Kamis, 31 Desember 2009
'AVATAR' and PAGANISM - Movie Review
-by Andrew Strom.
'Avatar' is an enormous worldwide blockbuster movie - the first to
use truly lifelike 3D - a huge leap forward that is sure to revolutionize
the entire industry. I managed to see the movie in 3D this week,
and like everyone I was utterly wowed by the lifelike 3D images
and special effects. But there were some things about the film
that truly disturbed me.
Maybe we should expect spiritual outrageousness from Hollywood
by now. After all, they hardly seem to be able to make a spiritual
statement in their movies without alienating every Christian in
the audience. (They have been warned about this before. As
Michael Medved has stated, Hollywood loses billions of dollars
simply by offending Christians and church-goers - who number in
the hundreds of millions in America). They often don't seem to care.
But Avatar takes this to a new extreme. Many critics have
commented that it has a deeply pro-environmentalist message.
And indeed, it seems almost loaded with every touchy-feely New
Age environmentalist theme that you can imagine. Some critics
are calling it "Dances With Wolves in space." But it sure does
look amazing - in fact, stunningly real. It truly is a work of art.
The futuristic story revolves around an ex-marine posted to a planet
with rich mining deposits - who has to inhabit an alien "avatar"
body so he can infiltrate the local tribe that opposes the mining.
Thus he becomes one of these blue-colored humanoids.
Though the film's images are stunning audiences worldwide, the
spirituality in it is at the far extreme of New Age. And it is not
"subtle" either. It is a huge part of the story. More and more you
see the "Gaia"-type 'Earth-goddess' stuff - plus pagan or wicca-like
rituals - until half the film seems almost saturated with them.
As I said, most people have grown to expect this stuff from
politically-correct and spiritually-weird Hollywood by now. But we
are talking here about the most expensive ($300 million) and most
revolutionary new film in history. Surely they have to be concerned
that preaching such a message may lose them hundreds of
millions of dollars in potential revenue? Apparently not.
It always strikes me as sad when these great breakthroughs in
the arts fail to glorify the One who gave us creativity in the first
place. And sadly, this is one of those times. And I guess that is
why, even after the awe and wonder of seeing one of the greatest
visual spectacles of our age, I left the theatre feeling pretty flat.
And I wonder how many others felt the same - even non-Christians.
I wonder how many left sensing there was something very wrong
at the core of this story. I would guess it might be quite a few.
(There have been a lot of complaints about the storyline). Even
many non-Christians may not like seeing the "Earth mother
goddess" getting all the glory. Which is why I think this movie will
never take top spot as the most-watched film in history - despite
all the money spent on it. And also why I think the sequel will
never earn the kind of money that they hope for.
Will Hollywood learn its lesson? I strongly doubt it.
Sabtu, 26 Desember 2009
SAMSON & the ENDTIME CHURCH
-by Steve Goodyear.
To those that KNOW their God and HEAR His voice.. there is a
true Spiritual Revival going on. You won't see it on TV or hear it
on the radio or read about it in the newspapers. It is not being
publicized or even talked about in most "churches" but it is truly
happening in the hearts of individuals who are sold out.
Its just like the story Samson, near the end when his HAIR that
was SHORN, his perfect covering, his righteousness before God,
the source of his power and authority was completely cut off by
the woman he LOVED AND TRUSTED! (Yes. Her name was
Delilah and she's a type of this endtime APOSTATE supposedly
SPIRITUAL, counterfeit CHURCH). The motive of her heart was
never really to serve and love him but to find out the SECRET to
his power and strength and to CAPITALIZE on it so SHE could
buy a BIGGER HOUSE and live an ABUNDANT LIFE of
PROSPERITY and POPULARITY with THE PHILISTINES OF
THE WORLD as her friends and allies!
She feigned love and thus entered in to the SECRET of his
fellowship, but she betrayed him, like Aiken or Jezebel. Like
Uzza or Judas. Her TRUE motives were exposed and she
couldn't help seeking the GOLD and the SILVER instead of
the creator of Heaven and Earth! And for a moment it looked
like she'd won. No doubt she thought so. But in the darkness
of the prison, alone, reviled and persecuted, Samson's hair
began to grow back!!
The unsuspecting Philistines celebrating their "temporary"
VICTORY (and no doubt, Delilah with her newfound
PROSPERITY!) were OBLIVIOUS, caught up in their own
deception and totally unsuspecting when Samson revealed the
REAL power of Godliness and toppled their entire kingdom.
What he gave up in love was given back to him pressed down
shaken together and running over and his END was greater than
his beginning. Samson is indeed a pattern of Christ and the
Resurrection, but he also presents a very vivid picture of the
end time overcomers. Those who are willing to lay down their lives
and their "lifestyles" for the Kingdom of God! Those like Daniel
and his three Hebrew friends who KNEW THEIR GOD and who
against all odds refused to compromise or bow down to the
King, his "IMAGE" or the Kingdom of this world! No matter what
the apparent consequences. They each, like Abraham, believed
that it was GOD who gave them life and it was GOD alone who
could RAISE THEM BACK UP AGAIN! "Whoever seeks to
SAVE his life WILL LOSE IT! and Whoever LOSES his life for
my name's sake will FIND IT!"
The Bible is replete with examples of God moving OUTSIDE the
city or outside the church! Samson, whose life is a true prophetic
timeline for end time events, clearly reveals this. Notice when
He was with the "prostitute" he only stayed until the middle of
the night! Then he got up, in the midst of the darkness, took hold
of the door and the doorpost at the gateway to the city, a clear
type of Jesus (the door) hanging on the cross (the posts.) He
uprooted it and carried it away on his shoulders where he
RELOCATED IT ON a HIGH PLACE OUTSIDE the CITY!
Doesn't that seem like a pretty clear picture of someone's
"candlestick" being removed?
WE need to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His
Righteousness! Wherever it takes us. Even if its to a high hill
OUTSIDE the hustling and bustling big city! We need to return
to the true GOSPEL, the Cross and the Blood of Jesus.
REPENT. BE BAPTIZED and RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
The Prostitute in this story represents a people interested only
in a LEGALISTIC contractual agreement with God. What's in it
for me? What do I have to do to get MY REWARD or MY profit!
She's more interested in the BENEFITS than the BENEFACTOR!!
She's in it for The GIFTS and not for the GIVER! SHE wants the
"fruit of her labors" for herself, not as an offering to the Lord.
This is indeed a STERN warning to true Christian Believers.
WAKE UP or lose everything you thought you had! THIS IS
WHAT it TRULY MEANS WHEN IT SAYS.. "Give and it shall be
GIVEN BACK TO YOU!! Pressed down, shaken together and
running over.." That's NOT a prosperity message - its the
GOSPEL!! Train your eyes on JESUS and let go of all you are
Look at Jacob who in the end had to GIVE UP EVERYTHING
before he could face the angel of the Lord and receive his NEW
NAME. He first GAVE UP his flocks and herds. His servants
and his wives and children. EVERYTHING he'd gained under
the Blessing he'd received from his father, everything he'd
worked so long and hard to acquire while serving Laban. THEN
he approached God and laid down his life in order to obtain the
blessing! In the end not only did he receive the new name but
everything he gave up was restored to him as well as his LIFE
and his relationship with his older brother! Only by surrendering
his ALL and falling on the rock of humility before God and being
broken could he face his older brother (a TYPE OF JESUS at
the second coming and judgment). He received GRACE and
RESTORATION instead of judgment and the sure Death that
was DUE him for his sin against his brother years earlier!
This process is the eye of the needle! That small place we all
must enter in by. The STRAIGHT AND NARROW GATE which
Jumat, 18 Desember 2009
Feed the Hungry!
When you come to hear the voice of the Lord for yourself it becomes a way of life. Yet others who have not learned to do this are STARVED. They hunger to hear the Lord speak to them. Just the knowledge that you have gained in this course so far has enabled you to feed that hunger in others. In our Way of Freedom Course in AMI-TC we teach how to identify a person's problem and help them find solutions in the Word.
Add the power of the spirit to that and you will be a mighty tool in the Lord's hand to feed many others! Right now I want to take you step by step on how to minister to someone else. Perhaps someone gives you their dream to interpret. Perhaps someone asks you for prayer or shares a vision with you.
How do you approach the subject?
Should you pray?
How should you handle this situation?
I have already given you clear direction on how to do this for dream interpretation in the Way of Dreams and Visions book in the chapter on "Interpreting for others", so I am not going to repeat that here. Instead I am going to give you some key secrets in ministering to any person, any time, with any need! This can apply to any sort of ministry, but I am going to apply it specifically to the Gift of Visions!
A friend of yours comes over for a visit. She is having a really bad week. She had a fight with her husband and with her children. Her life seems a mess. She asks you to pray with her so that she can have peace. What do you do?
Step 1: You CAN do this!
Now if you are not used to ministering to someone, I want you to realize that if you are born again that you have the ability to minister! This kind of encouragement is not just for spiritual leaders. God can use you too!
Step 2: Give it to the Lord
As you come to pray (using my story as an example) simply give the situation to the Lord. As the Holy Spirit to give you revelation and wisdom. Then, wait a little for the Lord to speak.
Step 3: Visions
As the person has reached out to you in faith, realize that the Lord will give you something to share with them. It is now your turn to reach out to the Lord and ask for something to pour out! Last week we spoke about hearing God through all your five senses. Now you get to practice that project in real life! It is very likely though that you will see pictures in your mind as you pray. Visions.
Ok, now here is the first thing to remember if you get a vision: DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING! Do not try to understand or put your own ideas into what you see in the spirit. Instead just share your vision with your friend.
Say for example you see a big stone blocking a well of water. You would then say to your friend,
"I see a big stone blocking a well of water in the spirit, do you know if that means anything to you?"
Often the Lord has begun to speak to that person already and it will make perfect sense. However if it does not mean anything to them, THEN is the time to share what you feel. If you look at the Word, the scripture speaks of rivers of living water being inside of us. This is the well in the vision! However there is a blockage...there is a stone on the well. So you could share with your friend,
"I believe that the Lord is saying that there is something blocking your spiritual life and stopping the joy and peace you need inside of you."
Step 4: Speaking it out.
It is important to finish your time of prayer by applying what you see. Getting revelation alone is not good enough! You can then flow as you are led. If you get no further revelation you could simply pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the blockage to the person and pray that He would remove it so that they can hear from Him and walk in peace again.
You might 'feel your way around' at first, but after that you will flow more and more.
On a final note, do not feel condemned if you do not get any revelation. It is for the person who is coming to you for ministry to come in faith. It is THEIR faith that will license the Holy Spirit to give you revelation just like Paul tells us in: 1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these are operated by exactly the same Spirit, distributing to everyone separately as he wills. (AMIV)
If you do not get anything at all, then simply speak blessing over your friend in faith and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in her life that He wants to change.
Minggu, 13 Desember 2009
The Eros Shift
By Bob Mumford www.lifechangers.org
Moses saw that the people were unruly and unrestrained.
The eros shift began when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The shift carries with it the idea of breaking loose because in that act, the human heart changed directions. When Moses came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments, he found the people out of control. They had melted all their gold and built a golden calf to worship. The people had become an object of shame among their enemies and Aaron, as the leader in Moses’ absence, was held responsible for the actual breaking loose.
An eros shift is a move toward man-centered, ungoverned desires, individualism,
anarchy, and entitlement. It involves all levels and units of society–individual, family, church, society, and government. In the appendix I have diagrammed the eros Shift as we have experienced over the last 200 years.
There are five progressive steps in an eros shift:
1. Ungoverned desires that have matured into passion.
2. Ungoverned desires that are unswervingly committed to having their own way.
3. Ungoverned desires that emerge as a predator or parasite that is willing and eager to use violence to have their own way.
4. Ungoverned desires that mature in the skills of intrigue and deception.
5. Ungoverned desire manifested as obsessive-compulsive behavior, addiction, and hopelessness.
Spiritual death is the inevitable and unavoidable consequences of any society that breaks loose. Once society is increasingly living without effective restraint, it is most difficult to get it back under control. Most often, it requires serious or cataclysmic events.
THOUGHTS & QUESTIONS
• What can you identify that tends to draw you off the Agape Road?
• Describe your experience with the five progressive steps of the eros Shift.
• Once a society breaks loose, why is spiritual death inevitable?
Selasa, 01 Desember 2009
Loving the Lost
By David Wilkerson www.worldchallenge.org
There is much talk right now about the fearful situation our world is in. Nation after nation is troubled, on the brink of economic disaster. Yet amid all the fear and turmoil gripping the world, God is still loving and saving lost souls.
His marvelous work of salvation never changes. It isn’t affected by the economy. His wooing, convicting Holy Spirit isn’t hindered by conditions on Wall Street or by teetering global finances. God’s saving power has never been limited by shrinking bank accounts.
The fact is, our Lord never amends his promises. They are always “yea and amen,” at all times and in every circumstance. God didn’t promise to provide all our needs except when we’re unemployed. He didn’t promise to be Jehovah Jireh, our provider, except when economic times get scary.
Our Lord’s promises never change. And that includes his promise about saving the lost.
When God commanded us to go into all the world to win the lost, he didn't include an exemption clause. He didn't say, “Preach the gospel of my Son Jesus Christ to all nations — except in hard times.” He never said, “Believe for the salvation of many — except when there is a great shaking in the world.”
Thank God, he has never said the world is too wicked, too hardhearted, too given over to lust to be reached by his Good News. At no time in history did the Lord ever limit his tender mercies — and he never will. Right now, America and the rest of the world could still be spared judgment — if there is true repentance. Of course, such repentance would require a great humbling and a mass return to the Lord. But our God has never rescinded his amazing offer of mercy.
Indeed, the Lord has made provision that no one need perish. Scripture tells us God does not take delight in the death of the wicked. On the contrary, he gave his own Son so that none should perish and all would have everlasting life.
In spite of God's great gift, the world hates the Christ who loves them.
Jesus declared that he came to seek and to save the lost. He who had power to subdue the winds and waves, who could send fire down from heaven to destroy the wicked, who embodied righteousness — this same Jesus came as a humble servant.
And he brought healing to the people. Christ listened patiently as broken, suffering multitudes pleaded for deliverance from their afflictions. He opened blind eyes. He caused cripples to walk. He made the sick whole. He loosed tied tongues and unstopped deaf ears. Jesus even raised the dead. Simply put, Christ set captives free just as he claimed he would. He faithfully broke every form of bondage he encountered.
The truth is no human being ever loved the lost more than Jesus did. He grieved over them as scattered, confused sheep in need of a shepherd. He wept over their spiritual blindness. And he poured out his very life for them at the cross. No person in history should have been more loved or respected. Christ should have been honored and esteemed by all. Yet despite all his outpourings of sacrificial love, the world hated him without a cause.
There were thousands upon thousands of reasons to love Jesus, and not a single reason to hate him. What did he do that he should be so hated and despised? The gospels speak of Christ as kind, patient, longsuffering, forgiving, full of tenderness and mercy, willing that no one should perish. He is called a shepherd, a teacher, a brother, a light in darkness, a physician, an advocate, a reconciler. He went about doing only good. No one ever had cause to hate him. So why the deep, vicious hatred toward Christ? Why the violence done to him and his name?
Jesus was hated by the world because he came as a light to deliver the world from darkness. John writes, “This is the condemnation [their reason for hating him], that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved [discovered]” (John 3:19–20).
Jesus declared of himself, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12). This explains the one reason Jesus was so hated. His gospel is a call to the world to “cast off the works of darkness, and…put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).
Here is the world’s reason for hating Christ, both then and now.
Jesus promised to deliver sinners from the chains of darkness, to set them free from all satanic power. But they didn’t want that. Why? What a Christian sees as freedom, the world sees as bondage.
“Freedom? What freedom?” they ask when offered freedom in Christ. “I’m already free. I’ve been freed from all restrictions, all sexual taboos. And I'm freed from the bondage of the Bible. I am free to worship a god of my own choosing, and in my case that is no god at all.”
The simple fact is the world loves the things of this world. And they love the pleasures of sin. As Jesus put it, they prefer the darkness. Therefore, as Christ warned his disciples, “Because I have chosen you out of the world, the world is going to hate you just as they have hated me.”
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). Why is this so? Why the hatred toward us, simply for loving the Lord? Jesus explains, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (15:18).
This is why society has unleashed massive efforts to stamp out all that pertains to Jesus…why there is such disdain for his followers…why courts try to outlaw the very mention of his name…why there is such abhorrence, even outrage, toward those who claim the Bible as their moral compass. It all has to do with our mission as the bearers of his light.
Think of it: As Christ’s witnesses, we are called to a seemingly impossible task. We are asking the world to lay down the things that are most dear to them: their sins. In their eyes, the Christian walk — a life of purity and holiness — looks like a form of slavery. Our idea of heaven seems to them more like hell. When they hear us talk about the gospel, it is an offence to their lifestyle. Christ’s gospel calls them to repent of the sins they love, to repent of rejecting the God who died for them on a cross. It calls for a life of holiness, when for years they’ve tried to silence their conscience, to kill any notion there might be a coming day of reckoning.
Christ’s gospel also tells them their own personal goodness can’t merit eternal life. It asks the self-made man to die to himself and his selfish ambitions, and to give his life for others. It declares that his own sense of integrity is nothing in God’s sight. Such a gospel is a threat to his pearl of great price: his personal achievements, the things he has worked long and hard to obtain. If you tell him his righteousness does not merit salvation, he’ll despise you.
At the Last Supper Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you” (John 13:34).
During his final time with the disciples before his crucifixion, Jesus warned, “Some of you will be rejected, some will be imprisoned, some will be killed. All of you will be persecuted” (see John 16:2). What a send-off message. The disciples were going to be hated, seen as the off-scouring of the earth!
Yet Jesus gave them a word of direction at this same time. What was his final instruction? It was about how to reach their generation after he was gone. This word of direction had nothing to do with methods for evangelism. Jesus had already told the disciples they were to go into all the world preaching the gospel, and that they would need the power of the Holy Ghost to do that. These two things were already clear to them.
Now, he said, “I give you a new commandment.” Jesus told them plainly: “If you obey this new commandment, all men will know who you are. And they’ll know exactly where you stand. They may hate you. They may call you fanatics and turn you out of their synagogues. But they will know you are mine.”
Here was Jesus’ commandment to the disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (13:34, my italics). Note this is not an option; it is Jesus’ commandment. And it is where every evangelistic effort must begin.
You see, Scripture makes clear we are to feed the poor, and the church will always do so faithfully. We are to do many good works, through which we preach Christ boldly. But to penetrate the “gross darkness,” we need to lay hold of this new commandment from Jesus. Why is our obedience to this command necessary to break through darkness? Christ explains: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35, my italics).
According to Jesus, only this particular love — a love for fellow believers — will gain the attention of a lost generation. It is the same kind of self-denying, sacrificial love that Jesus shows to each of us. And such love for our kin in Christ cannot be accomplished in word alone, but must be in deed.
This commandment accomplishes two things. First, it is the only way to respond to the hatred that comes from the world: “As I have loved you…love one another” (13:34). Our love for each other is a refuge and safe haven for all in the body of Christ.
Second, through this commandment the Holy Spirit reveals to our generation their great sense of need. Why have so many young people turned to mindless binge drinking? Why have multitudes turned to drugs as never before? Why is the rate of suicide on the rise? The explanation is simple: People everywhere are hurting. There is sin-sickness among the masses, with multitudes plagued by emptiness.
People today have so little to trust in. Long-trusted institutions are crumbling. Economic and moral structures have disintegrated. There is no security, financial or personal. To whom can people turn? Where can they find examples of real, enduring love in such a shaky, perilous time?
The world needs illustrated sermons — powerful personal examples — of God’s love.
In John 17:21, Jesus made this prayer: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (my italics).
Think of it: Even in his final hours, Jesus was still yearning over lost humanity. And he was giving his church specific direction on how to win those lost multitudes. Consider his final words on the subject: “Be as one! Put aside all strife and division, that the world may believe in me.”
You may think, “This sounds so simplistic. Is that really how the church is going to reach hardened hearts? Is it how we’re supposed to battle gross darkness? Does simply loving each other truly provide supernatural power to combat hatred?”
The answer is yes, yes and yes, absolutely! According to Jesus, the powerful love of God is revealed most clearly to the world by the unconditional love between his people.
Right now, one of Satan’s primary strategies against the church is to plant division and strife. Everywhere I look in the body of Christ worldwide, I am convinced hordes of demons have been sent on assignment within church walls. And their aim is to destroy the love of Christians for one another.
The devil’s strategy is subtle: He pits race against race and rich against poor in the body of Christ. The racial strife, specifically, is being fed worldwide through television and other media. I have not seen such racial hatred spewed forth in years, and now it is infiltrating the walls of God’s house.
I thank God that Times Square Church was raised up with no color lines and no distinction between rich or poor. All who come through our doors are treated with the same respect and welcoming love. We have enjoyed God’s blessing for twenty-two years now, and I believe this is partly because we have obeyed Christ’s command to love one another as he has loved us.
Of course, every Christian claims not to have prejudice. But if we don’t obey God on this matter — if we do not cry out to him to remove from our hearts the slightest seed of division — our witness to the world will lose its power. We’ll have nothing to impact the gross darkness. And the testimony God has entrusted to us will be lost.
Tragically, the religious world has been divided for centuries.
Down through the generations, terrible divisions have pitted Christians against each other. Brother has come against brother, sister against sister, and entire denominations have been ruined.
The truth is, I truly love my brother only when I can stand side by side with him in worship of Jesus. I know I truly love my brother when I can stand confidently before Christ’s throne knowing I have nothing in my heart against him. I know I truly love my brother when I have the same love for him that Jesus has shown to me.
How do we truly love one another as Christ loves us?
It happens when we forgive those who have hurt us, just as Christ has forgiven us.
It happens when we reach out to the backslidden, doing all in our power to restore them.
It happens when we esteem others better than ourselves.
Dear saint, I plead with you today: Lay down all bitterness, strife and disrespect. Do not hinder the blessing of God in your life and home. Obey his new commandment to you and remember his Word: “By this shall all men know you are mine — when you love one another!” Then the lost will see and know God’s love, through his obedient, joyful, sacrificing people — the church. Amen!
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