The ROCK
Come as You Are / Be Transformed! 

 


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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  •     I started my journey answering a call to ministry, something I felt that I would never do since I was raised in the church and saw behind the scenes. That meant as per the requirements of the church we belonged to, I would be going to seminary. Oddly enough going to seminary would be the beginning of my journey away from the manmade church. I would not consider myself a student, but I persevered and received a Master of Divinity which is basically just a piece of paper reminding me of that part of my journey. It was there that I realized that there had to be more to the bible than dissecting it as you would any other book because the bible is not a book but the living words of God. It was also there that I started looking for more but at the time did not know what I was looking for. During my journey I had an insatiable appetite for more of what the bible said, not what others said about the bible but actually what the bible said. As I read scripture, the more I read the deeper I find God’s word to be. You will never reach the depths of the truth of God’s word. Our journey led us to pastor churches, start a church and along with it much conflict. I know now why there was conflict but at the time that was very difficult part of the journey. Again, I was hungry for more than what I saw in the church. Even though at the time I could not explain the tremendous amount of apathy and emptiness I saw in the church, I knew there had to be more. 

        That desire for more led me on a journey that has taken me to this present time and yes I am still looking for more because the bible tells me there is much more available to all who believe. I was willing to follow God’s word wholeheartedly and began to look for the truth of God’s word to be in the church once again as the church should look like Jesus and do just as Jesus did. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Instead, what I have seen in the church was the complete desolation of the church. This caused me to seek and desire God’s power that was supposed to be in the church, as the church was to continue doing just as we just read in Matthew. God had said, seek and you will find. God’s promise to me a long time ago was, Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” What I found is that most were not seeking and I also saw that many became very offended with those who did seek. Along with this journey back to truth has come much opposition but that’s okay because Jesus warned us that would happen. Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Who are we to think that shouldn’t happen to us?

            The more I depended on God’s word, the less I depended on the church. Yes, I know that sounds wrong, but the church is so far from the church it is supposed to be. I have learned that the church you see is not the church Jesus is the head of, therefore God is not dwelling by His Spirit and that means there is no power to do as Jesus did. If the church looked like these verses, it would be a different story. Colossians 1:18 “Jesus is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Ephesians 2:21 “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” But the church does not look like these verses and is in desolation because of our rebellion against God’s word.

             The church today says that’s okay, but it is not okay as false teachers and their false gospels and are everywhere and people are dying every day without the truth of God’s word, and they will hear Matthew 25:41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The simple test is just to read the bible not as story or an entertaining novel, but as the very word that created everything. Not only did the word create but the word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Then we saw the power of that word. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” Mark 1:27 “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” The amazing part of all of this is the word that created the universe, that became flesh and dwelt among us, that same power of that word was available to all who would believe. Paul wanted us to understand this power that would come to those who believed. Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Jesus said Mark 9:23 “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 

        Jesus then gave that same power to His disciples. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” When Jesus sent out the seventy-two they were told the same thing. Luke 10:9 “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Then we saw disciples of the disciples with this power. Here in Acts we see just one of the examples of this power. Acts 8:4 “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” False teachers will tell these examples were for the start of the church and they point to these as just one-time events. That is a lie by the way. The bible doesn’t tell us everything that happened. For example, Acts 11:27 “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.” This was just what one of them said, but there were more just as there were other disciples who were sent out in power but not every story was told. John said this about the miracles of Jesus. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” False teaching such as the cessation of power in the church is straight from satan himself and is a doctrine of demons. This is why the church is powerless today as satan has been given great power over the church due to our rebellion against God’s word. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” satan also masquerades in many different forms and no not just in the charismatic circles but all circles of the church. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

        Today is Easter and once again the yearly celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ occurs around the world. This is considered the biggest event in Christendom, and it should be. We do not serve a dead king but a risen King. Mary was told Luke 1:32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” The shepherds were told Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” But the Jews did not believe. Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”  The Jews killed their Messiah, even after all that Jesus taught and all the signs and wonders He had performed. Today the Gentiles have followed in their footsteps and reject our King and Messiah by rebelling against His words. 

        I have always been a partial fan of liturgy and liturgical calendar. I say partial because often liturgy and ritual replace God’s word but there are parts I find beneficial like Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. Every day the church is to be made up of each of these as you just saw above in Luke’s reference to Christmas. The rest of liturgy not so much. Those four give the Christian story. Immanuel – God with us, Repentance and the Kingdom comes near, Our Risen Lord and Power from on High are all the key elements of Christianity. Unfortunately, the liturgical calendar is followed year after year and remains empty and powerless. Every year the cycle cycles through and then starts anew the next. These events are talked about and remembered but they are not applied to present day life. They are remembered as a thing of the past that doesn’t influence the present. Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.” The Psalmist on the other hand Psalm 77:7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Thinking about the miracles of long ago and not believing they can happen again is rejecting the gift that God wants to give us. We must believe just as scripture tells us that miracles, signs and wonders are available for today. To repeat year after year without repenting is not what scripture is all about. Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

        When the good news is preached and people repent, the Kingdom of God comes near. That means God is dwelling (Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.) and we are clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”) That also means we will do as Jesus did. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Many people have trouble with this verse because they do not believe there is power available to all who believe; thus they reject God’s word because of ignorance. Jesus gave His disciples power and authority to heal and to cast out demons. They were to continue in His work of destroying the work of the devil.

        On this Easter Sunday, many will follow an Easter liturgy, while others will put together a service that they would not call a liturgy, but it is highly organized. God’s word is read, and songs are sung. Don’t get me wrong these services, whether liturgical or not can be extremely powerful but powerful is not really what we are looking for especially when God says Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Isaiah 1:12 “When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.” That would apply to most service today as most churches are following other gospels in one form or another. That means no matter how powerful you think your Easter service is today, God is not listening.

        What we are looking for is power from on High. Mark 6:53 “When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” This power not only flowed from Jesus but from His disciples as well. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” People’s first response is have you ever seen this power? It really is amazing how many think this way instead of saying what do we need to change to see this power once again. But the real question you should be asking is why I don’t believe the bible. The power is not available due to a lack of belief and rebellion. The rebellion led to the abomination that causes desolation destroying the church. In this same chapter in Mark, we are told. Mark 6:2 “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Jesus was healing everyone, but He was shut done in His hometown because of a lack of faith. Unbelief still prevents God’s power from flowing and it will continue that way until the church gets desperate enough to turn from their wicked ways.

        When I was in seminary, I did not understand the effect of unbelief in the church, nor did I realize how bad it was, that is until I saw it with my own eyes from a minister’s perspective. I have said before that my own faith was wrong as I did not know who Jesus was or the power that was available to all who believe. I just went to church and because I went to church I must be a Christian. As I said I like some parts of liturgy but I also thought there had to be more. Then I came across the word convergence, which simply means a merging together. I thought that Liturgy and charisma could go together and it could no problem. The problem was it really did not matter whether it was only liturgy or free flowing so -called spirit led or a convergence of both, there was no power flowing from on high. It is not about the organization of the service, but the humility of the servant. Most people think church is something you go to, but the church is called to go out in power. Yes, many have gone but not in power. They then teach others the false gospels they have learned and then a whole new culture or generation learns the desolate ways of those teaching. You can see how 2000 years would fly by and how even in the last 500 years there has been massive false teaching take place in the church whether it be liturgical to charismatic. 

        Today many will hear this greeting. He is risen and the response will be He is risen indeed, alleluia! There will be sermons on the resurrection of Jesus, scriptures will be read, and songs will be sung like Christ the Lord has risen today. Then next thing you know it is Christmas again and the cycle continues. Unfortunately for most churches, Pentecost is skipped which seems to be symbolic of the lack of power in the church. Yes, as part of the liturgical calendar many will have Pentecost Sunday, but yet again there will be no power. The empty ways that the church has followed has caused God to turn His face and remove the available power to stand against our enemies. The church is desolate and has been destroyed just like the temple that Solomon built. Ezra tells us what happened to that first temple as they started on the next temple. Ezra 5:11 “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.” Both temples ended up being destroyed. The church has followed that path of destruction because of a stubborn refusal to believe God at His word. 

        This constant talk with no power has been happening year after year. There seems to be an absolute refusal to turn away from our own ways and follow God wholeheartedly. There are many who say they do follow wholeheartedly but what they are following are man’s ways in the guise of God’s ways, which is why there is no power. Nowhere does the bible say that power was supposed to stop, so here is the problem with Easter. The foundation of Christianity is the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 

          Since by faith in God’s word, we know that Jesus is alive, there still must be the same power He had when He was alive. He is alive, so that means the power is still available. Acts 2:32 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” The power is available, if we return, to all who believe. A long time ago Moses said, Numbers 11:29 “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” That happened at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Jesus had said John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

        In Mark we see this directive from Jesus. After He rebukes His disciples for their unbelief he said, Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” To believe we must stand on God’s word and definitely not on the teaching of most churches. We are told that Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

        Now picture a church that has had their eyes open and believes Jesus has risen and is alive and that His power and authority is available to all who would believe. They believe that same message of good news was supposed to continue. They believe the church is supposed to look like these verses because the good news is still good news to all who would listen.  Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

        The problem is most don’t picture those verses as applicable because there is good news as today we do not need the power of Jesus or to be free from captivity. In our own strength we have bettered the world. It is amazing that there are now no sick people, hospitals are empty, mental health issues at an all-time low, and joy fills the nation. There are no more demons and impure spirits and all is well. Yes that was filled with sarcasm as we all know that isn’t true. The world is falling apart, there is global pandemic that does not go away, we are on the brink of a third world war, mental health is plummeting, hospitals are full and the sick are dying everywhere. Yet the church does nothing but today on this Easter Sunday most will say He is risen, alleluia. As we just read above, Luke 4:18 “to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then in the same chapter we see that they tried to kill Jesus for preaching good news and then we see what the good news is and the power to free people from captivity. Luke 4:32 “They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.” 38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. 40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. 42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” The demons know who Jesus is but do you?

        We saw Jesus preach the good news which meant freeing people from captivity. The sick were all healed and demons were cast out. Picture everyone in the world needing to be freed by Jesus. Not only did Jesus come so that we would not perish but He came to destroy the work of the devil, who is the prince of this world, that is until Jesus came. As the good news of the kingdom was preached, people would be released from captivity and freed from the power of satan and that was to keep going in the church. Paul was sent out just as the church was supposed to go. Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” The disciples Mark 6:12 “went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” This is the job of the church, but we cannot do this without being clothed with power from High. Since satan has been allowed to decimate the church, we should be desperate for God to turn His face back to us and free us from our captivity. Then the church can go out and do as Jesus did with the same anointing of the Holy Spirit. The church should being saying this just as Jesus said it. Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

        Now picture a church that believes Jesus is alive and believes we are to as Jesus did in the very same power that Jesus had. This means you believe that the Holy Spirit will clothe those who believe with power from on High. Pentecost was not a one-time event, but an ongoing filling just as we see here. Acts 10:39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” Then we saw with Paul Acts 19:19 “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Not the babble of the charismatics but the languages and preaching of true Pentecostal power. The church would be given the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Don’t listen to anyone who says these gifts are not available to you and you. These are false prophets telling you that. The only reason they are not available is due to the rebellion of the church. To get them back we must turn from our wicked ways and once again follow God’s word wholeheartedly.

        You then have people who believed and are filled with the Holy Spirit going out into all the world and the same happening to those who listen to their message just as Jesus told them they would. The good news preached, the sick healed and demons cast out and light filling the darkness. Acts 8:1 “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” God did even more amazing things with Philip. Most people will think this is not even possible but it is. Acts 8:39 “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” Paul had visited Philip. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.” The church should be summed up with and so on and so on and so on… These were just some examples of the power of the early church but that power soon faded away (disobedience and rebellion) and continued to fade away until the church became desolate, deceived and under delusion the way it is now.

        If the church truly believed Jesus has risen and is alive, then the church would believe we could do as Jesus did as that is what scripture tells us. He sent out His disciples in power as a picture of what the church would look like after Pentecost. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases.” If Jesus is alive, then we are still His disciples, otherwise there is no sense gathering at Easter. The powerless church that we see today is not the church Jesus is the head of, nor does God dwell with His Spirit. People have become content with nothingness. They have become content to live in darkness under the power of satan. This is the picture of the church. Luke 13:10 “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” The church has been bent over under the power of satan just like this poor women. The church has decided this is the way it is and continues to walk under the power of satan. There are even people in the church who are opposed to this power to heal and cast out demons just as there are people who refuse to believe this power is still available. Luke goes on to say 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

            The church spends most of its time focusing on the manmade and on why the church is not powerful. They are okay with the power of satan over them. So over and over people go to church and celebrate the power of satan over them instead of being freed by the power of God. They say He is risen but don’t really believe it. Doctrines and theology have been formulated to cover up this lack of power in the church. They say if God really wanted to heal, He would and fight against the teaching that we could actually have the power to heal. God uses disciples and gives them power to heal and cast out demons. God does want to save us, as that is why Jesus came in the first place. If healing and casting out demons was not what God wanted, Jesus would not have healed and cast out demons. Corinthians would not say 1 Corinthians 12:9 “to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers. to another distinguishing between spirits” Yes, it is very difficult for someone who has been raised in the church all their life to say I have been deceived by satan and humble themselves before God and reach out to Him. But the truth is, it is not difficulty that is the problem, it is stubborn obstinance. It really is a simple matter. Humble yourself, repent and the Kingdom of God will come near. That means light will once again shine in the darkness, healing will happen once again and demons will be cast out. Once again there will be power to do just as scripture says. James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” We were told in Exodus 23:22 “If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” If we disobeyed, Deuteronomy 28:21 “The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.”

        Today there is hope as this abomination that causes desolation comes to an end. When God turns His face back to the church, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, will come back to the church and once again there will be healing and demons cast out. Ephesians 1:19 “That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” Our enemies will no longer have power over us as Habakkuk was told Habakkuk 2:3 “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. 4 “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness. 20 The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Then Habakkuk talks about the power of God over His enemies. Habakkuk 3:3 “His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. 4 His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. 5 Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. 6 He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed— but he marches on forever. You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows. You split the earth with rivers; 10 the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high. 11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear. 12 In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations. 13 You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. 14 With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.”

             Then Habakkuk makes this statement not about the power of his enemies but about the power of God. Habakkuk 3:16 “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Even in our captivity the church has hope for our freedom. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” God has promised David there would always be a remnant, so we have great hope. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” David said Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

        So on this Easter Sunday don’t say He is risen, alleluia, unless you believe Jesus is alive and His power and authority is available to all who believe. John 20:24 “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 

        Ask God to fill you with His Spirit just as they were filled at Pentecost, as this is how the church goes to the ends of the earth, not in our own strength but clothed with power from on High. We need Pentecost fire once again. 2 Chronicles 7:1 “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” His love does endure forever. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

            We pray that God would breathe life into us once again. Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” In Ezekiel we see God breathe new life into His people. Ezekiel 37:1 “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

        Once again, the church just like the army David had will go out in power. 1 Chronicles 12:22 “Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.”Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” 8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another.” Stand firm and wait for God’s plan to unfold. Do not be moved. Job 27:27 “And Job continued his discourse: 2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” John 20:19 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

        Breathe on us breath of God, so we will do as You did once again. Jesus has risen, Alleluia!