I’m reading a book about a Christian minister in the early to mid-20th century conducting evangelistic meetings and starting churches. In tents.
ATTENTION TO TENT MINISTRY INTENTIONS
This is nothing profound or out of the ordinary, of course, since big canvas tents had become the norm of sorts for large evangelistic meetings by mid-century. They were also used by those sent to start new ministry works in various small towns and locations throughout the country. If one had a tent he could carry it around on a trailer with the other stuff necessary for holding services. Once the minister secured a location on which to set up the tent it didn’t take long to begin holding services. The tent itself would often act as free advertising. When the people of the town saw the new curiosity, like a traveling road show or entertainment spectacle, they were often drawn to it since the interloping tent attraction added a new level of excitement in a hum drum existence. The minister to which I am referring did much of his early work in the late 1920s and into 1930s during the Great Depression. He was not only offering the Gospel of salvation to the locals but also giving them hope and inspiration.
He later revealed his method for starting new churches. He would visit a new town, usually of the smaller variety and sometimes in out of the way places. He would set up his tent, which often included a platform to preach from, maybe do a little additional advertising around town, and then commence with holding services. After a few months of steady work holding consistent meetings and growing a regular congregation he would set up a pastor to take care of the folks while the folks compensated the new pastor with a living. Then he would move on. It would take a certain quantity of people giving a necessary amount of money to support the pastor depending on the situation and his needs. To replace the tent, a local building would be appropriated for either rent or purchase depending on the circumstances. If all continued to go well regarding growth and expansion the new church start would be able to eventually build a new church building to call their own.
This was a difficult effort overall if the church start minister was not connected to an established deep pockets denomination from which to draw support and financing. Anything the Lord created through him must have been greatly satisfying, since he was starting from scratch, especially since his preaching method, doctrine, and ministry emphasis was on the salvation of souls, which was usually not the emphasis of the mainline churches. Such tent ministry methods were sometimes or frequently seen as deviating from the Christian norm and were somewhat disdained by both local anti-Christian forces who often got stirred up and provoked rather easily, as well as by the local denominational church pastors who may have seen such efforts personally intimidating, a threat to their authority, and an invasion of their turf.
It is why this particular minister and those like him saw Christian ministry not as business as usual but one much more in line with the New Covenant practices of the Lord Jesus. They got their ideas from the New Testament. Thus, they saw themselves as certainly different from the norm but were not so untraditional that they would not later adopt the same formats of those churchmen and traditional Christians opposing their early efforts.
BEHOLD, I WILL DO A NEW THING
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Corinthians 5:17]
These new ministers of the Gospel were part of a new wave breaking upon America as part of a Great Awakening movement that had its roots primarily in the 1906 Los Angeles Azusa Street Revival. The people of that time associated with the movement were more than willing to step from traditional methods and go out on large limbs of pure faith to honor the Lord. And He blessed them for it.
The majority of Christians today cannot identify with that movement or what those people went through to assist the Lord in bringing forth new Light. Their emphasis on Pentecost and Book of Acts happenings took a tremendous amount of courage and demanded a willingness to have one’s Christian reputation destroyed. As John the Baptist facing off against the Pharisees, they had to put up with unending attacks not necessarily from local yokels in general, though that was surely the case, but primarily from status quo Christians in high places and their unthinking drone army of pew-worn sycophantic lemmings. Whatever Christian norm had been established at that time by the current generation was seen as the norm from which no one should deviate. Of course, necessary deviations from such established traditional sleepy time norms must happen anyway if the real Gospel is to be preached, otherwise there would never be the proper spiritual corrections and ongoing restoration toward the pure New Testament prototype.
DID THE APOSTLES USE TENTS?
And this is where it gets interesting. The minister tent user of which I speak and whose book I’m reading who held a great many tent crusades et al in his time over several years was not actually engaging in a pure New Testament effort after all because the big top model was relatively recent. I’m not sure what minister first used a tent for ministry purposes and I don’t feel like doing the research but one wonders if the idea came from the ever present traveling circuses of bygone years. I’m sure big canvas tents were used for more than just circuses but I think said circuses indeed captured the market on the imagination since pretty much everybody back in the day associated circuses with giant tents filled with lions and tigers and bears and acrobats coming to town. It was only a hop and a skip sans the jump to put the proverbial two and two together and manifest a flashing yellow light bulb over one’s head toward the big ministry-minded voilà: We can use tents in ministry!
It was certainly a good idea and maybe a great one. Except for one little problem. It was at heart a mere variation on the standard model of the local church building. As I said, if the tent ministers/ministries were successful, the people they gathered would eventually be housed in something more permanent than the transitory tent which makes the tent a kind of halfway house toward the standard church house. So the question regarding the Early Church and its non-use of permanent meeting buildings would also apply to the big tents of past crusade fame. You see, not only did the early believers never have any permanent church buildings as we know the term, they would also not use big tents if indeed big tents were available. Now, stay with me here because there is a point to this, hard to figure though it may first appear.
HOUSE TO HOUSE
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart… [Acts 2:46]
The private home was their preferred meeting place. It was essentially their only allowable meeting place. The New Covenant Scriptures are filled with references to houses being utilized for meeting places. The apostle Paul mentions them often and that he taught “from house to house” (Acts 20:20). This means the term “church house” has an entirely different connotation from their perspective. Rather than it being a public Christian meeting house which Christians attend from without as it has been throughout much of western history, the original church houses were actual church houses—they were private houses that Christians lived in that Christians also used for ministry meetings. This was the case in the very beginning in Jerusalem and it remained the case for roughly three centuries. The exact model was used throughout the Gentile world within the Roman Empire.
Regarding overt persecution from the state, in the early going until the emperor Claudius was ousted in 54AD and Nero came to power, the Gentile Christians got a pass because the Romans considered them a Jewish sect and the Jews had already been granted an exclusion of sorts from practicing the Roman religion and participating in the emperor cult. One reason for this was their many centuries-old religious practice that far predated Roman times which gave them an effective grandfather clause. That and the fact that Jews made big gigantic huge earth-shattering trouble at any appearance of attack against their religion or when obedience to Roman religion was put forth or even suggested.
The time came however, when the Gentile Christians could no longer fly under the radar though they sincerely attempted to always “follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:4). Part of the reason for that was those same unbelieving Jews who professed holy hell when their religion was slighted had no problem doing the slighting themselves against followers of the Lord Jesus, most especially if they were fellow Israelites. It was also quite problematic that the more vocal and hard core branch didn’t stop at mere slights but proceeded to destruction and murder. In other words, the unbelieving Jews were blessed with effective freedom of religion and respect by a Roman government which could otherwise be quite brutal but they refused such freedom of religion to their brothers following the Lord Jesus and the many Gentiles following Him as well.
Thus the Romans were not the persecutors in the beginning. They were sometimes influenced by unbelieving Jews undercover to go after Christians as was the case recorded in Acts Chapter 12 when Herod Agrippa had the apostle James unlawfully executed, and “when he saw that it pleased the Jews,” he planned on murdering Peter also. Both of these men were obviously solid Israelites but no matter.
It was nutbag Nero who later jettisoned the peaceful policy of Claudius (41-54AD) toward the Christians, a period when real Christianity had flourished in the empire. It was on Nero’s sordid watch that the first major Roman state persecution broke out against Christian believers. At that point the home fellowships in Rome and other areas had to take extra precautions not only because of Nero’s madness and the antichrist influence upon him but also because Christianity was now seen as something entirely different from first century Judaism. Its growing numbers and influence appeared threatening. Christians soon became Roman public enemy number one and convenient scapegoats.
Therefore, even though real Christianity had gained great early success and had much freedom to meet relatively unmolested in their homes over a wide stretch of territory throughout the Roman Empire, there had certainly been insufficient wherewithal to create actual Christian meeting houses (though they saw no need for such and even likely perceived what we termed church buildings as counterproductive), such buildings became impossible after the start of Nero’s persecution.
Yet, as it was, after the early glory days in the 30s AD when persecution and famine broke out in Jerusalem scattering the seed of the Gospel to the four corners, the same in essence had happened in Nero’s time (54-68AD), as Christians were forced to grow ever more vigilant, spiritually strong, and able to travel. And they had to travel light. This still required meeting in small groups in homes as the best way to stay undetected in part and be seen as peaceable law abiding citizens of no threat to the state or their neighbors. To construct an overt large building to meet in would be seen as an affront and would be out of character anyway. The plan they were taught by the Lord had always worked very well as it had for Him. Remember, though the Lord sometimes ministered in synagogues there came a time when He was no longer welcome. The same thing happened to the apostle Paul in his early ministry who often started in the local synagogues teaching the Good News to his brothers. He was often warmly accepted early on and gained converts but eventually the unbelievers there created such a terror he had to move on.
For the early believers, ministry was not bound by convention but simply a matter of shining their light, witnessing, assisting the Lord in saving souls, helping and loving others, teaching the Gospel when open doors and hungry hearts presented themselves, keeping a relatively low profile when necessary, and most importantly, being vessels filled with the Spirit of God and praying others through to the same experience.
THE REAL TENTS
For the Early Church, Pentecost was essentially an everyday affair. Real Christianity started in a private home in Jerusalem in an appropriately named Upper Room and continued with that format everywhere it traveled. The first many generations of Christian believers had no church buildings or large canvas tents. They had next to nothing of what later Christians, including today’s, deemed indispensable. What they had, however, worked wonders. It did so because their ministry model was organic and close to the people.
The closer we get to their model at present, the more we will be like them and the more spiritual success we will have. Rather than insisting on traditional largely non-productive, unworkable, unbiblical ministry models and watching the culture and country fall down all around us as a result, not to mention millions of souls being lost due to such models never caring to reach them, it is high time we get this right and do things the Lord’s way. Humble servitude always works. People need the Lord.
“Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8b]
At the end of the day, the only real church buildings, the only real tents, are our own bodies—spiritual temples—each of which should be dedicated to the Lord Jesus as a welcome home for His Holy Spirit. This is the actual New Covenant model—individual spiritual temples built up into one large spiritual temple composed of all real Christians, exactly as our spiritual forebears believed, taught, and practiced. They placed a very high priority on believers being filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord. We see this referenced repeatedly in the early history of Christianity at Pentecost, immediately after Pentecost, and throughout the Book of Acts record over the next forty years. Receiving the Spirit of God was AN EVENT. It never happened by osmosis and never happened “by faith” without powerful empirical evidence witnessed by others.
The one common denominator evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, through the process toward total submission, was the surrender of the last rebellious holdout of the human body—the tongue.
Thus, the early Community of the Lord Jesus was composed of brand new, spiritually clean, holy, set apart for service, mobile temples filled with the Holy Spirit. The Lord alluded to this future standard repeatedly during His ministry in the gospels. The New Covenant epistles, especially those of Paul, also mention this truth. He taught on it. He refers to believers who have experienced it. In the middle of these two we have the Book of Acts which illustrates the experience in real time. The major problem with much of Christianity is that it skips over Acts and goes straight from the gospels to the epistles. This causes non-Spirit-filled Christians to identify with the content of Paul’s letters as though it applied to them and causes them to think they are Spirit-filled when they are not.
In the following passage, the apostle Paul identified the real Christians of his time not according to Christian religious tradition, but according to OT Scripture and as those who had fully experienced Pentecost. A separation and dedication was called for then as it must be now:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. [2Corinthins 6:14-18]
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Current events have opened a national discussion on race. Later in this article I will relay my early Christian experiences in this regard. We were way ahead of the curve.
When the plandemic news narrative came blasting forth back in March, I noticed that many Christian blogs, ministers, etc. immediately began referring to it in their writings and pronouncements. Over the past week the same phenomenon has ensued only this time it’s about the riots and race. In both cases Christians are responding to the news of the day, taking the bait as it were, as if it is our duty to do so. It exposes what is actually on the minds of Christians in general most of the time, apparently, in that we are no different than anyone else in being highly influenced by news and culture, and consequently sometimes taken off in directions chosen by someone other than the Lord Jesus.
This obviously does not mean we should not be aware of current events. We should. We should be aware of as much as possible. But current events driven by the agenda-based, monetary-based, faux-narrative-based news corporations should never be a priority as opposed to the spiritual-based teachings of the Lord. It is certainly fine to comment on news of the day as some of it is appropriate toward greater truth. I also began writing about the plandemic at that time but my focus was what it had to do with Christianity in these times and what Christians should know and how to properly respond. I saw in the very beginning that there were obvious signs of a major false operation in transit and this has proven to be true.
By now informed people know the entire thing was largely an agenda-based deception and this has proved accurate by the lightning fast segue into the riots and race narrative in which it is suddenly okay to break all the social distancing rules of the plandemic. Previously, those who wanted to keep their churches or businesses opened or attempted to open them later without official sanction were severely sanctioned, both socially and by government authorities. Some were thrown in jail. Those who are now looting and burning, by contrast, are largely getting away with it and even being encouraged.
The first phase destroyed lives and livelihoods to the tune of multiple millions, many of which will never recover. We are talking the greatest magnitude of such in history. Reports say there were a hundred thousand businesses in New York alone that were destroyed. All for what? Fifty to a hundred thousand dying from the flu each year is a common statistic. The vast majority of the people who died from the virus did not actually die primarily from the virus but from any number of other conditions.
As this real news began coming in, that is, actual truth and science fact put forth from many intelligent and well-informed honest people telling the truth and destroying the false narrative that had captured and indoctrinated the majority of Americans, something had to be done really fast to recapture the focus. Hence, the happenings of the past week or so. The focus has indeed been recaptured. The majority has now segued cleanly into the second phase which involves the same destruction as the first but in the literal sense. This segued majority again includes the majority of Christians.
Yet, truth began coming forth right away to counter the new false narrative. This has happened much faster than the first time around and is great news. It reveals that many more have become aware of the real agenda of the narrative makers who are trying their best to stay ahead of the Great Awakening.
Again, it is fine to stay informed. The problem, however, is that Christians in general are more inclined to get highjacked by such current events based on the media shriekometer, especially those as charged as these, rather than stay focused on the Lord and His work. They get sidetracked most likely because they were not focused on the Lord and His work to begin with. Imagine if the disciples following the Lord were suddenly slammed with some powerful narrative/rumor event and just left Him standing there in the midst of a session and ran off to engage in the new proceedings. Their actions would prove their focus. Whatever they allowed their minds to be occupied with would prove their discipleship level.
Even with this article you are now reading, my intention is to comment on what’s happening now but only in the context of how it relates to Christians. And this current context certainly does relate to Christians. It tells us very clearly what is actually going on (for those with eyes to see) and what is coming next. We saw how the majority of ministers and churches quickly succumbed to government dictates and shut down their ministries and churches. These were all non-essential, you see. Most Christians let it happen without a fight. Next, these same people are suddenly adhering to the current narrative and obeying once again, apologizing for something of which they are not guilty.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
A little background: America obviously used to be largely segregated. There was progress in the 1940s associated with the war. There was great progress in the 1960s. By the 1970s great strides had already been accomplished and more were ongoing. I began attending Pentecostal churches at that time. There were white Pentecostal churches, black Pentecostal churches, and mixed Pentecostal churches. I attended them all.
The Pentecostal movement in America which began 120 years ago was from the start racially mixed. The great Azusa Street Revival was largely led by a young black minister from Texas by the name of William Seymour, whose parents were emancipated slaves. He was a former student of Charles Parham, a white man. There were people of several ethnic backgrounds involved at Azusa. Of course, Pentecostals were greatly scorned by mainline Christians then, the bulk of which were absolutely segregated. This disparagement continued at least until the 1960s. It was not only because these Christians had a powerful aversion to Pentecost but also toward those they saw as inferior regardless of race.
As a young man I was born again among a small group of peers who belonged to a church that contained all local backgrounds. We never had a problem with race. It was no issue to us. This might sound completely unbelievable. I can understand that based on the current narrative. In that church of roughly 100-150 people, there was an older black couple who always sat in the same place on the central aisle about four of five pews from the front. The man always sat quietly with his Bible open. She, on the other hand, was quite vocal. She would often be used of God for vocal spiritual gifts. When she spoke you paid attention. Right behind her sat a white woman powerfully used in the same gifts.
We also had female pulpit ministers. There was a black woman, a friend of the church, who visited on occasion to preach and was always smiling and cheerful but could without doubt bring a message from God. I can never forget what she did for me once. I had a problem with my car one Wednesday late afternoon and ending up having to walk to church. It was a long way. While walking down the highway a car stopped up ahead to give me a ride. It was her. She actually recognized me.
Although the majority of the pulpit time was taken by the senior pastor who was an excellent preacher, and something we all agreed with and wanted, it was a not a closed pulpit. It was open to any number of traveling evangelists and ministers. It was also open on occasion to church members, local believers, singers, and musicians regardless of background. They even allowed yours truly up there later on.
On the very back pew sat a man and his large family. He had about six children, mostly young. He and his wife sat back there because they didn’t want to be a distraction. His children however, were always full of joy and well behaved. Before this man was born again and gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit, he was a classic Texas redneck. I have no idea what his thoughts on race were before he joined up with the Lord but he had absolutely no problem afterwards. He worked in commercial construction. He was the strongest man I ever met. I was taught by my Dad to have a strong handshake, but this man could break your hand if he wanted to. I’m serious. He could have played middle linebacker in the NFL. Before salvation he could outdrink anyone and smoked two or three packs of cigarettes a day. But the Lord delivered him of all of it. He was always bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. The old song says “Give me that Old Time Religion—Makes me love everybody.” What a joy to see all these people loving and hugging one another and working for the Lord together.
We also had a lot of young twenty-somethings who previously lived, before giving their lives to God, among the conditions of that culture at that time. All of us were aware of everything social. I was among this group. We were way ahead of the previous generation. Therefore, joining this church and being around so many different people of all races was no big thing but normal and never an issue. We also had a married couple in which the man was white and the woman was black. Again, whatever. They were great people. I had two close friends in that church. One was white and one was black. I was great friends with a married couple instrumental in my salvation. He was white and she was Hispanic.
Thus, because we were far too diverse, our common denominator was not race or background or income level or social standing. It was Jesus. We were all sold out to Jesus. He was everything. We each gave our lives to Him. We were all filled with His Spirit. That was the real dividing line. It is exactly as He said, in that there would be those who were dedicated to Him 100% and then there would be everybody else. When we came together in our services we were one large diverse and loving family from all walks of life and former traditions. We were black, brown, and white.
I was blessed to win someone to the Lord who happened to be Hispanic. She wanted me to witness to her mother. I was still relatively young in the Lord but was astounded that God was actually giving me these opportunities. I went over there and told her mother about the Lord and she ended up giving her life to God and became a church member. I remember taking my pastor aside while this was going on and telling him, “The Lord is using me, pastor!” How incredible it was to be used of God so He could save and bless them.
My friend told me she had another friend she wanted me to witness to. He was also Hispanic. We went over to his house, which was actually his mother’s house, in a far part of the city. This young man was the farthest thing from what I thought in my natural mind to ever change or be born again. But he actually trusted his friend and we took him to church. Over the next few weeks everybody saw the most amazing transformation take place in his life. This young man became a great follower of the Lord, absolutely dedicated. He also knew a lot of people. Over the next few years it is estimated that he won over five hundred people to the Lord!
THE HUMAN RACE
The moral of this story is that whatever one happens to be, Jesus said we must be born again. When we are born again and filled with the Spirit of God, we have Him in common. We become members of the Lord’s one family which is composed of “whosoever will” and is open to anyone. He loves everybody. He treats everyone the same. God does not discriminate. All are welcome in His kingdom. This is what He meant when He said the following:
31 “Treat other people as you would like them to treat you.
32 “What credit is it to you if you love only those who love you? Why, even sinners love those who love them.
33 “What credit is it to you if you do good only to those who do good to you? Even sinners do that.
34 “What credit is it to you if you lend only to those who you expect will pay you back? Even sinners lend to each other, expecting to be repaid in full.
35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing back! Your reward will be great, and you will be children of Ha`Elyon; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36 “Show compassion, just as your Father shows compassion.
37 “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged.
“Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned.
“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” [Luke 6: 31-37]
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 © The Complete Jewish Bible. Used by permission.
Something was wrong in the church. Great spiritual effort was being made to no avail. A hindrance was blocking progress. What could it be? I began praying earnestly to find out.
We were young, in our early to late twenties. In the space of six months to a year the Lord brought forth a new membership group by ones and twos in an otherwise small traditional church. We provided a new strength and energy. The church had been struggling. The existing congregation had recently moved from its previous location and built a large, tasteful building. It had not gone as planned. There might have been a split. The church maintained a solid core of strong faithful believers but most were older and determined to maintain traditional practices. The Lord, however, was doing something new.
A NEW AWAKENING
A nationwide revival of sorts remained on the move. It began around 1960 and spread throughout all denominations. Prior to that time there had been a great divide between Pentecostals and Protestants. The Azusa Street Revival, which began in 1906, had brought Christians of many stripes together for a brief time but after only a few years a major divide had ensued. There were initially arguments among Pentecostals that resulted in splits that created what later became major Pentecostal denominations. Mainline Protestants were at first intrigued with the movement but in general had a hard time giving up or changing their long-held traditional practices. Nevertheless, there was a lot of healthy mixing and cross pollination. In time though, these two groups returned to being estranged from one another.
What took place in 1960 was possible in part because a relatively few Protestants in key positions of authority were somewhat secretly engaging in Pentecostal practices. Because they were discreet it caused no scandal. They perceived the otherwise questionable practices as perfectly natural and solidly New Testament based. These believers would be used by the Lord to assist in opening doors when the new movement began. By the mid 1960s even Catholic priests and nuns were receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It was in a certain sense a non-threatening revival, somewhat the opposite of Azusa Street, which blew the doors off and created a powerful worldwide movement. The 60s awakening spread steadily throughout all denominations and even began the new phenomenon of non-denominational churches. The traditionalists could not stop it but likely had great success at times in slowing it down. Non-Biblical traditions die hard.
In the late 1960s a great many young people, especially it seems, on the west coast, began coming to the Lord. Some of these had no traditional underpinning and therefore had no understanding of how they should properly present themselves. In all the pictures of the Lord Jesus they had seen He wore long hair and a beard so the young men wore long hair and beards. Those who had dressed like hippies pretty much continued dressing like hippies after they became born again Christians. Their hearts were in the right place but their new attitude of spiritual freedom didn’t go over so well among buttoned-down conservative Christians. Even traditional Pentecostal churches had a major problem with this.
By the 1970s battle lines had formed. It was yet another new guard-old guard paradigm. We know from the Word of God that the prior generation always has a problem with whatever new thing God is doing and regularly opposes it. The new generation, thoroughly enmeshed in the Lord’s new purposes, continues on, as they should, in obedience regardless of the opposition and obstacles. And the old does all in its power to maintain and hang on.
MY NEW CHURCH
It was this very thing that I was born into. The Lord needed new blood and provided it. The latest members added much new energy and exuberance. It turned out to be a great mix. We thoroughly respected and honored our elders in the Lord, the older people who had supported the church for many years and kept it going. After the big move they had a problem. Most of the shiny new pews were empty every service and remained that way for the most part after the new influx. To rectify the problem the pastor was always preaching about the need for witnessing. This went over the heads of most of the older saints but us younger people took it seriously. We were determined to fill up the church.
We had a meeting in a couple’s apartment. It was decided that we would continue witnessing all the more but also go on an extended fast and devote much time to prayer. I had learned all about fasting when I joined this church. We were expected to fast one day every week and go on a two day fast every quarter. These were real fasts that allowed only water or coffee. I was great at this. I often fasted two or three days a week though not in succession. I discovered early on that 24 hours was doable but going beyond that very difficult. Some of the guys had decided to fast for a week or two, and one guy pretty much indefinitely. This is how serious we were. We had a great passion to see people saved!
I continued witnessing up a storm and bringing people to church. We were all on fire for God. This greatly assisted the older saints and gave them a charge. They appreciated how respectful we were and for all the new life! The big fast eventually came to an end. One man fasted an entire two weeks while never missing a day of work. We were praying all the time.
But not much changed. The church building remained as it was. We might have gained a new member or two. I couldn’t understand it. I began seeking the Lord earnestly in prayer. I kept asking what the problem was. I was still a relatively young Christian and had a lot to learn. I was naïve regarding church practice and churchgoers, believing everyone to be solid believers in step with the Lord. Remember, I had been wondering what was causing the problem in the church and why all of our efforts weren’t going anywhere. I had to know why.
While praying one night alone I finally got an answer. I was stunned. It was the kind of answer one never expects to receive. The Lord had spoken very clearly. He said, “It’s the pastor.” That was all He said. He never said what the problem was. I had no idea what it could be. I never asked. I really wasn’t interested.
I didn’t know what to do. I decided at last to reveal this shocking answer to my best friend and his wife, the ones responsible for witnessing to me which led to my salvation. I was very careful. I knew he greatly honored the pastor and held him in high esteem. I did my best to reveal the answer in as gentle but strong a way as possible. With the three of us gathered at their house one night, both of them expectantly waiting, I revealed what the Lord had told me. My friend almost immediately hit the roof. I couldn’t believe it. I was asked, or told, to leave. I had arrived there with them and ended up having to walk home. His wife, who never reacted as he had, came outside after me. She asked if I was okay. I will never forget her loving manner and her open tender eyes. But the relationship was broken. I don’t think I ever told anyone else. It wasn’t long after that incident that I had to move on. I moved away to start again. They stayed.
About a year later the news had reached me. I found out what the problem had been. I discovered why our heartfelt sincere work for the Lord had been unfruitful. While we were busy witnessing, fasting, and praying, our pastor had been having an affair with a church member.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The Lord gave us a wake-up call in 1906. What happened then illustrated how powerful the Lord can be when we get it right, even in the face of great opposition.
It was a powerful event. What was just as striking, however, was the usual resistance by the opposing authoritative Christians. The humble organizers, the good guys, those who were merely self-effacing enough to seek and obey the Lord, were hounded from the very beginning and eventually forced into using the most rudimentary building for services.
They began in a house, but the movement grew too big too fast and they couldn’t allocate enough houses fast enough, so they were blessed with a bigger building, though old and rundown. It had much in common with the Lord’s actual beginning, something we lose the significance of over time. But there really wasn’t any room anywhere in Bethlehem for the Lord to be born. No residence, no inn, no nothing where people normally live. He ended up with the farm animals, something equivalent to our barns, but a small one. He apparently had no problem with this. He even expected it. He expected this world to treat Him in such a way. He was born anyway, in a place none of us would ever permit our own babies to be born, regardless of circumstances.
The same thing happens with His work. The apostle Paul said no people of higher bearing are chosen, in general, for the Lord’s work, largely because they deem themselves far too important. They are also ultra-pampered. There is no room for a pampered preacher in the Lord’s real work, but we are besotten with pampered preachers everywhere we look. In fact, this has become the standard.
Where then, are the real preachers? Where are the real Christians?
In general, you will rarely find them in the limelight. William Seymour was a one-eyed black man shunned by much of Christian society yet the Lord worked wonders through him. The apostle Paul has been wrongly relegated after the fact as some sort of high churchman or great theologian. Of course, he was certainly brilliant, but much more so in a spiritual sense. Prior to his own personal Pentecost he used his theological brilliance and high religious standing to do the very opposite of what the Lord had intended for him. How did he get so lost? How did he get so caught up with his own pride? How did he ever get so full of himself? One might ask about 90% of today’s so-called pastors and preachers and priests and what have you.
To show what must be done NOW to correct this is to show what had to happen to Paul—the Lord knocked him down, thoroughly humiliated him, showed him who the boss was, blinded him and made him helpless, and then completely revamped his life. He showed him how he was completely wrong and on the wrong path and had the wrong attitude. He could have just let him go to hell but He knew Paul would respond correctly to the correct stimuli, which in this case involved knocking him on his butt and destroying everything that he had previously held dear.
Paul responded properly. He quickly ascertained that he had been a giant jerk of the worst kind and was thoroughly embarrassed. After a few days his sight returned. He underwent full repentance, giving himself totally to the Lord for whatever purpose no matter how difficult. He went through further humiliation (from a religious view point, that is) by immersing himself in water in the Name of Jesus, the name of his new Master and Savior, and he was soon filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s all right there in the Book of Acts. It was a complete changeover, beyond even a total remodel. The old Paul was DEAD. A new Paul was BORN.
RESISTING REAL CHRISTIANITY BRINGS GRADUAL DEPRAVITY
The same thing must happen to Unreal Christianity in America or it will continue the death spiral it brought upon itself and has engaged in ever since it rejected that which all must submit to for new life to come forth. It is not so much that the Lord cares all that much for trying to set right those Christian leaders who will never change or repent, like so many of the Pharisees of old. It is that He wants to rescue all those good-hearted Christians living in a lesser state, as Paul was, who are deceived and blinded by fake Christianity. They will never be set free from within. It must come from without, as the Lord must do so much from without since He has been rejected in most places so much from within.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind… [Romans 1:22-28] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Pentecost required the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. It was the only way He could share His Holy Spirit with us.
God not only had to become a human being, He also had to live a perfect life, die without sin, rise from the dead, and be glorified. God had to become a Man in order to then give His Spirit to mankind. There was no other way this could ever happen, and is the actual purpose and meaning of Pentecost.
He explained it this way:
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” [John 7:37-39]
A PERFECT LIFE
No one had ever lived a perfect life before. No one had ever obeyed God to the fullest and fully walked out the given plan. The Lord Jesus never missed a step. He became last in all things through complete humility and unselfishness in order to become first in all things. He became last on our behalf as a suffering Servant and became first on our behalf to be our conquering King. Through this process He defeated all evil and the powers thereof. The world, the flesh, and the devil no longer had the upper hand over humanity. He thus gained greater power than any other existing entity as a human being.
He had always been God but not as a Man. Humanity had been rid of God’s full dominion since the fall of Adam. Humanity had been defeated by evil and had fallen from innocent glory. God would have to restore it. The only way to do that was to become one of us. No one else could possibly qualify. There must be another Adam, a Last Adam:
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. [1Corinthians 15:42-47]
A PERFECT SACRIFICE
The New Covenant definition of perfect is complete. God demands a perfect, or complete, sacrifice. Nothing else will work. You can’t give the Lord a mere portion of your heart even if you give most of it. It works the same way in marriage. It is the main reason so many marriages fail. One member is being deceptive. Sometimes both are. A less than full-hearted effort with God will never work either.
When the perfect sacrifice was made, sin was paid for in total and a closed door was opened unto spiritual life. The open door later manifested in the miracle of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord. The first sacrifice was made by the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus, when He offered Himself. After that the 120 disciples in the Upper Room had to make a full and complete sacrifice of themselves. They had to become clean vessels, first through total faith in the Lord, and second through total repentance for their sins.
During the ten days after the Lord ascended to heaven until Pentecost they all prayed, fasted, repented, and prepared. They were also immersed in water in the Name of Jesus. By the time the ten days were up all those remaining in the Upper Room for the duration had made the proper sacrifice. While waiting according to the Lord’s command “for what the Father had promised,” they emptied themselves completely so they could be brand new vessels filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU
Thursday, June 1st is the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost means “fiftieth” day. It always takes place on the fiftieth day from the Feast of First Fruits. The Lord Jesus rose from the dead on First Fruits. In that year, it was also the first day of the week, the equivalent of our Sunday. Pentecost was on the first day of the week then as well.
On the Hebrew calendar, the day of First Fruits is the 17th day of the month of Nisan. The Day of Pentecost is the 7th day of Sivan. The equivalents this year on our calendar are as follows:
Nisan 17, First Fruits: Thursday, April 13, 2017 (Began Wednesday at sunset)
Sivan 7, Pentecost: Thursday, June 1, 2017 (Begins today at sunset)
How do we know these dates are correct? Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar-solar. The months begin with the actual new moon. The new moon prior to Nisan 17 began on Nisan 1, which was March 28th on our calendar. The new moon took place the day before on March 27 at 9:57PM CDT. This marked the exact beginning of the month of Nisan and from that we can calculate the Day of Pentecost, which begins at sunset tonight.
THE PROPER PREPARATION
There are stirrings in the Spirit. The Lord is bringing something forth. Well-known Christian figures are now confirming what I have been saying for almost seven years. They are reporting the stirrings of revival in various locations. Let us all continue to be properly prepared. The Great Awakening and Pentecost go together.
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. [Hebrews 12:26-29] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
There are a great many tacit taboos in traditional Christianity. One of them concerns knowing what happens behind the outer stage presentation and the unknown agenda of the few in charge.
“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” [Luke 8:17-18] 
I heard a sermon many years ago relaying a story that took place many years before then. The elder preacher, very well respected with an excellent reputation, was well aware of the incident, having lived at that time.
BANG THE DRUM QUICKLY
It seems one of those small-church revivals had started up. They were going every night and much spiritual excitement was in the air. Those kinds of things would traditionally carry on for about two weeks, maybe three, and served as a method to get stuck-in-a-ditch church people back on track with God.
The preacher said someone there had a big bass drum. When things got to swinging every night that feller would bang on that drum incessantly. This somehow greatly helped inspire the people to get all excited and keep things happening. They were doing all the many things church people did in those kinds of revivals, which were different things from those in regular services. And the big drum would keep banging away in the background.
As I listened to the older man’s sermon I wondered where he was heading with the story. This was a veteran preacher who knew very well what he was doing and I was a young man quite intrigued with a story from way back, picturing a small church congregation intent on following the pastor’s lead and honoring the apparent fact that the man of God heard from God and the revival was heaven-sent.
He said night after night the revival kept going, the people kept coming, the Spirit kept blessing, and the big bass drum kept booming. Then one night the drum broke…
I learned a giant lesson. The preacher was not bashing the church or Christianity or any such thing. He was only giving people a small peak into what actually goes on behind the scenes. At that time I was still thoroughly wet behind the ears in that I trusted all leadership and never suspected anyone of doing anything untoward. I was so blessed to have had the incredible born again experience I had and everything in life was brand new and fresh. There was no way I would question anything about the process the Lord used to bless me so abundantly.
But that sermon brought me back to earth in a sense. It let me know there was more going on that I didn’t know about. It let me know all was not what it seemed… [To Be Continued]
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The revival director was bent over on the floor of the stage on his hands and knees kissing another man’s feet—a clergyman. And he stayed there and kept at it. As far down to the floor as one can get. Kissing his feet.
And I thought, he probably means well. He probably thinks he’s doing the right thing, a good thing.
But here’s the problem, and it’s a BIG one:
For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” [Romans 14:11]
In this passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans, the apostle quotes from the writings of the prophet Isaiah, whom the Lord is speaking through:
“Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save.
“Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.
“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
“I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” [Isaiah 45:20-23]
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he quotes from this passage yet again, this time identifying the God who spoke by the mouth of Isaiah over 700 years before. Paul also reveals the actual Name of God in its fullest revelation—the Name which is above every name:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5-11]
Though our current English translations claim that Paul said Jesus Christ is “Lord,” in the original letter he used the word Adonai, which is what the Hebrew teachers used as a substitute word for YHWH. Therefore, when Paul said the Lord Jesus is Adonai, he was saying the Lord Jesus is YHWH.
This is key, because the same identifying dynamic occurs in the Isaiah passage, in which the word “LORD” is translated from the Hebrew Adonai, which was a written substitute for the name YHWH.
The Name of Jesus is the English rendering of the Hebrew Yehoshua, which means “YHWH-Salvation.” And what this clearly signifies is that the YHWH Isaiah refers to is the same Person that Paul is referring to when it comes to every knee bowing down.
Also, it must be noted that the apostles refused worship toward themselves, claiming correctly to be mere men, though mere men with the power of the Lord. This point is proven well when Peter met Cornelius for the first time. Cornelius had great respect for Peter and when he first met him he bowed down to the floor and began to worship him:
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” [Acts 10:25-26]
The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, always accepted such worship. Actual worship in its original meaning involved the act of bowing down, bending the knees, and actually becoming prostrate before the object of one’s worship. It is why Cornelius acted the way he did. It was often used to show extreme respect for other human beings in positions of authority. Indeed, if people did not show the proper worship and great respect they could lose their lives. Such was the power of kings and especially the Roman emperors.
But, of course, Peter absolutely refused any such worship. No one would ever be bowing down to him, bending his knees before him, laying prostrate before him, or kissing his feet. To do this to another human being is an abomination before the Lord.
Again, as Peter very clearly stated, and one can know he stated it with much emphasis:
“Stand up; I too am just a man.”
Now hear this, other than toward the Lord Jesus:
Real Christians are NEVER to worship another human being.
Real Christians are NEVER to bow down to another human being.
Real Christians are NEVER to bow their knees to anything or anyone other than the Lord Jesus.
Real Christians are NEVER to kiss anyone’s ring.
AND REAL CHRISTIANS ARE NEVER TO KISS ANYONE’S FEET.
All of these are very clear forms of worship and to worship another human being is an abomination. All human beings are sinful and require the shed blood of their perfect sinless Savior, so even one who is cleansed from sin has no right whatsoever to accept worship, based on their former condition. Any human being who actually accepts such worship, as opposed to the apostle Peter who absolutely refused, is placing himself in the place of God. This has not, however, stopped certain clergymen from actually insisting they are substitutes for God and demand that they must stand in His place.
NO ONE STANDS IN THE PLACE OF THE LORD JESUS.
That is why it was so disconcerting and shocking to see a fairly well-known “minister” laying prostrate at the feet of another man, a religious leader, worshiping him and kissing his feet, while the other man made no attempt to stop him, but stood there and accepted it as if he was worthy.
This alone proves it was a compromised, deceptive “revival” though there were many other proofs.
This event happened very recently. As is my policy, I don’t name names. But it happened. Search for it. Look it up. Of course, in one particular Christian denomination there is a head guy who has always accepted such worship. And this has always been an abomination before the Lord. Yet, this has not stopped some very well-known and powerful American ministers from recently meeting with Him and honoring Him anyway. Whether or not they are personally deceived, they are certainly engaging in deception. Why do they honor a mere man whose office has historically mandated that the one sitting on the throne is a substitute for the Lord Jesus in the earth?
THE LORD JESUS IS THE ONLY KING.
THE LORD JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WORTHY OF WORSHIP.
WHOEVER ELSE ACCEPTS WORSHIP IS OF THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST.
The real revival—the real Great Awakening—will come forth in great power the more the Lord Jesus, and only the Lord Jesus, is worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. It will come forth with no clergy icons and fake ministers clogging up the process and accepting great undue respect and honor. It will come when there are no stages and platform thrones when only a few high brows are at the top hogging all the attention while the great masses are gathered below worshipping them. It will come when we do exactly as did the 120 did in the Upper Room.
This is exactly how the first Great Awakening happened in the first century. There were no “churches” then and such buildings would not even officially exist for three hundred years. There was no high clergy class taking authority over a low laity class filled with the nameless and powerless then. Even those with the great power of the Lord who were filled with his Holy Spirit knew they were mere men and women and refused any form of worship or undue respect whatsoever.
But boy, have things changed. If you want to know the one reason we DON’T have great revival, that’s it—the worship of people who have taken the place of God.
During the REAL Azusa Street Revival of 1906, William Seymour, the primary director in a sense, spent much of his time in services on his face before the Lord Jesus or with his head in a shoe box! That’s how they all acted at that time in that place in the beginning. The love and presence of the Lord was so extremely powerful that everyone there knew who the Boss was. No one dared accept any glory for themselves. There was absolutely no pride, especially religious pride. It was an extremely humble setting. There was NO platform or stage. There was NO pulpit. They were all as self-effacing and humble as could possibly be. They surrendered EVERYTHING to the Lord Jesus.
The revival ended when they took it all back.
THE REAL ANNIVERSARY OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION
The real anniversary of the Lord’s resurrection took place the morning of April 25. On the Hebrew calendar, which is an actual lunar-solar calendar lined up with celestial events, it is Nisan 17. Most Christians missed it completely and even refused to acknowledge it.
Nevertheless, pay close notice to what the Lord’s disciples did when they saw the Lord Jesus after He rose from the dead. It you want real revival it makes all the difference in the world:
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” [Matthew 28:1-10] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.
And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:12-18]
And this is how it always happens. The clergyites in control will always fight against the Spirit of God until they get off their high horses and get on their faces before Him.
Why have we not seen revival? Why are most church services so dead they might as well be funerals? Most churches are so cold you could ice skate down the main aisle.
The Sudducees in the above verses had their own version of “The First Church of the Refrigerator” and were so incensed on losing control to the Spirit of God they threw His guys in jail. Modern religionists in America don’t do this anymore. They just treat believers with supreme indifference, keep them out of their “private clubs,” and never allow them to come close to expressing their hearts and revealing truth. These are religious control freaks one and all, and the majority of churches in America remain under the control of such fleshly fruitcakes who fight revival and the manifestation of God’s Spirit.
And that’s the main reason we as believers find ourselves in such a predicament. There always has to be certain people who are so in love with themselves and their power they will always stifle any possible move of God.
When there are no Book of Acts manifestations you can be sure humanity is in control.
I mentioned in a previous post that if a poll was conducted among church leaders to sign a pledge allowing the Lord Jesus to have absolute total control in their churches that very, very few would ever sign it.
And the reason why is simple—they would lose control. Life would become a challenge. They would likely lose their perks, and most of all, they would lose their high horse reputations. God would fix it so no one would henceforth want to kiss their “hand” and bow down to them anymore. As it is, most believers worship their preachers and reverends and priests and church buildings and non-Biblical doctrines and all the other stuff the Pharisees and Sadducees were guilty of, instead of worshipping the Lord Jesus in Spirit and truth.
Prayer is the answer—long, hard times of prayer—intense prayer, intercessory prayer, and prayer of no pretense that rightfully moves the heart of God.
Repentance is the answer—solid, heart-rending, sobbing, snot-dripping repentance that proves one is seeing straight, knows one is nothing without God, and desires to do anything to have all of God and His direction.
The Lord, however, is truly a Gentleman and will never force His way upon us. That’s why He waits for us to get down to spiritual business. There are so many saints of God with pure hearts who remain under the control of some fleshly, proud, I’m-better-than-you-and-deserve-my-place-in-the-spotlight pinhead who will fight the Lord all day long in the guise of serving Him. Until someone challenges these people they will always remain in control.
This is what the Lord said about these future Christian pretenders:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” [Luke 11:52]
In other words, if your fearless leader refuses the full Spirit-filled kingdom of heaven and key of knowledge attained by the apostles and first century believers, then so too will you, who have bowed the knee not to God but to a fellow human being in the form of God. The apostles were very humble men and suffered greatly for their faith. But they were also great stalwarts in that they learned to live in hardship and carry the banner of the Lord courageously despite their loss of social standing, monetary gain, and religious position.
Unlike the highly vaunted religious leaders they suffered the loss of all things but WALKED WITH GOD AND POSSESSED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. They shook the devil’s kingdom to the core instead of joining it like so many unreal Christians and Christian leaders do so today.
Instead of living as the apostles did, however, we treat them like disconnected museum pieces to admire from afar but never think or desire to have what they had.
There are actually millions of such real Christians on the planet today who have learned to live for God and will always live for God regardless of powerful persecution and indifference toward them. They will fight any God-directed battle for the spiritual freedom of humanity regardless of dire circumstances, and reject anything that compromises their walk.
You will know the Lord Jesus is in charge when you see everyone in the vicinity taking a backseat and hitting the deck, especially the high and holy ones who previously thought it would all fall apart if they did not keep their grip on control. Anything not of God will be burned up, of course, and good riddance. But real leaders understand fully that they are nothing and that the Lord Jesus is everything, and every part of the spotlight belongs to Him and Him only.
Let the Spirit of the Lord be in charge!
Let Him do what He wants!
Get the heck out of the way!
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God;
And not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 5:1-11] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Greek—Nomikos: Relating to law, learned in the law, experts in the Mosaic Law. Torah teachers. Those consumed with the letter of the Law but completely missing and neglecting the Spirit of the Law.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Historically, how have Christian believers broken out of their spiritual lethargy? What methods has God used to shake His people from their slumber? What does He normally do to raise the dead and inject new life?
We have a concept known as “revival” that church people often refer to. Such revivals take many forms, from a week or two effort in a local church with a visiting evangelist to an all out spiritual awakening. Most such revivals do not amount to much, just as most church services in general do not amount to much.
American Christianity has become so watered-down any uptick at all is considered a big change of pace and bordering on going too far. The goal has become comfort and community standing in most circles. Churches and ministries insist on continuing in their sell-out 501C3 IRS and state charter status. They insist on maintaining a fake standing of respectability among sinners that has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Ministries of all kinds continue to insist that no physical building or meeting place means no viable or effective ministry.
How did all this happen? And why does it continue to happen? How in the world did the life-changing and society-transforming Gospel of our Lord Jesus become entrenched in so many traditional and standardized mores and forms that actually do next to nothing in bringing real light to hungry sinners? Why do so many believers and ministers defend their incorrect applications and fight against the Lord Jesus Himself whenever He attempts a corrective?
During the great awakenings of the past, many hundreds of thousands broke out of their spiritual lethargy and routine traditions and turned back to God. The original Great Awakening that broke out in late 1734 was the first example in America of how a blessed people could become arrogant and stuck fast in fleshly sin and consequently needed strong national correction.
After the Pilgrim Separatists arrived on these shores in 1620, the next generations of the greats who established this nation saw the spiritual strength of American Christianity fall precipitously by the late 1600’s. God then again brought in new life in part from the European continent beginning in the early 1700’s to help right the course. This led to big changes.
There were knock-down drag-out fights concerning the “old way” and “new way” of new life. It was as if the Lord Himself was riding in on a horse leading the battle.
But what did the old-time traditionalists do? They fought Him! This always happens. God brings in new life, believers grow fleshly, dead, and religious, and then God must bring in new life yet again.
And every time He does it the ministers he does it through who bring such powerful conviction are fought against as if they are introducing heresy.
You know what real prophets want to say to such religious idiots? They want to say,
“Okay, Fine! Go to hell, then! Keep your stupid little two-bit dead religion!”
The problem is not that such dead Christian forms exist but that no one wants to believe their own church or ministry is one of those dead Christian forms. Therefore, the bad guys are always seen as the other guys or those weirdos on the other side of town.
But here’s a test: Do you see the ministry of Jesus in your church? Do you see the Acts of the Apostles in your church? Do you see miracles and power and unconditional love and great life in your church? Are you in trouble with the governing authorities who are by and large indifferent toward God, or have you cozied up with them and sold God down the river?
What do we want, our dead religion that society has no problem with or the life-changing and extremely powerful real Gospel that threatens the devil and makes unrepentant sinners want to kill us?
(Oh. Sorry. Probably too strong. Sure, what I just said is all over the pages of Scripture but its way over the top to try to apply such a thing to our modern times…)
But this is what the real Gospel has done throughout history. It is what it has done in the Great Awakenings of this nation. It caused division. It caused strong emotions. It caused betrayal among Christians.
Ignorance among Christians is always a problem. Christians must mature a little before they go spouting off a bunch of stuff about their beliefs and methods which are usually not really all that Scriptural.
But the greatest wrong is institutional traditional Christian thinking and doctrine that actually opposes the teachings of Jesus or refuses to fully acknowledge His entire curriculum and the plain historical record within the Gospels and Book of Acts.
The devil started a war when he invaded Christian circles many centuries ago and established his own various forms of Christianity. Real Christians must be willing to answer that war with a war of their own against his deception, falsehoods, faux Christian beliefs, and those he has deceived.
Many Christians are held captive by false gospels. Love and truth can set them free but the expression of such love and the teaching of such truth involves a high personal cost. Judging by the ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and early saints, one had to wade into some really bad religious biker bars to set captives free. Most established and “credible” Christian ministers do not do this, deciding instead to defend their own denominational standards and outright false doctrines, but real Christians have been doing it for 2000 years and continue today.
The problem is that Christians get fat and sassy and ever willing to fight to protect their flesh. The devil then gains a hold within that flesh. Christians who serve money (most) are easy pickings by the forces of evil because Satan knows such people have been compromised. Such backslid “believers” will only go so far but will stop when their income is threatened (or their next meal). Combining sinful human flesh and the devil creates a world created by that union that opposes the kingdom of God. And most people who call themselves Christians are much more comfortable in this FakeWorld than they are in God’s kingdom.
Our Lord Jesus is very hard on sinful human nature. That’s why He commands us to crucify it, kill it, destroy it, and eliminate it. Fat and sassy feel-good preachers with an opposing attitude and agenda instead coddle it and embrace it and support it. They are very uncomfortable with strong Gospel truth. They would rather make friends than preach repentance. They would rather support and applaud the temple money changers than do the following:
Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]
Is this the God you serve?
Is your church due for such a cleaning?
The Lord never established what we know as churches. The apostles never did either. The early Christians never had church buildings or 501C3’s or salaried ministers or any of the things we claim we could not do without. What would happen if the Lord began establishing the same kinds of formats He did in the beginning?
Well, guess what? He is. The new formats will soon outnumber the old formats. It is happening right now. The Lord is raising up millions of no-name believers who do not care about prestige or community standing or church buildings or salaries or any of the things most ministers and church-goers claim they cannot do without.
Study the Lord’s lifestyle and ministry. Study the lifestyles and ministries of the apostles and first-century believers. Read behind the lines. Open your eyes. The astounding spiritual effect they had on the wicked world of that time had everything to do with the way they lived their lives. Whenever we try a “better” way that is not so hard on our flesh it always causes the opposite result. Will we sleep or will we live? Will we get fired up for the Lord or stay physically comfortable but spiritually dead?
Why did the Lord do things the way He did and teach His disciples likewise if it wasn’t vitally necessary for the work at hand?
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. [2 Timothy 4:1-5] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.