Monday, May 21, 2012

Should new Christians Witness?

While I'm sure that this is going to be a hot-button issue, it's something that I believe needs discussing.

Should a babe in Christ share their faith (or witness) to non-believers? And even better, Should a babe in Christ offer Spiritual guidance to other believers?

Jesus calls upon us to "go into all the world", but did He mean for new believers to do this too? Some would argue that since He didn't place any restrictions on this, then the answer is simply, "Yes". While I believe it's essential that we keep everything Biblical, we also need to look at the mechanics of this too.

Would a University hire a 6 year old to teach Quantum Mechanics? No? Okay, why? Certainly they've been taught how to add and subtract. Certainly this math is easily figured out too, right?

Would a software company hire a 12 year old to teach classes to people, who wanted to learn how to use their software? Not in the real world they wouldn't. Why? Well, for starters, I don't know ANY 12 year old's who could do this effectively. Sure, they may understand how the software works, but should they really be in a position to teach it to adults?

I could give example after example about what makes a good fit and what doesn't, but I think you understand what I'm trying to explain. New Christians are called "Babes in Christ" and Babes require multiple feedings a day, they stick their fingers in things they shouldn't, they put things in their mouth that don't belong there (especially their foot), so they're not really in any position to "feed" other babes (or anyone else for that matter).

Biblical support?

Deuteronomy 11:2 - Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm ---

And just as important an issue, is the issue surrounding new Christians who would profess to know and understand the answers to things that "fathers" don't even know the answers to. I'm dealing with this one person right now, who's been a Christian for about 2 years, but they have no idea that they're a babe. NONE. They go out of their way to answer everyone's questions, even though they should be SILENT and sit back and listen and learn. It's not that they should be silent because they're a babe, they should be silent, because they don't realize that they're giving out the wrong answers to questions that actually have "correct" and "incorrect" answers. They should keep silent, because they ask questions that reveal their "babeness", yet they would speak as if they know it all and are in a position to offer Spiritual guidance to others that may be further along in their growth than they are.

Biblical support?

2 Corinthians 12:14 - Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to prevent the Gospel from being shared and I'm certainly not trying to prevent you from exercising the Great Commission either. All I'm trying to do is to appeal to your conscience, that there are some things that little children are better at, than babes and there are some things that young men are better at than little children. Which of course means that there are some thing that fathers are better at than young men. And not just "better at", but assigned to do by God!

Pride keeps us from revealing where each of us are in our walk. Our flesh doesn't want to believe that we're a "babe", but instead believe that we're fathers. We're not called to be boastful or prideful. We're not called upon to take jobs or responsibilities that we're not "called to do". This is one of the primary reasons that our churches are so broken. First they're full of Elders who are babes in Christ and secondly, they're run by Pastors who have lots of "school knowledge", but have no Spiritual Discernment.

I pray that if you're reading this and if this sounds even remotely familiar, that you pray over what I've shared with you today and you stop what you're doing. God doesn't share the Glory with men, EVER. If you'd stop trying to puff yourselves up and humble yourself before God and men, you'd be walking with God the way He expects you to and not the way that you want to...

Instead of seeking your own personal self satisfaction, you should be humbling yourself before someone more mature in Christ than yourself, to learn HOW to properly share your faith. It'll be the difference between the false teaching that "God has a wonderful plan for your life" and "Let me tell you about God's plan". If you see those two examples as the same, then that should stop you in your tracks. They're not the same. Not even close.

All children (especially babies), need to be taught things, whether it's about not drawing on walls or not sticking a fork into a light socket. Witnessing is no different. Your inability to know the difference between right and wrong can wind up being the difference between having a successful witnessing encounter and one that forever scares someone away from God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reaching Millions with the Gospel

Here's a question I received a couple of days ago.

Question: I see hundreds and hundred of mainstream education sites that offer training on thousands upon thousands of things and they're able to reach millions of people and help them. They have training videos, an audio series and all sorts of printable things for people to learn from. Why can't we do that only with facts and the truth and not godless fairy tales?

Answer: I completely understand your question!

Since I became a Pastor, I have diligently relied upon the Holy Spirit to guide me in all that I do. Having a Discipleship Ministry has got to be one of the most "Glorifying to God" things you can have. Since establishing SilverWorks, we have (miraculously) gotten a couple of thousand followers, of which only a couple of dozen have requested direct Discipleship.

It may or may not surprise you to know, that there are very few people who would call themselves Christian, who actually care about God's Word and would instead prefer to believe what they've been taught. Even today, I received an email from a brother, who was wondering how to communicate with someone 25 years older than them, on how to correct their false teachings / false beliefs.

If only I could reach millions of people who would prefer to be Disciples instead of Christians...

Of course that doesn't even begin to count up those who would call themselves Christian and be living a life completely in anathema to what they claim to love. How many would call themselves Christian, yet have no fruits to show? How many would call themselves Christian, yet they would love sex, pornography and self-pleasuring more than desiring to have intimacy in their relationship with God? How many would use vulgar language in the same sentence as the Lord's name? How many would call themselves Christian, yet ponder rape or raping? How many would call themselves Christian, yet murder their own children instead of relying on the Lord to care for them? How many would call themselves Christian, yet teach things to people that are lies and clearly twisted Scripture instead of allowing God to "Say what He means and mean what He says?" How many would call themselves Christian, yet be more concerned with money than their relationship with God? How many would call themselves Christian, yet place more emphasis on being loved by the world than by being loved by Christ?

Romans 6:1-6 - What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

If anyone needs that much Grace, then I would question whether or not they've placed all of their faith and all of their trust in God. Because if they're that far off the mark, I could only wonder how much they're depending on the Blood of Christ to save them. It had better be a lot!

If only I could find millions of people who would prefer to be Disciples instead of Christians...

What a joyous day that would be!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are Demons real and are Demons here today?

Today I would like to bring to you both a story and a small teaching.

It's important that I make it abundantly clear, that this teaching is not something for you to build doctrine upon, it is however something that you need to know, because most Pastors either can't or won't teach this to you.

Last month, in the middle of the night, I was awakened from a sound sleep. I opened my eyes looked around (in the dark), intently listened for strange sounds and I saw and heard nothing. So I went to roll over and go back to sleep. That's when I realized that I was unable to move.

My immediate reaction was to panic, I struggled to move both my arms and my legs, and while I could technically "move them", I was not able to control them. It was as if I was being restrained! The only problem, was that I could neither see nor feel anyone or anything restraining me, I just couldn't move.

I strained and strained, struggled and wiggled. I tried everything I could, in order to just "change" my position. That's when I had a thought, I wondered if I was dreaming. I was most certainly NOT dreaming.

After what must have been 2-3 minutes in this panicked state (it felt like forever), I had a thought. I had from time to time read about or heard about "demonic forces", but never gave it much thought. From my experience, only crazy people actually had "encounters" with demons. So after thinking that it might be possible that I was "under attack", I called upon the Lord and in that very instant I was released! I jumped out of the bed (just to further prove to myself that I wasn't sleeping) and I went downstairs, walked outside and got some fresh air and began to thank God for His love and His Grace. I went back inside and went back to bed. The next day, as further proof that this had actually taken place, both my arms and my legs were red and sore. So sore that I could hardly move them. It was as if I had gone to the gym and instead of working out for an hour, I had done it for 6 hours! There was no doubt that all of this had happened.

About a week later, the same thing happened again, except this time I "felt like" I was able to deal with it a little bit better. I didn't panic, I didn't struggle, I just laid there (of course I tried to move, but was restrained). Except this time, I was able to "sense" something, that I wouldn't have been able to the first time. I could sense that this was the SAME demon attacking me again. So like I said, I laid there, patiently and quietly. As I laid there, I wondered silently to myself, "What does he want? Doesn't he know that there's 'No Vacancy' here?" In case you are not aware, once you have the Holy Spirit indwell within you, there's no "room" for an evil spirit too.

So after a minute or two of silent thought, nothing was happening. I couldn't help but wonder what it could want (can you blame me?). So I let another minute pass and I called upon the name of the Lord and again, this evil spirit departed and I had complete control of my limbs back again.

The very next day, I contacted Pastor Jeff (Who you may know from our Discipleship Series) and I recounted both of these experiences to him, in order to get his advice on this matter. I waited to ask anyone about this, because I wanted instead to get my answers from God directly. So after having waited and then having been attacked again without answer, I went to Jeff and asked him for his direction.

We spoke for more than an hour about his personal experiences and the experiences of others. We talked about "Medical theories" and some other worldly views on the matter. Apparently what I had experienced is very similar to many 1,000's of attacks that take place every single day.

A couple of days later, I received the phone call, telling me that my mother had passed.

A couple of days after that, I went back to God (yet again), and asked Him why He had permitted for me to be attacked. Finally God responded and said to me, "The demon that attacked you, is the demon that has been within your mother for the past 40 years". I was both shocked and at the same time, not even remotely surprised. I had always suspected that my mother had something wrong with her, I just didn't know what.

To have God reveal this tremendous event to me blew my mind. To be able to finally comprehend what had been going on in my life for the past 40 years was an amazing revelation for me.

So let's fast forward again, to this week!

Monday morning, 7AM, my "visitor" is back. Or at least that's what I thought! Same thing happened, rudely awakened, restrained and since I've had this happen twice before, I just laid there, quietly waiting. Except this time, there was something markedly different. I don't know how I know, but I know that this is another demon! There was just something different about this visitor.

So just as before, I waited a couple of minutes, silently. I just can't help but want to know what they want. Although I'm not going to ask. If they decide to tell me, I'll listen, but even then I'm not sure that I'd believe what they had to say anyway. In any event, I wait and nothing happens, so I call upon the name of God and they leave me.

So now I go to God and ask Him, "What's going on Lord? Why are you permitting me to be attacked by demons?" I was immediately answered with, "The first demon that visited you was looking for a new home. This new demon is looking to destroy your family!" He then told me one other thing that I'm not willing to reveal at the moment. I will however tell you that this demon is currently possessing another family member and is also looking for a "new home".

So this time, I immediately contact two Pastors that I trust with information like this. First, I contact Pastor Beau (who you also may recognize from our Discipleship series). I can't help but feel that fellowship regarding these issues is critical. I just know that keeping this to myself is wrong. Remember, everything that God lets happen is designed to bring Glory to Him. So if I keep quiet, who gets glorified? Nobody.

So I filled Beau in on the first two "visits" and then catch him up. Of course Beau is not surprised to hear this information, as the devil always wants to kill, steal and destroy. That's what he does! (John 10:10).

Before I called Beau, I did some homework. I went through Luke 11:24-26, Mark 9:14-29 and especially 1 Corinthians 12:10 & 1 John 4:1. It was critically important to me, that I allow all of what God has to say on this matter deeply abide in me. If only more Christians would seek to be Disciples, we'd have far more people walking with God than we do today.

So I spoke to Beau and got his input. He was adamant about Mark 9:29 and since he was already in the middle of a fast, he promised to be in prayer over this evil spirit for me and my family as well.

So fast forward (and long story shorter), I asked both Jeff and Beau a question. You see, God doesn't say a whole lot about dealing with these kinds of issues. Yes, what He does say is great, but there are not a lot of details. So I asked both of them how they felt that 1 Corinthians 12:10 applied in this situation. I wanted to know if they believed "Discerning of spirits" had anything to do with "evil spirits". They both said multiple things about that passage, but they both agreed that YES, that gift is expressly covering my issue as well.

They both told me that I have been gifted with this ability to, "have a peek behind the veil". Just for clarity, I did speak to each of them separately, neither knowing what the other said. The fact that they were both giving me the exact same information was 100% confirmation for me that I was doing the right thing(s).

So I (like so many before me), asked them WHY in the world would God give me this gift?? You see, even though Paul teaches us to "desire gifts", I have never really thought about having any. I always felt that if God needed to gift me with anything, that He'd do it, regardless of whether I wanted something or not. They both told me to just keep in prayer and total reliance on the Holy Spirit. Which is what I would have done anyway.

They also reminded me, that God gives us gifts and sometimes they're only given to us temporarily! I can't even begin to tell you how many "phony faith healers" are out there, who were able to be used to heal one person, then started a "healing ministry" and then never had the gift again. Yet they keep at it, ACTING like they're running around with the permanent gift of healing.

In any event, here I am today, writing to you about my experiences for one critical reason...

I don't want you to be fooled. Demonic forces ARE present today. Many believe that the only demons that are around today are in movies with Catholic priests! And many more believe that, "the only demons we have is the sin inside of each of us"! These are both untrue. I do not want you to be fooled nor ignorant!

Intimacy with God is so critically important, yet it seems to be almost non-existent and untaught today in churches. If you have no intimacy with the Holy Spirit, I would question if you're a Christian or a Cultural-Christian. I recently came upon that term, "Cultural Christian" and thought it was wonderfully descriptive. How many show up at church on Sundays, only to be interested in how quickly they can go home? How many show up, only to show the other members of their church "just how holy they are", just because they showed up?!

There are far fewer Disciples than there are Christians.
Have you ever wondered why?
If you have, you're in the right place!

A few days ago, I took a poll from a group of Christians and 100% of those that voted said that they know Demonic Possession still takes place. Half of them had first hand experience. If you're not in that 100%, please allow this teaching to encourage you to believe all of what God has to say in the Bible. He's never let me down, He can do the same for you too!