The Bible tells us that in the days just before the return of Jesus, Babylon and a revived Roman Empire will be at the center of world power and will be ready to participate with the Antichrist. In this video, Pastor Mike shows how these end-time powers are already well into the formative stages.(more…)
Jesus said that in the last days something would happen that would cause many people to be greatly deceived. In this video, Pastor Mike shows how this great deception may be starting to present itself.(more…)
Jesus told us that just prior to His return, it would be as in the days of Noah. But what was happening in the days of Noah that correlates to our current events?(more…)
The prophet Ezekiel tells of a coming war that current events show us is about to take place. In this video, Pastor Mike takes the headlines from today’s news and shows us how the stage is being set for this soon-coming war.(more…)
This is how we can be sure…(more…)
When I was 34 years old I made a bad decision that, at the time, I didn’t think was so bad. I want to tell you about that decision for two main reasons. First of all, many Christians, maybe even you, have made this same bad decision and might not be aware of it. Secondly, I want to show you how you can reverse the consequences of that decision so that you can live a more fulfilling life of peace, hope, and joy.
Before I became a pastor at age 40, I spent most of my early adult years as a farmer on the family farm where I grew up. My grandfather farmed, my dad farmed, I was farming, and I wanted my two boys to farm. I loved farming and that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was my plan. But the romance of farm life quickly became overshadowed by the realities of low commodity prices, high input prices, and disruptive weather events that made life for me as a young farmer very challenging, to say the least.
One day in late September, I was in my John Deere tractor plowing a field and was mulling over and over in my mind how difficult the past few years had been, and it seemed to be getting worse. In my frustration, I cried out to God and said, “God, it doesn’t seem like You even want me to farm!”
Immediately, I heard the unmistakable voice of God say, “I don’t.”
Although I didn’t hear His voice audibly, I heard it loud and clear in my heart. I was shocked. You see, I had been a church-goer all my life, and at age ten I accepted Jesus as my Savior. As a young adult in my 20’s and 30’s, I went to church every Sunday, gave my tithes, and even served in music ministry. Because I was so “faithful” to God, I assumed it was His duty to be faithful to me by blessing my farming operation. Didn’t God understand that the more He blessed my farm, the more I could tithe?
The day that God told me that He didn’t want me to farm was the day I quit listening to Him. I wanted His salvation, but I wanted my plans for my life more than I wanted His plans. I now know that I wasn’t alone, because after many years as a pastor, I’ve seen that many people follow Jesus for what they want, not necessarily for what He wants.
This is nothing new. Two-thousand years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as a King and recognized as the promised Messiah because the people expected Him to free them from the tyranny of Rome. That’s what they really wanted. But what Jesus wanted was to set them free from the tyranny of sin and death. Because their desire to be free from Rome was so great, most of them missed what Jesus came to do; to set them free from sin and death. They acknowledged Jesus as King, but were disappointed when His Kingdom didn’t match their desires.
Today most of us pray “Your will be done” with our mouth, but our heart oftentimes prays “My will be done”. We want Jesus to bless our kingdom rather than us blessing His Kingdom. And when we discover that His plans aren’t the same as ours, we tend to tune Him out. That’s exactly what I did. Sure, I still wanted Him to punch my ticket to heaven, but I didn’t want to listen to Him if His plans didn’t match up with mine. One of the worst decisions I’ve ever made was to quench the voice of the Holy Spirit because I didn’t like what He was saying.
How about you? Has the Holy Spirit been telling you something that you don’t like hearing? If so, you only have two choices; to do what He says or to tune Him out. The problem with tuning Him out is that you miss out on much of His supernatural power for your life.
That’s exactly what happened to me. Although I was saved and going to heaven, I missed out on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working in me and through me. How do I know I missed out on it? Because four years after I made the decision to quit listening to God, I reversed my decision and pressed into the Holy Spirit like never before. Almost overnight my life exploded with the power of God working in me and through me. Not only was I listening to the Holy Spirit, I was actually doing what He said. Instead of focusing on the kingdom of Mike, I began to focus on the Kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean that everyday is easy, but it does mean that everyday I can life a meaningful life full of peace, hope, and joy.
Maybe you’re just now realizing that you’ve quenched the voice of God because you didn’t like what He was saying. Or maybe you know that you’ve been doing this for a long time. Either way, you can reverse your decision and start seeing positive changes in your life almost overnight. It happened for me and it can happen for you. Here’s how:
1. Make a decision right now to listen to the Holy Spirit, whether or not you like what He says. Whatever He says is the best for your well-being.
2. Make a decision right now to actually do what He says. It’s not enough just to hear Him, you have to put His words into action for positive changes to come into your life.
3. Make a decision today to change your perspective and start viewing life through the lens of God’s Kingdom instead of your kingdom.
These decisions aren’t easy, but they’re good. And life-changing.
Here’s a question for you: Is there a main motivating factor that brings people to turn to Jesus for salvation and eternal life? According to the Bible the answer is “yes”, but it might not be the yes that you think it is.
For centuries, many churches and even entire denominations have used guilt and shame as a motivator to point people to Jesus. Then, once those people become part of the church, guilt and shame has been a favored tool to keep them in line. If more “motivation” is needed, just throw in the continual fear of going to hell and, well, now you’ve got a great way to persuade a lost and dying world to accept Jesus, right?
In Luke 15, Jesus tells a well-known parable about a man who has two adult sons. The youngest son asked his father to give him his inheritance early. Surprisingly, the father granted his request and the son headed to the big city with enough cash to last a lifetime. Before long he was dead-broke, having spent all his money on a sinful lifestyle of drunkenness and prostitutes. He found himself working for a pig farmer and eating pig feed just to survive. The Bible says it was then that he “came to his senses” and realized that his father was a very kind man. So kind, in fact, that maybe he would take his errant son back into his care.
As the son traveled back to his father’s house, he rehearsed his repentant speech and fully expected to have to grovel at his father’s feet. But it didn’t happen that way. As soon as the father saw the son approaching, he ran to lovingly embrace him and welcome him back into his family as a fully-restored son.
The Bible tells us in Romans 2:4 that it’s the kindness of God that brings people to repentance and a right relationship with Him.
The teachings of Jesus bear witness to the Father’s extravagant love and acceptance for you. If you view God as a heavy-handed taskmaster who’s ready to smite you every time you mess up, then you’ve got an unbiblical view of Him. That could also be a reason why you struggle to enter into a close relationship with God as your Father. The truth is that God is yearning for you to turn away from the junk of this world that steals your dignity, and turn to Him to experience His lavish love for you.
So as Christians, let’s make sure that we give others an accurate picture of God as a loving Father who’s excited for people to come home to Him, no matter what they’ve done.
Several years ago, two of my good friends invited me to go hunting with them deep in the mountains of Montana. On one of the last days of our hunting adventure, we found ourselves far from camp as the sun began to set. Before we knew it, darkness set in so quickly that we could barely see our hand in front of our face. My two friends, who were experienced outdoorsmen, began to lead the way back to camp. As we groped our way in the dark, I had the strong sense that we were heading the wrong way. I voiced my concern to my friends, but they assured me that we we heading in the right direction. Since I was the greenhorn, I didn’t argue with them. But the further we went along, the more sure I was about our wrong direction. Again, I voiced my thoughts, but to no avail. I was sure we were lost, but my friends assured me that we weren’t. Eventually, my friends began to question themselves and finally agreed that we were indeed lost. In time, we somehow found our way safely back to our hunting camp.
Has there ever been a time in your life that you were lost, and you knew you were lost? What about a time when you didn’t think you were lost, but you actually were?
In Luke 15, Jesus tells a well-known parable about a man who had two adult sons. The youngest son asked his father to give him his inheritance early. Surprisingly, the father granted his request and the son headed to the big city with enough cash to last a lifetime. Before long he was dead-broke, having spent all his money on a sinful lifestyle of drunkenness and prostitutes. He found himself working for a pig farmer and eating pig feed just to survive. The Bible says it was then that he “came to his senses” and realized that his father was a very kind man. So kind, in fact, that maybe he would take his errant son back into his care.
As the son traveled back to his father’s house, he rehearsed his repentant speech and fully expected to have to grovel at his father’s feet. But it didn’t happen that way. As soon as the father saw the son approaching, he ran to lovingly embrace him and welcome him back into his family as a fully-restored son. The father was so happy to have his son back in relationship with him that he threw a big party to celebrate.
But the older brother was extremely upset about the lavish acceptance the father had shown the younger brother and refused to attend the party. When the father went out to try and talk the elder brother into joining the party, the elder brother went off on a rant about how he had been the good son who had always stayed home and worked hard, never asking for anything. His pouty rant showed his true relationship with his father; a relationship based on duty and good works instead of love and acceptance.
So which brother was more lost? Although Jesus doesn’t specifically state it, He has a mic-drop moment in which the listener must come to the conclusion that the elder brother is more “lost” than the younger brother.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the formerly sinful and rebellious younger son who was lost, but rather the well-behaved and hard-working elder son. Elder brother lostness is dangerous because they don’t see themselves as lost. They think that their exemplary conduct and hard work saves them. But it doesn’t. Salvation is only found through a real, loving relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. We’re saved to do good works, not because of good works.
In this parable, Jesus is teaching us that there’s danger of religion replacing relationship.
Since elder-brother lostness is so hard for elder brothers (or sisters) to see, I’ve listed a few characteristics of elder brothers for you to take a look at and determine if you might have some elder brother issues in your life.
Characteristics of an Elder Brother:
- Elder brothers lack joy, but are rich with judgment.
- Elder brothers focus more on their own goodness than the goodness of God.
- Elder brothers expect their goodness to pay off, and if it doesn’t, there is confusion and/or anger.
- Elder brothers base their self-image on being hardworking and self sufficient. (“I never asked for anything”)
- Elder brothers achieve a sense of significance through competitive comparison.
- Elder brothers have a dry prayer life due to the lack of relationship with the Father.
- Elder brothers lack an assurance of the Father’s love.
Whether you’re an elder brother or a younger brother, your Heavenly Father wants you to be in relationship with him. Not out of duty or fear, but out of love and acceptance.
Stop right now and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a greater revelation of God’s extravagant love for you.