I was looking around Youtube a week ago and found an odd video of Perry Stone, the Church of God evangelist based in Cleveland, Tennessee talking Valley of Dry Bones. I like Perry and have had some great discussion with him back when I live in Cleveland. This is nothing against Perry as a person. However, I became concerned with the theology. Continue reading…
Tagged in: Bride of Christ
As a 18 year old, I joined this new thing called the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. It was a few dozen people and our leader, Mike Bickle. We started with all day sets of intercession and within a few months, we are going around the clock praying for revival. Continue reading…
Many do not understand the Great Commission and this is partly due to the fact that Matthew recorded a very different version of it than Mark, Luke and John. I am not saying that Matthew was wrong (after all, it did make the Cannon), I am saying his point of view is different with that whole discipleship thing.
What do I mean by that? If you read Matthew 28:19 besides Mark 16:15-20 or Luke 1:7-8, you will see that there is something very different. Mark and Luke put emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and set the captive free as proof of the gospel. Matthew did not speak of miracles but what we call discipleship.
In my spiritual heritage, the emphasis has always been that miracles confirms the gospel. After all, Mark did say, “…the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” The stories of John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, and John Wimber were common around the table.
We always knew that Matthew 28:19 was there but we kinda just left that to the Baptists who did not believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They could nothing but discipleship. After all, they didn’t believe in healing the sick and raising the dead. Harsh as it sounds, it is how much of the Pentecostal movement sees this passage in light of the difference between Matthew and the rest of the passages.
Discipleship is best done by fathers
I remember hearing a man from New Zealand speak when I was in a meeting during the Toronto Blessing. His name was James Jordan and he spoke of the Fathering nature of the gospel. He kept talking about 1 Corinthians 4:15. It is a passage that really messes up our whole idea of what discipleship really is.
Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
The maturity of the believer should be done by fathers, not teachers. This changes everything. Most churches are trying to discipline by teaching but are they raising up spiritual sons and daughters. If a church claims to be a “family” and they are serious about mentoring the young believers as spiritual children; something is wrong.
The problem we have is when we do not focus of spiritual fathers and mothers, we reduce the idea of discipleship to a mere academia practice that is just like learning biology or chemistry. It is about learning information and the application of it for a designed purpose. It makes the whole experience one of education, not spirituality.
Discipleship is not something that can be done in Sunday School and it can not be done in our cell groups (that we ripped off from South Korea). It happens when people have the Elijah and Elisha relationship. Paul had a spiritual fathering role to Timothy. That is how it works best. One on one around the barbeque pit; not from the pulpit.
Discipleship as we know is brainwashing
I have long believed there was a fine line between the two. I went to what YWAM calls a “Discipleship Training School.” It is a course that is several months long that is focused on the fundamentals of the faith. The problem is it is based on information and not impartation. It is mostly teaching and required reading. This borderlines brainwashing. It is not just YWAM doing it, either. Almost every major mission group has the same unbibical concept.
When I went to bible college, I expected to have an educational experience. When I went to seminary, I am paying for the educational experience. When I am do discipleship, I expect to be more about mentorship than I do education. This is the problem with the model we have in most churches.
The Bible declares that God will turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. I am not sure how we think this will work when we are more focused on developing students than spiritual children in our churches. The reality is a pastor can not father a church from the pulpit; he can only present information and release impartation.
Churches that focus on training them with information are like a man that goes around town, getting women pregnant but then leaving town without being a parent to the child. We just end up with a generation that is very educated in the scriptures but have no fathers to guide them in spiritual things.
Raising up spiritual sons
I was saved in the Brownsville Revival. The main speaking in the meetings was Evangelist Steve Hill. He was mentored by Leonard Ravenhill. It was from that relationship that Steve became the man that could lead the greatest revival in American history. It was not going through school and getting information. It was that mentoring relationship that made the difference.
People wanted to share in Ravenhill’s mantle and carry his mandate to the Bride of Christ but they did not want to share in his sackcloth and ashes. They want to stand with him in the pulpit but they did not want to weep with him in the prayer room. Sons and daughters are those who also share the sackcloth and ashes with their spiritual fathers and mothers.
It was because of those times in prayer and mentorship that the Brownsville Revival broke out on Father’s Day 1995. It was an outpouring of everything that Steve Hill received from his spiritual father, Leonard Ravenhill. That is how true discipleship works.
I look back at the several things that I know that I am anointed to do and I received what I have from men that operated in that mentored me, not just reading books and watching videos. It is true that anointing can only be caught but not taught.
God opened the door for me to be mentored by the pastors that had the fastest growing church in America back in 1999-2001. It was a mentoring experience to be there and to be close to the leadership. It was about being a spiritual son. Due to that relationship, I learned the practicals of planting a mega-church in one of the most saturated markets for faith in the United States.
Discipleship is about spiritual sons and daughters. That’s all I am saying.
I believe that worship leader Roy Fields is harbinger to this generation. I do not know him well on a personal level but from what I can see from a distance, I like. He is very spiritual without much religion.
I will never forget when I got a call from a friend that revival was breaking out in Lakeland, Florida. The message I hear was “Get here. Revival is in the land. Bring it!” The only problem was I was in the middle of extended meetings myself in Oklahoma. I told the pastor to take the meeting and that the heavens was open.
I got the next flight out of Tulsa for Florida. I landed with an issue: I kindly knew Todd Bentley, I did not really know anyone else besides Roy Fields. I did not come to have a platform ministry in the revival and I knew that God would call in the big boys of revival if this went anywhere. I was there to cry “More, Lord!” It was refreshing more than anything to be honest.
What I loved was the meetings was about signs, wonders, and miracles. I had been preaching revival meetings for the last three weeks and preaching Brownsville Revival style meetings are great but I missed the crusade type meetings that Todd does.
Roy Fields, the worship leader
I knew Todd Bentley well enough to know that God was moving inspite of him, not because of him. I did not know him super well but I knew there was issues with him personally and that there was serious doctrinal issues. Yet, like William Branham; he will allow God to use him. He knows how to host the Holy Spirit.
What was gripping to me was the worship by Roy Fields. This guy didn’t care about being Micheal W. Smith or being the next Third Day. He really just wanted to sit at the feet of Jesus. He didn’t care what was going on in the “Kitchen of the revival.” He just wanted to be at the feet of the Lord. It was refreshing. If you want to see revival, get a worship leader that doesn’t care about being famous.
He could worship for hours. He had an anointing for it like few I know. He reminded me of Lindell Cooley in the Brownsville Revival and Rick Pino. They are just psalmists and do not give a rip about “ministry.” I knew that if the worship remains there; the masses will come to the meetings. In Brownsville, the worship would just draw drug addicts and they could not explain why. I knew Todd was no Steve Hill and God will make up the difference. The worship was there.
Every revival has its sound. The sound of revival will create a rhythm of heaven over the region. It opens the heaven over churches, neighborhoods and cities. All we need was the sound to get this thing going. We had that and Roy Fields had his heart right where it needed to be.
When we have the sound of revival come in agreement with the rhythm of heaven; the roar of the lion of the tribe of Judah will send waves of renewal to a nation.
Roy Fields as a preacher
One thing I know is most worship leader can’t talk. They are lost without a keyboard or guitar in their hands. They do not have much ability to preach. However, I can’t say that about Roy. He has the same heart when preaching as he does when he is worshipping. He can bring the message from the heart of God.
To be honest, while I love Todd, I got alot more from the times I hear Roy speak. Todd brings the presence of the Holy Spirit. That can be never discounted but Roy could bring the message from the heart of the Father.
He came with a very unique message that was critical to the Bride of Christ. I saw the breath of the Holy Spirit on him and I knew that God was raising up a man to be a voice, not an echo before my eyes. It was fun to watch to say the least. God is cool like that!
I watch God raised him up and when I felt it was time to get out of the revival and prophets were calling me right and left to get out of Lakeland; I prayed that Roy would be sparred from the judgement of religious spirits.
Roy Fields made it out of the wreckage
A week after I came back to Kansas City to get ready for some revival meetings in Mexico; all hell broke loose in Lakeland. I knew it was coming. Everyone in the prophetic that was not directly connected with Todd was saying that crap was about to hit the fan. I knew a little about it in the natural but not much.
Todd was put on the cross and killed. Many people were faced with having their whole ministry destroyed or deny the presence of God. I was not in the eye of the people at all while there so I did not take the hit they did.
Roy was not taken on the altar like most was and he actually raised out of the ashes to soar. He is like a Phoenix in the old Greek mythology. Run with Fire Ministries really kicked off and it was Beauty from Ashes. His ministry has only grew from there since. He is now all over the christian world….. TBN and all.
As far as everyone else, they recover from what the enemy had planned. Todd Bentley is back in ministry and seems to be doing alot better and a lot more grounded in the scriptures. He is still hosting the Holy Spirit like he always did but more solid in his theology. That is good. I love angels but angels are not the gospel. Jesus did not die for them. He died so the redeemed of the Lord could say so.
If you are around ministry for long, you will hear the heresy know as “the local church.” It is something that many talk about, write about, and even sing about but it is still not biblical. Just this morning, Rick Warren was tweeting about it.
I respect Rick Warren, Jack Hayford and the others but they are the Jesus, Peter or Paul. The books they write are not canonized and they are part of the New Testament. The bible talks very little, if at all, about local churches. The issue has theological problems all over it. I do mean, all over it and through it too.
At the core of this discussion is thinking patterns. We have yet to repent (change your life by changing your mind) of cultural norms that we hold. For generations, we believe that everything must be local to us. This was because moving products and services large distances are just not possible. Everyone bought and sold from local shops out of need. How we saw church was no different. This is why a town can have a few hundred small places called the local church.
Times have changed and people think more regional and national now. It is not uncommon for us to buy things from New York and get services from California. Our spirituality is no different,. We have at our fingertips teaching from all over the world and we are not limited to what is possible in our locality. It is a game changer.
Why Local Church is heresy
The whole idea goes against the nature of the gospel and the Bride of Christ. If we believe in the local church, how many brides does Jesus actually have? Millions? The Bible only talks about one Bride, the Bride of Christ. If that is true, there is only one Church as well: the global Church. The believers in the underground meetings in China, the worshippers in Toronto and the intercessors in Kansas City are all expression of one Church. Anything less than this is starting down the road of being heretical in nature.
It is an old wineskin that was about about being biblical but being practical. The need has disappeared and with that, the wineskins has been broken. The old concept of a local church down the street with a resident pastor and all the programs focused on local members is outdated and no longer needed in the information age we live in.
Prophets have been speaking about this for centuries. Think about this: We are living in the moment that prophets have been dreaming about for five centuries or more. We want to live where they were out of need. They want to live where we can live out of want.
One of my heroes is none other than Count Zinzendorf. He preached in the 1700’s about the world being his church. This was back when people could not communicate with the next village easily. He saw something in the future. We live in that future.
John Wesley got this vision from Zinzendorf and believed that the world was his parish. Again, he was two centuries too early but he saw into the future that we live in and live among. We are that future!
Local Church is a dying doctrine
The supply chain of spirituality has expanded and with the wineskin expands, it breaks. We have a new wineskin! Our spiritual understanding might come from Redding, California as well as Toronto, Canada. We live in a time that we can receive whatever stage of life we are in quickly and do not have to rely on a pastor or another ministry. The “middleman” (local pastor) has been taken out of the picture.
The other day, I attended a church in California that was teaching on healing ministry as well as a church in North Carolina that was preaching on the prophetic. I did it all in real time without even leaving Starbucks. This is the power of the times that we live in and are among. The internet really did change everything.
I understand that many pastors do not like this new wineskin and many are preaching against it. The reason is it is a threat to their own survival as a paid hack for Jesus. The level of importance that a pastors plays in people’s spiritual life has reduced as the need for the local church has been exposed. Pastors are worried because it is causing issues with their financials.
Rethinking Church Planting
When we realize the time in which we live, we need to re-think how we view church planting. We need to quit think locally and start thinking nationally and globally. Are you looking to plant a local church or do you have the vision to plant a mega-church? We need to be thinking national impact from the first service we have. People perish for the lack of vision or the lack of foresight for revival in the nation.
As the heresy of the local church is more exposed, we will see more and more people thinking globally and seeing the world as a global village. When this happens, we will be better ready for the greatest revival known to man: the one billion soul harvest.
Most Christians just do not have the capacity for it yet. They are still thinking in the local mindset. The ability for the anointing to expand is beyond anything we can see with our own eyes. A outbreak in Nigeria can be seen globally within seconds. Moves of God can air around the world via God TV. This is the spiritual game changer in our generation.
Alot of people have different ideas on what the Church really is. Most have a view that is much too American in its expression. They still see the Church as a building focused concept or they think the emerging house church movement is the answer. Neither really fit the bill for biblical expression of the Church.
Ecclesiology is the study of the Church but what exactly does it include? I believe we could conclude that the Church is two expressions (at least). It is the Bride of Christ and it is the Army of the Lord.
Two words for the Church are ekklesia and kyriakos . It means quite literally, to called out or summoned and belonging to the Lord Jesus.
Here is the Strong’s says about Ekklesia,
ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.
As I said, it is about belonging to Jesus (Bride of Christ) and being called out and summoned for His Kingdom (Army of the Lord).
The Church is the Bride of Christ
One of the least understood identities of the believer is the Bride of Christ. I rarely hear teaching on this. I find it very odd given the last mention of the saints in the Bible is calling us the Bride.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)
When we see ourselves as the Bride, it changes everything. Brides do not work for acceptance; they are accepted because they are loved. My father never stood up and told my mother that is a “to do” list for accepted as his bride. How much more true would that be for our Heavenly Father?
As John Arnott loves to say, “Lovers will always outlast workers.” As believers we should identify ourselves as lovers of Jesus, not as slaves, or “christian workers.” We do not work for God, we are co-labors and that means we are joined hand in hand with the Lord doing His mission to the lost and dying world. A deep understanding being a co-labor changes everything.
One thing that amazes me as I have traveled the world is how few people actually even know where to find the Song of Songs in their bible. Even fewer have read it, understand it and can apply it. I have heard many pastors try and make it about a marriage between two people. The Song of Songs is a prophetic picture of the Bride of Christ and the Bridegroom Jesus.
Songs of Songs 2:10 is an invitation be part with Jesus and walk in Pentecostal authority rooted in the intimacy we have with the Bridegroom.
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Songs 2:10)
The Church is the Army of the Lord
Alot of people confuse this with teaching out of the Latter Rain revival, and one of the things we reject, known as Joel’s Army. The Army of the Lord is very biblical but Joel 2 is not the place to find it. The bible talks about the people of the Lord being an army. David, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea, Jesus and Paul all talk about it.
I remember growing up in the Assemblies of God and we would sing in Children’s church a song called the Lord’s Army. As I remember it, ” I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, I may never fly o’er the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” The concept is deeply rooted in scripture and Pentecostal tradition.
We are not an Army with M-16 rifles, grenades and tanks. We are an army that will give our lives (martyr) for the mission we have been called to do. Our marching orders are simple, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation… these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:15,17-18)
Isn’t the Church the Body of Christ?
Many want to place such a strong emphasis on the conception of koinonia, or collection of a community. I wonder if we are rightly understanding what Paul was saying when he did use that word. One of the easiest ways to misunderstand biblical text is to spiritualize what was first century Jewish culture.
Relationships should be the by-product of people on a common journey and mission to be the Bride of Christ and the Army of the Lord. They should happen naturally and not become an emphasis of theology from America’s pulpit. When we force it, the relationships are normally not organic, not spiritual, and does not last the test of time. The purpose of the Church is to transform the world around us, not having better homes and gardens.
As I travel, I see churches that put relational ministry ahead of the Great Commission quickly die out, lose membership, and end up being little more than a Alcoholics Anonymous with Jesus thrown into the subject matter.
Jesus was pretty serious about the ten virgins. What you do not give away, you lose yourself. If you are not growing with new souls in the Bride of Christ; you are have lost focus. No Army can last and do great exploits for the Lord without recruitment. All armies must be build up!
What is the Church to you?
We live in a time when the people of God have become a self- seeking and self- serving culture. We have departed from the place of passion and purpose. Most believers are currently in places far below the place of God’s calling. This is mainly due to the lack of forerunners in the spirit of John the Baptist. He did no miracles in the logical sense but he did the greatest miracle humanity had seen to date: he raised up a nation for the visitation of Jesus Christ. Every generation needs a John the Baptist. We need a group of radical believers that will raise us up to be devoted worshippers of God. As most generation of History did not have, sadly we do not have it either. Yet, that is.
The Prodigal Prodigy
Let’s face it. We are a prodigal prodigy. We are a VERY gifted people that are wasting our time, talents, and treasures on things that do not count for eternity. We have created a concept of spirituality that is not the Lord’s concept. We see victorious living based on performance in the various ministries of the local church. God sees victorious living based on passion for His heart and desires. We have two very different paradigms. God is saying to us ” My thoughts are not your thoughts.” Mike Francen, a highly respected voice in evangelism once said, “the richest place on earth is the local graveyard. It is where every dead dream and invention lays to rest forever.” Because we have not realized God’s heart and His ways, we have departed and became the prodigal bride in the prodigal world.
The Bride of Christ has for many years said to God “Father, give me my share.” We have masked it with things like prosperity, divine healing, and hyper-faith but in the end all it was is us telling our Heavenly Father “give me what is mine and I want it now!” God gave us what we asked for in faith and we have used it for personal gain and selfish ambitions ever since. We used it for a time of “wild living.” We came to church every service but in our hearts we were far from the place of passion and purpose God made us for. We air our fifth in style across every major television and radio network on earth. We air it through our massive mailing lists. We air it through our books and teaching tapes. We were and mostly still are proud of our filthy theology.
We have spent millions and millions on pointless things in the name of God and now we are bankrupt not only spiritually but also financially. Because we live our wild and lavish lives, we are just as broke as the guy next door in this depression of Wall Street. We are to the point where we can not fill not only our spiritually stomach with manna but also our natural stomach. The Church is in no better place financially than the any other group right now largely due to outlandish living in the recent times. We are facing the same problems in our banking as every one else due to our lack of wisdom.
It is safe to say that the Bride of Christ is for the most part living in the fifth of humanism. We are just as interested in philosophies devoted to personal profit as the guy next door. Most believers will have the latest Rolling Stones on their coffee table before they will have Charisma. They are also more concerned with the come back of Carlos Santana than the Come back of Jesus Christ! Much of what lines our personal libraries and local “christian” bookstores is christianized psychology. The thing is we love living in the fifth of humanism but it will only last so long, my friend!
When we will wake up?
How long will it be? How much more of humanistic garbage do we stand before we come to our senses? What does God have to allow to us to realize He has never did anything but love us and cherish even in our weakness? The Cross is not just an icon so we can wear it around our neck; it is a call to the Bride in every generation. Our only hope for humanity is found at the Cross, which is the place of repentance. Believers are saying “Not Your will but mine be done” but Jesus is saying ” not my will but the will of the Father be done.” What a contrast!
There is a cry among many Christians for the emerging of the prophetic utterance. It is needed and desired by God to be given to us in this hour. The prophetic word of the Lord is quite simple: O, Bride of Christ, arise from the fifth of humanism. Quit serving yourselves and worship Me! God’s heart is set on us living in holiness in the grace of God. If there was ever a word of the Lord for us it is “come to your senses.” Paul wrote Timothy on the condition of divine inspiration saying, ” the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” We have the prophetic word from God to come back to reality and humble ourselves before Him. The question of what will we do with this prophetic word still remains!
The reason we have been in this dream of humanistic theology is we have disrespect for the Baptism of Fire. Yes, we want everyone to pray in tongues and we call that being baptized. But my understanding of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not do you pray in tongues but do you loose angels and bind demons when you pray? Does the authority of Heaven back you up or not is the test of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill said, ” If we was as scared to miss fire baptism as we are water baptism, we would have a flaming church and another Pentecost. The `old nature’ may dodge the water baptism, but it is destroyed in the fire baptism.” It is not too hard to grasp that the Church is a prodigy but we are sound asleep. We are called in Heaven “the victorious and glorious Church” but we show no manifestation of that calling presently! We are the prodigal Bride.
Is that My Bride Emerging?
When the prodigal son was on his way home to his father, the Bible says “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” As the prodigal Bride, our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is watching for us to emerge from the landscape of humanism and fall into His arms of embrace. He is crying out to us “Will you please steal my heart from Me with your love? He is calling us to be victorious and glorious but not in the ways we have fitted it into our nice little theological paradigms over the generations. The Glorious Bride must emerge and it must happen quickly!
The Apostles and Prophets of every generation from the book of Acts to this generation have been crying with one voice, “Repent and ravish.” This is the hallmark slogan of God’s Kingdom. The glorious Bride will be a people devoted to two things: living a life aimed at stealing God’s heart with their worship and living a holy life through their devotion to God and not because of legalism. Everything in the heart of Jesus for His bride is summed up in being overwhelmed by our love and us being holy in the grace of God.
The emerging Glorious Bride is our destiny. It is our calling to walk in the spirit and power of Elijah as John the Baptist. In the days prior to the first coming of Jesus, there was a burning man. Each generation has added momentum to the point that in the last generation, a burning man has become a burning generation! There will no be one man or woman like John the Baptist but there will be a million people just like John the Baptist. Their divine job description is “prepare the way of the Lord.” O, Lord raise up forerunners in this hour!
Are you ready to be the Glorious Bride? It may mean laying some things on the altar to be burned to ashes by the fire of God. It may mean you have to give up people and places as well. It may mean you have to admit you do not know God as well as you think you do. It requires the “renewing of the mind.” It is the cry of my heart for you to arise from ashes and soar as the glorious Bride deeply rooted in the Love of the Father and the embrace of Jesus Christ!