THE WORLD’S PROGRESS OR HEAVEN’S HOLINESS?

Much of what the world calls “tolerance” today is actually license and indifference – license to sin mixed with an indifference to ultimate consequence. The church of Jesus is called to hate sin and never to “tolerate” it. Why? Because sin destroys and brings death to those we love. What you tolerate, dominates. (Genesis 4:7). Love says you are going to hell over my dead body (John 15:13). There’s nothing tolerant about the cross. So, we can see that ‘progressivism’ sounds noble, loving and “tolerant” but, in reality, it has become a movement that tolerates, even champions sin and unrighteousness in the name of love. This is counterfeit love, unsanctified mercy – a mercy which God is not offering.

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THE FULL STORY

There is nothing token or cute about Christianity. There’s nothing in the original script that makes Jesus suitable for a couple of public holidays per year. What I am about to comment on people generally don’t like reading about today. Thankfully, God is not subject to our tastes and the word of God doesn’t pander to our convenience, political manoeuvrings, carnal comforts (He’s after a comfort far deeper), nor the grotesque and blasphemous perversions of some of the ministers in the church. If it did, Jesus wouldn’t have been killed and He wouldn’t have risen from the dead. And we would have no good news to speak of. No, we need the full story.

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ON HIS SHOULDERS

“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:5

Repentance is changing your thinking, beliefs and life-direction back to God. This allows God to transform your entire life and destiny. This is repentance: when you consent to be saved, when you consent to be loved, when you consent to be carried by His arms of strength, when you consent to be carried by the arms of His love. Repentance requires the humility to let God love you, let God “do” for you and through you. Repentance is fully apprehending grace, through intimacy.

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HEAVEN’S IDENTITY

Gideon effectively called himself a powerless weed. God called him “a mighty man of [fearless] courage”. That’s what Gideon became. Once you are born again by repentance and faith you are a new creation, a saint, a royal priest. Receive who God says you are, day after day, and watch how you slowly become it. What we agree with, we empower. That’s how the spirit realm works. Our healthy “do” always flows from our healthy “who”.

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Live Large

Be free to go big, Saints, to be embarrassing to people, to get your voice back. Get your gospel roar on. We’re not called to creep around like kittens. The Father is cheering you on. He wants our love, devotion and fire to spill out everywhere, crashing through all the “safe spaces” and politically neurotic border controls!

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THE BEAUTY OF WILDERNESS

The wilderness forces the question. Who are you, really? Is your identity a by-product of your activity and usefulness (“satisfy your immediate need, make bread, perform miracles”) or will you accept your place as the beloved and find life in relationship and obedience? Will you believe who God says you are, your portion in Him and rest alone in that? Or is sonship and royalty not enough? The wilderness has a crafty way of exposing whether Jesus is Lord of our lives or butler to our desires and ego.

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THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD

“I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.” - John Wesley

The Christian faith makes guilty sinners into incandescent saints. And it’s all supernatural. The essence of Christianity is not behave but behold. Jesus doesn’t say, “Perform, earn your righteousness and pay” but simply “Receive abundance of Grace and My free gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). Where every other religion says “Do, do, do”, Jesus says “Done, done, done!”

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PLAIN SPEECH, PLAIN POWER, PLAIN MESSENGERS

The Holy Spirit doesn’t endorse woolly talk. He is never political. Apostolic love in the New Testament was never co-dependent, but backboned, brazen and bloody self-sacrifice on behalf of lost people on their way to hell without repentance and faith. I believe that church leadership in the west needs to throw out all trendy, political, uncertainty and demonstrate plain faith and godly authority! We are not called to be doubting, intellectual analysts heavy on opinion, but simple messengers, who fear God and not man.

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Obedience is Better

The foundation of obedience is love; God’s love for us and then ours back towards Him. The posture of trust necessary to fuel our obedience works through love…. We are built for relationship and collaboration with our Father, not an orphan-hearted, independent view of life. It’s our Father’s joy to show us our part in His-story, the son’s delight to trust and follow. God made us for relationship.

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Fight from Rest

You fight by not fighting. You fight by rest. Rest, through trust, is holy terrorism. Orphans strive and they must maintain, sons inherit. The deepest manifestation of sonship is rest, through trust.

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Controversy for the Sake of Truth

Now more than ever, the people of God need to take a firm stand for the truth. Walter Martin said, “Controversy for the sake of truth is a divine command.” The Gospel message is always offensive to those opposed to God’s grace – that is what makes it controversial. But rather than siding with the politically correct who insist, “You can’t say that…” – for the sake of the Gospel our posture should be, “We can’t NOT say that!”

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Why I Don't Tell Them

And then there was the young boy with the hornet sting. Two days ago a young boy hobbles onto the train carriage I am on, and I instantly feel a nudge from Holy Spirit that I’m meant to connect with him. He is evidently in pain and after a few minutes asks me awkwardly if I might have any cream for a hornet sting on his leg that has made half his leg numb. I feel a bit weird, but I know what to say. 

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Him We Proclaim

“Tell them”, he said with a cheeky grin on his face as he saw a couple walking in our direction. Now feeling exposed and unable to do anything but comply, I knew his provocation was in fact the nudging of the Holy Spirit. The usual internal wrestle ensued but with every passing second, they were approaching our bench. There was not the time to worry about looking a fool, being awkward, or the self-doubt about not knowing how to win people to Christ through an appropriately winsome, biblically accurate, culturally appropriate articulation of the gospel. 

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The Hour for Courage

I can relate to the experience of Peter, Paul and Amanda Cook. I’m an ordinary, simple, relatively untrained lover of Jesus compelled by His love, zeal and jealousy for what's lost to the streets - the perishing sea of humanity. I fear stuff. I fear rejection at times. I fear failure. One of my biggest fears is misrepresenting God but I fear not representing Him the most. Someone said that courage isn't the absence of fear but the mastering of fear for a higher purpose.  My intimacy with Jesus swallows me up in His higher purpose, His Holy Spirit makes me bold – necessity is laid upon me.

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Reasoning in the Marketplace

The world is not neutral, it is at enmity with God and is wilfully suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Why should we expect that our message should be greeted with applause? In fact, I would go as far as to say that any gospel that is greeted with acclaim by the world is no gospel of God. Yet, we must remember that it is His gospel alone that can save, it is His gospel with which we must reason with the world. 

The Christian worldview is deep and robust and able to provide powerful explanations for why we are here, why the world is broken and what our ultimate purpose is here. Christianity is a reasonable faith. It is important that we re-learn this, that Christianity is an evidential faith, not a superstitious belief. It is verifiable or falsifiable based on historic events, and the historical evidence supporting these events is very good! 

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Carrying Elijah’s Spirit

They are Elijah Men. They refuse the influence of the witch-queen that rules with King Ahab from Samaria. These are not the sort of church boys we know in 21stCentury Britain who are often nice in manners but weak in spirit. Elijah Men do not have a reputation for being weak. And, depending on who you ask, they don’t have a reputation for being overly nice either. These aren’t simply your kindly old, cardigan-wearing ministers that have all the backbone of a chocolate éclair. They speak bold words of words of repentance―though always given with tears.

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Not Ashamed of the Gospel

I’m not sure what kind of church you lead - or indeed if you lead any church at all - but I think we all read the same Bibles. When I read the book of Acts, I experience something that I can only describe as a holy jealousy. I am jealous for the pneumatic explosion of Word and Spirit and mission - the full authority of Jesus that He commanded above in Matthew 28, outworked through humble, broken, obedient followers of the Way. Towns were turned upside down, the Apostles were imprisoned and flogged or chased away, persecution broke out like a virus and yet supernatural power was manifest.

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Heaven's Emergency Services

There has been some abuse in preaching, yes; the loveless cymbal can clang easily in each of us this side of glory. But rather than throw the baby out with the (dirty) bath waters (of abuse), and play right into the devil's hands, may His preachers of today show their faithfulness to the scriptures and their courage, love and sacrifice before the people. And may the church honour the foremost anointing of the Spirit once again (Luke 4:18). It's time for apostolic preaching to herald over our lands and shake the very gates of hell.

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