If you've been a part of a church that adheres to some of the "New Apostolic Reformation/Signs and Wonders" teachings, there's a good chance that you have nagging doubts and concerns that keep popping up from somewhere in the back of your mind.
That's actually good.
For example, you've been told something like this: The Christian who gets baptized in the Holy Spirit, speaks in tongues and then... jumps aboard the hyper-charismatic NAR/Signs & Wonders bandwagon, will get a bunch of things that "regular" Christians don't have. You've gone to a lot of services, conferences & revival meetings so you can get "the anointing," and you've read a lot of "anointed" books and watched a lot of "anointed" TV and video presentations. And now you're supposed to have more. More blessings; more power; more prosperity; more confidence; more effectiveness; more intimacy with God... on top of that you've been taught to keep asking God for more because God is waiting to see how hungry and desperate you are before He does anything more.
But admit it, you don't really have more of those things. In fact, you probably have more questions, more confusion, and more doubts.
You've heard these teachers prophesy about things that didn't come true at all.
You've been promised things that you didn't receive.
You've "sowed financial seeds" into ministries with zero results.
You've used the "power of your words" to claim things that you never got.
You've been given "prophetic words" that were basically just cheap fortune-telling tricks (without the crystal ball).
You've tried to "speak things into existence" with zero success, but you're afraid to say anything because you've been taught that you'd be making things even worse if you speak about it.
You've been told that God really really really wants to make all your dreams come true. Really.
You were supposed to have something "activated" (faith; understanding; miracles; anointing...) but nothing actually happened. Nagging doubts are all that got "activated."
There was supposed to be a "shift in the atmosphere" but you're not even sure what that means.
You've been told about the gigantic new "move of the spirit" that's right around the corner... for a decade or two (or three) now.
You've been told that being a Christian is all about finding your Destiny So You Can Change The World. How's that working for you? Are you exhausted and disillusioned yet?
You've been wondering why the people on stage have all of these amazing stories to tell, but God hasn't done those things in your life. "What's wrong with me?" is a common thought of yours.
You've got a stack of books and/or DVDs that claim to give you the magic formula that leads to more. But only the person selling those things got more... of your money.
On top of these personal difficulties and inconsistencies, you've watched men and women who were supposed to be great spiritual leaders prove themselves to be regular sinners with all of their divorces, financial scandals and confusing teachings that seem to get made up on the spot. These are the people who claim to have great power because they get "built up in the Holy Spirit" by speaking in tongues, and they know the secret key to "resist the devil" and get radical results. Bill Johnson even claims that he can change the atmosphere of a room just by walking in the door. They know exactly how to brag about their amazing walk with God while maintaining a facade of humility.
But lets be honest. These are people just telling stories on a stage; they're really professional speakers. They have little to no proof of all the amazing things they claim to have done. All the miracles happen somewhere else (and nobody takes a video). These people are very good at telling compelling stories. They are very good at sounding humble as they attract and retain more followers for themselves. "Aw shucks, it's all the Lord; but He works through me a lotmore than He does through you" is the overall attitude.
These kind of false teachers have to keep propping each other up with endorsements and guest speaking invitations for each other.
They have to keep talking about the new and better thing (that they just invented), so that you'll continue showing up for the next meeting or conference.
They have to use and repeat spiritual sounding catch-phrases, in order to replace the sound teachings of scripture.
They have to have yet another "greatest conference ever" (until the next one) so that they can make money by selling more tickets and books.
They require an audience full of gullible and emotionally dependent people. "Just Trust Us" is the underlying theme to everything they say and do.
They have to promote all this stuff with very expensive and manipulative video commercials that constantly tug at your heartstrings.
The one thing they can't have is this: you realizing that your ears are getting tickled, while your soul is being drained.
It's a house of cards.
You've been tricked. You've been sold a bill of goods. You've been bamboozled.
Now it's time to move on and find rest. Rest in the true freedom that comes from the unaltered Gospel: Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. You've been forgiven of your sins, not because of anything you've done, but because Jesus took your place on the cross. You can stop trying to be more desperate to show God how serious you are (yet again). You can stop trying to be more passionate than you were the last time you mustered up a bunch of passion. You can stop trying so hard to feel something to convince yourself of God's presence. You can stop wondering why you still haven't gotten your "breakthrough." You can stop trying to get a "fresh word from the Lord." You can stop trying to figure out your Destiny so you can Change The World.
God does not require these things from you, and He never has. You've been ensnared by the teachings of men.
So here's the bottom line to this article: If you're confused by all the stuff you've been taught, start reading your Bible again, and stop listening to all the people who've been telling you these things. Just take a little time off and see what happens. Here's a truly radical idea: read entire books of the New Testament all of the way through (most of them are really short). If God's Word is actually God's Word, then He will you use it to speak to you. Stop trying to hear God's voice in your constantly changing imagination; the Word of God is unchanging and it's outside of you, and that's a very good thing. Clear out all the false teachings that have cluttered up your mind and discover the simple Gospel message.
He's given you His Word, now simply read it and be free!
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
— Ephesians 2: 4-10
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”
— John 15: 26
“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”
— Colossians 2: 18-19
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
— 1 Timothy 6: 3-5
“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.”
— Jonathan Edwards
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Steven Kozar started The Messed Up Church; he is an artist, musician, blogger and stuff.