Merry Christmas to you from Pastor Harvey

Jesus gave His life for ours.

Christmas Day is here! Celebrate the birth of our savior and Lord; the One who came on Christmas Day, left on Ascension Day, lives Today, and will return on The Day.

Even as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us also celebrate His life within us, and look forward to the day of His return. Have a very Merry Christmas to our friends in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and right here in the United States of America.


Wellness of Soul for Leaders

A marketing plan for your business or ministry will not bring wellness of soul.

Leaders may have an image of prosperity but a soul of poverty. They can present themselves and their ministry persona as an image of success based upon world standards. However, their soul is in chaos and they know not true prosperity. 3 John 2 says "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." (NAS) I like the NIV translation which says "that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

Many people in leadership strive for outward success and prosperity, but ignore inner success and prosperity. Their soul is not getting along well!! They are born-again, spirit-filled and preach a good message, but they are a mess inside. They do not know prosperity in the context of this scripture. They have refused the refining fire that brings prosperity of soul.

A marketing plan for your business or ministry will not bring wellness of soul. A better sound system will not bring wellness of soul. A more obedient, talented leadership team to support you will not bring you wellness of soul.

Wellness of soul comes as you let the wellness of your spirit-man take control. You let the fire of God burn away the walls of your heart that separate your soul from the intimacy you so greatly desire in your spirit. You put your image and your ministry on the alter to be burned away leaving only the pure, the holy, the good works that HE prepared for you to do. It’s not easy but it is necessary. It brings true prosperity of soul! This concludes a short series on the refining fire of grace--God’s awesome consuming fire!


Refined Leadership Brings Forth New Life

Forest fire the morning after.

Refined leadership
brings forth new life. Our lives are often mired down with things that hinder, entangle and cast a shadow on our leadership.

Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Anything that hinders or entangles us limits our leadership. It may not be evident to all, but it limits our race and limits the life of God flowing from us. The fire of refinement will burn away the old, entangled weeds and dead works causing life to spring forth in our leadership.

I think of the forests in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where I live. Decades of banning fires have caused old trees to cast a shadow over the forest floor keeping new life from emerging. Government ‘fire bans’ effectively preserve old trees and limit rejuvenation of the forest. However, as soon as a fire burns through the forest, sunlight finds its way to the forest floor and new trees, shrubs, and flowers spring forth immediately. It’s an awesome thing to behold as the fire burns away the old and brings forth life abundantly.

Leaders must be careful not to cast a shadow over the life of their ministry by banning the fire of the Spirit. Let it burn. Your leadership and your ministry will bring forth new life!


Refined Leadership Brings Forth Joy and Worship

We lay it on the altar to be consumed by the fire of His grace.

efined leadership
brings forth joy and worship because it is the natural response to being refined by the fire of grace. The Father approves of this ‘sacrifice’ of our life for His life and the people rejoice at God’s approval.

Moses and Aaron were told to present certain offerings and sacrifices in Leviticus 9:23,24. After presenting the sacrifice it says the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it they shouted for joy and fell face down.

Under the new covenant we lay down, or sacrifice, our life-- that is, the flesh-based life that is our desire, for the spirit-based life that is His desire. We lay it on the altar to be consumed by the fire of His grace. The Father’s approval is not because of the perfection of our sacrifice, but because of the perfection of His sacrifice. The refining fire consumes what we have offered, the old man, and refined leadership springs forth, and. . . the people rejoice and worship the Father for His goodness and grace.

As a leader you must know by faith that going through a refining fire has joy and worship on the other side. It’s worth it!!!


Refined Leaders Lead by Example

We can only live the right stuff if we allow the refining fire of grace transform us.
It is then that we can expect that the silver, gold and precious gems of our
life are an encouragement and an example to all who see and follow us.

Refined leaders
lead by example. Leaders expect followers to exhibit the gold, silver and precious gems of the kingdom, yet the leader themselves often do not. I’ve often seen and heard leaders in ministry and business give great messages and issue good edicts while they choose a separate pathway. They speak the right stuff but don’t live the right stuff.

Paul directed Timothy, the leader of the church in Ephesus, to ‘watch your life and doctrine closely’ (1 Tim. 4:16). A leader may preach the kingdom of God, but live the kingdom of man. His or her followers look for the fruit of a kingdom lifestyle; the gold, silver and precious gems of good works prepared before the foundation of the earth (Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:12-15), but don’t see it exemplified by the leader.

We must lead by example, willing to be refined to the point our spirit-man dominates our life. For every believer in Jesus Christ, whether a leader or not, the spirit-man is completely refined, regenerated, and made righteous fulfilling the scripture that says Jesus took our sin so that we become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). We then become transformed into that same image of righteousness as we transform our thinking and renew our minds. Our hearts (where we make decisions) then lead us to become exemplary leaders.

From the heart will flow the righteousness of God for the people we lead and the culture we influence. We can only live the right stuff if we allow the refining fire of grace transform us. It is then that we can expect that the silver, gold and precious gems of our life are an encouragement and an example to all who see and follow us.


Refined Leadership Becomes Reality as We Submit to the Fire of God’s Grace

In tough times we have a door of opportunity to submit to the refining fire.
We submit to it by faith-- not knowing the outcome, experiencing the emotional turmoil,
and facing uncertain response from those who watch.

Refined leadership becomes reality as we submit to the fire of God’s grace, bringing not only positional change in our relationship with the Father, but "walking-talking" change in our ministry and leadership. However, most leaders are busy with the business of business or the business of ministry. We seldom take deliberate time to walk through this fire of refining. We choose to ignore things that hinder and entangle our leadership.

We all have a measure of true soul refinement, but in areas of our heart yet to be changed, we present an image that only APPEARS refined. It is the image for public consumption. The impurities, coarseness and extraneous matter resident in the heart may only be revealed at home, in private, or in the darkness. In those areas of the heart we have resisted His fire. Scripture says do not put out the Spirit’s fire! (1Thess. 5:19)

But God is faithful! Hallelujah!! He extends great mercy and grace even as we resist the refining fire. He allows us to harvest in trials and troubles that come to us, not from Him but from our sowing. He allows the harvest but never leaves us or forsakes us. It is often in these difficult times that leaders come face to face with their hearts. We face the consequences of the unrefined heart. 1 Peter 1:7 says ‘these things (trials) have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.'

In tough times we have a door of opportunity to submit to the refining fire. We submit to it by faith-- not knowing the outcome, experiencing the emotional turmoil, and facing uncertain response from those who watch. But it is only as we walk through this door of opportunity that genuine, substantive refinement of the soul takes place. We choose the refining fire of the Spirit and we fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is faithful to bring us through to the other side where there is praise, glory and honor! Jesus will not only be revealed in eternity, but here and now as He is revealed through us!


Refined Leadership: Walking the Talk

The ‘fire’ of the New Testament is an invisible fire, that becomes visible only through the believer’s submission to it. It becomes visible as we willingly allow grace, yes grace, to burn within you.

Refined Leadership
stands out from the rest of society and even from much of the church. Refined leadership does not mix world systems and kingdom systems. Refined leadership relates to the Father our of the new covenant, not the old covenant. Refined leadership exhibits not only the words of refinement but the behavior of refinement. Refined leaders walk the talk.

Many leaders in business and in the church expect dramatic change from those they lead, while those same leaders are often content with talking about a walk they have yet to take. Now you might ask: ‘do I really know any leaders who have have been greatly refined?’ I would say that nobody in leadership has done this perfectly, but many do it increasingly. These are leaders who are being changed before your eyes. They are leaders who publicly acknowledge their own inadequacies and mistakes, and are transparent in who they have been and who they are becoming. They acknowledge they have not arrived yet as the perfect leader!!!

Refined leadership is about changing into the person God called you to be, not only in your spirit, but outwardly as you are refined by grace, becoming stable in His unshakable kingdom. It is the fire of God that causes the change.

We often only ascribe ‘fire’ to the Old Testament. That kind of fire was a physical fire that consumed offerings, consumed materials, and consumed nations. The ‘fire’ of the New Testament is an invisible fire, that becomes visible only through the believer’s submission to it. It becomes visible as we willingly allow grace, yes grace, to burn within you.

John the Baptist prophesied this in Luke 3:16 saying‘I will baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire’. The era of grace is the era of the power to change, allowing the consuming fire of God to burn away all impurity leaving only silver, gold and precious gems of a new kingdom in your heart, mind and body. But, to be a refined leader you must submit to the fire before you can walk the talk. More to come!


Refined Leadership: Refined from the Inside Out

The real person, the creation of God, the life of God, and the identity of Christ is in our spirit. Our struggle, then, is allowing God’s refining fire to burn in our soul to the point we think, act and even look like the refined inner man. . .the brand new creation, the image of Christ.

Leaders in the church must exhibit ‘refined leadership’ if they expect the people who follow them to be transformed into the image of Christ. To be refined is to be free from impurity and extraneous matter; having coarseness and vulgarity polished away. The Greek word puroomai is used to mean something is heated to such a high temperature that all impurity is burned away and that which is left is pure, as in refined metals. A second Greek word used in the new testament is katakaio meaning to ‘burn utterly or completely.’

With this post I begin a series encouraging ‘refined leadership’ for business and the church. Hebrews 12: 28-29 says ‘Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire!’ When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we receive a unshakable kingdom into our spirit-man. Our spirit is totally transformed into the image of God by the consuming fire of God. Everything that was old is passed away (2 Cor. 5:17). That which was passed away was impure, coarse, and contaminated with extraneous stuff of the world. So it is when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and receive the unshakable kingdom.

Our spirit-man, that inner core of our being, is completely refined by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. So, why does the church and its leaders struggle with the old; with what was supposed to be passed away? It is because our outer man (body) and our middle man (soul) has yet to be transformed and come into agreement with what God has done to our spirit-man. The real person, the creation of God, the life of God, and the identity of Christ is in our spirit. Our struggle, then, is allowing God’s refining fire to burn in our soul to the point we think, act and even look like the refined inner man. . .the brand new creation, the image of Christ.

Watch for the next post as I encourage you through this refining fire on The Crossfire Minute.


Be Thankful for a Harvest of Righteousness

"This harvest is not because of our perfect obedience to His Word, our great faith,
or our abundant natural resources. It’s a harvest of our believing in a righteousness that comes by grace. . .
that undeserved blessing through faith in Jesus.

Since 1621 Americans have been giving thanks to God in official and unofficial celebrations. The first thanksgiving celebration was to God the Father for the harvest of crops providing sustaining life to the early settlers on the American continent. The seed they had sown in the spring produced a harvest in the fall. They were very thankful to the Father because without a harvest they could not survive; without a harvest they did not have a ‘plan B’, without a harvest their righteous act of establishing Christ in the center of their new found home would not survive the winter.

Among American Christians, Thanksgiving continues to be a celebration of thankfulness to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the incredible harvest of righteousness. Food is the object of our fellowship, but Christ is the object of our thanks. While our secular culture sees food, friends, family and football, we see the harvest of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ.

This harvest is not because of our perfect obedience to His Word, our great faith, or our abundant natural resources. It’s a harvest of our believing in a righteousness that comes by grace. . . that undeserved blessing through faith in Jesus. He is the seed of righteousness on the inside of us (Gal. 3:16). He produces righteousness on the outside as we live by the Holy Spirit producing a fruitful harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-25).

As believers we are disciplined in our believing, that is, we continue to believe. We persevere in our faith. We choose through a disciplined heart submitted to the Father to celebrate the harvest of righteousness. Heb. 12:11 says that discipline "produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

Celebrate and be thankful today for the harvest of righteousness as you willingly choose to give thanks to our God for all He has done in us, through us, and will continue to do because He Is God!! May your Thanksgiving by greatly celebrated whether in America, Asia, South America or Africa. Choose to be thankful.


Spirit of Baal: Victorious Conclusion to the Series (The Spirit of Baal Series)

Leaders: Know that we have authority vested in us, His church, to declare the victory over the demonic influence of Baal. Our strength is in Jesus, in what He has done, and in what He is doing in us and through us, His church, to manifest the victory--the victory He has already won. But, we must make real in our lives!!! Knowledge of the victory is just that--knowledge. We must appropriate that knowledge in our hearts, declare it with our mouths, and let the demonic forms of Baal know they are defeated and powerless against the Spirit of Truth!!

In conclusion, we say that:

“We are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. The Father has given us everything we need for life and godliness and we need nothing and desire nothing from demonic forces. The Lord always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ. We, the church, choose to make known the wisdom of God to all demonic rulers and authorities of Baal that reside in the heavenly realms and we appropriate the victory of Truth that was won by Jesus on the cross and through the resurrection. He is the Truth and our victory. We declare ourselves, our ministries and our sphere of influence off limits to these demonic forces. We give our Father all the glory in Jesus name!!” (2 Cor. 5:13; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 3:10,11; John 14:6)

I hope you have been challenged by this series of posts on the Spirit of Baal that operates in the world. If you have testimonies, questions, or comments please email me. I am excited to hear what the Lord is doing in your life. Be very blessed and know that Jesus loves you!

Enjoy this series on the Spirit of Baal?  Check out this post on asserting your authority in Christ!


Fourth Attribute of Baal: Opposing Truth (The Spirit of Baal Series)

We continue today with the fourth and final attribute of the spirit of Baal operating in the world today. It is the attribute of opposing Truth. Old Testament demonic worship of Baal was based in lies while worshiping Jehovah was based in Truth. Jezebel and Ahab opposed all truth by worshiping the idols of Baal instead of the one true God (see 1 Kings 18, 19). Jezebel in particular had no tolerance for truth. She was very angry at one man, Elijah, who continued to speak truth in the midst of Israel. She vowed to kill him because of what he said.

So it is today. Many forms of opposition arise against the Truth of Jesus Christ crucified, resurrected, sitting at the right hand of the Father and living to intercede for us, His saints. The secular media, post-modern relativism, economic idols, new age mush and various forms of religion manifest this spiritual opposition to Truth. Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Jesus said he was THE TRUTH. The words of Jesus are not ambiguous or gray, nor do they have room for intellectual banter. They are plain, simple and clear. He is Truth!

A modern day Elijah would have the same opposition today as he had in the time of Jezebel. There is great opposition to Jesus as ‘the Truth’. Leaders must discern that opposition to Truth is demonic at its source and human in its manifestation, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:11). We can’t simply see opposition to truth as people controlling political, religious, or economic entities. We must see the spiritual forces behind the opposition.

The concluding declaration of victory comes in the next post!

Click here to be taken to the final post in The Spirit of Baal Series, where we declare our victory of The Spirit of Baal.


Third Attribute of Baal: Legalism and Control (The Spirit of Baal Series)

The spirit of Baal is very legalistic and controlling. This is the third attribute in this series of posts. By definition, any involvement with this demonic influence will bring a form of legalistic control. Jezebel, a worshiper of Baal, is a good example of being adamant in her singular commitment to Baal worship-- killing anyone who did not worship Baal (see 1 Kings 18, 19). She was a controller!!

We go back to Hosea 2:16,17 to find that our Father told the people of God that He was to be called ‘ishi’, bringing to bear the idea of relationship to people rather than control and possession of people implicit in the word ‘Baal’. This distinction brings forth our God as one of influence through relationship. This distinction is key as we discern the demonic forces that seek to control, restrict, and bind people. The demonic seeks to control and possess your thoughts, your behavior, and your life.

1 Pet. 5:8, 9 says to be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . . . Leaders, teach people to be alert for ways that their culture and or their relationships exert undue attempts to control. We all live in nations of laws. We function in civil organizations and societies with rules. However, there are subtle demonic influences that seek to bring control and manipulation thus devouring your freedom in Christ.

In the church this may manifest through teaching the Law of Moses rather than the Law of Christ. It may manifest through leaders using subtle put downs or applying intellectual manipulation that makes you feel like ‘you’re not as smart as they are’. It may even show up as ‘legalistic grace’. I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but legalism can emerge through people using the legitimate doctrine and truth of grace to stifle real debate on scriptural understanding, to shut down any questioning of doctrine, to control all musical expressions that do not align 100% with their perspective of grace. I’ve even heard people say that if you’re not aligned with this particular grace teacher or that certain denomination you are not really aligned with grace. Such behavior is religious control masked as grace. It is demonic at its source, but very human in its flow.

As 1 Peter 5:9 says, ‘resist him, standing firm in the faith’. Our Father is a father of relationship, not of control. We must stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ, His freedom, His righteousness and not let intellectual manipulation or subtle religious controls restrict our freedom. So we declare that he whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36)! We declare the law of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, to be the victory over spirits seeking to control any aspect of our lives, our ministries and our relationship!

Click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series where we will examine the fourth characteristic of that spirit - Opposition to the Truth.


Second Attribute of Baal-- Sexual Immorality and Deviation (The Spirit of Baal Series)

The spirit of Baal has four attributes, the second of which is sexual immorality and deviation. This behavior was integral to Baal worship. In Numbers 25:1-5 we find fertility cults based in promiscuous sex. In Leviticus 18 the Lord gave Moses an extensive set of prohibitions regarding sexual behaviors and concluding with ‘Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.” The Lord did not want the sexual practices common among the Canaanites, who were there before the Israelites arrived, to be associated with God’s people. The demonic related to Baal worship draws people into a sensual lifestyle and deviant sexual behavior.

This is the most visually apparent attribute of this demonic form today. In parts of Asia we see the sex trade industry. In America we see rampant pornography. Even some aspects of Islamic culture, which are usually quite dogmatic about male-female marriage relationships, have developed exceptions for a man’s sexual relationships outside marriage, called ‘temporary marriage’. Paul the apostle warned believers (example in 1 Cor. 5; 6:9-20) against sexual relationships outside of marriage.

Our opposition to this starts when we individually ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (James 4:7). We declare the authority of Jesus, the finished work of the cross, and the power of grace as our victory. The power of grace in the believer is sufficient to stand against any thoughts, opportunities, or feelings in this area.

As leaders, we teach that demonic spirits do exist to do the work of Satan, that is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). In the area of sexuality they seek to steal your peace, your identity, and your stability, all of which Jesus has provided for you. People should not be ignorant of what demons desire to do. People must understand that Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection gave us power and authority over these spirits’ influence in our lives and the lives of those around us. We simply appropriate that authority and power out of love. We declare that we are off limits to His devices. Hallelujah!

Click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series, where we examine the third characteristic, legalism and control.


Declare the Spirit of Truth-- JESUS! (The Spirit of Baal Series)

The spirit of Baal operates through culture and religion. In Old Testament times the Amorites (includes Canaanite people) established the worship of false gods and called them ‘Baals’. There were different types of gods, but they were all called ‘Baal’. Death and destruction accompanied their worship.

Even today we see this manifestation in Islam. Sacrificing life is of little concern in Islam, especially sacrificing children for a ‘greater cause’. As late as the 1980’s, Khomeini, the Shiite leader of Iran, recruited 10,000 child volunteers to run through mine fields to clear them. As an enticement and reward he gave them each a certificate guaranteeing them entry to heaven. Islam incorporates violence into its ‘jihad’, or holy wars.

The Koran says "once sacred months are past, kill those who join other gods wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them with every kind of ambush; but if they convert and observe prayer and pay the obligatory alms, let them go on their way" (Sura 9:5). There is much in the sphere of Islam that is about death and destruction. Ask any Christian in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or other strongly Islamic country and they will confirm the death and destruction implicit in Islam.

As leaders we can break the power of the spirit of Baal that brings death and destruction. We can declare the Spirit of Truth, Jesus, as the Lord of victory over that spirit! Jesus said "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). We declare life in place of death. Our weapons are powerful to pull down strongholds of the mind (2 Cor. 10:4) established through agreement with that spirit of Baal. We declare the Truth of Jesus over the death and destruction of various forms of American music, of Islam, of tribalism--wherever they have taken a position of strength. Our Lord is a strong tower who is mighty in battle (Ps. 61:3) and with the authority of the Name we declare victory over all the strategies of a Baal spirit to bring death and destruction. Praise Jesus' Name!

Now that we know how to combat Baal, click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series, where we study the second key attribute of that spirit in more detail.


First Attribute of Spirit of Baal: Death and Destruction (The Spirit of Baal Series)

The spirit of Baal continues to operate on the earth today. It has taken on slightly different manifestations, but remains consistent with the attributes I taught in the previous post. It may be called different names within the Christian community, e.g. Jezebel spirit, anti-Christ spirit, etc, but it exists and functions today. In contrast to this demonic spirit, the Spirit of Truth is Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, the Son of God, and the source of all victory over the spirit of Baal.

Here is how I believe the demonic forms of Baal continue to operate in the world today:
  • First, it always brings death and destruction.
That, of course, can be said of Satan in general, he came to ‘destroy’ (John 10:10). But the spirit of Baal will operate through an entire culture to bring destruction. In ancient times it included child sacrifice (2 Kings 17:16,17; Jer. 19:5; 32:35).

In America it operates through satanic cults and the language of death and destruction in contemporary music. Music is a conduit for the demonic to affect the listener by bringing thoughts of suicide, murder, violence in forms of rap and other contemporary music.

In some cultures, there are abnormal violent outbursts that I attribute to this demonic influence. For example, in early 2008 normally mild mannered, friendly people of Kenya experienced great internal violence, death and destruction between tribal groups over disputed election results. Men who had greeted each other in church one week suddenly sought to kill each other the next week. Villages who tolerated people of different tribes suddenly beat and murdered those same people. This year I personally saw the results of this violence in Nakuru, Kenya where buildings had been burned and ransacked during that violence. The spirit of Baal took advantage of the unrest and operated through willing participants.

Click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series, where we will take a necessary pause in examining the characteristics to discuss the Way to combat it.

Photo: unknown


Baal's 4 Key Attributes (The Spirit of Baal Series)

The Spirit of Baal has 4 key attributes that affect us today. Let’s examine those attributes before we launch into the contemporary activity of this demonic spirit. Worshipers of Baal exhibited several traits that reflect this demonic character.

First, death and self destruction were integral to Baal worship. In 1 Kings 18:28, Baal worshipers cut themselves with knives and lances. Children were given as sacrifices to satisfy Baal as recorded in Jeremiah 19:5. Baal brings self destruction!

Second, sexual immorality and deviation were integral. In Numbers 25:1-5 we find fertility cults based in promiscuous sex. The female baal Astoreth, was a fertility goddess based in promiscuity. Baal advocates sensual lifestyle and illicit sexual relationships.

Third, Baal is very legalistic and controlling. By definition any involvement with ‘Baal’ worship will bring a demonic form of legalistic control. Jezebel, a worshipper of Baal, is a good example of being adamant in her singular commitment to Baal and killing anyone who did not singularly do so (see 1 Kings 18, 19). She had recruited hundred of prophets to support Baal worship and any prophet of the true God Jehovah was to be killed. She operated more strongly in this spirit than did Ahab her husband, the King of Israel. He responded to her control.

Fourth, Baal always opposed Truth. The demonic worship of Baal is based in lies while worshipping God is based in Spirit and Truth. Jezebel and Ahab opposed all truth worshiping the idols of Baal instead of the one true God (see 1 Kings 18, 19). Jezebel in particular had no tolerance for truth. She was very angry that one man, Elijah, continued to voice truth in the midst of Israel and vowed to kill him because of the truth he voiced.

Leaders: be aware that these are demonic attributes. We must seek to bring freedom to those captured and controlled by the Spirit of Baal. In the church we often speak of a ‘Jezebel spirit’ in reference to the above attributes. Jezebel personified the activity of Baal worship. She was ‘possessed’ by that spirit and exhibited a life of living by that spirit among God’s people.

Click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series, where we will evaluate the first characteristic in greater detail.


The Spirit of Baal is Alive Today

Palmyra, Temple of Baal
The spirit of Baal is alive and active on the earth today. Baal was a false god or demonic spirit worshiped by several people groups during Old Testament times. With this post we begin a series on the Spirit of Baal as the counterfeit to Jesus, the Spirit of Truth. As leaders we must spiritually discern and be aware of those things that influence people and circumstances around us. We must be able to teach and instruct believers in the Body of Christ to resist and overcome spiritual forces that oppose Truth.

The Spirit of Baal operates on the earth today under different names and through different tribes and nations, but it is active!! Let’s look first at the origin and characteristics of this spirit before we jump into what it’s doing today. Baal is a Hebrew word meaning lord, master, possessor or husband. It carried with it the implication of control and possession of people or things. It was often used by the Hebrews in reference to husbands or property-owning men and, early on, even in reference to Jehovah God.

Baal as a false god was worshipped in various forms by groups such as the Phoenicians and Canaanites. The Assyrian’s word for Baal was ‘bel’ meaning the lord or control over men. Bel was worshipped in Babylon. Some theological historians believe ‘bel’ was a pre-Islamic form of Allah. The female counterpart to Baal was Ashtoreth, the goddess of fertility.

Jehovah disassociated himself from ‘baal’ in Hosea 2:16,17 by asking to be called ‘ishi’, bringing to bear a relationship to people rather than control and possession of people. This distinction brings forth our God as one of influence through relationship. Baal is a god of control through possession. In my next post I will examine key attributes of Baal.

Click here to be taken to the next post in The Spirit of Baal Series.

Photo: Jerzy Strzelecki. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".


Effective Leaders are Givers

Jesus did not come to be served but to serve.

Effective leaders are givers. There may be no other principle so strongly exhibited under the Good News of grace and faith than the principle of giving.

Jesus is the ultimate example of a giver. Jesus said in Mark 10:45 that He “did not come to be served but to serve.” Anyone who serves or ministers is giving of themselves to benefit others. Effective leaders give of their time, energy, material goods, and money.

The desire to give begins in your spirit and emerges from your heart. The measurement of actual giving is reflected by what flows out of the heart. A wholehearted giver not only desires to give, but actually does so. God’s grace empowers them to be givers.

Our time is one valuable asset we must give. Ask yourself how much of "your" time you are willing to give to be an effective leader-- whether in your family, your work group, your ministry.

Jesus gave all of his time for 3 years. The initial results of his leadership giving are seen in the first 12 apostles and the 120 waiting in the upper room at Pentecost. From his intense 3 years of leadership emerged a small group of committed followers. From the small group of committed followers emerged the early church. From the early church emerged a church of over 2 billion believers on the earth today. Challenge yourself to be a leadership giver.


The Effective Leader Understands Authority

An effective leader understands authority. He or she knows how to submit to it and operate in it. Authority is a powerful thing both in the spirit realm and in the natural realm. Jesus said "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." The authority in the spirit realm is now vested in us, the Body of Christ.

In the natural realm we have authority in our families and in our workplace. It is both spiritual and physical. It is clear from Romans 13 that civil authority is authorized by God. Effective leaders must exercise the civil and spiritual authority given them. In the local church we have pastors who have been given authority by God for these churches. The pastor delegates authority to other leaders in the church to accomplish the purpose and mission of that church.

Leaders who try to exercise authority not delegated to them, or gain authority not willingly given to them, lose their effectiveness for God’s purposes. Conversely, if the pastor does not operate in his or her God-given authority, effectiveness is diminished. Effective leaders know how to use authority and submit to it.


Whining Limits a Leader's Effectiveness

Whining demonstrates immaturity.

Effective leaders spend little time whining or complaining. Such behavior is not a quality character trait for anyone in business or ministry. You won’t find a single instance in the four gospels where Jesus whined or complained about His circumstances or the people He was leading--not even about Judas!

He confronted. He spoke truth. He provided solutions. He corrected. He encouraged. He prayed. Whining and complaining limits the effectiveness of leadership by demonstrating powerlessness and demanding that someone else must deal with a problem. It reveals a heart that lacks accountability. It is immature behavior rather than mature behavior for a Christian.

Jesus was the first born among many brothers and it is to His leadership qualities that every effective leader should aspire. Jesus was not a whiner and neither are effective leaders.


Leave a Legacy of Success by Developing Your Successor

Develop your successor.

A leader’s legacy are the leaders he or she develops along the way. Ministries and businesses often revolve around one or two key leaders who are effective while in their position. However, when they move on to another ministry, another church, or another business, their area of responsibility often falls into shambles because they did not equip and develop other leaders to rise into that position after their departure. They did not think of the future, only of the present.

In a church it may be the sound technician who never trained others to be his successor. In business it may be the supervisory accountant who knew everything about the finances, but never trained others to attain the same level of knowledge. In ministry it may be the worship leader who never developed her successor.

Just as Barnabas developed Paul, so we must develop others. Part of our legacy as leaders is bringing others up to their God-designed level competence, commitment, and accomplishment. Leave a legacy of success by developing leaders to succeed when you hand over the baton.


Step 7: Look Intently into the Perfect Law of Freedom

To look intently is to focus, to stare into,
to keep your spiritual eyes riveted on Jesus in every circumstance.

Look intently into the perfect law of freedom. This is the the 7th and final step to overcoming double-mindedness. James 1:25 says “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” What law? The law of Christ, the law of grace, the law of righteousness and peace by faith in Jesus Christ.

He nailed the imperfect law of performance to the cross. He birthed the perfect law of freedom to live an abundant life of grace and peace through Him. He is the perfect law. But you must look INTENTLY into it. To look intently is to focus, to stare into, to keep your spiritual eyes riveted on Jesus in every circumstance. Continue to do so intently. Jesus said in John 15 that must we remain in the Him, the vine, in order to bear fruit. Looking into His perfect law keeps you tapped into the vine and produces the fruit of freedom.

You have been set free from double-minded thinking. Jesus has set you free, so don’t allow yourself to be bound up in that area of your life. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Continue to be steadfast in your focus. Do it and continue to look at Jesus.

This concludes our series on getting free from double-minded thinking. Send me an email if this has blessed you in any way. Praise His Holy Name!
James 1:25 says “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” What law? The law of Christ, the law of grace, the law of righteousness and peace by faith in Jesus Christ. He nailed the imperfect law of performance to the cross. He birthed the perfect law of freedom to live an abundant life of grace and peace through Him. He is the perfect law. But you must look INTENTLY into it. To look intently is to focus, to stare into, to keep your spiritual eyes riveted on Jesus in every circumstance. Continue to do so intently. Jesus said in John 15 that must we remain in the Him, the vine, in order to bear fruit. Looking into His perfect law keeps you tapped into the vine and produces the fruit of freedom.

You have been set free from double-minded thinking. Jesus has set you free so don’t allow yourself to be bound up in that area of your life. He who the ‘son sets free is free indeed. Continue to Be steadfast in your focus Do it and continue to look at Jesus.

This concludes our series on getting free from double-minded thinking. Send me an email to hwittmier@msn.com if this has blessed you in any way. Praise His Holy Name!


Step 6: Defeat the Opposition

The devil wants you mired in the mud of double-mindedness.

Defeat the opposition. This is the 6th step in “Seven Steps to Freedom” from double-minded thinking. The devil and his demons want you frozen in double-mindedness. They know as long as you are unstable and wavering, you are ineffective as a leader. They’ll do all they can to hold on to their ground in your mind and in your heart. They’ll want you to worry, to second guess His voice, to get mired back in the mud of double thinking.

Put on the armor of God and defeat the opposition daily (Eph. 6). Declare that the cross of Christ stands between you and the demonic. Declare the finished work of the cross to your decision for clarity. Demand that Satan be bound away from your thinking and from the situation. Wash your mind with the clarity of scriptures that speak to your situation and your new found focus. In so doing you are establishing a spiritual boundary between you and the demonic forces that have lost their ground.

Do not give back the ground you have gained!!! It’s your new territory of freedom. It’s the land of the living! It’s yours not his! You are walking in the inheritance of stability and truth, no longer caught between two opinions but walking in His opinion of you, of your life, of your decision to clearly walk it out His way.


Step 5: Don't Worry About the Outcome

I burned emotional calories wondering why he didn't answer the radio.
God could see the outcome even when I couldn't.

Don’t worry about the outcome. This is the 5th step in “Seven Steps to Freedom” from double-minded thinking. You can be free from double-minded thinking! Yes, “if the Son sets free, you will be free indeed”(John 8:36)! Here is next step in the seven steps to freedom in being focused in our thinking: Don’t worry about the outcome of your choice.

Fear is the number one contributor to hesitating, wavering, and vacillating to making clear decisions for God’s kingdom. Fear is afraid that God will not really bring you through. Fear doesn't really trust God for the outcome and therefore causes worry.

Perfect love casts out fear
; however, many people really do not experience the Father’s perfect love. They know of it. Have heard it preached. But have not experienced it. Hence, they live in varying levels of fear that binds them to double-minded thinking.

Worry is a choice. A few years ago I was hunting elk with Karl, one of my sons-in-law. We were in a remote area of the mountains and decided to hunt separately for a few hours and meet back at camp. We each had hand-held radios that could communicate up to 12 miles so we knew we could stay in contact if necessary. I got back to camp well before sundown and patiently awaited Karl. After an hour of waiting I started to think about why Karl was not yet back in camp. My mind started to think upon bad possibilities. I tried to contact him by radio but to no avail. I calmed myself and reminded myself that fear of a bad outcome was not spiritually mature--I had to remind myself as a leader that I should not feel fear in this situation.

It was almost dark and still no Karl. My mind was racing with all the possible bad outcomes for Karl, my daughter, my granddaughters. What had happened to him and why did he not respond to my radio call? I had to repeatedly remind myself who was in charge of protecting Karl--not me--not my outdoor skills--but my heavenly Father. I was an emotional mess on the inside even as I tried to squash the negative thoughts of a bad outcome. A little while after dark Karl comes walking into camp ready to eat a hot meal on a cold fall evening. I breathed a sigh of relief and calmly asked him why he didn’t answer my radio calls. He said he turned the radio off and taken a nap. I had burned a lot of emotional calories worrying about an outcome that was not up to me to decide.

The Word says to think upon those things that are pure and holy (Phil. 4:8.9). Run your thoughts through the cross. Do they make it past the cross to holiness and purity of the truth God has birthed in your spirit? Do they line up with the written word of God that He will provide and protect you (and your family)? Think upon those things and choose love over fear, peace over worry. Trust Him for the outcome!! The choice is yours. The outcome is God’s.


Step 4: Listen to God's Choice for You

Spend time hearing his voice. It will cut out the ambiguity.

ear God’s voice for His choice. This is the 4th step in “Seven Steps to Freedom” from double-minded thinking. “Listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. . . ” (Deut. 30:20). When you hear from the Father, your choice becomes clear. It may not be an easy choice, but it becomes a clear choice.

In earlier blogs I listed several ways we hear the voice of the Father. He may speak to you very clearly, but you must be willing to hear. When you hear, you must not harden your heart (Heb. 3:7). Many believers are only willing to hear what they want to hear. When you’ve heard His voice, you can now act upon what you’ve heard. You can cease to be double-minded in this area of your life. You can take that step of faith to do or be whatever He has revealed.

But. . .there will be second thoughts and opposition to that step of faith. My next post will help you through the opposition.


Step 3: Seek First His Kingdom

Seek Him and His kingdom purposes in your situation and you will receive the harvest of His will.

eek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
This is the 3rd step to keep us from being a two-souled believer in our Seven Steps to Freedom series. Matthew 6:33 tells us that in all things we must first seek His kingdom.

How do you live for His purposes first? Ask yourself: What is the Lord’s desire? If you’re seeking Him and His kingdom first--really first--you will seldom find yourself stuck in the two-souled mindset. You’ll seldom find yourself wavering over what is best to reflect His will for a situation. No matter how often you live in the double-minded domain, this step works every time you’re faced with ambiguity in following Him.

Righteousness is the ‘rightness’ of God: right position spiritually and right attitude emotionally. Living from this position will always produce a righteous harvest. At least 4 times in the new testament (2 Cor. 9:10; Phil 1:11; Heb 12:11; James 3:18) the Word speaks of a harvest or fruit of righteousness. Seek Him and His kingdom purposes in your situation and you will receive the harvest of His will.

Seek Him, His will, His heart, His mind for the situation. Find a place in your heart where you are completely focused on Him rather than on an outcome. Declare with your mouth AND your heart that you will put him first even if bad things happen. Thank Him for a harvest of righteousness.


Step 2: See God's Pattern of Provision

Boosting your faith by watching God work in others' lives will help you in your time of need.

See God’s pattern of provision!
This is the second step in our Seven Steps to Freedom series.

We have dozens of faith boosting miracles in the Bible. The Father provided quail and manna in the desert, turned bitter water to sweet, used ravens to feed Elijah and caused the widow’s jars of flour and oil to never go empty (1 Kings 17). The Father provides for those who are His. Jesus used the illustration of our Father taking care of nature; birds of the air and grass of the fields (Matt. 6:25-31). Birds don’t worry about or fear for their next meal. They just eat. Grass and flowers don’t worry about how they appear. They just grow and show! You might say "well that’s fine for species that don’t think, but I have a mind. I know what bad things could happen if I make a wrong choice." Ask Jesus why he used this example. . .he must have thought it applied to you!

Fear is a root cause of double-minded thinking. We fear the outcome because we can’t see the outcome. Seeing God’s provision for others increases faith for God’s outcome. Be encouraged by the Father’s legacy of providing when people choose to embrace His way. See the Father’s pattern of provision as a source of increasing your faith.


Step 1: Clarify your Choices

Clarify the choices in your head and engage your heart.

Be free from double-minded thinking! Yes, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”(John 8:36). When Jesus sets you free from the "two-souled" mindset, you are indeed free. You’re free from wavering between two opinions, procrastinating in decisions, stuck between fear and faith, and vacillating between God’s way and man’s way.

This next series of posts will include Seven Steps to Freedom. Take these steps to see deliverance from the "two-souled" dilemma. These Seven Steps to Freedom are not a formula but a process. They will free you from bondage and move you into a place of peace and stability in your life and your leadership.

The first of the Seven Steps to Freedom is to clarify your choices. Jesus presented choices in a very clear, succinct way. He said you can’t serve both God and money (Matt.6:24). He said lay up treasure in heaven not on earth. It’s either earth or heaven (Matt. 6:19, 20). It’s one or the other and it is clear.

Openly recognizing our choices engages the mind through logical analysis and engages the heart by self-examination. You have to be honest with where your heart is in clarifying the choices!

Most Christians, especially leaders, know the right choice when presented as clearly as those statements by Jesus. However, we often deny the content of our heart which desires to self-protect, to avoid conflict, or to make people happy. When Elijah asked the people "how long will you waver between two opinions," the people didn’t respond (1 Kings 18). Elijah declared a clear choice for God versus Baal. But, they said nothing. They did not want to acknowledge their heart condition-- the depth to which they had sunk-- the extent of their instability in faith. They wondered if the choice was really that clear. How could it be so simple when their hearts were in such turmoil?

Clarify the choices in your head and engage your heart. Don’t deny your condition and you will clarify your choices!


It's Time to Decide

A word from the Lord for you: How long will you waiver between two opinions? How long will you procrastinate in making a decision? I have already given you wisdom from my throne room but you have wavered, lingered and resisted in your heart. You’ve said ‘it can wait’. I have not changed my mind about you, about my plans for you, about your identity in Me. You have all you need from me but you waiver. You continue to be tossed about and battered. That is not Me tossing you and battering you. It’s time to decide. (prophetic word received 8/15/09)


Single-Mindedness Brings Focus, Confidence, & Stability

Stability comes with single-mindedness.

The double-minded leader is unsure about what Jesus did for them.

Are you double-minded about grace versus works for righteousness? Do you think that a sin will remove your name from the Book of Life? Do you question your call, anointing, and purpose? This is being double-minded and unstable as a leader.

Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go. . . ”(John 28:18). If you have Christ in you, then you have authority to go!!! Just do it! When you are single-minded about your authority and what Jesus has done, rather than what you have done, you will walk with focus, confidence, and stability as a leader.

Many years ago as a young Christian I found that my choice to believe in the authority Jesus has through me played such a strong role in the supernatural. One day Deborah (my wife) came to me as I was working on the outside of our house. She had a severe migraine headache. She asked that I would pray for her right there. So, I chose to believe in my front yard. She chose to receive in our front yard. The power of the Holy Spirit hit her and she fell over on the grass. The neighbors pretended not to notice, but some may have thought about dialing 911 (smile).

What a deal we have as leaders in this life of faith! Stay focused on what He has done for you, and you will walk in authority and be stable in all you do.


Choose to Believe and Choose Stability

A double-minded leader is unsure of what Jesus did for Him. James 1:6,7 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks he should not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

We can have His wisdom anytime we ask, but we must believe to receive. It’s always available. It’s free! James is very black and white in his statement here. Wow! How can anyone receive wisdom from the Lord? Don’t we all have a little doubt? Doubting and believing are choices we make, not gifts we receive.

Notice that the scripture says the double-minded man will not "receive" anything from the Lord. The Lord has already given it but we are limited in receiving it. The finished work of the cross has given us the gift of salvation and abundance of life in Jesus. He’s already given it, but we have a tough time believing and receiving it. We can believe it or doubt it. It’s a choice! An effective leader chooses to receive and chooses stability of soul and stability of spirit.


Double Mindedness is Not Compatible with Leadership

Don't get caught in the wire of indecision

A double minded leader is unstable in all he does. To be double minded is literally to be ‘two-souled’; to waver, be unsettled, be indecisive, and lack purity and clarity of thinking. Double mindedness is NOT compatible with effective leadership.

James 4:8 says, ‘wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’ This kind of thinking needs to be purified. We make our decisions in our hearts. Our spirit, which is perfectly righteousness and tuned in to the Father, is pure but our hearts may deceive us with duplicity of thought. Duplicitous thinking may cause us to hesitate when a decision is needed.

When I was a boy I often visited my grandparent’s farm. They had cattle and therefore had many fences. My brother and I would venture out into the expanses of green grass and often had to cross over barbed wire fences into another part of the farm. We would gingerly swing one leg over the fence while we pushed with all our might down on the uppermost barbed wire strand. We were too short to have a leg on both sides of the fence. Once we were properly positioned we would bounce one leg up at the same moment we put the other leg down on the other side of the fence. Once we started this process there was no going back. It was one side of the fence or the other. To be caught hanging on the wire was painful and embarrassing. We could not be ‘two souled’ about the crossover! I encourage you as a leader to be pure, of one mind, as you lead people. Purify your heart. You don’t want to be hanging on the wire of indecision.


Double Minded Is Deceitful

Avoid double mindedness with patience

Double minded leaders deceive themselves and depart from God’s best for them. A secondary definition of double minded is ‘deceitful’. Yes, if your own heart deceives you, you may find yourself giving up on God’s plan and coming up with your own plan.

Many leaders fail to fulfill their call and purpose even when they know what God has said to them. They get tired of waiting. They get frustrated with progress. They begin to second guess what God has told them, become double minded. This undermines His promise and frustrates grace in their life. They come up with their own plan. They are deceived!!!!

I think of Abram whom God promised would be the Father of many nations through a son that would be born to him. Abram and Sarai got tired of waiting on a promised son, began to second guess what God had said, and, through self-deception, came up with their own plan, conceiving a son through Hagar the maidservant (Gen. 15, 16). Double minded thinking got them Ishmael. Self-deception got them a counterfeit of God’s promise. Abram and Sarai eventually got their promised son, Isaac, but at a great price to Hagar, Ishmael, and the descendants of Ishmael. God made his covenant with Isaac, not with Ishmael.

Leaders, stay true and focused on what the Lord has spoken to you. Don’t become impatient and double minded. It leads to self-deception and less than God’s best.


Listen to Those You Lead

People reach their greatest level of anger when they feel others are not listening

eople in the U.S. are angry.

They do not believe that their leaders are interested in the good of the people. View any cable news show in the last few weeks and you will find anger in the streets, in the ‘tea parties’, and in town hall meetings. President Obama’s job approval rating has dropped about 15 points over two months. Much of the angst is over legislation that would dramatically change America’s health care system. Anger is also emerging over actions by congress and the President that dramatically increased the national deficit through massive federal spending with little improvement in employment and the economy.

The President has opened his arms to Islam, declared that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation, and chose not to participate in the National Day of Prayer. The President’s party has a super majority in the Senate and simple majority in the House. He seems invincible and his actions reflect that mindset. He does not need to listen to people because he can, theoretically, do anything he so desires. But, he is losing public support for his leadership.

There is a lesson for church leaders in all of this. People reach their greatest level of anger when they feel others are not listening; when they feel disregarded; when they feel that people of authority are not serving the people. In the church, leaders are usually more sensitive because we know almost everyone we are leading is there voluntarily. People can leave anytime! However, even in the church a leader can feel too self-confident or invincible because he or she has a majority opinion of support. Even when holding a majority position leaders must listen to those who have different perspectives. We may be confident in our position, but we must not abuse our authority.

Paul was about to make his third visit to the church in Corinth when he wrote to them, saying ‘even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it’ (2 Cor. 10:8). Paul knew his authority, was confident of his position in the Lord, but most importantly, he knew it was authority to build people. In 2 Cor. 11: 2-3, Paul told them ‘I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’ Paul knew their heart, knew their struggles of faith, and listened to their concerns.

Some in Corinth did not think highly of Paul, but Paul’s motivation to lead came from his passion for the people, even those who did not support him. He was very concerned about them going astray. Paul’s leadership was not about his agenda, but God’s agenda. It was about his call to build them up into the fullness of Christ and to help them walk out the gospel of grace. Paul finished his letter in 2 Cor. 13:10 by saying ‘This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.’

Paul left no doubt that he had authority and a majority. The Lord was his source of authority. He and the Lord were a majority. And he had a passion for serving Christ and all the people of Corinth. The people of Corinth could only be humbled by his letter. They knew he listened to them. They knew his heart was for them. They knew that Paul would use his authority for their good.

So it is with us today. Listen to people who may not support you even when you have the authority to dictate. Let them know that in your authority is a passion for their good.


Posts Will Resume August 17

I will be taking a break from blogging. Posts will resume August 17th. Be blessed!


You Can Help Bring Clarity

You can help bring clarity to transform their minds.
In my recent posts I have brought to light the challenge for leaders in today’s church. We are confronted with blended beliefs that keep the born-again believer from walking in the fullness of Christ. Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter four that we are to equip the believers, bringing them into unity and attaining to the fullness of Christ.

As long as believers hang on to a little new age philosophy, a little Hinduism, or a little humanism they will falter in their walk with the Lord. There will certainly not be unity and they will experience bits and pieces of the fullness of Christ.

We must build them up, bringing clarity of mind and freedom of spirit to the church. I encourage you to take on the challenge among those you lead. Find out what they REALLY BELIEVE. It may surprise you! However, with the knowledge of what they really believe, you can begin to transform their mind and bring freedom from the bondage of blended beliefs. You can do it! You are equipped! Praise Jesus.


We Have the Upper Hand in the Battle of Beliefs

We have the God whose qualities are seen in creation.

Blended beliefs have taken up residence in the church. As leaders we are called to bring truth and clarity to people with blended beliefs. I recently read a statistic from George Barna, a prominent Christian social researcher in America. He found that 1/3 of all self-described Christians believe that the Bible is totally accurate in the principles it teaches. That’s good, right? Yet that same group also believes that the Koran, Book of Mormon, and Bible teach the same truths. What’s up with that? How can such a large group of people believe such things? The three books teach very different concepts of truth, salvation and the nature of God. They are very different!

Well, if there’s any good news in social statistics, we find it among the self-described atheists. One in five atheists believes in a god or a "universal spirit". How can you be an atheist, which by definition does not believe in ANY supernatural god or spirit, and embrace belief in the same? Blended beliefs have even invaded the atheist camp!

The bottom line is that every human has an inherent need to believe in the one true God of the Bible. Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what had been made, so men are without excuse.” They will place their belief somewhere and in something. God’s very creation points to Him!
Our job as leaders is to bring forth the God the Bible, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a clear and vibrant way. We bring it with teaching, preaching, signs and wonders, gifts of the Spirit, our music, and through simple conversation.

Whether in the church or outside the church we have the upper hand in the battle of beliefs because we have Truth! We have the God whose invisible qualities are seen in His very creation! So we bring forth this God to dispel the blended beliefs to the church—and to the atheist! Praise God!


Build Trust and Then Use Tools

I’m continuing today the topic of blended beliefs in the church. As leaders we are called to prepare and build people in the faith with an outcome of unity and maturity in Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). This call is certainly a challenge in a world of instant cyber access to any faith concept imaginable.

The Apostle Paul had the same call to prepare and build amidst a diversity of belief systems. He battled well-established belief systems from Greek, Asian, Jewish and Gnostic culture as he preached the message of Jesus Christ. In Paul’s day a church he planted may go many months of invasion by false teaching before he became aware. It would be additional weeks or months before he could send a letter to bring clarity to blended beliefs. Paul did not have the challenge of cyber access to undermine his work, but neither did the competition!

Today we have the same tools as the competition! Praise God, we are not limited to Sunday morning messages and traditional approaches to advance the good news of Jesus Christ. We can distribute virtually any of God’s good news via websites, streaming audio/video, facebook, twitter, TV, radio, books and CD’s. And, of course, by personal contact. Yes, Paul’s personal time and investment in the local church developed trust and credibility that served him well when he needed to stem the invasion of blended beliefs.

At the end of the day, the level of trust you develop with people in your sphere of ministry will serve as a sound platform to bring clarity to the invasion of other beliefs. Whether you do it through cyberspace or more traditional means, People tend to go with whom they trust. So leaders, gain trust. . .then use every tool available to bring the clarity of Jesus to the world.


Blended Beliefs Result in Confusion

Blended beliefs in the body of Christ are rampant. These beliefs reveal the confused mindsets of masses of people regarding the Bible as the infallible Word of God. Most of them are insecure and inconsistent in beliefs because they have not spent time and energy studying the Word, receiving from the five-fold ministry gifts based in the Word, and applying what they know from the Word. The result is insecure, inconsistent, and powerless beliefs and behavior in the church.

For example, social researcher George Barna found that about half of all self-described Christians in the U.S. believe the Bible is totally accurate in its principles but also believe the Holy Spirit is only a symbolic reference to God’s power and presence. What’s up with that??!!! How can it be? People can only embrace both beliefs if they haven’t done the above.

Similarly, a majority of Brazilian people practice some form of Kardecism, Umbanda or Macumba, forms of spiritism and witchcraft, yet most of those practicing claim to be Christian and attend churches (Johnstone and Mandryk, 2001). They have blended beliefs, walking and talking as in states of confusion and blinded by the blender of beliefs.

The challenge for Church leadership is to not only teach the clear Word of God, but teach people to teach themselves the Word of God; to declare a clear, unambiguous message of grace and righteousness that comes only through Jesus Christ; to bring deliverance to the demonized and freedom to the enslaved. We bring clarity to blended minds and freedom to captives of confusion. From Africa to Asia to America we take this challenge and advance the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of clarity and good news!


There Is a Remnant!

In my last post you may have wondered, "this is horrible, how can so many people be confused about what the Bible says?" You may have stood on the threshold of despair from such deception in the church. But remember I said there is a remnant! Hallelujah, there is a group of believers that knows their identity in Christ. They know who is their enemy and who is their friend. They are clear in their beliefs and have not succumbed to the "blender"!!

From Africa, to Asia, to South America, to the U.S. there is a remnant who both understands the reality and strategies of Satan and who manifests the power of the Holy Spirit. This remnant is filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), sealed by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:22), lives according to the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:4, Gal. 5:16), knows that God displays signs and wonders through the power of the Holy Spirit ((Rom.15:19), knows that spiritual truth only comes by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13-16), understands that the Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints (Rom.8:27), are saved by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13), preaches the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:12), worships by the Holy Spirit (Phil.3:3), prays in the Spirit on all occasions(Eph. 6:18), and declares the wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in heavenly realms (Eph. 3:10).

This remnant of the church is coming alongside leaders to clarify the Truth of Jesus Christ and His resurrection power, to demonstrate the activity and gifts of the Holy Spirit and to appropriate victory over all the strategies of Satan and the demonic. It is this remnant that undergirds leaders to advance the Kingdom of God in their city, region, nation, and nations. Leaders, be encouraged by this remnant that has not submitted to the blender!! They are among you, just see and perceive who they may be.


Satan Is Not Merely a Symbol

As leaders from the U.S., Africa, Asia, or South America read this blog, together we take on the challenge of blended beliefs in the church. Every culture has the challenge of mixing the Truth of the Word of God with cultural, intellectual, and spiritual influences.

For example, in the U.S. today, six in ten self-described Christians believe that Satan is only a symbol of evil and he does not really exist as a living entity. A similar number believe that the Holy Spirit is only a symbol of God’s power and presence, but is not a living entity. Such a belief comes from the myriad of influences flooding minds of people in the church. This belief is completely inconsistent with Biblical truth; it gives a platform for Satan to further deceive and confuse, and undermines the credible power and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

But. . .be encouraged leaders! There is good news in all of this! Halleluliah! There is a remnant, a powerful minority in the church, who know the Truth and it has set them free from confusion. In the next post I will encourage you about this remnant that is coming along side to advance the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of Clarity and Truth.


Leaders Must Bring Clarity to What Jesus Did to Defeat Satan

Satan is real, living and active on the earth today. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Clearly Satan is active on this earth, yet many people choose to ignore him thinking that ignorance is bliss. I have personally found that people in developing countries have a stronger sense of clarity about Satan’s activity than people do here in the U.S.

According to research by George Barna (4/2009) only about 26% of U.S. Christians believe that Satan is real rather than symbolic. While the Bible is very clear about the reality and activity of Satan, blended beliefs undermine the church’s ability to manifest victory over Satan and his activity because only a minority clearly see him as real.

As leaders we must bring clarity to what Jesus did to defeat Satan. He is a defeated foe over whom we, the Church, must appropriate daily victory in our minds and in the spirit realm. When we teach the church to rise up and resist him, we bring clarity to blended beliefs. We bring defeat to the one who roars like a lion but has not the power of a lion. We remind him of his defeat and our victory. But we only do that if we know it and appropriate it. Leadership must show the way.