Archive for March, 2010

I received a comment on a blog post today which I hesitated at first whether or not to approve since I am careful about what I allow to be posted on my blog but then decided this one touched on some of the same objections that I have heard at different times and thought it worth opening up in a blog post so that I can address them at once for other blog readers as well. I have made the blog commenter anonymous to protect their identity.

Their comment:

i understand what you’re saying about IHOP, but in all honesty, what right do you have judging their methods? am i saying they’re perfect, and am i defending what they’re doing? not necessarily. what i am saying is that we ALL have common sense that God gave us as human beings, and we ALL have the ability to look at things objectively. i’m not going to sit here and say that i haven’t been helped by the ministry at IHOP, or that there aren’t certain elements at IHOP that can appear to be a form of witchcraft. i’m most certainly not going to judge them for that.

what you have to remember is that IHOP is run by imperfect people that are most likely all dealing with their own sets of issues. just because you or i don’t hear about it all the time doesn’t mean it’s not happening. i know you have first-hand experience in dealing with what happens at IHOP, but then again, i have first-hand experience in seeing people delivered from their sins, and how much of a change that can take place when they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. i’ve never been a proponent of religion, nor have i ever been tossed all over the place trying to find my spiritual “fix”. i prefer to stay grounded in Jesus Christ, and to do as He tells me to do.

as for the manifestations of God, i definitely believe that when a person gets delivered from years of abuse, no matter what form of abuse it is, there will be a physical manifestation of what God is doing in them. my mother told me that she had to be held down by 5 grown people when she was a teenager as she was being delivered from witchcraft and occultism. my mother is only 5 feet 2 inches tall.

i think the main reason why so many people in america don’t understand who God is and what God is really about is because of the spirit of religion that has hung over this country for so long. God isn’t really that mysterious if we just take the time to get to know Him. we may not know and understand why He does what He does, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t make Himself known to us, and that He’s not using IHOP to help so many people that are in serious need. believe this or not, but not every young person’s parents really understand the calling that is on their kid’s lives. not every young person that goes to IHOP has Christian parents that are full of the Holy Spirit. there’s way more young people out there that feel in their hearts that no one else understands them, and it’s because God has placed such a powerful calling on their lives, and there’s no one else around them that can help unlock that calling in their lives.

My reply:

Dear Anonymous,

I generally don’t approve comments like yours because I decided when I created this blog that the comments section would not be a discussion board for people to berate each other and debate opinions. However, I decided to use your comment in a blog post because there are a few things that I want you (and others who read this post) to understand and hopefully I can address your questions and concerns. My disclaimer however is that should any subsequent comments follow (from anyone) that do not a) speak the truth in LOVE and b) address issues by lining them up with scripture without attacking people I will not approve them. So that being said, here is my reply:

In your opening sentence you said: “I understand what you’re saying about IHOP but what right do you have judging their methods?”

There is a clearly stated directive in scripture to believers that we are to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves and we have a responsibility to discern what is of G-d and what is not by judging fruit. I address this in a few other blog posts which you are welcome to read for more detail. To blow the whistle on things that do not line up with the Word of G-d or what He has told us to do, how He has told us to follow and serve Him, etc. is part of being a follower of G-d. There is a big difference however between judging actions, methods and teachings vs. judging and condemning people. I discuss that in detail in this post. So you ask what right I have to judge IHOP’s methods? According to Matt 7:15, 20 and Romans 16:17,18 I do have that right because in these verses we are instructed to watch out for bad fruit, watch out for wolves who masquerade as sheep and to recognize & stay away from those who ensnare by false teaching.

2 Timothy 4:3 says “For a time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths.”

If common sense, which you say that we all have, were all that was required to discern between what is of G-d and what is not then there would be no need for the work of a Savior. I assure you that many have become deceived and have fallen into great error not only through IHOP’s teaching but from various other organizations and their common sense and objectivity is certainly not saving them.

As I have mentioned a few times in various blog posts, G-d can use any place or person He chooses to minister to His people but that place, person or avenue that He allowed to operate is not the source. G-d spoke through a burning bush and through a donkey but that’s because He spoke to His children through where they were at that moment. Of course G-d was able to speak to me and work in my life while I was at IHOP but He ministered to me there because that’s where I was at the time. I can tell you with a great degree of confidence though that it was because I was seeking to hear from HIM and not from IHOP that when I was studying scripture and listening for His voice and what I was hearing at IHOP was not lining up with that, it made the choice to leave much easier because my source for teaching and direction was the Father and not IHOP.

You said that “there are certain elements at IHOP that can appear to be a form of witchcraft but I am certainly not going to judge them for that”. Honestly, that shocks and greatly concerns me. If you can see things that do not line up with the Word of G-d and yet refuse to call them what they are, then by not separating yourself from them, you are remaining involved there and participating in the very witchcraft that you refuse to acknowledge and identify. I pray that the L-rd turns your heart on this one and that you receive boldness from Him to identify and address that which is not of Him. As His followers, we are called to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Imagine what would have happened if the apostles had turned a deaf ear to the false teaching running rampant in their day by saying “Oh yes, he’s a sorcerer but I’m not going to judge him for that.” (Acts 13:8-12)

Yes, of course I realize that IHOP is led by imperfect people. I know of no home, ministry, business or organization anywhere that is run by anything but imperfect people. I assure you that this blog is not an attack against anyone’s humanity or the fallible and imperfect nature that comes from being part of the human race. What I am addressing is the blatant heresy, error, deception and scripture twisting that run rampant in places like IHOP which is leading people by the thousands into following a different gospel. There is a very distinct difference between those who are wholeheartedly seeking to know what is true and are following G-d as He is taught about in scripture (rather than following their own forms, models and methods and calling them worship) VS. those who are clearly walking in error and practicing things that are not scriptural and defending deception by calling it truth. There is a major distinction between those who live a daily life of trusting G-d as their source who are quick to turn from things that do not please Him and who get back up with then fall as opposed to one who excuses their doctrinal heresies as merely “being imperfect” or “just being human”. One is a sincere walk of faith lived out by imperfect people and the other is one who has created their own version of following G-d and are leading others to follow their ministry…and not the L-rd.

A physical manifestation of being set free from something is ultimately to no longer walk in the thing you have been set free from. The manifestation of freedom is good fruit. In scripture, the manifestations of flailing, shaking, falling, being violent, or a myriad of other bodily manifestations were the result of demons being cast out of people. Yes, these are certainly born out in scripture as manifestations of deliverance. However, this is quite different from the obnoxious animal sounds, gyrations and other ‘manifestations’ which many people seek after to “feel G-d” in a service which do nothing but draw attention to self and open doorways into some pretty major demonic practices. In Luke 8 when Jesus cast demons out of a man and sent them into a herd of pigs, scripture tells us that when people went out to see what had happened, they saw the man whom the demons had been cast out of sitting at the feet of the L-rd, fully clothed and in his right mind. That is the manifestation of true freedom.

I do agree with you that religious spirits have blinded many to the truth of who G-d is and what He is really about. We may not always know or understand everything He does but scripture clearly teaches us enough about His nature and character and the heart behind why He does things that there is strong evidence to measure false teachings up against to disprove them as being of G-d.

I do know that there are many young people today whose parents don’t understand them and who may not understand the destiny of G-d on their lives but there is only ONE who does and that is the L-rd (Jeremiah 29:11). The Spirit of G-d is the one who was given to “unlock that calling on our lives” to us as you put it. Everyone I have personally known that has been part of IHOP and left would probably agree with me when I tell you that IHOP’s means of helping to “crack the code on your destiny” and tell you who you are and what you are called to do will always fit right into one of IHOP’s programs. Somehow, all of their prophetic words while I was there lined up with “G-d has called you to be an Anna in the prayer room.” Whatever your gift, it seems they will try to convince you that it will best flourish and be used at IHOP. This is a prime example of what I said about those who lead people to themselves and not the L-rd. The Father has a plan and a purpose for each and every person He has created and He is faithful to complete the work that He starts. One of the things that concerns me most is that many will miss the destiny and calling of G-d on their lives because they are spending hours and hours sitting in a prayer room under a lot of deceptive and false teaching instead of living the life that G-d called them to. That is the most sobering issue of all. Thanks for sharing your perspective and hopefully this helps to address some of your questions and concerns.

Blessings to you as you seek to know the truth and may it set your heart free.

~Ariel

“The Anointing”

Posted: March 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard many talk about “the anointing”–the elusive spiritual carrot that everyone seems to be chasing after and trying to pin down, channel, impart, access, gain or claim to have.

Hopefully we can all agree that the one place we as believers should always look to for truth, validation, a model for authentic living, instruction, sound doctrine, etc is the whole counsel of scripture…the Word of G-d. This means, we read things first literally and specifically within the context of the surrounding verses in the passage and while taking into consideration things such as who this book, passage, verse is being addressed to, when it is written, etc. That should be the most basic and widest understood way of reading and comprehending scripture but as a result of IHOP’s (and others’) influence, scripture is more often than not read symbolically, allegorically and everything is in code. But going back to reading and comprehending scripture’s meaning literally first, let’s see how scripture defines and uses the word “anointing”.

A simple word search will show that the times when anointing is used in scripture are few and far between. Anointing oil was used for the following purposes/events:

–anoint Aaron and his sons as high priests of the temple (Ex 28:41)
–anointing a bull before sacrificing in the temple (Ex 29:36)
–anoint the articles of the tent of meeting and the temple (Ex 30:26, 40:9)
–anointing kings and rulers that G-d chose to lead Israel (1 Sam 9:16, 16:3, 1 Kings 1:34)
–anointing a new prophet over Israel (1 Kings 19:16)
–anointing for burial (when Mary anointed the feet of the Messiah) Luke 7:37,38
–anointed by elders for healing when sick (James 5:14)

Anointing someone was done strategically and purposefully. It wasn’t something people prayed for, called down, etc. It wasn’t a feeling or something people prayed in order to feel good. It was a physical act that has spiritual significance and meaning. It’s not about just asking for some evangelist’s ‘mantle’ during a conference. G-d set the whole idea up very intentionally and in scripture, he shows us exactly what it’s about.

There is a major difference between the presence of G-d being on a song and thereby producing fruit that demonstrates that G-d used it to minister, heal, comfort someone vs. the ability to chant something in repetition in order to alter brain wave activity and create an endorphin rush or paranormal sensation. The presence of G-d does not use hypnotic mind-altering repetitions to move people. He is the still small voice. He is not found in the hype and fanfare.

There is much more to be said on this subject and I may come back and add to this post at a later time but I just encourage you to use caution and wisdom in what you call “anointed”. Use discernment and look past the surface effect or emotional stimulus you experience. G-d’s anointing has a specific purpose and it’s not about “feeling” spiritually endowed or having “Holy Spirit pixie dust” sprinkled on people. It’s a physical action for a specific purpose and it is used in scripture at historically significant times…it wasn’t commonplace. Perhaps sometimes when the presence of G-d is sensed it gets called anointing but scripture clearly defines and distinguishes what anointing is and how/why it is used.

This video shows manifestations of the Buddhist yoga practice of Kundalini. Click here for my post on manifestations that many claim to be a result of “the anointing”.

For the sake of comparison, this is a video from the “Toronto outpouring”.

I’m fed up. Tired. Disgusted. Over it.

I’m tired of my G-d being treated like a laughing stock–a mockery. I’m tired of seeing those who claim to follow Him not taking Him seriously…not taking Him at His word. I’m so sick of hearing excuses being passed off as reasons to not step up and live the righteous, no-compromise lives that He’s called us to. I’m tired of wishy-washy living and sin being looked over and permitted in the name of “grace”. Righteousness is righteousness. Period. There is no substitute and no external behavior modification has ever changed a heart. That is an internal work that begins in the spirit of a person and then expresses itself through action.

I’m totally over the chump change that is being passed off as fruit. The name of our G-d is being used and represented wrongly every time we turn around. I’m really fed up with the mirage that is being passed off as the image of G-d. I’m saddened to see the Creator and Master of the universe being so grossly misrepresented. Those who do so are not ambassadors of His kingdom…they are simply posers who are copying the dance moves without hearing the music.

When will enough be enough already? When will the true body of believers rise up and stop merely talking and start living the truth? When will we allow it to so permeate every cell and fiber of our being that it transforms us from the inside out?

When will we stop wasting time? When will we get serious about what it means to bear His name and what it means to call ourselves His children, His followers, His friends? Do we even comprehend the depth and vastness of what it means to claim those titles? What does it mean to be a child of the Most High? There is no greater honor or responsibility on the planet. Why do we think we have the right to take it lightly?

When will we understand that repentance isn’t a word. Saying “I repent” isn’t repentance anymore than saying I’m a size 4 makes me so. Repentance is a radical change of choices inspired by a deep inner conviction. It’s lived out. It’s visible. There is evidence of change.

I don’t know about you but when I step back and look at so much of what gets passed off as following G-d it disgusts me. I believe that we need to come to a place of righteous dissatisfaction where pleasing Him, following His instructions, loving His Word and living passionate lives of truth rightly defines what serving Him looks like. We must come to the place where we love what He loves and hate what He hates. The days of befriending compromise need to end and living holy set apart lives unto Him needs to become the new standard of normal. It’s entry level. It’s like the stock speakers in your car. It should come standard for those of us who call ourselves His.

I challenge you, my readers and friends, to set a new bar. Raise the standard. Dig into the word and let it tell you how to live rather than living what feels comfortable and then going to scripture to find some moral backing. Let’s live lives that truly shine and let’s be torches of truth in a world offering up unholy fires to the gods of self and leisure.

Let’s not chase after the fanfare. My Dad says that “not all that glitters is gold”. Not everything that others claim to be of G-d truly is. Forget chasing after the next big speaker, conference or best-selling book. It’s time for a spiritual detox…to come down off the superficial highs and feast on the meat of what is true and lasting.

Let’s start with our hearts–the inner person of who we are. Let’s allow the truth of G-d’s word to be a flashlight to our souls and let Him do some deep spring cleaning. Let’s deal with the skeletons in the closet. Let’s put some action to our repentance and ask for the Father’s forgiveness for misrepresenting at times what being His and following Him looks like. Let’s allow Him to lovingly prune and till the soil of our hearts so that He can make us into earthen vessels worthy of bearing His name, carrying His presence, and being channels of His love and mercy to a broken and dying world.

Is Your Church on the List?

Posted: March 23, 2010 in Discernment, IHOP

Below is an alert I received from a reader who has had previous involvement with IHOP:

“IHOP is sending out recruiters to the churches to bring in young adults to IHOP. I do not know if it is just in the KC area or if they are branching out, but I know of 2 churches in KC they have been to. Fortunately both pastors know about IHOP and were able to talk to the recruiter. If you are in a solid church, you might warn your pastor so he will not be surprised if one shows up.”

Feel free to pass this along to others you know who would benefit from the information.