Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.
We have been getting a lot of emails at the ministry lately asking about biblical discernment. How do we figure out what is from God and what isn’t? Actually, it isn’t that difficult.
Remember to keep in mind in the coming days that Big=God. One pastor has a book that has sold over 30 million copies. Another writer has a book that is sweeping England right now with more than 10 million copies sold. One pastor in South Carolina has a church with 27,000 members and a goal to make it 100,000!
The Passion Conference put on by Louie Giglio here in Atlanta had more than 60,000 18-25 year olds from all 50 states and many different countries attend last month.
As you read those things above, did you notice a problem? Nothing that I wrote was biblical! You do not define something as being of God because of its size!
Going by that logic, Jesus would have been an utter failure. He had 12 close followers and one of them had him put to death for 30 pieces of silver. I actually donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want people like that working for this ministry! But as we know, Jesus was the farthest thing from a failure. He was truth personified, and His life, death, burial, and resurrection has literally changed peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hearts all across this planet!
At the Passion Conference, there was a speaker who is a pastor, and his wife is his co-pastor. Of course, that is not Biblical. It also wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Biblical when he took the LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name in vain from the stage. One woman on stage had previously talked about a vision of Jesus she had that has nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible. Another speaker there has spoken in the past about a picture God put in her head where she was looking down on a community and could see that community as Jesus did. I am afraid not! There were plenty of people on stage who have gotten into some of the false teachings of the charismatic movement. If you want to know how not to exegete Ezekiel 37, just listen to the talk Louie gave on that chapter. Louie has spoken at both Hillsong in Australia and at Joel OsteenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lakewood church in Houston. Both of those churches are off-base Biblically. Did Louie call out those false teachings when he spoke there?
By the way, if you sent some young people to the Passion Conference, did you warn them to keep up their guard and to be very careful of any false teachings they might hear?
Did you know that Louie was selected to give the benediction at Barack ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent inauguration? But then something happened and he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go, so he put a statement up on his churchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go through it and see what it says. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll find my comments in brackets.
“Dear PCC Family,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Though I was invited by the President of the United States to pray at his upcoming inauguration, after conversations between our team and the White House I am no longer serving in that role. I sent the following statement to the White House today:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[What could be the common goals and ideals around which Pastor Louie Giglio and Barack Obama fashioned a friendship? Has Louis shared the Gospel with his friend? Or did Obama share with Louis, since he says that he is a Christian? Ending slavery in all of its forms? Romans 6:16 is clear that you are a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. Since they both want to end slavery in all of its forms, did they talk about ending peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s slavery to sin?]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[Whoa! One of the foremost issues of our time: homosexuality and gay marriage, and you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spoken on it in 15-20 years?? Why havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you? Obviously this is a slave to sin issue. Granted, Louie has not been a pastor all of that time, but preachers are supposed to stand against the rising tide of sin in our world. If he isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talking about this major topic when God has given him such a big platform, then who can we expect will?]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[What does that mean? That sounds like nothing you will read in the Bible. We are supposed to go out and seek to save those who are lost. We are commanded to do that. We are wretched sinners in need of a wonderful Savior! We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to be called to our Ã¢â‚¬Ëœultimate significanceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â€whatever that even is.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s invitation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[God often puts us into fights that are not of our choosing! He wants to see if we will stand for Him or not. We are supposed to fight! Think about what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4: 7: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:Ã¢â‚¬Â Paul fought, and he fought hard! Jesus was worth it! We need to keep fighting and not back up. Also, Louie says that he withdrew his acceptance of the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s invitation. Why? If he was going to go up there and give the benediction and tell people that Jesus was the only way to get to heaven and there was no other way to get there, what a grand opportunity! But of course that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t what he was going to do.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever we need GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s grace and mercy in our time of need.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[Why is the nation deeply divided and hurting? Over what issues are we deeply divided and hurting? When it comes to things like absolute truth, there is no wiggle room. Healing comes when we identify problems and bring truth to bear on them. People of the Lord cannot back away from the truths of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Word.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[It really isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that difficult of an issue to navigate. God gave His opinion in the Bible on this issue. We can either take it or leave it. God only put His stamp of approval on one type of sexual union: man and woman in marriage. That is it. He said Ã¢â‚¬ËœnoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to fornication, adultery, polygamy, pedophilia, bestiality, and homosexuality. We must either decide to go by GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rules, or we will suffer the consequences. The real problem is that too many Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpeople of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ have muddied the waters by not sticking to what God said in His holy Word.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“However, individualsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â [This is a fatal error being made here. Satan plays for keeps. He wants to morally destroy America. The side that supports sin doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want an open and honest dialogue. They want to shut down speech in this area. Look at what is happening if you talk about homosexuality in other countries. I was talking with my parents about this issue, and they told me that it was hardly ever discussed fifty years ago. Now we have reached the point where the Christians are called narrow-minded bigots for making a stand against this sin in our culture today. Darkness doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like light. It exposes their deeds. They do not want true Christianity in our culture, because it shows them that they are not right with a holy God.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As a pastor, my mission is to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to peopleÃ¢â‚¬â€any people.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[Christians arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t opposed to people, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re opposed to sin. We let people know that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and that they can be forgiven when they come to Him.]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[2 Corinthians 5:16: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.Ã¢â‚¬Â
2 Timothy 4:2: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Matthew 4:17: Ã¢â‚¬Å“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Ã¢â‚¬Â]
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In all things, the most helpful thing I can do is to invite each of us to wrestle with scripture and its implications for our lives. GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words trump all opinions, including mine, and in the end, I believe GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words lead to life.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My greatest desire is that we not be distracted from the things we are focused onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦seeing people in our city come to know Jesus, and speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world.
Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Honored to be your pastor,
Ã‚Â Remember that one of the goals of the Christian life is to not be accepted by the world. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need their acceptance. The last thing we need is a stamp of approval from a lost person. Jesus knew what was in the hearts of men, and we should too!
1 John 4:5
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“President Obama on Monday became the first president to use the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“gayÃ¢â‚¬Â as a reference to sexual orientation in an inaugural address, declaring the movement for equality to be part of the pantheon of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s great civil rights struggles.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,Ã¢â‚¬Â the president said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.Ã¢â‚¬Â (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-invokes-gay-rights-in-inaugural-address/2013/01/21/78bbc410-6409-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_story.html)
Louie was supposed to give the benediction. This is what benediction means: Ã¢â‚¬ËœA blessing. A short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of a worship service. The act of praying for divine protection.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (http://www.ask.com/Q/what-does-benediction-mean)
How was Louie supposed to bless the talk that President Obama gave when he had said things that went against the Word of God? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the thing: he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bless it. As a pastor, he would have had to address what was just said, since it was in direct violation of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Word. Would Louie have done that?
Did you ever think that maybe God was protecting Louie by getting him off of that stage? God wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let us betray His Son for very long. If we wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stand up for Him on the smallest stages or the biggest stages, He eventually will find people who will. We are not here to be popular. We are here to speak truth and then take our last breath and get out of here.
And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t forget, the issue of homosexuality is not going away. Many people think this verse from Daniel has to do with the Anti-Christ:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.Ã¢â‚¬Â
There has been a lot of speculation about the part where it says, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnor the desire of women.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Was he going to be single? Was he going to be divorced? But now there is another possibility. Will he be homosexual? If that is true, then people must accept homosexuality in the world first, before people can accept a homosexual Anti-Christ.
But alas, all was not done. Andy Stanley, the pastor of a church in Atlanta with 30,000 members, spoke at a pre-inauguration service. He referred to how President Obama handled the situation in Newtown. Andy said that Mr. Obama should be called Ã¢â‚¬ËœPastor-in-ChiefÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ for the way he has handled some of the tragic events during his time in office. (http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-andy-stanley-calls-obama-pastor-in-chief-during-pre-inauguration-sermon-88754/)
That is absolute hogwash. He is not even close to being a pastor. He needs to be born again. (John 3:3) Why didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Andy challenge him on that?
Here is the bottom line: Andy was used, and Louie was going to be used by the President. He was using them. Nothing more and nothing less. Ã¢â‚¬ËœSee how the evangelicals speak at my events, so you can like me, too!Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ That is all it was. And before anyone starts to attack me for what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just said, or the opposite, and thanks me for being correct, the Republicans use evangelical Christians to gain votes every election, too! And they, too, do nothing for the cause of Christ once they gain office.
You see, America does not have a political problem; we have a spiritual problem. And a spiritual problem can only have a spiritual solution.
And by the way, even if all of those young ones at Passion help all of those people out of slavery, what if they still die and go to hell? Are they sharing Jesus with them? I support a group called Crisis Rescue International: (http://www.crisisrescueinternational.com/)
They rescue children from Sex Trafficking. There are currently 142 children ranging in age from six to seventeen years old that the ministry houses, feeds, educates, and provides medical care for. They were all rescued from a brothel. It is a wonderful ministry. And oh yeah, they share Jesus with every one of them and have seen so many Biblical salvations!!
Remember that true Bible-believing Christians have become a stench in the nostrils of the world. Get ready for battle, because it is already here, and it is about to intensify.
Remember in the coming days that Big does not equal God. If you will remember that, it will save you and many others a lot of heartache as the return of our Lord approaches.
Until the nets are full,