Archive for shane idleman

Father’s Must Be Watchmen

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , on June 19, 2021 by andelino

Father’s Must Be Watchmen: Life is a Battleground Not a Playground
by Shane Idleman

Our ministry often receives email correspondence from desperate wives and mothers. They often read something like this, “I’m at a loss. My ‘Christian’ husband is verbally and physically abusive. Ironically, he thinks that I’m the problem; he sees no need to change. He’ll quote Scriptures about submission while yelling and cursing. His anger is also destroying our children. A home once filled with laughter and joy is now filled with fear and depression. We walk on eggshells and cherish the times when he is gone. He also loves his porn more than his family. I can no longer bear it. I’m not dying inside; I have died.”

We are in desperate need of genuine leadership—broken, humble men—men who are not afraid to admit that they need God; men who are more worried about prayer than about status and recognition; men who petition God rather than position themselves. The state of the family today is disheartening. Men have largely forsaken their God-given role as spiritual leaders in their homes…that, no one can deny.  For example:

  • Bible reading and prayer are called fanatical while working twelve hours a day is called success.
  • We build our career and neglect our marriage.
  • Corporate executives are praised and family men frowned upon.
  • We’ve increased our wealth but decreased our values.
  • We search the heavens for answers and turn from the One who created them.
  • Pride is considered an asset and humility a liability.
  • We know more about our favorite athletes than our wives and our children.
  • We’d rather be seen leaving a bar than leaving a church.
  • We praise our favorite team yet fall asleep in church.

Men, you’re not called to be a passive, weak, indecisive partner—you’re called to protect, lead, and guard your family. You are to initiate prayer, defend your wife, shepherd your children, and make your home a holy sanctuary not a breeding ground for Satan. You’re called to fight the enemy, not flee from him.

I’m tired of weak, passive men who never contend, stand, or fight for anything worth dying for. Our nation is looking for character, our wives are looking for leaders, and our kids are looking for fathers.

Men, STOP the silly video games, get off of Facebook, kill your porn habit, tell your ungodly friends to hit the road. You’re called to lead, love, and die, if necessary, for your family. We are the reason that the nation is deteriorating. We are the reason the family is breaking down. We must stop blaming everything from God to the government; we are the stench in the nostrils of a righteous, holy, pure God. Dads…wake up! Life is a battleground, not a playground!

I can hear it now, “Shane, you’re being too hard on the guys. Back off.” Really? Step into my world for a moment. Recall the email that opened this article. Sadly, this is not an isolated situation; it’s happens all the time. After re-reading it, you tell me if this message is too strong.

Men who are hurting their families don’t need to be encouraged and coddled; they often need to be confronted and challenged. Then encouragement can take place. Change is difficult if we always encourage but rarely challenge, and coddle but not confront. Unless a man is lovingly confronted, repentance will not take place, and his family will ultimately pay the price.

How many of our wives could say similar things? Many years ago, I stumbled across a journal entry from my wife that broke my heart, but first I felt betrayed and angry. She wrote, “I married a man who doesn’t care about my dreams and goals in life. I’ve learned to live with this since separation isn’t an option, but I will not allow him to do this to our kids.”

I was very angry because the truth hurts. But I began to realize that she was absolutely correct. I was a controlling man with no regard for the dreams, ambitions, and goals of my family. Granted, I was not mean-spirited about their dreams, but I was controlling. I’m embarrassed that I use to think things like, “That’s stupid, immature, and ridiculous; why would you want to do that?” I felt terrible and asked for forgiveness. I realized that I was breaking the spirit of my family; controlling and manipulating because of pride, and how things would make me look.

That experience was a turning point. I now encourage my family versus discourage their dreams. I’m writing this, not to compare situations, but to illustrate the fact that God often uses confrontation and exposure to break us.

While dads jockey for position, build reputations, chase careers, and so on, it’s often mothers who pray, petition, nurture, care for, and lead. Granted, there are men who, through no fault of their own, experience failure in their home, but for the large majority, there is a critical need for spiritual leadership. Repentance is the first step. Knowledge is knowing that we need to repent, but wisdom is doing it. The power in the Word of God is found in the application. James 1:22 reminds us that we can deceive ourselves if we “know” what to do but fail to do it. Are you living in deception…knowing but not doing?

Men, our families would rather “see” a sermon than “hear” one: “The lectures that you give may be very wise and true, but I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do. For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give, but there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live” (Edgar A. Guest; I’d Rather See A Sermon).

Fight for Religious Freedom

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2021 by andelino
Pastor Shane Idleman and Pastor John MacArthur.

Fight for Religious Freedom
by Shane Idleman

Pastor MacArthur has been an exceptional example of standing for religious liberty. I truly value his ministry. This article is not meant to take anything away from that but to clarify the importance of standing for “religious freedom.”

We recently had a Christian from the “persecuted” church in China speak at our church. Her story was very moving as she talked about spending six years in a Chinese prison for her “faith.”

I kept thinking, “I wonder if persecuted Christians would like more freedom?” No doubt many would say, “Absolutely.” Religious freedom is a gift from God.

Although we disagree on non-essentials like the gifts of the Spirit, I have benefited greatly from the ministry of John MacArthur, and I use the MacArthur Study Bible. However, there are times when we need to lovingly show the other side of the coin.

In a recent article, Pastor MacArthur was quoted as saying, “I told our congregation a few weeks ago that I could never really concern myself with religious freedom. I wouldn’t fight for religious freedom because I won’t fight for idolatry. Why would I fight for the devil to have as many false religions as possible and all of them to be available to everyone?”

I understand where he is coming from, but shouldn’t we “defend our freedom” to worship Jesus when given the opportunity? And isn’t that what he and other pastors like myself, Jack Hibbs, and Rob McCoy are doing by staying open during the pandemic . . . “exercising and defending religious freedom?”

Promoting religious freedom is not idolatry. “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself” (C.H. Spurgeon).

Ironically, many of the men and women who died for our freedoms did not die for what America is becoming today. Many gave their lives in order that we would have religious freedom rather than capitulate to a godless society.

I wonder what Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Knox would say if asked the same question about religious freedom? They all pushed for it during the Reformation. What about Tyndale and Huss who were burned at the stake for simply declaring the truth? What would they say about having the freedom to worship God and read His Word?

Politics won’t save America any more than a dumbbell will save someone who is drowning; however, we cannot ignore our God-given civic responsibility and the massive impact that politics has on our society. We make a huge mistake in comparing our system of government with the system that the Apostle Paul was under. God blessed America with religious freedom, at least initially.

In the realm of government, there are two primary areas of responsibility for us to consider. One is God’s eternal kingdom; the other is the world’s political system. We have a responsibility to both, and God’s eternal principles establish the foundation for both.

Our political system, ordained by God, oversees the affairs of men. The primary role of government is to secure our God-given rights. One of the primary purposes of government is to protect the freedom to express our love for God.

This issue of religious freedom has never been more important in America than it is today. Mr. Potato Head is being renamed, but Cardi B can pollute the minds of the innocent. We’ll allow a transgender person to be the Assistant Secretary of Health, but say nothing about the sexual exploitation of our children.

Pastors are being threatened with large fines and jail time for keeping churches open while pot shops, liquor stores, and abortion clinics get a free pass. If you ask me, and countless others, “religious freedom” is worth fighting for.

We don’t have to compromise our principles to be involved in politics. What good is salt left in the shaker, or a light that is hidden? “Politics” is not a bad word. In simple terms, politics refers to governing or leading a group of people. I think God’s Word has a great deal to say about that. Silence is not an option.

I’ll close with a story I often tell: “Why didn’t someone do something?” Those five words still haunt my thoughts today.

Some time ago, I sat speechless as I listened to a man recount his trip to a “holocaust” museum with his young daughter. As they walked by photos of the “death camps” and “gas chambers”, his daughter silently contemplated the horrors that were unfolding before her eyes.

When the tour ended, they drove home without saying a word. The father wondered if she truly understood the significance of the event. Was she too young to view such depravity? Would it make a negative impact on her life? Would it leave her fearful and wounded? Would she begin to doubt God?

His questions were answered nearly two hours later when his daughter finally spoke. She looked at her father and asked, “Daddy, why didn’t someone do something?”

Will we hear those same haunting words from our children and grandchildren? Yes! If we fail to contend for what is right via “religious freedom” we may see a time in our future when our children will ask, “Why didn’t someone do something?” Sadly, we may not be able to answer.

Church Legalism

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , on April 13, 2021 by andelino

by Shane Idleman

Today we might judge others in regard to women wearing head coverings, homeschooling, alcohol, Sabbaths, festivals, entertainment, make-up, certain translations of the Bible, attire, and so on. For example, a legalist might say that salvation is dependent on such things as keeping the Sabbath or celebrating the Jewish festivals.

Is it wise to take a day of rest and honor God? Can people still celebrate the festivals and benefit from their observance? Absolutely, but they are not tied to salvation. The New Testament tells us not to let others judge us in connection with the festivals or Sabbaths, or for us to judge em. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” (Colossians 2:16).

The underlying attitude of “legalism” is arrogant and hyper-spiritual. I’ve even had a few people tell me I’m not a “real” pastor because I don’t wear a “suit-and-tie”, and have never been to “seminary.” God help them. Although education is vital, I’m more concerned about a degree from the “Master” than a master’s degree. Leonard Ravenhill often said, “You can have thirty two degrees and still be frozen.”

Legalism also says, “Unless you belong to ‘our’ church and are baptized here, we can’t assure you of salvation.” Is church membership wise and baptism important? Absolutely, but “salvation” is not contingent upon them. We are in error any time we add something to Christ’s finished work on the cross. Actions should stem from a heart of love and grace (“the spirit of the law”) and not as a legalistic expression that can lead to bondage (“the letter of the law”).

Most of Galatians was written because early believers added rules to grace, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (3:1-3).

As another illustration, some will even dismiss this article because I did not use their “version of the Bible” when quoting scripture. This can also be a subtle form of “legalism.” Don’t get me wrong, I have devoted my life to the truth…I take bible translation very seriously.

I often differentiate between formal (word for word) and dynamic (thought for thought) translations when speaking, and I have enjoyed studying the differences between the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (e.g., where the oldest manuscripts originated).

There are many reliable translations, and some we should avoid, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Take entertainment as another example. Legalism says, “You can never go to the movies or own a television.” But wisdom says, “The choices of entertainment that build me, and my family, morally and spiritually are very minimal; therefore, it’s wise to avoid what we can.”

Jesus was clear in saying that we should remove things from our lives that draw us away from God. For this reason, I speak out against ungodly entertainment often: “it is seducing legions of Christians away from God and into carnality. But this stance isn’t legalism; it’s wisdom.”

Are you “overbearing and legalistic”, or are you an “anything goes under grace” liberal Christian? In any case, in order to walk in love and holiness and grace and purity, you may need to “repent” of destructive attitudes. We’ve all been guilty of either extreme; myself included.

Repentance releases the “shackles of bondage” from either extreme.

Pride Is At The Root Of Legalism and Compromise  

How to Rest in Turbulent Times

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 18, 2021 by andelino

How to Rest in Turbulent Times
By Shane Idleman

From the COVID crisis to financial burdens, and from fear and isolation to a divided nation, millions are lacking “peace and rest.” But I believe we can find rest if we look to the right source. As one theologian said, “Rest is desisting from exertion.”

Expending energy has a time and a very important place in our lives—we were created to work. But we were also created to rest. The problem for many is that they never stop and rest. They are always wound up, so to speak.

In a helpful article on the reasons spiritual leaders need rest, which all of us should read, author Cary Schmidt says, “Pastors and ministry leaders don’t ever really ‘clock out.’ It’s a part of the call. The needs are incessant. The only means of real survival is to pull away from the demands long enough to restore. Everyone must come up for air eventually or die.”

Nowadays, most of us never “clock out.” Whether it’s running the kids back and forth seven days a week or working frantic hours, we are busier than ever because we often measure success by busyness. The busier I am, the more successful I am, so we think.

Schmidt adds, “The primary reason we struggle to rest is that our identity is tied to the things that keep us running at a breakneck pace. We have anchored our sense of self to what we do for God—therefore we can never do enough, and if we stop, even for a short time, we feel a loss of self and fear His disapproval.” 

Could it be that God wants most of us to “slow” down? Absolutely. We are “glued” to screens, “addicted” to phones, and “enslaved” to sports and entertainment. We scurry around every day looking for the “next” thing to do, but we never find the rest we need. We go to bed exhausted and wake up exhausted. Something must change.

What many need is a spiritual reset. Reset means to take something back to zero or to renew. Rest prevents “burnout” and breakdown and provides “clarity and peace.” Resting allows us to remove the competing voice of busyness and hear more clearly from God. I believe that the Sabbath was designed to keep us from working too much, and instead, focus solely on God.

We would do well to follow that same model. Try turning your phone off and not going on the computer all day—take the day completely off and turn your attention to God. And just watch how quickly the stronghold of addiction tries to undermine it.

In the Hebrew language, rest means to be calm, wait patiently, lay down, and put aside. There is a clear ceasing of effort and a renewed focus on God that restores energy and enthusiasm. Schmidt made a great point here too: “A fatigued leader is discouraged, weary, and perhaps even angry or irritable. Rest restores emotional energy.” Parents, our kids need us to rest, and we need to model rest to them. Leaders, those you are leading will benefit greatly from your resting.

Isaiah 40:30-31 reminds us that “even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for [rest in] the Lord shall renew their strength.” We wait for what we value. Waiting on the Lord, or resting, shows how much we value our relationship with God and hearing from Him. Like a desert that waits for the rain or a bride waiting for her groom, our longing must be for God. Prioritize times in your day to pray and build intimacy with God. It won’t happen on its own.

Most restlessness comes from two primary sources—mental and physical. What your mind dwells on will determine your level of peace and rest. A constant mental diet of negative news, mesmerizing media, and ungodly, dark entertainment will surely lead to fear and frustration. This is exactly why Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

What you read, watch, and listen to is either fostering peace or fueling fear. Take steps now to remove things that are hurting you mentally. Procrastination is the great enemy of accomplishment.

Another key aspect of peace and rest from a physical standpoint is our diet. Yes, you heard me correctly: “what you consume is consuming you.” Did you know that God-given food brings life to the body, and dead food depletes it? A “poor” diet, followed by “inactivity” and weight “gain”, forces us to run on only two or three cylinders. It hurts “efficiency and productivity.”

Healthy food, think fresh and whole, not something in a box, raises the levels of the neurotransmitter “serotonin” in your brain. And guess what? This neurotransmitter is responsible for feelings of “peace, wellness, and calmness.” And then there are the damaging effects of “sugar.” Early Americans consumed nearly 10 times less sugar than we do today.

Most of our bodies are in a very “toxic state” because we are consuming dead “foods” and dangerous “stimulants”, so when we get sick, we struggle to fight it off. I believe that this is one reason why COVID was so deadly. Eating dead food hurts immunity—it doesn’t bring life to the body it brings demise.

Stimulants also play a huge role in anxiety and restlessness. If you’re gulping down coffee and stopping frequently for energy drinks, you’ll never find rest. But you may say, “I fall asleep just fine.” That’s because your body is exhausted and it crashes. Caffeine, along with alcohol and opiates, is why you can’t get a good night’s sleep and why you can’t wake up refreshed.

Addiction often fuels angry temper tantrums and explosive outbursts, and fuels irritability and a quick temper. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders even lists caffeine-related disorders. Did you catch that? If we believe we can drink a high-powered stimulant, or take a depressant, day in and day out and not have it affect our rest and peace, we are gravely mistaken. When we feed the body what it needs, everything works better.

Depressants may provide temporary relief, but you’re robbing, plundering, and beating Peter just to pay Paul. People who are addicted never have true rest and peace. You must wean off with your physician’s help. You may go through hellish withdrawals, but rest and peace are just around the corner.

All of this, however, will not lead to true peace until you know the Prince of Peace and commit your life to Christ. Take this step today and repent; there is no Plan B: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Politics And The Pulpit

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , on March 14, 2021 by andelino

Politics And The Pulpit
by Shane Idleman

Mass shootings, redefining marriage, killing innocent children, LGBT agendas infiltrating all aspects of life. What in the world is going on? I believe that the “pulpit” is partly to blame.

There is a very troubling trend in the evangelical church as a whole. We are in desperate need of “genuine” leadership, broken, humble people who are not “afraid” to admit that they need God; men who are more “worried” about prayer than about status and recognition; men who “petition” God rather than position themselves.

Today, the truth is often neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. “Judgment” is never mentioned; “repentance” is never sought; and “sin” is often excused. We want to “build” a church rather than “break” a heart; be “politically” correct rather than “biblically” correct; “coddle and comfort” rather than “stir and convict.”

It says in I Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst,” yet, many avoid words such as “sin and repentance.” The good news about Christ can only be appreciated with the bad news as the backdrop.

“There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned” says C.H. Spurgeon. Preaching must be done with God-given authority to truly be effective. When we fail to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God” (Jeremiah 23).

Pastors are to be pillars who support “truth” not champions of “silence.” God has given us a wonderful gift known as America. The government isn’t bad or good; her people “determine” success or failure. Why would God ordain our government and then not want us to steward His gift? Many have been guilty of not getting involved by saying, “We shouldn’t say or do anything political. All we need to do is preach the gospel.” Be careful . . . although the gospel is our primary focus, this shouldn’t be an excuse against action.

James A. Garfield, an ordained minister and twentieth President of the United States, said, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” We are actually voting for principles, not people—all candidates are sinners.

In what direction will they lead our country?” is the question we should be asking. Even more importantly, what country will we leave for our children?

We don’t have to “abandon” our ethics or compromise our “principles” to be involved in politics—what good is “salt” left in the shaker, or a “light” that is hidden? Contextually, when Jesus referred to being the “salt and light,” He was referring to holy living at the “individual” level, but the overlapping “principle” applies to all areas of life.

“Politics” is not a bad word. In simple terms, politics refers to “governing or leading” a group of people. Politics won’t save America, but in order to implement “change” and help others, we must take “action;” hence the political process. Would you have remained “silent” in the 1800s over slavery? Of course not.

Politics that once “focused” largely on the economy, national security, and the deficit, now tackles important “moral” issues. These major issues have “enormous” implications; to remain silent actually makes a “statement” that we are not concerned enough. This is not just about the loss of jobs; it’s about the loss of morality.

We’re not just talking about “adding” millions of dollars to the national deficit; we’re talking about “aborting” millions of babies. We’re not only talking about “fluctuations” in the housing market; we’re talking about creating life simply to “destroy” it. This shift requires us to stay closely “involved.” Topics that are “too controversial” are often critically important; we can no longer “ignore” them.

Interestingly enough, the “stability” of America is one of the top concerns on the minds of many today. There was a time in recent history when America felt “secure” knowing that the most formidable enemies were abroad. Not so today. While we are concerned with “terrorist” attacks, and rightly so, there is a greater threat from “corruption” within. We, like the mighty Roman Empire that “collapsed” centuries ago, are “crumbling” from within.

There are people and groups who are strongly committed to the “destruction” of anything rooted in our nation’s Christian heritage. They attempt to be “one nation above God,” rather than “one nation under God.” Scripture identifies this as foolishness, self-exaltation, and arrogance—“the downfall of nations.”

There is a saying that one generation plants “trees” for the next generation. I’m concerned that instead of “planting”, we are removing and “destroying” the very covering that protects us. As a result, our “legacy” as a great and noble nation has all but been “forgotten.” For instance, most schools no longer teach students about the “spiritual” foundation that has guided America throughout her history.

Consequently, America’s “moral and religious” heritage is often deleted, grossly distorted, or revised altogether. Students often miss the critical connection between “America’s unparalleled greatness, her rise to world leadership, and the spiritual foundation that made it possible.” This should concern us. The ideas of the classroom in one generation will “create” the ideas of government within the next.

Today, our culture promotes “relativism”, and man does what is right in his “own” eyes. Again, according to Scripture, to his own “destruction.” God’s Word says to “confront, confess, and turn from our sins; relativism encourages us to ignore, overlook, and continue in them.” Although this position may seem radical or extreme, we are living in extremely critical times.

Make no mistake about it. We are witnessing the rapid “deterioration” of a nation right before our eyes. But there is hope: 2 Chronicles 7:14 calls out from the past with resounding clarity to America today: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

There are times to “encourage, motivate, and uplift,” but there are also times to “confront, challenge, and contend” for what is right—that time is now.

Let it not be said of us today: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10). The day of the “silent” pastor who is more concerned about “nickels and noses” must end.

Are we pleasing God or men… are we cowards or watchmen?

America is too young To Die

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 13, 2021 by andelino

We Can Kill Our Children And Change Our Sex
by Shane Idleman

Almost a year ago, I wrote an article with a similar title when the so-called “Reproductive Health Act” passed in New York with thunderous applause in the state Senate chamber. I could not believe what I was reading: “People actually applauded the slaughtering of children.”

Was I having a dream . . . a nightmare? Was this real? “Who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.” (Psalm 12:8).

Regardless of your political views, we should all be “heartbroken” at the state of our nation today. For example, by supporting certain candidates, many are cheering that healthy 9-month-old babies can be removed “limb-by-limb.” You may say, “But I’m not cheering abortion.” If you support those who support it, you are—let that sink in.

You’re also cheering that children can be influenced by “transgenderism” and be encouraged to change their sex, which is not possible by the way.

Cheering that Congress will attempt to remove all “male pronouns.” The list of insanity that you’re supporting is endless.

Granted, these issues have been in America for years, but there is a huge difference between a politician who encourages “perversion and murder”, and one who fights against it. And I’m getting very frustrated at those who say, “But the Republicans haven’t done much to stop abortion either.”

The reason is that “adversaries” in the House and Senate have “fought” for abortion rights, namely Catholic hypocrites Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, to mention a few. The enemy of our soul has done a great job “preventing” the shutting down of “abortion mills” and silencing churches via “silent” pastors. The view that Republicans haven’t done much is really just an “excuse” and a straw man argument.

I’m not writing this from a political party standpoint—I’m writing this from a God-fearing standpoint. When human life is “devalued”, atrocities such as the “Holocaust, slavery, sex-trafficking and abortion occur.” God help us when we ignore our calling to “confront” evil. But how did we get here and what can we do?

As I said in a recent sermon and article, both titled, “The Great Reset of the Church” Jesus warned the lukewarm church in Laodicea. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelation 3:15-17)

I believe that the church in America resembles the Laodicean church more than at any other time in our history. Sadly, “conviction” is replaced with “complacency”, and God’s “glory” is often replaced with “gimmicks and marketing” ploys. Just look at the top sermons viewed on “social media” today. The preachers are “motivational” speakers, not voices “crying in the wilderness.” It’s about being bigger and better instead of holier and humble.

Like many today, the Laodiceans thought that they were in the center of God’s will. They were large, wealthy, and involved in the community. They looked at numbers, but Jesus looked at the heart and said that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

His strong words were meant to “convict and challenge”, not “coddle and comfort.” In order to confront the massive cultural shift mentioned above, the church must be revived: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)

How did we get here? “A deathlike, deep slumber, has overtaken the church and God has allowed the complete breakdown of society. The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth.”

Consider the following and how they may have played a role in where we are today—applauding murder and perversion:

“The media is influencing the church. The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth. You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher. And you can embrace religion as long as it’s all-inclusive. Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted. The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.”

Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the “occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex, and other perversions of the truth.” A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6).

The church cannot be political . . . unless it’s “politically correct.” I’m often reminded of God’s words to Jeremiah, “I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways” (paraphrasing Jeremiah 23:21). I agree with Leonard Ravenhill here: “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.” God uses true prophetic voices to confront and convict.

I make no apologies for the “controversial” content of this article. When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. To state the obvious, we become part of the problem. We cannot change what we will not confront.

As I often say, this battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice—“stand or fall.” Watch the video on defending the faith below.

How To Benefit From Trials

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 3, 2021 by andelino

God’s Not Done: 3 Ways to Benefit from Trials
by Shane Idleman

I’m very hopeful in God during this crisis, but I’m also very aware of what lies ahead. As I said in a recent article, “We are facing uncertain times.”

Within days, our entire way of life in America changed drastically. The pandemic has given most of us a new perspective about what is really important to us. God is giving us a chance to stop, take a breath, and focus on prayer.

“Discouragement is Satan’s tool to keep people in bondage, but it’s also God’s magnet to draw them to Himself.” For example, a sermon preached on this theme had over 125,000 views on our media outlet.

I don’t say this to elevate anyone, but to show the power of God even in the midst of trials, and to demonstrate how hungry people are for the truth.

First, I was sensing a powerful move of God all week, like I was carrying a heavy burden. Second, the internet and phones were down all day so we began filming anyway. Then, a few minutes into the service, the Live-stream miraculously came on. Third, after the service, my 10 year old prayed that God would get the message out to America (that was her only prayer). Fourth, some outlets have been trying to limit exposure by readjusting algorithms and denying promotion. In short . . . God wasn’t done. Who can stop God almighty? covid

The key to being used by God is to follow the advice of James, Jesus’s half-brother and one of the leaders of the early church. Here are three takeaways from the opening few verses in James.

  1. ALLOW THE TRIAL TO BREAK YOU. James, in his letter to believers, said he was “a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1). In other words, he was bound to do God’s will. The first step in benefiting during these difficult times is to crucify the flesh; selfishness must die. If I saw families broken, parents fasting, and kids weeping over their sin, I would be encouraged, but right now I see a lot of selfishness, hoarding, and contention. Allow this trial to break you—push out pride and replace it with humility. In the Bible, the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction were good things because they removed the impurities. As the old-time preachers used to say, “God often hurts a man deeply before He uses him greatly.” Are you ready to be used? Then humble yourself today.
  1. MAKE AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. James added, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (1:2-3) This is much easier said than done. As I’m writing this, we’re going into the second week of the “Safer-At-Home” policy, and I wish I could say that I have handled this perfectly. Though I have stumbled, I continue to make attitude adjustments in my heart to be thankful and full of joy for the blessings I do have. To “count it all joy” means that we must take our thoughts captive. Trials produce either bitterness or love, anger or joy, fear or contentment—the choice really is ours. My prayer has been, “Lord, I don’t like this or understand it, but I’m fully trusting in You.” This simple prayer gets me back on track, as joy once again fills my heart. Saturate your mind in God’s Word rather than the media, for what you put in your mind greatly affects your attitude.
  1. STAY UNDER THE LOAD. James then adds, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (1:4). Perfect here means full, satisfied, and complete. Patience is “active endurance”; it means staying under a heavy load until it accomplishes its purpose. We must “let” the burden remain until it accomplishes its goal. We are not to run in fear but to carry the load. In short, God often says, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17). In the same way that squats in the gym strengthen leg muscles, the pressure of trials strengthens our faith. Weak Christians complain, blame-shift, and run from the weight. As a result, they never grow spiritually, whereas mature believers have learned to carry the weight of trials as God builds and strengthens.

In closing, we don’t know what’s going to happen with COVID-19, but let God build you up rather than allowing the “negative Nellie’s” to pull you down. Don’t let them cloud your judgment with doomsday prophecies and worst-case scenarios. How do we know that God is not breaking us down to build us up? Nowhere in the Bible are we encouraged to let conspiracy theories and doom and gloom flood us with fear. It appears that more people are afraid of the Illuminati and the New World Order than they are of God almighty! The Bible tells us to do business and to fight with prayer, fasting, worship, and the Word until He returns. We are to cast down fear, not embrace it.

Trials also bring the prodigal sons and daughters home. If this is you, stop running from God—embrace this wake-up call and turn back to Him. Repent of your apathy and come back to the Cross, to repentance. If you don’t know God, take time now and repent of your sin and ask Jesus to save you. A terrible trial can be turned into a triumphant victory if you are open and teachable. 

America What Happened?

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , on February 12, 2021 by andelino

America—What Happened? From Failed Prophecies to Collapse
By Shane Idleman

Turmoil, chaos, and confusion are running rampant, and that’s an understatement. Those in the charismatic community are wondering how the “prophets” missed it, and conservative Christians are asking, “Why did God allow this election to end like this?”

First, we must realize that no one knows exactly why God does what He does. I rest in the fact that His sovereignty is my ultimate security. The Bible says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9).

Unless it’s clearly revealed in His Word, we can easily run into trouble when we try to figure out God’s will, and especially when we expect His will to be a reflection of our own. This is where I think some of the “prophetic voices” missed it—they prophesied what they “felt” versus what God was intending.

They prophesied what appeared in their own view to be the best plan for America, but God has other plans. Add to this the celebrity status that was building in the lives of many well-known voices, and the danger of missing God’s actual purpose is even greater. All of us must guard our hearts and say like John the Baptist, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30).

Secondly, haven’t most of us been saying for decades that America is ripe for judgment?  And how does God often judge nations? He uses foreign enemies from without and allows corruption and rot from within. Many in our land are echoing Jeremiah12:1 when he asked, “You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” But when we consider the unmasked hatred of all things godly, should we really be surprised?

Again, I don’t know God’s plans perfectly, but it seems that America reached the tipping point. Let’s be very clear: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both”  said Dwight D. Eisenhower. We lost our moral compass a long time ago. Historically, we know that God judged those nations who continually tolerated sin; wrong choices have devastating national consequences.

Arnold Toynbee, who wrote “A Study of History” in 1961, said, “Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.” And that was written decades ago. What would he say now?

Thirdly, as much as I would like godly people in positions of leadership, from Mike Pompeo to Ben Carson, the state of the church in America should be our primary concern. We are a representative government, which means that those in power reflect the people who voted for them. How can we expect godly leadership to be elected by a lost citizenry, and the fault there, and the remedy as well, lies squarely with the church.

The church as a whole has become comfortable—too comfortable. All-night prayer meetings have been exchanged for all-night Netflix binges.  Powerful worship services where the Spirit of God is moving have been turned into 60-minute programs designed to entertain rather than convict.

Pastors are measuring success by “likes” and “followers” rather than Christ likeness and following Him. As I said in the above video “The Great Reset of the Church” it’s painfully obvious that most churches do not model themselves after the church that Christ commissioned. If America has any hope of rediscovering its “moral” compass, it will begin with a revived church “fearlessly” proclaiming the truth in the power of the Spirit. And that will come at a price.

Persecution has been the prevailing atmosphere for Christians since Jesus walked the earth. He both warned and comforted His disciples when He said to them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). As a matter of fact, the Pilgrims fled persecution and landed on the shores of America in 1620.

In many other areas of the world, “persecution” is a part of life. Children born into persecution are raised knowing that their commitment to Christ could cost them everything, and that understanding brings a “purity and power” to their testimony that we are lacking in our land of comfort and convenience.

When this reality hits America, we are merely tasting the “first fruits” of what is to come, few will be prepared for it. America has experienced the “blessing and protection” of God, but America has “turned” its back on God, and we are starting to see Him “remove” His blessing and protection.

As was the case multiple times in Israel’s history, we have become self-absorbed, self-sufficient, lazy, and lethargic, our “prosperity” has been a double-edged sword. When Israel drifted, the prophets would call them back. And God will raise up prophetic voices today, not soothing voices but voices “crying in the wilderness.” The sooner we listen, repent, and become doers of the Word the sooner we’ll see revival.

A rude awakening may bring a great awakening. As much as we wanted an administration that is less hostile to Christ and His bride, could it be that God is giving us a “rude” awakening in order to usher in a “great” awakening? In studying past revivals, we can see that they were birthed in travail—prayer was the heartbeat of the saints. Talk of holiness and the things of God were commonplace.

There was a desperate “recognition” of our own sinfulness and an “insatiable” hunger for God that we rarely see today. But now, under this new pressure, we see the “refining” hand of God at work. My wife and I were very encouraged that so many people showed up for our worship services. The hunger for God was evident. Tribulation is a great magnet that draws us to the Savior.

Keep in mind that I’m saying all of this as a proud American who loves the gift of freedom and prosperity that God has given us to steward.

Interestingly enough, although I can’t locate the exact paper trail, my family tradition holds that my maternal lineage can be traced to “Peregrine White”, the first baby born on the Mayflower in Cape Cod Bay. My great-grandma would also tell us about our connection with the Methodist “circuit riders” of long ago. But my duty to God must be “greater” than my duty to country. As Christians, we have “dual” citizenship. We have a responsibility to both, with God’s kingdom as the priority.

So yes, we are in disarray right now, but I truly believe that this can lead to a true  awakening if we once again place our hope  in Him and remember Paul’s words, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). Stop focusing on what happened, and start focusing on what you can do.

Lesbian Identity

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2021 by andelino

Jen Hatmaker celebrates daughter’s lesbian identity
by Shane Idleman

Jen Hatmaker recently celebrated her daughter’s lesbian identity, saying, “I’m so glad you’re gay.”

Many say that we cannot take a position on homosexuality because all positions will hurt someone. Here’s my question: “Are those who defend homosexuality, or who say nothing, truly loving the homosexual, or are they simply seeking to avoid conflict?” If they are more worried about being liked than being truthful, do they really care for homosexuals more than the person who is willing to risk their reputation, and quite possibly their safety, in order to speak the truth in love?

The answer is obvious. Authentic Christians love the truth, and others, so much so that they are willing to risk the consequences of confrontation in order to help others. This is genuine love, not hatred. “When we become so tolerant that we lead people into mental fog and spiritual darkness, we are not acting like Christians—we are acting like cowards” (A.W. Tozer).

Many who support their children’s same-sex attraction often say, “I don’t think scripture clearly states much of anything regarding this issue.” This simply reveals that they are not spending much time in God’s Word, but instead, may be reading liberal authors. The implications of homosexuality are not hints here and there in the Bible, they are crystal clear. At the core of this battle, is the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word (e.g., “did God really say”). With that said, let me share with you what I wrote in 2014:

I have nothing but compassion for those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle. Those who strongly believe in the Bible and God’s will regarding sexual behavior, also strongly believe in unconditional love and forgiveness.

The ability to relate to a person on their level, show genuine concern, and love them regardless of their lifestyle is the mark of true Christianity.

Unfortunately, Christians often embrace one of two extremes. At one extreme are those who insult, or who are violent toward, those trapped in this lifestyle; homosexuality appears at the top of their sin list; there is very little love or compassion. The other extreme excuses this sin and looks the other way. Both extremes are wrong and offer a false impression of genuine Christianity. We must extend compassion but without compromise. Jen got it right by loving her daughter, but wrong by endorsing and supporting her lifestyle.

If warning, confronting, challenging, and advising can all be categorized as “hate-speech,” as many say, then, based on this definition, many parents hate their children. But of course the opposite is true: Parents love their children, so much so that they warn, confront, challenge, and advise daily.

Certain “rights” and “wrongs” called absolutes are given by God to save people from themselves. Nearly all of our social issues are related to the stability and structure of the God-ordained family.

Would we say, “I believe that those who embrace pornography can live in harmony with biblical Christianity.” Or, “I believe that those who embrace adultery can live in harmony with biblical Christianity.” Of course not. Unfortunately, one of the greatest mistakes in our culture today involves not being able to discern between right and wrong.

The battle cry is focused on “individual rights,” instead of what does God’s Word say?

When we speak of constitutional rights, we are referring to “God-given” rights. God orchestrates these rights—the definition and the perimeters—they correspond with His nature, His will, and His Word. When we replace “God-given rights” with “man-given rights” we create an environment where there would be little recourse, and no end to what man could advocate.

God’s Word is very clear on the dangers of “homosexuality, adultery, pornography, and other sexual sins.” If our sexual preferences run contrary to God’s Word we must change our preferences, not the other way around.

Gay marriage is not about “rights”—it’s about sexual “choices.” But can we legislate morality? No, we cannot change a person’s heart by forcing a set of laws or rules upon them, but we can deter wrongdoing. You may say, “Times change.” And you are correct, but God’s standards do not. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of same-sex marriage, it will not change God’s mind. His principles are guardrails through the canyons of life. They don’t prevent us from enjoying life; they protect us from falling.

Consider the following in light of Jen Hatmaker’s recent comments:

The “moral” laws in the Old Testament such as killing, stealing, lying, adultery, sexual immorality, and so on are all valid today. Jesus referred often to the Old Testament, and said that He didn’t come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. Although many of the ceremonial and dietary laws of the Old Testament do not necessarily apply today, the moral laws do. They are as significant today as they have been throughout history.

For example, Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” To suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting what God has said. Not to mention other stories in the Old Testament that highlight the dangers of same-sex attraction.

The consequences of wrong actions may have changed, but the moral implications remain the same. For instance, even though we no longer stone to death those who commit adultery, this does not mean that adultery is acceptable or any less dangerous. Adultery is wrong even though there aren’t legal consequences. The laws of a nation should reflect God’s Word, but they are never above it!

Jesus condemned “all” sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman when He said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:19). Jesus was implying that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is harmful and immoral. The word “fornication” in the Greek is porneia; where the word “pornography” comes from.

An argument cannot be based solely on silence. To suggest that Jesus approved of homosexuality simply because He did not use the term “homosexual,” is to imply that He approved of necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality. But, of course, we know better.

Other passages in the New Testament are clear on this issue as well. Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 are good places to start. In short, mankind did not see fit to acknowledge God and they suppressed the truth; therefore, God gave them over to a depraved mind—to do those things which are not proper.

Homosexual behavior, and sexual sin in general, is comparable with dishonoring the body and turning from God. “The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgment of God for exchanging Him for the creature” (John Piper).

Jesus said that since the beginning of creation, God created them male and female in order that they would be joined together and become one flesh. He adds, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9).

Jesus would often speak out against sin, but His love and mercy also reached out to those who regretted and hated their condition. Forgiveness is a mark of genuine faith. We should have compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but at the same time, we should not condone or excuse this type of sin any more than we condone or excuse any other sin.

As a final word of encouragement, if you’re hopeless, depressed, and confused, look to the One who created you. He has the answers. No matter what you have done, you have the ability to turn to Christ and start anew.

It’s all about Who you know: “If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We can’t be right and wrong on issues of morality. God’s way is the only way.

Are You Ready?

Posted in uncategorized with tags , on February 1, 2021 by andelino

Don’t let discouragement and failure stand in your way. God’s not done with you yet. I could write an entire book on my failures, but instead I try to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice, and I encourage you to do the same.

Forget your past mistakes, but remember the lessons learned because of them. We overcome the pain of regret by allowing God to rebuild our life.

Your past is forgiven, your present secure, and your future certain. Through Christ, you are a brand new person. If you truly grasp hold of this truth, it can motivate and encourage you beyond measure. Though the road ahead may be uncertain at times, the solid ground beneath will never shift. It’s all about Who you know.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

I Wish We’d All Been Ready
Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,

I wish we’d all been ready
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,

I wish we’d all been ready,
There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
A man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise and turns her head, he’s gone,

I wish we’d all be ready,
Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one’s left standing still,

I wish we’d all been ready,
There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,

I wish we’d all been ready,
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,

I wish we’d all been ready,
There’s no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind,
The Father spoke, the demons dined,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.

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