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Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. -- Colossians 2: 6-7 (ESV)
As the modern church continues to devolve into a carnal morass of human wisdom and marketing schemes, we come back to one of the newer gimmicks -- power words. These are words that the pastor pretends the Holy Spirit has revealed to him as the singular word for the congregation as we head into a new year. With 2017 just around the corner we can expect a new batch of divine revelation by men who cannot discern between the Lord and their lying hearts. We detailed last year at this time the utter silliness of this distraction. One mega church says God said the word for 2016 was "favor." Another said it was "revive." A third said it was "abundance." The point they all miss of course is that there is only ONE church. Why would the Holy Spirit give different words for different congregations when apart we are nothing and only together are we the bride of Christ? The answer of course is He wouldn't. These are not divinely revealed words but rather planks in the purpose driven platform that business-churches have become. The church that used "revive" had a complete marketing plan including graphics with an EKG heartbeat and everything. I know of a local church that had the word "elevate" for 2015 and "saturate" for 2016. This allowed for common themed sermons of utter banality such as "An Elevated Christian is Giving Christian" and "An Elevated Christian is a Forgiving Christian." Sure enough the following year it was a saturated Christian was both giving and forgiving. Well after much seeking of the Lord through dictionary websites (insert sarcastic grin), I feel He has released the real power word for His church, those who are truly Christ-followers, for 2017. It is time to go higher than elevate and deeper than saturate beloved. It is time to"
I know! I had never heard this word either! Then I looked up the definition and it was if I finally had access to the Bat-Phone Joseph Prince must have to the throne room since he claims everything he ever says is direct revelation. You see beloved, deracinate means to "tear something up by the roots." That is where we are now in modern day Pentecostalism. What may have started with the best of intentions is simply irretrievably lost. It is time to tear up the purpose driven heresy poisoning the church by the roots and start over. To start anew and learn from our mistakes. To seek repentance from our God who we have sold out for our thirty pieces of seeker-friendly silver. For the cult of personalities we have worshiped at. For the pure idolatry we have embraced and taught to generations. It is no longer something that can be rehabilitated. The first step in the famous worldly 12-step program model is accurate -- you must admit you have a problem. Jesus taught us that if you have convinced yourself that your darkness is actually light, then how deep that darkness must be! Beloved, the only honest assessment of the church today is that they believe their darkness is light. Maybe because they confuse the excess in worldly acceptance with spiritual blessing. They measure spiritual success with carnal metrics. How many people come to hear them speak? How many people buy their books? Attend their conferences? How many television shows can we get on? How many Twitter followers and Facebook friends can we accumulate unto ourselves? How many cars? How many Lear Jets? How many mansions written off on tax returns as "parsonages?" No beloved. There is no redemption for this. It must be ripped up by the roots. It must be deracinated. So what does that mean for us personally? For 2017 and beyond? Let us consider:
The deracinated Christian cares about doctrine. The time has long since passed for us to tear up from the roots all of the false teaching we continue to allow within our walls. Do we remember that when Paul was commissioning young Timothy to pastor at Ephesus he told him to only guard two things -- his life and his doctrine. He also gave the reason why -- to save his listeners. What do we see in the church today instead? Pastors falling from grace left and right. Involved in unseemly affairs, abusing the flock, or guilty of stealing money from the sheep. Not guarding their lives at all. It is even worse on the doctrinal side however as even the best pastors simply allow too much garbage to infiltrate their churches despite the warning from Christ that a little leaven leavens the entire lump. You cannot be a little purpose driven without being a little heretical and beloved there is simply no such thing as a little heresy. Compromise leads to more compromise. And another side note here. It is time to stop defending the indefensible. Yes we ought to pray for fallen leaders to be restored in their walk but the church routinely defends them over the sheep and try to figure out the quickest way to get them back into ministry. Do we realize that someone like Tullian Tchavidian was almost back in ministry without a shred of repentance? That someone like Mark Driscoll has a new church after destroying Mars Hill Church in Seattle and stealing $250,000 from them to promote his book and cheat the NY Times Best Seller list? That Perry Noble, fired for drinking and marital problems just five months ago has just announced that "God" has shown him he is to now work in the field of church consulting? Beloved that is not God. The deracinated Christian needs to rip out these roots that allow people to use the name of God in such a vain manner.
Remember the Bible teaches us that it is entirely possible to have believed in vain. Christians continue to confuse intentions with actions. God does not care what we intended to do. Just read Matthew 7 when people stand before Christ and lament their confusion as to why they spent their entire lives thinking they were serving God only to discover He never knew them! They said they cast demons out in Jesus name! They performed mighty miracles in Jesus name! That does not matter beloved. There are deep roots in the modern church that turn correct doctrine into an option, a consideration. The growing trend is to marginalize, "blessedly subtract," and even treat with hostility those that demand a return to correct doctrine. The enemy worked hard to get the church to move away from solid doctrine and he is not about to allow it to return without a fight. This cannot be just treated with a Band-Aid when an amputation is what is needed to prevent it from continuing to spread like gangrene. The Bible says in the end days people will not even tolerate sound doctrine but it is this purpose driven, seeker friendly heresy that must not be tolerated by faithful believers. It must be ripped up by the roots completely. It must be deracinated.
The deracinated Christian is entirely about discernment. Quite frankly the lack of discernment from professing Christians in this country is staggeringly frightening. Consider that just a few years ago there was a man holding "revival" meetings in Florida where he would routinely punch and kick people in order to impart healing, claiming the Holy Spirit instructed him to do so. He once punched a man with stage four pancreatic cancer in the stomach. Yet he was packing in 15,000 people a night to ooh and ahh this sewage presented as a move of God. Todd Bentley was so popular the entire false apostolic and prophetic movement came to Lakeland Florida to "anoint" him a prophet. That included the New Apostolic Reformation, the Kansas City Prophets and people like Bill Johnson. Now, I do not expect discernment from charlatans such as these false apostles and prophets but 15,000 people a night? Beloved, anyone with an ounce of discernment should have run away from such a demonic gathering. Instead, it took God exposing the fact that Bentley was having an affair with a staff person for the false revival to end. Bill Johnson however took responsibility for his "restoration" and soon enough Bentley was at it again and still "ministers" to this day even though several countries have banned him altogether!
In case you are think that Bentley is an outlier, you would be sorely mistaken. How do we explain the lack of discernment regarding Bentley? Because he was merely an end product of allowing previous absurdities in the name of Christ. How do we explain the Brownsville "Revival" from several years earlier? How do we explain the demonic twitching and uncontrolled spasmodic body movements that victims claimed were a move of the Holy Spirit? How do we explain that people like Dr. Michael Brown and Mike Bickle will still swear by Brownsville as a move of God when the video evidence makes it quite clear it was of the devil? How do we explain the Holy Laughter movement? Where Christians claimed that the Holy Spirit would make them laugh uncontrollably for no apparent reason, roll around on the floor, and bark like dogs? Then we fast forward to present day and wonder how people fall for such bogus manifestations as glory clouds, gold dust, angel feathers, and gem stones -- all of which have been reported by Bill Johnson and Bethel Church? We wonder how does the church fall for such obvious hucksters like Benny Hinn, Paula White, and Mike Murdoch; all worth millions of dollars each. We wonder how the youth falls prey so easily to Hillsong, IHOP and Bethel. It is rather easy to diagnose beloved. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. When we allowed Holy Laughter it led to Brownsville. When we allowed Brownsville it led to Bentley. When we allowed Bentley it led to Bethel. Sin begets sin. Heresy begets heresy. Compromise begets compromise. There is only one way to deal with this scourge. Before we end up like Africa this past week that saw pastors spraying bug spray in the faces of congregants for healing or making them drink disinfectant. We have to tear this nonsense up by the roots and get it out of the church while there is still time to do so. It must be deracinated (sensing the theme?).
The deracinated Christian understands that it is not about personality, intention, or sincerity. We touched on this briefly but it is important to note that a deracinated Christian must come to the perspective of God and away from the perspective of man. The number one defense I hear from people defending their favorite false teacher is that I do not know their heart. Oh but I do beloved. The Bible assures me it is wickedly deceitful above everything else, just like mine is. I tell my readers all the time to not trust me. I am a sinful man with wickedly inherent biases that I probably do not even know fully or recognize. Read me with an open Bible and test what I say. I can assure you my intentions are intact but they are irrelevant because of my flesh. The same standard must be applied to the men who stand in our pulpits today or claim the mantle of Christian leadership. It does not matter how nice they are. It does not matter what their intentions are. It does not matter how sincere they are. It does not even matter how great their works are in this world. The only thing that matters is how their teaching aligns with the Bible.
We have created a cult of personality church where people worship the pastor and the church building instead of Jesus Christ. This is how someone as unbiblical as Joel Osteen can grow up to be the country's most popular pastor. For goodness sake he even admits that theology is not his calling! Hello! That means he is admitting to not being a pastor! Yes he is motivational. Yes he is folksy. Yes he is a phenomenal communicator. None of that however gets a single soul into heaven. Only the Gospel does and he does not preach the Gospel. Period. He is far from alone. Virtually anyone on the alleged Christian television stations is in the same boat. But what about the success of their ministries? What about it? The fact that the unsaved world loves Joel Osteen is not a testament to the blessings of God but rather the acceptance by the devil. Who would not want to hear that this is their best life now? That God is just dying to pour out a window-full of blessings over their head? Was that the message Jesus brought? Or was His a message of repentance for the kingdom of heaven was at hand? The desire to chase such trivial and fleeting teachings must be uprooted by the believers today. This cult of personality church model must be torn out by the roots beloved. It must be deracinated.
The deracinated Christian relies upon the Word of God like a Berean and not upon the latest fads, books, and church schemes. It seems today that the church will do anything it can to avoid picking up the Bible. Churches have run campaigns where the entire congregation reads the Purpose Driven Life Together. The Assemblies of God did this when the book first came out and then did the same thing for the witchcraft affirming, heretical, Circle Maker just a few years back. Why? Because it was written by an AG pastor. No need to discern the theology of petulantly standing in an inane circle while demanding things from God. Christians become obsessed with the latest "Christian" movie, regardless of the doctrine or lack thereof. Tales about little boys visiting heaven or "fire-proofing" you marriage take the place of actually reading Scripture. Television movie series produced by an ex-Catholic mystic? Sure we are all on board! Just look at that Vidal Sassoon Jesus and His flowing locks! Another series that completely mangles the Book of Acts? Sure we will gobble that up too! Anything to be entertained instead of doing the work of a Berean. This fiending for Christo-tainment in lieu of actually reading our Bible must be torn out by the roots. We have to start over like baby Christians and learn to take clean spiritual, unspoiled milk. Deracination is the only way to get there.
The deracinated Christian places direct revelation and the experiential in their proper perspective. The modern day Pentecostal church seems to have simply lost its collective mind regarding prophecy and signs and wonders. Pastors routinely play the direct revelation card as if they are all speaking to God on speed dial. Beloved, there is a vast difference between claiming God led you into a particular passage or showed you how a biblical story applies. That is what the Holy Spirit is supposed to do -- lead us into all truth. To claim however that "God told me", is to presume to speak directly for God. Nine out of ten times I hear that phrase it is followed by something unbiblical, assuring me that they did not hear from God. The experiential Christianity movement of Bethel and IHOP declares that we need a personal revelation of the Spirit and not just to "learn about Him." Translation? Tap into your wicked heart to decide what God is and put away that pesky Bible. Bill Johnson actually mocks people who think they worship the Word of God. Perhaps Bill needs to read John 1. God is His Word! The only reason we want to seek out the experience is to override His Word. Beloved -- there is no revelation of God or from God apart from His Word! It is the final revelation from God. Think about the silliness of thinking that God put His revealed will in the Bible for us but oopsie, He forgot something that He gave to Joseph Prince thousands of years later. Joseph is proud of pretending that God gave him his heretical greasy grace gospel directly and audibly. Hey Joseph Smith once proudly said that God gave him a new gospel written upon golden tablets that only he could read. That may sound silly but that is the true history of the birth of Mormonism. Prince is just the same level of deception with a different false revelation. If you want a fresh Word -- open your Bible. If you need a fresh revelation -- open your Bible. If you need a fresh prophetic word -- open your Bible. If you want to experience God -- open your Bible. This chasing of the experience is merely chasing our own flesh. Heretical worship leader Kim-Walker-Smith brags about her testimony where Jesus visited her while she was awake and whisked her away to the throne room of God where she met the Father face to face. She goes on to tell this horrific story where God rips out a piece of His own heart to shape a little Kim-Walker-Smith to dance and worship Him. Look it up on YouTube if you think I am being hyperbolic. Then realize she tells this story to tens of thousands of kids and youth every time she performs. Further realize that the Bible assures us that if she actually saw the Father she would be dead. I do not doubt the story beloved. I believe she experienced this bizarre waking nightmare. The Bible however teaches me that the emissaries of the devil disguise themselves as angels of light to deceive the elect. That means Kim-Walker-Smith was visited by demons and she could not discern the difference between them and Jesus. That is the inherent danger when you replace the Bible with your experience. Such tendencies need to be torn out by their roots. Deracinated.
In summary, the deracinated Christian understands this is not about them; it's about Him. This Christmas showed us exactly how much the modern church is NOT about Him. Christmas fell on a Sunday. How perfect for the body of Christ that celebrates each week on Sunday. The majority of churches I know of either canceled their services or combined them into one. Don't want to upset Santa now do we? Ugh. Forget these silly power words that actually contain no power at all. We outlined in this devotional all of the things that need to be torn out of the church by their roots. To be deracinated. So the question for us today is what are we rooted in? Our key verse teaches us that as we received Christ we also should walk in Him, be rooted in Him so that we might be built up in Him. It is not about anything else but Him beloved. If we insist on being rooted in things other than Christ then we will grow in those things instead of Him. That is how we get to the point the church is at today.
Because I read the Bible, I know that a great end times revival is not promised but instead a great end times apostasy is. As such, I do not expect the church as a whole to suddenly realize that they need to stop the silliness and get back to God. No, I expect the apostasy will grow until only the true remnant is left and watches in horror as the entity called the church leads the people who claim to be Christian to take the mark. God has given us the Bible so that we can know and be prepared. While the church as a whole may not start tearing up by the roots their own heresies, there is no reason we cannot as individual believers. It is time to deracinate beloved. If your church sounds like one of the ones listed here and the leadership refuses to abandon their c hurch growth schemes then it is time to deracinate and then possibly absquatulate.
Absquatulate means to leave somewhere suddenly. Well, maybe that will be next year's power word"