Category Archives: Called Out

Babylon’s Blend

Posted on Oct 18, 2017 | Download

This article was adapted from the REACHING THE REMNANT sermon series. CLICK HERE to listen to the whole sermon. Have you noticed how weird music has gotten? Why is it filled with so much sex and occultist content? Why not the supernatural and sports, or sex and food? Why this ‘mixture’ of weirdness? Revelations 17 and 18 speaks of a spirit that will be at work in the last days known as ‘the spirit of Babylon’. She is called The Great Harlot who, “having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality”, will be judged by God for making the nations “drunk on the wine of the passion of her immorality.” Revelations 18:6 says, “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.” This mixture goes all the way back to the Tower of Babel. That Which Has Been… In Genesis, chapters 10 and 11, we read about a man named Nimrod who led the first organized rebellion against God. The Lord had commanded Noah in Genesis 9 to: “Be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” Nimrod, who’s name means ‘rebellion’ or ‘we shall revolt’, decided to settle in the land of Shinar and make a name for himself by building a great city and a tower that could reach above the clouds. This sounds eerily similar to what Lucifer said in his heart in Isaiah 14! In this story, we are also told that Nimrod ‘became a mighty one upon the earth’ and that he was a ‘mighty hunter before the Lord’. In Hebrew, ‘Mighty Hunter’ was an expression used to describe ‘one who hunts men to enslave them’ and the word used for ‘become’ means ‘to defile, to pollute oneself ritually; sexually’. Could it be that Nimrod gained his power and influence through sexual abuse and rape? Since the word for ‘before’ means ‘face to face’ and is used to describe being in God’s presence, it stands to reason that as an act of rebellious defiance, Nimrod began conducting rituals involving sex right in front of God. Perhaps the tower was not a tower at all, but rather a temple where Nimrod ‘mixed’ sex and the supernatural, thereby establishing the first ‘false religion’ — later to be called the worship of Bel — famous for extremely explicit sexual rites. By the way, Genesis 11 tells us that Babel means ‘confusion’, but comes from the root word balal which means… “to mix”. This mixture of “sex and the supernatural” is seen in various places in scripture. In Daniel 5, Belshazzer, the Chaldean King of Babylon, seems to be familiar with this ritual since he ‘tasted the wine and called in his wives and concubines and began to worship false gods’. This may be why Daniel ‘made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank’.  Let’s RECAP…  Nimrod: Led the 1st unified rebellion against God. Established the 1st “kingdom” the world had ever known. Introduced the 1st organized “false religion”.  … Is That Which Will Be Do these things sound familiar? Daniel 7, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13 together describe the time of the end when ‘the man of lawlessness’ will: lead a final rebellion against God. set up a ‘one world’ government upon the earth. draw worship away from God and unto himself. Nimrod seems to prefigure the Anti-Christ, who will rise up in the last days to hunt and harm God’s people. The Apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, also wrote: “Little children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) Maybe this is why sex and the supernatural are being mixed so heavily into today’s music. Perhaps it is a sign of the times; a precursor to what is ahead for the world? After all, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, did tell the people not to bow down and worship his image until they heard the music play! (Dan. 3:5) The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13:11 to ‘understand the occasion; to discern the time and to wake up from our sleep.’ The Apostle Peter reminds us that, “the end of all things is near. Therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer,” (1 Peter 4:7).  Nimrod has not stopped hunting God’s people. The spirit of Babylon is still at work today. The Great Harlot is mixing greater amounts of sex and the supernatural than ever before and is offering it without measure to our children in this last hour. Let us be of sober spirit! May we refuse to ‘drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality, for she will be paid back double according to her deeds, in the cup in which she has mixed.’ Let us remember that ‘the Lord God who judges her is strong’!  And Let us not shrink back to destruction but rise up with faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who saw, heard and even felt the music, but didn’t bow down! This article was adapted from the REACHING THE REMNANT sermon series. CLICK HERE to listen to the whole sermon.

There’s Safety In Community

Posted on Sep 19, 2017 | Download

Everyday is an illustrated sermon when raising sheep. Just as the kids were leaving for school this morning, a neighbor's dog came strolling up. The shepherd (my husband) knew why it was here: to chase those sheep. The sheep knew it too. The dog seemed harmless. He even rolled over on it's back when we would walk up to it. My husband tried to run it off but it kept coming back. The kids got upset because they just knew that the dog was friendly. The sheep are on high alert. They're frozen with fear. We watched closely to see if the dog would go after the sheep with us standing near. He catches their scent on the ground and within seconds begins to chase them. And the race is on! Round and round the barn they go as the shepherd starts to intervene. Down into the front pasture they sprint, startled and running for their lives. My husband strategically times his move and cuts in between the sheep and the dog. I help hold the dog off while the shepherd gets them safely to the sheepfold. All the while I am thinking back to the moment those sheep saw the dog. They stood clustered together, watchful and nervous. Had they just stood together and held their ground, the dog would not have chased them. In fact, he would've lost interest and moved along. But they ran. And ran. And ran. The shepherd said, "No, that dog won't likely attack them but he will run them in the ground. The pregnant females would lose their babies. They have to stop running." Our enemy, according to the Word, has weapons formed against us (Is. 54:17). He tries using them but we are promised that they won't prosper. The enemy may not destroy us, but he would be happy to keep us in a frenzy, running and running and running until we are so ragged that we fall. Perhaps this is a word for some of us. Stop running yourself ragged. Stand your ground. Stand safe in the community of fellow believers. Stop running and face the enemy head on. Don't let him chase you one more moment. Paul told us in Ephesians 6:13, "Put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after battle (yes you will have to fight a few) you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground!" The first piece he lists is the Belt of Truth. TRUTH. Our ultimate and greatest defense against our Adversary, the opposer of Truth. Hurl Truth in the face of the enemy and watch him run. You do not have to listen to his lies. You do not have to reason with his shame. You do not have to hide from his intimidation. You do not have to run in a panic. You have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you! You are in the Good Shepherd's sheepfold and He has prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemy (Ps. 23:5). Take heart and fight the good fight.

7 questions to ask when you lose your love for God.

Posted on Jun 28, 2017 | Download

We all find ourselves in a place from time to time where our passion for the Lord begins to diminish. 16th Century Reformer, Martin Luther, said in his 95 Theses, "The entire life of believers [is] to be one of repentance." Repentance should mark our Christian walk. If we aren't constantly repenting it may be time to reevaluate whether our relationship with Jesus is genuine. Our pastor talked a couple of weeks ago about the scripture in Matthew 24:12 that says, "Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold." In his message he suggested seven questions you should ask yourself when you begin to feel like you're losing your passion for Jesus.   1. When is the last time you shared the Gospel with someone you know is an unbeliever? All it takes is a glance at our Facebook pages to know that we can't help but talk about the things we're passionate about. If we are truly passionate about the gospel, sharing it with others will be our natural response.   2. When is the last time you invited an un-churched Christian to your church or Small-Group? James 5:20 says, "Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." Bringing the wandering Christian home should be something we eagerly seek to do.   3. How often do YOU come to church or Small-Group? The Church is most often referred to as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. It is almost inconceivable that a Christian can be a passionate follower of Christ, but care very little about His Body and Bride.   4. When is the last time you prayed for someone outside your own Christian Community? If we aren't thinking and praying for people outside the church, then our hearts are not hurting for what God's heart hurts for. Namely, the lost!   5. When is the last time you privately prayed for someone inside your own church community? We have to be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are our spiritual family and we should care about them as much as our own family.   6. When is the last time you privately prayed at all? Prayer is the proof of dependence upon God. If we are not praying, we can't say that we truly depend on God.   7. Do you faithfully give toward the Great Commission? Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also," (Matt. 6:21). How can we say our heart is for the lost if our wallet is not?   You can hear the whole sermon this blog post was based on here.

How to erase anxiety from your life

Posted on Jun 7, 2017 | Download

Through the years of ministry, I have spoken to so many who struggle with fear and anxiety. It can hit like a tidal wave at any moment but the consensus say the middle of the night can be when it strikes the hardest. Ranging anywhere from mild anxiety that keeps their minds from resting to sheer panic that wakes them up in a flash of terror. Then the mental barrage of worse-case scenarios, what-if's and all the questions.....Who? What? When? Where? Why? I've had these moments myself and watched a pattern in my mental behavior that was completely opposite of how I live and what I believe. So I asked the Lord to show me what my response should be when those moments strike. I've shared before that I am learning to stop, take a deep breath and turn the focus from me or my problem or the scenario, and begin focusing on and speaking out truth and praise: Who God is. What He has done. When He has come through in the past. Where He wants to take me. Why He has given me grace.   Psalms 63:6-8 gives us a pleasant alternative to those middle of the night panic sessions. "I lie awake thinking of you (God), Meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; Your strong right hand holds me securely." I think God knew we would be prone to worry and fret. He also knows that the enemy of our souls is especially nocturnal.... he thrives in the darkness. When we practice turning our minds and thoughts to God, we are letting the light shine in the darkness and the reward is peace. It's the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) What a beautiful benefit He has given us in knowing Him and choosing to think of Him, even when anxiety and fear try to rule our hearts. We are held securely in Him. What peace! And what a reason to praise!    

Simplify to Amplify

Posted on Mar 15, 2017 | Download

Simplify To Amplify One of our elders recently preached a sermon entitled, “Revived.” Of the many impactful words he shared, one of the phrases that really stuck with me was, “When God calls us out on something, He calls us unto something.” I recently stumbled upon a podcast that outlined reflective practices meant to be target strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity in our individual lives. The podcast recommended two practices 1) 80/20 analysis and 2) thinking big. The 80/20 analysis comes from the Pareto Principle, where generally speaking, 20% of causes typically generate 80% of the results. Think – “20% of the people are doing 80% of the work.” In the instance of this podcast, the host encouraged listeners to evaluate and emphasize the 20% of their life from which they derived the majority (80%) of their happiness. Then, prioritize towards that specific 20%, rather than get lost in the remaining 80% that doesn’t bring happiness. The other practice, thinking big, forces us outside of our comfort zone, rather than simply accept the way things are currently. He used the figure 10X. Rather than being reactionary, he encouraged proactive behaviors by setting big goals, 10X goals, and working backwards from this big end result to identify the steps necessary to reach that big goal. Not only are these great self-improvement practices, these concepts relate to our walk with Christ and really materialize the concept of being called out. Consider 2 Peter 1:5-10: For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. I encourage you to perform an 80/20 analysis in your personal and spiritual life. What are the few truly rewarding pursuits you are involved in? Why not focus and prioritize towards these impactful pursuits rather than getting bogged down with the mundane remainder of ill-rewarding pursuits. What kind of change would you see in your life if the majority of your time spent generated Kingdom impactful results that glorify God and share His grace? Ask yourself - Where is your time going? Where is your worth placed? Are you over-extended or running ragged? Do you find very little time for things that truly matter? These are tough questions to ask yourself, but don’t be shy. Be brutally honest. If time is our most valuable asset, are we being good stewards of focusing our time on Kingdom pursuits – being used by Him and bringing glory to God? One of my favorite sayings is “Without margin, there is no ministry.” This can be true in many areas – finances, attitudes and especially our time. If I pack my schedule so full with what I think I HAVE to do, am I missing out on joining God at work RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME? In the context of this 80/20 analysis, am I focusing on the impactful, or going through the motions with the less effective? The second concept – thinking big, setting the goal and working backwards can be directly applied to our spiritual lives as well. This week, my pastor shared about praying to the Lord to increase our faith. Think of Peter on the water, sinking, rather than grabbing hold of the steadfast hand of Christ. When I hear “think big” my mind goes directly to “God sized ideas”. What are the things we are embarrassed to share because they seem so outlandish to our current situations? The root of thinking big, and subsequently praying big, is faith. We must have faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I can be guilty of limiting beliefs. We all do it. This is human nature. However, God is not and will not be limited. As believers, we have a unique opportunity to join with God in His work, for His glory; but to be a part of His BIG picture, which we cannot see in its entirety, we MUST have faith. The popular 1950s book, The Magic of Thinking Big states that “Action cures fear.” This is completely true in our spiritual walk. Faith is the action that cures the fear that cripples us. So, this blog post is titled, “Simplify to Amplify.” At the most basic level, we must prioritize and have faith. As believers, we are called out by God, but when we are called out for something we are also called unto something. What is God calling you to? Do you have the margin, or time in your life that enables us to approach the throne in freedom, with faith, to join with God where He is leading? How can you simplify, in an effort to amplify? Are there areas of your life that are consumed with things that are detracting from our ability to live out the will of God and to be used powerfully by Him? Are you afraid to trust God to lead you into a new season of change? Are you afraid to specifically pray to the Lord for faith to believe in your “God sized ideas?” Perhaps you are entering a season of required simplicity or rest to “get back to the basics?” Trust God. Simplicity is necessary to more clearly hear from the Lord and be filled with His Spirit and grace as you embark into a new season or a renewed calling. Place your focus and faith in Him.