Discernment

Sheep, Goats, Pigs and other People Who Go to Your Church

Using animals to describe people is not uncommon in the Scriptures. Many times, the use of word pictures and objects to further illustrate spiritual principles is often necessary. The Lord often used animals to describe people in ways people could better understand. The Lord Himself, is often referred to as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” and the “Lamb of God”. The Lord mentions four animals in just one verse here in Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

 In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord describes Israel’s backslidden prophets as foxes that run and hide in the holes in walls instead of fixing the breach (see Matthew 8:20). O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts. You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord. Ezekiel 13:4, 5

The Lord also describes King Herod as a fox in Luke 13:32. Herod was the sly king over Jerusalem and was known for constantly maneuvering politically to placate the Jews and the Roman government to ensure a position for himself. Therefore, we see Lord uses all kinds of animals to illustrate the character of a person’s personality and other profound truths throughout the Bible.

These Biblical analogies can help us understand the different kinds of people who might be sitting next to us in church this Sunday. This information is not written so we can have a superior attitude towards other people, but that we can understand the reality of who populates the typical church. This is especially important if we are a new believer. Satan attends church and uses our gullibility to deceive and hurt the young believers among us.

Therefore, be aware; not everyone sitting next us is a good role model for us. They maybe still unlearning things from the world. They have some animal natures that need to die just like we do.

To start we hope to find Sheep in The Church 

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

Why did Jesus call His followers sheep? Because sheep require more attention and care than just about any other livestock known to man. And, to put it bluntly, sheep are dumb, and concerning the ways of God, so are we! (see Isaiah 55:8,9). Listen to Isaiah 53:6, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way. Here are 5 characteristics of sheep, that apply to us as a believer.

1. Sheep Need a Shepherd to Guide Them

sheep | Characteristics, Breeds, & Facts | BritannicaSheep only know where to go because they follow the herd. (Today it is called peer pressure.) If the herd runs off a cliff, most will follow to their death. That’s why sheep need a shepherd if they are going to be safe and healthy. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He appoints His under shepherds (pastors) to feed His flock. The pastor utilizes sheep dogs (associate pastors) to assist him in his efforts to gather and protect the flock.

2. Sheep Need a Shepherd to Feed Them

It has been said that sheep left to themselves will starve because they’ll stay in one place and eat all the grass and not know how to search for food. Sheep left to them selves are almost always thin and sickly, and so are Christians. The shepherd will lead them to green pastures and still waters. The shepherd will also clean the field of sticks and stones that might be harmful to the sheep when they try to digest them. This is what a pastor does as he removes false doctrines and heresy from the sheep’s life.

Sheep can be skittish and fearful animals. If they sense danger or a predator around, they won’t eat. But, if the shepherd is near, they’ll be at ease. Christians don’t receive much from the Word, until they are settled and feel loved. That’s why worship usually goes before the preaching of the Word at most churches. It leads them besides the still waters which settles them so they can eat or receive from the Word of God.

3. Sheep Need a Shepherd to Protect Them

Sheep are defenseless animals. So are believers in their early years. With no horns, claws, or large teeth to protect themselves, they are vulnerable to attack. Their only defense is to stay in close to the flock.  Sheep need the protection of the shepherd as he uses his rod and staff to fend off predators. Wandering sheep and isolated believers almost always end up as wolf food.

4. Sheep Need a Shepherd to Save Them from Themselves

A common term known to sheep herders is what’s known as a “cast sheep”. A cast sheep is sometimes an overly fat sheep in its full coat, who has fallen, perhaps into a depression in the grass and like a turtle on its back, is unable to get back on its feet. The sheep can suffocate under its own weight and worse yet, will soon become a victim of predators as the rest of the flock moves on.

They are especially in danger because its constant bleating becomes a dinner bell for nearby lions or wolves. But if the shepherd reaches down and lifts the sheep out of its predicament, the sheep’s life will be spared. This is what King David meant in the twenty third Psalm when he said the “Lord is my Shepherd” and in verse three when he says, “He restores my soul.” As a shepherd David knew what this meant.

Christians often find themselves in a “depression” or a pit that they can’t get themselves out of. It often takes the Lord working through His leaders and His people to lift us out of the miry clay. We all need our soul restored from time to time. We need others to keep us on track if we are going to make it through this life.

5. Sheep Know the Voice of Their Shepherd

Sheep can be mixed with flocks from other ranches and herds and still recognize and respond to the voice of their shepherd. They know their shepherd even over the commands of other shepherds. Real Christians know the voice of Jesus and they follow Him. This is also true of their ministry leader here on earth. They know who God has put them with. God wants His people and churches networking together to bring a greater witness for Christ, but He also wants them to be part of one Christian community. Are you?

Recognizing the Goats in The Church

Perhaps one of the most disturbing portions of God’s Word is found in Matthew 25:31-46 where the Lord Jesus describes the difference between sheep and goats nations, the righteous and the cursed (see Ezekiel 20:38 and also 2 Corinthians 5:10).

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Matthew 25:31-33

GOAT (LIVE) {Slaughter and Clean Inclusive} - My City MarketHere, the Lord describes sheep as those people who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, took in strangers, clothed the naked and visited the sick and imprisoned. The goats did not. Now before we question whether we are saved by grace or by our works (Ephesians 2:8, 9), we need to consider that some Bible scholars believe Jesus is speaking here about the gentile nations of the world (non-believers) at the end of the Age.

This time would be like World War II when there was a great persecution of Jews. Many people put their lives on the line to save them, by hiding them, by feeding them, or helping them escape from the Germans. Some believe these Scriptures refer to how the world will treat Jews during the last days of before Jesus returns. Others believe it is about how the world treats Christians who are persecuted in the end time. The Lord God will reward those who stand by His peoples’ side whether Jew or Christian.

For those who disagree with this eschatological point of view, the truths are still relevant for today. Those who bless the least of Jesus’ brethren (verse 40) will be rewarded. Those who are hostel or even indifferent to God, His people, and people in general do not know the Lord; they are not part of His flock. They are goats.

Recognizing the Pigs in The Church

Pigs are a picture of worldliness and uncleanness (Leviticus 11:7,8). They are the garbage disposals of land animals. Pigs represent the worst in our old sin nature.  According to the Old Covenant, pigs are declared by God as unclean. Even touching a pig could make an Israelite unclean. Pigs are consumers, they’ll eat anything in their path. They’ll even eat each other if given the opportunity.  Nothing is refused by pigs. You’ll often hear of groups of pigs inhabiting landfills and junk yards where they breed profusely and eat everything from paint, rotting food, and waste.

pig PNG image image with transparent background | Animal clipart, PigSome Christians give into their “pig nature” and are ultimately destroyed by their own appetites. Aaron Katz once described witnessing an event at a church picnic where he saw the cook prepare a lamb for dinner. They simply slit its throat, and the sheep quietly, without a peep, expired as its blood drained from its body, much like our Savior, in Isaiah 53:7, He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

He went on to describe watching four strong men wrestling with a pig they were also trying to prepare for dinner. It took the entire strength of those four men to hold the pig down as it snorted, squealed, and thrashed about in their arms. When they slit its throat, it continued to thrash about and squeal until the last drop of blood left its body.

This is a perfect picture of how our flesh is unwilling to die to the sinful nature in each of us. Many times, the pig nature in some believers resists the crucified life so vigorously that they will be near death before they will surrender fully to God. Sheep simply yield to the work of the cross and experience the resurrected life of the Spirit. The bottom line is, we can die the easy way or the hard way, the choice is ours. Die to your old man as you focus on Christ in your inner man. (Galatians 2:20).

Recognizing the Porcupines in The Church

Is there such a thing as a “Porcupine Christian?” Porcupines are mentioned in the Bible as those creatures who will inhabit desolate places. Why? Because they like being alone and the other animals like it that way!

“I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” says the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 14:23

Porcupine Png & Free Porcupine.png Transparent Images #34871 - PNGioPorcupine Christians are those people you must stroke just the right way or you’ll get stuck with one of their points. The whole time you’re talking with them you feel compelled to keep the conversation limited to superficial or surface issues lest you come upon one of their sharp opinions) points. You have to handle them very carefully or you’ll feel the “jab” of one of their pointers (quills). You’re always mindful of how easily they get upset.

These Christians always have strong opinions about something. Their point of view is rarely or never open to discussion. Porcupine Christians don’t have many friends in the church or ministry. They are loners and usually, directly or indirectly may cause their family to limit their relationships with other people in the ministry as well. They are puzzled as to why they seem out of place at church. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. Proverbs 12:18

They believe their belief system is Biblically based so they are often clueless as to why they are affecting people they way they are. What they are unaware of is, that the spirit in which they hold their beliefs often produces death instead of life. I remember there was a particular wife of a porcupine Christian in a church who was upset that after leaving the church under her husband’s direction, no one called or contacted her to see how she was doing. What this dear lady didn’t recognize was that her husband’s beliefs and sharp opinions had isolated her and her family from healthy friendships in the church.

It’s not that the people in the church didn’t want to spend time with her, it was that there was a controlling atmosphere that surrounded her family that repelled most of the people. Many times, these believers have more friends or acquaintances outside the church than they do in the church (that’s not a good sign for any Christian). Often these strong opinionated Christians will stay home and start their own church. They seem unable to soften their touchy, narrow-minded personality.

In nature, porcupines are usually critters that are left alone by the other animals, simply because it’s not worth getting stuck by one of their points. Remember, healthy sheep love to herd or flock together. If your ideology or point of view results in your terminal isolation from other believers, you are probably a porcupine Christian. The Bible says, “If we walk in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” (1 John 1:7). If you have no fellowship, you are not walking in the light!

God ordained that as sheep we would all have the soft outer garment of wool, not the rigid, sharp, opinionated covering of quills. Which would you rather rub up against? This is worth thinking about. Especially if we don’t have healthy relationships with the people in our ministry family right now.

Recognizing the Mules in The Church

Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. Psalms 32:9

I suppose we all are “mule-headed” and stubborn in areas, but there are some people who are so stubborn that they could be characterized as a mule. As Christians, our goal is to be yielded and pliable in the Master’s hands.

Mule clipart transparent, Mule transparent Transparent FREE for ...It should be the still, small voice, the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit that prods us. But there are believers who seem cemented in their ways. If someone doesn’t put a bridle on them and pull them into the right direction, they’ll just stay in the same spiritual spot year after year. The Bible exhorts us not to be like a mule, without understanding, but to move with the Spirit of God. This is serious business with God. 1 Samuel 15:23 states: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. I am sure none of us want to be known as a witch or idolater just because we are stubborn. Something to think about.

Recognizing the Eagles in The Church

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Flying Eagle transparent PNG - StickPNGEagle Christians are those believers who put the flesh to death in their prayer life so they can serve God. As an eagle goes through its molting period and loses all its feathers, claws and even beak, in order to grow newer, larger, and stronger ones, so these Christians endure the stripping period of God’s workings. This process is what we describe in our book, Roadkill Seminary. They wait in prayer and serve as a waiter before the table of the Lord, day and night. The result is a Christian with strong wings of faith to ride the winds of God’s Spirit as they soar high above the problems and situations of life.

With this eagle eye perspective, from the place seated next to Christ (Ephesians 2:6), these Christians make wise, accurate decisions for their families, ministries, and careers. With the whole picture given to them from their place in heavenly places, they see the bigger picture that many Christians fail to see. These Christians shall not faint, nor be weary as they serve the living God. All of us can be eagle Christians if we will wait on the Lord.

Recognizing the Sloths in The Church

God speaks more frequently about the dangerous effects of slothfulness than any other animal in the Bible. Could this mean these “sloth” people are in our churches and ministries today? The negative characteristics of this creature can be found in each of us if we are not careful. When the first European explorers of Central and South America discovered this animal in the tropical rain forest, they gave it the name “sloth” because it was so characteristic of the Hebrew word “atsluwth,” which means to be idle.

Sloth PNG File | PNG AllAll a sloth does is eat and sleep. It moves very slowly. One was observed traveling four miles which took 48 days. It is so lazy that moths and other bugs infest its fur. Some even take on a blue green appearance from algae build up due to their lack of personal hygiene. It means to have lost the fire or the drive we once had. Here are 10 symptoms of slothful behavior.

  1. The sleeping sloth will awake in poverty. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall your poverty come on you like a robber. Proverbs 6:9-11
  2. The lazy sloth will always work for someone else. The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slothful will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24
  3. The sloth doesn’t finish what he started. The slothful man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession. Proverbs 12:27
  4. The sloth’s laziness results in a painful journey through life. The way of the slothful man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway. Proverbs 15:19
  5. The sloth’s work habits make him a terrible employee. He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer. Proverbs 18:9
  6. The sloth is always fighting the desire to sleep. Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15
  7. The sloth is so lazy he won’t even feed himself (physically or spiritually). A slothful man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. Proverbs 19:24
  8. The sloth is constantly frustrated by his own desires. The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare. Proverbs 21:25, 26
  9. The sloth works hard at one thing… making excuses as to why he doesn’t work! The slothful man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” Proverbs 22:13
  10. The sloth is full of excuses, sleep, and laziness. The slothful man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so does the slothful turn on his bed. The slothful man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. Proverbs 26:13-15

In the final analysis, slothfulness is idolatry, which is the worship of anything other than our Heavenly Father. You see when we worship our desires, our craving for comfort, and our right to our own life, we make “self” a god. When we turn from the true “life giving” God of heaven, we lose out on the power to live life abundantly. Thus, sleep and laziness cover us like a heavy blanket, leaving us at the mercy of our sluggish self. The remedy is repentance and obedience. Put your life on the altar and count it as dead. Then live by faith in God. Galatians 2:20 states: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Recognizing the Snakes in The Church

Now the serpent was more cunning then any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1

Free Snake Transparent Png, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art ...Just about everyone knows and fears snakes. Why? Because they are sneaky and subtle. They can move into places totally undetected. They are quiet. They don’t bark, growl or roar. These stealthy creatures can twist and weave their way in and out of almost any situation. This is why Satan is described as a serpent. He is cunning and deceptive in all his ways. Yes, there are snakes in church!  Why is this so? Because snakes love to hide in the grass and sheep love to eat grass.

Snakes may be people who are deceived Christians or unsaved people who are deceived and think they are Christians. The deadly thing about these people is the poison they want to inject into people. This venom can be very subtle comments that infect the minds of individuals or the flock. This poison can be rebellion and anti-authority rhetoric against the church leadership or against our government authorities. It can also be a seducing spirit which causes the flock to fall into sexual immorality. It can be a religious spirit causing the flock to fall into heresy or extreme interpretations of Scripture. Its goal is to take our attention off of Jesus, who is our only antidote (see John 3:14-16).

I once heard one pastor call another pastor a snake because he was trying to gain a higher position within their denomination. He evidently was using manipulation and slick salesmanship to work his way up the ladder. As stated before, some snakes are deceived Christians with impure motives who Satan can use, while others are directly planted by the enemy. We must love them but not allow ourselves or anyone to be bitten by them. Remember, their poison causes us to put our attention on just about everything except Jesus! But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

Just as snakes in the natural world give you the creeps, so do snakes in the church. Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on it but there is usually a “check” in your spirit when these people are in the room. They can maneuver themselves into just about any position in the ministry. Their forked tongue speaks of how well they can say two different things at once. They will say one thing to one group in the ministry than something totally different to another group in the ministry.

I remember another man in leadership of a church who was very insecure. He would say kind and flattering things to his fellow associate pastors but when he was with the senior pastor, he would say the opposite. He was evidently hoping to win favor with both groups. I believe this man is losing his “snake tendencies” as he grows in the Lord and as we love and pray for him.

We see this same snake spirit every night when we watch the news. This where we see how snake catchers can become snake breeders.

Recognizing the Wolves in The Church

Wolves are usually nocturnal predators who sneak up on their prey to devour them. Jesus called false prophets wolves.  Listen to Matthew 7:15, Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

HQ Wolf PNG Transparent Wolf.PNG Images. | PlusPNGJesus said that there would be many false prophets who would look like sheep (Christians) but who would be commissioned by the devil. Wolves need camouflage to get near their prey so some of the devil’s workers will look like they’re saved. In verse 16 Jesus said, “you will know them by their fruits.” Notice that fruits is plural. Just because a person has good fruit in one area doesn’t mean they are the real thing in every area. We must consider all the fruit they are producing. “Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” These wolves can be national figures or people sitting in the pew next to you on Sunday morning. Listen to Acts 20:29 and 30, For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Some of the people we are talking about are sincere but misguided or wounded Christians under the influence of demonic spirits. These believers may sincerely believe they are standing zealously for their Christian belief or doctrine when in actuality, the ravenous “wolf spirit” that is motivating them desires to divide the flock and draw disciples unto itself and away from God’s shepherds. This spirit will try to draw people to a particular issue or pet doctrine. Beware, this spirit will visit every church at least once.

A true shepherd always works to gather the flock of God together. Wolves and deceived Christians used by demonic spirits, seek to divide and conquer the flock. Acts 20:29 says they don’t spare the flock. The flock is secondary to their purposes, which are opposite of the Spirit of Christ, who gave His life for the flock. We should as well.

Conclusion

Upon seeing and recognizing these animal types in our churches and ministries, we can better understand why the Lord Jesus said we would be like defenseless sheep in the midst of ravenous wolves. Therefore, He commands us to be shrewd, cunning, crafty, and wise as a snake while we are in this world. Yet we are to be as harmless and gentle as a dove, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. This is how the righteous become bold as a lion. I pray each of us will be just as the Lord instructed.

 

 

 

Expectation versus Expectancy

ExpectancyEvery believer will need to sort out the difference between expectation and expectancy during their lifetime. The way that leads to life in this world is often narrow and requires balance to avoid the ditch on either side. This is similar to the distinction we need to make when we discern the difference between Self-Sacrifice and Sacrifice of Self.

In a nutshell, when we have a certain “expectation” it may come from a sermon or teaching that arouses our faith or we have a great need to believe God for something specific. This is when our circumstances require us to believe that God is going to do something. However the potential for a setback and an offended heart lies at the door of this scenario. It’s because we often imagine how God will do this miracle and we inadvertently put our faith in the “thing” we imagined more than in God Himself and His will in the situation. This is called putting our faith in our faith. It also reminds us why God didn’t want us to make any graven “images” of Him in the Ten Commandments. Images carved in stone or carved into our minds almost always keeps us away from Him Who is the eternal, uncontainable Spirit. There is a big difference between serving the God we want and serving the God Who is.

This wrong focus often happens when we use the Bible selfishly as a “utilitarian tool” instead of a love letter that leads us to the heart of God. We see countless disillusioned believers who put their faith in what they believe God is going to do versus putting their faith in Who the miracle worker is. There is a difference between believing in healing and believing in the Healer; believing in salvation and believing in the Savior. Disillusionment is a good thing in some cases because we need to be removed from some of our illusions.

We initially don’t recognize there is a difference between expectation and expectancy until we don’t get what we are praying and believing for after an extended period of time. This brings us to a fork in the road where we must choose between our belief in the thing we want to happen and our belief in the Lord Himself.

How do I know the difference? One sure way to recognize if your faith is in the wrong thing is to inventory your thoughts when the thing you are believing for doesn’t come to pass. Are you insulted or offended? Are you bitter or resentful? Have you secretly disengaged from the fight? Are you just going through the motions? Do you have a secret accusation against God?

An Idol of Expectation. I remember several occasions being so angry with God about my circumstances not changing. I thought I was faithful; I was living right and I was standing in faith yet with no results. I didn’t recognize I was secretly offended and was developing a cold heart. I also didn’t realize the source of my offense was because I placed my faith in the scenarios I constructed in my mind in the first place. I even thought I was being so generous to God. After all, I even gave God 3 or 4 different scenarios that He could use to answer my prayer. Wasn’t that so benevolent of me? I was so proud of how humble I was. Yet God is His wisdom and mercy had to let me experience the death of my expectations so I would be free from putting my faith in my “image” of answered prayer; in my ability to intellectually devise a scenario for God to work.

An Attitude of Expectancy. I am learning to keep and attitude of expectancy in my life. When I do, I am more peaceful and relaxed as I am more willing to go with the pace of grace. My faith is in the goodness of God, as I remember He always has my best interest at heart (see Jeremiah 29:11). I now know God is always good and has an agenda of abundant life planned for me. I am beginning to appreciate the “journey as the destination” with God. He could make everything we need appear instantly but He has predestined us to be “conformed” to the image of Jesus. Sometimes delay isn’t denial, it’s just God’s wisdom at work. Besides, regardless of whatever I am believing for, it is always a lessor thing compared to the glorious relationship we have with Him as we travel on this journey. This realization becomes real after our imposed deadline for what we are expecting passes or our faith expires. Then we often see God turning circumstances around in way that had nothing to do with the scenarios we imagined in the first place.

In our early years it seems almost impossible not to construct some idea of what it will look like to believe God in a particular area of our lives. We all try to imagine how a particular answer to prayer might turn out. It’s not easy telling a young person that the latest thing or boyfriend they want so badly isn’t really going to make them happy in the end, because it’s what they “imagine” will make them happy. We only come to appreciate this when we don’t get what we want and God gives us what is best for us. He reminded Israel of this in the book of Isaiah.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8, 9

It is a painful lesson to be circumcised or pruned from our way of thinking but the result is a more intimate relationship with the Lord. So if you are not receiving from God what you are expecting remember what Garth Brooks said in one of his songs… “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.

We can keep an attitude of expectancy with God because He is faithful to His word and He loves us enough to sacrifice His own Son for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Jesus Wore a Crown of Thorns and So Will We

CrownIf this is the first time for a believer to go through a crushing period it can be very disconcerting. Often it causes them to doubt the validity of Christianity. Up to this point the Christian has only known the academics of the Faith; but once the actual process of testing begins it can be overwhelming. Since the spiritual diet in many Churches in America is mostly focused on the “sweet parts” of the Bible, the average believer is unprepared to face the trials all of God’s servants encountered in the Bible.

Can you imagine the mind games David must have battled as he was running from Saul’s attacks? Where was God during this time? Did David wonder if the prophet Samuel misheard God when he prophesied he would be the next king? What about young Joseph when he was languishing in an Egyptian prison; didn’t God show him something different in his dreams? What about Paul being regularly beaten and imprisoned for simply preaching great sermons? The mental anguish they faced must have been immeasurable.

This is where our “intellectual veil” is torn and greater access to spiritual perception and authority opens up to us. Up to this point our Christianity has been more about the adherence to the Christian religion. Now we become truly desperate for the person of God. When our formulas and memorized Scriptures don’t alleviate the torment, all we have left is God. This isn’t a loss for the believer; it is sweet deliverance from the “exalted intellect” we were cursed with during the Fall of Man. Yes this is painful, but it is God’s way of setting us free from dependence on our soul’s ability to figure things out. Through death of self we are set free.

Remember, Jesus wore a crown of thorns and so must you and I if we are going to take up our cross and follow His will for our lives. The Bible says that the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus’ head. When we are breaking out of our dead religion or lifeless rituals, the battle to keep us in a form of godliness yet denying the power will be intense. As we wear our crown of thorns, many painful and sharp thoughts will “jab” into our head, our mind as well.

These fearful thoughts will also be twisted around other legitimate thoughts making it difficult to separate them in order to make sense of them. Internal arguments arise such as; “Is this God’s will for me? Why is this stuff happening? Is this a lack of faith on my part? Should I have done something different? Do I have sin in my life? Maybe I missed God? Should I be rebuking the devil or submitting to this process?” These thoughts are so twisted together that it is difficult to unravel them to see which ones are valid and apply to your situation.

We know the mental anguish Jesus suffered must have been unbearable because He actually sweat blood. We remember that Jesus was crucified at the place called “The Skull”… and this is where the battle of our lives takes place as well. The good news is Jesus wore His crown of thorns to enable us to overcome the flesh and the mind games the devil throws at us as we wear ours. This is where we identify with Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings.

It is awesome to realize how deep and strong Jesus’ love for God and for us truly is. His love enabled Him to keep His mind subject to the will of God even during the anguish of the garden and the horror of crucifixion. We must not forget the Lord Jesus stated plainly that if we are going to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross (the instrument and circumstances of our death) and then follow Him. This is serious business for the follower of Christ!

Over the last several years I’ve met many Christians who were going through this breaking. When they went to their bishop, apostle, pastor or elder for support they often discovered that these leaders had no idea what they were going through. There are many in Christian ministry today who rule by their own ability and political maneuvering who simply don’t understand this process. They are really no different from the person on Wall Street or Madison Avenue trying to get ahead at any cost. When a “budding” David or a young Joseph with vision asks for help from someone in leadership, they are often misunderstood, ridiculed or even rebuked, instead of offered any encouragement.

When God is taking us through Roadkill Seminary, those in positions of authority who dropped out of God’s School will see us as strange or even a threat. Get ready to duck, because there is a good chance a spear is headed our way, or watch out, our brothers might be ready to throw us into a pit! Be of good cheer, they are also part of the curriculum.

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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Self Sacrifice VS Sacrifice of Self

Pic 1A very important distinction is discovered when someone takes classes at RKS, and that is the difference between Self Sacrifice and Sacrifice of Self. We are often ignorant of this difference until one is met with the cold shoulder of heaven. Just as Cain and Abel both sacrificed to God, one offering was acceptable and the other was not. Abel’s sacrifice received some kind of validation; Cain’s did not. Why did God favor one but not the other. What is God trying to tell us in this story in the very beginning of the Bible? Remember, this is the first act of worship or ministry recorded in the Bible. This is also where the first murder is recorded, which was over how to properly worship God. This is an extremely important foundational truth for us to understand. Abel’s offering was a forward-looking type of Christ’s shed blood. This story points to a right and wrong way of thinking about how we worship or serve God.

We can begin to see the difference between the right and wrong way by discerning the difference between self-sacrifice and sacrifice of self. Self Sacrifice is when we give up the things we want to give up, the way we want to give them up, when we want to give them up. We are in control during the entire process. This is nothing more than the works of the flesh disguised as religious sacrifice. Sacrifice of Self is when we put our entire being on the altar of God; we allow Him to show us what He wants us to sacrifice, the way He wants us to do it, when He wants us to do it. We are dead to our choice in the matter. Instead of offering things to God we are actually offering ourselves, our very souls to Him, and we are what He is after. We often fall into the religious delusion that God wants us to sacrifice stuff, when He actually wants us to sacrifice self. It usually takes years before the typical believer discerns the difference. One results in dead religion, the other in life-giving Christianity. Oswald Chambers wrote along this line:

“It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call or a word from God, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide.”

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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Do You Offer Your Skill or Your Soul to the Lord?

Clip 22We should take note of the two kinds of people in your ministry as you read this. This will help you understand why there always seem to be “conflict in the camp” and casualties from friendly-fire. There is a huge difference between a person who is offering their very soul to the Lord as Moses was and people who followed and only offer their skills or service to the Lord. It’s kind of like the pig and the chicken who wanted to make breakfast for the farmer. The chicken said he would make the eggs and the pig should make the bacon. The pig said, “You would be making a contribution; I would be making a total commitment”. Where do you see your commitment level to the things of God?

Another important distinction every believer needs to make is the difference between self sacrifice and sacrifice of self. This is what determines if you are going to be like Abel or Cain…somebody whose offering to the Lord is received or rejected. (See Self Sacrifice VS Sacrifice of Self).

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

Overcoming “Anointed” Self-Deception

DeceptionOne of the most common reasons why Christians may divide into different camps even within their own ministry networks or denominations is how they perceive what God is doing in their lives and ministries. Believers can have tunnel vision, where they only see their perspective. For example, when a Gospel minister operates under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, God Himself is flowing through them to preach, teach, or heal. When we minister like this it can be exhilarating to know that a mere mortal, can be used by Omnipotence to affect another person’s life for eternity. This anointing allows us to experience real results as we operate under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit.

There is no mistaking what is flowing through you now; you know this is God and the people’s response seems to validate it. Not only has this touch of God blessed those you were ministering to, but it also greatly affected your life as well. Fresh in your mind is the new contrast between the “normal you” and the “empowered, anointed you.” Suddenly this contrast exposes weeks, months, even years of un-anointed preaching or teaching in your ministry. Now you are really sure you know what is God and what isn’t God. This is like your first teenage crush; often the emotions are so overwhelming you aren’t even aware of how you are acting.

This “anointed” endorsement convinces you that this fresh view of God certainly must be the ultimate one. This often results in the strong human desire to start building something, by trying to package what you’ve seen and heard or even by starting a new ministry. Read Matthew 17:4:

Then Peter answered and said to Jesus “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Here we see Peter beholding the transfiguration of Jesus, plus Elijah and Moses. “This is really anointed!” Yet Peter’s desire to build a monument (or a ministry) to this revelation wasn’t the “anointed” thing to do. Peter’s excitement blinded him to the whole purpose of what God was doing. This is “anointed self-deception” and it occurs to all of us at one time. Anointed self-deception is when you are so amazed, even intoxicated by what God is showing you that you are convinced you have the whole picture. You think your understanding of God’s ways is now the way. Our human nature easily gets these things messed up. This can be especially true if you and I have been rejected in the past and are longing for some kind of affirmation or validation. Most of us need to be delivered from hidden psychological wounds and issues before we can successfully minister at higher levels. Even the great apostle John, upon seeing the most amazing revelations from God, missed it in Revelation 19:10:

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”

John almost worshiped a man instead of God. He probably would have been convinced he was right to do so. After, all, he had seen all these marvelous revelations from God Himself; surely he wouldn’t be wrong. Oh yes he would be wrong! John even blows it a second time in Revelation 22:9. Even things God has clearly given to us can become stumbling blocks or idols such as the “bronze serpent” fashioned by Moses in Numbers 21:4-9. It was a symbol of healing in his day, but in 2 Kings 18:4 it had to be destroyed because it became an idol.

If you are a believer, a pastor, teacher, prophet, an apostle or evangelist and you have given yourself to the Lord to minister to others, He has no doubt at times anointed you to minister to His precious Body. You must remember that you are only seeing a part of what God is doing — not the part. The Bible says now we know in part.

Excerpt from “Working Together For Jesus”

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Who Are Controllers?

PuppetA controller can be a child, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a best friend, a church/ministry leader or anybody close to us. The controllers that affect us most are rarely strangers. We should remember that some of the people we are close to and respect right now might not continue to go on following the Lord at the same level we are. If you and I are not confident in the Lord, they might try to influence us to keep us in their comfort zone. They can also feel threatened by us growing in the Lord and may actually feel empowered by controlling or keeping us under their own influence.

Controllers are often obsessed with supervising the behavior of others. They are wrapped up in what others are doing in light of their own personal needs. Controllers can be very self-centered. Although outwardly they may appear confident, a person with a controlling spirit usually has low self-esteem, and many times is suffering from a spirit of rejection. This fear often causes them to try to control their environment and just about everyone in it. This is where Satan takes advantage of them by manipulating them to do his work through their own controlling behavior. In other words, demonic spirits use their behavior to get to you in an attempt to trick you out of the will of God for your life. Do you remember Peter in Matthew 16 trying to get Jesus to stop talking about the crucified like? Satan is always near when people try to control others.

We should note that all of us have some human tendency to control our environment and those close to us in some way. One minister noted that when we say “I Do” on our wedding day that even the best of us are actually saying; “I promise to manipulate you as painlessly as possible in order to get all my needs met”. That is why RKS is so necessary for every believer. Dead men have no needs for Satan to take advantage of. Remember, Jesus said that Satan had nothing “in” Him in John 14:30.           

How Do They Control Others?

Emotional Control ‑ A controlling spirit may use a person who will over react or under react in order to keep their victim suspended and second-guessing how they should respond. They will use tears, anger, rage, threats, outbursts, moodiness, sulking, silence and even illness as instruments to manipulate others to do what they want. Getting and keeping the attention of others is a priority of controllers. By controlling the attention and actions of others they feel secure or that they are important and in control of their own destiny.

Spiritual Control ‑ A religious spirit in a leader will often try to control or dominate the people of God to make the believers in their ministry totally dependent on them and not the Lord. Using guilt or legalism, some leaders will keep God’s people insecure and dependant on them. True spiritual authority should make believers less dependent on them and more reliant on Jesus. Mature leaders hold all their people with open hands. Insecure leaders are often great oppressors (Proverbs 28:16). See 23 Ways Leaders can Dominate Their People.

This also happens from individuals within a ministry. Insecure Christians, in an effort to fulfill their personal needs in their life, will purposely or ignorantly pray or prophesy over people in an attempt to fulfill God’s will according to their understanding. To the young and unsuspecting Christian, these “soulish” Christians may appear loving and sincere at first. But they can mother (or smother) us so they can feel important and fulfilled. It’s difficult to recognize what they are doing at first because they appear to be so mature and concerned about our well-being. Sometimes we are just thrilled someone is taking an interest in us. See Creating Your Leader in Your Image.

Recognizing You Are Under Attack

If we desire to serve God, we can expect this demonic power will attack us at one time or another. We know we are under attack when we are suffering from depression, loss of vision and despair beyond our ability to explain. We may also experience a frequent infirmity or sickness. We can experience mental fatigue and suicidal thoughts along with fear and anxiety so thick it paralyzes us. We may also struggle with powerful and shameful, lustful thoughts. However, when we really know who we are in Christ and recognize we are being attacked, these powers will easily fall under our feet where they belong.

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

We Don’t Need a Power Encounter We Need a Truth Encounter

Pic 10Dr. Neil Anderson’s writings are some of the best there are on the subject of victorious living. You will do yourself a big favor by reading “Victory Over Darkness” and “Bondage Breaker” as well as his other books. Remember, you don’t need a power encounter; you need a truth encounter to walk in freedom. It’s not what someone does for you but what you BELIEVE Jesus has already done for you that makes you free.

We don’t need a powerful person to pray for us; we need to believe and confess what the Bible says about who we are in Christ. You don’t “out muscle” or “out shout” the devil; you “out truth” him. We need to say the Scriptures out loud! Yes we need to believe, declare and act on the word of God; the devil is not obligated to obey our thoughts. When we truly assume the responsibility for our own life and believe the truth regardless of our sad emotions, we will find freedom.

When someone says, “I want to believe God but I just can’t believe,” they are being deceived. Of course we can believe God, because it is something we choose to do. Faith is something we decide to do, not something we feel like doing. Pay close attention to that statement. Faith is something we decide to do – it is a deliberate choice to choose God’s way, God’s will and God’s Word. The disposition of faith is one of surrender and yieldedness.

Don’t focus on not sinning. Abstinence from sin is an incomplete goal; we don’t abstain from sin in order to get right with God. We get right with God in order to abstain from sin. Our relationship to the one and only true God comes before any attempts at trying to be holy or good. That happens after we come to Him… in every area, every time.

We Are Saints Who Sometimes Sin, Not Sinners Who Sometimes “Saint” 

We need to stop trying to be perfect Christians. As believers, we are not trying to be saints; we are saints who are becoming like Christ. Remember the writers of the New Testament address their letters to the saints, not the sinners, of a particular city. If God said it, it is true, whether we believe it or not. 2+2=4, whether we believe it or not. Our lack of believing it doesn’t make it untrue. The Bible says we are in Christ ten times more often than it says Christ is in us. We are secure in His hands.

The fruitfulness of our entire Christian walk will be determined by how close we believe we are to God, and how close we believe He is to us. This is the abundant life that Jesus said we could have now; not when we die and go to heaven (John 10:10). Remember, eternal life isn’t something we are going to experience when we die; we have it now because of our union with God through Christ. Freedom is not the absence of something, it is the presence of Someone…Christ. Tap into His life. Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Excerpt from You Can Be Free

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Friendly Fire – Creating Your Leader In Your Image

FriendAnother subtle type of control that wears on ministry leaders is from so-called “friendly fire” which comes from well meaning compliments. This is when the senior minister receives little comments or notes from certain people who will compliment the behavior they want them to display. When they preach hard and with conviction, certain people will praise them for being the prophet they always wished for. When they teach long comprehensive expository sermons, certain people will praise them for being the teacher they always wanted them to be. Then when they are passionately reaching the lost in relevant ways, certain people will praise them for being the fiery evangelist they believe every preacher should be. Then if they visit someone at the hospital, they will praise them for being the pastor they always wanted them to be.

When praise comes from a pure heart, it is beautiful and edifying. But unbeknownst to some believers is the subtle spirit of control they operate in as they try to make their ministry leader into their ministry ideal, instead of accepting them for who God made them to be. Like many things in life, it all seems innocent until you are on the receiving end of it.

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

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The Power of Critical Words

CriticalUnaware that critical words are being used by “evil spirits” with pinpoint accuracy to hit the leader’s heart and mind, we sometimes unknowingly provide the natural vehicles for demonic forces to move about in the earthly realms of our organizations. It is sadly like giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Discerning leaders can actually tell when people in their ministry are speaking against them by the level of demonic attacks on their mind.

Often the Lord reveals by a “word of knowledge” what persons in the organization are causing the division. Just like a parent’s sixth sense, God gives His leaders the ability to know what each of their spiritual kids are up to. The enemy may have planted a selfish idea in their minds about what they think the ministry should do. Yet the minister has to love them, even as they are glaring at them with the “skunk eye” while he or she is teaching the Word of God.

Parents Beware

One pastor recalled a service where he greeted one of the teenage girls in his church as she was getting a drink from the water fountain. As she turned to see him, her face lit up with joy as she said “Hi Pastor Bob”, but then she instantly turned away and looked down and walked away; almost with the look of, “I’m not allowed to like you”. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to him and said, “She loves and respects you, but her parents, particularly her mother, has been speaking negative things about you and the church because mom is immature and controlling”.

Parents have no idea how much damage they can cause their own children when they are openly critical of God’s leadership. These parents have sowed the seeds of rebellion in their children that will manifest shortly in their lives. This teenage girl was receiving the anointing from this leader’s ministry gift as well as from others on the ministry team, but because her parents were critical, she was confused. This can abort the Godly spiritual transfer of what God had for her. That poor girl loved her spiritual leaders, but was also confused by her parent’s remarks.

What usually happens next is the teenager suddenly finds fault with everything at her church. She experiences unexplained conflict with the youth leader and the other kids in the youth group. She ends up going from youth group to youth group or she may stop going to church all together. She may not even realize that she has also been programmed to not submit to godly leaders by her own parent’s critical comments. Sadly this criticism can lead to a directionless and promiscuous life. Most of us are unaware of why we are so critical of authority until we examine our developmental years honestly. So much of what we do in our developing years is often self-centered and tainted by our sin-nature. That is why Jesus said we must all take up our cross in order to kill the part of us that is dangerous to us and to others. Many Christians do not truly realize how often they are used to pray selfish and even demonic prayers as they succumb to “charismatic witchcraft”. In their insecurity they often try to control others and the direction of those around them. They may attempt to push or influence some personal agenda while covering it in religious jargon (James 3:13-18).

They often fail to recognize that even if their spiritual leaders only have the I.Q. of a “speed bump”, they are still required to respect their office and authority from God. To not do so is extremely dangerous for the church and their spiritual condition. Their innuendos breed seeds of rebellion that seem harmless at first, but later reap chaos and hardships for all in the ministry. God will not hold those guiltless who speak against His leaders (Numbers 12:1-16). The Bible says things go well for us when we obey and are submissive to His leaders in our lives.

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:7

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

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God Doesn’t Come to Take Sides, He Comes to Take Over

sidesThere is a Need for All of Us, Especially Christians, To Be Free from the Sin of Presumption

Remember that God doesn’t come to take sides. He comes to take over! (See Joshua 5:13-15). The story in Joshua is one of the most astounding examples in the entire Bible of why none of us should dare presume or take for granted that God is on our side. Here we see the children of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River outside of Jericho under “God’s direction”. Joshua was appointed by God as Moses’ successor to lead God’s chosen people, the Jews, into the Promised Land. God had been leading His people for 40 years through the wilderness to come to the edge of the Promised Land to take possession of it. They were commanded to dispossess these morally depraved nations who were killing their own children in religious sacrifices.

This is the crowning moment of over 400 years of  planning to fulfill the promise God personally made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that their descendants would possess this land. Right after all the males circumcised themselves to prove how committed they were to keeping God’s commands and ordinances. Their leader, Joshua found himself confronted by the appearance of the Lord with His sword drawn. We know it’s the Lord Himself because Joshua was told to take his sandals off (it was holy ground) which was something only God would say. Let’s take a look at Joshua 5:13-15 in the New Living Translation:

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. 

Joshua looked at this heavenly figure with the sword and asked the question of the ages, “Whose side are You on; Ours or theirs?” The divine response is “Neither”. How in the world could God not be on Joshua’s and on Israel’s side? They are Abraham’s children. God Himself powerfully delivered them from Egypt through signs and wonders. They were led by God through the wilderness. God divided the Red Sea and the Jordan River for them to cross. There has never been a surer group of people on earth with the supposed endorsement of God. Yet we see God reminding us and them that we should never presume God is automatically on anybody’s side.

This Puts the Axe to the Root of Presumption

It’s not your way or my way, it’s YAHWEH! I pray this Scripture makes us consider that no matter how right any of us truly think we are, we should always pause and acknowledge our need for God’s grace to save us from ourselves. I hope at the very least we will learn a few things in the following pages as we join the camp that the Lord is in.

Excerpt from A Better Way To Govern

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God’s Ministry Assembly Line

assemblyNow that we understand the progressive nature of the maturing process we will also begin to understand and appreciate why certain ministers, churches and ministries operate the way they do. The proof of our spiritual growth is played out in the context of Christian ministry where we live. This material helps us understand the “maturity milestones” believers must attain to effectively minister side by side; it’s a maturity/character thing. Our book “Working Together for Jesus” helps us understand why so many elders, deacons, bishops, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers often struggle to get along with each other. It’s a ministry context thing.

Our hope is that we will begin to look at different Christian leaders who we thought were out of order in a different light. We will realize that certain ministers are positioned by the Lord to help believers move along the Ministry Assembly Line, the maturing process according to their gifting. Here we see the division of ministry (those who Defend the Faith and those who Extend the Faith) as God ordained. There are fathering and mothering aspects to bringing Christians to maturity. However Satan and his religious spirits work continually to cause friction and persistent misunderstandings between these two styles of discipleship so he can divide and conquer the Church.

To help understand this division of ministry we should review Hebrew culture. The patriarchal (father) and matriarchal (mother) roles reveal why the Church of Jesus Christ emphasizes two different roles. When a woman had a baby in ancient Israel the father and the mother would often give the baby to a “wet nurse” so the mother would stop lactating to better enable her to conceive again.

Evidently the new mother’s body doesn’t allow her to conceive easily when she is nursing. In the Jewish mind, the more children they had the more they were obeying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Wealth was measured by how many sheep and cattle and children they had.

After the child was weaned they would hand the child over to a tutor (“pedagogue” in Greek) until such time as the child would have their bar mitzvah. Then the father would, in a sense officially adopt his own child into his care, his training and his family business. That is why we read about Jesus at around 12 years of age saying “He must be about his Father’s business” when He was in the temple (Luke 2:49).

The Bible says that Israel was kept under guard by this “pedagogue” this tutor, which was the Law.

But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  Galatians 3:23-25

This is the Way This Plays Out in Our Christian World

The first part of your Christian walk you are brought into a church/ministry family where you are regularly fed and nurtured by a tutor, a church family, and a pastor or home group leader. These loving and caring people along with teachers change your spiritual diapers and feed you with the milk of God’s Word. Some even call the Outer Court the “utter court” because it represents a new believer’s need for milk.

We are given consistent and regular routines and programs to help us more easily understand and assimilate the Bible’s basic doctrines. Providing peace and predictability are essential when we are young. We become committed to our local church or denomination because it is the house we grew up in, the yard we played in and the first bedroom we hung our posters in.

This is the safe and soft place of the Church known as your mother or matriarchal ministry. This is the place of peace and predictability that is so necessary for all young believers. You can click here for a visual chart on how this looks in your church. However, sadly the religious spirit can enter here in almost every ministry and where Satan plans to keep Christians stuck in perpetual immaturity. What was valid and appropriate ministry can become smothering and emasculating. Egypt was a place of provision for Israel but years later it became a place of slavery to man’s egotistical monuments. This environment de-motivates believers to move on to maturity.

Have you ever seen an unemployed 30-year-old man who sleeps in late, watches TV all day and still lives at his mother’s house because there is no father is in the house to straighten him out? The same is true for believers in America. It is so sad to see the great tragedy of wasted spiritual potential for the kingdom of God. What is even more incredible is the fact that most Christians have never had their Christian experience described like this before. They have never been exposed to the anointing and authority of the Apostolic and Prophetic ministries that uncovers the fact that they have been stuck in perpetual immaturity. The following diagram helps us see God’s intentions hidden in the Tabernacle.

AssemblyThe Reason Why So Many Backslide and Fall Away

Some church experts believe that there are as many as 20 million Christians who no longer go to church? Click here to better understand 12 reasons why some believers no longer attend church. If we are to grow up beyond typical church attendance. we must understand why we need all 5 of the ministry graces Jesus gave to His Church. That’s what we address is in the following.

The Inner Journey

Working Together for Jesus