New Year, New Start

 

The first Monday of a new year. The first week of a new year. We all have the opportunity to start fresh in our thinking, our perspective, and in our willingness to see truth. While a new year isn’t a magic eraser, it does provide us with an opportunity for change.

2020 exposed lots of things, especially in the church. We got to see who stood on what side and as painful as it was, many of us saw that a lot of things we have believed simply were not true. I grew up believing Word of Faith teaching. Not because that’s what my parents believed but because I watched Rod Parsley, Kenneth Copeland and Jerry Savelle on TV.

Here’s the thing, I never believed Jesus suffered in Hell or that I could smile and say “I AM too”. And honestly, laying my hand on my head and commanding hair to grow is ridiculous and I know that. But like anyone in the Word of Faith, Charismatic, or Prophetic Movements I didn’t want to slow down or hinder my faith by asking questions. I knew I didn’t believe that stuff so I disregarded it and embraced what I did believe in. Except the reality was that even the stuff I did believe in wasn’t working. I wasn’t seeing miracles, breakthroughs, or financial harvests.

Before I continue I do want to say that I believe God heals and God provides. The problem lies with believing that my faith can direct divine activity, which is a quote from Rod Parsley. 2020 showed us something that can be very hard to acknowledge, the prophets missed it on every major thing that happened last year. That should cause us to stop and examine, it should cause us to grieve and cry, it should cause us to evaluate our walk with the Lord, and yes, after all of that it should cause us to walk away from these movements because 2020 showed us they were built on sand.

Am I mad, sad or bitter about knowing I spent two decades in utter falsehood, no. I can look back and see God’s hand on me through it all. Yes, I was greatly deceived but from 2008-2011 God had me in a charismatic-reformed church where the pastor preached on Romans chapter eight for nine months which began a course correction theologically. During those years I was introduced to Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Flavel and the ESV Bible. God in His grace and for my protection never allowed me to pastor when I was in deception and I am so grateful.

Watching my spiritual world crumble from October 2019 through June of 2020 wasn’t easy. I was devastated, wondered if anything I had been taught was true, I cried a lot, repented even more and felt so lost yet so free and secure at the same time. It was during this time I thanked God that even deception worked out for my good. Kenneth Copeland taught me to always go to the Word and ironically that is why I never believed some of the things he taught. Kenneth Copeland’s foundational teaching of putting the Word first place led me away from Kenneth Copeland’s teachings.

I love everyone I listened to in the past. I pray for their eyes to be open and that they will see the whole truth of God’s Word and step out of the misunderstanding of God’s Word that they have. If you are reading this and saying, I don’t understand how the prophets missed it, I don’t understand why my blessing didn’t come, or I don’t understand how I got sick when I was standing in faith? Can I encourage you to lay aside the prophecies and pick up the more sure prophetic word, The Scriptures. Can I encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth from the Word of God instead of a still small voice, sign, or confirmation.

Let 2021 be the year you forsake spectacular Christianity for Biblical discipleship. Allow yourself to see what is in front of you. See that the miracles and healing all the time that Bethel Church, Bill Johnson, and Bethel Music promise you is not a reality. They had an outbreak at their school and had to close down because in reality they couldn’t heal anyone of any disease. God can and sometimes does, in His sovereignty heal people but healing isn’t guaranteed like Johnson claims. They talk about healing revivalists of the past keeping meetings open during hard times but their healing rooms are closed. I don’t say these things to be mean, I say them because they are true and as Christians we follow Christ not after signs and wonders.

We’ve been told that we are to do what Jesus did, yet Jesus said that to do the works of righteousness is to believe on Him. John 20:31 says these things have been written so that we may believe. We don’t need signs and wonders or generic prophecies that are applicable to all six hundred people hearing “the word”, we simply need the Scriptures taught. We don’t need new revelation or The Passion Translation. There are no keys that unlock mysteries. Paul said the mystery is Christ. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and all of Scripture is THE KEY that unlocks the mystery, Jesus Christ.

You don’t have to chase anymore, you don’t have to go to another conference, pay for another online activation, receive another prophecy or sow another seed. All you have to do is surrender to Jesus and rest in Him. The Christian life was never meant to be spectacular but ordinary. How does ordinary stand out? When you go through hard times, sickness, job loss or any other number of things, there is a peace you have that only comes through knowing Christ, that’s the difference. What about the spectacular? That my friend, can only be seen on the other side. For nothing that can happen here will qualify when we see His beauty over there. What about the supernatural? There is nothing more supernatural than a sinner like you or me being born again.

I pray that 2021 is a simple and peaceful year. Not because of the surrounding circumstances but because the Prince of Peace rules in your heart. Spend time in the Word this year. Love the Word because Jesus is the Word and He gave us the written Word.

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