Updates . . .

The Rising Light has recently undergone a number of changes, including a change of ownership (but not a change of focus)–and there are a lot of updates that need to occur to the website to fix problems that happened during the transition.


Please be patient with me as I update and upgrade the site, but in the next few weeks I hope to have new content coming to you all yet again.  Thanks in advance for your patience!


The *New* Rising Light Admin

Looking Back at the IHOPU Student Awakening

Gabriel Russ, a former intern at IHOP KC, described his experience with the IHOP KC Student Awakening in a lengthy but touching blog article he wrote called “Looking Back at the IHOPU Student Awakening“.  This article is both compelling and touching, and it is my hope that even as you read it, you will be reminded of the kindness, grace, and love of our Heavenly Father who desires to heal, change, and restore our hearts.  The entire article, found originally at his website (see the link above) is posted below:


“The following is a biographical sketch of the awakening that touched the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. This was a move of the Spirit that was specifically significant for me in a personal way since I had the privilege of being involved from its beginning. As my season at IHOPU comes to a close I believe it would be appropriate to revisit some of those stories to stir my faith and the faith of those reading to believe for the Lord to do it in other regions of the earth to which certain ones in the body of Christ are being sent. I am convinced that we whom the Lord was pleased to give this move are called to release it into the nations. I think about the coming days when revival is in full stride on a global scale and the ones facilitating it are the very ones I locked arms with for four years and laid on the ground next to as the Holy Spirit was simultaneously reconstructing our hearts. Not everything about this awakening was perfect but its results are undeniable; hearts were set on fire for the gospel, physical healings were commonplace, and they will never be taken away. Many people will look back on that period of ten months and be able to say that their lives never were the same after then. Looking back myself I am overwhelmed with the honor I had in praying for certain ones, which resulted in them being transformed on the spot. Though I cannot remember who they were I can remember the random people who would come up to me a year or so after the awakening ended and would tell me that I had prayed for them at an awakening meeting and they met God. Above all it is a humbling experience to hear things like this. I hope once again to have my faith and the faith of those I come in contact with stirred to believe for another wave of the Spirit that will surpass the last. I believe that the awakening was just the beginning of a new season of revival that the Lord is going to release on the earth. The stories to follow are real accounts of what the Lord did in a period of ten months and are no limit to what He will do again.

On November 4, 2009, only a few months after the ten-year anniversary of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC), the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU) was having their normal chapel service as they did on the first Wednesday of every month. It was at this time that the senior class had ended a forty-day fast asking for the Lord to come visit IHOPU with a move of His Spirit. The chapel service continued as normal and Allen Hood, the president of IHOPU, called for a time of testimonies. A girl by the name of Mai Aiello (now Mai Fink) took the microphone and began to tell of how the Lord had set her free from self-hatred. She told her story of how she had nearly been raped when she was younger and as a result had deep wounds of shame in her heart that had manifested physically in a digestive tract disorder. She had been in Montana at a healing service a few weeks before where a leader of the church had prayed for her digestive condition to be healed. It was later revealed that the root of this disorder was the brokenness of her heart that had developed a stronghold of shame and despair on her life. This same leader prayed for freedom from self-hatred and shame that had taken hold of her because of a past experience where a boy about her same age had attempted to rape her. When he prayed for her she was instantly set free of all shame and bitterness toward herself that had taken a hold of her heart and her digestive tract was restored instantly. After sharing this story she prayed for everyone in the room who wanted to be free from this stronghold of self-hatred. Many students that night experienced the same freedom that Mai had been given and thus the fire of the awakening had begun to spread.

I remember one particular night before November 11 when I was in the prayer room as a part of a requirement for my internship and there was a group of first-year IHOPU students in a side room who were being particularly noisy. Everyone’s curiosity was a bit stirred by this, which caused the pacing lane in front of the door to the side room to become fairly crowded. Curiosity got the best of me and I eventually ventured into the side room to see what all the commotion was. The door closed behind me and I was instantly met with hands being laid all over my torso. I immediately felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room and on my body. There really was a sense of overwhelming peace that came over me. I wasn’t really sure what was happening but it was evident that the Lord was moving.

A week after the chapel service classes at IHOPU resumed as normal and on November 11, 2009 Wes Hall prepared to teach on Israel in the first-year class called Forerunner Curriculum. Nobody had any inkling as to what would happen on this day. At nine in the morning when class began Wes felt prompted by the Lord to wait on the Holy Spirit. This resulted in students being massively touched by the Lord and finding their identity in Him. “Some were lying on the floor, others were weeping, and some were laughing,” said Hall, who led the class with Allen Hood, president of the ministry school.[1] Wes Hall who was a lawyer from England and was normally very reserved was on this day described as “walking like a chicken”[2] and being weighed down by the presence of the Lord. Wes described the event saying he was hanging on to the pulpit and kneeling because he could not stand. He even said that if the pulpit had not been there he would have been prostrate on the floor of the stage. News of this outpouring spread rapidly to the rest of the missions base and soon hundreds of people were joining the class late in the afternoon that was scheduled to dismiss at noon. This meeting would last for over fifteen hours with testimonies of physical and emotional healings happening constantly.

News spread to the entire IHOPKC community that something unusual was happening at the Forerunner Christian Fellowship (FCF) auditorium Just about 2 miles down the road from the main Global Prayer Room (GPR). It was early afternoon and the One Thing Internship (OTI) that I was a part of was in our normal core class. This is where I first learned about the meeting that was taking place down the road and I was not a little curious about what exactly was going on. That night the GPR went on as normal and the 24/7 prayer meeting continued. A group of interns and myself begged our intern director, Ron Downing, to allow us to go to FCF instead of our prayer room commitment. He declined our request and stressed the importance of keeping our sacred commitment to be in the prayer room. All of us decided however to hold our own prayer meetings in side rooms where we experienced the joy and delight of the Lord. The ushers – whose duty it was to keep the prayer room quiet in order to maintain a sacred atmosphere of prayer – didn’t know what to do with us. Some demanded that we keep quiet while others came into the side rooms and were overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord and thus unable to continue ushering. Ashley Prior was leading worship at 8pm that night and she and her team became overwhelmed by the power of the Spirit. It was evident that the outpouring they were experiencing at FCF was not contained by those four walls but had spread to anyone who was hungry for it.

We were all pleased to learn that at 10pm that night the leadership of IHOPKC had planned to relocate the GPR to the FCF building for the remainder of the night. Our curfew for our internship was normally 12:15am but for this particular night Ron allowed us to be at the meeting until 4am. I remember the first night being like nothing I had ever seen before. People everywhere were laid out on the floor completely lost in the presence of the Holy Spirit, others had the appearance of being intoxicated (often referred to as “drunk in the Spirit”), and some were shaking uncontrollably. There was also another group of people who felt nothing and even were laughing at and making fun of those who were being touched physically. It was an unusual night to say the least but was filled with power and freedom. I remember the entire back row section where the bleachers are being one long “fire tunnel” where anyone who was passing through was immediately apprehended by a dozen intercessors releasing the fire of the Spirit on them.

The next day signs were posted on the doors of the prayer room, which read something like this, “Due to the unusual move of the Spirit the prayer room will move to the FCF auditorium tonight at 6pm.” That day my internship had our normal “Burn Class” with Corey Russell, one of the senior leaders at IHOPKC and attributed with his fiery personality and passion for the knowledge of God. Instead of teaching he called for a time of ministry. I went forward with many others with a desire to know God as my Father. A young man laid his hand on me and I instantly fell on the floor and was overwhelmed with the love of my Father and began crying out loudly and testifying, “I am a son of God! I am a son of God” That same day some interns gathered around me and prayed for my legs to grow longer (I have always wanted to be taller) and that day I grew an entire inch! It is hard to explain what actually happened in me but I remember laying my head down to sleep that night and being overwhelmed with a sense of security. The only way I know how to explain it is that I felt as though I had been an orphan my entire life, had just been adopted, and was spending my first night in my new parents’ home.

The following week – all IHOPU classes being cancelled – the leadership of IHOPKC decided to hold nightly meetings from 6pm-12am and introduced the name they were giving the movement as the “IHOPU Student Awakening.” IHOPKC soon released the following statement on their website: “The Lord began an awakening amongst our students on November 11, 2009. Since that time, we have been holding extended meetings as the Lord continues to pour out His presence. Before November 11, the Holy Spirit began moving in the hearts of the students to prepare them for this move of God. The students passed through a season of confessing sins, repenting, and engaging in several twenty-one-day, student-led fasts.”[3] They began with a two-week trial run of meetings from Wednesday-Saturday from 6-12 and then made the decision to continue these meetings until the Lord told them to stop.

Wes Hall and Allen Hood were placed in main leadership of the movement and were the facilitators of the meetings. During the awakening a new department was introduced called the Testimonies department. There was a section closed off during the meetings with stacks of paper on clipboards available to anyone who had a testimony of healing or deliverance to write down and it was documented in IHOPKC’s records. Most of the testimonies that came out of the awakening were a result of people who were in the congregation praying for those who raised their hand to receive prayer. Wes and Allen prayed for a few people but mostly the Lord was working through His entire body. As these testimonies began being shared it became evident that the Holy Spirit was not only moving in the small community of IHOPKC but was visiting the city of Kansas City.

On one occasion there was a man who worked at a casino in downtown Kansas City who had begun backsliding from the Lord. He also had issues with his wrist and was in constant pain. One night he was considering how he should return to the Lord and saw a shuttle bus from IHOPKC and decided to follow it. The shuttle led him to the FCF auditorium where the awakening service was being held as normal. He walked into the service and was a little surprised by what he saw to say the least. People gathered around him and began praying for him, which resulted in his wrist being healed instantly. He rededicated his life to the Lord and, after sharing his testimony, Wes Hall prayed for him, he fell to the floor, and was laying on the stage for about an hour under the power of the Holy Spirit.

There was another girl named Ashley who was a part of the One Thing Internship that took place after my internship had ended. The entire internship after mine was a quite interesting one actually in that many salvations and much deliverance took place among its members. Ashley had come to IHOPKC from Texas drunk or high and wanted nothing to do with Jesus. She had been raped about a month prior to coming to do the One Thing Internship and had developed a deep sense of self-hatred, which caused her to give herself over to a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. She had done this to rid herself of all the bad memories of her past that were constantly oppressing her. When she arrived at IHOPKC against her will she was not happy with what she encountered. She was convinced that the place was a cult and began contacting her sister who had forced her to come and begged her to get her out. She eventually came around and thought she would try this thing out, so she had her core leader, Rachel Weyman, pray for her. As soon as Rachel prayed for her the memories she had of her past were completely gone. She would try to think of a negative memory from the past and was unable to do so. All she could see was what she described as whiteness. Before she was set free Ashley said that she had a vision of Jesus standing before her with His arms open telling her all she had to do was run to Him. In the vision she was literally unable to move though she wanted to run to Him. After being set free she was presented with the same vision but this time she ran to Him and embraced Him. After this, she and Jesus began break-dancing together. The last part sounds unusual but it was a testimony to Ashley that Jesus actually cares about things she cares about and loves her for who she is. I do not have time nor space to tell of the rest of the testimonies that took place within the One Thing Internship alone. It may be safe to say that the entire internship got saved though.

The main message that was released in the awakening was that Jesus doesn’t only love His people; He likes us. Allen Hood began trumpeting the message of Isaiah 62 where the Lord speaks to Israel saying, “…You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, [4] After this message was given people everywhere began writing on their bathroom mirrors the word “Hephzibah” to remind themselves of the way Jesus sees them. This was the reason for all the miracles that were taking place. Jesus was healing thousands of people physically and emotionally not because we were begging Him to – we weren’t – but it was rather because He genuinely delights in us and wants His people walking in wholeness. This was the message preached almost every night but it never got old. It wasn’t just words being articulated by a gifted preacher, but it was a real message that was being confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The leadership of the movement did well to give the Holy Spirit room to move from what I saw. Wes Hall gives his own take on his experience as a leader in an interview on March, 9, 2013. “I think the biggest challenge as a leader is you want to take your responsibility seriously as part of an organization but you want to let the Holy Spirit move as freely as He can. And sometimes it’s walking that tension where the Holy Spirit wants to move and you take the microphone. [You have to trust] the Holy Spirit to do what He loves to do; that’s the hardest thing to do. I think sometimes the Holy Spirit [wanted] to do things and I took the microphone too soon to be honest. I think when you’re the leader you can end up taking yourself too seriously and end up jealously guarding something that you feel passionate about, not even realizing that the Lord is jealously guarding it more than you are. [The biggest temptation is to] adopt behavior styles and ways of acting that you did spontaneously under the anointing of the Holy Spirit without thinking about it. And you want to get back to that place so somehow it’s in your subconscious that ‘If I do these things, if I move this way, if I speak these phrases the Holy Spirit will move in the same way.’ It becomes a ritual. It becomes like a religious spirit [and we think] if we do these things the Holy Spirit will move in this way. If we stand and say ‘Come Holy Spirit’ the Holy Spirit will move. It’s not rooted out of malice, it’s rooted in hunger to see the Lord move more. But the reality is when God wants to move He’s going to move. I can’t manipulate God, I can’t make God do something He is not doing. The biggest thing is recognizing when the season is birthed and recognizing when it’s over and moving with the Lamb.”[5]

Opposition arose to the movement from certain ones accusing IHOPKC of being a cult and brainwashing their students. Some were saying that the spirit that was being poured out was a demonic outpouring and warnings went out on the Internet to anyone who would read them to stay away from the Awakening. More research reveals that those speaking out against the movement had a problem with the ministry of Mike Bickle to begin with. Thus their views were biased at best. The biggest opposition however was not that the outpouring was demonic but that there was no outpouring at all and was simply man-made hype. Mike Bickle answered this accusation by admitting that some people would act in the flesh but concluded that this fact does not annul this move of God. Regardless of these oppositions the awakening continued to strengthen and its influence increased. Testimonies began coming in via the Internet of people who were watching on the live Webstream or on GodTV. Some testimonies of people being raised from the dead were given in this way.

On October 9, 2010 the leadership of IHOPKC ended the nightly awakening meetings after many of the senior leaders heard from the Lord each individually that it was time to bring them to a close. The awakening meetings were discontinued in order to take a step back and prepare for the next greater wave. Mike Bickle released this statement at the end of the meetings: “The awakening leadership received a word from the Lord from several people, leading them to the conclusion that it was time to discontinue the awakening services for a season. At that time, the nightly meetings were full of life and full of people, yet Wes Hall, Allen Hood, and the awakening leadership team responded in obedience to the word from the Lord. It is very unusual for leaders to stop such meetings when they are full and successful by every human standard. The fruit from laboring for eleven months in this time of awakening (November 2009 to October 2010) is very good. We received over 6,000 testimonies of emotional and physical healing from all over the world and we have had the privilege of baptizing over 1,700 people. I am very proud of the excellent leadership of Wes Hall and Allen Hood and their team. The IHOP–KC family is in a much better place because of their labors.” Unlike other movements in the past the awakening ended at the choice of the leadership and no scandal was involved. So now, nearly three years after the end of the awakening things have returned to normal, but the expectation for another move is always on the minds of IHOPKC staff and students. Though the meetings have ended the awakening still continues and we wait for the Lord to move again.”


[2] I have heard Wes describe himself in this way many times

[4] The New King James Version. 1982 (Is 62:2–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Wes Hall quoted on March 9, 2013


Resurrection Power – Training to Raise The Dead

In this 2-part training series, the Inside Out Equipping Team teaches on how to raise the dead.  Inside Out Training and Equipping is a ministry founded by Cheryl Fritz.  The ministry is a free supernatural training school that uses Skype to disciple believers around the globe to do signs, wonders, miracles, healing, prophecy, and much more.  The speakers in this particular class all have some experience with raising the dead.

Visit their Website or join them on Facebook.










Spiritual Discernment according to the Bible while Keeping the Unity of the Believers

As Christians, we are called to love one another and build one another up in the faith. Jesus prayed concerning all believers: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17: 23)

Unfortunately, as I research what God is doing in our day I come across too many Christians sitting around criticizing and condemning their brothers and sisters in Christ instead of building them up. This saddens me and I pray that the body of believers will come to love one another as Jesus desired. Only then will the world truly see Jesus in us.

There is a deep division in the body of Christ. Jesus warned that a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe that there is room for disagreement and alternate perspectives within the body of Christ; but what worries me is when portions of the body begin attacking other portions of the body. These attacks come from deep-rooted misunderstanding of what the other members of the body stand for and confusion regarding how we are to discern whether a movement or a miracle is from God or not. My hope is that this article can bring understanding and ultimately unity to the body of Christ.

Two Perspectives

At issue here are two perspectives within Christianity:

On the one hand, there are the charismatic-leaning Christians who believe that supernatural giftings [Greek: khárisma] of the Holy Spirit as described in I Corinthians 12 and other places are still an important and valid part of the Christian life today . The charismatics believe that God is still speaking to his children and that God has empowered us to supernaturally do his work in the earth.

On the other hand, there are the cessationist-leaning Christians who tend to believe that after the canon of scripture was sealed God no longer needed to endow his church with miraculous supernatural giftings — that those giftings of the Holy Spirit have ceased to be a part of Christian life today. These brothers and sisters in Christ explain that those giftings were only meant to confirm the word of God as preached by the apostles and now that we have the full canon of scriptures there is no need for revelation of God’s truth and there is no need to confirm the revelation of God’s truth with signs and wonders.


Many cessationists are dedicated to protecting the Bible’s authority in the Christian’s life and are anxious to keep people from being misled by miracle working teachers who might lead people into false doctrine. They fear that people may trust the miracles as evidence of the teacher’s authority instead of relying on the Bible for that authority in a Christian’s life.

Some cessationists spend much time trying to cast doubt on miracles and when the miracles are convincing they argue that the source of the miracle-working power is demonic. They also like to discredit charismatic Christian men and women whose ministries are supernaturally empowered. They consider these Christian men and women to be dangerous to the faith.

I know that these people – who consider themselves to be apologists for the faith – sincerely believe that the charismatic Christians are in error. I pray that this article will help bring a better understanding of who the charismatics are and why they value the supernatural, miraculous power of God in their lives.  I also pray that all Christians – whether cessationist-leaning or charismatic-leaning – will give themselves over to the great command of Jesus to love one another.

Condemning and criticizing brothers and sisters in the faith does not display God’s love in our lives. We should love all of our brothers and sisters whether we agree with their theology or not. That means that charismatics should love even the brothers and sisters in Christ who criticize and attack our spiritual brothers and sisters. That means that cessationists should love the men and women who rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to share God’s good news with the hurting people of the world.

Furthermore, loving one another means that when any of our brothers or sisters – even one of our pastors or leaders of the faith – are caught in a sin we should not cast stones but we should seek true restoration for that person (Galations 6:1). We should follow Jesus’ example. He has never turned his back on us even though we have often let him down and fallen into sins. He has always been eager to embrace us and restore us and build us up.

Understanding These Two Perspectives

Having said that, let me shed some light on these two dominant perspectives found in Christianity. Let us seek understanding and come to love the hearts of our brothers and sisters – whether we agree with them or not.


Both charismatics and cessationists believe the Bible reliably reveals God, God’s love, and God’s way of salvation. Charismatics and cessationists trust the Bible to be our invaluable source of sound doctrine.

The cessationist might complain that charismatics allow for additional revelations besides the Bible. But to be fair we should point out that, although charismatics allow for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and give guidance, they believe that any true revelation from God will not contradict what God has already revealed in scripture. In fact, charismatics teach that any true revelation from God will be supported and confirmed by scripture and will be consistent with what has already been revealed in scripture.

There is a fundamental difference in the way charismatics and cessationists approach the Bible. Charismatics notice that throughout the Bible people are having direct encounters with God. They see frequent miracles throughout the Old and New Testaments, they see personal guidance given to God’s people by God himself (for example see Acts 18:9 where the Lord spoke encouraging words to Paul in a vision), and they see verses seeming to indicate that all believers should function in the supernatural (see the last words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel According to Mark where he says believers will drive out demons, speak in new tongues, heal the sick by laying on of hands and so forth and see Jesus’ words recorded in John 14 where he says anyone who has faith in him will do what he has been doing and even greater things). Charismatics also see that Paul set a pattern for sharing the Gospel that worked very well for him: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” These words are found in I Corinthians 2. And again in Romans 15 he said “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit.” (also see I Corinthians 4:20 and I Thessalonians 1:4-5 for similar statements from Paul).

Charismatics see the Bible as a window into what Christians are to be like. They see people who experience God’s love in a personal and real way (Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” John 14:21). These people in the Bible experience God’s love and healing and are set free from Satan’s kingdom of darkness. They are empowered to share Jesus’ love and grace with the world.

For charismatics it is not enough to know the stories and the truths of the Bible – they want to also live like the heroes of the faith, whom they see as biblical examples of what our relationship with God can be like.

Meanwhile some Christians (especially cessationists) treat the Bible as more of a history book that documents some unchanging truths. These Christians focus on believing the truths of the Bible but have trouble letting the supernatural experiences of the Bible off the pages into their own lives.

The 72 disciples found in the Bible who went out and healed people and cast out demons in Jesus’ name are not seen by cessationists as a model for today’s Christians. Instead, they are seen as a one-time, special-case, historical event. These Christians prefer to focus on theological truths regarding the process of salvation. They shy away from modern-day Christians with gifts of healing and prophecy for fear that these modern-day events and practices might get more attention than the historical events and teachings found in the Bible.

Some even go so far as to take scriptures out of context in an attempt to prove that these modern-day practicing Christians are illegitimate. An example of this is when they quote I Corinthians 13:8 – “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” – and say that this shows that prophecy and tongues were meant to cease in the church. They sidestep the problem that if this verse means what they say it does then knowledge should have also ceased in the church. Knowledge is of course very important to them. Meanwhile, knowledge joined with practice and experience are important to the charismatics.

To put things into perspective, consider two students of biology. They have both thoroughly studied the chapter of their textbook on animal dissection. One of the students does not get to have the experience of dissecting an animal but the other does. The student who dissects the pig finds it to be a messy, fascinating experience. He finds the experience much different than he had imagined it to be while he was studying the textbook. Not to say that the textbook was in error in any way. He simply found that the study joined with the experience led to the fullest and most meaningful education. One student can parrot the explanation from the textbook and has a very pristine and orderly view of dissection. The other student benefits from the raw experience of actually dissecting a pig according to the instructions found in the textbook.

How Big is that Box?

Whether cessationist-leaning OR charismatic-leaning Christians, believers nearly always have God inside a box. Some allow for bigger boxes for God than others but they have him in a box all the same. Many Christians feel like they know about God and they have him figured out. They feel qualified to determine if a message or a miracle came from God or not because they know what kinds of things God does and what he says.

Interestingly, these Christians usually do not have such a box for Satan. So, when something happens outside of their God-box, they say it couldn’t have been God and must have been the Devil.


One of the boxes that Christians have God in is no bigger than their pocket-sized Bibles. They have decided that God only does the things that were specifically recorded in the Bible.

For example, these Christians see people miraculously receiving gold fillings in their teeth and say that it couldn’t have been from God since that particular miracle was never recorded in the Bible.

Ironically this idea that God can only do the things that were written about in the canon of scripture is not taught anywhere in the Bible. God never put such a restraint on himself.

The scriptures were never intended to exhaustively reveal everything that our all-powerful, eternal God has done and will do. In fact, the Gospel of John concludes with this statement: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

This verse of scripture clearly indicates that the Bible is not intended to tell us everything that God has done. Furthermore, like I said before, there is no scripture that says that God will not do a new thing or that he is limited by what has been included in the canon of scriptures.

In fact, Psalm 115:3 puts it bluntly: “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”

Also, notice that in John 14:12 Jesus says that his followers will do even greater things than he ever did during his ministry. So, Christians are not limited by what Jesus did. What he did was meant to be a foundation for us to build upon through our faith and reliance on God’s power and the Holy Spirit imparted to us.

Sadly, many Christians are experts in Biblical scholarship and know all the things in the Bible but when God does something in their lives they miss it because it doesn’t fit into their framework. To such people Jesus spoke this warning in John 5:39: “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me.”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were very well studied scholars of scripture but they misunderstood what God was doing in their own day. They missed out on Jesus. They condemned him and accused him of doing miracles by Satan’s power because what Jesus was doing didn’t fit into their understanding of the scriptures. They had a chance to be intimately familiar with God in the flesh but they totally misunderstood him and plotted his destruction.

Let us discern correctly the moves of God in our day and be careful to not miss out on what God is doing now. God is active and anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear and understands what God is doing has the opportunity to join God in the mighty work he is doing in our generation!

Discerning the Genuine from the Counterfeit

We are commanded in scripture to be on guard against false teachings and are warned that just because miracles are performed does not necessarily mean the teacher is from God or is speaking the truth. In fact, we are told that the beast’s false prophet will perform great miraculous signs including calling down fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13 and 19:20). Jesus also warned that false messiahs and false prophets will come who will perform great signs and miracles to deceive God’s chosen people (Matthew 24:24).

So, what are we to do? Should we reject every wondrous sign and miracle and assume that all such things are from the enemy? Should we bury our heads in the pages of the Bible where we know the miracles and teachings are safe and reliable?


But don’t those very same pages in the Bible tell us that anyone who believes in Jesus will do the miracles that Jesus did and even greater ones? (John 14:12) Doesn’t Paul the Apostle instruct the believers to eagerly desire spiritual gifts? (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Is it right to ignore the parts of scripture that don’t match our personal experiences? Should we discourage Christians who are walking out spiritual truths that we are uncomfortable with? Should we reject anything supernatural for fear that it may come from evil spirits instead of the Holy Spirit and God’s holy angels?

In their eagerness to avoid being misled, some Christians tend to label every supernatural miracle as being a counterfeit miracle. And, in fact, there may very well be counterfeit miracles as scripture clearly warns us: ‘The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.’ (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

But, please keep in mind that for there to be a counterfeit there must also be the real thing that the counterfeit is modeled after. God is the creator; not Satan.

God is the creator. God specializes in creating. That is what comes naturally to him.

Satan, on the other hand, can steal what God created, he can kill what God created, and he can destroy what God created (John 10:10). He can even counterfeit God’s creations. But let’s not give Satan credit for creating a new miracle. God is the creator. Satan is the thief.

God created every kind of miracle and supernatural wonder. Satan is not creative at all. He can only produce weak forgeries of the true wonders of God. Name any supernatural work that devils do and I can point to the real thing in Jesus. Psychic readings? Those are cheap counterfeits of true prophecy. The beast’s false prophet calling fire down from heaven? That is just a copy of what God already did numerous times in the Old Testament. Levitating a few feet of the ground by demonic power? That is wimpy compared to Jesus walking on water and ascending all the way up into the clouds to return to heaven. Every counterfeit miracle and sign and wonder demonically produced has a very real counterpart with its origins in God’s power.

Let’s also consider that only truly valuable things are counterfeited. For example, do we have a problem with forgeries of pennies? No! We have forgeries of $100 bills. Do we have counterfeits of brown paper bags? No! We have forgeries of masterpiece paintings. If it is truly valuable then you can expect someone to try to counterfeit it. The fact that signs and wonders are counterfeited tells me that the real thing is valuable. And of course it is valuable because the real thing points to the power and presence of God in the lives of people on earth. Now, because there is forged money out there, will I reject all money? Of course not! Instead, if I don’t want to be deceived, I will learn how to discern if the money is real or counterfeit.

The Biblical Discernment Test

Now, in regards to discerning the current moves of God, the Bible gives us some clear instructions.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we can judge whether a tree is good or bad by its fruit. So, true teachers and miracles from God should cause people to have positively changed lives given over to the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Furthermore, in I John 4 we are told that we can know if a spirit (and incidentally a prophet) is from God or not by whether the spirit honors Jesus for who he really is or not.

Also remember what Jesus said when he was accused of doing miracles by the power of demons. He explained in Mark 3 that there are two kingdoms at war and that we can know which kingdom is sponsoring a move by determining which kingdom is being attacked. So, in the case of Jesus driving out demons, it is evident that the kingdom being attacked is Satan’s kingdom which would indicate that God’s kingdom is sponsoring the attack.

From this teaching we can learn if a movement is from God or from Satan by determining which side is taking a hit from the movement.

Jesus also warns us in this passage not to blaspheme the movement of God’s Spirit by giving Satan credit for what God is doing.

Often I hear my brothers and sisters giving credit to Satan’s minions for signs and wonders that are causing thousands of people to wholeheartedly give their lives to Jesus. Can I just point out that if demons are doing those miracles that they must be the stupidest demons ever?!? Why would a demon do a miracle that will cause people to stand in awe of God Almighty and to give praise to God Almighty and to commit their lives to God Almighty and to have increased faith in God Almighty?

Demons do not work to glorify God and lift up the name of Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit and God’s angels ARE working to glorify Jesus.

So, after looking at these scriptures, we can see that we can clearly discern the source of a spiritual movement or a miracle by asking a series of questions:

What is the fruit like? (Matthew 7:15-23)

Is Jesus honored for all that he is? (1 John 4:1-3)

Is Satan’s kingdom losing ground? (Mark 3:22-30)

Is Jesus’ kingdom gaining ground? (Mark 3:22-30)

And as we have already discussed, we can discern whether a teaching or revelation is from God by going back to scripture to check if the teaching or revelation is consistent with scripture. So, we will add one more question:

Is it consistent with scripture? (2 Timothy 3:16)

Now, let’s take a look at a particular Student Awakening that occurred on a campus several years ago. The primary theme of the Student Awakening was hearts being healed and discovering the love of Jesus in a very personal, real way. There were physical healings and students were set free from addictions. The net result was students falling in love with Jesus.

Now let’s apply the Bible’s discernment test…

Fruit of the Tree Good: YES

Jesus Honored for All  that He Is: YES

Satan’s Kingdom Losing Ground:  YES

Jesus’ Kingdom Gaining Ground: YES

Consistent with what is Revealed in Scripture: YES
(In scripture, God is revealed as a Healer who Loves Us)

That was fun. Now, let’s use our discernment test on a supernatural phenomenon occurring in modern times.

We will take a look at the manifestation of gold fillings as well as gold crowns. These are signs and wonders putting God’s mark on people in a way that can only be explained by the supernatural. These are very personal manifestations that tell the people to whom they occur that God is real and that God cares about them. In this way, God becomes a very real, powerful being in the lives of these people instead of an abstract idea somewhere up there in heaven. People are giving their lives over to God as they realize that He is extremely real and cares about them. Each time they look in the mirror and see the gold filling they remember that God does miracles in their life and they worship him and give Him all their worries.

Now let’s apply the Bible’s discernment test to these miracles…

Fruit of the Tree Good: YES

Jesus Honored for All  that He Is: YES

Satan’s Kingdom Losing Ground:  YES

Jesus’ Kingdom Gaining Ground: YES

Consistent with what is Revealed in Scripture: YES
(In scripture, God is revealed as a Healer who Cares about Each of Us)

Now, let’s look at one more spiritual movement.

There is a man in Florida named Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda who claims to be the modern-day manifestation of Jesus Christ. He also claims the title of Antichrist. He discourages anyone from worshiping the Jesus that most Christians worship since he believes that he is Jesus’ replacement and claims to be even better than Jesus. Furthermore, he teaches that there is no devil, no hell, and no sin – even murder is not a sin according to this man’s teaching. He encourages his followers to put away all feelings of guilt and to enjoy every pleasure that life has to offer including gluttony, satisfying all sexual appetites, and so on. He also teaches that there is no point in praying to God. His followers are encouraged to demonstrate against Christian churches and whole Christian denominations because they are classified by him as false religions.

Now, let’s apply the Bible’s discernment test to this movement:

Fruit of the Tree Good: NO

Jesus Honored for All  that He Is: NO

Satan’s Kingdom Losing Ground:  NO

Jesus’ Kingdom Gaining Ground: NO

Consistent with what is Revealed in Scripture: NO
(In scripture, there is only one Jesus Christ and his true followers live lives of love and holiness)

This test can be easily applied to any supernatural or prophetic movement. Just be careful to look at the evidence without your personal theology and biases coloring your perspective.

Examine scripture to see if a movement or a message clearly contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ and the early apostles or not. While you are studying the scriptures, remember to be open to seeing the scriptures in a fresh light and be careful to comprehend the point of what the writer of the scripture was really trying to say.

Jose Miranda, mentioned above, tries to confuse people by quoting from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians where it says “everything is permissible.” He takes these words out of context to scripturally support his teaching that there is no sin. He conveniently ignores that Paul is actually quoting other people in that verse and he ignores the many verses warning against immoral living — even in the same chapter.

We can also see that Jose’s claims directly contradict Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24: “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

 Can You Recognize the Children of God?

Our biases and personal experiences often cause us to make wrong judgments. For example, imagine you are worshiping in your usual spot in your church one Sunday morning when you see a man fall to his knees and begin shaking and crying and then laughing. We can only see in the natural realm and too often we make spiritual judgments based on our five natural senses. We might even throw in some scripture to justify our judgments. We might think to ourselves, “That man is not being self-controlled and he is not worshiping in an orderly fashion.” In this way, we stand in judgment over that man based on our superficial understanding of what is happening. We can only see what is happening on the outside in the realm of nature. What we don’t know is that this man is having a supernatural encounter with Jesus. If we saw Jesus like this man was seeing him and if we were being radically set free from the wounds of past trauma like this man, we would understand how appropriate it is to be on our knees shaking with strong emotions before the feet of the Living God who created the universe and has poured out his life on the cross to rescue us into his heavenly kingdom.

Please beware of nitpicking a true work of God. Don’t miss out on supporting a genuine move of God in our day.

The Bible encourages us to discern, but we need to be able to discern correctly. We should follow the biblical discernment test outlined above so we don’t fall into the trap of the Pharisees who called the true work of God in their day the work of Satan and became guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, they rejected Jesus Christ the Son of God. How many children of God have we rejected and criticized because we were judging them by our personal standards instead of following the Bible’s discernment test?

I love all of my brothers and sisters in Christ and plead with each one of you to be slow to condemn the men and women who are trying to serve God. No one except Jesus is perfect. But isn’t the Good News that we are loved and accepted by God through Christ’s finished work on the cross despite our imperfections? Isn’t it wonderful that God has chosen to use imperfect jars of clay to carry his treasures? (2 Corinthians 4:7)


Let us carry in our lives the attitude of Christ who looked down from the cross to those mocking him and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

I am so glad that we serve a merciful God who is eager to forgive us of all our sins. He knows our hearts and understands our motives, but he wants to give us his heart and he wants his goals to be what drives us. Let’s put away our divisive attitudes and truly love and lift one another up in the spirit of humility and grace.

The standard for our unity is the unity between the Son and the Father in the holy trinity. Hear Jesus’ words: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the apostle’s] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21) Now, Jesus and God the Father enjoy complete harmony and unity and share a single purpose. Jesus desires that we all get along with one another and support one another just as Jesus and the Father are completely unified. Furthermore, we are meant to be completely unified with Jesus and the Father. All of us – Jesus, the Father, you, and me – share the same Spirit and should be completely unified. When this happens, the world will truly see the body of Christ in the earth.

Commanding a Tornado to Leave

A tornado is seen growing in strength and coming toward a group of Christians in the Philippines. They pray in tongues to command it to leave and their prayers drive the tornado back into the sky.

Let this be a reminder that Christ commanded the storm to be still and it obeyed. Later Christ told his disciples that whatever miracles he did they and other believers would also do — and they would even do greater miracles than him too.

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
~ words of Jesus Christ as recorded in John 14:11-14

Who I Am In Christ

Throughout the Apostolic letters — epistles — of the New Testament we find references to us being in Christ and what that means to who we are.

Here are a couple of examples:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  ~ 1 Corinthians 5:17

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. ~ Galatians 3:26-27

As long as we are IN CHRIST, we share in who Christ is. Christ becomes our new identity. We come to share in Christ’s attributes.

Some of the attributes we share with Christ are as follows:

Child of God

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. ~ John 1:18

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. ~ Romans 8:29

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. ~ John 1:12-13


What scripture says about Christ Jesus and those In Christ

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

Priest of God

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. ~ Hebrews 7:26-28

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9

Temple of God

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. ~ John 2:19-21

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” ~ John 14:23

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17


What scripture says about Christ Jesus

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. ~ Matthew 9:35

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” ~  Christ Jesus in John 14:12

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. ~ James 5:16

Has Eternal Life

What scripture says about Christ Jesus and those In Christ

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. ~ 1 John 5:11-12

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” ~ John 11:25

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. ~ Christ Jesus in John 14:19

Heir of God

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. ~ Hebrews 1:2

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. ~ Romans 8:17

Enjoys Union with God

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” ~ John 14:9-10

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. ~ Colossians 2:9

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. ~ Hebrews 1:3

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. ~ John 14:20

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” ~ John 14:23

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. ~ 2 Peter 1:4

Lives in Heaven

What scripture says about Christ Jesus

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. ~ Ephesians 1:19-21

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 2:6


What scripture says about Christ Jesus

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

What scripture says about those who are In Christ

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. ~ Revelation 12:10-11

There are many more aspects of Christ that we share when we join ourselves with him. We bind ourselves with Christ through faith and by faith we participate in the life of Christ.

The sacrament of baptism is a dramatic illustration of the spiritual transaction taking place in our hearts: In Christ we die and are buried. We are dead and gone. In Christ we are raised up with New Life as New Beings. We are one with Christ and share in Christ’s life. Our previous life is dead and buried — it is done and away with. Because Christ lives, we live. We are completely new beings in Christ and take on the heart and mind and life of Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  ~ 1 Corinthians 5:17

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. ~ Galatians 3:26-27


The Truth about Religious Spirits and How to Deal with Them

It is commonly believed that religious spirits are demons that promote the following characteristics in people: Judgementalism, Sel-Righteousness, Criticism of Others, Legalism, Divisiveness, Being Argumentative, Condemning of Others, and Intolerance of Differences. The favorite pastimes for afflicted individuals are Witch Hunts, Witch Burnings, and — when no witches can be found — Making Witches.

Monty Python witch hunt mob
Monty Python witch hunt mob

People who have discovered the amazing grace and unconditional love of God find the above attitudes to be very disturbing. One of my friends became so frustrated with these attitudes that he posted in exasperation:


If you are a Christian who finds yourself bothered by the judgmentalism and divisiveness of religious spirits, then you’ll want to read on. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful to you.

The Grace-Centered, Free Christian

You likely find judgmentalism, divisiveness, and anti-grace messages to be so repulsive because you have found the freedom that is found in Christ. You have discovered God’s unconditional and wonderful love and you have found out that nothing matters except Christ and your relationship to him. It is only in and through Christ that you have perfect relationship with God. There is nothing you can add to it or take from it. You know that all your righteous practices are like filthy rags. You know that it is Christ alone who makes you righteous.

Moreover, you have discovered just how completely righteous and holy and godly Christ has made you. You have discovered your sonship, your priesthood, that you are a co-heir with Christ and that you have the Holy Trinity in all their glory and power filling you and surrounding you. All of this gives you incredible freedom, joy, life, peace, and love – you have taken on the character of Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in your life: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Like a man freed from years of slavery, you absolutely hate and despise the chains that used to bind you and still bind much of your universal family. You know that those chains have no power for anyone who receives the freedom and life that God offers them through Christ Jesus so it pains you to see your family members continuing to be held back by relatively powerless chains. You want them free and cannot understand why they don’t call out to God and shake loose from the chains.


You are like the Apostle Paul in Galatians exasperated to see people who should be living as free men still living like slaves to rules of dos and dont’s–touch and don’t touch, associate and don’t associate, eat this and don’t eat that.

The Root of the Religious Mindset

People bound to religious rules of dos and don’ts are relying on their rules to connect to God. They only feel made worthy to be connected to God BY spending X number of hours praying and reading the Bible, BY going to church service, BY wearing the right clothes, BY confessing the proper doctrines with their mouths, BY doing the right charitable acts, BY tithing X dollars, BY so many things instead of BY CHRIST ALONE.

Moreover, these people continuously strive to maintain or achieve a connection with God BY condemning other people who have different ways of living their lives and different ways of connecting to God.

The very nature of the religious mindset you are finding troublesome is that these people have to believe that they have THE RIGHT beliefs and practices that ensure connection with God.

To prop up their belief that they have THE RIGHT beliefs and practices, they must insulate themselves from those with different beliefs and practices who are equally confident that they have THE RIGHT beliefs and practices connecting them to God. When they encounter someone with a different set of beliefs and practices who also claims to have a connection with God, they feel compelled to tear down the one who is different until that person also accepts what they consider to be THE RIGHT set of beliefs and practices. Their confidence is in their unique set of beliefs and practices and when others claim to be achieving the same goal with a different set of beliefs and practices it creates a conflict in their mind and brings out insecurities and they feel that they must resolve the difference by either coming into agreement on what THE RIGHT beliefs and practices are or to decide that one of the two parties has not actually received God’s approval and is to be condemned.

The Nature of the Religious Mindset

The religious, rule-oriented mindset is what you are confronting when you encounter a person who is divisive and judgmental in the religious realm. When you encounter someone saying that such and such is required to be godly, you naturally want to say NO IT ISN’T because your confidence is that it is Christ who connects us to God not any righteous acts of our own, which you know to be filthy rags in God’s sight. You put your confidence in Christ in you for salvation – not outward things like religious duties kept and right practices and rightly expressed words.

But when you suggest that there may be another way, the person caught in a religious mindset instantly becomes defensive. They feel that they must protect their set of right beliefs and practices and connection with God by condemning yours or condemning your relationship with God.

You tried to help them but then you just end up butting heads and feelings are hurt and no one is really helped.

You are fighting against a human mindset – the mindset of people who have been bound and blinded by the foolish doctrines and principles of this world.

I wish it was as easy as just casting the demons out. But it is a mindset problem and there is much human will and control there. Demons certainly promote the ideas that result in these mindsets, but the mindsets themselves are rooted in the mind, not in demons. If it was as easy as casting out demons, then Jesus could have changed the mindsets of all the Pharisees and Sadducees with one command. But most of them never changed and their confrontation with the freeing message of Christ only resulted in them hardening their hearts and becoming more and more offended, insulting, and murderous until Jesus and many of his followers – even to this day – were and still are being hung on a cross by offended religious people.

Christ Confronts the Religious Mindset

The Pharisees and Sadducees worked to have Jesus Christ crucified because Jesus was a threat to their religious rules and their religious mindsets. Jesus was constantly making People and Love a priority over Rules and Regulations. When Jesus saw religious rules that were not helpful in particular situations, he dismissed the rules and helped the people. His priority was always people and individual needs. Picking grain on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, coming in contact with a leper and woman with issues of blood, rescuing a woman from her penalty of being stoned to death for adultery are some examples of Jesus’s priority of people coming in conflict with the religious folks’ priority of rule keeping.

In Matthew 23 we can read a sermon by Jesus in which he calls out the Pharisees and Sadducees on their messed up priority of putting rules above people.

Why did Jesus confront the Pharisees and Sadducees, anyway?

Was it to change them?

I don’t think so. Jesus knew better.

It was because those religious leaders were the guards to the chains, so to speak. They were enforcing and promoting the religious do-this-and-don’t-do-that-to-be-loved-by-God mindset among the people at large.

By confronting the religious leaders, Jesus revealed to the general public the foolishness of the religious rule-oriented mindset and revealed to people the true loving heart of God the Father. Many people were set free in this way.

How to Deal with the Religious Mindset

If you are intent on changing those committed to the religious mindset, you are likely to wear yourself out and your joy in the Lord will likely be overshadowed by the constant discussions and debates you will be having.

To anyone willing to receive freedom, reveal to them the unconditional love and grace and blessing of God available to all of us – not because of our right set of beliefs and practices but because of Jesus Christ in whom alone we put our confidence.

It is the message of unconditional love of Father God that is most likely to undermine the religious performance oriented mindset – but it must be done in a way of sharing and revealing God’s love for the individual, not engaging in debate with them.

Trying to prove your point will only put them into a defensive posture and wear you out and put you in a position of being subjected to their attacks.

Share God’s love and freedom and blessing in Christ to all who are willing to hear it. Toss the seed on the ground and leave it to God as to which seed will sprout on good receptive ground and which will not.