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The church (not America) is meant to be seen by the world as the nation blessed by God. The nation of Israel is the Biblical example of this. God commanded Israel’s separation from the surrounding nations (and their gods) that they might be the example of an obedient people abundantly and unusually blessed by God. Furthermore, Israel was to be the counter-culture people who God used to bless the nations.

Israel’s prosperity and protection were dependent on fidelity to God, accompanied by deliberate and systematic rejection of all other gods. Regrettably, God’s people chose disobedience and became an example of those punished by a loving Father. Their persistent desire to be like the others was born out of the rebellious nature they inherited from Adam and Eve. Eventually, their rebellion led to captivity and destruction.

To recognize the warning, we must apply the natural example of Israel to the spiritual nature of the church. What exists in the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom ultimately manifests in the natural world. However, we must understand that the natural is symptomatic (i.e., result and evidence) of the spiritual reality of God’s supernatural kingdom. In other words, it is fruit on the tree, good or bad dependent on our fidelity to God (Matthew 12:33).

Regrettably, this explains why Western civilization has become so unimpressed by the church and why there is no fear of the God that seems to have abandoned her. This condition is not the world’s fault. Acts 2:42-43 comes to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

An Enemy Lies Within and we need your help to overcome its influence in the Western church.

The time has finally come; in less than three weeks, An Enemy Lies Within will be available in print format. We can now work toward getting it into as many hands as possible. For this, we need your help.

The #1 enemy of God and all humanity lies within each one of us – yes, even Christians. That enemy is not the Devil; resist him, and he must flee (James 4:7). Our #1 enemy is not the world; for through Jesus Christ, the world has been crucified to us, and we to it (Galatians 6:14). Neither Satan nor the world have power over a born-again believer… unless we allow it.

Truly and indeed, our #1 enemy is our carnal mind!

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind’s ability to reason was forever entangled with the sin of rebellion. Consequently, our carnal mind is at enmity with God and can be nothing else (Romans 8:7).

Christians in the 20th and 21st Centuries have fallen victim to the carnal mind’s deceit and destruction. We have been deceived into exchanging the mind of Christ for lesser and earthly ways of thinking. Collectively, our carnal minds are destroying the Western church from the inside out.

But all is not lost, for God has given us a process for overcoming the deceptions and distractions of our carnal mind; it is the process of faith. Exercising the disciplines of the faith process enables and empowers Christians to lay hold of the grace of God for the renewal of our minds and the transformation of our spheres of influence. Getting our minds right is key to the reformation of the Western church.

It would be naïve to suggest that An Enemy Lies Within is the magic pill for all that ails the church. However, our situation is certainly more dire than we imagine and pursuing God’s ways is the only way our circumstances are going to get better. We must find His ways for our participation with Him in restoring what has been lost.

To this end, An Enemy Lies Within exposes the carnal mind as our #1 enemy, and equips Christians to overcome it through the application of spiritual disciplines. It goes on to encourage the liberated, like soldiers freed from captivity, to help others break free from the deceptions and distractions which plague the Western church. Read the rest of this entry »

The time has come to say some hard things. That is not my determination to make. Indeed, I am a conflict avoider. The pen must write what it is used to write. I am confident that the source is a Father who out of love, chastens, rebukes, and scourges His children.

Pastors and churches in our hectic times are harassed by the temptation to seek size at any cost and to secure by inflation what they cannot gain by legitimate growth. The Next Chapter After the Last; A. W. Tozer

A. W. Tozer recognized the beginnings of our compromise in the middle of the 20th Century (he died in 1963). Since then, many pastors and churches have succumbed to the temptation about which he spoke and wrote. The results have been catastrophic.

A recent Barna survey reported that 51% of church attenders (in America) did not recognize the phrase “the Great Commission”. Only 17% claimed to know the meaning of it!

Think about that for a minute. What does this say about the church in America? How does someone not know about the command that supposedly got them there? What has replaced the Great Commission?

For those of you that love and lead millennials, it is important to know that new church trends are not helping. Only 11% of church attending millennials understand the Great Commission of our Lord! What does this say about our approach to youth and young adult ministry? Are we going to keep doing what continues to fail our King’s commission?

If this single statistic does not knock off and stomp our rose-colored glasses to bits, I don’t imagine anything will. There are dozens – perhaps hundreds – more indicators like it. Tragically, the church in America has been overrun with deception. Read the rest of this entry »

It is common practice for a struggling company to call in a consultant – someone that can help the management team identify underlying problems and make improvement recommendations. While Senior Managers tend to focus on the standard financial reports (e.g., the balance sheet and income statement), the wise consultant knows that financial “struggling” is most often a symptom of poorly managed and measured activities further up the production lifecycle.

And so, they go looking. What they usually find are areas of the company that are trying to manage themselves using production and performance measurements that no longer match the vision and values of the company.

Take the church for example. I mean the church that Jesus Christ is building. That church has come upon hard times – particularly in North America and Europe. We have gotten to the point where measurements are no longer needed to recognize our struggles. The end product is certainly not up to the Master’s standards.

There are at least two reasons the Western church is struggling. First, we are measuring the wrong things. Secondly, we are not doing things God’s way. Put those together and we can say that the Western church is failing to measure itself in the way God has prescribed.

So, where do we start measuring in the right way? Scripture makes it clear that the shepherds will be held responsible for the health of their flocks (Hebrews 13:17). If I was the Master’s consultant, that is where I would begin.

Sometimes it is hard to point out the right way to do something without first identifying what’s being done wrong. In this case, I am relieved that such an approach is not necessary. Why is this? Because whatever way is not God’s way is the wrong way – and get this – no matter how successful that way may appear.

But who am I to judge? Exactly! Judgment is not my intent, nor is it my responsibility. I’m just the consultant. We are called to judge ourselves… and for good reasons.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31-32

If we will not judge ourselves, the Lord will judge us. In either case, the chastening and correction are for our good and the good of our ministries. No one is perfect. The wise leader makes an assessment on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

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