THE GODDESSES OF MODERN CHRISTIANITY

A number of decades ago many people exited traditional and mainline denominational churches because their needs were not being met, and they were hungry for the deeper things of God. As a result, para-church organizations were raised up and played a key role in the training and discipleship of new converts. Bible schools were established to equip pastors and leaders. Many of those pastors and churches that were raised up during that time, however, have now become as structured, rigid, and set in their own agendas as the former churches they came out of.

I see a trend today that is attempting to reverse this process and avoid another mass exodus from our churches by using methods and developing programs that will either keep current members from exiting our churches, or draw new people into them (that is what spurned the seeker-friendly church philosophy). Usually this is done by planning various events or offering new and exciting programs that attempt to produce a quality in the Church from the outside in. And this is not the pattern of the New Testament.

LET THE FRUIT GROW THE MINISTRY

The Lord gave me a word a few years ago that further magnifies this truth: “Let the fruit grow the ministry and not the ministry grow the fruit.” He went on to use the example of the woman at the well who had an encounter with Jesus that led to an entire Samaritan city being impacted with the gospel (John 4:28-30, 39-42). The fruit of that woman’s testimony produced greater ministry among many other people. This is the pattern we see throughout the gospels and the New Testament. The key to this fruit lay in the revelation, power, and compassion Jesus walked in as a result of His fellowship with the Father. All fruit grows and flows from within that fellowship.

We cannot produce a quality in the Church from the outside in as is common in the Church world today when we start a ministry or a program, embalm it with some sort of structure, and then try and breathe spiritual life into it that will produce fruit. The New Testament pattern is to find out where the Holy Spirit is already moving, and where spiritual life is already flowing, and follow that. Then build just enough structure to facilitate that life. That way if the operation of the Spirit of God changes or fruit is no longer forthcoming, there is so little structure established that things can easily be shut down or changed to facilitate a new way or a new flow of life. Conversely, changing outward forms, structures, worship styles, adding a new mission statement, new programs, and new outreaches, changing the name of your church or ministry are all false, unproductive ways to produce spiritual life. Spiritual life, health, and vitality flow from the fellowship we have with the Lord within our spirits.

THE GODDESSES OF MODERN CHURCH GROWTH

Elaborate buildings, large numbers of people, and an increasing flow of cash is not a sign of spiritual life and vitality, nor does it guarantee the same. The Church did not begin with that focus and yet somehow modern Church principles have put the emphasis on attendance, buildings, and cash. Some have called it the A, B, C’s of modern church growth. But many false religions of the world have a large following, magnificent buildings, and lots of cash, too. Although we are not opposed to any of these things in and of themselves, they are not the true indicators of spirituality. As a matter of fact, often these things serve as a sort of façade or smokescreen that hides the real problems and issues that are facing the Church in this hour. We’ve been guilty of painting and decorating the cart while neglecting the sick horse.

My younger biological brother who is a bit of a wordsmith came up with the following quote that illustrates the “cart before the horse” mentality that is so prevalent in the body of Christ today:

“Another meeting, another offering, another song, another convention, another banquet, another special speaker, another concert, another project, another program…and so ‘church life’ continues, but the changed life remains scarce. If the horse is healthy the cart will be pulled. If the horse is unhealthy, making the cart more attractive is useless.” — Roy Farias

There is a subtle, almost subconscious mentality in the Church today that places great emphasis on the outward and external appearances of Christianity. We are trained by example to esteem appearance, presentation, professionalism, and showmanship above hidden service and meeting the every day, pressing, oft-unspoken heart needs of individual people. We are easily impressed by the trappings of the production of the Church, and fooled by its big names and big conferences. I’m afraid there is a large gap separating the culture of the modern Western Church from the heart of God as revealed through Jesus in the gospels and through the early Church.

THE CULTURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The sad truth is that in much of the Church world the culture of the kingdom of God has been lost to the culture of hype, greed, religious politics, a Hollywood Jesus, and the professional business of the Church to such an extent that many churches resemble a political machine or a corporation more than God’s culture. God’s culture begins with the family, the home, making disciples through life relationships, reaching and caring for others with the gospel and the love of God.

The true disciples of Jesus are losing the taste for the shallow and superficial, and are separating themselves from those entangled in the appearance of spirituality. Many people have become disenchanted with the Church because of hurt, misuse and abuse, religious politics, and leadership caught up in the things of the flesh. People are looking for depth in the Word and in their relationships, a free flowing move of the Spirit, personal empowerment, and leadership that does not play political games.

Here is a word from the Lord that a prophet friend of mine received in a visitation:

“Do not look at the TV and larger media ministries to try to understand what I am doing in my body today. They have a part to play, but they are the visible to the eye veneer of the body that people see. Those who are carnal and immature see the outward appearance and are impressed, thinking that these are the height of ministry and where the Spirit is concentrating today. But they are mistaken.

“See what I see, many small churches and ministries investing in relationships, walking in love, pouring their lives into each other; this is where the Spirit is moving today. There is a revolution taking place in my body, a revolution of relationships, discipleship, and love. This will affect whole communities and economies.

“See what I see, many churches all over the world in which people are accountable to one another, working through conflicts, walking in love, and growing as my disciples. That is where my Spirit is moving today.

“Many are running to and fro asking, ‘Where is the next move; what is the next season of the Spirit?’ And I say to you that it is under their very noses. They stumble at the supernatural work in their midst and refuse to humble themselves and be taught because they seek the sensational and that which appeals to the outward man. They fail to recognize the true move of God because it must be spiritually discerned.” John Fenn

THE SIMPLICITY IN CHRIST

Have our minds been corrupted from this sort of simplicity that is found in Christ?

Notice the simplicity of the early Church culture in Acts 2:42-47.

Look especially at verses 46-47.

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Their kingdom values, lifestyle, mannerisms, behavioral patterns, common love, caring, and sharing with one another produced great fruit. The fear of God and the power of God were in manifestation, too. It seemed as if evangelism was effortless as the Lord was adding people to the church daily. Today with all of our technology, promotional techniques, sophisticated programs, and much labor we are seeing minimal fruit. What is the solution to this fruitless toil?

It all starts with reversing our mentality to think from the inside out and not from the outside in. The effectual working of the power of God must be at work in the hearts of the saints – a power that activates them into service. We have much preaching and teaching of the Word of God today, but there is an absence of the power and move of the Holy Spirit – much sermonizing but so little saturation of the Spirit.

When the Spirit of God is moving people’s hearts are full of satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment. If He is not moving people become stagnant and begin to murmur and complain. The Word and the Spirit causes great preparation in every heart for the Word brings the instruction, correction, and reproof, but the Spirit brings an activation and a fire in people’s hearts.

Let’s forget about the cart and tend to the sick horse.

Themes like these constitute a large portion of the book, Passing On The Move Of God To The Next Generation. You’ll be blessed to purchase this book from our website or from Amazon in paperback or kindle form. 

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THE PRAYER JOTTER: FURNISHING THE INSIDE OF MAN

In the early part of 2013 Carolyn and I began to travel together and pray together on a more regular basis. As we prayed, a new operation of the Spirit began to manifest in our prayer times. Prolific utterances and Holy Spirit wisdom and revelation began to flow, especially through Carolyn’s vessel. We recorded these precious gems, and now nearly four years later, have a large journal full of them, which we entitled, The Prayer Jotter.

Some of these jottings, as we call them, have been put in some of our books, and we are working on other books as well. We have blogged a small sample of these and have included a smattering of them throughout our writings, but we are going to be blogging more of them. I’d like to post some of them on social media, but hesitate to post such precious gems and pearls out to the general public because of the cynicism and criticism, as well as a plain lack of understanding of true spiritual things that is a part of the social media world.

So for the most part, we will be blogging them from our website, and those who want to take the time to read or follow our blog can do so. Truly these things are born of God as no man can receive anything unless it is given to him from heaven (Jn. 3:27).

Some of these utterances are wisdom and direction that the Lord gave for us personally, but much of it is also for the body of Christ, and some are specifically for churches, cities, and nations God sends us to. These come spontaneously as we are in the Spirit. They don’t come from thinking, brainstorming, or studying. At times we will record our prayer sessions and then transcribe the things the Lord says to paper.

The best way I can describe this operation is that when we enter into that place in the Spirit it is like entering into a classroom. It’s as if the Holy Spirit takes a piece of chalk and writes these things on a chalkboard for us. These jottings have become very precious to us because we do not control it. It is a total dependence on the Spirit of God to show forth these things as He wills. It is quite dangerous to try and manufacture these things outside of the flow that is coming from Him. He is the One that turns it on and off.

Here is one of many examples we’ve received of the wisdom of God that applies to all believers:

PRAYER JOTTING:

The love walk is a big side of following the spirit of truth. God has an ability to lead people out of error. Even as you are judging them God could already have led them out of sin and error.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, and a big part of that grace is to reveal their errors.

Do you see how this utterance arms us with His wisdom? It’s simple but it’s also profound. It can keep us from misjudging others and help us walk in stronger love and truth. We want to share more of this wisdom and revelation to help the body of Christ come into greater maturity and an increase of the Holy Spirit’s workings in this hour.

We will not only do this in writing but we’ve also had it on our hearts to send out short videos to teach and share these things corporately and individually, so that others will begin to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. We will be featuring these on our YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe there, too.

Holy Fire Ministries

Here’s what the Lord said to us concerning His vision and purpose:

“For some have said to you: What is your vision? For you have no building or systematic organization of any kind, but your vision is to build a city not made with hands – to take a people to a place where I am, sojourners in a land, a vision not of man.

Yours is a vision in the Spirit to redeem man; a vision to furnish the inside of man, for they are the true temple of God. My plan for which you’ve been created is to build man. Draw forth in prayer of the provision of My wisdom for My people.”

Praise the Name of Jesus. Stay tuned for more…

END-OF-THE-YEAR HEART SEARCH (Part 4)

One of the great revelations I received from Rick Joyner’s book, The Final Quest, was that so many of the personalities among the great cloud of witnesses that Rick was given the privilege to meet, and whom he expected to be in the highest positions in heaven, were in the lowest.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from such encounters he had:

  • The more influence that you gain by your own self-promotion, the more you must strive to retain your influence, and the more dark and cruel your life will become.
  • If you preach the greatest truths but do not live them, you are only the greatest hypocrite, and the most tormented soul.

This is one of the reasons where at times I wish I was not in the ministry and did not possess this knowledge, although I thank God for the honor of preaching His Word.

  • Do not try to teach others to do what you, yourself, are not doing. If you do not live what you preach to others you disqualify yourself from the high calling of God.
  • You can only do God’s work when you are doing it with Him, and not just for Him.
  • Anything that you do because of political pressures or opportunities, will only lead you to the end of your true ministry.

How much of what you are doing is just to prove yourself to others – especially those who dislike you, reject you, or who you feel are your competition in some way?

How much of your life is built on the facades of a projected image that belies who you really are?

God and all of heaven knows who you are beyond the veil of your projected motives.

  • Everything you do to exalt yourself will one day bring you the most terrible humiliation.

The times that you use people for your own purposes or to further your own ambitions, or to make yourself look better will cascade upon your on the day of judgment and there will be bitter grief.

  • The more you accept people’s praises and the more you live for their praises to gain power over them, the more you drift from the path of true life.
  • God’s truth often brings pain as it highlights a problem that we have, but His truth will always show us the way to freedom, too. When you know this you will even begin to rejoice in your trials, which are allowed to keep you on the path of life.

I know it is difficult to see the corruption of our souls but it is very profitable for you only on this wise: do not use these things to dwell on yourself, or seek to justify yourself with dead works, but turn to the Lord continually. As you do the veils will be removed ( 2 Cor. 3:16).

Let us pray:

“Heavenly Father, forgive us. We can hardly recognize our blindness, our self-absorption, and our preoccupation with ourselves, until we come into Your Light and behold Your Glory. Only then can You restore us to Your original intent and purpose. Even in all our attempts to develop ourselves spiritually, we have been more concerned about how it benefits us instead of how it would bring You glory.”

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9).

END-OF-YEAR HEART SEARCH (Part 3)

It is amazing sometimes how these blogposts fare with the common reader. What I personally deem as some of the most important posts are often the least viewed. The opposite is also true. What I deem as the least important often get the most views.

For example, my most read blogpost to date was one I wrote about two years ago defending Joel and Victoria Osteen when people were railing accusations and knee jerks reactions at them for something she said about worship, in what appeared to be a moment of confusion. Nearly 7000 people read or at least viewed that post in one day. We only have several hundred followers and average about 100 views per day. In comparison, the first two posts of this blog have received under 40 views each. Why the stark contrast? Generally speaking, most people are carnal. They love to read articles that come across like the National Enquirer and contain content that appears to be  juicy Christian gossip.

These end of the year nuggets are filled with deep spiritual truths, and it takes a spiritual person to understand them. These nuggets of wisdom from the book, The Final Quest, do so much for my heart. I can’t tell you how much I sense God’s grace and peace when I meditate on them and let them do a work in me. Here’s the big revelation I take away from many of these: most of the decisions I often make are mostly based on what will benefit me and take me further in life and ministry without the consideration for the perfect will of God and His heart in the matter. Oh, how deceptive the heart can be!

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer. 17:9-10)!

How I can obtain victory without suffering? How much of what I still do promotes myself instead of Christ? These questions often reveal to me that I am still operating in far more self-centeredness than Christ-centeredness. This weighs heavily on my heart because I am a minister, and to whom much is given much is required.

When the apostle Paul saw the light on the road to Damascus he began to understand that his own reasoning had led him into direct conflict with the very truth he claimed to be serving. Our reasoning will always do that, too. It will lead you to do that which is contrary to God’s will. Because I’m a minister, greater anointing brings greater danger of this happening to me, if I do not learn what Paul learned. If I do not stay in a place of humility and take up my cross every day and do all things for the sake of the gospel, the more influence I have the greater danger I will be in. That is a very sobering reality that all ministers and saints need to realize. This is the reason why a mature man will not reach for anointing and authority because he realizes that the stumbling blocks increase with such.

One of the greatest deceptions and stumbling blocks that comes upon God’s anointed ones is that they begin to think that just because God gives them a little supernatural revelation and power, that their ways must be God’s ways and what they think must be what God thinks. But we can only think like God when we are in perfect union with Him, and even with the most wise and anointed men, this only happens part of the time. Everyone falls short. Even the apostle Paul did. Our quest must be in that we are maturing and getting closer to the heart of God and not further away into greater darkness of thought and destructive reasonings.

Paul’s great wisdom was to embrace his weaknesses. He understood that if God delivered him from them He would not have been able to trust him with the level of revelation and power he walked in. Paul learned to distinguish between his own weaknesses and the revelation of the Spirit. He knew that when he was beset with weaknesses and fears that he was not seeing from God’s perspective, but from his own. This caused Paul to seek the Lord and depend on the Lord even more. This was his great wisdom, and it is the reason he boasted in his infirmities or weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:5). This level of spiritual depth and understanding is clearly lacking in Christianity today. We confuse what comes from our own hearts and minds with what comes from God’s heart and mind. Paul had learned to decipher between the two because of his sufferings.

It is easy to see light in God’s light (Ps. 36:9), but our perspective begins to change when we are in the battle or some kind of trial. When we don’t abide in the Lord, fears, impatience, frustration and even anger besets us. We don’t see clearly. We don’t judge righteously. We don’t see the Lord.

One of the greatest attributes any Christian can cultivate is to see the Lord in every situation and circumstance. In order to do this we must look with the eyes of our hearts. We can be just as close to the Lord here on the earth as anyone else has ever been, even Paul, if we will lay aside everything that hinders intimacy with Him and give ourselves fully to seek Him and to know Him. We are the ones who determine how close we will be to the Lord and not Him. If we will humble ourselves He will give grace.

Let us pray for one another that the veils that cloud our thoughts and judgements may be removed as we continually turn to the Lord.

END-OF-YEAR HEART SEARCH (Part 2)

We are reflecting on the final two sections of Rick Joyner’s book, The Final Quest, which we’ve been reading and highlighting for spiritual heart health.

  • What looks good on earth looks very different in heaven. What will make you a king on earth will often be a stumbling block to keep you from being a king in heaven. What will make you a king in heaven is lowly and esteemed on the earth.

“What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.” (Lk. 16:15 – NLT)

“What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Lk. 16:15)

  • We fight for truths more than for the people for whom they are given. We will fight for our ministries while running roughshod over the people in them.

While on the earth Paul the apostle had learned that according to all he was given by the Lord that he was the least of all saints and the chief of sinners. He wasn’t saying this to be humble, but because compared to both saints and sinners he had been given so much from the Lord and yet didn’t walk in alot of it. He was given so much light but fell short of it. Those who learn this kind of humility on the earth are the closest to the Lord throughout eternity and are of the highest rank in heaven. One cannot measure himself by others, but according to the light God has given to him personally.

Here’s a testimony of one of the cloud of witnesses, a minister of the gospel on the earth who was now in glory but in a lower realm of heaven. It seemed he had lost his reward but still gained his salvation according to this verse:

“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:15) or as the NLT version states: “The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”

  • “From the outside my ministry looked like a smooth running machine where everyone was in unity and there was perfect order, but it was the order of a concentration camp. I took the Lord’s own children and made them automatons in my own image instead of His. In the end I was not even serving the Lord, but the idol I had built to myself. By the end of my life I was actually an enemy of the true gospel , at least in practice, even if my teachings and writings seemed impeccably biblical.”

This minister was considered great on the earth. History had given us a very different picture of him from the one seen from heaven’s view.

  • “God has a different set of history books than those on the earth. Some have had a tiny glimpse of this, but they do not yet know how different they are. Earthly histories will pass away, but the books that are kept in heaven will last forever. If you can rejoice in what heaven is recording about your life, you are blessed indeed. Men see through a glass darkly, so their histories will alway be clouded, and sometimes completely wrong.”

Yet so many people and leaders esteeemed this ministerial figure when he lived on the earth, but only God could see his true heart and motives.

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

Very few people and even Christians have true discernment. Without this gift it is impossible to discern truth in those of the present or the past. Even with this gift it is difficult. Until you have been in heaven and been stripped, you will judge others through distorted prejudices, either positive or negative. This is why we are warned not to judge before the time. Until we have been in heaven we just cannot really know what is in the heart of others, whether they are performing good or evil deeds. There have been good motives even in the worst of men, and evil motives in the best of them. Only in heaven can men be judged by both their deeds and their motives.

The wise judge themselves lest they be judged.

The even wiser ask for the judgements of the Lord, because they realize that they cannot even judge themselves well.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, I judge myself today so that I will not be judged. I humble myself that I might receive more grace to truly discern right from wrong, good from evil, and the divine from the human. Remove the stumbling blocks and the veils from my eyes that keep me from seeing as You see. I ask You Father for Your judgments.

Purity Of Heart is one of my books that deals with the motives and values of men’s hearts. I highly recommend it for the earnest reader and disciple of Jesus.

END OF YEAR HEART SEARCH (Part 1)

The end of each year is usually marked by a time of reflection and adjustment for many people. It can be a time of remembering and rejoicing in the goodness shown to you by the Lord throughout the past year, but it can also equally as well be a time of counting our errors, missteps, and poor decisions, and then making the necessary amends, and often heart adjustments, by the grace of God, so that we won’t repeat the same.

I find end of the year holiday time also a time to not only continue to read my Bible, but also read an anointed book or two that I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t found the time – a book that will stir the depths of my soul, challenge my heart, aid in my consecration, and stoke my fire for God into the New Year.

Recently I opened up a book I had read and referred to many times before. Once I opened it and began to read it again I couldn’t get out of it. It is a classic for me by Rick Joyner called, The Final Quest. Do you know it?

This time I decided to mine some gold from it and actually collect the rich nuggets of wisdom and truth and meditate deeply on them. In the next few blogs I will be sharing some of these nuggets with you, unless of course you want to read the book yourself, which I highly recommend.

This is a book that due to its richness of wisdom and penetrating revelation I can never read but a few pages in one setting. I find myself putting the book down and communing with my own heart so frequently throughout the book. For this reason I was only able to read and extract nuggets of wisdom from the last two sections of the book.

Here then are a few:

  • True leaders of God’s people who carry genuine spiritual authority must first have proven their devotion through suffering for the gospel.
  • When men and women who dwell in such a place of darkness and evil with so little encouragement (the earth), not able to behold the glory but only having a hope in it, choose to suffer for that hope in which they can only see so dimly in their hearts, it causes even the greatest angels to bow their knee and gladly serve these heirs of salvation.
  • The Lord never promised that His way would be easy, but He has assured us that it would be worth it.
  • Some people’s authority in the kingdom comes from acts of faith, but others through suffering.
  •  The only true security in the kingdom of God comes from continually moving forward into realms that require more faith, which means more dependence on the Lord.
  • Heaven is much greater than we could dream of while on the earth. It is also true that the second death and hell is much more terrible that we’ve understood.
  • If many in heaven had known on the earth what they know now in heaven they would’ve lived much different than they did.
  • The rewards for our earthly lives are the eternal positions that we will have forever.
  • There is no greater folly than to know the great salvation of God, but to then go on living for yourself. To still make it to heaven and learn that reality is a grief beyond what an earthly soul can experience.
  • A moment in the lowest part of heaven is much greater than a thousand years of the highest life on earth.

I hope these bless you and do a work in your heart as you think upon them, for each of them are Scriptural principles and truths. Stay tuned for more…sign up to follow our blog so you won’t miss them.

Be blessed!

wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Pr. 1:5).

Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from God, our only shepherd, and they are like nails that fasten things together (Ec. 12:11 – CEV).

You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise… (2 Tim. 3:15)

 

 

 

PASSING ON , NOT DUMBING DOWN THE MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Everyone believer in Jesus Christ has  a part to play in advancing the kingdom of God on the earth. Every member of the body of Christ has a function and a gift. We are to do our part without de-emphasizing someone else’s part. One of our personal assignments is to put emphasis on the importance of the Person, the work and the move of the Holy Spirit in this last day and hour. We’ve written plenty on this topic including our most recent book which is highlighted at the bottom of this page, which one minister called one of the most relevant words for the Church and the times we are living in. We also conduct Holy Ghost Forums for the purpose of equipping and training the body of Christ in these things.

Additionally, we also occasionally hear from our readers who identify with this assignment and call on our lives concerning the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Following are two testimonies from such readers, the last one being a pastor.

From one of my commentators:

BARBARA

Years ago, Brother Kenneth E. Hagin said that if people were not taught how to flow in the Holy Spirit that that experience could be lost in one generation. When he was in his seventies, he was led by the Lord to once again hold Holy Ghost meetings to teach God’s people how to flow in the Spirit and experience the move of the Holy Ghost.

I was a student at the time and I recall Brother Hagin saying to our class, “now, give me some time to get back into the flow of holding this type of meeting” since it is different from conferences where teaching is the primary objective. And so he obeyed God to save a generation from losing that experience of flowing in the Spirit.

I believe we are in the generation that is losing that witness and reality in our lives because most ministers don’t have a clue of how to be used of God in this way. And if Brother Hagin had to get ‘back into the swing’ of flowing in the Holy Ghost in that dimension, how much more would it take most pastors who have never experienced flowing in the Spirit to teach their people this kind of spiritual sensitivity and yieldedness? Maybe we need some Holy Ghost meetings to cause people to hunger for more than what they are settling for, and so they can ask their pastors, why don’t we have a move of the Spirit like that in our church?

You can’t expect a 3-point message and a video-enhanced Sunday service with a manicured sermon series and matching hand-out cards to transform lives. None of those are wrong in and of themselves, but they can’t replace the reality of the Person of the Holy Spirit. What have we become?

What audacity to avoid any demonstration of the Holy Spirit for fear of offending people! Doesn’t the Scripture tell us that tongues are a sign to the unbeliever? Wasn’t it the demonstration of the Spirit, the gifts in operation that drew most of us to God and out of dead lifeless religion? Holy Spirit encounters didn’t drive us out of church; it drew us in every time the doors were open! Remember those days of hunger and excitement?

People are hungry for the real thing and dumbing down the gospel, forbidding tongues, or refusing to let the Holy Spirit have His way is robbing this generation and all that follow of the supernatural power that we so desire and desperately need to make it in these end times. This is the demonstration that will draw all men to Christ because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus!

CAROL SHANNON

Recently I had a vision. I was running with and in the Spirit. Praying in tongues, ministering in tongues and interpretation of tongues, gifts of the Spirit, moves of the Holy Ghost that we have experienced over the years, signs and wonders, and then I looked down at my hand and I was holding a baton and still running.

I felt the need to turn and pass this baton on to the anchor generation. I was quickened in my spirit that this baton represented all and more of the richness that we have experienced in the Spirt and as I turned I could not see anyone to pass it on to. My heart was alarmed for I knew that there was someone there to grab it and run, but I couldn’t see them.

Realizing this I wanted to slow the pace down, but I couldn’t. I started to shout to encourage the anchor person to focus and run fast and hard to catch the baton.

After pondering on this vision I realized that we have such a responsibility to not give up at all no matter the condition of the church. God will have His way, and we need to stay busy training and giving room for the demonstrations of the Spirit so those who are hungry will run the race and the baton will be passed to a generation that will go deeper and further should the Lord’s return tarry.

Our Holy Ghost forums that we all have been privileged to be a part of, carry the purposes of God to train others through teaching, sharing the wealth of experiences and making way for the demonstrations of the Spirit of God. Each forum has been increasingly powerful and rich.

Here is a sample of one.

A HOLY GHOST FORUM

And here is my new book on the said topic.

PASSING ON THE MOVE OF GOD TO THE NEXT GENERATION

Let us move in the Holy Ghost and pass these things on to others in our sphere of influence.

CARNAL ASSOCIATIONS ARE HINDERING MANY

Here is a word that came to my heart in a recent discussion with my wife Carolyn.

If you follow someone real closely as Elisha followed Elijah you can receive impartations from them that can be life changing and ministry altering, but you can also receive error from them. Be careful how closely you follow someone. Follow the Lord closely. Listen to the Lord while men speak. Many ministers may teach and preach truth 90% of the time (even that is a stretch), but it’s the 10% that can throw you off. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU FOLLOW, WHAT YOU HEAR AND READ

I know of a man who was a great apostle to his nation, but he began associating with some people who subtly twisted the Scriptures and over a long period of time this man converted to Roman Catholicism. It was difficult to believe that this minister who was once mightily anointed by God would revert back to dead religion. I came out of Roman Catholicism and was never taught the Word of God. Basic doctrines of Christ such as repentance from dead works and faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, and laying of hands, etc. (Heb. 6:1-2) were never taught. I was never given an opportunity to be born again or baptized in the Holy Spirit. I never saw anyone healed or delivered. I never even saw anyone carry a Bible or read a Bible in the RC church. I’m convinced that a seducing spirit got ahold of this minister and deceived him.

I also remember hearing of another man who was a great soul winner, but then he started reading a book about the kind of diet God prescribed to Israel in the Old Testament and what they could eat and couldn’t eat. Soon he became consumed with it, and began to preach and teach on it. He lost his ability to win souls and his ministry ended up on the spiritual junk heap all because of a book he read.

Although our Christian culture is filled with good books, there are also many self-help books, motivational books, and spiritual junk food with doctrinal tangents containing unsound, unscriptural practices. In my 30 years of preaching the gospel I’ve witnessed extreme teachings on prayer and spiritual warfare, angels and demons, personal prophecy, and many other such topics. It seems there is a boredom with the basics of the Bible and a constant insatiable desire for something new. Be careful who you follow and what you hear and read.

THE ENVIRONMENT CAN ALSO AFFECT YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

Even the environment and sometimes the city or region you live in can affect your spiritual life to a great degree. For instance, there was much sexual immorality in the city of Corinth that infiltrated and began to defile the early church (1 Cor. 7). They became promiscuous.

My wife and I knew of a godly couple, Mr. and Mrs. X, along with their children who moved to Dallas, Texas years ago. The entrepreneurial spirit that is prevalent in cities like Dallas got ahold of Mr. X and he began chasing the money. Soon his spiritual life dried up and undue stress and strife entered into his marriage sadly ending in divorce. They started out with such a purity and a love for the Lord with a genuine calling on their lives to serve Him in the gospel, but the spirit of mammon spoiled their early innocence and ruined their marriage. Tragic.

In Tulsa where I went to Bible school there is a political spirit in the body of Christ there as ministers seek to build their churches and ministries at any cost. Much envy, strife, and division exists there from the competition between churches. Lack of true accountability and ministerial ethics, moral failure, greed and covetousness, and a spirit of control have tainted so many ministries and works in that city. I have friends who live there that have witnessed horrible things being done in the name of Christ that are appalling and unbecoming to the kingdom of God.

Although there are many good and reputable ministries that live in the city and have come out of that city and produced much blessing, the political spirit has infected many lives and churches and caused damage to the body of Christ there. Callings have been corrupted and motives tainted by the bigness and politicking of churches and organizations. Many ministers have become money minded and lost the anointing. The tragedy is that many don’t even know it, but continue on with business as usual.

Furthermore, in such cities where there are so many churches and ministries it becomes quite easy to slip into something the Lord has not called you to do and even intrude into an office you’re not called to and thus shorten your life. Add to that, the many believers who sit under pastors who are very controlling and quench the Spirit, affecting entire congregations, and some of them don’t even realize how dry they are.

In assemblies where the Holy Spirit is not allowed to manifest Himself you can dry up and stall in your spiritual race where you reach a ceiling of limitation and confinement in your life and calling. It is the moving of the Holy Spirit that renews us and makes everything new, fresh, and alive again.

Teaching is very important as Jesus did more teaching than anything else, but we must also be mindful that the letter kills; it is the Spirit that gives life. The apostle Paul prayed for utterance so that Christ would be made manifest (Col. 4:3-4). He always purposed to preach the Word, not with enticing words of man’s speech, but in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God, so that people’s faith would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

These are examples of environments, associations, and ceilings that affect our spiritual lives and callings.

RELEVANCE OR THE POWER OF GOD

Today there are many churches who are more interested in being relevant to draw people into the congregation and not offend them than they are to follow the plan of God as laid forth in the Scriptures. God’s plan is that His people would be a Spirit filled people who demonstrate the supernatural.

Many churches have toned down on the supernatural and are not allowing the Holy Spirit to move. Some no longer even allow the public use of speaking in tongues, but seem ashamed of it, when many of our young people are actually intrigued and fascinated by it.

Understand this: Whenever the supernatural ceased to operate in Israel of old they returned to idolatry and heathenism. And they only got back into relationship with Jehovah after a series of stunning supernatural manifestations. I see the same type of thing happening today in many churches.

I conclude with a word for the wise. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get in a rut. Don’t dry up. Watch your spiritual diet. Watch your spiritual associations. Be careful who you follow. Make sure they have a strong base in the Word and are sound in doctrine. They must also be men of proven character who are filled with the Spirit and allow Him to move in the corporate assembly.