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Three Marks of a Spiritual Man
By Zac Poonen

“I could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh.” (1 Cor. 3:1)

We read in First Corinthians 1:5,7 that the Corinthian Christians excelled in three areas – knowledge of the Scriptures, preaching and the gifts of the Spirit. Yet in spite of having all these, they were not spiritual. It is rare indeed to find believers who have the discernment to recognize that a gifted, eloquent preacher whose knowledge of the Bible is extensive and who in addition, has miraculous gifts of the Spirit as well, need not be a spiritual man at all. He could be thoroughly carnal.

Unfortunately, we live in a day when most believers think that a man is spiritual if he is a good “Master of Ceremonies” who can conduct meetings in a lively way, put people at ease with his many jokes and preach eloquently as well.

Preachers today are respected, unfortunately, for their gifts and not for the fruit of Christlikeness in their lives – in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly taught that false prophets would be identified by the lack of Divine fruit in their character (Mat. 7:15-20).

Jesus also said that in the day of judgment many would come before Him and say that they had prophesied and done miracles in His Name. But He would reply that He never knew them (Mat. 7:22,23). They called Jesus “Lord” and had supernatural powers. But there was sin in their lives. This shows us clearly that much “Christian” activity and even supernatural gifts do not make a man spiritual. In fact, they are not even an indication that a man is born again, for the Lord told these people that He NEVER knew them at any time!!

To understand what makes a man spiritual, we could first of all make a list of all the abilities that Satan possesses. That would show us clearly the things that are NOT the marks of true spirituality.

Consider activity, for example: Satan is a full-time worker who is active day and night (Rev. 12:9,10). He never takes a holiday. He is always seeking for people whom he can accuse – and he has many helpers too!! He also has plenty of Bible- knowledge, for he quoted the Scriptures even to Jesus. He has supernatural gifts, zeal, many co-workers, a great following and authority over many people. But he is not spiritual!!

What makes a man truly spiritual could be summed up in three statements: An upward look, an inward look and an outward look.

A spiritual man looks in these three directions constantly:

1. Upward – in worship and devotion to God and Christ.
2. Inward – in acknowledging and repenting of his unChristlikeness.
3. Outward – in seeking to help and bless other people.

A Spiritual Man Looks Upward

God has called us first of all to be His worshipers – to hunger and thirst after Him. A spiritual man worships God. His one desire is God. He does not desire anything or anyone other than God in earth or in heaven (Ps. 73:25). Money does not mean more to him than God. As the deer pants after the waterbrooks, so the spiritual man longs after God. He longs for God more than a thirsty man longs for water.

A spiritual man longs for fellowship with God more than he does for ease or comfort. He longs to hear God speak to him daily.

Those who worship money, ease and their own convenience, will always find something or the other to complain about. But the spiritual man never has any complaints, because he desires only God and he always has Him. He is never disappointed with the circumstances of his life, because he sees the mighty hand of God in all those circumstances and he humbles himself underneath that hand joyfully at all times. Because a spiritual man is in touch with God he does not need any laws or rules to regulate his life. He has found the tree of life (God Himself) and so he has no interest in the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because he is taken up with simple and pure devotion to Christ, he is not sidetracked by secondary issues. Looking at Jesus, the spiritual man becomes increasingly like his Lord year by year.

A spiritual man humbles himself constantly. And so God exalts him constantly. He is exalted higher and higher – into a closer and closer relationship with God. Such a man having seen the realities of the heavenly life will always seek to do his good deeds hidden from man’s eyes.

A Spiritual Man Looks Inward

The upward look leads on to an inward look. As soon as Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, he immediately became aware of his own sinfulness (Isa. 6:1-5). It was the same with Job, Peter and John (Job 42:5,6; Lk. 5:8; Rev. 1:17). When we live in God’s presence, we become aware of many areas of unChristlikeness in our lives. The spiritual man is thus constantly getting light over the hidden sins in his life.

We are commanded to worship the Lord “in holy array (dress)” (Ps. 29:2) . Without the clothing of holiness, we are naked before the Lord. So the spiritual man “does his best” at all times to keep his conscience clear before God and before men (Acts 24:16). Just as the businessman does his best to make more money, and the research scientist does his best to make new discoveries, even so the spiritual man does his best to keep his conscience clear at all times.

A spiritual man judges himself constantly, because he discovers many things in his life that need to be cleansed away – things that other believers may not be disturbed by, in their own lives.

A spiritual man realizes that he has to die inwardly every day, to many things that hinder him from being effective for God. So his lifestyle becomes one of taking up the cross and “always bearing about in his body the dying of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10).

The spiritual man has no problem in humbling himself before anyone or in asking for forgiveness from anyone – whether that person be older than him or younger than him. He realizes that his prayers and his service will never be accepted by God, if he has hurt even one other person – whether wife, brother or neighbor – in any way. And so, as soon as he realizes that he has hurt someone, he “leaves his gift at the altar and goes and settles matters with that person first, and then returns to offer his gifts to God” (Mat. 5:23,24).

A Spiritual Man Looks Outward

The upward and inward look lead on to the outward look.

A spiritual man is one who realizes that God has blessed him only in order that he might be a blessing to others. Since God has forgiven him so much, he gladly and readily forgives all who have harmed him. Since God has been so good to him, he is good to others too. He has received freely from God and he gives freely to others.

A spiritual man is genuinely concerned for the welfare of others. He is filled with compassion for lost and suffering humanity and can never ignore a brother whom he sees in any need – like the Levite and the priest did, in the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk. 10:30-37).

God is concerned for fallen man – to help him, to bless him, to lift him up and deliver him from Satan’s bondage. The spiritual man’s concern is the same. Like his Master, the spiritual man seeks to serve others and not to be served. Jesus went around doing good and delivering people who were bound by Satan (Acts 10:38). The spiritual man does the same.

A spiritual man does not seek to gain anything from others through his service for them – neither money nor honor. Like God, he only seeks to bless others through his life and his labors. He will NEVER expect any gifts from anyone – for he trusts in God alone for his every need. A little booklet that has come down to us from the second century titled “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles” tells us that the early apostles taught all believers in their time to beware of any preacher who asked them for money, for such a person was a false prophet. If only we understood this, we would be saved from many false prophets today!!

A spiritual man looks upward, inward and outward. If he looked only upward, he would be unrealistic – “so heavenly-minded as to be of no earthly use.” If he looked only inward, he would be depressed and discouraged most of the time. If he looked only outward, his work would be shallow. But a spiritual man looks in all three directions constantly. May God help us to be balanced – and spiritual.###

This article was first published at: http://www.cfcindia.com/article/three-marks-of-a-spiritual-man.

Zac Poonen was formerly an Indian Naval Officer who has been serving the Lord in India for over 50 years as a Bible-teacher. He is an elder at Christian Fellowship Centre, Bangalore, India, and has responsibility for a number of churches in India and abroad. He has written more than 25 books and numerous articles in English, which have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages. More about him, his ministry, and CFC, are available at: http://www.cfcindia.com/zac-poonen.

This article is part 2 of 3 in the series Exposing Dangers of Martial Arts

PART TWO

[Editor’s Note: This article series is an adaptation from the book, Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts, by Vito Rallo, a former five-time USA National Karate Champion. See the end of this article for more about the book.]

READ PART ONE of this article.

The Spiritual Principle of Self-Decreasing

The complete incongruity of martial arts along with these other similar so-called “self-improvement” or “self-help” kinds of involvements I’ve enumerated, and the Christian Life described and defined in the Word of God can also be summarized by relating it to the contrast John-the-Baptist described in his statement to his disciples before his execution by beheading: “He must increase; but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30; italics added). “He must increase; but I must decrease.” While the essence of John’s statement was referring to the fact that now that the time for Jesus to be manifest as the Messiah had come and John had completed his God-assigned mission of identifying Him as same, the time had now come for him and his ministry to decrease or fade into oblivion so as to allow the Christ to take center-stage, so to speak, completely void of all distraction and deflection of attention. Continue reading “Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts (Part 2)” »

What These Preachers Are Spewing Could Kill You
By Bert Farias

There is an increasing measure of unbelief in today’s churches. Weak faith, little faith and no faith is at an all-time high. Strong faith, exceedingly great faith, and the kind of faith that causes Jesus to marvel (Matt. 8:10) is at an all-time low.

The first reason faith is now at an all-time low is because many believers don’t read or hear the pure Word of God. There’s a great mixture in our churches today. People put more faith in what the popular elevated teachers in the Christian culture say. They put more faith in man. They place their trust in logic, reasoning and the wisdom of men. Continue reading “Your Spiritual Diet Could Be Killing You!” »

[The following article is an excerpt from Breaking Generational Curses & Pulling Down Strongholds, by Vito Rallo. Demonstrating the known need by believers and no doubt non-believers and agnostics as well for understanding on how to be liberated from generational curses and familial demonic strongholds, is the fact that this book is listed on Creation House’s website as the number three best seller of all time in their nearly four decades of book publishing. The fact that the original version was finished and copyrighted in 1999, predating the current homosexuality-crazed atmosphere by more than a decade and a half, demonstrates undeniably that this book contains a prophetic message. Yet, it is a testament to the humility of this poignant and powerful work’s adept writing team, Vito Rallo and his wife Pat, that when I had the joy and delightful experience earlier this year of sharing a delectable breakfast at one of my favorite purveyors of same, located in my stomping grounds of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, not once did they mention anything about the rarefied enduring success of this book in terms of its sales history and global distribution. As the title indicates, this magnum opus on the subject matter, addresses head-on the pervasive and pragmatic problem of generational curses and the class of demonic strongholds that are so frequently passed down through family lineages. Anyone who has worked in the ministry of deliverance such as I have for nearly forty years, knows well that generational curses and inherited satanic bondage is a very real and very common problem among those who have become believers in Christ. Deliverance ministers will also tell you that the most common and detrimental issue they have to deal with in helping believers find liberty from these unwanted devilish chains keeping them bound in soulish rebellion and acts of sin is the deceptive expectation held by so many believers that when they surrendered to Christ and were Born Again every form of demonic bondage and its causes should have been immediately broken and every remnant of it removed from their life, and they are completely befuddled and despondent when after some time of attempting to live the Christian life that that idealistic but Biblically unsupported expectation did not happen as they had believed. The curse of sexual sins, as this excerpted chapter of the book is entitled, may be the most prevalent and destructive of all inherited sins. We can see that in the accounts of family histories recorded in the Bible, throughout human history, and the knowledgeable and discerning can see its ubiquitous manifestations in present human existence. The curse of sexual sin and its resultant demonic strongholds is the chief unseen cause behind the current societal conflagration consuming American life and culture over the satanic proliferation of homosexuality in all its forms and offshoots being summarized under the banner of LGBTQ. Some of the most powerful, defiling, and personally decimating demons of the devil’s domain are those that are the primary source of the profane and perverse lust and blasphemy against God of homosexuality in all its forms — i.e., any and all forms of same-sex sexual acts. Nothing in Satan’s arsenal is more dehumanizing and diminishing to humans than homosexuality. It demotes those it influences from the glorious estate of having been made in the image of God and being a reflector of His Light (i.e., divine Essence) to being a refractor of same and being a reflection of the archangel formerly named, Lucifer, who’s name meant Light-Reflecter or -Bearer. Admittedly, this article is a bit long, but I thought it important to keep it in tact so as not to hinder the conveyance of its vital message. At the top right is an icon for converting the article to a PDF that readers can then download, save, view/print, if that makes the reading of it easier or more convenient. —Editor]

The Curse of Sexual Sins
By Vito Rallo

God comes down harder on sexual sins than any other kind of sin. The Bible deals extensively with sexual sins. Continue reading “The Curse of Sexual Sins” »

10 REASONS SOME PASTORS DEVELOP A SUPERSTAR MENTALITY
By Joseph Mattera

From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because a leader has name recognition or becomes popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit these traits. However, It would be less then honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own. The following are ten reasons some church leaders develop a superstar mentality.

1. They have a sense of entitlement.

Some folks think more highly then they ought to think of themselves and believe in their heart that they deserve better treatment then any other human being (Romans 12:3).

2. Because of their celebrity status they think they are above the law.

When a celebrity leader (could be a celebrity in a small church as well as a large church based on the adulation of the people and their own self deception) gets used to having sycophants around him – they are used to getting what they want -when they want it! Hence, they push aside boundaries and live a life that satisfies their fleshly inclinations.

3. They are unaccountable.

Superstar pastors often think nobody is qualified to speak into their life. Some pastors and leaders think that they are so spiritual and successful, they have reached a point that nobody is able to speak into their life and teach them anything. When someone attempts to speak into them, they may ask the question in their mind, “Is this person as wealthy as me? or Do they have as many people in their church as I do? — before they even consider hearing what they have to say!

4. They don’t trust anybody.

Many superstar pastors are really projecting a false self of confidence and aloofness because they don’t trust enough to have intimate relationships with anybody -including their spouse and children

5. Their self identity is subsumed by their ministry identity.

Some start off ok, but eventually their success — fueled by their driving ambition to be respected and known — becomes the primary way they view themselves. Thus, they lose their core essence and live through a false sense of success and power.

6. They become narccistic to medicate the pain of their past.

Many superstar leaders abuse their leadership privileges by manipulating others for their own advantage, and or are involved in substance abuse, adultery, excessive entertainment, frequent vacations, and others lusts of the flesh to medicate the un-dealt-with pain they have from the great responsibilities, intense life, and other pressure cooker items that make them feel trapped with no outlet. Thus, they succumb to temporary fixes that give them a reprieve from their miserable reality.

7. They erroneously equate anointing to minister with God’s personal favor.

Some believe that because they preach great messages and experience the power of God when ministering that that is a sign that God’s favor is upon them, even if they are not living a life of holiness. Scripture teaches us through the narrative of Samson that prioritizing anointing and power before the Fruit of the Spirit will eventually catch up to you and result in an untimely end to your ministry.

8. They preach a Christ without a cross and a gospel centered on self rather then on sacrifice.

Some superstar leaders preach a “rights centered” gospel that is centered upon self rather then on Christ. This results in living a life of indulgence that has no boundaries that limit their desire for the physical amenities of life.

9. They associate with other superstar pastors who reinforce this superstar culture.

The old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is a truism in which people tend to congregate mostly with others who believe like them and reinforce their belief system and lifestyle, which can be either a force for good or evil. Demigod leaders tend to associate with other spiritual divas and even have them preach in their church because they don’t want any dissident voice that will call them to account and bring a standard of holiness.

10. Those closest to them don’t challenge them.

Often the person with the most influence to speak into the pastor is the spouse. Unfortunately, often the lavish superstar lifestyle can abate the conscience of said spouse because of all the goodies and bling that come to them. When the voice of the spouse is either ignored or silent, then the person with the greatest chance of correcting them is non-existent. The same goes for their inner-circle and close friends and family who may also benefit from this opulent lifestyle.

In closing, this article was not written with the intent to arouse a critical spirit in the Body of Christ but to offer a prophetic correction so that we can turn back to the way of Jesus and the apostles. If some read this and use it as an excuse to gossip and be critical of their leader, then they are missing the point, and are just as guilty as the one they are judging. Also, as a pastor for over thirty years, I have seen these traits in leaders of all stripes, both in the marketplace and in the church. Furthermore, all believers have the same sinful root issues as these superstar pastors, hence, we need to abstain from personal judgment and allow these ten principles to convict our own soul.###

Source: http://josephmattera.org/10-reasons-pastors-develop-superstar-mentality/

Brokenness
By David Wilkerson

[Editor’s Note: Contrast this short monograph of Truth with the modern “hyper-grace” message being proliferated by numerous false teachers and the absolute absurdity of that message becomes obvious.]

David Wilkerson, founder of Times Square Church

David Wilkerson (d. April, 2011)
preaching at Times Square Church

David wrote about brokenness often in his Psalms. He spoke of God’s nearness to those who are broken: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “The Lord is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Continue reading “A Broken and Contrite Heart” »

[Editor’s Note: For us, the terms “Christian” and “tattoos” are a non sequitur. Or, stating it another way, the issue of Christians having tattoos is a no-brainer because Scripture is unequivocal, unambivalent, and crystal clear regarding the matter. In other words, there is absolutely no gray area regarding this matter in the Word of God, but rather is entirely black and white: God condemns it and states categorically that it’s a practice of pagans, not bona fide Christians! Period! Case closed! But some people, including purporting Christians, vociferously and adamantly claim and contend otherwise, albeit without a scintilla of Scriptural support. Again, for us, there is no argument; none at all. Continue reading “Christians and Tattoos?” »

The Fresh Prince—Destined To Ruin
By Lance Goodall

The Christian world has a fresh prince, not of Bel Air, but from Singapore![1]

Joseph PrinceJoseph Prince (JP) is the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, one of Asia’s biggest churches.[2] Under Prince’s leadership, the church congregation has grown by more than a hundredfold—from about 150 to more than 24,000. A founding member of New Creation Church, Prince initially served as an elder and associate pastor. However, his appointment as senior pastor in 1990 marked a turning point in the history of the church, which started experiencing phenomenal growth.[3]

Prince, the son of a Sikh priest of Indian origin and a Chinese mother, changed his birth name to Joseph Prince from Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh, during his previous occupation as an IT consultant.[4] His name change is reminiscent of Joseph the Hebrew Prince of Egypt. He is married to Wendy, and has two young children. As a young man he dabbled in the occult, but he said that “supernatural experiences” opened his eyes to Christianity.[5] Continue reading “Destined To Ruin–The Fresh Prince of Singapore” »

zen-buddhism_symbolI was personally involved in Martial Arts, Karate in particular, for a number of years between the period of 1971 to 1991. My enthusiasm for martial arts even led me to successfully recruit other Christians to join me. Through the prayer ministry of the group Wholeness Through Christ, I chose to renounce my previous involvement in the martial arts. Previously, I was opposed to some of my friends dabbling in community centre yoga, but had rationalized my involvement in the martial arts as something innocuous. Continue reading “A Trojan Horse of Demonization: Taekwondo & the Martial Arts” »

By Pastor Bob Jennings

“God is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37)

Pride is a mother sin. All sin, in a way, is a manifestation of pride. That is, the conceit, the arrogance, the self-importance—pride affects every word, thought and deed. Pride, though subtle, is fairly simple—“thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.”1

This self-exaltation is universal, infecting every heart2, until the time when one is born again and the proud man is taken down to full surrender by the finger of God.3 Right there is the crux of conversion to Christ. It was a pride problem; it was a power struggle between man and God. Continue reading “Ministerial Pride” »

Over the course of Church history, change within the Church has been a slow—at times agonizingly slow—process. Despite the great strides the Church has made since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in 1517 A.D. in ridding false teaching, more yet remains. And false doctrine is far from being the innocuous matter it is viewed as being by many professing believers today.

To merely call idolatry “sin,” though it certainly is, somehow seems an extreme understatement, for it is the ultimate affront unto God. Yet, arguably, it is the most pervasive sin of all today among professing believers. Contributing to the prevalence of idolatry within Christendom, no doubt, is the common perception by many that idolatry is something that occurs only in underdeveloped, far-away, foreign lands, or that it is something relegated mostly to ancient civilizations of past ages, while nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading “The True Nature of Spiritual Idolatry” »

male-depression-2Many men I come across are depressed and have an inordinate desire to be fulfilled in sports by vicariously living their lives through other men they set up as heroes. This is because in sports there are clear winners and losers, thus satisfying a man’s desire to conquer through mastering a skill. Also, because they feel purposeless, they need to live their lives through other men or through a team they can identify with, attempting to fill the void in their hearts. Continue reading “Five Reasons Why American Men Fail To Fulfill Their Destiny” »

By Joseph Mattera

May God help us to not lead from insecurity, through manipulation, or for personal ambition! Here are 25 practical examples that indicate when someone is leading from their dark side:

1. You inwardly celebrate when a colleague or fellow minister falls.

2. Your spirit of competition causes you to inwardly celebrate when other organizations or ministries in your field aren’t doing as well as you.

3. You are more concerned about your local church or organization than the good of the kingdom of God and cultural transformation.

4. You manipulate people to promote yourself and try to make things happen instead of allowing God to open doors and promote you.

5. You look for opportunities to backstab other leaders in your region or field of work.

6. You are driven to succeed to counter your insecurity, poor self-esteem and a sense of insignificance.

7. You thwart the emergence of other strong leaders in your organization.

8. You are closed-up relationally and have no open, transparent relationships in which you share your weaknesses and fears.

9. You do not share power and work on your own in regards to major decisions that impact your organization or ministry.

10. You are shifty in relationships, taking sides with those you are presently with, then taking another point of view when with another person when there is a conflict or controversy.

11. You will sacrifice the future for the present in regards to debt financing and risk taking instead of leaving a legacy of financial sustainability.

12. You do not receive correction kindly but always get inwardly defensive.

13. You are constantly blaming others when things go wrong.

14. You constantly justify yourself instead of facing your failures.

15. You have no deep relationship with God and lead out of your flesh and soul life.

16. You don’t lead out of sound biblical principles unless it is convenient.

17. You view yourself more as a pragmatist than a principled person.

18. You are loyal to people only until you have used them to get to the next level.

19. You avoid confrontation and walking in the light according to Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 John 1:7.

20. You only care for those who care for you and serve your agenda.

21. Your greatest desire in life is to make a name for yourself.

22. The bottom line in regards to organizational effectiveness is more important to you than people.

23. You have a hard time forgiving those who offend you.

24. You carry resentment and baggage from the past that you refuse to let go.

25. You don’t walk in the peace of God but in the stress of the world.###
__________________

Dr. Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York, a multiethnic congregation of 40 nationalities that has successfully developed numerous leaders and holistic ministry in the New York region and beyond. Visit his website at: http://josephmattera.org.


For several decades, I’ve received, on a daily basis, letters and emails from younger and developing ministers in foreign lands giving their lives to Jesus to be used as conduits of his power and blessings, to evangelize the native peoples of their country, and to be instruments to build the Church Jesus is building, in their nation.

When you receive so many heart-wrenching emails and letters, desperately requesting assistance of one sort or another, it’s easy after many years to become somewhat numb to these desperate cries for help, especially when you just don’t have material resources to help them in that way and all you really have to offer them in addition to prayer for them and their needs is an invitation to visit a website to read some articles you hope will render at least some small amount of spiritual sustenance.

At times, if you think about it long, it can become grievous that essentially, like Peter, all you can really do (which I do actually say in my email responses), “Silver and gold, have I none, but such as I have, I give unto thee….” Continue reading “24 Keys of the Kingdom” »

I have discovered that, as we seek the Lord, our most difficult periods can be transformed into wonderful breakthroughs into God’s love.

For me, one such season occurred during the years 1979 to 1981. The association of churches with which I was aligned had fallen under spiritual deception. Not only were its core doctrines increasingly seeded with New Age influences, but immorality crept in, and key leaders began leaving their wives for other women. I could no longer remain silent. As a result, in 1979 I left my congregation in Detroit, Michigan, where I had served as pastor, and traveled to the organization’s regional headquarters in Iowa. I came to plead for repentance. However, after meeting with the senior leaders, I was asked to leave the group. Continue reading “Love Me Where You’re At” »

The Problem with Cheap Grace Churches and Preaching
By Joseph Mattera

The past several decades we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.

In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “cheap grace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach. (I was told there is even a new television station devoted to this view of “grace.”)

Furthermore, many churches and preachers refuse to take a stand against sin and rarely if ever mention the need for repentance and topics like hell and judgment! For example, I heard from one leader that in our recent battle against same-sex marriage he only knows of one evangelical leader who actually spoke against same-sex marriage from the pulpit. This is in spite of same-sex marriage being the most important cultural battle of our generation besides abortion! Many of these same churches allow people to minister in music, as small group leaders, and even as ministers with no personal accountability while looking the other way when they are living sexually immoral lives and regularly engaged in drunkenness! Continue reading “The Problem with Cheap Grace Churches and Preaching” »

Editors Note: Today, on this Monday following the 2011 NFL season climaxing game, Super Bowl XLVI, I want to say just for the record, I’m thoroughly disappointed, yea, disgusted with Roger Goodell and the NFL for the vulgar smut he/they “approved” for the Super Bowl “experience” — meaning, commercials, half-time show (which I didn’t watch, and cannot believe any genuinely Born Again, Spirit-infused believer would watch), and everything associated with it. My 8-year-old grandson, unfortunately, was basically barred from watching NBC for 10 hours Sunday, and not just the game, though come to think of it there’s not much that would appeal to him on any Sunday on NBC anyway. Nevertheless, I don’t know how in the world Goodell/NFL could possibly tag those 10 hours of programming preceeding the Super Bowl as family-friendly. And, what is even more incomprehensible is that we know next year it will be worse! I’m truly grieved and disgusted.

Most of us north of forty can well recall a comparatively more innocent era when the NFL championship game, a.k.a., The Super Bowl now, was basically lumped right in there with Mom, baseball, and apple pie on the American wholesome scale. Back in the time of my earliest memories of Sunday football telecasts of the Cleveland Browns games, when the super-hero names were the likes of Brown, Mitchell, Graham, Renfro, Wren, Shofner, Lahr, Gillom, Michaels, Knoll, Costello, McCormack, Modzelewski, Groza, the (original) Carpenters (brothers, Lew and Preston), and the always dapperly-dressed iconic coach Paul Brown, the only thing that was ever caught on camera that could be remotely considered even the slightest bit sensual was the procession of drum-majorettes leading the marching band at halftime, which was such an extreme long-shot from a lone first-generation TV-camera perched somewhere atop a rickety stadium tin-roof through the low-lying clouds, fog, and snow-blizzard that you could barely make out the instruments the band members were playing much less anything of the baton-twirling female strutters whose bare legs were by now so frozen and frost-bitten they could hardly move at all, and the only violence and family-unfriendly activity is what took place on the field when the rules were so minimal that just about anything short of the use of firearms, sling-shots, swords, and bows and arrows was allowed.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” since those “good ole days” with the mega entertainment extravaganza the Super Bowl now is. Apparently, when you set the price-tag for commercials at $3.5 Million, the trade off is, censorship rights are next to nil and the bar for what the NFL and commish consider within the “family-friendly” universe is set…oh let’s say…about three stadium rows short of Pluto. What was plastered on America’s TV big-screens yesterday was unabashed, filthy, lude and lascivious, mind-numbing, thoroughly disgusting SMUT of the highest order! It made me sick, and I muted every commercial as fast as I could make my fingers push the buttons on the remote, and literally closed my eyes or got up to do something else…anything else…than to allow that disgusting refuse to enter into my brain via my seeing and hearing sensory organs. Continue reading “Theater, Cards, Dance, and Super Bowl XLVI” »

By Art Katz

Editors Note: This message was transcribed from an oral sermon by the author.

I have a subtle theme for today. This will make an ultimate demand of your faith, namely, the faith to believe that the veil that covered the holiest place of all, and which barred every soul from entry except the Aaronic high priest once a year, is now open and available to you. Can you believe that? You can come to the holiest place of all and have communion with the Lord over the mercy seat and between the cherubim, where He has said, “I will meet with you above and between and will be in commune with you, and will give you instruction for the sons of Israel.” This is a timeless and eternal provision. The earthly Tabernacle and Temple are no longer in existence, but they are nevertheless a replica of the heavenly pattern on the Mount. Moses constructed something that already had existence and continues to exist in heaven for those who access it by faith.

I am reliably told that the veil which covered the entrance to the holy place in the Temple was nine inches thick (Nine is the number for the Holy Spirit in Scripture, perhaps signifying that what the author is about to address can only be accomplished by the Person of the Holy Spirit as we surrender to His workings in our lives, and not by our own religious efforts; Editor.). It was split from top to bottom the moment Jesus died. How is it then that so few of us have availed ourselves and have access to that place? Might it be that there is another veil not yet rent, and that blocks our entry and communion into that holiest place of all? In Hebrews Chapter 4, verse 16, we read:

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We have an invitation and a promise to come boldly to the throne of grace where the divine presence is, and where God waits for those who will come to find mercy. How else are we going to extend mercy, or find grace to help in time of need? Continue reading “The Veil of Self” »