stay down dear pastor! Great are the Lord’s compassions and His mercies are new each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) And for pastors who may think “I’m just too far along in my ministry for major changes, God can still restore years locusts have eaten. And think of the key “old men” God picked and used in Scripture. I have seen several ministers of advanced years, experience a remarkable new work of grace.
As shepherds, the most crucial thing any of us can do is make sure we are truly abiding in the fervent prayer and surrender the New Testament describes. Sadly, I must confess there have been times since those early ministry years when I drifted back into what I call the “Martha Syndrome.” (Luke 10:38) And it always negatively impacted my life, family and church. This happens to us when (like well-meaning Martha), we get so busy trying to work for Christ and people, we don’t spend enough time with Him in prayer and total heart surrender. And just like Martha, we inevitably end up frustrated, vulnerable and spiritually powerless. The Lord is always as much (or more) concerned with our relationship with Him and what we are than just going through the outward actions of ministry. All of our works will be judged by what “sort” they are. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Avoiding the “Martha Syndrome”
Modern Pastors’ Most Subtle Risk

Pastors, whether we are contemporary or traditional, reform or non-reform, charismatic or non-charismatic, the foundations of biblical prayer and surrender are equally non-negotiable for us all. If we are not mindful, the ministry itself can become as something of a false idol and mistress we place above closeness and full surrender to Christ Himself. The Lord is a jealous God who is grieved by over-focus or reliance on anything more than closeness and first love passion for Jesus. For Abraham, the key turning point was when God asked Him to sacrifice Isaac, his greatest love and promise. Pastors if we let them, even “blessings, ministry and outward success” can become heart idols that come ahead of God Himself. But thank the Lord, He is willing to renew us afresh if were turn to Him with all our hearts. (Zechariah 1:3)
Another vital key is for pastors to pray together and be partners, not competitors. That is why ministries like AllProPastors are so crucial. Absolutely none of us are designed to function as lone rangers! (And it would be arrogant to think that we are.) Frankly, I don’t believe I would have made it without a few special pastors who truly be-friended me. I would likely not be alive except for the personal friendship and prayers of Henry Blackably and T. W. Hunt. So as important as are activities, education and innovative programs, they can never replace powerful personal and united prayer with others.
There is actually one sense in which today’s unpresented explosion of education, innovative methods, ready-made sermons and strategies can become a subtle risk. It is the risk of emphasizing and relying more on these than on deep surrender, prayer and Holy Spirit-empowerment. Many pastors are even tricked into thinking “it is alright if my prayer life is kind of average because my main strength is preaching, pastoring, administration, or vision casting.” This is surely among Satan’s most damaging deceptions for today’s shepherds.

Distractions Bring Powerlessness and Vulnerability

Beyond question, too little time in prayer and surrender leaves pastors vulnerable to pornography, wrong relationships, and all other pitfalls. Fervent prayer also makes a huge difference in withstanding today’s unprecedented pressures upon marriage and parenting. The problem with the “prayer is not my main strength mindset” is that it is the exact opposite of the example and teaching of Jesus, the Apostles and virtually all leaders of historic awakenings. Since fervent prayer and surrender were definitely their priority practices, so too they must be ours! To do less is to do without God’s fullest anointing and power. Regardless of what some may think, we do not have a plan that is better than God’s.
After nearly four decades of researching historic awakenings and missions movements, it has never been more clear that fullest New Testament power and awakening must start with deeply cleansed, revived pastors. (Joel 2:17; Malachi 3:2-4; Acts 6:4; 2 Corinthians 7:1) As few before, our generation must re-learn the essential principle of the apostle Paul. Though he was a brilliant man of learning, he did not rely on high learning, leadership persona or persuasive words of men. His primary reliance was on the “demonstration of the Spirit and power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-4) He summed it best when he wrote, “The kingdom of God is not in word (or talk), but in (spiritual) power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20) Regardless of the excellent new tools we are blessed to use, New Testament-type power still requires New Testament-type prayer, surrender and Spirit-empowerment. (Zechariah 4:6)

The Testimony From Then to Now

Though my first church never again saw quite the numbers of that initial strong move, God continued to do extraordinary things through deeper prayer and surrender. While we had little extra money, the Lord birthed a multi-state radio ministry and book distribution that ultimately went into many languages. Indeed, all that God has done in my life since, began from His grace in the faithful people of my first church. I will never forget their commitment. Then five years later in 1994, I contracted a devastating case of Lymes disease which was improperly diagnosed and treated. The illness did significant long-term damage. My doctor said I would likely need to go on disability as intense writing, preaching and missions travel would be difficult if not impossible.
As I prayed over this, I was begging God to heal me. And while in many cases He will heal, the Lord spoke through 2 Corinthians 12:9. It was where the Apostle Paul was begging God to deliver him from an incredibly painful thorn. But, the Lord told him “no.” He promised sufficient grace to give Him power in midst of pain and weakness. While I definitely did not want to hear that answer, I knew God could bring greater strength and fruit out of pain. So rather than healing, the Lord’s answer was to call me to still deeper levels of prayer and surrender. (And the truth is, we can always go deeper.) And though at that time I had never written an actual book, the Lord promised grace to write multiple books and spread them over key mission fields worldwide. In spite of many disappointments, battles, discouragements and struggles, God has been faithful to His word!
While, I have lived with pain and periodic bouts of extreme fatigue since 1994, there are now over forty books and resources on many mission fields. Solely by God’s hand, at least one book is printed in more than forty languages. And though doctors said extensive travel would be near impossible, the Lord has sent me nearly three million miles conducting over a thousand church and pastor renewal conferences.

God’s Strength in Our Impossibilities

Though better circumstances and healing can surely bring God glory, His grace can also be very real in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:10) If we walk in trust, His grace and joy are stronger than our circumstances. Though I have seen God’s gracious hand in forty years of ministry, I think the greatest joy is seeing the Lord work in prayer/renewal conferences in churches and pastors groups. The joy is actually seeing Christ’s shepherds and people face to face. For churches, our primary conference has been Going Deeper With God. With pastor groups, it is Principles of New Testament, Great Awakening-Type Ministry. And especially when ministering among persecuted underground pastors and churches, I have undoubtedly learned far more from them than they learned from me.
Because my heart passion is to help pastors and churches, I close this article with a mention of two practical books. The two Scripture-filled books are: How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life and Returning to Holiness, or its later version, Return to Me Says the Lord. The book, Return to Me has appendices that are practical tools for effective daily prayer, full surrender and evangelistic intercession.
As readers might guess, these are the books God birthed from His gracious movement in my first church. The studies are specifically designed to raise believers’ level of prayer and deepen their surrender to Christ’s Lordship. They are about deeper intimacy, joy and power in Jesus. Above all, the studies are about glorifying God’s name and spreading Christ’s kingdom. The books are encouraging and practical for individual, small groups or church-wide growth and renewal. By God’s grace, people have donated nearly two million of these books in strategic mission fields.
In the US and Canada, we sell books for reasonable prices to make it easy for churches to use. The books can be obtained at www.frizzellministries.org for those in North America and Canada. Just go to our website and click on the “Ordering Resources” tab to find the particular books. For those outside North America, go to http://masterdesign.org/frizzellspecial.html. (Some of our other books are distributed only in the mission countries and are therefore not available on our website.)If I can help with information about a book or conference, it would be my deepest joy. Please feel free to contact me at info@frizzellministries.org.
As today’s darkness and persecution intensify, may God encourage, guide and protect all of His shepherds. It is and shall always be the most important calling on earth! As go pastors, so goes our churches. And as go our churches, so goes our cities, nations and the world. Let us determine to ever-abide in Christ and His word in us. In Him, we can “ask whatever we will, walk in joy and bear much fruit to the glory of God’s name!” (John 15:4-13)

To the Glory of God and Christ,

Are you a Biblical Citizen? What exactly does this mean? Is it important?

My answer is yes, and yes! It means taking your Christian Faith serious enough to stand strong with it and defending it in love.

In America the church has started to experience what many countries have endured for years. Shutting places of worship down and threatening pastors against preaching the word of God is just the beginning.

Pastors please wake up. I have a short video from my heart for you. It is just a short word on how I see things and some of what we have coming for you.

Click Here: It is Time

West Virginia

WEST VIRGINIA

 

Matthew 9:36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no sheperd”

 Pastors are the under-shepherds, charged in caring for the sheep, but who cares for the pastor?

Our vision is to see those shepherds unified together through a Covenant of Prayer that brings all denominations, cultures, races and pastors together in action, and that pastors have relationship betwee them selves of trust, oves and determination to save their community and make disciples for Jesus Christ and the Kingdon of God!

All ProPastor International Mission Statement

John 21 “Jesus spoke to Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me and commissioned him three time to (Feed my sheep)”

 All Pro Pastors International ministry is to empower Pastors to become Champion role models for all

People through personal encouragement, challenge, accountability and achievement, and to bring unity to the “Body of Christ” through love, trust, prayer and personal relationships, that by this our Lord Jesus may say: “well done y good and faithful Servant”.

But who feeds the shepherd?

All Pro Pastors International benefits include:

  • Weekly Encouragement
  • Fresh Ideas for Pastors
  • Tech Trends for Churches
  • Training and Education
  • Science and The Bible
  • Special Christian Movie Premiers
  • 24/7/365 International Prayer Network

All Pro Pastors International resources include:

  • BlessEveryHome.com
  • Saturate USA
  • Game Plan for Life
  • National Center for Life and Liberty
  • Restoring Hope Global
  • Mike Williams Ministry
  • Liberty Pastors/Reclaiming America for Christ
  • SkywatchTV
  • Christian Businessmen’s Connection
  • Champions Table

 

All Pro Pastors International vision:

  • Pastors will work together in their community to save the lost and make disciples
  • For all Christian Churches and pastors in the community will unite regardless of their race or denomination
  • Pastors will establish relationships of love and trust between themselves
  • Local Churches and Pastors will stop criticizing on another and state loving one another
  • Leaders of the denominations will work together with purpose to reach every community for Christ
  • Pastors to have a Kingdom attitude and heart
  • Pastors marriages and families to be strong, healthy and holy. To be examples of Christ
  • Pastors to pray with their spouse every day
  • That strong Pastors will step forward to establish “Champion Tables” as leaders in every community
  • The Body of Christ, the Church, to become passionate about praying and will develop the discipline to pray each day with intensity and intentionally
  • That Pastors “Fast and Pray” with accountability and encouragement to one another with confidentiality
  • That anyone who call themselves a Christian will serve and hour God with their life, words, actions, thoughts, attitudes and above all “LOVE”
  • Our National leader will turn to Jesus and become committed Christians
  • All Presidents, Prime Minister and Heads of State will use the Bible as the standard of governing
  • That our Governmental leaders will call for fasts and prayer to be held at their governmental headquarters
  • For Pastors to be called to every country’s capital to pray in unity repenting and worshiping Jesus
  • That Christians will vote where and when allowed for candidates who are committed Christians
  • For Israel and their people to accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior
  • For All Pro Pastors International and the Pastors Center to fulfill its Mission and Vision
  • For provision to come into this ministry so that there is more that enough to reach the entire world with this mission and for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be shared to all people
  • That the 24/365 Prayer Network will have pastors and leader’s sign-up quickly and honestly to faithfully pray
  • That our hearts will have forgiveness for one another for years of racial and cultural division and criticism
  • For a great move of the Holy Spirit to move through the land with a great demonstration of power
  • For all Christian married couples to pray together every day showing compassion for each other before God

This time of year brings back memories of childhood and family, at least for those of us who were blessed to have parents who made Christmas a memorable time.  As a parent myself, there was a special joy in creating similar Christmas memories for our daughter when she was young.

As I grew in my walk with the Lord, however, our culture’s annual celebration of the holiday began to bother me.  The rank commercialism is so out of character with what the birth of Christ means for the world that being part of it felt more wrong with each passing year.

Recently, there’s been a growing trend among some Christians to take it further.  It’s not just the trees and decorations that appear before Halloween, it’s the day itself that some Christians object to.

A belief has been growing that Christmas is based on pagan celebrations.  December 25 was selected for Christmas, it’s believed, because it was the date of the annual Saturnalia, a Roman festival for the winter solstice.  It was celebrated with a sacrifice in Rome’s Temple of Saturn was followed by a big party—a public feast, private gift-giving, and temporary suspension of social rules with masters waiting on slaves, gambling, and general drunkenness.

It’s probable that the church sometimes adopted days celebrated by pagan religions and Christianized them—which is not to say the pagan holy days were made Christian, just given a Christian veneer.  For example, All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, which likely developed out of the Celtic festival of the dead, Samhain.  So, the logic goes, it must also have happened with Christmas—the “Christ mass”—and Saturnalia.

Or Christmas might have been an attempt to hijack the birthday celebration for Sol Invictus, the “unconquered sun” god of Rome.

Some take the rites back even farther in time and claim that December 25 was celebrated in the ancient Near East as the birthday of the world’s first emperor, Nimrod.  The belief is that Christmas originated as a celebration of the birth of Nimrod, king of Babylon, to his wife-mother, Semiramis.  You see, she didn’t like the idea of giving up the lifestyle of a queen just because of Nimrod’s untimely and inconsiderate death, and so she produced another child—either Nimrod’s unborn son or through an affair—who she claimed was the resurrected Nimrod.  She declared Nimrod a god, a sun god by most accounts, thus making herself a goddess.  The yule log represents Nimrod, who’s also sometimes identified as Ba’al, and the Christmas tree represents Nimrod resurrected as his son, Tammuz.

On top of all that, we’re told that we also celebrate the birth of Christ on the wrong day.  We can’t know for sure, but clues in the Bible suggest a birthday in the spring or fall.  (There is an excellent analysis of prophetic clues in Revelation 12:1-5, the passages referring to “the woman clothed with the sun,” by E.L. Martin in his book The Star of Bethlehem: The Star That Astonished the World, pointing to the precise arrangement of the skies over Jerusalem on September 11, 3 B.C.)  Some feel that the birth of the Messiah, if it’s going to be celebrated at all, should at least be remembered on the correct day—or as correct as we can be, anyway.

So what shall we say then?  Should we just chuck Christmas out with the uneaten Thanksgiving leftovers?

No.  Not necessarily.

The questions we need to ask are these:

  • Is Christmas really based on the worship of pagan gods?
  • When did the early church begin celebrating Christmas?
  • Why did they settle on December 25 for the holiday?

The answer to the first question is a resounding “no.”  First of all, the concept of Nimrod as a god is a non-starter.  Let me make this very clear: There is no evidence whatsoever from the ancient Near East that Nimrod was ever worshiped as a god in any way, shape, or form.

In fact, the myths that grew up around the memory of Nimrod were probably based on a Babylonian god—most likely the warrior god Ninurta—instead of the other way around!

Furthermore, Semiramis, the Assyrian queen Sammuramat, reigned between 811 and 808 B.C. or from 809 to 792 B.C.  She was one of the first women in history to rule an empire.  However, to put Nimrod at the Tower of Babel (which was not at Babylon—but I’ll spare you the explanation because it is in my book, The Great Inception, see below), we have to go back about 2,300 years before Semiramis.

It’s tough to have children when you live 2,300 years apart.

Much of the information about Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz comes from Alexander Hislop’s 1858 book The Two Babylons.  With all due respect, because he was no doubt sincere in his desire to warn the world about what he believed was the false religion of the Roman Catholic Church, Hislop’s scholarship was poor at best.  It looks like he took the names of literally dozens of ancient gods and goddesses and mixed them up into an ancient myth smoothie.  Hislop may have meant well, but he’s misled Christians for more than 150 years.

Now, that’s not to say Nimrod got a bum rap.  There was a reason God came down to personally stop construction at Babel.  You’ll have to wait for the book for that explanation, too.

In short, Nimrod was not a sun god and he wasn’t Ba’al, either.  In fact, Ba’al would probably be insulted you said so.  Nimrod was only human, while Ba’al was a god of storms, rain, and vegetation.  He was worshiped for a time as one of the ancient Near East’s “dying and rising gods”—like Tammuz.  (Who was worshiped as a god in Sumer long before Semiramis came on the scene.)  As such, Ba’al and Tammuz would have been mourned in the fall and celebrated in the spring.  Neither of those seasons matches December 25.

So when did Christians begin to celebrate Christmas?  The earliest record of its observance comes from Clement of Alexandria around 200 A.D.  But the first suggestion that Christmas might be linked to pagan worship didn’t come until the 12th century, about 900 years later.

In other words, as far as historians can tell, none of the Christians from the 3rd through 12th centuries seemed to think they were accidentally worshiping a pagan god.

The Donatist sect in North Africa celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25 in the early 4th century, before Constantine became emperor of Rome (so we can’t blame him).  And while it’s true that the emperor Aurelian, who really hated Christians, made veneration of Sol Invictus the law throughout the Roman Empire in 274, a collection of ancient writings called Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae records the feast day during the reign of Licinius (308-324 A.D.) as being on the 18th of November.

There is limited evidence that a feast for Sol Invictus was held on December 25 before the middle of the 4th century.  And remember, Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 about half a century earlier.

In other words, we can just as easily say that pagans moved the feast of Sol Invictus to hijack a Christian tradition!

So, given that nobody in the first century thought to write down the actual date of Jesus’ birth, how did the early church arrive at December 25?  It’s a little complex, but it illustrates the motives of the church fathers—which, you might have guessed, was not to sneak pagan worship into the faith.

It seems that second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa wanted to determine the exact date of the Lord’s death.  For reasons that escape us, they settled on March 25, 29 A.D.  (The reasons escape us because March 25 was not a Friday that year, nor was it Passover Eve, nor did Passover Eve fall on a Friday in 29 A.D., or even in the month of March, for that matter.  Still, there we are.)

Now, there was a widespread belief in Judaism back then in the “integral age” of great Jewish prophets.  It was thought that the prophets of Israel died on the same day they were conceived.

It’s not biblical, but that’s not the point.  The early church believed it and that’s what led to their conclusion:  When you add nine months to March 25, you arrive at… December 25.

There you have it.  No pagan influence, just a desire to know the dates that forever changed the history of the world.

Now, are there unbiblical, and even un-Christian, traditions in our culture that surround the Christmas holiday?  Absolutely!  And if they lead you to avoid Christmas, then by all means you are correct to do so.

But if you are satisfied in your mind that Christmas is a time to reflect, remember, and give thanks to a loving God who willingly came to Earth as one of us, ultimately to sacrifice Himself for our sins, then by all means celebrate the day without a trace of guilt.

If God judges us on accidental paganism, we’re all doomed.  The wedding ring is a tradition that started in ancient Egypt.  The days of the week are named for pagan gods (in English, anyway).

The apostle Paul put it best:

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:5-6 (ESV)

Be convinced in your own mind. If you keep Christmas, or if you do not, do it for the Lord.

Merry Christmas, and may God richly bless you and your family.

_______

Derek Gilbert
www.derekpgilbert.com

Last Clash of the Titans: The Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ and the Gods of Antiquity | LastClashOfTheTitans.com
The Great Inception: Satan’s PSYOPs from Eden to Armageddon | TheGreatInception.com

The Day the Earth Stands Still: Unmasking the Old Gods Behind ETs and UFOs (with Josh Peck) | OfficialDisclosure.com

SkyWatchTV
My podcast: A View from the Bunker – live Sundays 7-9 PM Central Time
Weekly Bible study: The Gilbert House Fellowship

My YouTube channel
Twitter: @derekgilbert | @viewfrombunker | @SWTV_SciFriday

Facebook.com/derekgilbert

OneWay.com/derekpgilbert

Poor leaders find themselves running out of time while their direct reports lack motivation and are running out of productive work.  Great leadership is not about your personal production but your team’s production, especially when you are not around.
Delegation and deferring are two of your most important strengths as a leader. Doing them well is a must for providing effective leadership and significant success.  Great leaders spend less time “doing” and invest most of their time planning, organizing resources and coaching their team to do the “doing.”
There is a major difference between delegating and deferring.  Delegating means you still own some responsibility for the results, deferring means you give the task away without any further responsibility.  Great leaders use both and know when and how to use them.
Some warning signs you need to improve your delegating skills:
1. Your in-box is always full with work only YOU can do.
2. Delegated assignments are often incomplete and deadlines missed.
3. Direct reports feel they lack authority, resources and empowerment.
4. You constantly second guess your team members’ decisions.
5. Team morale is low, turnover rates rising and people lack motivation.
6. You frequently intervene in work you previously delegated or deferred.
7. Team members feel unprepared and are not taking full responsibility.
Tips for delegating effectively:
1. Recognize and affirm the capabilities of your team for their assignments.
2. Focus on results, not how tasks should be accomplished.
3. Use delegation to develop the skills of your team members and position them for advancement.
4. Always delegate or defer to the lowest level possible.
5. Explain assignments clearly and provide necessary resources.
6. Provide consistent feedback, emotional support during tough times and celebrate all wins, big or small.
7. Defer more, give away responsibility for results and avoid the comebacks.
Overworked and overwhelmed leaders are leaders who failed to learn how to delegate and defer effectively.
As a result your best people leave you because they are bored, you hold back the development of your good people and your average team members are burned up, or burned out because of trying to do it all.
How are you feeling as you start a new week?

The end of the Sumerian poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is mostly missing, but it appears that Enmerkar ultimately triumphed over his rival. Other stories suggest that Enmerkar, who I believe was the biblical Nimrod (I make that case in my book, The Great Inception), later marched the army of Uruk to Aratta and conquered it.

This is consistent with archaeological evidence of the Uruk Expansion, which covers the period from about 3500 B.C. to about 3100 B.C. Although scholars usually downplay the violence that created the world’s first empire, Uruk spread its influence as far away as northwest Iran and southeastern Turkey. Pottery from Uruk has been found are more than 500 miles away from the city. To put it into context, Uruk at its peak controlled more territory than Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

This was not always a peaceful endeavor. An ancient city called Hamoukar in northeast Syria was destroyed and burned by an army from Uruk sometime around 3500 B.C. Scholars have identified the origin of the army by the pottery they left behind. Hamoukar was overwhelmed and then burned by attackers who used clay bullets fired from slings to defeat the city’s defenders. Strangely, what appears to have been a trading post from Uruk outside the city was destroyed, too, suggesting that maybe the men sent by Uruk to keep the locals in line had gone native.

That was how the kingdom of Nimrod obtained materials like jewels, copper, silver, lead, gold, timber, wine, and other things that were scarce in the plains of Sumer.

Of course, there is no way we’ll ever know for certain that Nimrod was Enmerkar, and that he was responsible for the Uruk Expansion—which is a nice way of describing the process of conquering everybody within a two-month march of home. Artifacts from Uruk are found everywhere in the Near East, especially a type of pottery called the beveled-rim bowl. This is significant because it offers a glimpse into the way the society of Uruk was organized.

Scholars have found that the society just before the Uruk period, the Ubaid culture, became more stratified as people moved from rural settlements to cities. The Ubaid civilization produced high-quality pottery, identified by black geometric designs on buff or green-colored ceramic. In contrast, around 3500 B.C., the Uruk culture developed the world’s first mass-produced product, the beveled-rim bowl.

The beveled-rim bowl is crude compared to the pottery from the Ubaid culture, but archaeologists have found a lotof them. About three-quarters of all pottery found at Uruk period sites are beveled-rim bowls. Scholars agree that these simple, undecorated bowls were made in molds rather than on wheels, and that they were probably used to measure out barley and oil for workers’ rations.

The way they were produced left the hardened clay too porous to hold liquids like water or beer. (Yes, the Sumerians brewed beer. Enki’s alternate name, Nudimmud, is a compound word: nu = “likeness” + dim = “make” + mud = “beer.” One could argue that Enki is the spirit of our age.)  The bowls were cheap and easy to make, so much so that they may have been disposable. At some archaeological sites, large numbers of used, unbroken bowls have been found in big piles. Basically, these cheap bowls were the Sumerian version of Styrofoam fast-food containers.

The concept of measuring out rations implies an employer or controlling central authority responsible for doling out grain and oil to laborers. It’s not a coincidence that the development of these crude bowls happened alongside Uruk’s emergence as an empire. After the flood, which we theorize marked the end of the Ubaid period, people again gravitated to urban settlements where they apparently exchanged their freedom for government rations.

It looks like that’s how Nimrod and his successors, including Gilgamesh, controlled their subjects—moving them off the land and into cities, keeping a tight rein on the means of production and distribution of food and resources.

Now, it’s possible we’re reading more into the evidence than is truly there. It could be that the beveled-rim bowl was nothing more than an easy way for people to carry lunch to work. Will future archaeologists conclude that Americans were paid in carry-out hamburgers because of the billions of Styrofoam containers in our landfills?

Still, given the unprecedented growth of the Uruk empire between about 3500 B.C. and 3100 B.C., it’s not going too far to speculate that the use of mass-produced ration bowls was a symptom of the stratification of society under the rule of Nimrod/Enmerkar and his successors. As in the Ubaid culture, citizens of Uruk found themselves working for hereditary leaders—kings, who justified their rule as ordained by the gods.

As an example, the Sumerian myth Enki and Inanna tells the story of how the divine gifts of civilization, the mes (sounds like “mezz”), were stolen from Enki by the Inanna and transferred from Eridu to Uruk. Enki, always ready for a romp with a goddess, tried to ply Inanna with beer. She maintained her virtue while Enki got drunk, offering her gift after gift as his heart grew merry and his mind grew dim. When he awoke the next day with a hangover, Inanna and the mes were no longer in the abzu. The enraged god sent out his horrible gallu demons (sometimes translated “sea monsters”) to retrieve them, but Inanna escaped and arrived safely back at Uruk, where she dispensed the hundred or so mes to the cheers of a grateful city. Enki realized he’d been duped and accepted a treaty of everlasting peace with Uruk. This tale may be a bit of religious propaganda to justify the transfer of political authority to Uruk.

One more thing:  We mentioned earlier that archaeologists at Eridu have found 18 construction layers at the site of Enki’s temple. Some of those layers are below an eight-foot deposit of silt from a massive flood. The most impressive layer of construction, called Temple 1, was huge, a temple on a massive platform with evidence of an even larger foundation that would have risen up to almost the height of the temple itself.

Here’s the thing:  Temple 1 was never finished. At the peak of the builders’ architectural achievement, Eridu was suddenly and completely abandoned.

… the Uruk Period … appears to have been brought to a conclusion by no less an event than the total abandonment of the site. … In what appears to have been an almost incredibly short time, drifting sand had filled the deserted buildings of the temple-complex and obliterated all traces of the once prosperous little community.i

Why? What would possibly cause people who’d committed to building the largest ziggurat in Mesopotamia at the most ancient and important religious site in the known world to just stop work and leave Eridu with the E-abzu unfinished? Could it be…

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. (Genesis 11:8-9, ESV, emphasis added)

To the Sumerians, and later the Akkadians and Babylonians (who knew him as Ea), Enki was the supernatural actor with the most influence on human history. He was the caretaker of the divine gifts of civilization, the mes (at least until he was tricked by Inanna), and he retained enough prestige for powerful men to justify their reign by claiming kingship over his city, Eridu, for 2,500 years after the city around the temple complex was abandoned.

For one moment in human history, Enki induced a human dupe—Nimrod, the Sumerian king Enmerkar—to build what he hoped would be a new abode of the gods, the bāb ilu, to rival Yahweh’s mount of assembly. It was to be the heart of a one-world totalitarian government.

Yahweh put a stop to it. But as George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The sin of Nimrod is being repeated today by the globalist movement, which is slowly but surely leading us back to Babel.

i Safar, Fuʼād; Lloyd, Seton; Muṣṭafá, Muḥammad ʻAlī; Muʼassasah al-ʻĀmmah lil-Āthār wa-al-Turāth. Eridu. Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Information, State Organization of Antiquites and Heritage, Baghdad, 1981.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S.A. companies and organizations, profit and nonprofit, spend more than $170 Billion annually on leadership-based curriculum and training.
“Training” is the number one reason leadership development fails.
You don’t train leaders, you develop leaders. You train animals who have very little, if any, reasoning power.  When you treat people, especially your future leaders, like animals and try to train them rather than develop them as independent thinkers, your leadership development grinds to a halt.
Training presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques assuming all of that is “doing things the right way.” These things have value, but they have little to do with leadership development. It’s more like management training than leadership development.
Training workshops are too often by the book, one dimensional, one directional and one size fits all. This describes an authoritarian process that imposes static and usually outdated information, but does little to develop leaders who can create a compelling future, build a passionate team and find a way to win without a manual.
Most over-priced training workshops are presented by an untested and inexperienced professional presenter using a monologue and rarely goes off script. Scripts contain good training information, but battle-tested veterans are still your best bet for developing future leaders. It’s called “Follow the leader,” not follow the book.
Worst of all, this training usually occurs in a classroom driven by someone else’s “best practices,” not the needs of your future leaders. You cannot develop a leader in a classroom, seminar or workshop. Those venues are for dispensing information and then testing to see if the participants understand that generic information.
Leaders are developed under live fire. Leaders need good information, however, if you want to know if they really understand it, see how they do when the bullets are flying. There’s an old parable that says, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
The same is true for leadership. Develop a leader for a generation and that generation thrives. Develop leaders in every generation and that organization thrives for many generations to come.
Never let your desire to “grow” your organization distract you from your main purpose, developing new leaders. Leaders that create a new path forward, not managers attracting followers who only make the current ruts deeper. Sustainable growth always outlasts explosive growth.
“Praised be the Lord, who has allowed me to see a successor on my throne today.” 1 Kings 1:47

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.

As Pastors we often separate ourselves from having TRUST for anyone! WE put ourselves on an island guarded by a moat of hungry sheep! Sometimes our spouse and family are farther away than the sheep. The enemies SATAN and FLESH has caused many to buy into a culture of division! Pastors compete with each other so often while our enemies wreak havoc! Please continue. 

 

In America there are more than 250 Denominations recognized by the IRS(The World has many thousands). Throughout the “Church” in America the differences of Denomination, Doctrine, Race, Culture and Social Status has caused great division. According to the many Pastors as a group and particularly within the same denomination do not Trust one another. Sadly the Body and “Pastors” also still struggle with Racial Prejudice and Segregation. As Pastors we are taught how to build a “Castle”, more commonly called the Local Church.

IMG_3034.JPGThe Simple Solution:

Diligently Strive to Transform our Differences into Wholeness in the Body! (One Body with many parts working together to grow the Kingdom) Develop a “Kingdom Culture”! This is the culture when Pastors in a community agree to attack the enemy as one Army and one Body in love, trust and power! It is the mindset of bringing the Lost to the Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct them to the right “Church Fellowship”. Pastors Need each other! We must find Pastors to establish True Relationships of Trust, Accountability and Encouragement across all barriers and walls. We suggest that every Pastor make a commitment to find Three other Pastors-different denomination, race, and culture “if possible” and meet with them EVERY WEEK for about 1-2 hours to talk as real men about real issues.                                                                                                                                    20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20 NAS

The Results: The Body is quickly Healed! More lost will be brought into the Kingdom of God. Communities will see what being “Christian” really means. Your “Church Fellowship” will benefit because you get refreshed and re-fired every week. Many Pastors say that their “Messages” become more powerful. Your Wife will be Thrilled because she will be spending more time with her Husband and not her Pastor. You will develop trusted friendships to share things that only another Pastor can understand. You will finally have a place to unload without fear of betrayal. You will personally grow because you have embraced accountability. You will learn more about the “Body”…… a lot more! As we build these Friendships with Trust and Encouraging Accountability the Body also comes together and is held tightly together by this bonding also! The community will become shaken. When Pastor’s come together publicly and regularly in love and relationship it overflows to congregations and communities. Note: Pastor’s Marriages, Ministries, and Lives have been saved by starting these weekly Champion Tables! (Just ask Me)                  


On Thursday May 29, 2014 All Pro Pastors had a Powerful luncheon with Pastors from many denominations and races at the “Church in the Son” Orlando Florida. Our very special guest speaker was Dr Patrick Morley, founder of Man in the Mirror ministry. He gave us a heart pounding message and a challenge to be “God’s Men” starting at home! Dr Jerry Brandt, Kingdom Life University, started the day with a wake-up call for Pastors and Churches to embrace technology as a powerful tool to share the gospel around the world and to our own congregations. Pastor Nolan Edwards of Champions Church, Winter Haven Florida, closed the day with an invitation to all Pastors to step up and start or join a “Champions Table”. “Church in the Son” has a wonderful staff and made everyone feel loved and appreciated. Their facilities are fabulous and the attention to detail is unmatched by anywhere we have been. Praise God for Pastor’s and Church families who take great pride in providing the very best for Pastors!

 


I have just returned from a Pastors conference in Matagalpa Nicaragua with Pastors Nolan Edwards and Willie Bolden. Pastor Edwards invited me to join him and Pastor Bolden on this Pastors Conference sponsored by Champions Church in Winter Haven, Florida, with my sole purpose to share about All Pro Pastors and what we are doing worldwide in Pastors lives and their communities. On three different days I had the honor to speak to a new group of Pastors and it was truly amazing at the response. The Holy Spirit moved in a powerful way and the Pastors embraced the “Champions Table” as possibly a way for Pastors to come together for the very first time. It looked like 100% of the Pastors stood to join a “Table”. Pastor Luis Corea, one of the Pastor Associations main leaders, has volunteered to lead the All Pro Pastors movement in Matagalpa. Pastor Corea is now our Ambassador and he is very committed to taking this to the 120 plus Pastors in his city. Pastor Corea has a very strong church and is on Television weekly. Pray for him as he moves forward. Pastor Adonay Gonzales is a Pastor who had come over from Honduras to assist Pastor Nolan with an outreach to Pastors and many special events and to help with the conference. He also asked to become an Ambassador for APP and to take the “Champions Table” to Honduras. He is a leader in the GERAZIN church group which has 200 churches in Honduras. He helps to open new churches in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We look forward to working with him to help start All Pro Pastor Chapters throughout his region of ministry. He is a great man of God. We left on Sunday May 18th and returned Saturday May 24th. As part of a team we had several worship services to speak at and ministered to many people each night. Pastor Nolan Edwards is planning a city wide Crusade with the local Pastors. Getting them together to work together and develop relationships is why All Pro Pastors was invited to join the team. Pastor Edwards has been in a Champions Table for over two years and he has seen how it is bringing the Body of Christ (The Church ) together in a transforming way. The Pastors in Nicaragua have caught the vision too. Please pray for us as we work to facilitate and supply the needed information and supplies that they need in the Central American Spanish language. Praise God that Pastor Tony Ponceti from Lakeland, Florida  is an Ambassador with APP and is bi-lingual. He has agreed to help and already travels often to Honduras. I also want to thank Pastor Edwards for inviting us to be a part of His great work in Nicaragua and to also ask for you to pray for him as he  diligently strives to minister the wonderful people of Nicaragua.

Have you taken the time to write down all the events, activities, ministry opportunities, acts of kindness, etc  that you have gone to or been a part of this year? Let me suggest that you start a list right away. You will be amazed at how much that could be. Include everything. Men often volunteer to coach or help in sports. Some are Deacons or Elders. Pastors, you preach 2-3 times a week or more. Women go to conferences, help at nursing homes, many lead youth activities, visit hospitals, teach Sunday School, etc. How much travel have you done? Special times with your spouse. How about date nights!!!! You might be surprised how much you did. Write it all!

You probably have had a fabulous year and didn’t realize it. Today so many people talk about only troubles, problems and bad news. When we add up the good it far outweighs the bad! Take a minute and start a list right now and see for yourself what a great year you have had!

slide-faithfulness

P.S. This week we started writing down all of the many things All Pro Pastors Ministry as well as Linda and myself have been a part of. As we started writing the list got longer and longer. When we took a break we were amazed at just how much we were a part of. In fact as of this writing December 20th the list is still growing. Sometime in the next few days we will be putting our year end newsletter together that will highlight some of these. Hope you will take the time to read it.

We are praying for you!

Events

Every Wednesday morning from 7-8:00AM (USA Time) pastors and ministers are invited to join us on our Free audio ZOOM call. This is a powerful time of prayer and encouragement. Our Zoom link will work anywhere in the world where there is a good internet connection.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82027174943

Meeting ID: 820 2717 4943

You are responsible for determining your time in your time zone!

Pastors and Ministry leaders you are invited to be our guest for an All Pro Pastors International Luncheon being hosted by Ignited Church in N. Lakeland, Florida. Our special guest speaker is Dr Che Ahn, Pastor of Harvest Rock Church  in Pasadena, California. We are sure his message will motivate and encourage you during these changing times. His ministry has been under fire in California and sometimes the truth hurts. Come hear his amazing story as it plays out before our very eyes!

Pastor H B Holmes, Rhema Broadcasting Company of Lakeland, Florida will be sharing some exciting news and opportunities for pastors in Lakeland and Central Florida. His powerful network and media team are broadcasting God’s Word around the world every day. You can too!

Pastor Kevin Wynn, 1st Baptist Church of Durant will share in 3 minutes “The Secret to becoming a Real Champion”. This former Marine knows what it takes to take the higher ground. Get ready to be inspired.

This is a FREE luncheon and every Pastor will also receive a FREE gift!

Please RSVP Below

 


Note: This is a private meeting and we reserve the right to not allow attendance at our own discretion! 

Pastor, you are invited to a highly informative “Extended Luncheon” with  attorney David Gibbs III, founder of the National Center for Life and Liberty. Their organization has been providing “Free” Legal Counsel for churches and pastors for many years. Today, under the circumstances churches are facing and the possible legal challenges Pastors may face at any time, you need to be prepared and knowledgeable as to the options you have and how to avoid these problems.

Attorney Gibbs will be presenting what and how you can move forward in opening churches and schools. He will be reviewing current cases at hand that he is dealing with regarding this and what the new regulations that are expected for the future.

Please make plans to come and be prepared to ask questions that you may have. Attorney Gibbs has been before the Supreme Court several times to defend the innocent and his experience and knowledge is second to none! His legal team is prepared to defend you and to protect you from making costly mistakes.

To RSVP email: Pastor@allpropastors.org with your name, church, position, cell number, and how many are coming with you. There will be a Complimentary Lunch provided and arriving early for seating is recommended.

You may also text 813-481-8743 with the same information.

NCLL

On July 24th All Pro Pastors International is proud to invite our Pastors for a very special Movie, Dinner and More – Date night with their favorite Loved One!

You will enjoy a complimentary full course Dinner!

The evening will include special guest Dr Jim Rankin, “the real Indiana Jones”. His story will have you on the edge of your seat as you discover and see the actual location of the “Ark of the Covenant”.

The “Main Feature” will be the World Premier MovieRENOVATIONS, A Place for HOPE!

This wonderful full length feature film was recently presented in the Christian film festival. It was shot on location in Lakeland, Florida.  It has a powerful and inspiring message. You will definitely tell all your friends about it!

This special night will be the very first public presentation and several of the actors will be present.

Watch Trailer Here!

Again, this is “FREE” but RSVP is Required to assure you a seat and of course a meal.

Text: 813-481-8743 or email pastor@allpropastors.org

Names of who is attending; church/organization; staff position/spouse/etc.

There will also be door prizes!!!

Seating is limited and please respond soon.

This event will be in the Family Life Center of First Baptist Dover.

We are praying for you!

See you there!

Table Sponsorships Available!

NOTE: We reserve the right to deny access/attendance to this event to anyone!

Pastors and leaders you are invited for our 1st 2019 Power Luncheon with special guests:

Please RSVP today to reserve your seat! Plan to stay the entire time, you will want to hear and meet these two powerful men of God and of our Nation!

Dr. Jeff Eakins, Hillsborough County School Superintendent will be sharing a

powerful personal word.

 

and

 

Dr Roberts Lairdon, Pastor, Author, International Speaker most known for his Books “God’s Generals”

The meal is complimentary and will start serving at 11:15.

Please get this on your calendar now. You will be glad you did!

RSVP at: Pastor@allpropastors.org

 

Pastors from Live Oak and the surrounding counties are invited for the Inaugural Pastors Luncheon for All Pro Pastors. This luncheon is complimentary for all Pastors of all denominations. All Pro Pastors has been encouraging pastors around the world for nearly a decade and the testimonies are truly amazing!

The luncheon will feature the founders Pastor Paul and Linda Pickern. Linda leads our ministry “Women R Champions”.  There will also be guest Pastors sharing by live webcast from Kenya, Africa and Lahore , Pakistan.

The host church is Live Oak Community Church of God.

Download Flyer (pdf) Pastors Power Luncheon Invitation Live Oak, Florida 2015

 

On October 15th All Pro Pastors along with The Response.USA is have a complimentary Pastors Luncheon hosted by the 1st Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland Florida.

The guest speakers include Steve Brown representing The Response Ministry, Pastor Bill Cody of Lakeland, Gow Fields former Mayor and Marketplace Minister, and All Pro Pastors.

Our meal will be provided by Johnson’s Barbeque from Plant City.

We humbly ask that you bring your spouse if available and that you RSVP.

It is an honor to bring this special event to you. Please make it a priority to join us.

We are praying for you!!

We are looking forward to having our very first All Pro Pastors Pastors Luncheon in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. We are honored that Restoration Church Fellowship and Pastor Kenton Slaybaugh are hosting it and The JOY FM Radio Station is our sponsor. There will be door prizes and several exceptional speakers. This luncheon will also be the kickoff for All Pro Pastors in the area.

Please share this with all Pastors in the area and spouses are always encouraged to join us as well.

RSVP is requested!!!!

Please E-Mail Name, Church, Number Attending to : pastor@allpropastors.org

 

All Pastors are invited to the Winter Haven, Fl. “All Pro Pastors” 2015 kick off Power Luncheon. Pastor Christopher Darby is opening his church to every Pastor in the greater Winter Haven area to come for a complimentary lunch and a great word of information and encouragement. The Winter Haven APP Chapter asks that you contact every Pastor in the area for this important event.

Do you believe that the Body of Christ needs unity and commitment to one another? Do you need a word on how to reach more people for the Kingdom of God and victory for today? Could you use a safe place to talk and share your heart as a Pastor? Does this community need a strong move of God?

Join us January 8th to learn more and hear what God is doing!

There will also be a guest speaker giving cost saving information for your church energy bill, plus much more!

RSVP Today.

Pastors we are honored to share the floor with Internationally known attorney and author David Gibbs III. On September 16, 2014 in Orlando Florida we urge you to register for this invaluable workshop. Attorney Gibbs and his team share insights and updates that can keep you out of trouble and save thousands of dollars! Please go to his website today for details.

Pastors we invite you to join us for the Attorney Gibbs III Pastors Workshop and please contact all Pastors in the San Francisco area and have them Register for the Pastors workshop at  www.NCLL.org . Attorney David Gibbs III has invited Paul Pickern to Share how the Champions Table is encouraging Pastors and building the Kingdom by establishing Trust and Friendship throughout the body of Christ.

This powerful workshop provides Pastors with the much needed legal information that can protect them from many of today’s imposing challenges. The legal team gives what could amount to thousands of dollars in instructions that every church should have. We also share how a Champions Table can provide a unique protection through the wise counsel of peers.

Attorney David Gibbs III is one of America’s foremost Legal Defenders of Christian and Church rights. He has been before the US Supreme court many times to fight for our freedoms and rights. As Pastors we have found Attorney Gibb’s counsel and instruction to be invaluable!

 

Please contact all Pastors in the Houston area and have them Register for the Pastors workshop at  www.NCLL.org . Attorney David Gibbs III has invited Paul Pickern to Share how the Champions Table is encouraging Pastors and building the Kingdom by establishing Trust and Friendship throughout the body of Christ.

This powerful workshop provides Pastors with the much needed legal information that can protect them from many of today’s imposing challenges. The legal team gives what could amount to thousands of dollars in instructions that every church should have.