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517:  Something More Powerful Than Your Faith

517: Something More Powerful Than Your Faith

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What Is More Powerful Than Our Faith?

The trait that defined the members of the early church that seems absent in the church today is found in the simple word, power.  And it is the very same power (dúnamis) that was promised through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and received by those in the early church (Acts 2:4).  Uh, the same power we supposedly received when we were “sealed” by the Holy Spirit who came into our lives as the “guarantee” of our eternal salvation (1 Cor. 1:22).

So if we have the same Spirit they had, and the same power through the same Spirit they had… that leads to a few questions.

•   Why were they able to live in the power they received from the Holy Spirit to the extent they were and we don’t seem to be able to do the same?
•   Did they have a different power than we do today?  Or was it the same power?  By the same Spirit?
•   And if it was the same power and the same Spirit, why were their lives marked by this unleashed power and ours don’t seem to be so much today?
•   Does God love them more than He loves us?  Or did He choose to use them more than He seems to be using us?  Were they better people than we are?  Maybe more holy, more faithful, more committed?
•   How were they different from us and what can we learn from them?

Remember, their promise was the same promise we received from the Lord.

“But you shall receive power (dúnamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” – Acts 1:8.

Again, if we have received the Holy Spirit and the power (dúnamis) that comes with Him, like those in the early church, why are our lives often marked by frustration and spiritual impotence, and not the life-changing Spirit encounters we see in the Acts?  What could be the problem?

Your Doubt and Unbelief

One of the most troubling events in the life of our Lord happened in His own hometown when He “could do no mighty (dúnamis) works there” (Mark 6:5-6, Matt. 13:58) because of their unbelief.  Did you catch that?  Jesus was limited in what He could do, or how the power (dúnamis) of the Spirit could be manifest, because of their unbelief.  Read it for yourself.

Now He (what) could do no mighty work (dúnamis) there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.  Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching – Mark 6:5.

Matthew adds, “He did not do many mighty works (dúnamis) there because of their unbelief – Matthew 13:58.  Which brings even more questions.  Why was Jesus not able (could do no) mighty works (dúnamis) in their midst?  What was limiting the power of God in their lives?  To make it personal, what is keeping Acts 1:8 from being true in your life?  What is keeping you from experiencing the Higher Christian Life? Is it God?  Or could it be something else?

Note, the most powerful force in you is not your faith, as strange as that may sound… but your doubt and unbelief.  Your doubt and unbelief can make void all the Holy Spirit came to make magnanimous in you.  It can nullify, completely, the power (dúnamis) you received from God in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Does that statement make you feel uncomfortable?  It does to me also.  But it is true, nevertheless, no matter how it makes us feel.  If you would like to look further into what it means to limit the Holy Spirit in your life and how it can keep you from experiencing the Higher Christian Life, join with us today as we discover what our doubt and unbelief costs us in our relationship with Jesus and the Spirit.

I think you’ll be shocked… and convicted.  And hopefully inspired to never let anything stand between you and a deeper intimacy with our Lord.  Nothing.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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Future Conflict in the Pacific

Future Conflict in the Pacific

InFocus: Future Conflict in the Pacific


Over the past six months, China has increasingly sent large numbers of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tactical military aircraft into the air defense identification zone of Taiwan. Many of these incursions appear to be training events for large strike packages, which include nuclear-capable heavy bombers, sophisticated 4th and 5th generation strike-fighters, air superiority fighters and electronic warfare aircraft. Recently, China has included aerial refueling of these strike packages with its newest indigenously-produced Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft. To many China watchers, these training events appear to be rehearsals for an attack on Taiwan. In response, Taiwan has increased arms purchases from the U.S. and has begun training with U.S. Marine and special operations forces for defense against an amphibious assault by China.

Future Conflict in the Pacific

While the U.S. does not have a formal security alliance with Taiwan, it is a strong supporter and maintains commercial and military ties through the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. China views U.S. relations with Taiwan as disruptive to the stability of the region and an affront to the sovereignty of China under its current “one China” policy.

China’s goal is to eventually control access to the Pacific, establish a global forward presence and exploit its access to other nations’ natural resources in order to supply its growing economy and population.

The U.S. understands the consequences of a potentially hostile hegemon controlling access to the Pacific – and with it, the supply chains on which the U.S. economy relies. The problem is that over the past three decades, the U.S. has outsourced a considerable amount of its industrial capacity to China. Only about 12% of consumer goods are now manufactured in the U.S., while roughly 45% of maritime imports are produced in China. This puts the U.S. on the horns of a dilemma. On one hand, the U.S. cannot allow China to control the Pacific. On the other, armed conflict with China in order to maintain a free and open Pacific would likely result in severe supply chain disruptions across the U.S. and Europe. In addition to the economic impact, if the U.S. demurs and allows China to seize Taiwan and threaten Japan and Australia, its security promises will be deemed worthless. If it attempts to stop China from seizing Taiwan or threatening its Pacific allies and it fails, then it proves unable to fulfill those same security promises. Either way, a significant and empire-ending event for the U.S. is a distinct possibility. And the first step in this unpalatable scenario begins on the beaches of Taiwan.

Potential Courses of Action

Most Dangerous Course of Action:

The most dangerous course of action is that China will coordinate a corps-level amphibious and airborne assault on Taiwan to occur simultaneously with a separate geopolitical crisis. Currently, Russia is massing forces on the border with Ukraine. U.S. intelligence agencies now estimate that Russia will launch an attack on Ukraine sometime in early 2022 with a 175,000-man combined arms army. With the U.S. and European Union distracted, or potentially bogged down in a conflict in Ukraine, China could exploit the chaos of that crisis to make a sudden surprise attack on Taiwan, followed by a quick occupation of the Senkaku islands. An additional joint operation with Russia to seize or threaten Japanese territory in the vicinity of Hokkaido and the Kuril Islands would put Japan between two much more powerful adversaries. This would give China near total control of the Pacific’s first island chain and facilitate its naval forces in future moves south or east in the Pacific. Should the U.S. respond militarily, China would likely attempt to use its long-range precision fires to destroy U.S. and allied naval forces which threatened its move on Taiwan. In addition to kinetic operations in the Pacific, China could leverage its influence with U.S. domestic protest movements such as Antifa, BLM, and other social justice groups to foment civil unrest in the U.S. in order to cause maximum chaos and potential disruption of the leadership decision cycle. China’s goal would be an overwhelming first strike on the Taiwanese military and government along with a crushing blow to U.S. and allied military forces responding in defense of Taiwan. Once consolidated on the island post-landing, expect China to deliver terms of surrender to the Taiwanese government. The idea being to avoid having to fight in the dense urban areas if at all possible. Once the seizure of Taiwan is complete, China and Russia could negotiate a new status quo in the region, even returning some captured Japanese territory as a concession.

PLA Marine Type-05 Amphibious Assault Vehicle

Most Likely Course of Action:

A second possible course of action would be for China to conduct what would essentially be a military demonstration by seizing Taiwan’s Pratas Island and Japan’s Senkaku islands with regimental-sized amphibious forces. While at the same time forward deploying additional military forces to the austere airfields and naval facilities recently constructed on China’s man-made islands in the Paracels and Spratlys. With Taiwan essentially surrounded, China could put in place a sea and air embargo and give Taiwan’s government terms for reunification. This could also be timed with any Russian actions against Ukraine, but this would not be necessary for success. In this scenario, China would be betting that the U.S. would not come to the aid of Taiwan and would seek a negotiated settlement … perhaps the return of the Senkaku islands to Japan in exchange for a free-hand in bringing Taiwan under China’s control. In this coercion-by-embargo scenario, China’s goal would be to publicly force the U.S. hand on Taiwan. Washington’s expected lack of military response would undermine and demoralize any Taiwanese ideas about resistance and lead Taiwan to accept a Chinese reunification proposal sprinkled with insincere guarantees of limited autonomy. This is the most likely course of action because it avoids all-out armed conflict in the Pacific and keeps commerce flowing between China and the West. Executing this COA within the next 12 months capitalizes on the diminished leadership in Washington and exploits the psychological impotence resulting from the U.S. military’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Least Likely Course of Action:

A third possible course of action would be for China to hold off on a kinetic option to capture Taiwan. Instead, China would continue building out its military forces with advanced technology and power projection capabilities (such as hypersonic weapons, aerial refueling platforms, and intermediate range ballistic missiles), while simultaneously using covert influence operations against the U.S. political leadership in Washington and the Taiwanese leadership in Taipei in order to facilitate a fait accompli against Taiwan. In this case, China would seek to convince the Taiwanese that no one would be coming to their aid and a negotiated settlement for reunification would be in their best interest – and eventually, through covert influence, getting U.S. leaders to publicly admit the same thing. It is the least dangerous for the U.S., but is also least likely. This is a “bird in the hand versus two in the bush” scenario, since it forfeits the present opportunity to repatriate Taiwan during a time of diminished U.S. leadership for a chance to achieve the same victory through soft power mechanisms at a later date. By delaying until a future date in order to develop and employ soft power influence operations, there is a chance that U.S. leadership might regain its footing with more competent leadership and a better led, organized, and equipped military. This would be an enormous gamble for China.

U.S. Response

The U.S. response to any Chinese move on Taiwan is likely to be what Secretary of Defense Austin called in a recent interview integrated deterrence. Integrated deterrence leads with diplomatic dialogue and pressure, backed up with the threat of military action. The concept of integrated deterrence looks good on paper and is certainly appropriate for a slow-moving potential conflict with a rational like-minded nation-state. Integrated deterrence is not as effective against a blitzkrieg-type kinetic threat by a nation-state that uses different calculations to determine its national interests. It works best when finely calibrated to an adversary’s interests and pain points and deployed well ahead of any potential armed conflict.

In the case of Taiwan, integrated deterrence would likely result in performative condemnation of China’s actions along with a new set of red lines in the Pacific focused on protecting Australia and Japan.

Should the U.S. decide to respond militarily, expect the forward deployment of additional carrier and amphibious task forces into the Pacific. Additional USAF and US Army units would likely be forward-deployed to Japan, Guam and Australia. From a military perspective, the timeline for deployment of additional forces is much longer than China’s timeline for an assault on Taiwan. Indications and warnings (I&W) of an impending amphibious and airborne operation against Taiwan would be sparse since many of China’s combat units and naval vessels are permanently stationed in close proximity to the Taiwan Straits. It is reasonable to conclude that the U.S may receive seven to ten days of I&W prior to the launch of an operation against Taiwan, whereas it would take double or even triple that to reposition significant additional forces in the Pacific.

Currently deployed forces would not be sufficient to counter a PLA corps-level amphibious and airborne assault on Taiwan. The likelihood of an attempt to dislodge PLA forces already dug in on Taiwan is minuscule owing to the probability of escalation and the improbability of success.

Simply put, the U.S. will not be able to counter China’s attack on Taiwan by reacting or waiting until the first PLA ships and planes cross the Taiwan straits. Instead, the U.S. would need to preposition forces in the Pacific in advance of I&W – something already ruled out in the recent DoD Global Posture Review. Additionally, with intelligence agencies forecasting a Russian attack on Ukraine in early 2022, the U.S. may choose to forego attempts to counter China in a near-term assault on Taiwan, and instead look to mitigate any further damage in the Pacific under a new status quo.

If the U.S. fails to halt China’s move on Taiwan, the result will be a reordering of the status quo and geopolitical alliances in the Pacific and potentially world-wide. After all, if the U.S. can brush away its security promises to Taiwan, who is to say they would not do the same to any other nation with which they have made similar promises?

In any scenario, the U.S. will likely begin to decouple its economy from China and near-shore its manufacturing, as is already happening in response to COVID-19 impacts. The U.S. will lead with various sanctions against China, most of which will focus on key national and business leaders, as well as inward-facing Chinese corporations, in an effort to reduce effects on the U.S. economy. The U.S. will also likely remove recently enacted regulatory restrictions on transportation and domestic oil and gas production in order to streamline supply chains and counter rising prices from renewed competition in the global market. Additionally, expect a significant change in leadership in the U.S. and a loss of international prestige as a result of the failure to protect national interests in the Pacific.


U.S. businesses can front-run this conflict by seeking new suppliers outside of Asia. Those with manufacturing concerns in China should seek alternate manufacturing means and locations in geographical areas not subject to Chinese control or manipulation. U.S. consumers should anticipate major disruptions in supply chains and build up at least 90 days’ worth of essential food and supplies.

Many automotive, HVAC, and technology components are manufactured in China, therefore it is advisable to have required maintenance or replacements completed prior to the commencement of hostilities in the Pacific. Taiwan produces 40% of the world’s high-end microchips. This means that a large portion of that market may be unavailable for an extended period of time. As we witnessed during the most recent microchip shortage, there was a significantly decreased availability of new automobiles, agricultural equipment and industrial machinery that relied on these chips – plan accordingly.

In the event of cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, have an alternate electrical power source and available cash for emergencies. If China executes the most dangerous course of action, expect increasing civil unrest across the country, but particularly in cities and areas along political seams (red/blue lines). Citizens and businesses should have a realistic security plan and be prepared to provide for their own self-defense.

This post was taken from the December 10th edition of the Forward Observer Early Warning Report and was written by Max Morton. I would strongly suggest you consider a subscription to the Early Warning Report because it will deliver invaluable information to your inbox five days a week. You can find them at

516:  School’s Out— Time to Do Something

516: School’s Out— Time to Do Something

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You Shall Receive Power – Acts 1:8

We have two key objectives in mind.  One, to grow closer to our Lord and experience the Higher Christian Life, or at least try to understand what the Higher Christian Life looks like in real-time.  And two, to have our faith grow to the point we will be spiritually prepared for the chaotic times coming our way and the trials, tribulations, and persecutions, that will most certainly follow.  These, in my opinion, are noble endeavors.  And both of them can be fulfilled by studying the book of Acts and focusing on the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit in common men who lived under times far more chaotic than ours.

But if it is true the Acts is a training manual for His church and His revelation of what church should look like, then we need to ask some questions about what we read.  For if we don’t ask questions, then how will we know when the Lord answers them?  Here are some pressing questions we need to ask.  We’ll start with chapter one.

•   Who were the 120 in the upper room?  What were they like?  Where did they come from?
•   Where were they when Jesus ascended into heaven?
•   What, if anything, made them different from us?
•   And what made the church in Acts different than the church in America today?
•   In what aspect were they followers of Jesus?  Was there a part of their life they kept for themselves or had they surrendered all to Him?
•   Are we followers of Him in the same way they were followers of Him?  Or do we follow Him differently today?  And if we do, is it better?
•   What was the overriding command they were given?  How were they to fulfill that command?  And did they even want to?
•   What kind of power did they have that we seem to have lost?  And how can we rediscover the power that lies dormant in the church, and in you and me, today?
•   Do we really want to fully receive the “Promise of the Father” Jesus spoke about?  Or is that a bit too radical for us?  And if we do receive the promise, how would that change our lives?
•   Do you think it is still possible for a small group of committed believers to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) as they did back then?  Or do you think that ship has already sailed?
•   And if you do believe it is still possible, are you aware of the cost of being that kind of believer?  Is it a cost you are willing to bear?  Or a sacrifice you are willing to make?  Is it something you want to do, something you are willing for Him to create in you?  Or would you rather just pass?
•   And finally, would you want to be a member of the early church?  Or would you find it too intimidating, too convicting?

Whew.  And these are just a few questions we want to know about the lives of those who made up the early church.  For if we can see their commitment and sacrifice, maybe we can begin to be more like them.

All That Jesus Began to Do and Teach – Acts 1:1

But there is one other thing we will look at today.  And it is found in the insightful phrase that describes the ministry of Jesus, “do and teach.”

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach – Acts 1:1.

Note the order.  Ministry first, theology later.  Jesus was always doing first, and then teaching later.  For our Lord, ministry preceded and produces theology, not the reverse.  And His ministry was to do the will of the Father and out of this ministry emerges theological activity… later.  It was never the other way around.  Not for Jesus, and especially not for us.  Or at least it should not be.

But that’s not how we do church in the West.  It seems we have become teaching connoisseurs, and ministry wannabes.   We learn, and learn more, and go from Sunday school to graduate school with all our church degrees, yet fail to put most of what we have learned into practice.  Especially in the ministry of evangelism.  Ouch.  I know.  That one stings.

So let’s look at what “do and teach” implies regarding the ministry of Jesus and see if we can understand the passion and power of the early believers to glean from them something we so desperately need.  After all, they knew far less than we do.  Yet they did so much more.  How is that possible?

Let’s find out together, shall we?

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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515:  How to Experience Freedom From Your “Besetting Sins”

515: How to Experience Freedom From Your “Besetting Sins”

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Forgiveness:  Past, Present, and Future

If we were honest with ourselves, most of us would admit it is sin that keeps us from experiencing the Higher  Christian Life.  And it’s not our horrible, gross, never-talk-about, sin that grieves His Spirit the most.  It’s the sin we commit over and over again, the sin we have long since given up hope for ever gaining victory over.  It is the sin, no matter how small it may seem to others, that has now become part of our lives and defines our inability to claim what is rightfully ours, the Higher Christian Life.  “I know things would be different spiritually if I could just quit (you fill in the blank).  But since I can’t… and oh, how I’ve tried… I guess this lukewarm spiritual existence is my destined lot in life.  Ahem.”

But nothing could be further from the truth.

In Hebrews 11, we have a list of Old and New Testament saints that overcame incredible hardships and suffering by simple faith in God and His Word.  As such, this chapter has been affectionately called the roll-call of faith.  And it ends with the epithet of these men and women, “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38).  It is a truly amazing tribute to what faith can accomplish in the life of a believer.

But then we ask ourselves, “Why can’t we seem to live the same types of lives as they did?  What is holding us back from experiencing overcoming faith?  How can we be more like them?”

And as usual, the Lord was anticipating our questions and provided His answer in the very next sentence, found in Hebrews 12:1:2.  Consider these words from our Lord.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (we are not alone, drifting in uncharted waters), let us (our action) lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares (euperístatos) us, and let us (our action) run with endurance the race that is set before us, (how) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God – Hebrews 12:1-2.

But the most important phrase in this statement is “easily ensnares” or euperístatos in Greek.  This word means “to surround or encompass, easily besetting.”  Ah, it’s a besetting sin.  And a besetting sin is defined as one we “continually struggle with and have a weakness towards, one we commit over and over again seemingly without relief or victory.”

Sound familiar?  I thought so.  You may have a few besetting sins in your own life.  Most believers do.

Sanctification:  Past, Present, and Future

After a time of trying only to fail, and fail again… only harder, most believers grow frustrated and prone to give up ever thinking victory is possible over their besetting sins.  And at some point, usually after utter despondency, they come to the conclusion either Christ is not sufficient, or their flesh is too powerful, or they are just too much of a loser to amount to anything more than a nominal Christian plagued by besetting sins no one else seems to be struggling with.  And this, after a time, leads to believing the Higher Christian Life is for others, but not for losers… like us.

But God has provided victory over besetting sins, and His victory is found in our commitment to trust Him at His Word.  He has provided for us a great promise of forgiveness and sanctification if we trust His Word to be true.  It is an if/then promise from the Lord.  We do our part (if) and He will do His part (then).  It is really that simple.  All we have to do is believe He will do what He promises to do and the victory is ours.  Consider this if/then promise:

If (our part) we confess our sins, (then – His part) He is faithful and just to (1) forgive us our sins (salvation) and to (2) cleanse us from all (pás) unrighteousness (sanctification, victory over besetting sins) – 1 John 1:9.

The forgiveness part we freely accept, no problem.  But the cleansing from all unrighteousness (our victory over our besetting sins) is a bit more difficult to swallow and stretches our faith.  So let’s look at this promise in a little more detail.

If we confess (to admit, concede, to openly acknowledge) our sins (plural), (then) He is faithful and just to (1) forgive us our sins (what we just confessed) and to (2) cleanse (to purify from the power and guilt of sin, to be free from filth and defilement), us from all (pás) unrighteousness (what is wrong, wicked, impure, an offense to God) – 1 John 1:9.

Simply stated, what you just read is true, from the Lord Himself, who is faithful and true.  What is left is the hard part.  Now you must choose to incorporate this path of victory into your own life, regardless of past failures, by faith.  And when you do, God will follow through and “cleanse you from all unrighteousness” and give you victory over your nagging, besetting sins.

If you are unconvinced, why don’t you test God in this?  After all, He has told us to test Him in other matters of faith (Mal. 3:10).  So commit to believing His Word, no matter how little faith you have in yourself, and see if He won’t bless you in such a way that the Higher Christian Life will become a reality, and not just a lofty dream.

But don’t delay.  Do it now.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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514:  Religion = Serving God Without Power

514: Religion = Serving God Without Power

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Acts:  God’s Training Manual for His Church

As we begin to study the book of Acts, we will be doing so with new eyes.  No longer will we be satisfied with the status quo, the academic understanding of simple facts about the early church and not about the power they exhibited in their lives.  No, we want to know what the early church was like on the inside.  What was their motivation for giving up all to follow Jesus?  How and why did the Lord use them in such a powerful way that seems to be missing in how He uses us today?  What did they have that we don’t?  Or, what do we hold on to so tightly that they so willingly gave up for Him?

What are we missing?  What are we not seeing in the Acts?

For openers, we fail to see the Acts as God’s Training Manual for His Church— which is exactly what it is.  And if we view it as a training manual, then God must want our lives and His church to resemble the lives of those He reveals to us in the Acts.  If you look closely, you will see Jesus commands His followers in the Acts to declare war on the kingdom of darkness, on Satan himself, and to be active in combat with the enemy just like He was while He was with us on earth (1 John 3:8).  War is not pretty.  It is not something we look forward to.  It involves training, difficulties, fighting, weariness, injury, and often casualties.  Yet, unfortunately, many of us today view the Christian life as a trip to Disneyworld, and not as a battle between light and darkness.  And I’m not sure where our thinking about our life with Christ ran off the rails.

Secondly, we also miss the part about His Kingdom.

Acts:  Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done

The Acts both begin and end with teaching about His Kingdom.  First, the introduction:

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God – Acts 1:1-3.

And the last two verses in Acts:

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him – Acts 28:30-31.

In fact, most of the preaching of Jesus was about His kingdom.  But it was a kingdom endued with power from the Holy Spirit, the “promise of the Father” Jesus spoke about (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4).  It was not a kingdom of mere words alone, but words backed by only what God can do and only through the power of God.  And when  God’s eternal kingdom collides with Satan’s temporal kingdom, we have war.  Not a big war, more like a skirmish.  Because God has already won.

And finally, to supposedly worship and serve God without the power He promised us through the Holy Spirit makes us not much more than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  We know the Scriptures, as they did.  But knowledge void of power makes our faith mere religion.  And Jesus didn’t die to start a new religion.  He died to defeat the kingdom of Satan and make all things new.

This takes power.  It takes the same power Jesus has and the same power He gave to the early church in the person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  And it is the same power that rests dormant in many of us today.

So join us as we begin to look at the book of Acts and pray for an awakening of the power of the Holy Spirit to turn our “world upside down” as they did in the early church (Acts 17:6).   Rest assured, it should be a wild ride.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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Tyranny is Coming… Ready or Not

Tyranny is Coming… Ready or Not

The following is from the Tucker Carlson show that aired on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.  I would strongly urge you to invest a sixth of an hour and watch this segment.  What Tucker predicts will probably soon happen… unless somebody does something.

Could that somebody be you?  I sure hope so.

Because we’re running out of time.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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513:  Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

513: Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

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We’re Running Out of Time

There comes a time in everyone’s life, at least everyone who accomplishes something of value, when they quit making excuses and commit to an ideal greater than themselves.  We see this in sports, in the financial arena, and in the life of faith.  Almost all of our spiritual heroes sacrificed their comfort and security for something they could not see, for some ideal beyond themselves that only their faith could grasp.  And their life was defined by the very moment they stepped out in faith, regardless of the outcome.  We see this in the summary of the life of Able, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham in Hebrews 11.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth – Hebrews 11:13.

These men, charter members of the Hebrews 11 Roll Call of Faith, all died holding fast to the promise, to the ideal they committed their lives to by faith.  Dire circumstances didn’t sway them.  Neither did pain, suffering, disappointment, or betrayal.  And their unwavering trust and commitment to the Lord and His Word is why they are so highly revered as champions of our faith.

Yet in each one of their lives, there came a point where they went “all in” and everything in their life changed from that moment forward.  Their priorities were re-aligned.  Their definition of success re-defined.  Their motivation for life was no longer in themselves and their happiness, but in Him who called them.  They found themselves, like Paul, “forgetting those things which are behind and racing forward to those things which are ahead” they “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

I know what many of you may be thinking right now.

“Ok, but that was them.  What about me?  Do I have what it takes to make the same commitment they did?  And if so, when do I go about doing that?  When should I make that commitment?  Does something have to happen to me first?  Do I have to reach some sort of spiritual zenith before I give my all to Christ?  Or is this something I can do today, right now?  Or should I wait until tomorrow?  Or maybe next year?  Or whenever I think I’m ready?”

But the time is now.   Not tomorrow or next week.  But now.

Or Maybe, We’ve Already Run Out of Time

It is time for each of us to no longer be a hearer of God’s Word but to do what it says.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was – James 1:22-24.

It is time to move beyond hearing and knowing, to becoming and obeying His Word.  After all, Jesus did not die to give us spiritual knowledge, but to transform us and make us new.

There comes a time in each person’s life when they say, “Enough is enough!”  With everyone we admire, they came to a point of no return, no compromise, no backing down.  For them, it was all or nothing, no matter the cost, “come what may.”  And it is time for you and me to do the same.

It is time for each of us to come to a point when we take our faith seriously enough to face what all of us will soon face, whether we’re ready or not.  And it is time for us to get ready to meet our King and live like we truly believe He is coming.

Are you ready?

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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512:  COVID Mandates and the Cost of Doing Nothing

512: COVID Mandates and the Cost of Doing Nothing

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Be Subject to the Governing Authorities?

There are two major teachings in the New Testament, one from Peter and the other from Paul, that reveal God’s instructions for the church regarding submitting to governing authorities.  And both of these seem to give blanket commands to submit to them for the sake of the Lord and the gospel.  The first one is found in 1 Peter 2:13-15.

Therefore submit yourselves (to place under in an orderly fashion) to every (pás) ordinance (to create, form, or found) of man (why) for the Lord’s sake, (examples) whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for (1) the punishment of evildoers and for (2) the praise of those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good (what) you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

And, even more direct, the second is found in Romans 13:2-4.

Therefore (since God is sovereign regarding governing authorities) whoever resists (antitássō – to set an army against, to arrange in battle order, to go to war against) the authority resists (anthístēmi – to stand against in both deed or word) the ordinance of God, and those who resist (anthístēmi) will bring judgment on themselves.

For rulers are not a terror to good (agathós – excellent, best, upright, virtuous) works, but to evil (kakós – wicked, vicious, bad in heart and character).  Do you want to be unafraid of the authority?  Do what is good (agathós), and you will have praise from the same.

For he is God’s minister (diákonos – servant, one who runs in the dust) to you for good (agathós).  But if you do evil (kakós), be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister (diákonos), an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil (kakós).

But what happens when the governing authorities no longer serve as the protector of good and the punisher of evil?  What happens when the authorities reward evil and persecute good?  How are we to obey these passages?  Or should we?

How does this command relate to the COVID mandates and the coming vaccine passports?  What is the difference between a just or unjust law?  Are we required to obey an unjust law?  And if we do, doesn’t that make our actions unjust?  Or, based on the truths cited above, does it even matter to a believer if a law is just or unjust?  Are we to obey outright, with no concern for the morality of what we are obeying?

Unless or Until… What?

Are there ever any exceptions to submission to governmental authority?  Or does this blanket submission apply in all cultures and at all times, such as during the holocaust in Nazi Germany or in our country today?

And it so, why did Peter and John refuse to submit to the governmental order to stop preaching or teaching in the name of Jesus in Acts 4:18-20?  Were they wrong?  Or is there another principle at play here?  And if there is another principle involved, what is it?  How are we to determine if obeying God means disobeying our authorities?  And how is that being played out in our nation, and the church, today?

The answer is found in our duty and calling to stand for others who are too weak to stand for themselves.  We are to give voice to those who have no voice.  Consider the following:

Deliver (to rescue, to free from harm or evil, to snatch away to safety) those who are drawn (to grasp, take, or seize by an outside force) toward death, and hold back (to restrain, to refrain, to keep one from doing something), those stumbling (to move without being stable, to waver, to cause to be shaken in one’s resolve) to the slaughter (an event that causes someone to die) – Proverbs 24:11.

Finally, remember the chilling words of Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) in his prophetic poem, First They Came.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Join us today as we learn the great price of silence in the face of evil and our responsibility to be light in the darkness (Matt. 5:14).

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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511:  What Can We Learn from the Early Church?

511: What Can We Learn from the Early Church?

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The Early Church: Our Example in Persecution

If you look around, you will see we are in the early stages of state-sanctioned Christian persecution in our nation.  I know it seems inconceivable that our government, which mints “In God We Trust” on our coins, would now come after the church, much like the Nazis did in the 1930s.  But believe it or not, it is happening right before our eyes.  Just look around.

And since we have all grown up in a world devoid of religious persecution, at least in the West, we are seriously unprepared for what will soon come our way.  Just how unprepared are we?   Consider the fact that many Christians today blindly believe God would never let a righteous nation like ours, or a faithful church like ours (as strange as it sounds to even say the words “righteous” and “nation” or “faithful” and “church” in the same sentence), suffer anything remotely resembling persecution.   Remember, the best-selling book in the Christian market over the last decade promises God wants you to experience Your Best Life Now!  And if you are discerning, you will understand that only those who are lost and going to hell are experiencing Your Best Life Now!  Sobering, isn’t it?

So if this assessment is true, what are we to do?   In fact, the church is so unprepared we don’t even know which way to turn.

But there is an example for us in Scripture.  There is a detailed account of ordinary believers, just like us, who lived under persecution and suffered under occupation and yet turned the world upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6).

And that account is found in the book of Acts.

What We Can Learn From the Early Church

What were these early believers like?  How did they think?  What was their mindset?  What motivated them each morning to rise and suffer another day?  What was the source of their power that enabled them to flourish and thrive even under trying times?  Why did God use them to turn the world upside down, and yet we find it hard even to make a difference in our own families and with our close friends?  How committed were they to their Lord? And how did their commitment impact their lives and the lives of those around them?

What did they have that we don’t?  Answer:  Nothing.  We have far more than they ever did.  But what did they believe that we don’t?  Answer:  Much.  More than you can imagine.

In this message, we will look at some of what made them who they were and allowed the Lord to move through them as He did.  And we will, by comparison, see if maybe we lack some of what they had.

Together we will examine some of their key beliefs and convictions to try to find a way back from where we have fallen (Rev. 2:5).  So join us as we discover the passion and reckless abandonment to the Lord that defined the early church as revealed in the book of Acts.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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510:  What is the Will of God for All Believers?

510: What is the Will of God for All Believers?

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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The Power of the Early Church

As we begin to see the signs of religious persecution raise its ugly head in our culture, one thing we need to do as the church is take a crash course on how to live under persecution and in a society hostile to our message.  And the best way to do this is by following the example of other believers who have faced what we are soon to face yet remained steadfast, confident, and faithful to the end, no matter what.

So we began to look at the early church, as revealed in Acts, to see what they knew then that maybe we don’t know today or what they believed back then that maybe we have conveniently forgotten.  And we found they knew far less than we know, but believed so much more.  For them, God’s Word was just that— God’s Word.  It was not to be analyzed, scrutinized, or debated.  It was to be obeyed.  And to prove this point, we took one familiar passage and asked ourselves if our belief in its truth differs from how the early church believed.  It was from 1 John 2.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world— the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life— is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever – 1 John 2:15-17.

It seems this truth comes with a command, followed by a warning, and ending with a great promise.  The command is to “not love the world or the things in the world.”  The warning then states those who do not follow this command will find the “love of the Father is not in him (them),” which is quite frightening.  But it ends on a high note.  The promise says those who do “the will of God abides forever.”  As you recall, the word for “abide’ is ménō and means to “remain, dwell, live, to make their home, to be united in one heart, mind, and will” with God.  And to “abide with God forever,” both now and for all eternity, is the perfect description of the Higher Christian Life.

But one question remains: What is the will of God?  In other words, if we abide forever with God by doing His will, then exactly what is His will for us as individuals, and for all believers in general?  I can’t think of a more important question to get answered than this, can you?

What is the Will of God for All Believers?

Remember, we always move from the general to the specific when it comes to knowing God’s will for our lives.  In other words, we must start with knowing God’s will for all His children (general) before we need to know His will for us as individuals (specific).  For it is only when we are faithful to obey His will for all believers that He will reveal to us His specific will for how He wants us as individual believers to obey His general will.  We must be faithful with the macro will of God before He will reveal His micro will for us.

So as a starting point for knowing God’s specific will for our lives, we need to first know His will for all believers.  Theologically, these are called the Five Wills of God.

One, it is God’s will for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:17-18.
Two, it is God’s will for us to be sexually pure – 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.
Three, it is God’s will for us to suffer (ouch!) – 1 Peter 4:19.
Four, it is God’s will for us to give thanks in all situations – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Five, it is God’s will for us to submit to governmental authorities – 1 Peter 2:13-15.

In this message, we will explore the first four of these five wills of God.  Remember, once we are faithful with these, God will gladly reveal to each of us His specific will for how He wants to us follow Him.  And isn’t that the goal of our life with Him, to know exactly how He wants us to spend this life He has given us for His glory?  One (specific) always follows the other (general).  So let’s begin with the general and watch how the Lord reveals to us His specific will for our lives.  And yes, it is always a wild ride.

Hang on.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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