The Talk Everyone Needs to Have With God

The first time I ever prophesied I was about 16 years old. I was part of the leadership for a local youth group and I was invited up on stage to pray one night. While I was praying I heard these words well up on the inside, “If you’ll get real with Me, I will get real with you.” Prophesying is downplayed today, just like the Bible warned against (1Thess 5:20). But those words have stuck with me all these years. I know what God meant when He said that. And it’s that most of us, when you get right down to it, are not really dealing in reality when it comes to our relationship with Him. It’s kind of fake. Kind of imaginary. It just has the feel of one-sidedness. Almost as if deep down, we don’t even really know if we believe there is a God, but we carry on somehow convincing ourselves otherwise.

 

Some may be offended I’m even saying these things out loud. But I don’t think it does anyone any good to avoid talking about it.

After seeing a lot of my friends and family fall away, or fade off into oblivion concerning their Christianity, I think it’s finally time that this be addressed head on:

 

God feels fake for a lot of us because the majority of Christians have never actually benefited from believing in or serving Him. Now, I understand the churchy cliches’ about how we shouldn’t serve God for our own benefit. Or how we should just be happy that we’re not burning in hell (and we should), but the reality is, there’s a lot the Church has downplayed in this area and it’s been to our own detriment.  

 

God is a Pragmatist

 

From the very beginning when God first spoke to Abraham it was about giving him land and making him rich (Genesis 12:1). Later, it was the same promise for the Israelites. In fact, God creating Covenant was an introduction to a legal partnership with Israel which involved all kinds of material and observable benefits. If you read in Deuteronomy (chapters 27-28) you see that tangible blessings were God’s way of manifesting His end of the Agreement. The Jews had a palpable way of knowing if they were holding up their end of responsibility.

 

Then we go to Proverbs and find a book packed full of practical wisdom on how to avoid tragedy, how to stay healthy, live long, and be rich (1:33, 3:15-16, 22:4).

 

In the New Testament, Jesus is going around manifesting signs and wonders in response to faith in Him (Matt 8:9-13, 9:2, Mk 5:34).

 

In Acts, when the Jews saw the Gentiles filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues, they knew He was at work (Acts 10:44-47).

 

Over and over again, we see observable ramifications due to actual encounters with God.

 

What am I getting at? God has always expected certain actions from man, and in response, He has promised to act.

 

In a lot of ways, that makes God a pragmatist.

 

A pragmatist is someone who is concerned with measurable results. They don’t like being tangled up in ideas that don’t produce definitive outcomes.

 

On the other end of this spectrum are idealists. Most believers really fall into this category. An idealist likes to be occupied with things that might seem right, or feel right, in theory—even if there is no tangible reality or benefit behind them.

We pray. But our prayers are generic. So generic that our culture has begun to switch out praying for someone with the words, “our thoughts are with them.” What does that even mean?! Prayer has become so indistinct and ineffective in our minds that the whole concept has been reduced to little more than an abstract thought.

 

We witness. But there are no signs or wonders to accompany the message. Instead of the people being filled with fear and awe in the presence of the Living God, they’re filled with dread hoping and wishing that we stop talking so they can get away.

 

We go to church. But most of us walk away with nothing. When we say, “it was a good service” at best it means it gave us a good feeling. It made us feel nice. At worse, it means we lied and can’t even remember what it was about.

 

Obviously, there are exceptions to what I’m saying—but by in large, I just described the majority of our experiences. And the truth is, most people are not going to continue down this road forever. People crave substance. They crave real. And you know what? That’s okay because God does too.

 

What is Normal?

 

I used to think this was normal until one day someone told me about a guy by the name of, Smith Wigglesworth. I found out that there were multiple reports of people literally being raised from the dead under his ministry.

 

You know what my response was when I first heard this?

 

“Was he a witch?!”

 

Imagine that! Being so programmed to expect so little, that any manifestation of the supernatural, I automatically assumed was from the devil!

 

Then I began hearing about others. People who essentially just said, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!” And would live as though the book of Acts never had a conclusion.

 

And that was when God and I had the talk.

 

I told God one day (and since then, I’ve told Him this multiple times), “I can’t do this. I can’t live normal. What I’ve experienced can’t be all there is to Christianity. If you’re real—-The same God I read about in the Bible—- then I refuse to settle for average things. I’m not going to put up with it anymore. I want what I read about in this Book. And I won’t accept anything less.”

 

Some people are afraid to talk that way to God. But I was just being 100% honest.

 

Then things began to happen:

 

Healings.

 

Exorcisms.

 

Crazy answers to prayer.

 

Even supernatural knowledge of events before they took place.

 

It all starts with what you’re willing to be satisfied with. Don’t be afraid to get painfully—-brutally honest with God. This was all His idea anyway. He is the one who brought up healing. He’s the one that brought up miraculous answers to prayer. He’s the one that told us to expect and believe for the fantastic. It’s time to get real with God.

Have that talk.

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7 Facts From the Gospels That Would Get Jesus Thrown out of Your Church

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Even after two thousand years of attempting to adjust to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it would seem the Church still finds the literal life and ministry of Jesus Christ too extreme to follow (or even teach).

Initially, none of the following may sound too radical— But strip your mind of the fairy tale-type mentalities that surround these instances. Imagine these literally happening today—-in your church on a Sunday morning. What I think you will realize is that when we remove centuries of caked on commentary, and religious jargon, it quickly becomes apparent that there is little place for the Jesus of the Gospels in our churches. In many ways, He was and is everything the modern Christian disdains.

Don’t believe me?

Have a look:

1. He both taught, and demonstrated speaking to inanimate objects to make them obey you (Matt 21:20-21).

Theologians can explain it away all day (and they do). If there were any doubt about what Jesus was referring to when He told His disciples to talk to mountains, the preceeding verses remove it. When read in context, we see Jesus had just spoken to a real tree, and says “not only will you be able to do what was done to the tree but if you say to this mountain . . . “

2. He taught 100% success in prayer (Matt 7:7, Matt 21:22, John 16:24).

This was before the days of, “sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, sometimes He says wait a while.

The idea of not receiving what you ask in prayer is completely foreign to the life and teachings of Jesus.

He also rejected weird religious idioms that still surround the concepts of prayer today. Such as the Monkey’s Paw Mentality that claims if you ask God for something, you can never truly be sure what to expect (Matt 7:8-11).

3. He made, “cruel and heartless” statements in times of tragedy that connected sin to physical calamity (Luke 13:4-5).

Jesus uses a recent accident in which 18 people were killed by a falling tower, and warned that unless there was repentance, more would perish. Young’s Literal Translation says they would perish in like manner.  He also told a man who had been crippled for 38 years to stop sinning otherwise a worse thing would happen to him (John 5:14).

4. He scolded His disciples for not being able to perform a miracle (Matt 17:15-20)

A man’s son is suffering from seizures. The disciples try, but are unable to help him. Upon seeing this, Jesus could have said something like, “It’s okay guys, you’re only human. I shouldn’t expect so much from you. The reason it didn’t work was because it was all part of God’s sovereign plan. He has decided to use the suffering of this child for His glory.“—Let’s be honest—- if it were 21st century jesus, that’s what it would have sounded like.

Instead of such comforting strokes that we so often hear in times of hopelessness and unanswered prayers, Jesus straight-up rebukes His followers. “You perverse and twisted generation! How long do I have to put up with you!?” (punctuation added).

5. He said the devil was behind disability (Lk 13:11-16, Mk 9:25).

In a world where God and Satan have apparently switched jobs (now a days God is blamed for sickness and disease and miracles of healing are often attributed to Satan) this would not go over well. And it wouldn’t even need to happen on multiple occasions. Just once and someone would catch it on video or audio, and it would be thrown onto YouTube where it would likely be deemed heartless, and ridiculous.

6. He emphasized faith for miracles (Mark 11:23-24).

And no, it was not some kind general faith in God as sovereign, or that it’s, “all in His hands.”

It was purposeful, specific faith in the desired outcome. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus very seldom (and one could argue—never) spoke about faith in God when it came to answered prayers.

On another occasion He even said to a person, “your faith has healed you.”

We don’t even have to guess how such a claim would be received today. I have seen it taught on multiple occasions that, “faith doesn’t heal anyone—Only God can do that” and to believe otherwise is somewhere in the same vein as blasphemy, or idolatry.

7. Most of His teachings on prayer were centered around how to get things (Mark 11:24 John 16:24)

He didn’t talk about how we are supposed to spend hours, “listening” for God’s voice in prayer (although I think we should). And He didn’t talk about how we should spend more time just thanking God in prayer (although I think we should.)

Now a days, all of us are trying to downplay asking God for things. Always coming up with reasons why prayers aren’t answered. How He isn’t a, “Cosmic Bellhop” etc etc. . . And yet—–When we actually read the accounts, we see that time and time again, Jesus is teaching us how to get what we need, and even what we desire by prayer. And He does it unabashedly and with great frankness.

Jesus

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Why a, “Compromised” Gospel is Necessary

 

 

Christians are touting that the greatest compromise of the Church today is a spineless, watered down Gospel. Instead of telling people about the dangers of sin and impending judgement, we talk about how to achieve success and happiness with the help of God. Instead of calling on the sinner to repent, we simply say, “Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life.”

There’s no lack of critics for ministers like Joel Osteen or, “seeker sensitive” churches that, “fail” to present the Word of God in it’s entirety. The great outcry has been for a return to a preaching as seen in the New Testament demonstrated by Jesus and the apostles.

Yet when we raise the question about another missing aspect in modern evangelism, the silence is deafening:

What about the signs and wonders?

The Church, by in large, has not earned the right to preach fire and brimstone like we see preached in the Bible. Why? Because we are not backing it up with the miraculous like we see in the Bible. We go on and on about how necessary it is that we stay biblically accurate in our preaching yet we ignore that the biblical presentation nearly always had signs following the message.signs

Think about it. Miracles and healings are what set the stage for the Gospel to be preached. It gave Christians a platform. It set them apart from other religions that only had words. This is what’s missing in our modern attempts to preach the same message they did. We have not shown ourselves to be an authority on the issue. We want people to listen but we don’t give them any reason to.

“Well, the Gospel itself is the power of God. We have the Holy Spirit as our authority.”

Cop-out. The early church had both the Holy Spirit and the Gospel too yet it didn’t stop there. Are we saying that we don’t need something that was so central in the ministry of Jesus and His apostles?

 

Drawing Attention to Ourselves

 

People want to criticize me for talking like this because they say we shouldn’t be focusing on signs. I’m not focusing on signs. I’m focusing on preaching the Gospel in the manner the Bible says it should be preached.

“Healings and miracles will only draw attention to yourself.”Philip

Yes! That is EXACTLY what needs to happen.

F.F. Bosworth used to say that healing is the dinner bell. The sinner is no different today than he was 2000 years ago. He will be drawn to the extraordinary and consider the Message like never before when it is confirmed. Christians are the sign post that points to Christ. But people only pay attention to sign posts that are backed by authority.

 

Does the Bible Really Say It?

 

Some argue that the bottom line is we are commanded to preach the Gospel in it’s entirety and we have failed to do so.

I know this may throw a huge theological monkey wrench into our previously tidy doctrine but . . . Where does the Bible even tell the average Christian to preach the Gospel?

“In the Great Commission! Right before Jesus left He told us to go into all the world and preach it.

No, He told His apostles that. If we want to take what He told them and apply it to us, I’m all for it—as long as we are consistent.

Matthew 10:5-8
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying . . . go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

See, if you want to run with the big boys and wear the big boy pants, you better have the underwear.

Otherwise, maybe we should stop criticizing Christians for spreading the message about Jesus in their own way.  The, “watered down” and, “compromised” Gospel is often just an unconscious recognition that we’re missing something. I don’t think most of us are even able to pinpoint what it is,  but we notice it’s missing and we’re trying to compensate for it.

Then there are those who ignore this aspect of the Bible, go out anyway and try to preach like the apostles—And fall flat on their faces. They can’t grab the attention of the sinner like the men of God in the Bible did and instead end up crosssounding like raving lunatics that people avoid. Then they blame the unbeliever and say, “these people have closed their ears and hardened their hearts just like they did in Jesus’ time  . . .” Here’s another thought– maybe they haven’t closed their ears or hardened their hearts. Maybe they’re just tired of hearing a bunch of talk and are wondering what sets our message apart from any other religion.

 

Be Ready to Give an Answer, Not Necessarily a Sermon

 

Does that mean we are not supposed to tell people about Jesus? Of course not. Christians are exhorted to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in them. That is a broad statement though. It does not say, “be ready to tell people about how sinful they are, the wrath of God, and genuine repentance.” Don’t get me wrong, that may be the answer some Christians have to the question (although it seems a bit forced), but it is definitely not a command to lay it out that way. We are demanding things of one another that God does not demand.

There is definitely a place and time that the sinner should know the whole truth, but since the Scriptures do not specifically tell us WHEN or WHERE then we all individually must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in this area.

As for the fire and brimstone preaching, I believe it is needed. But it must be presented in a manner of power and authority as we see in the Scriptures otherwise people will just tune you out. Unfortunately, the spiritual nursery is running at full capacity in this area and no one wants to give up their bottle.

So until we are willing to look in the mirror and admit we have already compromised the biblical presentation of the Gospel, then we’ll just have to make due with a watered down one.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/