Stay Away from Stupid!

The world has always been focused about forming the church and Christians into their faulty, fallen fallacy. We are used to that. There is nothing new about being encouraged to conform to the prevailing culture of society. We’ve always had to be counter-culture with the world. For decades we have struggled but things seem to be sliding quickly closer and closer to home. Now, things have turned. Not only are we called upon to be counter-culture with society but with the church world.


I recently was with a couple of young people talking about the most recent books they had been reading. I was unpleasantly surprised. I walked away deeply concerned. I’m sure they thought through reading they were fulfilling Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in II Timothy 2:15. Or, at least, I hope that was their motivation. There is a big difference between studying the Word and the word of others. One is approved by God, enabling us to be a worker in God’s kingdom without shame, rightly dividing His Word. The other is detested by God, produces a person muddled, misinformed, mistaken, and mixed up; un-rightly and dangerously dividing the Word of God. Scares me just typing it! Later, I thought—and I know it isn’t rocket science— there is an enormous metamorphosis between being studious and stupid. 

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in being cutting-edge and up-to-snuff. I really do! Finding modern ways to express the old path; that is cutting-edge and culturally-relevant biblically. I want to be liberal enough to use new ways and conservative enough to stick with God’s solid, specific path.

Changing apostolic doctrine to fit the times is just plain stupid. It’s dangerous and not merely on the edge; it’s totally over it. I nearly freaked out an entire primary school one time when I used the word “stupid.” They had been taught using the word was paramount to cursing. Perhaps so! Changing God’s Word to facilitate prevailing thinking may very well bring a curse. Let me try to improve my wording. Changing apostolic doctrine to fit the times is unwise, senseless, ill-advised, and thoughtless. How’s that?

I am deeply disturbed and profoundly perplexed when I meet young and old alike that cannot explain why they believe our foundational, fundamental doctrine. They know what they believe but have no idea why they believe it. The danger in that is one day we could produce a generation that does not believe. What a tragedy! But the reverse is so inspiring and encouraging:  “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12). 

Here are four ways that make that possible. I’m sure there any many more.

Speak it     

 Speak the Word of God in your life continually.

Study it 

 Be committed to studying God’s Word and receiving it.

Do it 

 Be willing to do what the Word of God says.

Love it 

 Love God’s Word. Depend on it; not merely the philosophies of me.

Follow those four points and you will stay away from stupid!

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Hold On! Hold Fast!


Next generation apostolic leader: Hold on! Hold fast! That’s an old English phrase for “Please do not let go!” Keep a tight, firm grip. Remain strong in the faith. Don’t allow anyone or anything to distract you. There are plants that hold fast to objects like rocks. The root system is called “holdfast.” Consider seaweed on a rock. Typically seaweed can literally be torn apart before forcing the holdfast loose. “Hold fast to what?” Jesus is the Rock (Matthew 16:18; 1 Peter 2:4; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 8:13-15; Isaiah 28:16). Strive to hold fast to the following:

To the Name

“And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith…” (Revelation 2:13).

To the Hope

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23-24).

To the Lord

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14-15).

“Now that we know what we have — Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God — let’s not let it slip through our fingers” (MSG) 

To what We Believe

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe” (Hebrews 4:14-15,NLT).

“Having then a great high priest, who has made his way through the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God, let us be strong in our faith” (Hebrews 4:14-15, BBE).

To the Confidence

“but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6).

“Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house! 7 That’s why the Holy Spirit says” (MSG)

To the Word

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

To the Good

“On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, MSG).

“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).

To Integrity

“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’” (Job 2:9).

To the Commandments

“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).

“For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do — to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him — then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves” (Deuteronomy 11:22-23).

Hold fast; how long? Jesus says, “But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:25). “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

I know! There has been a constant pulling away in every generation. Count on it. But don’t fall for it! It is not only important to know what you believe; know why you believe it. Have a ready answer for the hope that lies within. Sometimes the questions will come from within your own heart. Have a ready answer. Sometimes the questions will come from the devil. Have a ready answer. Sometimes the questions will come from a hurting, inquiring world. Have a ready answer. To have an answer you must know the Word and know what the Word has done in your life. People have difficulty arguing with your experience. Experience Him until you can express Him!

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Story of Two Fishermen

Ruth Rieder in Covenant by Sacrifice tells a story of two fishermen on the reservoir. Caught up in the excitement of the trip, the men neglected to put down the anchor as they reached their favorite fishing spot. Unmindful of the subtle undercurrent of the water, they began to fish. Hours quickly passed; suddenly one of the fishermen looked up. To his horror, the boat was drifting dangerously close to destruction. He shouted a warning to his partner, and they began rowing with all their might, seeking to escape the deadly rapids that lay just ahead. After a furious effort, they made it safely to shore. The fishermen were shocked that they drifted so far. It had happened without notice. The danger went undetected until it was almost too late.

The writer of Hebrews warns, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1, NLT).

The King James Version admonishes us to “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). It is as if the truth could slip out of our hands, and we could slip out of His grace. I can’t allow that to happen. Neither can you!

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Boiled Frog

Stuart Piggin in Firestorm of the Lord said Satan likes to threaten us. ”I will cool you insensibly, by degrees, by little and little. What care I … though I be seven years in chilling your heart if I can do it at last; continual rocking will lull a crying child asleep.”

George Barna in The Frog in the Kettle explained the drift in this way: “Place a frog in boiling water and it will jump out immediately because it can tell that it’s in a hostile environment. But place a frog in a kettle of room temperature water and it will stay there, content with those surroundings. Slowly, very slowly, increase the temperature of the water. This time, the frog doesn’t leap out, but just stays there, unaware that the environment is changing. Continue to turn up the burner until the water is boiling. Our poor frog will be boiled, quite content, perhaps, but nevertheless dead.”

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Signs of a Drifting, Dying Church


1. Churches drift when they fail to pass on the truth to successive generations.

2. Churches drift when they move away from their foundational doctrines.

The trend is for church denominations to drift (or move) away from their foundational doctrines over time. It does not have to be this way. Drifting can be prevented. It must be prevented.

John Wesley once said, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist…But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having a form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline which they first set out.”

Hold on. Before casting a judging eye on another’s church, there is a question for consideration. Could this same thing be said of your church?

3. Churches drift when they move away from soul winning.

L. R. Scarborough, a Southern Baptist once said, “It is found that so long as the heart of an institution burns hot with the fires of soul-winning, it is not likely to drift in its theology.”

4. Churches drift when they concentrate on maintaining the organizational structure.

Arnold Cook said, “As a result of their position on the aging side of the life cycle, congregations are being sustained by their management rather than fueled by their vision. Generally, the more aged the congregation, the longer it takes to produce lasting change.”

5. Churches drift when seminaries and Bible schools fail in training the leaders.

Timothy Beougher and Alvin Reid in Evangelism for a Changing World cautioned, “When a denomination’s theology changes, that change almost always begins in the seminaries that train its leaders.”

6. Churches drift when Satan lulls us into sleep rather than the church experiencing revival.

Revival means “to bring back to life.” As believers backslide they become a corpse. Revival is imperative.

 7. Churches drift because their leadership drifts.

Arnold Cook in Historical Drift stated, “Organizations don’t drift, only their leaders.”

There is a backsliding in the pulpit before there is a backsliding in the pew.

8. Churches drift when there is the lack of vision.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).

9. Churches drift when there is a desire for the world (and to be like everyone else).