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In Prisons With Stained Glass Windows

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First allow me to thank you for your continued prayers and support while we were on our last ministry trip throughout the United States. I wish we had the time and space to share with you every miracle and sign that God brought forth, but I can tell you that many, many came to know the glory and power of Jesus Christ.

If there is a down side to it anywhere, it is in the large number of people who are truly imprisoned in jails with stained glass windows. It is truly grievous to see those who are devoted and committed to every word that comes forth - from the mouth of their pastors - not from God. They will quote ridiculous things they honestly believe are in the Word of God - but are not. They will develop an entire theology based on some person's interpretation of a scripture, without ever once looking into the depths of that scripture for themselves. For that matter, most will not even pray to see if God concurs with that person's particular interpretation.

In prisonIn this day and age of technological wonders, we have volumes of books and multitudes of software enabling us to access all of the Greek and Hebrew renderings of virtually every scripture in the Bible. Yet, with all this, we have the greatest amount of doctrinal chaos ever in history. Why? Because the church has grown fat and lazy - too lazy to obey the Word of God which commands all of us to "study to show ourselves approved," people who need not be ashamed but can rightly divide the Word of Truth

Surely the scripture is fulfilled that "truth has fallen by the wayside," and certainly we are living in the age where people have indeed "gathered around them a great number of teachers to hear what their itching ears want to hear." We have seen what we consider to be the 3 most common spirits in the church today. They are:
1. The spirit of luring,
2. The spirit of religiosity, (the one that crucified Christ,)
3. The spirits of fear and confusion, (neither of which are given by God!)

The church today is literally plagued with these spirits. If you look around you will see evidence of them everywhere; the women with the too short, too tight dresses or jeans; the men with their eyes glued to these same women; the self-righteousness of people; those people who are never quite sure what God is doing or saying; and a multitude of others.

These spirits have very successfully taken root and caused such division that we have become a society of sects; even within the Body of Christ itself. The rash of different interpretations of even the basic, foundational truths of the Word of God has opened wide the door to these spirits, allowing them to find a home with all of those who are either very nominal Christians, or are double minded. Double mindedness comes when someone attempts to hold both to the teachings of man and the teachings of God. They are blown about by every wind of doctrine and the scripture says they can expect to "receive nothing from the Lord" in the way of wisdom.

This is the hour when God is pouring out His Spirit to all who might believe. But we have seen so many who claim to be His, fall into what I call "the comfort zone." They are comfortable in their homes, positions, and churches. This has made them apathetic, which in turn has left them vulnerable to false doctrines and doctrines of demons. It also keeps them firmly entrenched in their padded pews, rather than out there somewhere doing the work of the Father.

Brothers and sisters, as the Word of God says, "the harvest fields are ripe." We have, unfortunately, received a new revelation of the scripture, "many are called but few are chosen." It truly is as it was in the days of Noah. People are eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, with no thought to the lateness of the hour. It is easy to see why "one will be taken and the other left." One truly seeks God and the other one has formed a wall of indifference to the Holy Spirit, but God demands obedience and holiness. Somewhere amidst the pageants and the plays; the choir recitals and music ministries; somewhere between Sunday school and the ice cream socials; church bazaars and pot luck fellowship dinners; even amidst the food drives and guest speakers-one basic scriptural truth remains: The infallible, unchanging Word of the Living and Almighty God says, 'the purpose of the church is to EQUIP THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY!'

It is amazing to me how intently they will listen to what a man or woman says but will fail to listen to what the Holy Spirit saith unto the churches. We find so many who say they will serve God after the mortgage is paid, or the kids are out of college, or excuse after excuse after excuse. But, there is an old saying, if you won't serve God now - while it is yet light enough to work - how will you serve Him when it is night and no man can work? The true invisible Church, those called and anointed, must pray for the Lord to send out workers into the harvest, for there are far too many who have grown immune or become discouraged. Surely, the time of this scripture is now. We see the scripture being fulfilled right before our eyes as the conflicts in Kosovo, Russia and elsewhere escalate. I have found that so many people's hearts are hardened and they refuse to be moved. God has revealed to me terrifying things that shall shortly come to pass in the United States and around the world, and I have spoken these things out many times and in many places. Yet there are many who do not take seriously that which the Lord has said, and is now saying and doing in these last minutes of time.

There is an urgency on the hearts and in the spirits of all of those who truly know and serve the Lord to "go forth into all the nations and preach the gospel." Yet, if you asked most of those who claim to be Christians, you would hear any number of excuses as to why they cannot go. But I want you to know, brothers and sisters, when we stand before Jesus and look into those eyes of fire, all excuses will fade from our lips and all we will be able to say is, "just and true are your judgments, O Lord."

Let us go back to the scripture I mentioned earlier regarding the true purpose of the church; why do you suppose this is not being done on any large scale basis? Could it have anything to do with the offering plate? If there were anything I could ask the Lord to show me before I go home to be with Him, just once I would like to be in a church, a really big church, with lots of people filling all the pews, and have the pastor say," Today let us take the offering and give it all to the poor." Or maybe, "Let's give it all to those people in the back who are willing to give up all they have to go to India, or Bangladesh, or Outer Mongolia, and preach the gospel." But I fear this is only an empty wish. There are far too many building funds, far too many hymn book funds, or far too many choir robe funds that need to be built up. The church of today, particularly here in the United States, has become a living example of the scripture which speaks of those who use "godliness as a means to financial gain."

Brothers and sisters, I know for a fact there are those in the church who have knowledge of someone who cannot pay their rent, or put food on the table for their family, yet this person is still giving their 10% to the church to support all of these funds. I know there are churches that have thousands and thousands of dollars in their coffers, earmarked for some special church-related project, and whose leaders are aware of people who cannot get to work because their car has broken down and they cannot afford to buy the parts needed to fix it; yet the church refuses to help because "it's not in their budget for that quarter." May God have mercy. The Bible clearly says if you know that someone has a need and it is within your power to help them and you do not, how can the love of God be in you? Where is the love of God in these churches that refuse to help their own needy? Many times recently in our travels, we have run across some of these very people, struggling in the mire of poverty while the church lays down new carpeting; and God has spoken to us to help several of these families on an ongoing basis because the church would not. We are more than blessed to do it, but what is the Lord going to say to those churches when the people in them who knew, stand before Him?

Let me ask you this: If they passed a law tomorrow that it was illegal for any church to collect their 10% tithes and offerings (one church I know of charges 20% interest on the 10% if it is late), how many would still be left to preach Christ and Him crucified? Find me just one scripture, rightly divided and not taken out of context, where 10% tithing and offerings taken for the benefit of the church is located. (I mean in the New Testament, after the death of Christ). Up until the time of the crucifixion of Christ, the Old Covenant was still in effect (which is why Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about their tithe of 10%). But when He hung on that cross and said, "It is finished," He was speaking of the Old Covenant. His death brought into effect the New Covenant. We now live under grace and not under the law. Scripture says if you are going to live by one part of the law, you must live by the entire law, and be judged by it. This is why God gave us, "His only begotten Son..." (You know the rest of the scripture.) But if you are going to live by the Old Covenant tithing law, consider this; most of the tithes were paid in grain, animals or spices. I don't see any bins or barns next to the churches of today. How would the pastors of today react if you put 6 chickens in the offering plate instead of a check? Think about it...We no longer offer animal sacrifices to the Lord, instead we lay our bodies on the alter as a living sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters, lest you get the wrong idea and think I am against tithing, or the church taking offerings, let me assure you I am not. I am only against the misuse of it. I have been in small fellowships where they take offerings according to scripture, like when they took the offering to give to Paul for his missionary journey; or when the people of the New Testament church took the offering for the poor in Jerusalem. These fellowships, poor as they are, actually took the offering and did give it to those the Lord directed them to give it to. I am sorry to say all of these fellowships were located outside of the United States, where the love of money is not so prevalent. "Freely you have received, now freely give." Author - Jesus Christ.

We are presently preparing to leave for Australia (in approximately two weeks,) a place where many are totally backslidden, but where there are also many who are eager and hungry for the Word of the Lord, and who desire only to be used of God. We are blessed to have found those who put no conditions on Him, but seek only the true knowledge of Him. We earnestly covet your prayers, both for us and for those we are being sent to serve. Praise and glory and honor be unto Jesus Christ our Lord - who is able to meet all our needs - "exceedingly, abundantly, more than we could ever ask or imagine!"

In His service for His glory.

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