Archive for February, 2015

Can you tell if your worship leaders are spiritually bankrupt?

In the past several years there has been no shortage of prominent contemporary Christian leaders denouncing Christ either with their words or their actions. One time I ministered to a young man involved in the gospel music scene, and he confided in me that he almost lost his faith because of what he experienced when he went on tour with a band. (He said other gospel music performers regularly propositioned him!) That being said, as a pastor and trans-local minister, I have come to the conclusion that many involved in Christian worship seem to have a very superficial relationship with the Lord and His Church. (I thank God we have had a strong process for ministry involvement in our local congregation. Hence, we usually have worship leaders with a solid walk with the Lord.)

Also, I write this in the context as one who was a professional musician who served on
the worship team of our local church.

The following are some of the reasons I believe why many worship performers are spiritually bankrupt:
(Based on my personal observation, not based
on hard data)

1. Many are hirelings and not committed members to one church.
I have been shocked and dismayed to see how many large churches just hire out their worship team members, even if they are not committed Christians or committed to their
local church. Consequently, when a gifted singer or musician first comes to Christ, they are sucked into a culture of play for pay and
go where the dollars are rather than where the Lord is truly leading them.

2. Pastors do not enforce the same standards upon talented singers and musicians.
Many pastors turn the other way when it comes to the immoral or unethical behavior of their most talented musicians and singers.
The reason for this is obvious :These performers help draw crowds into their congregation.

3. Often talented people get ahead without being deeply rooted in Christ.
Many people in this field find they get promoted, idolized and celebrated in their church merely because of their talent.Consequently, they have a superficial lifestyle and rarely see the need to die to self, seek God and allow God to penetrate their soul.

4. Gifted Christian performers are idolized in the church.
We, evangelicals, have created a culture of entertainment that empowers and promotes the most gifted among us. These very gifted singers and performers are admired and celebrated for their abilities in a way that is not different from “The Voice” or “American Idol.” With all this adulation in the environment, it is no surprise that many Christian bands and performers are lifted up with pride and never mature in their faith.

5. The focus of worship is more about them than about Jesus.
The church usually puts talented singers and performers front and center during Sunday services. Hence, a service is largely judged by how good the band performed. This is the kind of setting that
engenders man worship instead of Jesus worship. Worship leaders and performers often have big egos to match their talent and many subconsciously (and erroneously) think that the service is all about them.

6. They often don’t sit under the Word after they perform.
I am amazed with how often I see many worship team members leave the service after they perform. I guess they think that the highlight of the service was their performance and everything else that ensues, including preaching, is a letdown.

7. They perform but do not worship from the heart.
When the pastor and congregation only care about the talent and effect of the worship experience, they perpetuate a culture of performance more than a culture of worship. Consequently, band members and singers will then focus more on performance than on worship. This result is band members programmed to equate worship more with performance than with drawing close to God.

8. They are overly sensitive and do not easily receive correction.
In my opinion, many in the music world are overly sensitive, ego-driven megalomaniacs. (I know, because as a professional music analyst for many years, I was or am guilty of this!) Folks like this are very competitive and have a hard time admitting they are wrong. This does not make it easy for a pastor to bring correction to them since their identity is rooted more in their ability than in their God.
9. They do not study the Word but rely upon performance sessions in church for their walk.
Many years ago I was shocked to realize that many of the worship leaders I got to know had no prayer life and rarely cracked open the Bible for personal study! Often they depended upon worship practice or the Sunday services to try to connect with God. It alarmed me that many worship leaders were not themselves worshippers!

10. They do not have a spiritually mature worship person leading the team.
All of the previous points mentioned could be dealt with if the worship leader held them accountable. Of course, this will only happen if the worship leader is not a diva but a real disciple of Christ. Leaders set the culture of a team, and if he or she is a spiritually immature “performer,” then most likely the whole team will be more about performance than worship.

In conclusion, I pray pastors and leaders will have the courage to sit down talented but prideful, worldly worship team members, so that Jesus will once again be the center of our worship.

Part 1 By Os Hillman

In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of them a message to
give to the other. About a month later the Lord showed Francis Schaeffer the same thing.

In November of 2007 I had the privilege of interviewing Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With and Mission. Following is an excerpt of that interview as he describes the meeting with Bill Bright that day.
“As we came in and greeted each other, {we were friends for quite a while}, and I was reaching for my yellow paper that I had written
on the day before. And he said, ‘Loren, I want to show you what God has shown me!’ And it was
virtually the same list that God had given me the day before.

Three weeks later, my wife Darlene had seen Dr. Francis Schaeffer on TV and he had
the same list, so I realized that this was for the body of Christ.
I gave it for the first time in Hamburg,Germany at the big cathedral there to a group of
hundreds of young people that had gathered at that time. And I said, “These are the areas that you can go into as missionaries Here they are: First, it’s the institution set up by God first,
the family. After the family was church, or the people of God. The third was the area of school,
or education. The fourth was media, public communication, in all forms, printed and electronic The fifth was what I call celebration, the arts entertainment, and sports, where you celebrate within a culture.The sixth would be the whole area of the economy, which starts with innovations in science and technology, productivity, sales, and service. The whole area
we often call it business but we leave out sometimes the scientific part, which actually raises the wealth of the world Anything new, like making sand into chips for a microchip, that increases wealth in the world. And then of course prediction sales and service helps to spread the wealth. And so the last was the area of government. Now government, the Bible shows in Isaiah 33 verse 22 that there are three branches of government, so it’s all of the three branches judicial, legislative, and executive And then there are subgroups under all of those seven groups. And there are literally thousands upon thousands of sub-groups But those seven can be considered like Caleb:’Give me this mountain,’ and they can be a ‘mountain’ to achieve for God. Or they can be a classroom that
you’re going to disciple a nation in, Because Jesus said, ‘Go and disciple all nations.’ And it also can affect us because in those areas we can be changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit to be effective missionaries into the area that God has called us into, and we will see it as not just a job to get money to stay alive, but ‘as the Father sent Me, so send I you,’ Jesus said. Therefore, we can be missionaries, where the word ‘missionary’ means ‘one sent’, and one sent of Jesus, if you’re a lawyer in a legal office, you are sent of God.You’re sent to be his missionary, or if you’re in Hollywood, or you’re working as a dentist, or you’re working as a doctor, everything you can do for the glory of God. You may be in the area of foodservices. The
Bible says in Zach 14:20 that even the cooking pot will be called ‘holy’ to the Lord. That’s foodservices. Or transportation Everything from a bus driver to an airplane pilot or to a car dealer or whatever it is, it says even the veils of horses will be called holy to the Lord.

So we make whatever we do, if we do it as unto the Lord, a sanctified, or a holy work, it is Holy unto the Lord.It’s not just the pulpit on Sunday, that’s one of the spheres. It’s also all the other spheres together, and that’s how we achieve advancing the kingdom of God.”

Loren proceeded to explain how they began to equip young people with these 7 spheres in mind through their schools they established all over the world.

What Happened?
As I listened to his story I could not help but ask myself, “Well, if that began more than thirty years ago, why are we in the condition we are in today? We are not winning the culture; we are losing it.” Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright have done a wonderful work for the Kingdom. Who could question how God had worked in and through their ministries. Yet, I had to ponder whether the strategy that was used to respond to this message was the best strategy.

You see, one of the mountains of culture is Religion. This is also known as the Church Mountain. The door that was used to reach the culture by Loren and Bill was the Religious Mountain. They trained young people in the Church Mountain and sent them out as missionaries.
These young people were being trained to win the world through evangelism. Once they won one person to the Lord, they moved to the next person. They appealed to the young people to be missionaries to win the lost. This appeal was seen as a higher calling. They often had to raise
support and live on only what they needed to exist. This also contributed to a poverty spirit
mindset and a dualism that said, “This is a higher call than working in a secular job.” This sacred-secular divide became rampant among evangelical Christians and can be traced back to the Catholic era of 300 A.D. in which paid clergy were elevated to a higher “spiritual” position than common working people.

Consequently, over the centuries this has affected men and women to believe there is actually a higher call in vocational ministry. Decades passed and these
young people were a byproduct of a cultural mindset that did not see secular education as a means of impacting culture, but saw it as a cop out and even a lesser call, or in some cases, evidence of backsliding and selling out to mammon and an ungodly society.
I wonder what would have happened if we had trained them biblically and then encouraged
them to go to Columbia University or Harvard or Yale and prepared them for a career in business, government, media, or entertainment to reach the culture through the these mountains. This is where real societal change is going to take place because this is where the authority lies to make societal change.

Gospel of Salvation vs Gospel of the Kingdom
Landa Cope, author of The Old Testament Template, tells how several years ago a British journalist did a documentary on the most Christianized city in America. She wanted to know the impact that a city which was the most Christianized had on the culture of that city. Christianized meant the city had the largest concentration of church attendance The city that met that criteria was Dallas, Texas. Her research compared statistics on:

•Health care
•Hospitals
•Emergency care
•Contagious diseases
•Infant mortality rate
•Job availability

They compared general economics such as:
• How easy is it to get a job?
• How easy is it to get housing?
• The relationship between potential income and potential housing.
• Homelessness
• Racism
• The existence of abuse
• Crime rates
• Economic discrepancies

The results of her findings were that the city was one of the lowest ranking cities in the nation providing core services and the city was having little positive impact on the condition of the city. No one would want to live in a city in that condition. This should be very disturbing to every follower of Christ in that city.

When the journalist asked a group of Dallas pastors their response to their findings many made this statement: “Those things do not
concern us. We are spiritual leaders”.

I was reminded of a statement Martin Luther said many years earlier: “A gospel that does not deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all.”

This case study is another evidence of the preaching of the Gospel of Salvation versus the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus preached the Gospel of Salvation but focused on the Gospel of the Kingdom more. This was because He wanted to bring the Gospel into every aspect of a person’s life-including their work life. The early church gospel changed the culture and everything in it. Today, we often stop at salvation, which is a bit like sitting down after crossing the Jordan River. We have only fulfilled a small portion of the mission. This has led to a more liberalized society. We have become a society more concerned with the rapture than
thinking about ways the Gospel could penetrate every sphere of life.

God’s First Instruction to Man
In order to understand God’s original intent for mankind we must go back to the first book of the Bible. In Genesis we find these words: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen 1:28).
God wanted man to rule the earth in cooperation with Him. We were to be stewards of the earth.

The Bible tells us that God created everything and rules over everything. “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col 1:16-18).
God’s original intent was that individuals and nation’s were to obey God and if they did so
they would:
• Prosper in every way
• Fulfill their unique purpose
• Fulfill God’s overall plan
• Receive their God-ordained inheritance individually and as a nation In essence, all creation would reflect His glory as a result of their obedience to Him. This would allow them to have dominion over all the earth and fulfill what He spoke to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28:1-2:
“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.”

We have an obedience problem
So what happened to this wonderful plan? Adam and Eve changed this when they decided to sin by eating from the tree of good and evil. God had set up boundaries that they had to live
within, but they chose to go outside those boundaries.

What was lost in the garden? Several things were lost as a result of man’s sin in the
Garden of Eden:
• We lost our intimate relationship with God.
• We lost our ability to work unhindered. Work went from joy and worship to sweat and toil because the ground had been cursed, making it more difficult to earn a living from the soil.
•Women would have pain in childbirth
• There would be strife between people
• Evil entered the world and resulted in murder, shame, guilt and various sorts of evils that became byproducts of this fallen state. Dominion was lost in the Garden. However, when Jesus Christ returned to earth He did so for one purpose: to reclaim that which had been lost inthe Garden. Jesus came to reclaim what Satan
took in the garden.
•”For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
•”For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself allthings, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
“There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6). Jesus returned to reclaim His Lordship over all
domains of influence: (not just Lord over salvation)

He re-established His position as:
•King of Kings – the Lord of Justice
•Jehovah Jireh – Lord of Economics
•Father, Lord of the family
•Creator God, Lord of science & technology
•Living Word, Lord of communication
•Potter, Lord of the arts & beauty
•Great Teacher, Lord of education
After Jesus returned it was up to followers of Christ to appropriate what He did on the cross be reclaiming all that had been lost. We are His representatives on earth to finish the reclamation mission. Many of us have not done this because we believe the earth is not God’s and is now in control of Satan and so we have
given over society to him. This is not biblical theology.
God wanted to establish this relationship through Moses
God desired to make Israel a new nation that would model what He had set up in the Garden of
Eden. He did not want to establish a religion but a nation of people who would love, serve, and
honor God. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special
people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9-10). In the New Testament Jesus told His disciples what their assignment was to take every nation and make it His.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Amen (Matt 28:18-20). God knows that man will be fulfilled the most when people lead them who lead by the godly
principles He established from the beginning. He tells us in Proverbs, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Prov 29:2). Each of us needs to ask some important questions as to where we are individually and in our community as it relates to God’s original intent. Would the community notice if our local church shut its doors tomorrow? Would our workplace notice if we were no longer there? Is our industry different because of me? What would my nation look like if we modeled Deuteronomy 28 and became the head as a result of modeling Christ-like leadership and servant hood?

We are each called to impact the sphere of influence God has called us to influence. As each of us does this, we reclaim the culture one person at a time, one industry at a time, one mountain at a time.

Troop halts Attack on Gombe

Posted: February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

A combination of air and ground operation, yesterday, repelled Boko Haram fighters who
invaded Gombe even as it merged that the fighters wanted to divert the military’s attention due to sustained bombardments of
their camps.

A tweet from Defence Headquarters handle confirmed the attack and the military overcoming it. “The terrorists attack on Gombe has been repelled. Troops are in pursuit”, the brief tweet stated.

Security sources told Sunday Vanguard that the fighters were desperately seeking other places
to set up camps as they were being pursued from their camps in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

In the last few weeks, Boko Haram camps in the states, close to the borders with neighbouring countries, have been under intense pressures from Nigerian troops in cooperation with their
counterparts, from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Some of the camps have been destroyed. And as they could no longer enter Cameroon and Niger
so easily, they are moving southwards, the sources confirmed.

Eye witnesses said the militants attacked soldiers at the security checkpoints at the edge of the town and forced their way into the quarter guard of the 301 Artillery Regiment. The quarter guard was burned but they could not proceed into the main barracks which is a little
far off.

image

Prof. Attahiru Jega (INEC Chairman)

The February 14 Presidential elections have been postponed to March 28, 2015.

This information was made public by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) at the
Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, says that the election was postponed because all the security agencies in the country have expressed to him, in writing, that they cannot be available to support the elections if it holds on February 14. This decision was made after several hours of meetings chaired by Jega on charting a way forward as regards organising a free, fair,and
violence free elections.

Jega gave reasons for the postponement saying:
“There are several things needed to conduct a credible election. Some are within the control of
the elections but others are not. One of the things not in our control is security.”

He continued saying, “It has become pertinent to consider the security situation in the country.
INEC is a election organising commission, not a security organisation”
“We have done wide-ranging consultations before taking our decision. The presidential elections will now hold on March 28, while the state elections will hold on April 11, 2015.”
He appealed for peace and assured that the decision was “taken in good faith and best
interest of deepening democracy.”
A leading African election expert and senior fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in Abuja, Jibrin Ibrahim, who
was at the meeting, disclosed that Jega, during the meeting stated that security operatives from all the nation’s agencies informed the commission that they were commencing a six weeks special operations against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern corridors of the country and an election would only be a distraction.

We shall bring you more details as soon as we get them.