Street Preaching: Effective or Annoying?

Well, I have been thinking about Street Preaching. I was in Calapan, Mindoro last evening and saw a team preaching and it was a little upsetting to be honest.

Before I get into that, let me say this: I love Street Preaching. I have done some of it in Fiji and even a miracle crusade right on the street in Brooke’s Point, Palawan once.

There is a place for it if done right. My problem is I see so much of it done wrong. You can’t annoy people into salvation. It does not work that way.

Street preaching for profit

Here is where I fall off the wagon. If you want to preach, go for it. It is biblical. It is ethic. It is missioal. However, do it for the right reason.

What I see way too many times is one preaching and another walking up forcefully blackmailing people to give money.

When this happens, it is not ministry anymore. That is called business. We need to call it what it is. Old fashioned for profit business. Capitalism for Jesus.

Nowhere did Jesus come along and tell his disciplines to go work the crowd and get a quota of X dollars (or pesos). Not once. Never.

Street Preaching does not have to be mad

The other problem I have with street preaching is everyone doing seem to think God is pissed at everyone and He can’t want for the bowls of wrath to be unsealed. That people going to hell makes Jesus get all worked up with excitement.

If you want to stand out there in the heat and yell, knock yourself out. However, can you please at least deliver a biblical view of the gospel, please? Believe it or not, God is a good mood.

Ok, my rant is over ūüôā

Why do Christians become Atheists?

I have from time to time read blog post from a blogger named EJ Hill. He is now an ex-Christian that become an atheist.

I like this guy and I understand WHY he left the faith. I do not agree with it but I do understand it. Many are just like him. They are sick of what the American church has become. This is in a sad state to put it lightly.

Are Christians really dropping like flies?

According to his letter, EJ Hill believes that Christians are “dropping like flies.” His reason be believing this is people like the Newsboys and others.

I find that many Christians completely disconnected from the faith they came to have. There seems to have very little in common with the Books of Acts and your local Assembly of God these days.

The reasons for EJ Hill becoming an atheist has more truth in them than we want to admit.

  • Christians do not care about Biblical realities.
  • Christians are¬†ignorant of their own history.
  • Christian have no interest in open discussion. They prefer dogmatic thinking.
  • Christians are¬†extremely gullible.

I had to say it but he is right on all four of these points. We tend to not care about being biblical. How many times have you heard someone pray “if it be the Lord’s will?” We know his will. It is that none would perish.

Ej Hill is right that most Christians don’t have a clue about the history of the Church. Most people don’t even have a clue about their movement’s history. How many people attend an Assembly of God and do not even know what happened in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1914. Even less could tell you why it happened.

Dogma is a serious problem with Christians. They don’t want to have open and honest discussion. They take that “be prepared to give reason for the hope within” right out of the bible. Most believers would fail a Philosophy class. Again, EJ Hill is right.

Are believers gullible? Yes. A quick look at the hyper grace movement that John Crowder and others are leading is proof of that. They are not well grounded in systematic theology. They run to and fro waiting to be eaten alive by new teachings. Again, EJ Hill is right.

Why I believe many leave the faith

I do not think it is any of these reasons that many Christian leave the faith. I believe it is the Christian that push them away.

In my years as a Christian, I have seem more evil and mean-spirited people in the Church than outside of it. Christians tend to be the most hateful group of people I know.

Many people are not walking away from the faith, they are being pushed away from it by fellow Christians.

If I was to write the cruel things that people have said about me here, you would be wondering if this is the same Christianity of the Bible.

In the Old Testament, it was about exclusion. In the New Testament, it is about inclusion. Most Christians don’t get this.

When you push away a person because you don’t agree with them on some point or minor thing; you are rejecting the blood of Christ as the atonement for all sin.

New Testament believers are to gather in, not push away. Few modern believers get this reality.

I disagree with Ej Hill and his decision but I realize the mean spirited believers is doing alot and I do alot of damage to the faith.

Update: Ej Hill has replied to this post. You can see it here. 

People Skills in Missions

Today’s lesson living as a Christian cross culturally is about people skills and why they are at enemy with the anointing. Did I really say that? Yes!

The anointing is God’s calling on your life. You have been marked is what the bible calls it. When you are marked, it is like the FBI is following you. You can’t get rid of them….even if you try.

The anointing will break the yoke of bondage, call sinners to repentance, do signs and wonders, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. The anointing will make a way for you. It does every time. It has for me.

Anointed for People Skills

Here is the problem. Most ministries do not success because they are carry a strong anointing. They are successful because they have strong people skills.

In the spiritual realm, this is called a political spirit. To be blunt, having the ability to “win friends and influence people” does not mean you are anointed to heal the sick and raise the dead.

Joel Osteen is a guy alot of people like to pick on. He has mastered the political spirit of using people skills in ministry to a tee. He used people skills and the “law of attraction” to gather a huge following.

Am I saying that Joel has no anointing? Not at all. Am I saying he used people skills to get where he is, at least in part. Yes I am.

I also believe he is just receiving a harvest that his dad sown but that is a different discussion.

People Skills make or break missionaries

Having the people to move in a political spirit and built a gathering of people who not only love you but like you is critical in missions. I am not talking about locals here, either.

No missionary will remain on the field unless they are self-supporting (as I am), is the son of Bill Gates, or has people skills. I am mainly in the first group.

If you are in the last group, no matter how much you dislike it; you have to have a element of people skills to make it in ministry. I found out the hard way.

Embacing the Depravation of Humanity

I was sitting with a missionary friend today and he demanded that I get my finger looked as it was probably broken. I know it wasn’t but he is Filipino. That means every thing is drama and the worst case possible! It also met a trip to Baguio General Hospital.

Read how I was nearly martyred 

I am not sure why but when people in the Philippines go to a hospital, it brings the worst in them out. People behave in ways they normally wouldn’t.

What I found at Baguio General Hospital

As I sitting there waiting my turn like everyone else at the government hospital. I could use my old governmental ID card and get looked at right away. I am just a citizen now so I don’t.

As I sit there using the free wifi at Baguio General Hospital, I am watching the people come and go. Some have pointless “boo boos” and other having very serious stuff.

I see people yelling at each other, the police breaking up fights, doctors and patients that can’t speak the same language, and parents mad that the hospital is doing their job.

When people act silly

That last guy was crazy. The EMT brings a boy that nearly drown in the lake at Burnham Park to the hospital. One of the EMT came is completely wet from swimming to him in full gear!

The father gets to the hospital demanding the boy is NOT treated or touched by a doctor. A fight breaks out between the father and the Hospital staff citing laws and everything.

As I sit there thinking what a fool he was but I know I am not suppose to tell him that. That is not a very christian thing to do, right?

Understanding the depraved mind

I know Filipinos. I am one. (Kinda) I knew that racism has its benefits at times and this is one of them. Filipinos trust Americans more than countrymen.

I just told him in Tagalog that his bill will covered by the people of the United States and flashed my Department of Defense ID.

The father relaxed and let the doctors work.

The funny part was everyone at the hospital but him knew that the Emergency Room is free care for all because of a grant from USAID.

About my finger….

The doctors at Baguio General Hospital believe that I have a hairline fracture in my between two bones (knuckle) and it will just take six months to heal on its own. Nothing I can do about it.

Xenophobia in Missions

I want to talk about something very real. It is one of those dirty secrets for missionaries: Xenophobia.

What exactly is Xenophobia?

According to Dictionary.com

an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

I believe most times that is fear, not hatred. One of the hardest thing a missionary deals with locals that are fearful or freaked out. That is what we call Xenophobia.

Historically, this is why we have many martyrs like Jim Elliot. Most people we call martyrs in missions didn’t die for the faith. They actually was killed over this issue of Xenophonia.

John Williams is a great example. After bringing revival to Samoa, he went to¬†Erromango in¬†Vanuatu. It was their the local made him supper. They freaked out and killed him….then eat him.

My brush with Xenophobia

Yesterday morning, I was looking around villages in Kalinga that need the gospel. This is one of the hardest areas to reach. Tribal fighting has been going on in the last decade and the military and rebels got into a firefight as recent March.

I was talking some picture of a field for a crusade possibility. Next thing I know I am 10 feet down the mountains laying against a tree with blood on my face.

Everything is in place but my memory card.

The Philippine National Police ask me to leave the town. (not legal for them to do so) After contacting the military, I head back to Baguio.

What do I make it of biblically?

I don’t. I could say that it was a spiritual attack that manifest in the natural. I don’t think it was though.

I think it was as simple as these people, known to profit from being rebels and drug trade, saw a big white guy with a DSLR. It freaked them out and they attacked me.

There was no way in the natural they knew I am a missionary or even a believer.

I believe that xenophobia is very real and that xenophobia is something that no one wants to address.

The foundation of Missions is intimacy!

I am part of a missionary group on Facebook and the issue came up about Matthew 7:21-23. What they did understand was the issue is Intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Father, Son, & Bible is not the trinity.

Before I start, let me say this. The third part of the trinity is not your bible. The Holy Spirit didn’t check out of the earth and go on vacation in 70 AD. He is still here, still healing the sick and still raising the dead.

The Bible leads us to the Spirit of God, not replaces Him. 

This is important for us to understand in order to “rightly divide the word of God” in Matthew 7.

I never knew you is key.

So, Let’s look at the text at hand,

‚ÄúNot everyone who says to me, ‚ÄėLord, Lord,‚Äô will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me on that day, ‚ÄėLord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?‚Äô ¬†Then I will tell them plainly, ‚ÄėI never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‚Äô

The issue was not the miracles or the prophetic ministry. Jesus was the one telling us to do them in Mark 16:15-20 and Acts 1:7-8. They did not get in trouble for being Spirit-filled and having the Pentecostal experience.

What got them in trouble also not missing a bible study or not memorizing the entire New Testament. It was not because they are were not a walking bible that got them on God’s bad side.

It was because they did not have intimacy with the Holy Spirit that got them in trouble. This is what I see missing so many times in the believer’s life. Pure intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

This was something I was raised around. People who would tarry in the presence of the Lord until they have seen the face of God and had intimacy with the Spirit.

They lived in the place of intimacy and went they walk in the room, heaven walked into the room with them.

They really believed that the Kingdom of God was within them and they was to bring reality to “On earth as it in heaven.”

Intimacy with the Holy Spirit is the Kingdom life!

Alot of people’s prayer life sucks. It does. It is not because of the quantity of prayer but the quality of prayer. They think spending lots of time being bored out of our mind “tarrying” is going to move God. That is not intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Thirty seconds in the full anointing of the Spirit is better than 30 hours of tarrying void of faith. 

This morning I was ministering in a crusade in Kalinga in the Philippines. Before I would minister, I spend time in intimacy with the Holy Spirit. I could not minister without the anointing.

When I stepped on the platform, I had one thing in mind: Bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Kalinga. I did not want to preach good. I wanted to release the Kingdom good.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 

 

What REALLY is the Great Commission?

Have you ever thought about the Great Commission? What exactly is it and why do people have different takes on it? Part of the reason is the bible itself seems to have a different take on it as well.

Great Commission is about miracles

Around here, we tend to use the text from Mark to define the great commission. We believe that you are to heal the sick, cast out devils and speak in tongues as in the context of world evangelism.

I have no bones about it: I believe in power evangelism. You might not but I do. Simple as that.

What about Matthew’s Great Commission?

Matthew seems to have wimped out when he wrote the Great Commission but did he really? It is also about power evangelism when you really read the text completely through.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

What I want to grab here is the words “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” What did Jesus commanded them to do?

Well, let’s take a look at Matthew 10:-7-8 and see their Great Commission, shall we?

As you go, proclaim this message: ‚ÄėThe kingdom of heaven has come near.‚Äô ¬†Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a]drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give…

As we can see, even Matthew that wimped out on the power message(By the way, he is only one to not directly address it), he did reference it indirectly.

Matthew’s idea of the Great Commission is to teach the people to obey the command to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils.

Matthew’s text is not as¬†Cessationist as some people over at the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church was to tell us.

I know, I know,  Hank Hanegraaff would burn me at the stake for saying this. Let him try. I know where i am going.

What is the Great Commission to you?

 

Is Graven images ever ok?

It is time for another cow tipping post from Azusa Review…. What is graven images and are they ever ok? What if they are cultural images as well?

Graven Images is not just golden cows

Alot of people have this idea about graven images but in reality, it is not huge statues of cows and Kings. The days of the Golden Calf in the desert and ninety foot statues of gold are long gone. Shadrach and his friends are safe now.

The idols of choice for this generation are popularity and having the right smartphone and watching the latest movie on Netflix. Materialism is destroying the world. Don’t worry, Steve Jobs made a killing over your idolatry.

When Graven Images become cultural ones.

The picture above is from Tam-Am village in Banaue,¬†Ifugao here in the Philippines. The people of¬†Ifugao have long become Christian….at least in name. Some of them go to mass and some go to church but most, if not all, believe in Christianity in some form.

Here is the problem: they still give alms to the rice gods every harvest. They see no problem with offering worship to Jesus and the traditional rice gods. They do it with passion.

What does the pastors say about graven images? Nothing. In fact, many of them are right in the middle of it doing it as well.

Missionaries won’t touch the issue with a ten foot pole, either. The graven images¬†are¬†a cultural norm. Confronting the issue¬†would¬†not be positive in the mountains of the¬†Cordillera. People have been beheaded for less.¬†

Idolatry is idolatry no matter what.

Pastors and missionaries may smile at it and see it as “cultural” and harmless but God does not. In fact, I think the pastors will stand in judgement before God over these graven images.

It is the gospel that when you come to Christ, you leave your traditional gods. You are not adding Jesus to the list of rice gods.