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Posts Tagged ‘Witnessing’


I’m close to half way with Unholy Seduction. Here’s an excerpt:

My enlightenment came with a heavy price, as each of his words sank deep within my heart, disillusioning me in the process. By the time our conversation ended twenty minutes later, my spirit was broken. I had left Believer’s Crusade emotionally—never to return. It was no longer even a consideration. My life’s purpose had been dismantled in one, thirty-minute phone call.

Being young, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a renewed sense of purpose. Such thoughts were too lofty for me and never entered my mind.

Devastated and appalled, in one day, I went from being a Crusader to being an anti-Crusader, with equal fervor. Embittered by what I had learned, like my mentor, I began throwing stones at Crusade, as well as organized religion in general. I called dozens of friends nationwide in the days that followed. When I informed each about what had happened, they abandoned Crusade as well.

The ministry, which had enjoyed yearly growth since its inception, experienced a significant dip that year. Nevertheless, Crusade never acknowledged its duplicity. Instead, it doubled down on its deception. Nearly a half a century later, there are millions who continue to believe in the Miracle of Escondido—a miracle that never occurred.

For a while, a long while, bitterness consumed me. I had trusted Crusade and Hixson’s leadership completely, so the wounds produced by Jonathan’s revelation nestled deep within my soul, taking firm grip. I was angry. My sense of fairness had been offended—big time.

I also lost a great deal of respect for Jonathan, who only divulged the truth when it served his purpose to do so. I felt like he had betrayed me as well—at least somewhat. The discovery, coupled with having to be disingenuous with people like Governor Maddox, just to survive, made me question everything I was doing. By not repudiating the Governor’s distorted worldview, choosing instead to take his money, I had also been deceptive.

Having to admit this to myself was a difficult, but it was the truth. I came to the conclusion that I could never live like this again, which meant I would have to alter my career path dramatically.

Almighty God never honors duplicity. How could He? My life’s purpose had been shaken, and everything concerning it came crashing to the ground, shattering my carefully constructed reality. What I didn’t understand at the time was how difficult it would be to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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Refer to Step 11:I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

 

Half the harm that is done in this world

Is due to people who want to feel important.

They don’t mean to do harm—

But the harm does not interest them. . .

They are absorbed in the endless struggle

To think well of themselves.

 

—T. S. Eliot

 

It’s time that we step out of the gray drab existence of multi-culturalism and political correctness for fear of offending someone or our desire to be liked. We must stand for the One who declares Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We must never forget where we’ve come from—out of the darkness into the light.

“Witnessing” to people with a watered-down version of who Christ is seems to be of little value, yielding poor fruit. Neither does filling churches with large numbers of people who have marginal beliefs—other than their desire to instill “good values” into their children, while increasing their business networking efforts. It doesn’t work well—never has and never will.

In America, the problem is much deeper for believers. The fire is nearly out—the fire for being Christ-like—the fire for being loving, giving, and generous, for bearing one another’s burdens, and for expecting nothing in return. It’s been replaced by fire in the loins—from pastors addicted to pornography to adulterous church members by the millions. We act like the world and expect God to bless us because we’re His Bride—allegedly, without spot or wrinkle.

For many, God has become a blessing machine, a higher power that dispenses material rewards for marginal behavior—just because He’s a nice guy. We’re lukewarm at best and expect God to reward mediocrity with prosperity. We pursue the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life, expecting God to be satisfied with us. Collectively, we’ve lost our fear of Him, especially our leaders who are more interested in notoriety than service. Selflessly helping others has lost its appeal, but it never loses its appeal God, as anyone practicing recovery will attest.

 

 

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17)

Jack Watts

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Our Lukewarm Generation

 

Refer to STEP 11:I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

—Helen Keller

 

In 1776, at the time of the American Revolution, how many people do you think were church member—members not attendees?

  • 5 percent
  • 25 percent
  • 35 percent
  • 55 percent
  • 75 percent

Before you answer, think about that generation of Christians for a moment. These early Christians influenced the founding of this nation and the Constitution that established the laws of the land. In many ways, we still live in the wake of their blessing a dozen generations later. Their influence has been that powerful.

Currently, more than 50 percent of Americans are church members, and our influence is pitifully weak—not just politically, but in service to our nation and to the world. If 50 percent can’t get the job done today, it must have taken 75 percent in the late-18th century, right?

Well, not exactly.

If you guessed 5 percent were church members, you were correct. That’s right, just one out of twenty, but being a believer in that era was far different than it is today. Those early Americans were strong, resilient men and women, whose faith impacted every aspect of their lives. In their era, making disciples was the emphasis—not evangelism.

In our generation, the emphasis is getting thousands of marginal believers to say they are members, and there is practically no emphasis on making them strong men and women, filled with knowledge and estimable character qualities. This shift in balance has weakened our impact upon society dramatically—much like Common Core has downsized educational excellence.

Christians in the 21st century like to blame Progressives, liberals and political correctness for the state of affairs, without taking a hard look at themselves. What has changed is the quality of Christians. We have dumbed down, while telling ourselves we are okay—worst of all, we believe it.

 

 

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end if the age (Matthew 28:18b-20).

Jack Watts

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Love One Another—No Matter What

 

 

Refer to Step 10:I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

 

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

 

Honestly, in our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But it isn’t, is it? And there’s no use pretending that this true, when it isn’t. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how you should differentiate between believers and non-believers. The Scriptures say that it’s by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say that you have a loving spirit, but it’s not true, that will also leave a lasting witness—one that carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract. This means you are making an impression no matter what you are doing.

If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not. Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts at witnessing ring hollow or actually turn people off.

 

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts

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Father,

My days were filled with gloom for so long

That I never thought joy would return to me,

But it has—with the best yet to come.

Like the relentless surge of the waves,

New life and new hope are returning to my soul.

You assured me that it would;

Comforting me with Your Word,

But my pain clouded my belief.

Journal: Write about your own experience. If you are still experiencing dark days, write about what you want for your life to look like when they are over.

God is good and can be trusted. An abusive spiritual leader is just a human who arrogates God’s authority to himself or herself inappropriately—nothing more, nothing less. Recognizing the error is appropriate, but blaming God for it isn’t. He is never abusive.

Journal: Write about your anger toward God, making special note about how your perspective has changed since you’ve been working at recovery.

For many, praying for themselves tends to become a habit, as their “self-centered thoughts” relentlessly consume them. The way out of this confine is to make a purposeful, concerted effort to stop praying for yourself, and start praying for others instead.

Question: Does this accurately depict you? If so, after having spent as much time as needed praying about your own abusive situation, try expending your energy on someone else. If you do, you will not be disappointed. It’s a positive step in your growth and an exercise where there is no downside.

In our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But it isn’t, is it? And there’s no use pretending that it’s true, when it’s not. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Journal:

React to the paragraph above, either agreeing or disagreeing with it. Name at least three things that either support or refute the statement.

Christians in the 21st century like to blame liberals and political correctness for the state of affairs, without taking a hard look at themselves. What has changed is the quality of Christians. We have dumbed down, while telling ourselves we are okay—worst of all, we believe it.

Journal: React to the paragraph above, either agreeing or disagreeing with it. Name at least three things that either support or refute the statement.

Jack Watts

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Love One Another—No Matter What

 

Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

In our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But it isn’t, is it? And there’s no use pretending that it’s true, when it’s not. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how you should differentiate between believers and non-believers. The Scriptures say that it’s by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say that you have a loving spirit, but it isn’t true, this will also leave a lasting impact—one your carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract.

This means that you are making an impression no matter what you are doing. If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not.

Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts to witness ring hollow or actually turn others off.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts

Read Full Post »


 

Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

Honestly, in our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But that isn’t necessarily the case, is it? There’s no use pretending that it’s true, when it’s not. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how believers and non-believers should be differentiated. The Scriptures say it is by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say you have a loving spirit, but it’s not true, that will also leave a lasting witness, which carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract.

This means you are making an impression no matter what you are doing. If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not.

Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts at witnessing ring hollow or actually turn people off.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts   My Story

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