Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A SPECK IN TODD BENTLEY'S EYE AND A BEAM IN MY OWN

A SPECK IN TODD BENTLEY’S EYE AND A BEAM IN MY OWN

As I read all of the posts, email, and letters concerning Todd Bentley and his marital problems, I thought about whether I should post on it or not. I have posted on the Lakeland revival before, so I wondered if I should say anything about it. The Lord made it clear to me that I was missing what God was doing.

The Lord showed me over a year ago that the church and our nation would be entering a season of shaking.

26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:26-29

God is shaking everything out of our lives that can be shaken so we can fully receive the Kingdom which cannot be shaken.

Since God showed me we are entering a time of shaking, there has been a lot of shaking in the church. We have had some very serious and public failures and accusations of failures and sin. The list is long: Earl Paulk, Ted Haggard, Paula White, Randy White, Juanita Bynum, Thomas Weeks, Terry McAlmond, and now Todd Bentley.

It is easy for us to sit back and look at these leaders and respond by pointing the finger at them, pointing the finger at the devil, and even pointing the finger at each other. Often we rise to their defense or to accuse. I’ve seen lots of posts or comments along the lines of “I told you so.” I’ve seen many about praying for Todd and his wife which I echo. Others leaders have tried to explain their association with Todd and what they did or did not know at the time.

I believe the Lord spoke very clearly to me that this is not about Todd Bentley. It is not about the other leaders. God will deal with them in his way. This is about us – the church and what Jesus is doing in his body today. This is not Satan. The Lord has been working to get his church free from sin. If the church will not cooperate, he will expose it. Just recently a couple that are friends of mine had marital infidelity exposed in their marriage. The offending party admits to the error, but won’t yet call it what it is – sin. They are not high profile people, but God is exposing sin in the church.

THE SPECK IN TODD’S EYE

We know about some of Todd’s problems and sins. We know his marriage is in trouble. Many are convinced and I would agree that some of his theology is wrong. What about the sin in our own lives? What about sin in my life? What about the sin in your life?

WHAT DOES GOD WANT IN THIS?

God wants the church to humble itself, confess its sins, repent, and find healing and deliverance. Todd Bentley and the other leaders are symptoms of a greater problem. The church winks at sin or is quick to point it out in others while hiding our own sin.

There is mounting evidence that the divorce rate for those in church is the same as in the world. Pornography is a major problem in the church. In giving, the Kingdom of God is often what gets the crumbs instead of being a priority. Look at the way we spend money – big cars, big houses, everything is bigger. We believe in being blessed. Do we believe in being a blessing?

JUDGMENT IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Peter 4:17-18

We are in a time of shaking and a time of judgment in the House or Family of God. That is what Todd Bentley is experiencing right now and what more in the Body of Christ will experience if we don’t cooperate with the Holy Spirit. We can either drag our sin into the light, or the Lord will.
My heart is wicked. Who am I to sit in judgment of my brother? More than that, why should I be a hypocrite and spend time focusing on his sin when my own is before me.

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

Some of you know me. Some of you don’t. A few of you already know what I am going to confess, most of you don’t. For some, this may change our relationship. You may be uncomfortable with me. Others don’t care and choose to love me regardless. The reason for this confession is that I am dragging my sin into the light, so it can be exposed so I don’t have to worry that someday someone will find out and that I’ll be exposed. I want to be healed and delivered.

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. James 5:16

I implore you, the Body of Christ. Don’t judge our brother Todd or others. Instead inspect your own life. Find those sins. If you are truly walking with Christ you see them. If you see no sin in your life, you should be worried. You are deceived.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1: 8-10

HEALING AND DELIVERANCE IN GETTING FREE FROM SIN

Do you have strongholds in your life you can’t get free from? You may need healing from past hurts done to you. You may need to have curses broken from your life and you may seriously have to consider if there is demonic activity in your life.

It is possible to be a child of God and have demons actually in your body (not possession but certainly demonic activity). This causes a lot of people problem. Don’t people who are sick sometimes have “Spirits of infirmity?” If people can have Spirits of infirmity, they can have other spirits, spirits of religion, spirits of deception, spirits of death, spirit of depression and others. This is not always the situation, but the American church doesn’t really deal with these issues and that is why we often continue in bondage

I am not free yet, but I am going through a process of healing and deliverance that has born fruit.
I have been in charismatic circles for nearly sixteen years, and I have seen very little in the area of inner/ emotion/ healing and real deliverance from demonic oppression. I don’t have much in the area of resources to recommend here.

However there is a Godly woman (one of the leaders in our house church network) has been doing this kind of ministry for many decades and is helping me through this process. She ministers often in Canada and certain churches in California. Her name is Carol Cartwright and her website is http://www.cartwrightministries.org/. She has some resources available. She already has her hands full ministering to people, but if you contact her perhaps she can make suggestions for you as to resources she or others have. She may also be in a position to recommend a ministry in your area that can help.


My prayer is that if you do have demonic activity in your life, God will bring deliverance to you and whatever resources he chooses to use as instruments of that deliverance whether he just miraculously delivers you are chooses another vessel or instrument to minister to you.

THE BEAMS IN MY EYE

I confess this before the church not being totally free, but trusting Jesus, my redemption, for the completion of my deliverance and the totality of my freedom.

I am a liar; I have deceived many not revealing the truth of who I am. I have acted like I have it all together, while I felt dead inside from my own sin and failures.

I have the fear of man. I am not nearly as much of a bold witness for Christ that I should be. In addition, the fear of man or what men thinks has kept me from confessing my sins as I should and have resulted in me showing a mask to much of the body of Christ.

I am guilty of terrible stewardship. While this is now pretty much resolved. I wasted God’s money on self indulgence instead of Kingdom purposes. This is one area thank God that I have had a lot of victory in.

I am guilty of the sin of unbelief. I have often been impressed to pray for people, but have not because I was afraid God wouldn’t do something and I would look foolish.

I am guilty of Pride. I often think I can handle my sins myself rather than taking them to the cross and confessing them and confessing them to Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I want to be somebody in the church. I have to admit I want a big ministry. I like attention too. I say “let’s praise God for what he has done,” but in honesty, I have coveted his Glory. How many times have I given an accurate word to someone and said the right things – “Praise God” or “it’s God”, yet in my own heart I have felt the puffing up that comes with the attention of being known as someone who hears God. Even as someone who prays, people would come up and tell me that God answered my prayer in their situation thanking me. Of course I told them “It’s all Jesus.” In my heart, I’m saying “Oh yea… man of faith and power.” I have chaffed at the fact that I’ve served God for sixteen years and I am still obscure, even though I know the reason I’m still obscure is that I’m still messed up and if I weren’t obscure, I’d be even more messed up and would probably mess up a lot of other people.

Here’s the one that really messes most Christians up. All of the above should as well, but most people, myself included, tend to rate sin. I do it as well. That’s another sin. It’s not righteous judgment.

I’m guilty of fornication and homosexuality. Most of my life I have struggled with homosexuality and pornography. I have never engaged in any kind of sexual conduct or relationship with a man, but I have had the desire. (By the way, I just noticed that I tried to mitigate my sin, by telling what I haven’t done. We justify ourselves by what we haven’t done. We tend to pass by the whole “If a man looks after a woman to lust has has already committed adultery with her in his heart” passage. My desires have manifested as fantasy played out in the mind and pornography which feeds this perversion.

The Body of Christ must become confessional. We will have to repent. We have to allow the dark places in our life to be exposed to the light of Jesus so he can transform us. We have to submit to correction.

Pride must die. Rugged Individualism must die. That’s an American spirit that is not of God. We must humble ourselves before a Holy God, admit our brokenness and our need for him. I need God’s help. I need his people’s help. I’m putting down my mask and looking to Jesus for help.

I’m making this public confession, hoping to encourage others who have hidden sins and struggle to bring them out into the light and confess them to brothers and sisters in Christ so we can begin the process of sanctification and healing. This is hard for me to do and I know most of us put on masks. Take the mask off. The church needs to get real and we need to confess and repent of the sin in our lives. Then we will become the bride that Jesus is coming back for. Then we will be the church that the gates of hell will not prevail against.

MY APPEAL TO YOU

If you know that you have sin in your life.

Repent and confess it to God.

Confess it to Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Bringing it into the light helps expose it and reduces sins power in your life.

Get help with counseling, healing and deliverance.

Break the sin habit patterns.

I’ve confessed my sins to a few in my house church fellowship and the leadership of our House/Simple church network. Now they will all see it along with my friends. I don’t know how they will respond. It’s possible that I may lose friends over this. While that would sadden me, it is more important that God be pleased.

Several people have been ministering to me and walking with me through this stuff and I want to thank them.

Awakening Leadership (My simple/House church family): Joseph, Carol, Trish and Tammy

COAH Leadership (City on a Hill Connection – Our simple Church Network): Adam, Diana, Willie, Emily, Travis and Beth.

Friends: Larry and Flora

I am confident that I will be victorious because God is for me and has surrounded me with people who love me. I know you can be victorious as well.

12 comments:

Karla Meachem said...

Amen and amen. Thanks for your transparency (taking off that mask).

Victory comes by EXPOSING sin to the Light of the world (Jesus).

Repentance and accountability are so important.

I once read an author's viewpoint on sin that changed my thinking. (Sorry, I can't remember the book or author.)

..."when you don't deal with sin in your life, you bury that sin ALIVE; and it continues to grow and fester until it OVER-RULES your life." (paraphrased by me)

Sin ONLY thrives in the dark and in secret.

The author's description of sin changed my life. I finally understood why there was so much bondage in my life, much was generational. God was opening my spiritual eyes. :)

I was determined to live a life of victory in Christ. It was time to do some major clean-up. If I wanted to be MORE like Jesus; then there had to be less of me.

I'm still on a journey as well, but one thing for sure - I am more FREE now than I have ever been.

No more bondage, no more chains! I am FREE!

“So if the Son sets you FREE,
you will be FREE INDEED.
~ John 8:36 NIV

THANK YOU JESUS!!!

John said...

Thanks Karla. I appreciate your encouragement. I really like the quote about burying sin alive. That's really true.

God Bless you.

Tim Fenton said...

John have you heard the latest news concerning Lakeland? Brandt Russo, a homeless minister went to Lakeland to work with the homeless of the area, and asked Igniter Church to help the homeless who were living in a swamp near the church. The pastor refused to offer any help, so Brandt planned a communion service in the parking lot of the church to raise awareness, and was arrested at the request of the pastor of Igniter.

John said...

Tim,
Thanks for the update. I checked out the stories on the web. It really saddens me. I thought about posting to blast ignited church, but God doesn't want me going there. I'm sad and I do believe there should be some concern about their salvation. "In so much as you have done it to the least of these, my brethren, you've done it to me. "

Bryan Riley said...

Wow. This is a fantastic piece on this subject, John. Really, really good. I found Todd's antics over the top personally, well before anything came out about private sin, but I also know that God can do what God can do in spite of our frailties. I really appreciate the way you've written about this - it is way too easy for people to point at what became public about Todd's bad choices and completely rest in their judgment about the entire event. They forget that God has a plan, through it all and that He alone is judge and alone knows our hearts.

Anonymous said...

I am encouraged by your courage!I believe that one of the greatest problems in the church is the lie that we all are suppose to be perfect ,sinless and whole!(or at least look like it)The fruit of which is a church full of wounded people living a life of quiet desperation.
Love,Kristin Guinn

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