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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Forget Saving The World, Revival Needs To Visit The Church First (Part 1)


This post is actually over 3300 words and a lot to read at once, so I’ve separated it into two posts.

Now the title of this post is intentionally provocative. People will read it and be like ‘huh, of course we need to save the world’. But my response is this, we’ve become so focused on healing the world, we’ve ignored the fact we need to heal the church? The church is barely strong enough to save itself from itself, what then do we have to offer the world. It seems like we’ve corporately forgotten that we were sent into the world, not to become a shadow and partaker of it, but to set a new standard for it. Churches, clubs, brothels, the streets…. Sometimes it just feels like the buildings & locations change but the people don’t. But I’m on a roll so let’s get into it.

I was on Facebook and I read a story about how the new incoming pastor of a church donned the appearance of a homeless man and entered that church in disguise. He wanted to see the way the church would respond to him. Despite us knowing how the church should of treated him like, in our heart of heart we could probable already tell how this story will go. They shunned him and out of the thousands of members, only a few smiled at him. Though hungry, nobody gave him change for food when he requested it and when he went to sit in the front of the congregation in an empty seat he was shunned away to the back. Once the board of ministers announced that the new pastor was in their midst, the church stood up in cheers and claps to see who their new man of God would be and low and behold he got up and made his way to the front. They were shocked and stopped clapping, waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell them they were being punked perhaps? He then went to read Matthew 25: 34-45 as a means to admonish them with many hanging their heads in shame. He then dismissed church and sent the congregation home.

Now this made me angry and sad at the same time within my spirit. We know these verses well enough, we can recite them but corporately, we don’t actually live them. So this then triggered me to unleash a serious of tweets which I’ve formulated into sentences and expand upon in this blog. This was necessary and is an issue that has been on my heart for years now. When I stand back and look at the state of the world and what is to come, it’s about time that the church start being the church or stop calling itself one. But the lives of too many people depend on the church doing what it was called to be. So would the real Church of Jesus please stand up, please stand up, please stand up! The rest of you wolves in sheep’s clothing can have several seats. Hope you enjoyed those cultural reference!

Good people & Christian people

Every so often I’m talking to a non-believer about Heaven etc and someone always says something along the lines of ‘but what if someone is a good person, they give to charity and help the needy and poor, why can’t they go Heaven.’ I then use factual scripture and whip out some Romans 10 (esp v3, 9-13). And to be honest they make a good point, but I also do not make the rules. I was not there when God laid the foundations of the earth! BUT let’s flip this one on its head. Why is it that non-believers, despite having with no knowledge of the heart of God are better able to walk in His will for us to love and serve one another with a ferocity that is very rarely matched by the church? Why do we see more world changers outside of the church than we do from within? Yet we are the ones who have been blessed with the advantage of knowing Christ. But not all Christians know Christ I guess, but that’s for another blog post.

I know more non-believers stirred up with a passion to take love to the hurting and dying parts of the world than some Christians. This isn’t to rag on Christians but I hope this will serve as a wakeup call. Perfect I am not, but serious about Christ and the life He died to give me, I am! On my 2012 Adventures of a servant, I met so many people whose hearts ached and broke for the injustice in the world, the only difference between me and them was that I knew Jesus. Yet our hearts bled the same and we cried for the injustice the same. Yet people whose hearts truly break for the things that break Christ’s are few and far between. The pursuit of prosperity, favour, our own breakthroughs and blessings have clouded our adherence to the mandate of Christ to love others. He didn’t say just love those in your clique, church, or even your country. He said all. And sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone to successfully complete the work of Christ. But the church these days is too preoccupied with fronting and excluding those who don’t fit their ideals. But then again, ain’t anybody got time to save the world when there are book deals, concerts and new trappings to acquire.

Temple

The fact Jesus said He ‘built’ His church on Peter shows that it had never existed before. The church was built as a new type of place and symbol of fellowship with God. We were no longer bound by the temple, the embodiment of rigidity, structure, hierarchy & religion. On the cross, Jesus tore that down to allow us to boldly approach the throne of grace to enter into new life with Him and receive salvation. He gave us the Church and we’ve somehow regressed and traded it back in for the temples. Do we really look like the church Jesus saw when He laid our foundations on Peter? Are we the church the apostles died for? Are we the church that hundreds of thousands of people are being persecuted for as you read this? No but really, how did we get back to the temple? How did we get to a place of giving God the bear minimum trying to rob him of the spotless lambs and animal fat He once required? Yet now, He requires much less from us; a heart that loves Him wholeheartedly; feet that are firmly stayed in Him and not half in Him & half in the world; a heart that is faithfully obedient. How did we become SO comfortable drowning in sin and only resurfacing every so often to see atonement through half-hearted repentance and petty sacrifice?

Some of it boils down to priority. At the time of Paul’s writing in the bible, the church was under ferocious attack yet the apostles of the time endured and in doing so, they were able to lay the foundations of the church we now enjoy, albeit with their blood. Going back to Romans 10, why is it that we the church are not doing what is commanded of us in verse 14-15. In this day and age, we won’t minister to our non-believer friends or even call out our fellow Christians living in sin for fear of being branded a Jesus freak, too-radical, not cool and dare I say it, for losing friends. We’ve become a church of compromise, compromising our message to the world, but also our message from within. We’ll preach one thing from the pulpit but behind close door another message is being shared. Pastor’s having affairs, embezzling money, addicted to pornography, abusing their position of trust. The emphasis has shifted and is not laid on the wrong things. Church has become about offering a good experience with little to no revelation. The only place the blind will lead the blind is to hell. Open your eyes to see and find the path that’s headed back to the heart of God. Someone call Jonathan Dimbleby, because it’s about to be Question Time again. Men & women of God, you might be able to bring a phenomenal word, but are you living by it? Worship leaders you might be the vessel God has used to create an immense atmosphere of worship, but is your life an instrument of worship unto God? Church members you might come to church and get slain in the spirit but when you get home and you steeping yourself in an atmosphere that allows you to get slain by sin? Apart from on a Sunday, or celebratory seasonal service, does God know your name? Can you pick up your phone to call heaven and the angels already know whose calling? When God sees you does He see the church or someone fronting like the church? Christianity is not a label, nor is it an endorsement. This isn’t like Beyonce getting paid to claim she actually drinks Pepsi because let’s be honest, who actually drinks Pepsi LOL. But in all seriousness, I heard it said that if you’re a Christian and you are not living like Christ, you either need to change your life or change your name.

I’ll leave you with this for now, mull it over and I’ll see you in part 2. Feel free to comment or reach out to me if you’ve been challenged.

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

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Standing (Part 2)


Following on from the Part 1, here is Part 2.. Enjoy!

Feeding & Fruit

Like Songs of Solomon forewarns us, there are foxes trying to slyly uproot your vine because see the tender grapes that are already in the process on their way to bear good fruit. By your fruit your will know them right? We have been called to bear fruit because fruit feeds people, it nourishes, and it’s our 5 a day. However, the devil thrives in a state of spiritual famine and tries to allow us to deprive others of feasting on our good fruit when faced with testing circumstances. But like the process of making olive tree that sees the olive tree goes through a test of endurance, when we go through the shaking, beating and pressing, we must endure the process fixing our mind on the final produce. The olive fruit is then used to produce an oil flow of olive oil. In Leviticus 24:2, the children of Israel were commanded to use olive oil which would cause their lamps to burn continuously. We have been planted in our workplaces to be like a strong olive trees. We need to go through the shaking in order to release the olive fruit from our trees and to feed the hungry in the immediate proximity. But that’s not all! From those olive, some of the fruit will have to endure the beating and pressing to become oil. Oil is used in the bible to remind us of overflow, to remind us that there is no limit to the reach of where it not only can be poured out but received. If your olive fruit only has enough reach to feed your immediate team, it will be your olive oil that will flood the whole floor with the presence of Jesus in your workplace.

This is why I feel so pressed to remind you that in this season, we must be vigilant of the fruit what we produce and what we are feeding people in the workplace. What you feed will continue to grow, let’s be sure that we are feeding people from the plate of good fruit. Feeding them on a diet of Jesus and with a meal that truly will keep hunger locked up till lunch. Likewise, what you starve you allow to die, so let’s be conscious that we are starving the right things. Such things that block us from walking on the path of righteousness and stop us fulfilling our purpose at work. Let us not starve the good things. God forbid we produce bad fruit and feed others with it.

Why foxes?

I was meditating on the scripture and was thinking to myself, why foxes? Throughout the bible, different animals are used in a bid to emphasis the different characteristics of a person, a nation, a type of blessings or a type of behaviour. So having a brisk think some of the other animals mentioned in the bible came to mind. Dogs – often spoken with a tone of contempt or loathing. Camels – swift, regal, enduring. Lion – fierce, strong, ferocious and full of dignity. Although, the lion is interesting because in the case of the tribe of Judah and Jesus this had positive connotations; regarding the devil on the prowl this animal was used to illustrate the negative nature of the adversity. We get to foxes and they are very insidious, sly, wild.

This is why the devil sends foxes to pluck at your root. Foxes are crafty and like they do with bins and filth, they intend to drag you to a corner and devour. They come out when no one else is around and when you appear like easy picking. People aka destiny assassins come into your situations like foxes. This is why I look at my situation and the people involved in them like I do a fox. Not with an awwwww-factor like dogs or cats who are welcomed into the home but as dirty, sneaky foxes shunned outside to eat garbage in the dead of the midnight, unable to fellowship with humans like household pets. Next time that person from work is on your case, just look at them as a fox! (Also pray for them o! People are the face behind the spirit)

Foxes return

Another thing I soon realised was that despite being shunned away struggling to survive why does a fox go back to the same place? Because they identify the place is a source of food, like I said earlier what you feed will continue to grow. This is the same in our personal lives and even with attacks, people disguised as foxes only come back to because they feast and rummage on the scraps you leave out for them. When standing and taking things up in any type of spiritual warfare, be CAREFUL how you dispose of your rubbish. If you don’t put it to rest probably and you leave a crumb – remember that even the smallest fox can turn that crumb into a meal and will feast on you and consume that situation till they are satisfied. The bible warns us in Matthew 12:43-45 that if you cast out a demon, if the place/person is now left unoccupied the demon goes to call 7 more of its friends to re-inhabit. Many of us are seeing the manifestation of the seeds of problems/attacks at work that we helped not only to sow but to water. We’ve fed the problem and given the attacker power over us and then complain that we do not understand why we face the intensity of the problems we face. Right now, ask God to reveal the things you’ve given the devil and allowed him to attack you with in your place of work. Don’t be caught unaware. Dispose of your scraps properly. Don’t give the devil a foothold to feast on something lest he brings back 7 more problems.

Foxes or illusion

So as this mediation went further, I then caught the revelation that we need to use our discerning eyes to determine whether we are dealing with an actual fox or just the illusion of one. Some people are sent in with a direct spiritual mission to cause you to jump ship and abort your purpose in a place, make no bones about it. But others are sent as illusionary foxes. They are a mere illusion of the power of the enemy over us.

Foxes are an illusion of power using the catalyst you have left out for them to feast on. If you are someone that has a joyful spirit the fox will come in to try and steal you joy. And if you let him do it, he’ll try to take away your peace over a situation. But when you catch the revelation that joy is not a manufactured emotion that comes from our body’s natural default setting, but rather a fruit of the spirit you realise the devil cant steal your joy. Happiness perhaps but not your joy. Joy is an overwhelming spiritual download from heaven that can’t be robbed. So there’s no such things as stealing joy, you can’t steal from heaven! But the enemy can play you against yourself and allow you to believe he has taken your joy, peace or hope over a situation. Pastor Sheryl Brady dropped an awesome bombs when I was watching her preach online and said that “a peacemaker is someone who declares war on whatever disturbs their peace”. I had to take that in for more than a second! This is why we must always keep our spiritual eyes open and learn to fight from our place of purpose. The devil will play tricks on you and I’m talking smokes and mirrors because satan desires to sift us, so these foxes will create the illusion that they can uproot us and if you exchange your truth of God for a lie of the devil, you entertain the spirit of fear and defeatism and give over your power to them. That’s the one thing we can’t speak over ourselves, Jesus didn’t die to give us defeat but strength and victory.

Foxes, Vines & Branches

In John 15, Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches. So when we think about it, as long as we play our part, these foxes cannot dig up our vines if we remain connected to Jesus. And this is the point of it all (long winded right, but insightful I hope). When being called to stand in the workplace, you need to have that unshakable, undeniable, unbreakable revelation and personal understanding of who Jesus is to you. In verse 5 Jesus says that ‘if you remain in Me’ (John 15), take note of IF. This shows us that nothing is guaranteed and it is possible to be disconnected especially when we play a conscious part in doing so. When God sends you to a dark place, never forget that He is the vine and our solid rock, and as long as we decide to stay rooted in Him and keep our branches strong we won’t fall away. This is an action on our part to trust and hold onto Him. If we allow the devil to think he can dig at our vine and give over that power, we allow him to cut off our life supply and consequently our branches die (John 15:6). That is when our branches fall off and fall to the ground, unfortunately we find ourselves separated from the Vine and vulnerable in those cold streets! It is then you feel like you Jesus isn’t holding you down, yet in reality your branch was eventually weakened due to malnourishment when you went through the process of being separated from the vine. That’s when the devil swoops in, just as your vine is on the brink of breaking. Yet even still, Jesus is still the vine stretching out His arm to hold onto our branches, it’s us that lets go and falls away from the branch. It’s a choice, on Calvary Jesus stretched out His arms and in doing so He reached out to us embracing us with an everlasting hug, drawing all men to Him. His default position is with an outstretched arm. He doesn’t let us go, it’s us that lets Him go.

So like a small child would do, the next time you see the enemy sending a fox your way. Stretch out your arms to Jesus to stay firmly rooted in the vine, so He may water and strengthen your branch. In some places of the world (I won’t call anyone out LOL), discipline is often deliver through the medium of a tree branch. Children are even sent out to choose the branch they’ll be punished with. Tactically children often pick the lightest or thinnest branch because they understand that its impact and wrath will be less painful than a thicker branch. Now imagine the devil is doing the same when he sends his foxes. If he sees you as a weaker branch, unable to make a strong impact in the world or Kingdom of God, he selects you and breaks you off from the vine but the stronger branches, robust in nature and powerful in impact are harder to break off the tree/vine. They’re like those branches you have to pull, twist and even step on to separate from the defiantly strong trunk. They are grounded and rooted in the Vine and can end up being more trouble for the person trying to separate them. That’s what we should be like as believers, God forbid the devil sees you as easy pickings. Rather give him a workout when he wants to pluck you from the tree, let him know you are connected and willingly choosing to stay grounded in the Vine. By fire, by force, through declaration, intercession, fasting, praise and worship. You shall not be moved!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 

 
 

Standing (Part 1)


Hi guys,

I’ve been such a long time I even forgot I had this blog till I was updating my twitter profile and it re-entered my mind. I have so many words to share, so better now than never I guess. As I was typing this up it ended up being lonnnng as the Holy Spirit started to pour out, so I’ll post in chunks 🙂

So without further ado let me jump straight in. God has really been speaking to me about standing. Not the type of standing that just needs two feet, the type that needs your body, spirit and mind. Let me go on and add some contextual flavour. This word was born out of the need to encourage young-professional Christians standing in the workplace, encountering trails of different varieties and facing different attacks from the enemy.

Songs of Solomon 2:15 – ‘Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes’ (KJV)

Of late, a few of my friends have been facing attacks from the enemy in their places of work and the Holy Spirit dropped this verse in my spirit to encourage them. Who would have known that this word would also encourage me both in the now and retrospectively. Everything now makes sense.

Resistance

God places you in the place He wants you to sow seeds and in doing so, those seeds can very often take root and flourish. The one thing He doesn’t always promise is that the ground will be fertile or people will be receptive to your sowing. Even when sent on your mission to sow that seed, others may not always be the recipient of that flower. Imagine sitting at home in your garden and someone walking in and scattering their seeds all over your lawn. Is it by force? Did you invite them in? who are you? Why are you disrupting the status quo? Did I tell you I want new flowers? These are the metaphorical types of questions people will ask you. Resistance is inevitable. Also think of the situation you’re facing now at work, perhaps God has sent you there for you to learn a lesson and for that seed to take root and blossom in your own life. Do you also need to learn a lesson?               

Impact

God can also send us to a place where He wants us to make an impact. When change occurs, God can bring us in to serve as a new benchmark in the company’s new season. Or He can raise us up from outside the pre-existing structures; this is the aspect that I received the word on and area I had to encourage most of my friends in. But now is the time for us Christians to change the status quo! The enemy knows the level and depth of your impact in advance and sends attacks to change that. Isn’t it funny how the devil can sometimes see your predestined purpose before you do! I often view an attack from the devil to be proof that I am in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

Having done all

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (NIV)

More than anything in this season I have seen with my own eyes people who were able to fulfil the first part of the scripture ‘stand your ground’ but have failed (temporarily) at the second part ‘after you have done everything, to stand’. It’s easily to stand and by and large we are all able to do that. But what do you do after you’ve prayed, cried out to God, fasted, served others, praised, worshipped, repented etc and still things remain tough? This is where it’s easy to fail.

It’s EXTREMELY hard to stand on top of your standing. Being known to abide by certain principles in your workplace or social groups is one thing, but having to stand by them is another. Let me not call anybody out of their name, but when on a work training course in the States, people knew my beliefs and the type of lifestyle I chose to live (that was the having done all to stand) but a few of the people chose to re-question / observe / tempt me over those 2 weeks about them just to make sure I lived by my word (that was me standing). It was sad because a significant number of people who shared a different faith to mine came under the banner of one thing and stood for their religious beliefs, they were swept away by the winds of peer pressure. They initially had done all to stand, but were not able to keep standing.  This is not a look at me point, or even a scourge to other religious beliefs because we Christians also build our houses on sinking sand and we know what happens to those types of houses (Matt 7:24-27). It just so happens that I’m at a stage in my life & walk with Christ that I am able to live in a house built on our faithfully solid rock Jesus. Now the fact the social winds blew against them and they happened to fall was for a plethora of issues which I won’t go in to, but if you were to look from the outside in, it would appear that they were lukewarm towards their purported faith. But thinking about it, peer pressure was the vehicle the devil had used to rob them of the strength they had found in initially standing.

Numbers

Ecclesiastes 4:12 ‘though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken’ (NIV)

Standing is often harder when you’re doing it by yourself which is why the bible tells us that there is strength in numbers. This is why when standing alone as I and my friends have been, the enemy comes in to dig at your heels, and seeks to erode the very foundation we’re standing on. But just as easily as it is to take down one, it is also as crucial for use to do our part to allow God to use us and raise up even when alone. For the majority, if not all of my friends, like myself we are the only Christians in our teams etc and the attacks have been coming in like a flood. It’s cool though, God has lifted up a standard! But my point is that we should be even more tuned in to the work of God because He has placed us in such a position for a reason. We are the only Bible those people will read on a daily basis, the only glimpse of the heart of Jesus. So to let the devil cause you to abort the mission that God has already called possible is not only a shame, it also robs the incoming generation of the change our generation has been praying for!

Going back to numbers, when I was out in Chile the Holy Spirit dropped a serious word to me on how God uses us and the role of crowds & platforms (I may blog it later). But long story short, God is not a God of crowds, but rather He raises a person and gives them a platform. We all know and love the Proverb that tells us that a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.  And it is true. It is then the gift of God and the platform He has given them that brings in the crowds. So beware of the foxes sent by the devil to try and steal the very thing that God wants to use to build His platform in your workplace!

Stay tuned for part 2 – it gets juicer!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized