The Holy Spirit is not For Sale

The book I am currently reading is by J Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine, entitled The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale: Rekindling the Power of God in an Age of Compromise, and I believe this is one powerful book every Christian leader needs to read.

In his chapter on the Fire of the Supernatural Anointing, he gave his readers some guidelines to follow in order to avoid being deceived from churches and movements that abuse the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

1. Don’t deify human beings.

Christians are prone to deifying preachers. I know that because I am one. We live in an entertainment-filled culture. We tend to make Christian celebrities out of pastors or ministries. Also when some people from the entertainment industry gets saved, we invite them to different ministries and extol them not thinking about first discipling them and getting them grounded. When we love a certain preacher, we tend to level his preaching to the word of God. That is when things become spooky and mystical.

Don’t deify people. Most can’t handle that kind of treatment. As pastors, we also need to guard our hearts. Don’t believe your own press release. Don’t let pride settle in your mind and your heart.

Paul was tempted to be one but rejected the suggestion. ( Acts 14:11-12, 28:6). Jesus is the hero, not you.

2. Don’t elevate anointing over character.

It was pastor Jim Laffoon who warned us years ago – don’t measure yourself under the anointing. As pastors, when we move in the anointing, it is for the people to be ministered to. Don’t even think for a second that it is because of you.

In the New testament, we are given guidelines on the character of people who should be leading the church (1 Timothy 3:2-7). Just follow the biblical command and we eliminate most of the problems we have in church.

3. Dismiss the sensational.

I personally had to fight with this inside the church. We would have other people exposed to other ministries related to the manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit and they would sensationalize everything. Everything was about healing, casting out demons while neglecting the work of the Holy Spirit when it comes to repentance and discipleship.

When ministries tend to sensationalize the Holy Spirit, our spider sense must be warning us already. It is red flag! It is a warning. When ministries tend to deify their pastor or preachers – that is a red flag.

Galatians 5:22-23 gives us guidelines on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When preachers tend to highlight the person rather than Jesus – think hard.

When teachings become sensational and out of Scripture – run as far away as you can. I have personally heard of people being encouraged to get out of their bodies and have a field trip in heaven, casting out demons by transferring demons to stronger Christians so they could ultimately cast it out since the stronger Christian can handle the demons, people shaking violently and howling – I know it sounds like I am joking – I am not. Ask J Lee Grady.

4. Teach and practice discernment (I Corinthians 12:10)

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Test the Spirits. One of the things I always asked before I hear a certain preacher or invite a certain preacher is if he/she is working under the local church. We have seen so many fly by night preachers and prophets who are not working under the covering of a legitimate local church.

I have heard of so called prophets being invited to small groups and bible studies and would prophesy over people and then ask for money from them. Some would preach sensationalism using the manifest gifts of the Spirit.

If you are under a local church, inquire first from your local pastors if they know anything about certain individuals before even proceeding to attend their meetings or invite them. But the best practice is for you to work and minister in your local church, asking the Lord to empower you to make disciples and move in the power of the Holy Spirit.

KEY is to work under the local church.

5. Enforce accountability

During the first year of our church in Greenhills, a lady preacher from the States who was attending the church in Sundays wanted to meet with me. When we had the meeting I was surprised because she had notes of things she didn’t like about the church.

Number 1: That I am not as empowered because I am accountable to our senior leadership team in Metro Manila.

I then told her I am so happy with our leadership, because I am working under the covering of men who fear God and who would hold me accountable if ever I do something wrong.

Number 2: She was angry because I did not acknowledged her ordaining some members in our church who deified her.

I told her on what power can you ordain members of our church. You don’t even have legal rights in the Philippines, which is a Christian nation, to ordain members you like. Secondly, I told her that the members you ordained are not qualified under 1Timothy 3 to be ordained ministers. I then informed her that we treat the ministry of pastors with sacredness and not just ordain people because they support our ministry.

She wanted no accountability. This is how cults operate and are birthed. When a specific man is above everyone and wants no accountability. They are what Jude called “hidden reefs” and clouds without water.

Jude 1:12English Standard Version (ESV)

12 These are hidden reefs[a] at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear,shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

 

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is not just WAM, BAM, ZAP

Most of us who have watched the Christian channel might be exposed to TV evangelist laying hands on people and being slained in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a force that cannot be stopped. I think such analogy is unfair.

Why? Because the Holy Spirit is not a force but a person. He is part of the trinity. The Holy Spirit is more than just WAM,BAM, ZAP – though we cannot discount that it happens in some meetings. But the primary job of the Holy Spirit is not to slain us – the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict sins, refine us to purity and empower us to live Christ-like lives. The Holy Spirit’s job is to empower us to go and make disciples and not just have a display of WAM, BAM, ZAP that a lot of Christians are focusing on.

It is sad to see people settle for a religious experience rather than embrace the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. When we make the Holy Spirit into a selfish focus, we lose the why of the Holy Spirit. We diminish the WHO of the Holy Spirit and we abuse the WHAT of the Holy Spirit. In short – we are missing the whole point of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

When the Holy Spirit comes in power. He also comes to burn the sins in our lives. He comes with conviction, searching our motives, uprooting our unforgiveness and shattering our pride. – J. Lee Grady

 

Holy Spirit’s Power

Here is an excerpt from William Seymour on the power of the Holy Spirit

Before Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit that sustained them until they received the Holy Ghost baptism. Many People today are filled with joy and gladness, but they are far from the enduement of power. Sanctification brings rest and sweetness and quietness to our souls, for we are one with the Lord Jesus and are able to obey His precious Word, that “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” and we are feeding upon Christ.But let us wait for the promise of the Father upon our souls, according to Jesus’ Word, “John truly baptized with water, but ye shall receive the Holy Ghost not many days hence . . . Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:5, 8). Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! O worship, get down on your knees and ask the Holy Ghost to come in, and you will find Him right at your heart’s door, and He will come in. Prove Him now. Amen.

If this doesn’t pump you up, I don’t know what will. It’s time for the Spirit of God to move!

Don’t Say the Holy Spirit is just an option!

The Holy Spirit is necessary, essential, a must if we want to awaken the hearts of sinners and sleeping Christians. We cannot afford not to move in the Holy Spirit. The only way we can become dangerous again is to be in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to do His work in us. We need supernatural help because our natural is limited. We will be on the safe side of life without the Holy Spirit. We cannot make a difference in this world without the Holy Spirit’s help.

1 Corinthians 2:4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

AB Simpson said,

There is no truth that needs to be more emphasized in this age of smartness and human self sufficiency than the imperative necessity of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as the condition of all effective Christian work. We must tarry before we go.

– A.B. Simpson, The Supernatural (Camp Hill, Pa.: Christian Publications, n.d.), 99

R.A. Torrey said,

In regeneration there is an impartation of life, and the one who receives it is saved; in the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is an impartation of power and the one who receives it is fitted for service.

– R.A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974), 61

One of my favorite authors, South African missionary Andrew Murray said,

I fear there is a terrible, terrible self satisfaction among many Christians – they are content with their low level of life. They think they have the Spirit because they are converted, but they know very little of the joy of the Holy Ghost, and of the sanctifying power of the Spirit… Oh friends, do not be content with that half Christian life that many of you are living, but say, “God wants it, God commands it; I must be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

– Andrew Murray, The Deeper Christian Life (Shippensburg, Pa.: Destiny Image Classics, 2007), 75

So brothers and sisters, let us not rely on our strength. Dangerous Christian living requires daily dependence not on our own strength but on the Holy Spirit. Lord fill me today as I do your work. I rely on you alone for power to minister and move in love and grace as I spread the gospel, Amen!

 

Bend Me Lord!

The 1904–1905 Welsh Revival was the largest Christian revival in Wales during the 20th century. While by no means the best known of revivals, it was one of the most dramatic in terms of its effect on the population, and triggered revivals in several other countries. “The movement kept the churches of Wales filled for many years to come, seats being placed in the aisles in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea for twenty years or so, for example. Meanwhile, the Awakening swept the rest of Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, North America, the mission fields of India and the Orient, Africa and Latin America.

– from Wikipedia

The Welsh Revival was birthed in prayer. A blacksmith by the name of Evan Roberts had an encounter with the Lord and uttered his famous prayer, ” Lord, BEND ME!” With that prayer – it revival spread like a wildfire. It started with a handful of people but in November 1904, all heaven broke loose because one man wanted to be bended and used by God.

Within a year it was estimated that 100,000 people had come to Christ. People stopped drinking, men stopped cursing, young men started singing worship songs. There was zero crime. The Lord was literally the God of the City.

What was amazing is that it wasn’t Evan Roberts who was the center of attention. It was God. It was the Holy Spirit using ordinary men to bring revival in their city. Godly men before Evan Roberts were evangelizing and praying fervently for God to come in Wales. They were preparing for the move of God even before it happened.

At the age of 26, Evan Roberts was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Revival021-490x305In his own account, he wrote “After many had prayed, i felt some living energy or force entering into my bosom; it held my breath; my legs trembled terribly; this living energy increased and increased as one after the other prayed until it nearly burst me…. I cried – “Bend me, bend me, bend me; Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!… What came to mind after this was, the bending in the day of judgment. Then I was filled with sympathy for the people who will have to bend in judgment day, and I wept. Afterwards the salvation of souls weighed heavily on me. I felt on fire for going through the whole of Wales to tell the people about the Saviour.” – taken from Evan Roberts’ Testimony, revival-library.org

In his meetings, Roberts would often share four things:

1. Confess all known sin.

2. Deal with and get rid of anything doubtful in your life.

3. Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly.

4. Confess Christ publicly.

Simple points but powerful. I pray that as Christian leaders we won’t just make good powerpoint presentations but ask the Spirit to bring power to our preaching that would affect not just individuals but cities and nations. Take time to pray for a Holy Spirit visitation in your church and in your city!

 

Make Disciples is the Command

The Black Nazarene procession just ended this week and an interesting and disturbing article came out in Rappler about a group of Christian Evangelicals picketing and telling the people that what they are doing is idolatry and idolatry is sin. And surely they did receive a lot of hatred for their actions.

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According to the street preachers,

“We’ve been doing this for the past 4 years. We call this street preaching. We come here to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and against the sin of our nation,” Faculin said.

“We will continue doing this despite the negative treatment we get… until people repent from their sins,”

 

Now don’t get me wrong, Scripture is clear that worshipping any graven image is against the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

The article that came out showed us a picture of some ways we as the church try to reach the world with the message of the gospel. Some Christians tend to focus on the sin rather than on the redemptive work of the cross. Some would choose a shot-gun, street style approach to deliver their message ( which I believe need to be reevaluated if they have actually made any disciples using that method).

But Jesus was clear on how we are going to reach the world. It is not through picketing, mass rallies, or one shot gun approach.

Jesus actually commanded us and showed us how to do it:

Matthew 28:18-20English Standard Version (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Discipleship.

It’s messier, harder and time consuming but it does produce changed lives and transformation – not more hate and division over a gospel preaching that is full of do nots rather than “it is finished” – Christ came, died on the cross for our sins and gave us redemption.

It is relational. It is not a one time deal. It is not here let me share the A to Z and leave you to chew on it. It is walking along side and loving on the person we are discipling. It is taking time every week out of our busy schedule to love on people and live out the gospel in friendship.

It is grace-filled message of the gospel and not just a list of things we point out that people are doing. It is first accepting them before letting the gospel change them rather than you change first before we accept you. In fact, it is not our job to convict sin and change a person – it is the Holy Spirit’s job.

I do hope that as a church we would rethink how we do evangelism and discipleship. Let’s evaluate the effectiveness of what we do. I know we have heard the argument even “if one person gets saved by our efforts – it would be worth it”  but why not have the same effort exerted but more people getting the message of the gospel. Let us  be faithful to the pattern Jesus showed us in how we can reach the world. We can never go wrong if we do it the biblical way!

 

Where to Put Your Energy?

Jude 1:18-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

18 They[a] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

We only have 24 hours everyday. The challenge many of us are facing is where do we put our time and energy every single day. As Christians, the temptation is to put them somewhere that doesn’t matter for eternity.

In the book of Jude, he warns us that in the last days, there will be scoffers (whether religious or not) who would follow their ungodly passions that would cause divisions in the church and who would move in the flesh or do things that would give them reason to sin or cause others to sin even to the point of using Bible verses out of context to justify such behavior.

I have personally seen this with the people who believed in the teaching that the grace of God has forgiven us already so let us sin more to experience God’s grace more. Or let’s sin since we are already forgiven.

Some, to a lighter extent but operating on the same spirit would justify the right of every Christian to drink beer and wine, to smoke a bit but not excessively, to test the boundaries of sexual pleasure (not committing sex but would do everything short of sex) and so on and so forth, if you get what I mean. It is not sin but it is also not wise and beneficial and for some would cause as a stumbling block.

So we see groups of people forming a tribe to fight for their right to party the Christian way – let us smoke, drink, be sexually active but with boundaries. We have read and seen some godly pastors preaching on it is okay to drink but not get drunk and drink for the glory of God and honestly I get the idea but what I don’t get is the way it is communicated. Why make a big fuss about something that won’t even affect history or change people? Recently some churches had to back track on their teaching that drinking is okay because their congregation went too far in applying it in their small groups and personal lives that they start getting drunk.

In the book of Jude, we are commanded where to expend our energies as Christians and it is not on the subject of our trivial passions.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[b] stained by the flesh.

1. Build yourselves up in your most holy faith. 

Faith comes from hearing and reading the Word. Exert your energy in building up your faith by devouring the Scripture and applying it. Have a Bible reading plan. Listen to podcast of preachers that preach the Word of God.

2. Pray in the Spirit.

Prayer is essential for a Christian. Prayer is not to get us ready for the battle – prayer is the battle. Through prayer, we wage war against the enemy. Intercede, get a prayer notebook, pray for the unreached people of the world, pray for God to use you to disciple others.

If there is one area where the Scripture tells us to get drunk, it is in the Holy Spirit. Let the Spirit of God overflow in you so you can effectively reach the nations.

3. Keep yourself in the love of God, waiting for His mercy.

Preach the gospel to yourself everyday. Remind your self of God’s grace. Let the love of God define you. Let the mercy of God remind you of who we are before and who you are now.

4. Extend mercy to those who doubt. 

Build relationships and start discipling others who don’t know Jesus yet. Do it with the spirit of grace and mercy.

5. Save others by snatching them out of the fire. 

Share the gospel to those in need. Preach Jesus. Pray and reach out to people whom God has put a burden in your heart. When was the last time you led anyone to Christ? It takes time to engage, establish, equip and empower disciples to make disciples. I think this is where our energy should go.

It’s time we do something bigger than ourselves rather than debating on the latest theological issues or proving that Calvinism is better than Arminianism, or defending your right to drink beer and wine. Let’s get busy doing the right thing.

 

 

 

 

Never Say Never to Discipleship

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The man on the middle is Mon. He got saved at Victory Fort, was one2one and discipled by the man on his left James. When Mon moved to Victory Greenhills, he joined our Victory Group. You knew he was young in the faith but at the same time we did sense that he had a great destiny and call to disciple other men.

Though quite hesitant the first time he was challenged to lead a Victory group, he prayed and asked God for courage to make disciples and invite some of his friends in his house for small groups. Prior to starting one, he was discouraged when somebody mentioned that he was too young in the faith to lead a small group. We had to point Mon back to Scripture and encourage him that God sees other wise.

As Christian leaders, we are called to speak faith and call out the leadership gifting of the people we are discipling. Empowering disciples is risky but necessary. The apostle Paul was breathing out murderous threats in Acts 9:1-2 but in the same chapter, Acts 9:18-20, he was discipled when he had an encounter with the Lord.

Acts 9:18-20English Standard Version (ESV)

18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Talk about empowering! When was the last time you have empowered someone to make disciples. Just like James who saw something in Mon to believe in him, we need to continue moving in faith in calling out the leadership giftings of the people we are discipling. God called us to make disciples, not fans – so let’s make disciples!

 

Victory Worship Album Review

I finally got my CD of the much awaited Victory Worship “Radical Love” Album that has hit Manila by storm, being the most downloaded album in ITUNES Philippines when it was released last Friday.

Now to clear everything out – I am a pastor of Victory Greenhills. I have been a member of Victory since 1991 and now I am making a review of the 2nd Victory Worship album released. Trivia for those of you who live in the age of TAPES during the early 90’s. We actually released a Victory Album called “God Is On our Side”. So the Radical Love album is technically our second one.

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So here is my review: The Radical Love album is AWESOME! WORLD CLASS! and SPIRIT-FILLED. Again not a bias review but I think it is awesome. The songs dished out in the album are faith building, theologically sound and awesome. Did I say awesome already?

Second, it’s WORLD CLASS. It was actually mixed in Nashville where we have our Every Nation office. None other than Grammy Award Winner Otto Price, who is part of our Every Nation church who helped make this album possible. So when I downloaded the album at Itunes, I was amazed by the quality of the recording. It is at par with the best of the best.

Third, it is Spirit-filled. The songs in the album pumps me up all the time. It is great to listen to the CD in Manila traffic. Instead of focusing on Metro Traffic, the presence of God fills my car and I get to worship with some awesome, world-class, spirit-filled music.

Lastly, it is made up of Filipino worshippers. Worship leaders from different Victory congregation collaborated for this worship project that I pray would bless not just the Victory churches but the church in general.

Below is the official music video of Radical Love. You can buy your CDS at all House of Praise outlets or download the full album at Itunes.

Can I share my thoughts without being hated?

People of faith are not, after all, asking people to subscribe to their theology; they are asking them to subscribe to their public policy views, and to respect their rights to participate without their religion being impugned. This is not too much to ask in a democracy.

- Ralph Reed

It’s a whole new world out there. So many ideas, so many school of thoughts when it comes to everything under the sun. One of the hottest one is when it comes to politics, government and policy making.

I never thought my blog on Deped’s removal of the God-loving in their vision statement would cause much stir that an open letter from a group of secularist and an article in rappler mentioned me as demonizing a group who don’t believe in what I believe in (which of course is misquoted), to stir up controversy in social media.

When we start sharing a biblical worldview, it is without a doubt that people would disagree. I get that and I know that. And honestly, there is no end to the debate. Who is right and wrong will not be the concern of those who are against the worldview we are holding. It is about getting our ideas out there without being labeled as self-righteous, haters and anti-Christian.

A worldview that has a religious flavor in it is dismissed as mystical, irrational and something our lawmakers must avoid. The result of this is a false dichotomy between faith and public life. So in a way it is saying leave something so valuable to you privately and don’t let it out in the public square while on the other hand, secularist and others could bring their arguments in public. It is double standard and it is a dangerous precedent to lawmaking and policy making. What we tend to forget is that religion has given us some of most cherished absolute truths in our history as a nation, which we gladly legislate.

- All men are equal because God created them in His image

- Taxation derives from the consent of the governed

- Slavery is evil

- Human life is sacred

I hope our brothers and sisters who don’t share our faith and worldview would also respect our views – it is a democratic country anyway