The Lord has been speaking to me (and my 11 year old son) for the past several months from the book of Haggai (and many passages in both Testaments that contain similar revelation). What was transpiring in Israel during the time of the prophet Haggai is very analogous to what has occurred in our nation over the past season. “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Consider how things are going for you! You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord Almighty, while you are all busy building your own fine houses. That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops. I have called for a drought on your fields and hills – a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olives and all your other crops, a drought to starve both you and your cattle and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get'” Haggai 1:5-11.

The recent economic meltdown has everything to do with so many in this nation going about their daily busyness, indifferent/complacent to any relationship with the Lord, while many are trying desperately to push God out of this nation, all while proceeding to lavish and waste significant wealth on lustful, selfish, sinful pleasures and indulgence. Concurrently, much of the church has remained denominational and religious (Mark 3:25), providing buildings and programs but devoid of vibrant, living encounters/relationship with Christ Jesus and with one another. So much of the church has compromised the truth of God’s Word for the sake of church growth and popularity, and has preached a shallow religious gospel, misleading many into thinking the Word of God is either irrelevant or can be “adapted” to suit the times we live in; that everyone who goes to church and believes in Jesus can live life here on earth however they choose because when they leave this earth they will be automatically be in Heaven…we all worship the same God…we live in a “Christian” nation…we’re baptized…we’re confirmed…we go to church…we all going to heaven when we die…there is no hell. News flash: New Testament Scripture exhorts us to not be deceived by false teaching.

This deceptive theology ignores God’s desire for intimate relationship/fellowship with each one of us through His Son and the Holy Spirit on a daily basis (The greatest commandments are to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-39). People generally spend much time with those they love. How many spouses come home once or twice a week? How many good friendships are built by hanging out only once or twice a week?). This also ignores His desire for obedience (John 14:15), His justice, covenantal relationships, and the events contained in the book of Revelations, to name only a few. (Revelations is generally confined to the pages of history or ignored completely. Those who embrace end times eschatology regarding the book of Revelations as prophetic revelation of days yet to unfold are warned by the religious not to add anything to the pages of history, taking Revelation 22:18 completely out of context and ignoring verse 19. Hell and damnation preaching hasn’t accomplished much in reaching this generation either.)

Today’s headlines and research clearly indicate that religious routine/religion (Wednesdays and Sundays in a church building) devoid of any real, personal or life-changing encounters with the presence of the Lord is not working for our youth; it’s not drawing them into a lifestyle centered on Christ; it’s not causing them to make choices that protect their purity in any form; it’s not causing them to care about anyone/anything outside of themselves and indulging their own flesh. Putting it bluntly and in line with Scripture: it’s not bearing good fruit (Read John 15:4-17).

The media/culture machine continuously lures the children and youth of this nation right into the plans of Satan, who takes zero days off from his agenda: to lie, steal, kill and destroy – every single destiny and every single life. This machine promotes sexual immorality of every kind (casual sex looks glamorous without commitment, responsibility or consequence). It preys on the innocent, the immature, and the weak, and rarely exposes the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases, accumulated broken relationships, divorce, pornography, adultery, homosexuality (the pressure is now being poured on through every available means to make our children and youth think/believe that not embracing homosexuality is abnormal, wrong and hateful – even by the church), the sex trade, abortion, unwanted pregnancies, etc.. Drug addiction, murder, theft, labeling, bullying, hatred, getting even, and an endless list of evil are portrayed as entertainment and excitement…the machine has successfully spiraled this generation uncontrollably off course.

A watered-down gospel and powerless church has not prevented the deterioration of this generation or this culture; the youth are leaving the church in massive numbers; some churches are advocating the very sins the media/culture machine endorse in the interest of being relevant and tolerant…it’s no wonder the youth view Christianity as hypocritical and want nothing to do with Christians or the church. Many who call themselves Christians participating in today’s American church look just like the world (or worse) with the same depressing statistics and results, so why would this generation want it? It’s time for the American church to heed the pages of Scripture as truth, and begin paying attention to the signs of the times, as revealed in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. (See also Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 15:19-20, Romans 13:13-14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Galatians 5:19-21.) It’s time for the Lord to build His Church in this nation; the One that the gates of hell will not prevail against.

Jesus embodied/embodies love, compassion and mercy for sinners and hung out with them…but He told them to repent, forgave them and then instructed them to stop living in sin. Then He discipled them in a Kingdom lifestyle by being in relationship with them. The Gospels are filled with His teachings on the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus wants to be represented (to build His Kingdom here on Earth) by/through a multigenerational Kingdom Body filled with His love and compassion for Him and for all mankind…in a vital and living relationship with Him and in relationship with others…for the purpose of drawing all people unto Himself…all ages (Psalm 8:2) and all nations…to live free from the bondage of sin and to worship Him alone. True freedom is found in Christ alone and in His Kingdom (John 8:36). The riches, opportunities, freedoms, and all that we have as a nation that causes people of other nations to desire to live here…all that has been bestowed on us were given as gifts and blessings that were never intended to be worshiped in themselves or perverted for sinful pleasures.

Father God has only good plans and purposes for each and every individual…Satan has and knows only evil: the culture is the world system through which he operates. Jesus in us through intimate daily, loving relationship empowers those who seek Him to walk free from the lies of the enemy and the culture that lead only to destruction. Again, look at the headlines and the research. What’s happening to so many of the children and youth in our nation? Are lives bearing good fruit? Are today’s television, music, movies, partying, and humanistic mindset/agendas taught in public education bearing good fruit and lives that are morally grounded, pure and productive for the Kingdom of God?

It’s time for the Church (the Body of Christ – those who intimately know and love the Lord Jesus, and are surrendered and obedient to our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom ways) to arise. It’s time to rebuild the temple of the Lord; Christ within us through individual Holy Spirit-filled lives rather than church buildings, programs and ministries…it’s time for the Lord to advance His Kingdom on earth through a united people…united in Christ and united in His Kingdom purposes. This generation is looking for real truth and life-changing impact…a life of discipleship rather than one of religious ritual devoid of power and truth. It’s time to get real with the Word of God and teach this generation the whole truth of His Word – no compromises – and disciple encounters in the presence of God on a daily basis…real, living, deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ can save, cleanse, transform and lead this generation into an eternal identity that’s lived out here on earth as well as in Heaven…a victorious, far more real and far beyond anything life this world could ever offer them. This generation is screaming for deep intimacy in relationship…screaming for identity and Jesus is the only answer.

God chose this generation in Jesus Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined this generation to be adopted as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him this generation has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on this generation with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:4-8). He loves this generation and has freed this generation from sin by His blood and has made this generation to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father” (Revelation 1:6).

In knowing and being discipled in the whole truth of His Word, who wouldn’t choose the life offered us in Christ here on earth over the shallow, sexually perverted relationships and completely empty alcohol/drug addicting lives the media/culture has painted so attractively and excitingly without ever revealing the unending array of negative and helpless consequences attached? Who wouldn’t choose to be anchored on a foundation built on the infinite wisdom of the Creator of the universe, letting Him direct destinies, rather than being led by the finite wisdom of man? God’s ways (His commandments and His Kingdom lifestyle) have always been to protect His children…unfortunately man is quick to believe the lies of the enemy (deception) that make God out to be the one who doesn’t care about individual lives…the lies that point to/blame God when bad things happen. Here’s the truth for every situation in every circumstance: God is good…all the time…He is the embodiment of goodness and He knows only good, therefore He has only good plans and purposes. Every good characteristic and praiseworthy descriptive word I could list would only scratch the surface in declaring the incredible goodness of who God is. Satan is bad…all the time…he is the embodiment of evil and knows only evil, therefore he has only evil plans and purposes. Every bad characteristic and sinfully descriptive word I could list would only begin to declare who the real enemy, Satan is. There is an entire spiritual dimension to living life on this earth that needs to come into the light…be taught, understood and walked out by every child of God.

It’s time to bring the truth of the Kingdom of Heaven into this culture…the whole truth. It’s the most liberating, fulfilling truth anyone could ever want to know in this life and it’s the only truth that leads to life eternal. The fruit of this relationship is an identity filled with sonship/daughtership rich in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Through Christ, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge are available to empower maneuvering victoriously through all of the bizarre shakings that are coming upon the earth and to be a light for all who need Him…a holy, reverential fear and awe of the Lord has been lost in this nation and it’s about to be reawakened. This generation can’t afford to be without the benefits of provision and protection under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91). The gifts of the Spirit available to all who seek Him intimately release faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, speaking in unknown languages, interpreting unknown languages – what could be more exciting and fulfilling than all of the good gifts, plans and purposes that our Heavenly Father has made available to those who choose to live for Him through His Son and by the power of His Holy Spirit?

It’s time to rebuild and disciple this generation; it’s time for Jesus to build the Church He began when He walked this earth…before man got in the way with theology and doctrine. Jesus Christ is waiting for a generation who desires vibrant, living relationships with Him…relationships that will last for eternity. I believe His thoughts about these days are expressed through the following song He dropped into my spirit while exercising one day.

TOO MUCH RELIGION
Hear the cries of the unborn yet murder is a crime
Ban speech for some but for others it’s fine
Redefine the family to fit our current need
This generation’s on to this longing us to see that there’s

Too much religion and not enough truth
Too much hypocrisy confronting my youth
Too much of living all for myself
Don’t want my destiny sitting on some shelf

There is only one Way
There is only one Truth
There is only one Life
And He is calling my name
His love for me is true
Now’s the time for change
‘Cuz He’s returning soon

I want to walk in freedom; I just want to be real
Is there anyone who truly loves
And wants to know how I feel?
Stop polluting, controlling everything in my life
With things so unreal, perverted, contrived

I want to walk in freedom; I just want to be real
I’ve found the One who truly loves
And wants to know how I feel
In Him I am chosen, made new and alive
Righteous and holy; a pure spotless Bride

Too much religion and not enough truth
Too much hypocrisy confronting our youth
Too much of living all for ourselves
Don’t want our destinies sitting on some shelf

There is only one Way
There is only one Truth
There is only one Life
And He is calling your name
His love for you is true
Now’s the time for change
‘Cuz He’s returning soon

Copyright 2009 Tammy Sorenson/Jaran Family Ministries