Newsletter for Aug 2009
As a pastor, people have come to me over the years with questions about God, scripture, the Holy Spirit, the way God works, and so on. Here is just a small sampling of the kind of questions I receive and how I respond:
Brother Martin, I don’t have any idea what God wants me to do. How can I discover God’s will and ministry calling for my life?
“Well, I have a few teaching series on that. Some of them are ‘God’s True Will,’ and ‘Taking Heed to Your Ministry,’ and ‘God, What is Your Plan for Me?’ If you get those series and listen to them, you will learn how to discover God’s will and ministry calling.”
Pastor Jim, I hear you say a lot about praise and worship. Why is that such a big deal?
“I have two series about praise and worship; ‘Unleashing the Power of Worship’ and ‘Breaking Through with Worship.’ Listen to those and you’ll understand why God has placed such a strong emphasis on praise and worship.”
Brother Jim, I heard some preachers talk about generational curses and Christians having demons. Is it possible that could be happening in my own life?
“In my two series ‘Can a Christian have a Demon?’ and ‘The Truth About Generational Curses’ I show from scripture what God has said about these issues. It would be very important for you to get them.”
I’m dealing with some real problems. What can I do to fix my lousy marriage, and I need to know if it’s possible for me to lose my salvation.
“You definitely need to get my series ‘The Sacred Nature of Marriage’ and ‘When Jesus is Lord’ and ‘Is My Eternity Secure?’ These will give you very detailed answers.”
Pastor, I’m really struggling. Something happened about eight years ago and I just can’t seem to get over it. I fight depression constantly and have this on-gong feeling of loss. Not long ago I went to a Christian therapist and he gave me a prescription for some drugs to help me deal with the depression. Would you pray for me?
“Yes, I’ll pray. But you really need to listen to my series ‘Healing the Brokenhearted.’ In it I show from the Bible how you can access an anointing from God that will bring about a permanent inner-healing; something the drugs and therapy cannot do. The result of this healing is that you will never again struggle the depression, anguish and brokenness you’ve battled for so long.”
If I don’t have an entire series relative to a person’s questions, I’ll try to point out at least one non-series sermon that can help (I also make sure they know there is no charge for any of our materials). Additionally, I share how important it is to follow along in scripture, pray in the Spirit, and even take notes while they are listening. I know for a certainty that if they do these things, God will be able to clear up their questions and give them the direction they need.
Now, you may read this and think, “What wonderful advice. I’m sure those people are excited to get the teachings and learn as much as they can!” If only that were true! What is so sad is that the majority of the people who receive this counsel from me never listen to even one sermon I recommend!
Someone might ask, “But Brother Martin, how do you know for sure that they never follow your advice?” It’s not really that difficult; I can take a look at the order log to see who has ordered what. Also, when people continually express the same questions and concerns… sometimes for years…I know they are not doing what it takes to get answers.
You see, I learned a long, long time ago that God’s word is the path to settling issues in our lives. His word is complete; nothing is missing. For example, God says in Jeremiah 29:13 that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart; thus, people cannot substantiate a statement like, “I just can’t find God anymore; He just isn’t there.” What they are really saying is, “I’m not seeking after God the way I want you to think, and I’m really not applying the principles revealed in His word.”
I have discovered that most Christians really don’t want deep, spiritual truth as answers to their questions. What they want is a quick, “microwave” answer that seems to make sense to their soul. When I tell people to get a series or an individual sermon, follow along in scripture, take notes, and pray in the Spirit as they listen is because I want them to learn to dig deeply into God’s word. But following my advice requires time and effort. It necessitates that a person take “drastic” measures, such as separating from the television to get alone with God.
Some have “politely” acted as though I am out of my mind to suggest they follow my advice. Their lives are too busy. They have jobs, housework, the kid’s activities, and much more. The problem I have with those excuses is that I, too, had a full-time secular job, responsibilities at home and a son involved with lots of sports. Yet, I would still set aside time to listen to sermons on cassette tapes and do as I have described. In fact, for a few years I had a full-time secular job and pastored a church, yet still carved out time in my busy schedule to explore God’s word. And, no, it wasn’t always easy.
Take a look at a verse many Christian know quite well,
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
The depth and impact of this verse seems to be lost on many Believers. Very briefly, if we want God’s approval, if we want to be promoted by Him to greater levels of spiritual service, if we want to be a person who has answers – avoiding the “shame” of never knowing and always asking – we must study and rightly divide God’s word.
The term “rightly dividing” means to leave scripture intact, never fragmenting verses or passages to formulate doctrine. This is also revealed in Isaiah’s prophecy where God explains that He teaches people line-upon-line and precept-upon-precept (Isaiah 28:9-10). There is no shortcut to this. That is the main reason I tell people to follow along in scripture while they listen to a sermon.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times over the years while “practicing what I preach” that God has unlocked the meaning of passages of scripture in a way I had never understood. There have been numerous times when I have had to turn the sermon off while God took me in a whole different direction. It is hard to describe the excitement of seeing a scriptural mystery being “solved” right before my eyes as Psalm 119:130 comes to life: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
Those who have taken my advice and put it into action have come back to me later to share how they got the results I described. I am telling you, this works. It cannot fail and the reason is because the focus is on the Bible and the fullness of truth God has given us. But it takes diligence. The emotions will scream out about boredom, a waste of time, go do something else, and any other number of reasons to quit.
However, if you will fight the good fight of faith and press on, you will absolutely experience one spiritual breakthrough after another…and God will meet you at every new level of growth with a new level of His glory!
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I want to pass along a very unique prophecy the Lord recently gave in our church. To set the stage for this prophecy, please read the following passage from Ezekiel 33:2-9.
Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
THE NEW WATCHMEN
I am raising up watchmen for these last days and they shall stand on the walls of my Kingdom. I have raised others in the past, but they gave themselves over to lying spirits and deceiving words. They spoke those things that I did not speak and they have deceived many in my church.
But I am raising up and whole new generation of watchmen. These men will be men of steel with spirits like iron: unbendable and unyielding. They will not care what the former watchmen say and they will not care about words of stony criticism hurled in their direction. This new generation will be strong in me. They will have a foundation of truth in their spiritual loins. Their love will be for my word and my truth.
The new watchmen will face great opposition from those in my church who have yielded to deceiving spirits. They will face great criticism as they speak my truth; for most of my church is living on tainted truth – truth that has had the leaven of religion mixed in. The new watchmen will be rejected by many.
But the new watchmen are my watchmen. I have placed them in their positions. When they speak, my words will come forth from their mouths as glory. In the spirit, their words will shine like the noon-day sun. They will speak the fullness and purity of what I give them to speak, and their words will be like pure gold that has been refined in the refiner’s fire; there will be no impurities.
The glory of the words they speak will burn like the fires of my holiness when sin is consumed. Many will chafe under the anointing of their words; they will grow restless and annoyed as the words pierce their deceived hearts to confront error with truth. But this glory will be a light of revival and direction as my words penetrate deeply into the hearts of those who hunger for the fullness of who I am.
These watchmen will receive great revelation from me as I unlock the understanding of my word to this generation. Things the early church understood will once again be understood. These watchmen will walk in the power of my word, not just the anointing of my Holy Spirit; for many in the past have operated by an anointing of my Holy Spirit, but have not yielded to the power of my word.
These watchmen will speak of things that are to come and many will reject their words. Others will try to exalt themselves as one of these watchmen and will lead many astray. But the watchmen that I raise up will be able to stand the test and scrutiny of my word. If you seek me and spend time in fellowship with my Holy Spirit, He will bear witness with your spirit concerning the true watchmen that are of me.
Some of these watchmen are already at their posts. They are warning my church of judgment to come, but they are also speaking truth at a level unseen for generations. More of these watchmen are beginning to rise up, and others are in training and preparation with my Holy Spirit.
Prepare yourself, for great conflict is about to erupt in my church. The voices of the watchmen will increase in anointing, power and boldness. When this happens, the carnal, the deceived, the weak in spirit and those who have seared their conscience will lash out to stop the voices of the watchmen. But they will not be stopped and they will run their race. Listen to the voices of my watchmen, for they speak for me. Take heed to their message, for they hear the voice of my Spirit and their hearts are true unto me.
May His will be fulfilled in your life!