Category Archives: Emergent Church

Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Conclusion)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10.

Have you ever been someplace that seemed to fit you to a tee? Maybe it didn’t have a  five-star rating, but you didn’t care because it felt good just being there.

Well, that’s the way I felt about the little home church I attended after leaving the prison with a steeple on the roof.

The husband and wife leaders, Marion and Morris, were loving people who cared about others. They had no ambitious agenda outside of evangelizing their working class neighborhood and advancing the kingdom of God.

The main emphasis  for the home church was reaching neighborhood children and teens; many of whom had learning disabilities with IQ’s at the  five and six year-old level.

Looking back, I can still remember the first night I attended the home church. It was a Thursday evening Halloween party of sorts with treats and drinks. But two memorable things occurred on that evening.

First, a thirteen year-old girl asked for prayer. Why she did, I don’t remember anymore, but she was new to the group. Four of the learning disability kids (fifteen to nineteen years of age) gathered around her and prayed.

And to be honest, they were the absolute worst prayers I have ever heard. One said, “Do this.” Another said, “Do that.” A third said, “Try this.” And a fourth said, “Try that.”

Listening to them, my head almost spun around in circles. But guess what? The girl was set free of her problems, and then she gave her life to the Lord.

Secondly, a seven year old boy walked up to Marion. “I feel terrible,” he said.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, touching his head.

“I feel icky,” he replied.

In the next instant, she explained the good news about Jesus. He wept and nodded his head. They bowed on their knees together and he gave his life to the Lord. He was so excited about his Savior!

Unusual events? Not really. This happened every week I was there and had been going on for fifteen or twenty years before I arrived. Many of the same children’s parents had given their lives to Jesus in that same home church.

Now, not all of the neighbors totally approved of Marion and Morris’ brand of evangelistic Christianity. But each knew if they had problems, the couple would stop by with food, money and prayers, asking nothing in return.

But most of all, what I received from this home church was a revelation of God’s grace. A revelation so deep that it has carried me through every trial and problem since that time.

I would like to ask you to pause and think of the most horrible day you ever lived. The day when you did something you deeply regret. You can take comfort in this one fact: Your heavenly Father saw that day when He chose You in His Son before time…If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is. (From Eternity To Here, 2009, Frank Viola, pp. 71)

If somehow, I could impart a deep revelation of grace into every believer, I would. It’s that great. If you don’t have it, get it.

And guess what? A deep revelation of God’s grace is the only way  to stay free of prophetic bondage.  The two cannot coexist together because where grace is totally understood, legalism can not squeeze in.

I will have more on prophetic bondage (caused by words, prayers and prophecies by people in authority)  sometime in the future. This is a major problem for the Church, especially after the so-called Prophetic Move of God.

(Conclusion. Friday starts a new series.)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 10)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9.

Though I left the small church, I was still not set free from prophetic bondage . Every knock on the door and every ring of the phone sent waves of panic through me. What if the two pastors were there? What if they prayed for me again?

I preached and prophesied a message of boldness at the home church but lived a secret life encumbered by fear. My prayer times were filled with cries to the Lord for deliverance.

And yet, day after day, I continued to struggle. Where was Jesus, my Deliverer?

If somehow I could have talked with the top leaders in the Body of Christ, maybe a consensus answer could have been reached for me. But what would it have been?

Probably something like this: “Larry, you just need to pray more, fast more and study the Bible more.”

But to be honest, I’ve met very few individuals who prayed, fasted and studied the Bible more than I did during this time period. I slept, worked, prayed, fasted and studied. This was the sum total of my life. Period.

So, more was not my answer.

The Church needs a total change in perspective to operate in the supernatural. We cannot indulge in the laws of reason and logic and expect to fight off the demonic…I believe that God is reasonable, except when He chooses not to be. Then, we need revelation… (Graham Cooke in Permission Granted, pp. 158)

This time, my deliverance was a two stage process.

First, a prophetess came to the home church and taught on fear. As I listened, nothing really stirred within me. Her message was one I’d heard dozens of times before. At the end of her teaching, she asked if anyone needed prayer to be delivered from fear.

Two or three people went forward, but I didn’t give it much thought for myself. Then, when the prophetess finished praying for the people, she said, “I really feel someone else needs to come up her for prayer right now!”

Bingo! Her words lit up something within me. I went forward, she prayed for me and I was set free from the prophetic bondage which had caused me such agonizing fear.

Now,  this in itself was like having a boulder rolled away from my cave’s door. No longer did fear strike me when the phone rang or someone knocked on my door. I was set free.

The second stage of my deliverance involves a revelation. One which will help keep me free from prophetic bondage until I finally meet my Lord.

(C0ntinued in Part 11.)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 9)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

The man walked up to me at the end of the service. “Larry, could you pray for me. My life is a mess and I don’t know what to do,” he said with tears in his eyes.

I laid my hand on him and began praying. As I did, a quick vision crossed my mind. In it, I saw him sitting on a bunk in a small prison cell. He was facing the back wall; his face revealed extreme hopelessness.

As I looked on, the view of the prison cell changed. I could see the front of the cell and the door was open. There were beauty and life waiting for him on the other side of the doorway. He just needed to stand up, turn around and walk out the open door to freedom.

Though this vision was for the man on that day, it is also apropos for my situation at the little church I attended.

So, how was I finally set free from the prison with a steeple on the roof?

The first thing that happened is the husband and wife pastor team bought an RV and began traveling. They felt this would lead to a national apostolic ministry. In their place, they appointed a young husband and wife to replace them.

The new pastor team also had prophetic and apostolic callings, but their vision was a totally different one; and it did not include me.

My only responsibilities when the two pastors left for Texas were cleaning the church, helping with the food pantry and prayer. I still prayed for an hour at the church every morning and usually arrived an hour early to pray for each church service. Seldom – as in hardly never ever never – did anyone else show up to pray with me.

Well, a prophetess and her friends from a nearby city showed up one evening and prayed for me. The prophetess gave me a tough word. “The Lord is unhappy with you. He doesn’t want you to be this church’s prayer meeting. Every member needs to pray, not just you.”

I quit praying at the church in the mornings and before church services.

Next, a woman phoned and asked me to help her and her husband with their children’s outreach ministry on Thursday evenings. It was a time of teaching, prayer and evangelism. Dozens of kids gave their lives to the Lord through their ministry.

I prayed and felt the Lord wanted me to help her. Ever mindful of Hebrews 13:17, I asked the young pastor if it was okay. He said, “Yes, go ahead.”

As I helped the couple out, they allowed me to give teachings and to pray for anyone and everyone. Soon, the Thursday night meetings mushroomed into a Sunday meeting where I was also able to teach, preach and prophesy.

Now, it wasn’t long before I felt the Lord nudging me to leave the first church and go full-time to the house church. Once again, I asked the young pastor for permission and he said, “Go with my blessing.”

When the two senior pastors returned from their trip to Texas and discovered I had left the church, they called me on the phone. “You’re out of the will of God,” they told me.

“I don’t believe so,” I replied.

“Well, we do,” they said. “Not only are you out of the will of God, but your calling, and maybe even your salvation, will be hindered by leaving our church.”

I said goodbye and hung up.

So, was I totally set free just because I quit attending the prison with a steeple on the roof?

(Continued in Part 10.)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 8)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12 NKJ)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside [cast off] every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…(Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJ)

Have you ever undergone a deliverance from demons? I have. Many times. Most were not sensational, but then again, one was.

“Wait a second!” you say. “How can a believer be possessed by demons?”

I don’t believe a Christian can ever be fully possessed by demons. In order for that to happen, the works of the cross would have to be set aside so darkness and light can dwell together in a person’s inner man (or spirit). That’s not happening! Ever!

But what I do believe is that demons can have influences, or what I call hooks, into our soul and flesh.

Bear with me a little, okay? Visualize a man walking around with a beautiful treasure deep within him. It is glorious and pure. But at the same time, you notice ugly fishhooks attached to different points on the man’s flesh and to his mind. These fishhooks have long strings attached to them with heavy weights attached at the opposite end. These weights represent demonic influences which can manipulate our actions and thoughts so that we make mistakes.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [or soul], so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Now, most of our deliverances will come about as we mature in our walks with Jesus. This happens through studying the word, praying and just allowing the Holy Spirit to live in us. Therefore our mind is renewed so that it agrees with the Lord, and not with Satan or our selfish flesh.

But sometimes, we need the demonic weights cast off by other believers who have some power and authority.

After I had been saved for four years, and had given hundreds of prophetic words, a woman noticed something in my prophetic words. There were a few glitches here and there, causing confusion for people.

The woman happened to be a prophetess who prayed six hours a day. So, she sought the Lord and saw the problem. She then relayed her discovery to a few friends of mine.

The friends called me over on a Sunday afternoon. When I arrived, they presented what the prophetess had seen – a demon. “Get rid of it,” I replied.

As they began praying in tongues, I was thrown to the floor. And then tossed back and forth across the floor from one side of the room to the other. It was a wild ride. I was flying all over the place.

Wow! I hope someone knows what they are doing, I thought to myself as I bounced around.

Finally, it was over and I was set free from the demon’s influence. I was tired and went home.

What type of demon was it? I believe it was a religious spirit, one which had been a part of my life for years, long before my salvation. It had become so ingrained and entwined in my personality that I thought it was the real me.Thank God, it wasn’t.

My personal belief is that we believers absolutely need to get free of every weight and sin. Who really cares if we are humbled and embarrassed? Let’s just get free so that we can love Jesus more and more and more.

So, how was I finally released from the prison with a steeple on the roof?

(Continued in Part 9.)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 7)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Even the most godly leader in the Body of Christ struggles with control issues with other believers or his spouse or his children. Sadly, this is a part of our fallen human nature and must be wrestled against on a daily basis…sometimes on an hourly basis.

But when a leader is an apostle or prophet, a new problem can arise which may be more damaging to people than control ever is. Prophetic bondage.

Why?

Apostles and prophets have their greatest level of authority in the spiritual realm, fighting against demonic principalities and powers. This is where their spiritual DNA is equipped to work best.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Who was Paul referring to with his usage of the pronouns we and our in the above scriptures? It can’t be the whole Body of Christ because of how verses one and two are written. These only refer to the apostle Paul. Thus, the we and our pronouns have to refer to an apostle (in this case, Paul) and the apostle’s group.

And what callings did Paul team up with on his travels? Other apostles and prophets.

Now consider this: it’s tough for apostles and prophets to rise up everyday and fight demons. There are no days off. No vacations. No R & R. Everyday it’s the same-o, same-o. Fight! Fight! Fight! And it matters not what family members or others do, because apostles and prophets are spiritual warriors and must fight.

Let’s say that an apostle or prophet backs off his  spiritual warfare duties and decides not to engage the enemy in battle. And maybe this happens because of personal hurts, spiritual wounds, weariness, not spending enough time worshipping Jesus or whatever.

But if he does back off, and still tries to minister in his calling to others, problems can arise. Look at what Paul said he was fighting against in 2 Corinthians 10:5 –

...speculations…lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God…disobedient thoughts.

And not only is the apostle and prophet open to speculations, lofty things and disobedient thoughts, Paul mentioned something else when he was talking about false apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:4

For if one [an apostle] comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Corinthians 11: 4)

An apostle or prophet who stops fighting demonic principalities and powers is not sitting on a neutral sideline, safe and sound, protected by a heavenly shield. Not at all. He’s still in the battle. You see, Satan’s army never takes a day off and never quits attacking the ones they recognize who can cause them the most damage.

And who can cause principalities and powers the most trouble? Apostles and prophets.

So, if an apostle or prophet does not fight, the enemy will come and own a piece of him. And what piece will the enemy own? A part of the prophetic side of the apostle and prophet. Maybe just a small piece, but it may be  enough to place other people, especially callings, in prophetic bondage.

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel…but David stayed at Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11:1)

Because King David, a prophet, did not go to battle, he committed adultery, murder, lost his kingdom for a while and caused the House of David problems for hundreds of years.

So, how was I finally set free from the prison with a steeple on the roof?

(Continued in Part 8.)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 6)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Part 4 and Part 5.

And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority…(Mark 6:7)

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples…(Matthew 28:18-19)

When Jesus sends His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, He gives them authority. But what can this authority be used for?

In the New American Standard Bible,  the English word authority appears in 75 verses of the New Testament. Fifty-nine times, the word is translated from the Greek word exousia (Strongs’ #1849).

Behold, I have given you authority [exousia] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. (Luke 10:19)

For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority [exousia], which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame. (2 Corinthians 10:8)

Never once in the fifty-nine verses where the Greek word exousia is translated into the English word authority does the context of the verse imply that a person can wield authority over a believer’s life. Not once!

But rather the authority in these fifty-nine verses  is limited to being used against demons, sickness, disease, all the power of the enemy and to build up or encourage believers. That’s it!

Now, if you’ve done your math, there are sixteen other verses not covered in the above explanation, right?

For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed – God is witness – nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority [baros, Strongs’ #922]. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. (2 Thessalonians 2:5- 7)

If you lift verse 6 out of context in the above scriptures, it looks like the apostle has authority to impose a burden on believers. But if you read all three verses, you see that Paul is making the point of why he can’t impose a burden. He is a nursing mother to his children.  The Amplified Bible states it this way:

…though we might have asserted our authority [stood on our dignity and claimed honor] as apostles (special missionaries) of Christ (the Messiah). (2 Thessalonians 2:6)

Here is another often-quoted authority verse:

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority [epitage  Strong’s #2003]. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2: 15)

The Greek word epitage is translated authority in this verse, but it really means commandment or mandate; and it may or may not be backed by the power of the Lord.

Almost all of the other verses where the word authority appears in the New Testament, refer to a nation’s government exercising authority and wielding power over its citizens. The major exception is the following:

For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority [kyrios, Strong’s #2962] of the Lord Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:2)

Thus, scripture states that the authority of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher is not to be wielded against a believer. But instead, the authority is to be used against Satan and to encourage believers. And also, at times, the Lord may give special authority to people for carrying out a task.

So, how was I set free from the prison with a steeple on the roof?

(Continued in Part 7)

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Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 5)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

You put up with it when they make you their slaves, take everything you have, take advantage of you, put on airs, and slap you in the face. (2 Corinthians 11:20 NLT)

It’s one thing for pastors to misuse their authority, and thereby, try to control believers. But it can become devastating when a person with an apostolic or prophetic anointing misuses his authority – knowingly or unknowingly – to control Christians.

One of the most  extreme examples of a person misusing a prophetic anointing is Jim Jones. His name is forever linked to the words: Jonestown Massacre.

In my case, the prophetic bondage I suffered was certainly not on the scale of a Jim Jones, but still, it was devastating enough for me.

As I wrote in Part 4, I attended a little church for four years. A husband and wife were the pastors. One had a prophetic anointing and the other an apostolic one; both had strong gifts.

But the problem was that they had control issues, especially over people with callings. They saw us as gems for their personal ministry which they envisioned as being national in scope.

For me, they believed I would be their Silas, a prophet who would minister in the churches they hoped to plant. (Later, I discovered this important point: they were even praying and prophesying this vision over my life in their personal prayer times. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!)

When they would talk about their vision for me, I’d say, “I don’t think that’s what the Lord has in mind for me. But of course, if it is, I’d certainly be open to it.”

All of this came to a head one day when I had a disagreement with them. We agreed on a meeting for that evening.  To prepare myself,  I spent the afternoon praying and fasting, and had a strong prophetic word for them, especially the husband.

They asked me to speak first. As I finished reading a verse of scripture and was ready to give the prophetic word, one of them interrupted me by speaking in tongues. And then, the other interpreted it.

The tongues and interpretation felt like machine-gun bullets, ripping through my guts. Whatever anointing I had for the meeting with them was blown apart. I was destroyed.

As I limped home that evening, I cried out to the Lord. “Lord, You have to help me. I want to obey the rulers You have placed over me, but right now,  I’m confused. And I don’t understand what’s going on.”

So, how was I set free from this prison with a steeple on its roof?

(Continued in Part 6.)

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