INTRODUCTION **UPDATED 11/12/12** SEE NOTE BELOW

One day last year as I was reading in 1 Corinthians Chapter 3, I paused at verse 4, which I will put in context…  “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?  For when one says,  “I follow Paul,” and another,  “I follow Apollos,”  are you not mere men?  What, after all, is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 3:1-11) 

What came to mind, was the thought of how many people today proclaim they are followers of Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, etc. Many today have placed their focus on man instead of on Christ where it belongs, and on these men’s messages instead of on the ‘gospel message.’  It has become a ‘cult of personality.’ And when any of us who ‘earnestly contend for the faith‘ (Jude 3) attempts to warn them of  how some preachers distort God’s Word and how they rip a verse completely out of context in a sermon, or to warn a pastor of our valid concerns, we are branded as being ‘divisive‘ or as being a ‘consumer Christian.’  They fail to see that God has given us discernment and that we are being  ‘Bereans’ and ‘examining the Scriptures daily to see if what they are saying is true,‘  (Acts 17:11) as God’s Word clearly tells us we are to do.

I  am going to try and keep this introduction short, and just share verses with you, which is more important that sharing what I have to say with you, but will be adding a few more thoughts in the future.  I think my poem expresses what I’d like to share with you clear enough, as you will see. 

Here are some videos for you to listen to so you can see how pastors — such as Perry Noble and Steven Furtick — twist Scriptures and give praises to one another, instead of preaching from the Bible, as well as clear examples of narcissistic eisegesis; making the Scriptures about themselves by reading themselves into the text, or how Steven Furtick ignores a clear opportunity to use a passage of Scripture to share the Biblical gospel, and chooses instead to preach about…himself .  Beginning at the 14:27 mark in the following video, you will hear Steven Furtick say in part (after just reading a portion from Genesis 22), “…so many things I’d love to say about it…and…we don’t have time today, just know that…as much as this disturbs you, it disturbs me even more I’ve been studying it..I do think it’s a type and shadow of the gospel…”  “So with that in mind, I…I want to talk with you for just a few moments today on the subject of audacious faith and the God who provides, about…different places in my life where God has provided for me.”  (Emphasis is mine).

In this video from the Code Orange ‘Revival’ that took place in January of 2012, you will hear Perry Noble use Matthew 13:16,17 — that clearly speaks of Jesus — to tell those at ‘Elevation Church‘  how “blessed” they are because of some of the things that God is doing at ‘Elevation Church,’ making that text about ‘Elevation Church‘ and Steven Furtick.

Starting at the 40:39 min. mark in the following video, you will hear T. D Jakes say,  “Oh are there any radical people in here tonight?”  “…”You’ll never get anything from God being passive and sitting back and folding your arms and saying,  “Well, if it’s the Lord’s will.”  True, we are to have an active faith and do what we can concerning our situation, but many ‘word of faith’ preachers mock those of us who express our deep concerns and desires to God and pray for His will to be done, all because we know that His ways are always higher and better than our own.  (Isaiah 55:8,9)

On a different subject, God’s Word tell us in Romans 12:2…”Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Why then does the ‘worship band’ at Perry Noble’s church sing a KISS song to open the service, as you will see here: TO OPEN WORSHIP PERRY NOBLE’S NEW SPRING CHURCH ROCKS KISS

I share all of that with you to say the following… Please place your focus on Jesus Christ and let His Word be the main source of truth that you seek.  Do not seek after a man and his ministry no matter how many years he may have been in ministry, and no matter how Biblically solid he may have been in the past.  Test the words of every person whom you listen to in order to receive spiritual nourishment and Biblical truth.

**UPDATE 11/12/12** LORD WILLING, COMING AT THE END OF THIS WEEK OR NEXT, SOME INFORMATION THAT WILL SHED LIGHT ON THE DISTURBING THINGS THAT MANY OF US ARE SEEING TAKE PLACE WITHIN OUR CHURCHES, AND WILL POSSIBLY EXPLAIN THE BEHAVIOR OF THOSE IN LEADERSHIP AT THESE CHURCHES, AS WELL.  WILL DELAY WRITING  MY POST ON ‘MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH’ IN ORDER TO WRITE AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH YOU. LORD WILLING, I HOPE TO HAVE MY POST ON ‘MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH’ DONE IN DECEMBER.  Here’s something to start you out with: Brannon Howse, with guest speaker, Jonathan Cousar, who spent twenty years attending Pastor Tim Keller’s church, shares his concerns with the theological and philosophical direction of Tim Keller:

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-radio/play.php?id=23073

SCRIPTURES FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14,15)

“Then He said to them all:  “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13,14)

“Why do you call Me,  ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do as I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My Words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The moment that torrent struck that house , it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49)

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who lives in you.  Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received  the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry “”Abba,” Father.”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” (Romans 8:5-17)

“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you.  I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.  I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.  First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say,  “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised?  Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”  But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also theworld at that time  was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a theif.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and  the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace  with Him.” (2 Peter 3:1-14)

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)

WHOM DO YOU FOLLOW

Whom do you follow, is it Jesus Christ the Lord

Or those who teach prosperity, promising you things you can’t afford

Manipulating Scriptures, they say things that are not there

Teaching you to boldly ‘ask and you will receive’ things from God in prayer

Some preachers ignore the fact that God answers ‘according to His will’

And crush the faith of many when their heart’s desire God does not fulfill

Or do you follow those who speak things that satisfy your itching ears

Those who motivate and flatter, and ignore talk of sin that leads to repentance

and remorseful tears

Or do you follow preachers who have become so well known by their name

A ‘cult of personality’ which cloaks the gospel and attempts to cover it with shame

Some seem to think these men could never speak a word untrue

And refuse to test their messages as God’s Word tells us we are to do

Instead of becoming less and raising Christ with all our praise

These pastors give praise to one another, a ‘life of humility’ an act like this betrays

They tell us we can become ‘greater’ and how to ‘unleash’ a life beyond the simple

and mundane

Some may begin to sing ‘how great we art’ instead of singing praises to His name

Some forget the fact we are to follow Christ and Him alone

So we won’t stray off the narrow path by those who have seemed to place themselves

upon the throne

Building their own empires upon what’s made of sinking sand

They slowly drift to compromise, no longer on the Rock do they stand

Some preachers have lost their focus; it’s no longer on the gospel that sets men free

They encourage us to live out our dreams; to become as ‘great as God desires us

to be’

We need to go beyond just ‘vertical,’ we need to fall upon our face

Falling prostrate in complete surrender, to seek His mercy and His grace

We all need to go back to the gospel message, so simple yet so profound

A call for men to repent of sin, to receive His grace by faith; this is the Gospel

that is Biblical and sound

To carry our cross, to die to self, to contend for the faith so true

To share the Gospel with those who are bound to a lie, this brings joy and a greater life

of purpose to me and you

The church at large has fallen, its message mimics that of the world

Sermons focus on ‘sex’ and ‘how to satisfy self,’ messages to ‘repent’ and to

‘die to self,’ these things are hurled

‘Worship’ bands sing the devil’s songs, this promotes a divided heart

God’s Word tells us we are to be holy, to be sanctified; from this world we are

to be set apart

Will you hear His Spirit warning you to return to your first love

To follow Christ and Him alone, and to set your mind on things above

His return may be very soon, much sooner than we think

Turn back to Him with all your heart, He may return before you even blink

Copyright©2012 Mary K. Dalke/Living For His Glory/Living4HisGlory All rights reserved.

Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible New International Version® 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved

The picture added to this post was taken by my daughter.

Verse added by Mary K. Dalke on Photobucket

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