THE ORDER OF THE COMING RESTORATION: PURITY, PRAYER, AND POWER

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thievesAnd the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Mt. 21:12-14).

The temple was first cleansed because it had become a “den of thieves”. In prayer recently the Spirit of the Lord revealed to my wife and I two foundations that are like underpinnings in the book of Acts: prayer (and fasting), and purity – especially concerning money. The second one was a surprise to me.

GREED AND MONEY IMPURITIES

Greed has corrupted many of today’s churches. Through ungodly counsel pastors have given birth to Ishmaels that God never ordered, and then use manipulative tactics and gimmicks to make the people pay for them. Men have built churches that have become machines that need to be kept running through gross abuses of money. One mega church pastor got some of his minister friends to ride motorcycles into the church and on to the platform. People went crazy with the noise of the engines and the glitter of it all. Then a popular larger-than-life television personality was flown in to take a huge offering to pay off the mountain size mortgage debt the church owed on their building. Of course, with the people already in a state of hysteria it was easy to extract money from them.

You may ask, “Is there anything wrong with raising money to pay off a church building?” Of course not. It’s the method and the way it was done that makes it questionable. Hype is not a part of God’s methodology. It is an impurity. It is almost equivalent to people throwing money at the preacher while he is preaching. Have you ever witnessed this and felt a disturbing unrest in your spirit? That is the grief of the Spirit of God within you.

OTHER EXAMPLES

I was in a meeting where I observed a nationally known evangelist take up an offering under the influence of a  seducing spirit. He gave a personal testimony of sowing a financial seed and attributed that seed to large amounts of financial provision that he reaped afterwards. It sounded so good that he enticed many people to come to the altar and sow the largest seed they could. Many individuals gave $1000 in that one offering because the preacher highlighted that figure. That should’ve raised a red flag right there. A person ought to give as he purposes in his heart, not the amount the preacher says to give. This evangelist walked away from a medium sized church with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once again, he hyped up the people with a sales pitch that was hard to refuse. It was an impurity.

In prayer, the Lord showed us that this man’s ministry started off pure and right in his heart, but when his ministry got bigger and more organizational his heart began turning and became corrupted. This happens to so many. My prayer is, “Lord, please help me keep my own heart pure in ministry, especially when it involves pride and money.”

We need to be careful when it comes to money, without being stingy. A spirit of generosity must prevail in the Church, but let it be because God is moving on people’s hearts and not because of a seducing spirit. When a minister becomes money minded, watch him. He will eventually lose the anointing on his life. It’s fine to fund-raise for mission trips as we sometimes do, and now for our Arabic broadcast, but God help us when we use designated funds for personal use. It’s a form of lying as Ananias and Sapphira did. It’s another impurity.

I remember hearing a pastor tell me a story about some well known ministers who were conducting a conference. Since they were part of a motorcycle club, one man asked them if they wanted to participate in a motorcycle show next time they were in town. The minister loved the idea of combining a conference with participating in a motorcycle show. He could then combine a ministry trip with a pleasure seeking thrill while utilizing it all as a tax write off. That’s an impurity concerning money.

Some people might say, “That’s not that big a deal!” That’s what some people say about Ananias and Sapphira when they lied about the amount they gave from the proceeds of the sale of their land.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:1-3)

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not in keeping back a part of the price of the land, but it was lying about it.

“While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:4).

This was an impurity trying to gain entrance into the local body in Jerusalem and dilute the glory in the early Church. If it had not come under judgment it would’ve contaminated the Church from that point on. Think about why anyone would do that, and how common it is today. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be esteemed in the eyes of man. Sounds like a pretty common thing, doesn’t it? Is it any wonder why most don’t consider it a big deal? We’ve been so conditioned to embracing low standards of financial integrity for so long that we just brush it off as, “well, everyone does it”. And then we wonder why there’s no power and glory in the Church. If the glory would manifest as it did in the early Church many of us would be dead. It was after Jesus cleansed the temple that the power of God moved to heal the blind and the lame.

“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Mt. 21:14).

I could go on and on and give examples of gross abuses of money in the Church today and the lack of financial integrity. The Spirit of God put His finger on these two elements in the book of Acts that will greatly help restore much of the glory of God the Church has lost. One was prayer and fasting; the other was cleansing the impurities toward money. In the coming restoration, purity is first, prayer (and fasting) follows, and then we will see the manifestation of the glory and power of God in greater fulness.

We better pay attention to this. I’m just telling you what the Spirit of God said as He highlighted the book of Acts to us. And yet there’s much more that needs to be said.

To be continued…

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SERVICE OF MAMMON KEEPING THE CHURCH AND MINISTERS IN UNBELIEF

There is much insight and revelation concerning finances that would undermine most of the systems in churches today. From God’s will to prosper us, to God’s will that all be rich, to poverty being a blessing and keeping us humble, there is an entire spectrum of church belief systems in which most have yet to find the true vein of revelation concerning finances that would provide a healthy balance. Sadly, much of the Church is not ready for it. But those who can and will receive it will come into a great faith and freedom that will cause Divine activity on their behalf. Bottom line: The Church cannot serve God and mammon.

The service of mammon keeps the Church in unbelief. Leaders are trusting men for money instead of God. Gimmicks and ungodly tactics are utilized to extract money from people. Pressure and manipulation is constantly applied to people so they can give. Pastors will check their church financial records continually to see who is giving and who is not, and then they wind up showing partiality to those who give more. This is a form of subtle unbelief and having your eyes on man. Are you truly trusting the Lord, or are you depending more on the strength of your flesh?

The circumstances and levels of faith are different in people’s lives. You can’t simply judge people by their financial contributions to a church. If they’re prayerful, on fire and winning souls, their worth to the kingdom is invaluable regardless of their financial giving, whereas oftentimes the lukewarm rich church members will manipulate and control a pastor through their giving. Sometimes it’s best never to look at the financial records as some wise pastors have chosen to do. Yet, of course, it is right and honorable to give and support the work of God, and godly shepherds that lead you and feed you, and there is a great blessing in it. Although certain principles are timeless, God doesn’t lead every pastor the same exact way.

In one partner church of ours the people had to nearly plead with the pastor to receive offerings because the Lord told him not to receive conventional offerings due to the mistrust that people have today of ministers’ questionable dealings with money. Sometimes you have to establish trust over a period of time and teach people Bible truths concerning money. This pastor found a healthy compromise with his people, and they decided to place an offering box or basket by the entrance of the church so people could give as they purposed in their hearts. They’ve never lacked. As a matter of fact, they’ve prospered. At times the Lord has sent “ravens” to this church that have brought a large supply of money. This pastor was truly putting all his trust in the Lord.

For example, since this church leased a building in the strip mall they are in, the empty buildings in that mall have filled up with new tenants. The millionaire who owns those buildings took note of the great provision that had come to him since the church had been there and started giving the church large donations for their work. And this millionaire is a sinner! God has more than one way of bringing provision and paying for what He’s ordered. Of course, it is not wrong to receive conventional offerings and to teach people the importance of giving.  The important thing is to let the Lord lead you and put all your trust in Him.

The same type of unbelief could be applied to traveling ministers like we are. Many traveling ministers are only interested in going to larger churches and ministering in conferences where they know the likelihood of receiving bigger offerings are there. The needs and expenses of traveling ministers are real, just as the needs of pastors and churches are real; once again, the key is to put all your trust in the Lord and do what He says.

Financial increase and spiritual multiplication will often come from obeying a word of wisdom God gives us. In the ministry of Jesus He asked for a little boy’s lunch to be brought to Him – a few fishes and loaves –  and when He blessed them and broke them there was great multiplication (Mt. 14:17-20). The same can be applied spiritually. When the apostles received a word of wisdom for seven men to care for the widows so they could devote themselves to prayer and the Word, there was great spiritual multiplication (Acts 6:1-7). This word of wisdom stopped the murmuring that was coming from the widows being neglected in the daily ministration.

So on the one hand, in the earliest beginnings of the Church people were selling their houses and lands and bringing the proceeds to the apostles feet (Acts 4:34-35). But on the other hand, there were poor widows that needed care who were being neglected (Acts 6), and distribution was made to them as they had need. The initial neglect of the widows did not cause the apostles to neglect their devotion to prayer and the Word.

Think about the high importance the early apostles placed on prayer and the Word. Even the legitimate needs of people, and the pure religion of caring for widows would not pull them away from their primary responsibility. Today, pastors and ministers are quickly knocked out of prayer by petty things, pet hobbies, and menial tasks.

Pastors and ministers, we have a great responsibility before God to stay in prayer and the Word. Put all your trust in the Lord. Listen to Him, and do what He says. All the wisdom, grace, and provision you need is found in Him. It is when we return to this pattern that we will begin seeing radical change in the Church of today.

THE COUNSEL OF THE UNGODLY IS CORRUPTING CHURCHES

There will be enough oil (Holy Spirit), grain (the living word of God, fresh manna), spiritual and numerical  growth/increase, provision, and protection for the churches who will hear and obey the counsel of the Lord in this hour. When the widow obeyed the word of Elisha to go around and collect empty vessels from her neighbors the oil was multiplied and sold to pay off her creditors (2 Kings 4:1-7). The key was the faith of the widow to obey the commandment of Elisha and go and gather empty vessels. This account is a story of financial provision coming from obedience, but it can also be applied spiritually as well.

Fresh oil will follow the obedience to the counsel of the Lord. Water will be turned to wine when we do what Jesus says (Jn. 2:5).  The increase of the oil of the Holy Spirit revives people and causes them to become eternally minded and they become an asset to the church and the work of God. Revived workers is one of the greatest needs of the Church in this hour.

In a great house there are both vessels of gold and silver, and of wood and clay, some to honor and some to dishonor (1 Tim. 2:20). The honorable vessels who qualify for more oil are those who are empty of themselves. The dishonorable vessels are those who are carnal, full of pride, the wisdom of men, and self sufficiency. There will be little to no oil for them.

Spiritually speaking, we know oil represents the Holy Spirit. In the parable of the 10 virgins they were commanded to go out and buy oil (Mt. 25:1-13). Oil is purchased with money, and money to buy oil represents your life. There must be a surrendering of your life (Lk. 14:26) and an emptying of yourself, so that you can be filled. Frankly, many in the body of Christ and even pastors are full of themselves. Humility is required to receive the grace that produces the oil of the Holy Spirit in your life (Jam. 4:6). And the measure of the Holy Spirit you will receive is in proportion to your hearing and obeying the Lord’s counsel. 

Having just enough oil is not enough for the midnight hour and the coming storm. The foolish virgins found that out the hard way. They were unprepared for the coming of the Bridegroom. In addition to oil in our lamps, we need a vessel as the wise virgins possessed for the supply of extra oil.

“They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Mt. 25:3-4 – KJV).

The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil (Mt. 25:3-4).

Too many Christians have just enough or not enough oil. They do just enough or not enough to get by in their relationship with God. They don’t seek God. They don’t read their Bible much. They don’t think about God much. They don’t talk to God much. They may do their religious duty and attend church on Sundays, but they don’t seek God much during the week. They never fast. They never pray in tongues. They do just enough or not quite enough, but their hearts are cold, and they have no fire. Oil is the fuel for the fire. Oil is what keeps our spiritual motors running well. Make sure you buy extra oil by surrendering your life to the Lord, staying close to Him, and living in obedience to what He tells you to do, both through the written Word and the spoken Word.

Sometimes pastors and ministers are to blame for the lack of the supply of oil in the people. Many sheep are not being fed the living word. Many are drying up because there is no flow of the Holy Spirit. Many churches have compromised the Word and are limiting the operations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. People are bored in church, and at times, pastors are bored themselves. They’re bored in their call and lukewarm in their preaching. The ministry has become a job and a means of income for many of them, and they do whatever is necessary to keep the money coming in. There is a better way, but it will cost pastors and churches much to change, especially  those who have compromised and built on a wrong foundation. In urgent times we often need a crucifixion before a resurrection can come.

I see the Lord providing great protection, spiritual and financial increase, and multiplication to the praying and uncompromising Church of today. The majority of that increase will come to numerically small churches because their foundation has not been set in stone and can be more easily reset. Conversely, numerically large churches have a foundation and systems built into them that are much more difficult to be broken up, reset, and changed in order to accommodate the true counsel of the Lord.

Here’s an example of the false counsel that is being prescribed to many pastors today:

Pastors talk to their congregations about connecting with visitors and engaging in community. They go to conferences and they hear things like, “unless your visitors make several friends in the first few months of coming to your church, they will leave.” So they make every effort to create community in their churches by building cafes and coffee houses and setting up lounges for people to connect socially. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but what is your motive? If it’s just to have more people to grow your church, to pay for buildings, and expand your programs, then you have been corrupted by worldly methods. That is not a gospel motivated church.

True community is created with people who love God’s ways and want to be true disciples. It is Christ followers with burning kindred spirits who bond in true community. Can you imagine Peter and John or any of the early apostles sitting down and strategizing about how to keep the 3,000 new converts that came into the church at Pentecost from leaving? Yet this is what many of these church conferences teach you. They had just experienced a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Peter’s message was so freighted with the Spirit of God that it produced genuine repentance and conversion as people began seeking God with all their being. That is how the Church is supposed to grow.

There is great temptation out there for pastors who see their churches dwindling to compromise their values and use worldly means to try and grow their churches or keep the people from leaving. There is no Scriptural standard for drawing more people into the local church, or for building a bigger audience, in order to keep the funds coming in to maintain buildings and expand programs. These motives are tainted with man’s wisdom that runs the church like a for-profit business.

Here is the word of the Lord: When pastors and ministers restore the pattern of Acts 6:4 in their churches and ministries today they will see a restoration of the protection and multiplication of the work of God. 

When we obey the counsel of the Lord there is protection, financial provision, and spiritual multiplication for the Church. When the disciples obeyed Jesus’ instructions to launch out into the deep there was a great catch (Lk. 4). After His resurrection He gave them similar instructions again, but this time it was to cast their net on the other side. Once again, there was a great catch (Jn. 21). Hearing and obeying is all that is required. It’s one of the great secrets that runs through the entire Bible, but today men don’t pray much, and they don’t listen to the counsel of the Lord.

Return to the original pattern and you will see the original results they saw in the gospels and in the book of Acts. Fervent effectual prayer will produce the power of God, which in turn will bring provision, protection, and a multiplication to the Church.

To be continued…

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PROTECTION AND MULTIPLICATION COMING TO THE TRUE CHURCH

There will be a Divine protection and a multiplication for churches who are following the pattern that Jesus and the apostles laid down in the beginning. The pattern is Acts 6:4: “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Churches who truly become houses of prayer will receive words of wisdom that will result in great protection and provision for the Church and the people of God. Just as the Christ child was protected through warnings and direction given to Joseph and the wise men in dreams (there are least 5 dreams given in Mt. 1 and 2), even so shall it be for the true churches in this hour who’ve stood in the counsel of God and refused to compromise.

Not only will there be Divine protection but there will also be Divine multiplication as we see in the early Church.

“Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).

“And as the three in the fiery furnace came out, so will those who stand in the counsel of God come out, in spite of the adversity, the opposition, and the bewitching (Gal. 3:3) that is going on in the Church today. There will be a great increase of spiritual activity to those who have made their churches houses of true prayer. There will be financial increase and greater provision for pastors who’ve refused to compromise and give place to man’s wisdom and who have placed all their confidence in the power of God. The true churches will be known by these foundations: Prayer and obedience to God’s counsel, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and a Christ centered gospel (building their churches on the Rock of Jesus Christ). This is the foundation that will manifest the glory of God and not be shaken during the coming storm.” (Holy Spirit inspired utterance).

You must return to the pattern of the Son and the early apostles who knew they could do nothing in and of themselves. They sought God and as long as they sought God they prospered.

He (king Uzziah) sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (2 Chron. 26:5). 

PURITY, PRAYER, AND POWER

Judgment will also increase on the churches who refuse to judge themselves. For judgment must begin in the house of God (1 Pt. 4:17). The house of God must be cleansed, for purity is a prerequisite for the passing over of judgment. In the same way Jesus cleansed the temple, even so there will be another cleansing at the end of the Church age as there was at the beginning. Much of the cleansing in this hour has to do with the use and abuse of money. Churches have become dens of thieves. Ministers have lost the anointing because they’ve become money-minded. Too many church decisions are based on money and motives have been tainted by the greed for filthy lucre. This is a severe judgment and must be so for the glory to reappear as it did at the beginning. If the glory increased now, many would be condemned and even die in judgment as Ananias and Sapphira did at the beginning (Acts 5). Remember that their judgment was over money. But God is patient, merciful, and long suffering. If you want the glory of God judge yourself.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31-32).

Once there is a cleansing in the Church then it must lead to effectual, fervent prayer. Jesus said that His house will be called a house of prayer. The Spirit of God said this to us recently: If the body of Christ would press into the “Could you not watch and pray with Me for one hour?” they’d see the book of Acts. Prayer always precedes the power. It releases Divine activity. It puts angels to work. It brings the provision of God. It births miracles, signs and wonders, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It deals with the enemies of the Church and seals her with Divine protection. It brings the glory of God into manifestation. Oh, what we miss when we don’t enter into the closet of true prayer and Holy Ghost communion!

Paul prayed for the Church to know the “exceeding greatness of His power” (Eph. 1:19). This great power will come into manifestation through purity and prayer. We’ve only seen a small measure of that power. When it comes into full manifestation the Church will once again have the attention of the world.

Notice again how purity leads to prayer, and then the power:

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16 – Amp).

The Spirit of God instructed my wife and I to admonish the pray-ers to pray fervently and effectually for the power of God to be made available in the Church today. Without it the Church will continue to decline in her witness and effectiveness.

To be continued…

 

 

IS THE AMERICANIZATION OF JESUS VEILING OUR EYES FROM TRULY KNOWING HIM?

“It is quite an education when I consider the degree of anger and hostility I get from “Christians” when I simply point out the ethics that Jesus taught, you know, ‘red letter’ stuff, like, love your enemies, do good to them who spitefully use you, etc. People will dodge, dance, resist, resent, fight, attack, slander, and any number of other lovely “Christian” behaviors for the right to cling to retributive justice and other unbiblical and ungodly beliefs, especially when Jesus’ ethics challenge their own. Once when dealing with an elder’s wife on an issue, I pointed to what Jesus said (in context, properly exegeted), in her own “red letter” Bible, that was contrary to what she was believing, clinging to, and fighting me about. Her exact words to me: ‘My Jesus is not like that.’ Precisely, that is the problem.” Dr. Stephen Crosby

The Church presents Christ as the therapist, the banker, the philosopher, the friend, the hippie, the social activist, the look-the-other-way zero-accountability spiritual figure.

Why are the majority of people in the West so confused or deceived about who Jesus really is? Why do they seem to have so little depth or spiritual substance in their lives? Why can’t these people’s Christianity go beyond, “Jesus said, ‘do not judge’?” Is it not in large part due to the distorted message of Him that our pulpits, our preachers, and our churches are presenting? Is it not for the lack of example we’ve had in many Christian leaders? Similarly, the reason for much of today’s current moral and cultural malaise stems from the Church’s distorted message of the Christ.

The image of Jesus for many professing Christians has been shaped by the society around them. Unless you have an intimate relationship with the Holy One and His Word, the image you have of Him will be distorted. It will resemble the pop culture you live in and what the people of that culture worship. In the West, self is god. Corruptible man is worshipped. Humanism rules. And this is what we see in much of today’s Church.

If a professing believer does not want to give up his carnal, sinful lifestyle and adhere to the Lord’s ways, he can just create an image of God that makes room for his sinful lifestyle. It is a very subtle deception that comforts and consoles him in his carnality and sin by saying things like, “God knows my heart,” or “God understands my struggles.” These types of comments, however, are usually made as a way of defending his lifestyle and justifying his carnal appetites. Is the Jesus you serve a product of your own desires patterned after this world, or is He the true presence of the Living Word of God in your life?

For example, divorce is now a rampant part of our Western culture, and the divorce rate in the church is nearly equal to that in the world. Many professing Christians find an unscriptural excuse to leave their spouses, and, in contradiction to the will of God, they forsake the vows they once made. And now that our culture is deteriorating to levels of sexual anarchy, professing Christians are claiming that one can also be gay and be a Christian. This is what happens when professing Christians flow with the spirit of the world. The image of God in them changes.

Emil Durkheim, the classic father of sociology, wrote extensively about totemism. Totemism is derived from the word “totem,” which is a natural object or an animate being, such as an animal or bird, assumed to be the emblem of a clan, family, or group. It can be an object or a natural phenomenon that a family considers itself to be closely related to; a totem serves as a distinctive mark of that group or family. Totemism is the belief in the kinship of groups or individuals having a common totem and the rituals, taboos, and practices associated with such a belief.

Durkheim described totemism as the human tendency to form a conception of God in our own image. He said that oftentimes human beings, whether they are jungle tribes or sophisticated city dwellers, will take the values and traditions that they admire most about themselves and project them onto a totem. Eventually, they stand in awe of that totem and end up worshipping an incarnation of the things they love about themselves. This is what people do with the image of God. We create an image of a god whom we can relate to and who cares about the same things we care about.

During the days of Moses, Israel was living in an environment that worshipped images of animals and creeping things, and so a golden calf was fashioned from the people’s gold and worshipped (Ex. 32). “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:22-23). Their culture influenced and shaped their image of God. If you don’t stay in God’s presence and in God’s Word, being a doer of it, the same thing could happen to you.

Beware of idolatry and changing the image of an incorruptible God into corruptible man.

In the West, worshipping golden images of animals and insects is not as prominent. As I stated, we worship something more subtle: self.

The fewer preconceptions we bring from the outside to the reading of the gospels, the more clearly we shall see Him as He really is. It is all too easy to believe in a Jesus who is largely a construction of our own imagination — an inoffensive Person whom no one could dislike or disapprove of, and certainly whom no one would ever crucify.

But the Jesus we meet in the gospels is far from being an inoffensive person. On the contrary, He caused offense quite frequently. Even His loyal followers found Him to be offensive at times, even disconcerting. He upset all established notions of religious propriety.

An inaccurate, distorted, and unbiblical view of Jesus is a big reason why many pastors fail to confront sin in the Church and speak of the evils in our society.

When asked why pastors don’t speak out against the evils in our nation and government, one influential pastor said, “I think one reason is a lot of Christian leaders have the wrong idea about Jesus. They see Jesus as this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial.

“The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth — and he ended up being crucified because of it. I believe it’s time for pastors to say, ‘You know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth, regardless of what happens.’”

At times, the greatest love we can demonstrate is in rebuke. Conversely, at times, the greatest cruelty we can demonstrate is in never confronting sin or evil.

“Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. If you read His words assuming otherwise, then you are not encountering the real Jesus.

This is an excerpt from the fourth book of a compelling tetralogy called The Real Jesus. The other three books are The Real Salvation, The Real Spirit of Revival, and The Real Gospel. These books expose the falsehood that has creeped into the Church today and defiled it. They will help purify your walk with the Lord and increase your love for the truth.

FROM MY HEART: THIS IS WHY I WRITE

In the last five years when I finally decided to obey the Lord’s commission to write more diligently, thousands of books have gone out to the body of Christ across North America and some to other nations. Without the steep expense and help of a traditional publishing company, without a mass marketing effort, without a large ministry platform, or an influential ministry backing us, the Lord has moved on the hearts of many to get copies of our books. At times when a person has purchased one of our books they’ve been inclined to purchase more because there is a word from God in it that ministers powerfully to them. We are grateful for that and give God all the glory.

I never felt qualified or worthy to write such books, nor do I necessarily consider myself a good writer, but during a difficult time when the enemy of our souls was seeking to discourage and discredit our calling, and I was contemplating leaving the ministry, the Lord spoke to me about my writing being a priority. He said one of the reasons nothing seemed to be working was because I had not placed enough priority on this aspect of ministry, which was God’s plan for me. I know some people write for enjoyment or simply because it is a craft, and they have a creative ability to do it, but with me it is a calling. It is not just about sales, but it’s about getting the word of the Lord out to the body of Christ.

All the proceeds from the sales of our books go right back into publishing and paying ministry expenses. We have always lived by faith, and have no retirement, no social security, and barely enough medical insurance to cover basic needs. We may never come close to having a best seller, but several years ago when I complained to the Lord saying that no one would buy my books, He simply spoke these words: “I have a people.” That statement alone gave me the faith to write and to trust the Lord with the results.

TESTIMONIES OF READERS

Most reviews that we’ve received for our books are very positive with compelling comments about how enlightening and even life changing our books have been to our readers. It is always encouraging to read such comments, and it makes my literary work worthwhile. Here is one glowing review from an overseas reader:

“I love your books. I have learned so much from them, so many truths and so many questions answered, and am now able to discern between the truth and the deceptions of the world.

I have only read a few books so far but intend to get them all eventually. I have so many passages highlighted in ‘The Real Salvation’ and have several phrases written down from the weekly blog I receive via email. I love to review them all from time to time. When the real truth and the word of God unfolds before you its impossible to resist.

Not all of us are eloquent, so we need great writers to inspire us and feed us spiritually. I think these modern day epistles/works will travel far and bring a million+ souls to Salvation.

As you have probably gathered I hold you responsible for bringing me closer to the good Lord ! Again thank you for that, and please continue with beautiful words and the Holy Fire!” – C. M.

Here’s another one:

“I have read and re-read each of your books, Bert. I share them with everyone I meet, and I think I have reviewed all of them on Amazon. Your deposit in my life has been huge. Every reading I have, I feel like the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. They are so anointed.” M.R.

Well, needless to say, these types of testimonies greatly encourage me to continue to write as the Lord anoints me. For what is a writer without a reader?

FIVE REASONS TO READ MORE

Here are five reasons I recently read by Frank Viola of why reading books will make you a more effective and influential Jesus-follower:
1. The church has been with us for 2,000 years. God hasn’t just started shedding light on His Word in our generation. There is a gold mine of insight found in books written by His servants over thousands of years. So we can learn enormously from their experience, insight, and knowledge.

2. The Lord has placed ministry gifts in His church from the beginning up until now. So it’s both foolish and unscriptural to think that any of us can tap into all the riches of Christ by ourselves.

3. Reading makes you a better thinker. It feeds your spirit, sharpens your mind, cuts new grooves in your brain, and opens you up to new ideas, concepts, and perspectives. Not to mention it strengthens and broadens your vocabulary, making you a better communicator.

4. Reading broadens your understanding, and spiritual books can throw tremendous light on your understanding of Scripture.

5. Reading helps us to know the Lord better, especially books written specifically by those who are (and were) ahead of us in our spiritual journey.
All of these reasons are why I read books and why I write them for others.

Keep in mind that the specific kinds of books one reads is a vital piece of the puzzle. A.W. Tozer bemoaned the fact that the popular books of his day were fluff. He wrote:

“I was browsing a used bookstore recently, looking over some of the books that are popular today. I must confess I have never bought a book because it was popular. Sometimes the popular book is the most shallow, at least in my experience … I blush today to think about the religious author that is now being handed out to our poor kids. I pray daily that the spirit of seriousness might fall upon the church once again to such an extent that we will have an insatiable appetite for not only the deep things of God, but for God Himself. When a person nourishes his soul on the high and lofty thoughts of God, he loses his appetite for the watered-down modern-day religion.”
If Tozer were living now, he’d be stunned to discover that the problem he described has been raised to the 50th power.

Thank you to each person who has ever purchased any of our books. I hope they were a blessing to you, and that you’ll consider posting a review as reviews help promote the books and encourage others to get a copy. All our books are available on paperback and kindle. (Amazon Books)

Thank you for helping the work of unknown writers, and thank you for letting me share a piece of my heart and a part of my calling with you today. To God be the glory.

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.