Are you doing the welfare shuffle?

We've all seen them, maybe we've even been behind them at the mall. You know, seemingly able bodied people just walking fast enough to keep from going backwards, they seem to have no particular place to go and all day to get there.

Whenever I spot this rhythm going on it's usually a pretty clear sign their doing what I affectionately call the, "welfare shuffle".

Unfortunately many believers today have a similar rhythm going on in their life. Yes they have a steady stream of food and support coming in from the religious system, but their dependency on this system has robbed them of the dignity and anointing God's called them to walk in

Here are a few warning signs you may be doing  the"welfare shuffle" in your walk with God.

1. Coming to church empty without anything to give away.
Image result for picture of man sleeping in church

What? We're suppose to be thinking of others, even at church? Yes!
It's good to come to church, but it's not intended to be a spectator sport.

According to the bible we're supposed to come together with something to give away, not to be focused on personal growth and what "I can get out of this".

Church tradition got it wrong, check your bible.1 cor 14: 12 "let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel". 


2. Willing to eat anything because it's free food and you're hungry.

I was eating lunch with my daughter at her school last year and the girl sitting across from us was eating the free school hot lunch.

It didn't look very appetizing, in fact, when we asked her what it was she said she didn't know. Then we asked her if it was good, she said "not really". When my daughter asked " why are you eating it then "?
She responded "because I'm hungry".

Many believers today will sit under preaching and teaching that is really bad, in fact much of it is contrary to what the bible really teaches. Why do they continue to eat it? Sadly because it's free food and they're hungry.

3. Willing to ride with someone as long as it doesn't cost you anything.

Helping people and especially making disciples is costly.
Years ago I had a roommate who wanted our new apartment to be a place of ministry. He had lofty visions of ministry, helping people get on their feet, feeding the homeless, encouraging new believers and so on...

Well a few days into it we were helping some new believers and let's just say they had some "rough edges". After a couple days of them he basically said "that's enough of that". Evidently he had meant let's help people without any problems.

How to bear fruit out of season

Going on scheduled outreaches is a great way to experience consistent supernatural encounters with people in the context of preaching and ministry.

However, sometimes life and responsibilities have a way of bearing down on us and stealing much of our time right out from under us.

When this happens it's easy to feel like we can't be used by God until we have more "free time". One of the strategies of hell is to cause us to feel like we are too busy to be effective or fruitful.

Although there is some truth to being too busy, there is a greater truth that says to redeem the time.
Spiritual momentum and fruitfulness can be maintained in these seasons.

Jesus said "as you go preach" you don't have to wait for a scheduled outreach. Wherever you go or whatever you're doing you can bring the kingdom with you.

My schedule has been very demanding the past few months and I've been faced with the reality that you can only do so much with the time you have.

So what do you do when you find yourself maxed out and your usual way of focused ministry is being disrupted by legitimate responsibilities? Here's a few things that have helped me.

1. Stay flexible, one of the characteristics of a new wineskin is flexibility.

2. Allow things to stretch you, it creates a unique atmosphere for the Holy Ghost to

3. Make it a point to take advantage of seemingly small opportunities to minister to people
    (I've found the Holy Ghost is way ahead of me on this one).

4. Redeem the time, turn whatever circumstance or schedule you're facing over to God's purpose and present help and His kingdom will come.

5. Maintain your inner connection and sensitivity to the Holy Ghost.

6. Take a moment to pray and lay hands on someone needing a miracle.

7. Don't take the people you come in contact with for granite, know they need ministry from a loving supernatural God.

I've recently seen four people get healed as I've done this with people I've encountered at work. It only took a moment to lay hands and pray and each one came back later testifying of getting healed.

One guy said I was the only person he had ever let pray for him, what a priveledge.

Supernatural encounters on the job have a way of increasing favor and credibility with people like nothing else, sometimes a miracle is worth a thousand words.Thank you Jesus!

I think it is vital as followers of Jesus to have focused, scheduled times for preaching and ministry, but there are seasons when it is more difficult.

This is when we are especially to redeem the time. Do everything unto the Lord and make the most of every moment He gives us. A moment spent on God's purposes releases more than we think.


Oh, it's my turn?

There's been a number of times we've been on outreach in a neighborhood and learned there had been a suicide or an attempted suicide a few days before.

In one case a young man 27 years old took his life the day before we got there, tragically we were too late.

I guess you could argue our decision to go Saturday night instead of Friday night was just coincidental and that we shouldn't have felt responsible or that maybe we'd missed God, but then again if we had knocked on his door the night before, maybe God would have used us to get him set free.

Another time we arrived a few days after a 17 year old girl had attempted suicide, heartbreaking, I know we could have helped her if we had been there a little sooner.

Lately I've been more convinced than ever, our lives and decisions, aren't as insignificant as we might think.

God's not just given us the authority and power to bring the good news, he's given us the responsibility and the opportunity.

The recent horrific mass murders have many searching for answers. There is much debate regarding how to produce change in our society. Sadly the only input I hear from most Christians is criticism towards our politicians and legislators.

Although I understand the debate and the frustration with the lack of sound response from our government, I am more disturbed by the lack of response from the church.

Have you ever been playing a game, maybe chess or checkers and you and your opponent are quietly staring at the board for a while and suddenly your opponent goes "oh it's my turn?"

I feel like this is what needs to happen with many Christians today, myself included.

We need a wake up call, we need to say "oh, it's my turn?".

Jesus said  "as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
In other words, He was the answer for the injustice during His time on the earth.

He wasn't just disturbed by the injustice, He had a passion for bringing Justice to the world around Him. What would happen if Christians all over began to wake up and not just be disturbed by what's going on in our world today, but we began to take action.

What if we began to feel the responsibility of bringing the good news of the kingdom to our world.( I'm getting stirred up just writing about it.)

Jesus told his disciples "you are the light of the world" in other words you have the answer, you have the responsibility to bring justice to the world around you, just as I showed you.

It's hard for us to believe lives are at stake, but they truly are. It's so easy for us to continue living as if it's somehow someone else's responsibility.

I can't help but think of the recent tragedies and wonder, were there any Christians in the shooters lives that could have gotten them set free? Maybe they passed through my city and walked by me.

What if someone would have showed up on their doorstep with the gospel of the kingdom days before the shootings, how would things have been different? When you look at it that way, our steps don't seem so small do they....

Have we lost our voice?

Recently I was listening to a radio program with two counselors giving "help" to people calling in. During the program I kept thinking "wow their giving really bad counsel to these people".

One of the callers was trapped in a homosexual lifestyle and was asking for help in finding a fulfilling romantic relationship.

The caller was very frustrated and was desperately seeking help. The counselors advice was to just keep looking, he suggested the callers frustration and lack of fulfillment was largely because society hasn't fully accepted this lifestyle.

It was very sad to hear the caller genuinely asking for help and getting such bad, totally wrong, counsel. It was like a lost driver getting directions and being sent in the opposite direction of where he needs to go.

I was reminded of Proverbs 18:17 The first one to plead his cause seems right. Until his neighbor comes and examines him.

Much of the help available today is very far from the truth, even in our religious culture much of the help offered does more harm than good because it's simply not true.

It may be true in a sense, according to this world, but not according to Christ and His kingdom.

We have a mandate as the Church to speak the truth in love. When we're silent, "the first one to plead his cause seems right."

In other words when the counsel or politically correct "truth" of today is left unchallenged. It is more easily embraced as "right". There is conveniently nothing to compare it to.

We are the neighbor this scripture speaks of.
It's our responsibility to examine. If we don't who will? It's our responsibility to speak the Truth.

The Hebrew word used here for examine means of examining thoroughly, so as to expose weakness in a case

We need to test the ever changing popular truth of today by the everlasting truth of the Bible. It's time to not just silently agree with God but boldly speak the word of God.
Our voice isn't insignificant, in fact Jesus said "he who hears you hears me" That's a pretty high calling.

It's time to get our voice back, it's time to pray that prayer "Lord grant to your servants that with all boldness we may speak your word".

Are you still sleeping?

The other day I had a very sobering experience. I was sitting in traffic at a red light, when all of a sudden, I started to feel really good. I had such peace come over me, and the warmth and freedom I started to feel was exhilarating.

I hadn't felt something like this in a long time and something inside me was saying "yes, this feels so so good". All the stress and responsibility of the day seemed to just disappear I was finally free.

The only problem was during this seemingly "religious" experience, my foot had actually come off the brake pedal and now 80,000 lbs. of truck was rolling towards the car in front of me.

I had fallen asleep. Thankfully God woke me up just before I hit the car in front of me and I was able to regain control and stop before hitting the car.

My job requires me at times to go without sleep and work extended hours or work through the night. This was one of those times.

God clearly spoke to me right then about the account in scripture, where Jesus asked his disciples "are you still sleeping?" This was one of the most critical times in history as Jesus was about to go to the cross.

Well here we are once again at a vital time in history and the temptation to sleep is overwhelming many.

Sleep in one sense is when the flesh finally gets it's way, unrestrained by responsibility the body can fully focus on self.

I believe selfishness is one of the great last day assaults that's currently taking many out of the will of God.

Even in some people close to me
I have seen an unbridled brazen selfishness rear it's
head and it's very disturbing.

The problem with the last day temptations is that they will just feel too good.

Much like the experience I had falling asleep, this same experience is happening to many in their spiritual life and I fear this strategy will continue to take out many.

God help us to stay awake, love of self is so dangerous because it feels so good. Normal Christianity is dieing to our self, this opens the door to real joy, peace, and satisfaction.

Are you still sleeping?

Trampling on serpents

The other night I had a dream I stirred up a nest of venomous snakes, one came after me and I was able to grip the back of it's head without it getting it's fangs in me.

I remember thinking in the dream, I need to get a better grip on this thing, but I also knew if I tried, it would probably bite me. It took everything I had to keep my grip and as long as I didn't let up, I was fine.

Well the next day, my wife, not knowing of the dream I had, shared Luke 10 :19 with me
"Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Trampling on serpents creates a path to walk on, our enemies are suppose to be under our feet just like the Lords' are under His.

As we make this our lifestyle our authority will increase because this is who we are in Jesus. It's not arrogance or presumption it's called walking in truth.

Do not try to get a better grip. Do not go down the path of searching for another way, do not try to improve on the Lords strategy. Just learn to enjoy your supernatural life of victory.

"Nothing shall by any means hurt you" because our protection is found in dieing to self, and exercising (putting into use) our authority as a lifestyle.

God prepares a table in the presence of our enemies, I'll admit it's an acquired taste, but once you've eaten a few serpents religious food just doesn't taste the same.

Jesus just couldn't leave it alone

One of the things I love about the Lord is his willingness to unapologetically do His fathers will and speak the truth in love. I believe he wasn't purposely trying to be contrary or different for the sake of His own ego, but He was truly just being Himself in fulfilling His call.

He was a man, He had a masculine spirit. I believe this is one of the great assaults on our generation. Most Christian men today are in such confusion because they have bought the lie that a religious non confrontational passive feminine spirit is the Holy Spirit.

I remember growing up in religion and being nauseated by the religious passive culture surrounding me. Although this is no excuse, many today stay away from the church because this is still the norm in most places.

We are in a spiritual war, a passive feminine spirit will get you killed on the battle field. Many Christian leaders today have exchanged God's truth for a religious culture that in many ways is contrary to the life and teaching of Jesus.

Even in the prophetic main stream most of it is dominated by the passive non confrontational religious spirit that ran the religious system in Jesus day. Basically all talk and no action, many today define a religious spirit as a self righteous driven type of spirit that relies on works for salvation.

Although that is true to some extent that type usually finds expression through cults and false religion.

The kind Jesus hammered away at is what dominates many churches today. He said the leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy, not so much self righteousness. He said "do as they say but don't do as they do" (Mathew 23:3) He's called us to walk in maturity, walk out what we say we believe.

An over emphasis on worrying about "striving" is really just exposing how immature we are. Salvation is by grace, once you understand that, it's no longer about you or "your" salvation That's settled, now it's time to turn and think about helping someone else.

Continued emphasis on an anti striving campaign will eventually turn you against God in defending your selfishness and immaturity.

This is why our religious culture today is in such danger, because eventually it will turn completely away from the doctrines of Christ. It will actually be anti Christ and not even know it.

God help us!