Out With The Old
The Lord spoke to me a couple years back now about seven blind spots in the body of Christ. I have dealt repeatedly with two of them on this blog, finances and health respectively. Today I want to branch into another of these blind spots as we finish out 2014 and that being the difference between the modern local church and the collective Kingdom of God and why it is so critical that we begin to get our collective minds around these powerful scriptural principles.
Being in my mid 40s and being raised in church and around churches of all stripes for all of those decades, I've seen my fair share of stuff come down the pike.
I remember being 7 or 8 years old and our old denominational church scheduling revival meetings. Even then the question I never understood was if we were asking God to revive us, didn't that mean we were dead or close to it?
As those years escaped into my twenties, my question became "If we are praying for a spontaneous move of God, why are we scheduling it with an end time to each of the meetings?" If we meet for revival from 7pm to 9pm, how is that not telling God to be done by 9:00pm and if we are indeed honestly saying that to God, are we really after revival? I mean, is it only welcome if it comes on our time table? I thought the whole point was for God to change US and interrupt or even resurrect our dead lives by REVIVING us. For a lot of years those questions and many like them remained unanswered until I began to search the bible for myself.
The written Word of God provided some much needed clarity including showing forth a clear difference in the government of God's Kingdom that exists anywhere God is allowed to manifest... and the government outlined for the gathering of local believers when they would gather in each other's homes in the Lord's name. The local gatherings seemed obvious, they had changed a bit over the centuries and we had adopted buildings and many silly, religious habits and even some completely unbiblical practices, but the pattern outlined in scripture for the local meetings was still one thing... and the pattern of God's Government for His Kingdom stood out as something completely different. This difference between what we now know as the modern church and the Heavenly Kingdom of God being two very different things is a very big blind spot for many believers and as I mentioned up top here, one of seven critical blind spots in the body at large in the earth today.
My next statement here will be heresy to some of you but for others it will be divine confirmation. Here it is...
I have watched the Holy Spirit strategically bring together groupings of people at various churches dozens of times over the years to set up a sovereign, city wide, all encompassing manifesting of The Kingdom of God here in Central, Ohio Each and every time with no exceptions, it never gets to bleed out into the community because the leader, pastor, elder, apostle, whomever is in charge of the given church where it all starts in has this blind spot in place and thus mistakenly believes these Kingdom of God based people are really ineffective until/unless they all submit to their personal vision. In short, it all needs to come thru their church, their way, at their personal level of revelation, with them being the ultimate judge of it all exclusively or it's not really a move of God.
I need to interject here a note about prophets and prophetic leaning people. Prophets treasure God's presence over everything else. Period. There is no debate, there is no give, it is how they are wired out of the womb by God so they can fulfill the nature of their calling in the earth. Prophets understand (at least the mature ones) the difference in the modern church and the bigger picture of the collective church under the umbrella of The Kingdom of God.
If you have a true prophet in your church and you try to force them into a doctrinal mold that puts a rule or an opinion (even a rule you feel is firmly rooted in scripture) over and above God's presence, the prophet will be very conflicted and if immature, will cause quite a stir and potentially split your church. More mature prophets in this position will simply leave. If you are a leader and God begins to bring prophets to your church, you need to tread very carefully because I assure you, God is up to something much bigger than growing just your one little church.
A gathering of prophetic people that just spontaneously happens is God's way of signaling He is ready to hit a given place with a tidal wave of outpouring. If you try and reduce these prophetic people to simply regular attendees and force them into your new member's classes, you will do what most everyone before you has done, you will miss the bigger picture and sadly, the promised move of God that was on the table.
Jezebel literally means one who refuses to be joined unto. Many modern churches refuse to be joined to God's bigger picture of The Kingdom of God and as a result, you will see moral and relational devastation in the lives of their membership. Prophets will of course suggest a turn toward the Kingdom of God but leaders who are blind to the Kingdom principles I am sharing here will often accuse the prophets of being the rebellious ones and go so far as to make them the scape goats, in rare cases even making up stories about them to engage in damage control for the very disobedience they themselves were guilty of. Sadly, this is something I have witnessed first hand.
Just as it's exciting to see prophets start t gather, when prophets begin to leave, especially if they leave in mass, it's likely time to pack your own bags as the cloud by day has moved on and whomever is leading the flock there has missed that memo.
Now, many folks have built big churches, even mega churches on this concept of their church being "God's favorite" or their church being "the real" church in a given area. They may not ever use those words, but that's really behind the heart motive. True and mature Apostles hate this sort of pride and will usually address it head on as the need arises. As a side, be mindful of Apostles who build upon just their personal vision. The foundation of the church is always Apostles AND Prophets. Usually on the local front this means an Apostle will get a starting vision to build a new work but that vision will be incomplete and will require local Prophets called to serve in that region to come and bring completion to the vision.
Sadly, this joining of the Apostolic and locally assigned prophetic is so incredibly rare it's almost not worthy of mention. It takes mature Apostles and Prophets fueled by humility to serve others first.. which again is ultra rare.. but this is what a true, city wide, sweeping move of God is going to look like.. and it's not just for Central Ohio. It's what it will look like all over the nation if we are to see a true nationwide outpouring of God's Spirit on our land once again.
Sure we can have patriotism, nationalism and even pockets of unity among the people , all of which are nice to be sure... but these are not revival and that promised revival is what God has His mind on as we journey into 2015.
Exodus Gods and Kings
I felt the Lord's nudge to watch the new Exodus movie last night so go and watch it I did.
Most negative reviews from Christians are folks upset because of the stray from the biblical text at various places. In the case of the movie Noah, these departures painted Noah as a madman and a troubled soul and God as a vengence centered egomaniac. However, the departures from scripture in the Exodus movie don't do that same sort of damage. In fact, there was only one time in the Noah film I sensed the Spirit of God on it and that was when Methuselah reached out and healed Shem's wife. By contrast, in Exodus, there were several scenes where I perceived the touch of Heaven to be present.
I felt an actual anointing in the theater begin to stir and manafest at one particular spot where Moses walks through and instructing them to kill a lamb and put it's blood on the door. "Pity the lambs if I am wrong but if I am right, we shall bless the lamb forever". That was worth the price of admission alone for me personally.
The biggest criticism seems to be that many feel proper credit isn't given to God for parting the Red Sea. I had read that going in and was a pleasantly surprised at how they handled that scene. I do not believe that there has ever been a more accurate portrayal of what crossing the Red Sea must have looked like. We tend to forget as we read that there were millions of Hebrews all on the move, mainly by foot, all at the same time. This wasn't God rolling back the waves for a few minutes, this would have had to have been a large scale, ongoing supernatural thing easily stretching out for at least several hours. We also tend to create a mental image of one small path and people basically moving thru two or three at a time. The way this movie shows it would be much more accurate to what it was likely to have looked like. the scenes shot as the waters come back in are some of the best special effects I've seen on the big screen. Yes, the start of the miracle strays a bit from the biblical account, but I don't feel it damages or discredits the miracle at all. The overall point is carried through very powerfully.
If you are a bible purist, or a teacher, or someone who is expecting this to walk in full agreement with the actual biblical account, you will be a bit disappointed as they do take some liberties in the film. A challenging piece for me at first is that they use a small boy to represent God so when Moses and God talk, it's him talking to a small boy. He talks to the boy standing with the burning bush in the backdrop for example, instead of talking to the fire in the bush. Moses is shown writing out the ten commandments with his own hand at God's instruction instead of the finger of God writing them and stuff like that could tempt you to be dismissive and carry an offense.
My advice would be to not go see it as something made to parallel your bible study efforts because believe me, that is not why the film was made. It will however tell the ageless story of Moses while staying close enough to the story to get the overall points across, especially to those who do not know it or are unfamiliar with it and for those mature enough to see the larger picture of God using people to regain the mountain of media, this is a wonderful step in the right direction and indeed something the Holy spirit can use to be sure.
Go and watch it on the largest screen possible and in 3D if possible.
I remember as a 15 year old boy sitting at the microphone of a little AM station in Northern Central,Ohio reading pre-written stories news stories from my High School. It was a tiny 500 watt station that may have had a hundred people tuned in on a good day but to me at that time I might as well of been talking to the world. I was sweating bullets and was so nervous I could hardly sit still. From that somewhat unlikely spot, God began to put a lure in my heart for radio.
A few years later I found myself full time at a local Christian FM station and with the technical side of things smoothed out, the gifting side of what God was doing in me began to emerge. I somehow knew by His spirit what song to play next and as I matured in that I would get images and picures of people in my head that I would share on the air.
"There's a woman listening, driving a blue car, wearing a white top, you just had a fight with your husband and stormed out of the house angry. The Lord is touching your heart now and healing you" was the first thing I still remember saying on the air that was completely from God. About 10 minutes later the station gets a call from the woman saying she was on her way to end her life and the guy on the air called her out and God instantly took her pain away. She was on her way back home. While that sounds all glorious, no one was more surprised than I was. I kept yielding as the weeks and months went on and even more radical things began to happen as I hosted several one hour shows in those early years.
In the early 2000s I put together a praise show called Power Praise and it aired in our Christian Chat Rooms and also on a big FM station in Florida for a couple of years. Lots of worship and personalized ministry as once again the Holy Spirit met me and breathed on my efforts.
As I began in 2007 to build and program our online network of stations, my focus went more toward programming and technical matters. My ministry efforts narrowed into much more in person, one on one and through various local churches and ministry conferences. What God was doing with and through me was even greater than before but it just didn't have much to do with a radio show any longer.
For years I had known I was to build seven stations and wait for further instructions. In December of 2013 I programmed and launched our seventh station completing that assignment. I felt that gentle nudge of the Lord to do a show at that point but simply didn't do it. I could give several reasons, all appearing valid to my fallen mind, but at the end of the day I simply chose not to yield in a timely way.
I had been helping my wife Lori and a few others from the ministry with the show Rocks in the Stream for the last many years as a producer and co host. Rocks is a fun show, designed to be lighthearted and high energy. The more I co-hosted, the more I would take it in a ministry direction until finally we were recording Rocks one night and the tempo of the show got so slowed down that even I had to admit, my desire to minister in a radio show format again was bleeding over where it didn't belong and accordingly was affecting others, and not in a good way. I had to repent.
So after a year of finding excuses disguised as valid reasons, I told the Lord yes and decided to do a show. That show is called StreamLine.
StreamLine is a powerful show that features a broad scope of music from some worship stuff to CCM and even an occasional Christian Rock track or two. What determines when a song gets played? That's where the gift comes in. As I feel the Lord's leading, I play that given song. In between playing those specific songs as I'm lead, I also share openly and freely about relevant topics and of course I will minister from the Word of God and prophetically as I am released to do such.
I personally invite you to tune into what promises to be very much unlike anything else you can hear anywhere else. In a world of media that tries so hard to mimic other media, StreamLine stands alone, completely unique and exclusive, just like me.
StreamLine airs in Central Ohio on 88.9 FM WLRY and on our main Praise and Worship station, The Healing Stream, both carry the show at 8:00pm EST on Friday nights. Be sure to tune in!
So many today talk about Grace but do so in a bad way. Indeed, its rare to breech the topic without cautions being quickly floated about "hypergrace" or the abuses of Grace. I wanted to blog today about real, true Grace to help people better understand what it is. I believe once we understand it better, the fear of it's abuse will lift and the freedom it provides will be more readily enjoyed by all.
The dictionary defines Grace as seemingly effortless beauty of movement, form, or proportion. That is what God's Grace truly looks like. It is God's effortless beauty revealed to us by Jesus death and resurrection.
A further definition of Grace goes on to include "A favor rendered by one who need not do so".
Real Grace is what I like to call a "Spiritual Absolute". It is offered freely to every person who will simply be humble enough to take it for and apply it to themselves. Unlike Truth that is universal, Grace is personal. Let me say that again as that is a Revelation in one sentence right there... a powerful Mark Kenney life Key (#MKLifeKey) Truth is universal but Grace is personal.
God's Grace must be applied to the individual life at the personal level to be of effect. Even in a group meeting, the Holy Spirit instills Grace as each heart accepts it, not as a giant blanket on everyone.
Grace will not produce deception in your life. It just doesn't work that way. Over and over I see people who confuse being tolerant with moving in Grace but they really are different things. Being tolerant would be a fruit of long-suffering but being full of Grace is having a working understanding of God's elegance and desire to quickly have you draw closer to Himself. That means at times the most gracious thing we can do as individuals is back off from others. At other times Grace will lead us in closer with others. It's a person by person, case by case basis because unlike Truth that is universal, Grace is personal.
All thru the bible Grace is something that people discover. Moses found himself in God's Grace. In fact, in Exodus 34 God comes down and actually stands with Moses who instantly worships and discovers that he is in God's Grace. Upon the revelation of Grace, Moses' leadership rises to his personal destiny as he asks the Lord to be with the entire nation and to lead them to their inheritance which is why God called him to begin with.
Like Moses, when we truly see that the Holy Spirit of God has come to dwell in us, we will be instantly driven to worship. That worship will reveal God's Grace to us and that Grace will unlock our true destiny which ultimately leads us to our promised inheritance. Just as the dictionary says, this is a seemingly effortless and beautiful movement of the Holy Spirit of God, defining it clearly as God's Grace!
Paul is very clear that we are saved by Grace in multiple passages. This has led to great confusion as to what is truly "required" of a person to be saved. Some folks get into the error of inclusion, a dangerous teaching that suggests everyone is saved no matter what. Of course we know that not everyone is saved, but then if we are saved by Grace, clearly there must be something that is required, yes? The answer is yes, there most certainly is a requirement. Two requirements actually. Both requirements are rooted in what is called humility.
You must first admit that you are damned, 100%, completely and utterly helpless and hopeless, on your way to Hell just as sure as if you were already there. This takes great humility as our animalistic nature absolutely loves to feel like its in full control. Only with humility can a human being approach a Holy God and admit that they are completely and utterly helpless. Said a different way, you pray something along the lines of "God, I'm completely screwed and if you don't step in, my goose is completely cooked, period". Humility brings the cold reality of our fallen nature into a proper place of focus so it can be dealt with appropriately by God.
The second requirement is to believe that while you are completely worthless and helpless in your sin stained condition, you see, understand and make a willful choice to ACCEPT that Jesus took your helpless condition upon Himself while He hung on the cross. In short, while He was on the cross, you were on His mind. This again takes humility to believe and accept. To truly believe deep in your heart of hearts that Jesus took upon Himself 100% of the wrongs you have ever done AND 100% of the wrongs you will ever do... is perhaps the most humbling thought to ever cross a human's mind in their lifetime.
The Bible is clear, if you believe with your heart and confess it with your mouth, you are saved! Both steps require humility and that humility is available just like salvation is... because of God's Grace.
I understand why folks get all up in arms about Grace using those terms like "hypergrace" because there is a valid frustration that our culture is morally slipping. That same fallen, animalistic nature that loves to be in control is still alive and well in many well meaning believers. It still searches to assess blame or to be in control of the "why" the culture is slipping. The reason the culture is slipping is simple... the body of Christ at large has fallen back into earning their salvation thru good works and self denial, thus frustrating the Grace of God. With God's Grace frustrated (not being able to flow freely) the beautiful ability to choose against willful sin is also frustrated and the amount of sin in a person's life goes on the rise. This is why 1 Cor 15:56 says the power of sin is the law. I would add that the power to overcome sin is God's Grace!
We need more Grace, not less. In fact, we have been lied to on many fronts. We have been told that if we do not repent, there will be no Grace. In the Kingdom of God it doesn't work like that. In the Kingdom, if there is not enough Grace, you will never really repent. In a Graceless environment, nothing remains except the Law of God which of course stands forever. The purpose of God's law is to reveal sin.
This creates a catch 22 in the minds of many well meaning teachers, pastors and leaders so when they see moral failures, they are very tempted to go back to preaching the law when in reality, it takes unusual humility to instead embrace and preach Grace. Where sin abounds, there Grace does that much more abound.
Last point today, someone will almost assuredly accuse me of being OSAS or trying to label me or my beliefs here. Check your collectivism and religious spirit at the door please and thank you. Instead of trying to marginalize me, instead have a drink of that humility I spoke of earlier and go to the Holy Spirit yourself. Ask Him for his opinion on Grace. Ask the Lord to reveal to you mysteries that you have yet to learn. if your heart is sincere, you will find that any honest period of seeking always leads to an honest period of finding. Just knock, it shall be opened to you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.