Archive for the ‘CHILDREN AT RISK!’ Category
COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent
It is with deep concern that the following information is being presented to warn believers who are looking for a good Christian college to attend or in which to send their children.
Several years ago (2007), Lighthouse Trails posted an article about Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada that started out like this:
Prairie Bible Institute, a renown Bible college in Alberta, Canada, is showing strong signs that it is going in a contemplative direction. A concerned parent contacted Lighthouse Trails and told us about a Servant (the college magazine ministry) article that quoted New Age/goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. Unfortunately, this is not the only indication that the college may be succumbing to contemplative spirituality.
Our article also stated:
[T]he college seems to be caught up in the wave of mystical spirituality that is sweeping through the evangelical church. For instance, on the Prairie Bible Institute website, Professor Ritchie White lists a collection of writers of whom he says “have shaped both my mind and my heart in significant ways.” Three of those are Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, and Annie Dillard, all of whom have contemplative orientations. Prairie music instructor Vernon Charter uses a textbook by the late emerging church leader, Robert Webber (see Faith Undone). Charter’s list of Supplementary Books includes emergent leader Dan Kimball (The Emerging Church) and other books by Webber.
In addition to White’s book lists, Prairie Christian Academy (a ministry of PBI) teacher and former PBI instructor Dr. Steven Ibbotson teaches on the spiritual disciplines and includes the discipline of “Silence and Solitude.”
Then in 2010, Lighthouse Trails received a letter from a reader explaining that the school was looking for a new president, and word was that this was going to help PBI get back on the right path. That letter stated:
I was wondering if you had ever been told about the alumni from Prairie Bible College who have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church? One young woman, whose father is on senior staff at Prairie, converted to the Orthodox Church after being convinced by another recent convert. Also, another was a prominent student there (a Residence Assitant and on the Student Council leadership) also dabbles in Anglo-Catholicism and contemplative forms of prayer. These things were encouraged, apparently, by various professors and in most of their course books. This school is a hot bed for fostering seeds of Ancient Christian Mysticism, but is trying to make itself come across as being more conservative theologically with the recent resignation of President Dr. Jon Olhauser. I read your piece on Prairie already, but so much has developed since then, it would be good to research and publish again–something is really happening there and should be looked in to.
The new president turned out to be Mark Maxwell, grandson to the founder of the school. L.E. Maxwell. In a statement, soon after his appointment, Maxwell stated:
This is not about me. It’s about honouring the great tradition of a school that has for 88 years brought God’s Word to life around the world. At this point we need to focus time, attention, and resources on revitalizing our campus and rebuilding our Bible College program. We want to fill our dorms and classrooms by offering programs that will challenge and provide a foundation for life-long learning. Our constituency and churches can be a real help to us in communicating our renewed emphasis on Bible training. (source)
After Maxwell’s appointment to president of PBI, readers wrote to us and said let’s wait and see now if this new president can turn things around. So we waited. Five years to be exact. Then in February of 2015, Lighthouse Trails received the following letter:
Was looking for something else when I came across this. Haven’t checked what you have lately about Prairies Bible Institute but here is a bit of info to back up what you say, if you haven’t seen it already. They have been into emergent church for quite some time.Thanks for your continued diligence. E K. [The following sent to us by E.K. is a book review written by PBI’s Kelly Steffen (PBI Director of Student Development) in 2014. The book reviewed is by major contemplative figure Peter Scazzero:
“Recently one of my students came into my office with a gift. He said, ‘I have something for you that I think you will enjoy.’ The gift was a small devotional reading called, Daily Office: Remembering God’s Presence Throughout the Day by Peter Scazzero, published by Willow. This book was timely as it is something that I have been trying to incorporate into my daily life. Scazzero’s introduction begins with these words, ‘Most Christians today are struggling- especially when it comes to spending quiet time with God. You may be one of them. I thought… wow, he’s right, I do struggle and I am one of them. I better check what this devotional is all about.
“The word ‘Office,’ Scazzero suggests comes from ‘opus’ or work in Latin. He further articulates that ‘for the early church, the Daily Office was always the “work of God.” Each Office in the book has these elements: Silence, Stillness and Centering, Scripture, Devotional Reading, Question to Consider and Prayer. The Offices can be used in a group setting as well. The big idea says the author, is to create a rhythm of being with God.’
Well it has been a couple of weeks in the Daily Office. I have engaged in the Daily Office personally, with another student and unpacked a reading for my Impact Huddle- a regular meeting with my small group leaders. I have had a good time in the practice and presence of the Daily Office.
This book has rekindled rich times of Silence and Stillness, Scripture, Devotional Reading and Prayer. There have been times, mind you, that Scripture has sufficed on its own without the additional devotional tagged on the back. The big idea of rhythm is really the key. I heard today on the radio that latest research says, it takes twenty one days to form a habit. If your habit is not having a devotional life, may I suggest that the Daily Office may be a remedy that you want to check out.”
For an influential faculty member of Prairie Bible Institute to write such a review shows clearly that the school has delved into contemplative spirituality. To back up that statement, PBI also has a Spiritual Formation program. And the 2014 and 2015 textbook lists include books by Brian McLaren, Tim Keller, Richard Foster, John Stackhouse, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways where Thomas instructs readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes), Mark Yaconelli, and Buddhist sympathizer, Catholic convert Peter Kreeft. There are also textbooks in the list that include social justice/new missiology themes throughout. Basically, PBI’s textbook lists are a who’s who of emergent/contemplative/new spirituality authors.
This week, to top this whole picture off, we received the following letter, giving a perfect example of the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality—interspirituality:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
It has come to my attention that Prairie Bible Institute at Three Hills, Alberta, Canada has recently held an event inviting a Roman Catholic bishop to speak to faculty and students.
My husband and I were present when President Mark Maxwell publicly confessed to the school drifting away from its foundational biblical roots and and prayed a prayer of repentance, stating it would return to a greater emphasis on God’s Word. We were hopeful, and yet skeptical at the same time. It appears that the compromise is continuing as the involve themselves in the ecumenical movement.
Below is the link, with the details copied from their website.
Keep up the good work! Blessings in Christ,
From PBI’s website:
Hear the Cry of the Poor: Catholic and Evangelical Dimensions of a Gospel Response
Consider Lectures exist to inspire dialogue on a variety of topics and are open to our student body, our staff and faculty, and anyone else who would like to be inspired and challenged in their thinking. This spring, Prairie is pleased to host Bishop Henry as he shares insights on how Catholics and Evangelicals can find common ground in hearing and presenting a Gospel response to the needs of the poor.
Pope Francis recently called Catholics to participate in ecumenical initiatives with Evangelicals. While this is a new development, Bishop Henry’s visit comes as part of his ongoing commitment to developing constructive ecumenical relations with evangelicals. This can be seen in his ongoing relationship with the Calgary Evangelical Ministerial Association, his participation in the 2014 conference ‘Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s mission together’ hosted by Ambrose University College, and his continued work in promoting shared biblical values on key moral issues at the forefront of Canadian civic life.
The Most Reverend Fred Henry has been Bishop for the RC Diocese of Calgary since 1998. Prior to that he has held the position of Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario and served as fourth Bishop of Thunder Bay from 1995 to 1998. In addition to his responsibilities in the Diocese of Calgary, Bishop Henry is a member of a number of commissions of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops related to education, healthcare and medical ethics.
LT CONCLUSION: For those parents and grandparents looking for a Christian college to send their young people to, Prairie Bible Institute is NOT a good choice. While the pickings are getting slimmer all the time with regard to Christian colleges, there are still schools out there that are not introducing their students to the likes of Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, Peter Kreeft, Gary Thomas, Pete Scazzero etc. and which are not joining up with the Catholic Church to “present the Gospel to a dying world.” How can evangelicals and Catholics do that when the Catholic “Gospel” is not the Gospel according to the Word of God (see Ironside on What is the Gospel?). Prairie Bible Institute has done a great disservice to the body of Christ and has put young students in terrible harm’s way. PBI leadership needs to seriously re-evaluate the biblical foundation of their school. Interspirituality is not biblical.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
NAIROBI, Kenya – Over 140 Kenyan students were shot dead today as an Islamic terror group carried out a bloody attack aimed at Christians at a university in Nairobi.
“We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for the group Al-Shabaab, which took responsibility for the armed assault, announced. “There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building. We are also holding many Christians alive.”
The incident occurred at Garissa University in the early morning hours on Thursday, where four masked gunman threw explosives at the main gate outside of the property, and then entered the building and began gunning students down. Reports state that shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” or “Allah is the greatest,” were heard as the attack was underway. Click here to continue reading.
From an Investigative Sergeant—Helping Sexually Abused Children: A Calling, A Ministry, and a Mission
By Patrick Crough
(Investigative Police Sergeant of crimes against children and author of Seducers Among Our Children)
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
I can’t help but think that Jesus weeps for those little ones who fall into the hands of child predators. I also believe Jesus weeps over the despair and hopelessness we experience as communities because of the crimes committed against our children. We know from the Bible that God hates the sin of adultery because it destroys families and communities (Malachi 2:14-16, 1 Corinthians 12:26). If this is true, can you imagine how much more God hates sexual abuse, considering the destruction it causes in the life of a child? As parents, as communities, and as churches, we must do everything we possibly can to fight this evil and eradicate it.
In December 2005, United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales addressed 1500 local, state, and federal law enforcement officials at a conference in Washington D.C., stating that crimes against children were second only to terrorism on his agency’s agenda. While I would not argue with this prioritization, it seems to me that Satan desires us to stay preoccupied with our borders and threats from outside while he continues to quietly devour our children and destroy us as a nation from within. Through our own sexual deviate behavior and liberalism, Satan has been able to deploy the Internet to increase child abuse and exploitation to a pandemic level. Child predators are one of the most important components of his sinister scheme against fallen man. If we seriously reduce, or even eradicate, that component, we significantly hinder the forces of evil. Granted, the Bible teaches us that evil will not be eliminated from the world until Jesus’ return. However, until that happens we must continue to be proactive with this effort on behalf of our children.
If there is any chance of eradicating the epidemic of child molestation, we will need to fight this battle on the spiritual front as well as the physical front. Christian parents should pray for their children daily. Churches and Bible-study groups should pray for each child they are connected to. Because the Bible tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (Ephesians 6:12), the spiritual aspect of this battle is more important than any other aspect. Jesus taught us to seek the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33). If we seek Him first, then we have His blessing and His power to do all things that He ordains for us to do. The Bible teaches that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4). As believers, we have a weapon that is more powerful than any earthly program alone. It would be foolish not to use it against an evil that is clearly spiritual in nature.
Please take note that this request for prayer does not come from a pastor, minister, church elder, deacon, or Bible teacher, but a cynical and calloused police detective who has made a living operating in the destructive wake of the Evil One and his minions. While humanists will tell us that good exists in every person, I have learned otherwise throughout my law enforcement career: I have learned that every person has the potential to do an enormous amount of evil. Consider these verses:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it. (Jeremiah 17:9)
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.(Mark 7: 20-23)
While prayer is the best action any person can take against the crime of child sexual abuse, God has equipped and called some of us into the battle that exists in the physical realm. We in the church body need to recognize the issues of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect as a mission field that needs tending. Sexual abuse is a topic that most churches choose not to openly speak of or concern themselves with. It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to openly acknowledge and then address. Pastors, ministers, and other members within a church need to work together and appoint some leadership to minister to those families who are victimized by this crime. I understand that not every clergy member will be able to stomach this issue, just as all law enforcement officers cannot, but it is important for the clergy to appoint those who possess the spiritual fortitude to minister to those who fall victim.
Additionally, members of the clergy should recognize a profession dedicated to battling this evil as a worthwhile calling for the young adults in their flock to consider. God has blessed certain individuals with specific gifts that would make them very effective in dealing with one of the most difficult issues facing mankind. They should encourage those who appear to have these gifts to consider careers in law enforcement, social work, child protective work, counseling, forensic interviewing of reported child victims, forensic evidence investigation, and medical positions related to identifying and treating the injuries of abused children. All of these professions need competent, godly, and motivated people who are dedicated to seeking the truth in all reported cases of child abuse. This kind of work is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for those who become overly emotional when discussing the topic of child sexual abuse. One must be passionate about this work without being overcome and hindered by such passion. I cannot think of a better group of people to recruit from than those in the Body of Christ. Attempting to enter this overwhelming battle without the rock-solid spiritual foundation of Jesus Christ would be similar to the young shepherd and future king, David, attempting to fight the giant warrior Goliath with the useless armor of King Saul, the defunct King of Israel.
I was raised as a Catholic and attended an all-boys Catholic high school. In spite of my moral religious upbringing, I lived outside of God’s will and was always in search of the true meaning of life. Even though I wasn’t walking with the Lord at that time, He still blessed me with a wonderful family and a successful career. He used me to expose many horrific crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice, in spite of my own wicked and selfish heart. It was my own exhaustive search for an answer to why people do such horrible things to each other that led me to read the Bible and begin to learn the answer to this haunting question. Under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, I gained both wisdom and comfort surrounding this difficult issue, which I once considered virtually unattainable.
Eventually I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, realizing I am saved only by His grace and not by my own works, efforts, or any man-made religion. I now attend a church that teaches directly from the Bible and relies on God’s Holy Spirit to teach us His Word.
I consider myself a member of the modern-day Roman guard (so to speak), working for a 21st century Rome and enforcing its laws. But since I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and asked Him to forgive me of my sins, I am now a converted soldier who openly works for God, according to His will. After I started walking with the Lord approximately twelve years ago, I immediately thought He would desire me to retire from my police job and begin a new life of service, away from the filth of society and the ranks of the Roman guard, where sin and temptation run rampant. But every time I started preparing myself to make the separation, something would tug on my heart to not follow through with it.
Finally, I came to the realization that I had to surrender the issue to the Lord to decide and stop telling myself what I thought He wanted me to do. This was not easy for a person such as me, but by His grace, I was able to let go of it. The Lord eventually spoke to my heart after I prayed and waited on Him for several weeks and just focused on Him rather than on my future. I felt the Lord tell me in His quiet voice that He had blessed me with the gifts that made me successful in my profession, even before I was walking with Him. So why would He want me to quit the job He had appointed me to do now that I had accepted Him into my heart and daily life? In essence, I believed God was telling me to continue working in the same capacity, but to do it under His influence and direction, and watch how much more He would bless my efforts. Without any reservation, I can honestly say that God blessed me beyond belief since I accepted and embraced Him in my life and performed my job for the sole purpose of glorifying Him. I felt so privileged those many years I worked as an investigative police officer.
As a temple of the Holy Spirit, I came to view my job as a ministry. I know that God placed me in that role for a reason, so I looked to Him daily for guidance and strength. Despite the heart-wrenching challenges, God allowed me plenty of rest, always restoring me to face the next wave of evil and its destructive wake. Having investigated many horrible crimes over the years, I can say that nothing is more emotionally challenging than investigating a reported crime against a young child. However, I never felt a better sense of purpose than when working on behalf of a reported child victim. They are the helpless ones. I have always felt close to God when working one of these cases, even when I anguished over my inability to bring the perpetrator to justice. God has always provided me with an inner peace beyond my understanding that enabled me to be patient and have confidence in Him to unfold the truth in His own time.
Like the young King David, there comes a time when we must act on our faith in Christ and have the courage to step out in front of the rest of God’s army and take on the enemy that no one else desires to. I challenge all church leaders to answer the call in both the spiritual and physical realms. If anyone in Christian leadership desires to explore this challenge, please contact me—www.protectingthechildren.com—and I will be happy to pray and brainstorm with you for direction in how you and your fellowship can enter this very important battle and mission field.
Click here to see the Lighthouse Trails resources on this issue.
Police-State America Strikes Homeschool Families Again: 7 Children Taken from Parents During Search for “Miracle” Treatment Chemical
LTRP Note: A Lighthouse Trails reader from Arkansas called today and told us of this story that happened in the same state. She said she believes this is a family who loves the Lord and whose parents are loving parents to their seven children. This is one of many stories over the past seven years where heavy-handed, gestapo-like children’s services in the United States have taken children out of their homes for extended periods of time. You may visit the Stanley family’s Facebook page here.
By Josh Berry
HOT SPRINGS, AR – A “miracle” mineral treatment alleged to be a remedy for cancer and aids is at the center of an law enforcement search warrant. The investigation ended in the removal of seven children from their home in Garland County.
The family has cried foul, saying only the father has taken it and it’s mostly used for purifying water for their garden.
The substance in question is referred to as “MMS” or Miracle Mineral Solution. The FDA has weighed in on the substance citing serious health concerns reporting that it can turn into a potent bleach and cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if taken.
The Stanley family however say it wasn’t grounds for the way they were treated during a search Monday (1/12) night that ended with their seven children taken away.
“Policemen here, policemen here,” Hal Stanley pointed, standing on his front porch. “Over here, on the side roads full of policemen.”
Stanley opened his door Monday afternoon to find a warrant waiting for him and his home surrounded by State and Garland County agents.
“It said we’re here to search your house,” Stanley explained.
Click here to read more.
Other Related articles across the web (From news sources not necessarily endorsed by Lighthouse Trails)
Letter to the Editor: Warning to Parents—Cartoon Network, Lego Movies etc. Introduce Children to the Occult
To Lighthouse Trails:
I would like to thank you for the books you have released that have assisted me in learning about the New Age and other groups that have been influencing many churches and seminaries. I have purchased hard copies and kindle additions alike. One of the things I have noticed is the rise in eastern mysticism in children’s programming. Legend of Korra, Lego themed shows Chima and Ninjago are a few to mention.
It hits particularly home for me as my children were introduced through the Cartoon Network at their grandparents home. I have researched further and found a book called LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon. In the book, it speaks about the use of the elements in Ninjago (Earth, Fire, Water, Lightning) and the pagan concepts that run throughout it. Interestingly enough, in the endnote section at the end of the book, there is a book called The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and function of a religious metaphor. I looked it up on Amazon, and the contents basically link a lot of the things I have been reading about it in the books by Ray Yungen in terms of interspirituality. They are using these things and obviously with the way boys play (Parallel play), you can see how these products have taken off.
In the future, would you please include these items, as they are continuing to produce more and more of these types of shows and toys.
Thanks for what you do, and may the Lord continue to bless the work of your hands .
Grace & Peace,
Jason (a West Coast Pastor)
P.S. Here is a another Cartoon Network character Raven from Teen Titans Go, introducing Children to Meditation. I will include wiki link, quite a bit more detail, very detailed occultism and eastern mysticism being introduced to very young ones. http://teentitans.wikia.com/wiki/Raven
Thank you for caring, for the next generation as we strive to present them before the Lord.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
A prominent Southern Baptist leader who raised concerns last year after he advised that Christians should support the rights of other religions and also traveled to the Vatican for an interfaith conference on marriage is now stating that probate judges in Alabama should either follow the recent federal ruling in favor of “gay marriage” or resign.
Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, made the statement recently to the Baptist Press when asked about his prediction on which way the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on the issue of same-sex “marriage.” He opined that the court will likely legalize the practice, contradicting previous statements made in 2013 regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“The same court that ruled in 2013 that marriage should be a state, not a federal matter, is now imposing a federal definition of marriage on a state,” he stated. “The citizens of Alabama are rightly concerned about the non-action–action by the United States Supreme Court in refusing to stay same-sex marriages in the state until the court hands down its decision this June on the matter.” Click here to continue reading.
By L. Sharp
Lines were wrapped around the ARC Pavilion, which holds a maximum capacity of about 8,000. There were banners with the UC Davis theme: ONE DAVIS, ONE WORLD. The conference was sold out. 10 nations (aside from the U.S.) were represented. There was much emotional excitement in the air as people were waiting with great anticipation to get into the “Jesus Culture” event. About one third of the attendees were 30-40 years of age. The rest were mostly 20 or younger.
Attendees were also given a conference program. The front page said: “ONE ENCOUNTER CHANGES EVERYTHING” and had an intro section written by director of Jesus Culture, Banning Liebscher (former youth pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, CA).
The intro read:
Throughout history there have been momentous gatherings where the people of God came together to seek His Presence, to see Him show up in power and in love. One thing we know: when God shows up everything changes.
In Acts 9, the Apostle Paul has such an encounter on the road to Damascus, God shows up and surrounds Paul in His light, changing his life and forever making history.
We are believing God to come again like that in these next 2 days. We are believing for such an encounter for you. For your friends. For your family. For Sacramento. We have invited some of the most significant church leaders, speakers, and worship leaders to come to Jesus Culture Conference Sacramento.
Our prayer is that everyone would meet God, encounter His love, and live forever changed. That they would in turn live a life to see their city and region transformed through God’s love and power. This is what will bring revival. This is what we are burning for.
The major themes of “burning hearts for Jesus,” “awakening,” “glory,” “burning with passion,” “burning fire,” “revival,” “one voice,” etc. were prevalent throughout the songs of the conference.
Jesus Culture is a “Christian” worship band that began as a younger generation offshoot of Bethel Church’s worship ministry. It has only been in recent years that the Jesus Culture band has exploded in popularity around the world. Though based in Sacramento, the Jesus Culture band tours the world regularly and draws crowds in the tens of thousands, filling arenas around the world. The Jesus Culture band has also recorded many albums and continues to grow exponentially in popularity worldwide. The Jesus Culture Facebook page has over 2 million followers!
Their main draw is their talented young musicians who all grew up in Redding’s Bethel Church spiritual environment, so for them, everything about God is always experienced through the senses. This is seen through the full-on sensory musical experiences provided during each Jesus Culture performance. Also, on occasion, the band leaders may “prophesy,” “declare,” etc. to this young generation and may lead the attendees into “deeper levels of ‘intimacy’ with God” through their musical-leading techniques.
The Jesus Culture band is drawing young people in the California area away from their conservative Bible-teaching churches. They are doing this (as evidenced by their 2015 Sacramento conference) by creating a mentality that “Jesus Culture” is spiritual, experiential, passionate for Jesus, and any conservative Bible-teaching church and its music is “religious,” “unspiritual,” “dead,” and “lacking passion for Jesus.” In September 2014, Banning Liebscher started a Jesus Culture church plant in Sacramento.
Liebscher kicked off the conference with this theme, which permeated the entire conference:
Jesus Culture is all about raising up revivalists, leaders, catalysts . . . In these next 27 hours, God is going to mark things. We believe ONE ENCOUNTER with God will change your lives. I believe God is raising up a generation who is willing to lay themselves down, to exalt Jesus. In the next 27 hours, we are praying that you would be marked, that in 10, 20, 40 years, you would still be marked by what God will do in the next 27 hours. We believe tonight we are here for God, and we are here for God to mark us with His Presence.
The music, combined with flashing colored streamed lights, white blinding lights, and synthesizers brought attendees to a heightened musical-sensory, near mind-altering state. Fog lights were used on occasion to try and create the “sense” of God’s presence in a visual “glory cloud.” There were also rotating circular white or colored lights shone on the walls during some songs (like the hippie days of psychedelic experiences).
The 8,000 attendees embraced it all: lifted up their hands, swayed their bodies to the music, jumped up and down, sang, shouted, and willingly entered into an almost trance-like state at times.
At the end of the first night’s music time, Banning Liebscher concluded with this:
I remember being baptized at age 5. At 17, I encountered Jesus. Everything changed. I met Jesus. I got introduced to revival, where the Holy Spirit gets poured out . . . You will never do this (bring revival) without ENCOUNTERING THIS BURNING, PASSIONATE LOVE for Him. This is not birthed out of obligation or a sense of duty. WE NEED TO HAVE ENCOUNTERED GOD, who passionately loves us, and in response to that revelation, we surrender! I believe we will see revival in cities, in this nation, in the nations! The same spirit that possessed the Reformers, Moravians, and other revivalists will possess you. Lord, I pray You would possess them.
The speakers for the 2 days conference included:
1) JOHN GRAY: according to his own website (www.johngrayworld.com), he currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas under the leadership of pastor Joel Osteen. In September 2000, while youth pastoring in New, John felt he had found the call of God on his life: to impact youth and young adults with the Word of God through music, comedy, and preaching—all at the same time. John’s talk in a nutshell had 2 main points:
1) John claimed in Matthew 24, ” Jesus said there would be these things (earthquakes, famines, etc.), but before it all goes down, a generation will rise with passion and purpose!”
2) John then went on to “teach” on Mark 2:1-10 (the narrative of the paralytic, whose friends brought him in through the roof, for Jesus to heal him). According to John Gray, the friends of the paralytic were the “they” in the paralytic’s life, because they brought him to Jesus and supported him until he got his healing. The “religious” people who hindered him from coming to Jesus were the “them” in his life. John then said: “You need to identify who the “they” people are in your life, who will bring you to Jesus. Banning, and those in Jesus Culture are my “they.” I need people who can bring me to Jesus. Think about the people in your life . . . Who are the “they” who bring you Jesus? Who are the “them” who prevent/hinder you from coming to Jesus? . . .The “they” are relational and loving. The “them” are religious and judgmental. . . .There is power in having the “they.” There is power in community.”
2) SAM RODRIGUEZ: He is leader of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference representing more than 40,000 churches. He also pastors New Life Christian Worship Center locally in Sacramento. He was announced at the conference as the new Hispanic pastor at the Jesus Culture church plant in Sacramento. In December of 2014, Sam was flown to Washington D.C. to consult with President Obama to discuss Obama’s immigration reform strategy. Rodriguez is also a member of ICAL (International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders) and also part of the NAR [New Apostolic] movement.1 His wife Eva Rodriguez and Sam’s sister were part of Roma Downey’s “Women of the Bible” television 2-hour event in December 2014.
Sam began with this: “Gideon, in Judges 6, went in one chapter, from failure, to surviving, to thriving! He emerged as leader of his people . . . I believe this generation will have an ENCOUNTER WITH GOD. Not known for failure, this generation will be known for its cry for His glory. We are in one of these 3 states:
1) Failure (in Egypt)
2) Surviving (in the desert)
3) Thriving (in the promise)
Sam continued with:
Everyone occupies one of these 3 spaces. Repeat after me: Failure, survive, thrive. Everyone has to go through a process. The idea is not to get stuck. Prophetically I declare that your season of failure is over! You must be defined by the heaven you are headed to, not your past failure. . . .When Gideon in Judges 6 is hiding at the threshing floor, Heaven shows up and says: ‘You are a mighty warrior.’ When you have a legitimate encounter with God, you understand your true identity.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD REVEALS YOUR TRUE IDENTITY . . .
You are defined by God’s spirit inside of you. Raise your hands and say: “I AM that I AM” says that “I am . . .” ( “I am a mighty warrior, I am a chosen generation, etc. . . .”)
The crowd was starting to get louder and more excited as they cheered loudly . . .
Sam then shared a 2006 testimony of the healing and conversion of an 80-year-old Muslim cleric in Pakistan. Sam said, “In the Bush administration, I was invited to speak in Pakistan to a gathering of about 17,000 people.”
Sam then shared the dramatic testimony of this Muslim cleric’s healing of blindness and resultant conversion, and Sam concluded with: “AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD CHANGES YOU!” Sam had the attendees repeat in a mantra-like fashion: “If you know who you are, and what you have, nothing is impossible . . . If you know who you are, and what you have, nothing is impossible . . .” He then pointed to the guy on stage with an axe, getting ready to cut down a wooden pole. Sam explained the wooden pole represents (for the attendees) the Asherah pole in the Judges 6 narrative of Gideon. That Asherah pole reminded Gideon of his past failures. Sam went on to say: “Gideon had an encounter with God, and he learned: 1) Who he was (a mighty warrior) 2) What he had (God’s strength and favor) 3) His purpose (defeat the Midianites) 4) He realized he had to cut down reminders of what the Enemy had built in his life, and use that wooden debris, to fuel the fire that would propel him forward into his destiny of thriving! Sam dramatically set up the guy with axe with this: “So goes the Asherah pole, so goes Sacramento . . . So goes Sacramento, so goes California . . . So goes California, so goes America . . . So goes America, so goes the world!! Here comes your breakthrough!!”
Right then, the guy on stage used his axe and started cutting down the Asherah (wooden) pole. It took about 5 seconds, and then there was loud cheering and a huge uproar from the crowd of 8,000! This was meant to be a “prophetic” act, similar to when the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were told by God to do certain acts as prophetic symbols of real future events (e.g. pointing to the future invasion by Babylon, destruction of Jerusalem, etc.)
Sam then said, “I have declared your season of failure is over. We will thrive! No more failures.” Then, the “failure” sign on stage was torn. Then the “survive” sign on stage was torn. On stage, the attendees saw visually a threshed wooden pole with its remnants scattered on stage and one solitary sign remaining: “THRIVE.”
“Your failure season is over. Jesus Culture, get ready to thrive!!” And, with this, great shouts and loud uproars from the crowd ensued. Sam then told the attendees to pray: “Jesus define me. It is You in me. We will build shalom. We will cut down the Asherah pole. We will change the world!”
3) BANNING LIEBSCHER
Scott Thompson (who had spoken earlier in the day and runs Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry in Atlanta, GA), spoke quite a bit before Liebscher got up to speak. Here is some of what Scott had to say:
God loves your city, your state, your nation. He wants to bring heaven to earth. He wants fire to fall from heaven. Put a hand on your heart. Let’s pray a dangerous prayer together: “Jesus, here I am. Point heaven into my life. Show off through me, that people would look at my life and glory in my Father. Send me back as a pillar of fire, a fire in my eyes, a fire in my bones, a fire in my belly, that can’t be controlled by my surroundings . . . Jesus, make Your name famous through me . . . We thank You Lord that 2015 is the year heaven is seen on earth.”
Banning Liebscher started the final talk of the conference. Liebscher highlighted four things that needed to be “accessed” with regards to the Holy Spirit in order to experience revival:
1) We need to access the Holy Spirit as the seal of our salvation or as the promise of our salvation
2) We need to access the Holy Spirit as the One who takes, guides, and leads us into experiencing the deeper things of God.
3) We need to access the Holy Spirit’s empowerment that enables us to become like Jesus.
4) We need to access the Holy Spirit’s empowerment that enables us to do the works of Jesus.
He continued with: “You have to access and activate all four of these attributes of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to impossible things, but He doesn’t leave us alone. He gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do the impossible. For 20 years I’ve been calling a generation to revival, but we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to become revivalists!”
After a brief alter call, the conference ended. God’s mercy was seen that last night with a good number (several hundred) leaving the conference even before the final talk ended and a larger number leaving even before the final altar call started. Out of the 8,000 attendees, perhaps God will rescue some. One thing is for sure, Jesus Culture is not going away anytime soon, and the band and its conferences are attracting more and more Christian young people around the world . . . Over 2.1 million Facebook followers and growing!