This is the way God’s Kingdom comes. With dusty feet on unpaved paths and hearts open-wide to Jesus even when He comes as the least of these. With hearts in love with the King who are willing to give their lives away.
Since returning back to the USA in 2013, I’ve seen some pretty wild things going on in different pockets of the church. I’m not here to name names. Because a preoccupation with names is part of what got us in the mess we are in to begin with. It isn’t about who says what or which camp believes what, it is about each of us individually and in community looking at Jesus so long and often the least little bit of not-Jesus is glaringly obvious. I do however have a burning in my spirit to start talking about some of the “what” I have encountered in the last few years.
Church we NEED discernment. Not fear. Not avoidance. Not playing-it-safe. We need the raw deep love of God that discerns His best in everything (Phi 1:9-10). Over the next bit, I’m going to be sharing some thoughts on what I’ve observed in an upcoming series called Tough Love.
I’m not saying I have it all figured out or even have definitive answers in some cases. But I need to share what is burning in my heart. As always, you are free to disagree and think I have it wrong. In 10 years, maybe I’ll even disagree with myself on some things. 😉 Disclaimer: I am not speaking of any one ministry or person specifically. So please don’t read into anything more than what is written. The only finger I am pointing is at the spirit of deception’s toehold in these areas of distraction.
Recently, I have run across several websites who refer to the Church age as being over, extolling the fact we have ascended to enter the Kingdom age. (Which infers the kingdom age is of a higher revelation than the church.) These same sites boldly state their ministries “create heaven on earth.” One of them even charges fees to litigate your “case” in “heaven’s courtroom”. 100% serious.
I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly grieved my spirit is seeing such things in black and white. I mean not even subtle folks. I will in a future post talk about the “courtroom of heaven” teaching out there and my personal take on it. But let’s start with the basics.
THE CHURCH AGE IS NOT OVER because the Church is NOT an age. The Church is the Bride of Christ Jesus gave His life for. The Church is the Body of Christ, Jesus’ hands and feet, ears and elbows on the earth.
God’s Kingdom is not an age. It is an ever-present reality Jesus advances through His Church, His people as they live in love and so live in Him and He in them (1 Jn 4:16). God’s Kingdom does not come without the Church. (By Church I mean the sum total of all of us who know and love Jesus who live and serve and love in relationship with Him and one another. I’m not referring to any one institution, denomination or organizational structure.)
It begs the question. If the Church age is over (meaning the time of influence of the church is over), whose kingdom and what influence are these folks actually bringing? It is kind of a scary thought. I have my conclusions, but I will leave you to take all this to Jesus and draw your own.
Some of you may say it’s just semantics. I hear you. But words matter. Because words have power. It is so important we don’t just hop on the prophetic trend wagon and start assimilating catch phrases and buzz words just because they are the “now” thing. I don’t know about you, but most things that fly around buzzing in my ear wind up getting swatted.
We need to run everything by Jesus. Even this post. EV-E-RY-thing. The Living Word is the litmus test for every other word we encounter. If a message you are hearing disagrees with Jesus, you have permission to disagree with it: no matter who brings it, how famous they are, how spiritual they seem, how many books they have written or how polished their website is.
Church, Your story is still unfolding. It hasn’t ended because His Story hasn’t ended. Your brightest hours are yet to come.