Rogue: “No longer conforming to a desired standard; a person or organization that does not behave in the usual or acceptable way.”
We read everywhere that 2024 is going to be rough year. Okay, now what? Do we sit back, grab a tub of popcorn and watch the show? Or might there be a chance that if we, the church, become the salt and light we’re called to be that God might move in a powerful way?
I vote salt and light.
Let’s get into what that can look like.
We expose our sin.
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
– Ephesians 5:11
We expose the sins that many churches are covering up or ignoring that many are in bondage to, including, but not limited to:
Spiritual and sexual abuse.
I see a meme passed around on social media which is typical of today’s Christian culture that says this: “If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God, then your faith was in people, not in God.” I’ve been on the receiving end of sexual abuse and spiritual abuse and know how profoundly traumatic and difficult it is to recover. Cheap memes like these are damaging. They cover up the truth that our churches are wounding many of God’s people and that spiritual and sexual abuse are rampant. Instead of offering healing, they condemn. Trite, doctrine-headed statements tell the abused that “Your heart, your pain, your wounds don’t matter. We don’t care if you heal or what happened to you. Have more faith and get over it.”
Every day, a professed Christian is arrested in the US or exposed for sexual sin by someone who is a trusted leader such as a youth pastor, a Sunday school teacher, a senior pastor. We must bring these tragedies to the light.
“And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
Many in the church are watching, reading, or using media and materials that open their home to the demonic realm, often in the name of entertainment. Much of today’s music glorifies evil and darkness. Some professing believers possess Ouija boards or other such “games” that play with fire. Pornography is a Satanic product. Anything that gives ground to the enemy has no place in the home or life of a believer.
The tidal wave of sexual sin that has overwhelmed the church, including porn addiction and promiscuity must be faced. For healing and restoration, there can be no more hiding, covering up, playing ostrich, or looking the other way.
Exposing these sins means we talk openly about them in the relationships, groups, churches, and other settings where God places us. You never know when discussing these topics might open a door to be a blessing to someone who is hurting or needs help.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I see announcements by ministries and churches of events that provide counts of people who were brought to Christ (how did they get those numbers, and what is their motivation in providing them?). While this is critical, the big question is whether these new converts will be discipled and equipped as overcomers and spiritual warriors. A church that has 75% of their youth hitting the exits along with many adults is failing to disciple its people.
Are we helping them overcome the sins they are struggling with, including in the sexual arena? It’s not happening if we won’t talk about sex or porn. Are we equipping them to be spiritual warriors by putting prayer as their highest priority? Hard to do that without prayer meetings. Are we challenging them to a life of holiness? Topics like sin, hell, and the fear of the Lord have to come out. Will we help them turn away from the temptations and seductions of this world, even those that may not necessarily be sin but will still drain their spiritual life? Will we tell them that suffering is a part of the Christian life and prepare them for the road ahead? Will we show them the narrow path that few will find? (Are we even on it ourselves?) Do we leave them with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” and hope they’ll figure it out from there?
We are commanded to make disciples, not converts.
Walk with God.
Bring Him into your decisions in your personal life, marriage, family, vocation, and ministry. Align your life and decisions to His heart, not your own, no matter where He takes you or what He asks of you. To do so demands a consistent prayer life where we invite Him into our lives and decisions, learn to listen to Him, and obey. Prayerless Christians are flesh-driven, prone to serving self and the lusts and pleasures it craves, and can easily fall prey to fear and a host of other problems.
Take time to rest, often.
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening…”
Genesis 24:63 (ESV)
“And Isaac watched TikTok videos and played video games for several hours.”
“Rest” means rest of soul and doing the things that facilitate it, not staring at a screen. Several nights ago, I was left alone at the house. The thought crossed my mind that I could numb out in front of the TV or spend time in prayer. I chose prayer and am glad I did. In these dark days we dare not allow our spiritual and emotional reserves to run dry. Consistent, extended time in silence, resting with God, listening, personal worship, and time in His word are a must. Time outside in the beauty of His creation heals. So can listening to worship music that moves you toward peace.
“In Lewis, and in the high land generally, they would no more believe that you were a Christian, than they would believe that the devil was a Christian, if you don’t attend the prayer meetings. When a soul is born again, suddenly there is created a hunger to be among the praying people of God. The prayer meetings became crowded. You couldn’t find a parish in Lewis today that hasn’t five prayer meetings going during the week. It was stated in the midst of the movement, “There are more people attending the prayer meetings now, than attended public worship on a communion Sunday.”
– Duncan Campbell, from his time in the Hebrides Revival of the early 1950s.
The common denominator between every… single… spiritual awakening is ramped up, fervent, all-out, ongoing prayer. Tens of thousands of sermons are preached every weekend and we’re losing our country. Think about that. Give me a praying church and I’ll show you a spiritual nuclear bomb. Instead, we’re often more like a firecracker that makes a lot of noise but flames out quickly and doesn’t move anyone. If you’re not participating in at least one prayer meeting a week, get involved, or start one! A prayer meeting is where two or more people come together to pray; you don’t need a big group. We have prayer meetings going during the week by zoom, should you be interested.
It’s time to be bold and step into the fight.
“for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Some of you are rotting spiritually. You’re watching society crumble like it’s some sort of reality show and there is little to no fruit from your life. Oh, you read your Bible, go to church, be nice, pay the bills. Maybe you study prophecy. “God is sovereign, we’re in the end times, why bother getting involved.” Maybe you post a few Christian memes, watch Christian TV. Satan has no reason to fear you because you’re right where he wants you; soft, comfortable, lukewarm, no threat to the gates of hell. Maybe you think you don’t need other believers and can do the Christian life on your own. Prayer meeting? “Oh well, my church doesn’t have one.” Satan has no reason to fear most churches either.
Many in the early church were willing to give everything. They weren’t wrapped up in the latest entertainment thing like so many modern believers are. They lost their homes, their freedom, their lives. 11 out of the 12 apostles were killed. After they prayed for boldness, God answered their prayer with a resounding “yes!” by shaking the walls. They changed the world with His power, His way, while suffering, one believer, one day at a time. As we read in the book of Acts, they met for prayer often.
The real title of the book of Acts is the Acts of the Apostles. Not the theology, doctrine, or teachings of the apostles. It’s the actions they took that made an impact. You can study the Bible and go to church for years and not make a dent in the spiritual realm.
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their
testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
We’re too easily distracted, too focused on pleasure and self. We’d have had a spiritual awakening years ago if we were doing what God’s word shows us, set aside “the way we’ve always done church” and filtered it through the Bible. Our church meetings would look radically different if we patterned them after the Acts of the Apostles.
You can pray for boldness, ask God to send you, and make an impact, or you can rest peacefully on the sidelines and rot. If 2024 is your last year on earth, how do you want to spend it? You can be a part of God’s work to expose the sin in the church, bring healing to the hurting and abused, be a sparkplug for prayer, partner with God in His work to make disciples. Every believer is needed and we can all make a difference. This could mean talking to your pastor about these issues, participating in a group, starting one, immersing yourself in prayer, sharing about these topics openly, serving and helping at other ministries or your church, or just listening to someone who’s hurting and praying with them. You could help us set up a Rogue Christian conference or a From Porn to Grace conference. You’ll have to get out of isolation, trash your comfort zone, and be willing to get hit with spiritual warfare. Ask God to send you, and get in the fight.
Note: there are many who are hurting and need time to heal or are in God’s pruning process. We all have moments where we’re wounded and need time to heal before we get back in the game.
“Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love-gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard it for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded (see Exodus 16:20). God will never allow you to keep a spiritual blessing completely for yourself. It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others.”
– Oswald Chambers
2023 Porn Traffic Numbers
To our shame, the US retains is position as the number 1 consumer and producer of porn in the world, with the church as one of the porn industry’s biggest customers.
“To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.”