Number 10 – The Church Leaders tend to Live in the Past.
Jesus wants us to drink New Wine (Luke 5:37-39). But the people like the old stuff, why? Well, aged-wine is familiar, has a much higher alcohol content, its flavors are mature and robust but old wine dramatically loses its high levels of mineral content and other natural health effects. Jesus says “Drink New Wine” referring to the newness of God, King David and Isaiah prophesied similarly, saying, “Sing unto the Lord a New Song!” But we get used to old-timey hymns and songs we have sung for centuries even.
There is something about religion that provokes old fashioned traditions and often these traditions of men become just as important as the Bible… although they are traditions of men and not scripture given to us by God. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees of this in Mark 7:13. In fact often Jesus brought this issue up with the Pharisees and religious leaders. I have to admit, there is something comforting to me also about an old-church with their worn pews, familiar messages and blue-haired preacher but Jesus implores us to live… today! “Today is the day of salvation” the scripture declares! Paul implores us, “Forgetting those things which are behind” and “Press forward to the high calling in Christ Jesus!”
Everything to do with Revival is fundamentally New: new salvation, new songs, new ways of encountering God, new preachers - a whole new life in an entirely new Church! All the old revivals broke out of “religious-norms” and the New Revival Coming will break out of them again. “Drink New Wine” Jesus said. But the crowd responds, “But the old is better!”
Number 9 – Their Preachers Don’t Have the Right Message.
We can build religion or we can build the kingdom of God… but we can build religion and forsake the kingdom of God entirely. Who are our preachers and teachers pointing the people toward? I would say 99 times out of 100 they are returning the people to themselves, to their own religions, to their denominations and buildings – rarely do you hear a message from a pulpit that begins with, “Congregation, you do not need me.” But that message is the truth! There is no salvation that comes from men. Period. Full-Stop.
Matthew 24 :14 says, “And then this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end shall come.” What Jesus represented to the people is entirely different than religion, than old-timey religion especially, Jesus lived among them and His message was actually quite simple, “Do not be religious like those Pharisees and others, there is no life in that, I am going to teach you to walk with God and to know your Father, I will show you how to be with Him every day of your lives and you will find life and you shall live it more abundantly!”
There is no other mediator needed: no apostle, no prophet, no evangelist, no pastor or teacher, no priest or rabbi is required or necessary to know your God. Here is one of my favorite scriptures (that you will hardly ever hear preached from a pulpit), 1 John 2:28, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” Yes, Jesus is more than enough – without a doubt! Reread Ephesians 4:8-12, God will give us many gifts (apostles, prophets, etc.) to help us along the way but the best gift remains our own relationship with God.
Number 8 – The Elders Forgot how to have Fun.
In Matthew 18 Jesus called a child to Himself and explained, “Unless you are converted and become again as this little child you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” We should stop for a moment and let that sink in. I’m afraid that we became too grumpy as the years pass by. I worry that we got too serious and lost the joy, fulfillment and life in our relationship with God. Jesus warns the church in Ephesus, in Revelation that they “lost their first love”.
We often care too much about the carpet, the pews, the order of the service, starting on time, finishing on time, three fast songs, two slow songs, then the offering… I worry that we have become entirely disconnected and lifeless religions, I worry that this New Generation has a great offense towards God because of us. Where is the fun? Where is the joy? Where is the life and love…? We should give them a reason to sing. We should give the young people something to dance about… I worry that we are just too crotchety, bitter, cold and lifeless. God save your Church!
Number 7 – The Leaders would rather Judge than Roll Up their Sleeves and Get Dirty.
It’s actually easier to judge than it is to love. I have considered this often throughout the years. To judge requires almost no effort or risk. I can judge the world from the comfort of my home bedroom, in fact I can feel pious and religious and never ever get out of bed! But to love… that’s an entirely different story.
If I am going to love them, I am certainly going to have to leave the house… There will be risk involved and yes, I can get hurt!? I could love them and they might not love me in return or they could very well repay my kindness with evil. I could love them and they could take-advantage of my generosity with ill-intention and malice. So maybe it’s easier to judge? The trouble is, there will be no life, newness of life, salvation, etc. that will be birthed from judgment or condemnation.
It's time to come down from these high-pulpits and lofty positions and remember/learn how to love. We have built the religious stuff for long enough – it’s time for Revival! Go out into all the world and love them!! (I am pretty sure that is scripture.) Pastors, Evangelists, Prophets, etc. the people need to know you, it’s not enough they see you on the covers of books and on the television and computers, that is not reality or real life, that will never truly spread this gospel. Ever. Here at the end of this age, there has never been a better time to go and be with the people, tell them about their God but show them His salvation! This is how Jesus did it. He lived in our midst and loved us everyday. WWJD? You have your answer.
Number 6 – The Pastors still care too much about Money.
I am going to try not to get too angry discussing the evils of money I have personally seen throughout the religious world (and let me remind the reader I have personally preached in more than 2000 churches throughout the world in some 20 nations and 40 US States. I have seen plenty with my own eyes.) Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” What a man does with money will reveal a lot about him, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Read Matthew 6:19-21)
There is so very little about a typical “church” budget that represents anything biblical – neither old nor new covenant. Honestly, I don’t even want to explain what I know on the subject. If their hearts were good and they loved God, they would find the same scriptures that I would reference and they would follow them. Even moreso, if they truly cared about God, His kingdom and the people they “serve”, the Holy Ghost would lead them into these amazing truths about the powerful things they could do with the holy Church funds to bless the people and honor God.
Would Jesus throw tables over today if He visited our churches? The multi-million dollar buildings sit empty all week long, these vast empires that men have built in the name of God have been robbing from the poor for far too long – haven’t we learned a lesson from Robin Hood when we were children!? But their hearts are corrupt and hard, harder than a rock, who can penetrate that!? Did even one of those Pharisees repent in Jesus’ day!?
Number 5 – They forgot the Orphans and Widows, and the Hurting and Broken among us.
The church budgets of today reveal Alot. In America especially, 70-90% of most every church budget goes to salaries and things pertaining to their real estate holdings, those church-buildings. With so many bills there is simply no money left over for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the least among us. Don’t even get me started on the salaries some of these “pastors” are making, the cars they are driving… forget cars… the jet aircraft they own, refusing to fly like the rest of us. Meanwhile the US Government has taken over caring for the fatherless and our children in need.
Who visits the sick? Who among these religious leaders leave their offices and hiding places to go find the broken and hurting among us? 50 and 100 years ago this was much more commonplace in America, the ministers actually ministering to the people. But now they pride themselves in building what they call a “Corporate Church” outsourcing the actual ministry to someone else on staff, or a volunteer even. Our church leaders are untouchable literally, they even have armed guards sometimes!? They preach messages, “What would Jesus do…” and then they themselves do the opposite. Jesus spoke of this false-religion often, read Matthew 23, He gives us a list of warnings how not to be like them. But true religion remains, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
Number 4 – The Leaders would Build a Corporation or Organization rather than a Family.
Let’s not kid ourselves anymore. Let’s not hide from the truth or live a lie. We have to make up our minds – will we love them and build Jesus’ church upon the earth or will we continue to war against His kingdom and build this false religion? The world burns around us and listening to the pastors and religious leaders it’s all ‘business as usual’. There are no books being written entitled, “I was wrong!” or “Don’t do what I did.” I have been hoping and believing a few of these mighty men make wake up in these last days and realize There is Simply No Salvation Coming from Their Efforts!
We need to take an honest accounting. Perhaps if we were doing our job: America wouldn’t be in such crisis, our youth wouldn’t be running away from our Christianity, moral decline would be stopped or even reversed!? Is there any new life or new growth coming from anywhere in our nation? The Christian leaders need to start admitting to themselves their form of religion is not merely failing, it has failed. It will be difficult at first to be honest with ourselves but it will pay off in the end.
We will all stand before Him and all things will be made known. There will be no hiding from the truth in His presence. No one on earth will escape having to face the truth of who we actually are… so there is a wisdom in taking an account of ourselves now. Perhaps this truth, taking an account, is a huge piece in the way of salvation… or we can continue to deceive ourselves until the very last day and we will hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you…”
That is one of the most frightening scriptures in the whole of the New Testament, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (Matthew 7:21-23) “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work iniquity!” They will say, “Lord look at the works we did! We built these churches in your name, we prophesied and healed the sick in Your name!” But the Lord will respond to this group of people, “I never even knew you…”
Number 3 – They make Little or No Room for the Holy Spirit.
Whose will will be done? We repeat that prayer so often, “Our Father… in heaven… ” But then forget what we just prayed moments later? I guess I am mostly writing to the church-leaders now, “Brothers, Be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” Those who lead us will end up with the greater and stricter judgment. “Lord, help us” and “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus said He would send us one who would “Lead us into all Truth” (John 16:13) but isn’t the rub, who will listen to Him? The Holy Ghost has been knocking at the doors of our hearts all along but who will let Him in? He only wants to bless us! (Do I have to quantify blessing? I’m afraid I do. These leaders are convinced that the blessing will come from wealth and a false prosperity. But that is so beneath the blessings of God.) Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, will lead us to life and we will live it more abundantly! But the question remains, who will go along with Him even when it gets frightening and the storm rages on?
If the leaders won’t do it, who will? If the leaders won’t surrender their lives to the word of God and His Spirit, “as the blind leads the blind” I’m afraid, “everyone will fall into the ditch”. Take heed, brothers and sisters, who you follow and what voice you take to heart. Take heed how you gather yourselves together. Gather! Absolutely. And “All the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25) But beware of how you gather and in whose name you are actually gathering. I’m afraid we have been gathering in the name of men and their denominations for a long time, unaware.
Jesus blessed us with His Holy Spirit but we are too often settling for the spirit of man and their mere opinion of our lives and His Church.
Number 2 – They don’t Love.
If they loved us, I wouldn’t have to write this article. It would be understood, the minsters of God love people - they would have already come to these same conclusions on their own. They (the Religious Rulers) would be out and among the people, they would sell of their fortunes (which they stole from the congregation in tithes and offerings) and make dispersion among those in need, they would admit to misleading us for decades and everything would change. But they don’t love us and they don’t love God.
Love is revealed in action, not empty rhetoric. Although every man will be judged for what comes out of his mouth, out of our own mouths we condemn ourselves and out of our own mouths we find salvation - but words are not enough when it comes to the matters of love (and isn’t this absolutely elementary?). If they loved us, we would know it.
Precious brothers and sisters in Christ, YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER! Why do we settle for so little when the kingdom of God is ours for the taking!! We settle for scraps (of love) from off the ground when Jesus invites us, “Come in and dine with me!” He wants us to sit at His table and eat with Him, listen to His voice and learn of His ways. We will not find this life and life more abundantly without Him, our enemy is too great and his deception is too clever. We must come to trust the word of God and His Spirit and walk with Him, every moment of every day.
God is love. If they knew Dad they would love us.
Number 1 – The Religious Leaders want to be God.
And when you simplify the problem, when you boil it down completely and get rid of all the noise, you are left with this obvious conclusion: they want to be God. These religious leaders don’t want anyone to tell them anything, they won’t be corrected, they won’t listen to sound doctrine or the cries of the children in their congregations, who are practically begging them to show the way of God. Like the Pharisees before them, they love to rule, they love the honor they get in the marketplaces, they love the dominance and control but more than anything they love the money!
Jesus said, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors…” and then He practically commanded us, “But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:24-30) He was explaining in short how the world functions and that we must not degrade His church to become like this broken place. “You must not rule them,” He said, “Love them, Serve them, even Wash their Feet…” (I paraphrase.) “Go down into the midst of them and show them my love.” Isn’t that the true message of Jesus’ kingdom?
But that’s not sexy. The trueness of this gospel does not “sell” easily from a pulpit to the masses and so they decided long ago that they would change it around as it pleases them. But Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” And that’s the gospel, I personally, have signed up for! The gospel that says, “God loves you and wants to know you and wants you to know Him.” But when Moses called them up the mountain to meet their God, they wouldn’t go…? I’m afraid that is a huge part of the problem. Many would rather listen to a man than God.
But men were unable to bring salvation to the earth. Remember? “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me...” (Isaiah 63:5) It’s time to return to our God and Father. He never hurt us. He never wronged us. Our offense is not with Him. Our offense isn’t even with His Church. Religion and this false religion has truly made a mess of things. God’s Revival will not start within this lifeless religion, devoid of the Spirit.
It takes a lot of courage to walk with God. The enemy will lie to us and rehearse to us over and again the worst of our fears, he will do everything he can to manipulate us away from Dad – and he will even use the cunning of religion to do so. But some brave men must return to the kingdom of their Father!
It takes tremendous strength and fearlessness to walk up the mountain of God, and to stand before Him, face to face… but as fears start to overcome us, just remember, God is love. It’s our broken and defiled flesh that makes it hard to walk with Him in the garden but His Holy Spirit will help us to find our way back! He will be our guide. Dad promised us. We don’t have anything to fear. Our flesh lies to us constantly.
We have to come away from this religious deception. Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ”. He was saying, “In the ways you see Jesus in my life follow that.” Jesus remains The Banner lifted high! There will never come a man to take His place. Ever. If God uses a man to inspire you? Praise Him! And remember everything good about that man came from His relationship with God, by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Men will fail us. God’s love will never fail.
I will write in the future more about revival but in truth the whole of the Bible is about Revival! Every single time the people decided to trust God and obey His word and Holy Spirit, revival came to the land. Jonah preached God’s truth to Nineveh and from the king down to the lowest of the society, Nineveh believed God’s word and revival came to their nation. Look again at all the kings of Israel and Judah, whenever the king believed upon the word of God and led the people into a relationship back to God, revival came to Israel!
It's in Dad’s heart to save our nation. But who will come? Who will return to Him, trust in His word and believe His voice? I believe Dad is about to do something amazing in our nation and upon the face of the whole earth but it won’t begin in the religions. The religions could get swept up into this – but they won’t be able to control or contain what God is doing! It’s an exciting time to be alive! Truly, The Best is Yet to Come! God said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh!” ALL FLESH! What will that be like!?
It's an exciting time to be alive.
I hope this encourages you to return to your Father, who is Dad.
To go up the mountaintop and sit at His feet and learn of His ways
Know Him. Know your God and His Salvation.
And God is love.
There is no better place,
Let God’s presence be that which you seek after
And life and life more abundantly will be our reward!
Blessings to the churches,
You holy bride of Christ,
With love and admiration,
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