Saturday, September 26, 2009

A new blog home

Hello there!

I just wanted to let you know that this blog is moving to Wordpress. Click HERE to go to the new site.

I hope you'll join me there. I find it to be easier to subscribe to and follow blogs on Wordpress and I like its features better. Hopefully you will enjoy the new site even more.

New blog features there will include:
A breakdown of posts by category/topic
A page of research, resources, & links
Simple comment feature
and more!

It's already created and has gone live so feel free to visit anytime.
I will leave this blog at blogger for the next week or two to give everyone time to update their browsers, favorites, etc. and make the switch to the new location. New posts however will only be added to the Wordpress site so to receive updates, please use the new URL from now on.

Grace and peace to you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Cult Code Language

There are a number of different signs and symptoms or what I call the "red flags" of a cult. Among these is a secret language.

The reason I say it's a secret is because the commonly used definitions for what a word means are substituted and traded out for meanings that only the inner circle of the group know...thus making it a coded language that members can communicate with.

As the link I sited above illustrates, it's a careful bait & switch technique of taking an intangible concept or something vague and illusive and easily altering its meaning to fit with the propaganda of a group.

Let's take for example the way IHOP uses a glossary of romantic, intensely emotional and spiritual sounding words for which they give their own set of meanings. You won't find these in a Websters anywhere. They have taken a word that you or I might think we know the meaning of and use it to mean something different. Because what initially comes to mind is the commonly known definition, you might mentally assent and agree with what is being said...but if you knew the underlying definition, you'd probably think differently before nodding in agreement.

In the time I was an intern at IHOP, I lived in a swirl of these very spiritually saturated, emotion-inducing words. Just saying them brought electricity into a conversation and others would immediately nod in identification. But if you step back and look at the conversation objectively, you will realize it made no logical sense and seems to in fact, say nothing.

I am going to give you a commonly IHOP dialog. Let's see if you can figure out what it really means based on IHOP's definition of words.

"I just believe I have an Anna anointing and I'm called to be in the presence. The Spirit is moving in the house and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this. I am called to a forefunner ministry and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny. My church back home doesn't understand or get me. My parents don't get me. They are part of a different generation and they don't understand the apostolic intercession I am called to. I am the beloved's and His desire is for me. He is my bridegroom and he is awakening my heart with a spirit of burning and desire drips from his Word. I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. I want him to break in like a hammer--to break in like a fire and bring signs and wonders through my life. He has ravished me. I am captivated by the God-man and by His beauty I am undone. I am lovesick for him and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven. I am calling out "COME!" and He will answer. Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall."

If you are unfamiliar with IHOP or their terminology. The above paragraph no doubt confused you entirely. But for those who have had some exposure to the way IHOP uses these words, this is probably vaguely familiar. I have had nothing to do with IHOP since I left but I could walk back in tomorrow and strike up a conversation with a total stranger there using the terms I just wrote into the above paragraph and they would nod in complete agreement and understanding. This is their language I would be speaking. They are drilled with it, indoctrinated with it. It comes with the package.

If you are curious how IHOP themselves define these words, you can click HEREto go to their glossary. Yes, they actually have a glossary of frequently used IHOP-KC words on their website (which they might take down now that I've linked to it also). It will give what they want you to think those words all mean. Just to cover the bases though, I'll copy and paste the article below the line of stars. Let me help a bit in the decoding of terms.

"I just believe I have an Anna anointing (a way of saying you are called to be at IHOP) and I'm called to be in the presence (living in the eurphoria of God's presence constantly by living a life of intercession in IHOP's prayer room). The Spirit (what spirit is the question though) is moving in the house (the house is another way of saying the prayer room or the missions base of IHOP) and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this (I was created to be a part of this movement). I am called to a forefunner ministry (I have a special calling and a secret knowledge of things to come and I am called to lead out ahead of the church and warn and prepare others based upon what I know about the end times. I am making a way for God's return. I will help usher that in.) and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny (a hyper spiritual way of saying I feel like I belong here, and am growing in the understanding of my real "calling and vocation in God".) My church back home doesn't understand or get me (IHOP programming). My parents don't get me (IHOP programming). They are part of a different generation (young people are given this narcissistic complex of being more special and anointed than their parents or previous generations)and they don't understand the apostolic intercession (I am called to chant prayers over and over again that were taken from letters Paul wrote in the hopes that praying them will make me apostolic) I am called to. I am the beloved's and His desire is for me (I have a romantic relationship with G-o). He is my bridegroom (He is not just a bridegroom to the body of Christ. He's my personal husband--worth taking a vow of celibacy and not getting married for) and he is awakening my heart (I am experiencing a new emotional surge rushing through me) with a spirit of burning (a feeling of intensity and a constant sense of striving after a spiritual high I can't seem to touch) and desire drips from his Word (He has romantic feelings about me). I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth (He is awakening romantic feelings in me that makes me see God differently than before). I want him to break in like a hammer--to break in like a fire (do something radial to reach me because He is so far away that He has to struggle to get to where I am. I am out of reach.) and bring signs and wonders (emphasis always given to what gets attention, stirs emotion, and enlists devoted followers) through my life. He has ravished me (back to romantic terminology). I am captivated by the God-man (God man is their 2 gods into one term rather than viewing God as one and the Messiah, Jesus, as an extension of Himself in human form where the Word takes on human flesh.) and by His beauty I am undone (romantic term for the affection felt toward God). I am lovesick for him (I feel an emotional low and need Him to give me another high. I feel empty and need Him to create a stimulating experience so I can feel him again) and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven (fascination with the supernatural--continually chasing after any vision or experience and stamping it as being "of God".) I am calling out "COME!" and He will answer.(He will return to earth sooner if I pray harder) Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall." (I will be committed to being in the prayer room continually until He does)

Now of course, this isn't usually what someone is thinking at the moment they are saying these things. But the interjected comments are the byproduct of what happens when you start believing that particular phrase or word. That's the subliminal message that comes with it.

See below for IHOP's definitions of the terms above as how they say they use them. (Sorry it's long. My post resumes again below IHOP's glossary)


"We’ve tried to make it easy for you to follow along with IHOP–KC prayers, teachings, and songs by compiling this reference dictionary with the most commonly used phrases and terms at IHOP–KC.

age to come. The epoch after this current historical time frame; the age to come encompasses the millennial kingdom and eternity. See also end times, eternal age, millennial kingdom, and second coming.

Anna anointing. Referring to Anna who "did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day" (Lk. 2:36–38). In application, this refers to the grace to spend long hours in prayer with fasting and to sustain it for many years. "Annas" are men and women, old and young, whose primary ministry is fasting and prayer aimed at changing the spiritual atmosphere of a city or nation. This is not necessarily their only ministry—Anna did the work of an evangelist and was a prophetess; she is recorded as the first evangelist in the New Testament.

A special grace, blessing or extreme unction from God.

antiphonal singing. Alternate singing between two or more singers or groups of singers. Examples of antiphonal singing include the seraphim who sing "holy" (Isa. 6:3) as well the Levitical choirs (Ezra 3:11; Neh. 12:24). The idea of "responsive" singing comes from Ezra 3:11: "And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: 'For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.' Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." The concept of "alternate" singing comes from Nehemiah 12:24: "And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God."

apostolic intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of others derived from the apostles’ prayers written in the New Testament, which reflect the desires of God’s heart for the people. Common examples of apostolic prayers are Ephesians 1:17–19, Philippians 1:9–11 and Matthew 6:9–13. A small collection of key apostolic prayers can be found in our Resources >> Foundational Teachings section. Because of the divine and positive nature of the apostolic prayers, IHOP–KC uses these portions of Scripture daily in intercession.

awaken love. A prayer, asking to be filled with God's love (see Eph. 3:16–19); to cause love or passion for God to be stirred up; to come alive to God in the deepest part of your life (Song 2:7).

awakened heart. A state of living and being in God in such a way that your spirit and emotions are alive and responsive to Him (Isa. 61:1; Song 2:10).

beloved. Seen regularly in the Song of Songs and in the gospel of John, this term initially refers to how God views human beings—they are His beloved. Secondarily, it refers to how human beings grow to view God—He becomes their beloved. This emotional exchange between God and His creation carries the most weight when it is birthed from the bridal paradigm.

break in like a fire and like a hammer. A prayer sung at IHOP–KC prayer sessions, asking the Lord to break into people's lives with His Word (Jer. 23:29).

bridal paradigm. A term used to describe a view of God presented in Scripture which reveals God as passionate and emotional, and filled with gladness, affection, and beauty. Whether Jew or Gentile, the redeemed are described in the Bible as the Bride of Christ, while Jesus is presented as a passionate Bridegroom who loves the redeemed and laid down His life for them. By the Father’s design and the Son’s passionate work on the cross, the Holy Spirit is bringing forth a remnant out of the human race to be voluntary lovers of God. These redeemed, the Bride of Christ, will co-rule in intimate relationship forever with Jesus, the Bridegroom God.

Bridegroom, King, and Judge. Three specific faces of God that are currently being emphasized, and will be increasingly emphasized as this age draws to an end.

bridegroom fasting. Another dimension of glory that Jesus added to the doctrine of fasting (Mt. 9:15). In this way, fasting is not simply abstaining; instead it becomes the expression of longing and mourning for the presence of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Bridegroom God. This refers to Jesus Christ when He spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom (Mk. 2:19–20).

burning heart. A person who is filled with the love and passion of God (see Isa. 64:1–2); a heart in fellowship with Jesus in prayer (Jn. 5:35).

captivated/fascinated/ravished heart. In the context of the bridal paradigm, this refers to someone who is wholeheartedly in love with God. In the natural, this refers to a heart moved with deep emotion and love, due to the actions of their lover (Song 4:9).

Daniel anointing. A special grace to enter into extended periods of fasting and prayer, specifically seeking revelation as to the meaning and implications of dreams, visions, or other divine communications regarding the end times (Dan. 1:1–12:13).

David(ic) anointing. Generally refers to the combining of the kingly and priestly anointing; a person after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).

divine escort. Overarching phrase describing some of the attributes of the Holy Spirit as He accompanies the redeemed through life. Other common terms include helper, comforter, and guide (Jn. 14:15–27, 16:5–14).

end times. Also known as the end of the age; this is the generation in which the Lord will return—the final decades of this current era of human history in which many major events occur: “the birth pains” begin, the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem; the Antichrist is revealed; the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the temple; the seals, trumpets, and bowls are released; a worldwide revival is led by the Church, etc. The end times will culminate with Jesus' physical second coming as He establishes His literal millennial reign on earth, followed by the eternal age.

eternal age. The final time frame spoken of in the Bible, also called eternity. The redeemed and the triune God are continually in each other's presence forever, while those rejecting Jesus will spend their eternity in the lake of fire.

fasted lifestyle. Voluntarily choosing a lifestyle of simplicity which limits various things in life: food, money, or accumulation of things, status, recognition, etc. While the rewards are primarily internal and spiritual, they are eternal (Isa. 58:1–14; Mt. 6:18, 9:14–17; 1 Cor. 2:10).

fire of God. God’s presence sent as a judge to burn away everything that hinders His love, thus enabling individuals to follow the first and second great commandments.

first and great commandment. "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Mt. 22:37–40). Also referred to as making God your first love (Rev. 2:4) or the one thing necessary (Lk. 10:42).

forerunner. A person who goes ahead of the Lord and prepares people for His coming (Isa. 40:1–31; Lk. 1:76). John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah are two biblical examples of the forerunner ministry. See also see John the Baptist.

forerunner ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to announce the unprecedented activities of the Lord that are soon to come, in order to make sense of what is happening and what is about to happen. The forerunner ministry has three main activities at the end of the age: restoring the first and great commandment to first place, releasing miracles to bring in the great harvest, and releasing the temporal judgments of God.

friend of the Bridegroom. Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. John the Baptist referred to himself as a friend of the Bridegroom who stands and hears the Bridegroom’s voice and is glad (Jn. 3:29, 15:14–15); this is the primary identity of a forerunner.

God-man. Referring to the divine and human origin of Jesus Christ; He is fully God and fully man.

governmental intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of a people by a representative of the people (Neh. 1:3–11; Dan. 9:4–20).

harp and bowl model. An IHOP–KC term derived from Revelation 5:8, describing the elders before the throne with harps (representing worship with music) and a bowl of incense (representing the prayers of God’s people). It is the basic model of IHOP–KC’s prayer meetings—combining worship (led by worship teams) and prayer (both personal and corporate). IHOP–KC utilizes two harp and bowl formats: worship with the Word and intercessory worship.

intercessory worship. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to intercede for various corporate prayer concerns. See also harp and bowl model.

John the Baptist. One who announced the unprecedented activities of the Lord that were soon to happen. John described himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, which is the fundamental identity of a forerunner (Jn. 3:29). John is the chief representation of the forerunner ministry. Jesus described John as "a burning and shining lamp" (Jn. 5:35).

Joseph anointing. Referring to those called to prosper in the marketplace so that they might make provision to "preserve life" (Gen. 45:5) in the time when God releases His end-time judgments on the earth. These “Josephs” will have the anointing to release the prophetic, strategic thinking, and mercy deeds to the nations, impacting leaders and building “cities of habitation” (Ex. 1:11). King Cyrus is another example of this, but with the emphasis placed on building the Lord's house (the temple) by releasing incredible wealth into the kingdom (Isa. 44:24–28, 45:1–13, and the many references throughout the book of Daniel; 2 Chron. 36:22–23; Ezra 1:1–2:70.) For deeper discussion of this topic, see the October 2005 JoCo Journal).

kiss me with the kisses of your Word. A prayer, taken from Song of Songs 1:2, asking that, as people read the Scripture, God would reveal His love, affections, and beauty so as to empower holiness and love for Him (Song 1:2–4; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 1:17).

. Overwhelmed by love for God (Song 2:5, 5:8).

the love song of your heart. The special song that no one else but you can sing to God because of your uniqueness in God and your love for Him (Ps. 139:13–18); it is accompanied by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18–19).

Mary of Bethany
. A friend and follower of Jesus Christ; Mary was representative of one who follows the first and great commandment; she lived a fasted lifestyle of pure and simple devotion to Jesus Christ; she sat at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 10:38–42); Jesus spent His final days before His crucifixion in Bethany with Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead (Jn. 12:1–3).

millennial kingdom or millennial reign of Christ. At the culmination of human history, Jesus Christ will return to earth and set up His literal, physical 1,000-year reign from the global capital city of Jerusalem; a theocratic government under Jesus Christ, with Jews and redeemed martyrs in positions of authority.

night and day prayer/intercession. In Isaiah 62:6–7, Isaiah prophesied that intercession would continue twenty-four hours a day; this is part of God’s answer to Satan who accuses the Church night and day (Rev. 12:10).

one thing necessary. Jesus' validation of Mary's choice to sit at His feet and hear His words: "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Lk. 10:42).

open heaven. A pronounced increase, in a particular season, of the supernatural invading the natural; examples throughout Scripture include Genesis 28:12, Exodus 24:9–11, Ezekiel 1:1–3:27, John 1:51; Revelation 1:1–20.

prophecy. Any God-inspired testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10), including (but not exclusive to) the written Scriptures; the key to understanding God’s voice is to know His heart.

prophetic anointing. A supernatural skill or gift given to a person by God in order to receive and understand divine information.

prophetic worship. Used within the harp and bowl model of worship and intercession. During worship, discerned themes that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing (holiness, healing, deliverance, etc.) are expressed, with opportunities for ministry (Zech. 4:6; Jn. 3:1–8; Jas. 5:13–16).

prophetic singing. The spontaneous singing of phrases that develop different themes (love, holiness, justice, etc.) found in a passage of Scripture. This occurs during all the IHOP–KC prayer meetings.

second coming
. The literal, physical return of Christ to earth, specifically to Jerusalem, to begin His millennial reign.

second (and great) commandment. "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Mt. 22:37–40).

Simeon Company
. IHOP–KC internship program; refers to a group of people in the 50+ age group who come to IHOP–KC for a three-month training program (Mal. 4:6).

sing to the Lord. One of the most reiterated commands in the Bible (Ex. 15:21; 2 Sam. 22:50; 1 Chr. 16:9, 23; 2 Chr. 20:21; Ps. 7:17, 9:2, 18:49, 30:4, 33:3, 47:6, 67:4, 81:1, 89:1, 95:1, 98:1; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

spirit of burning. IHOP–KC phrase; this is a cycle of maintaining a passionate desire for Jesus so that you are in a place of emotional pain whenever He is absent; hope and excited expectancy because of the knowledge that He loves to come to the hungry and thirsty heart; real experiential encounters with His beauty and presence causing you to have an even greater desire to be close to Jesus (Mt. 22:37; Lk. 24:13–32).

tabernacle of David. David established a worship ministry in which he set 4,000 musicians and 288 prophetic singers before the ark of the covenant (1 Chr. 15:1, 16:1–6, 23:5, 25:7, 37–42). The "restoration of the tabernacle of David" refers to Jesus establishing His throne in Jerusalem at the second coming and ruling the earth in the context of prayer and worship (Isa. 56:7; Amos 9:11–15).

. A form of government based on God's direct guidance and His righteous laws.

urgency of the hour. The understanding that time is short before Jesus' second coming; Jesus' return is inevitable and will happen very soon. Therefore, this time in human history is like no other. Each person is being invited to "repent, for the Kingdom of God is near" (Mt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 13:1–5).

unveiled. Unashamed, corporate and individual interaction between the Bride and the Bridegroom God (Song 1:7; 2 Cor. 3:18).

watchman/watchmen. Refers to the requirement for us to watch over the Body of Christ while having a discerning, biblical understanding of end-time events. Our privileged calling is to intercede for God’s people and to co-partner with God’s unfolding plans in this final hour of human history, hastening the day of Jesus' coming, our Savior and Bridegroom (Isa. 62:6–7).

watch and pray. This is a requirement that we live as wise sons and daughters, understanding the times and seasons in which we live, interceding accordingly, that we might not misunderstand what He is doing, but remain focused on His will and His affections (Rom. 13:11–14; Col. 4:2). The sons of Issachar (also called the men of Issachar) are examples of this (1 Chr. 12:32; Mt. 26:41; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 21:36).

worship with the Word. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to meditate on the Word in a focused time of study; the worship team selects a passage to sing through antiphonally as they expound on the themes within each verse, thus "worshiping with the Word." See also harp and bowl model.

Zechariah 3
. Referring to the exchange between Joshua the high priest and the Angel of the Lord. The removal of the filthy garments in exchange for “a clean turban on his head” refers to the renewal of the mind, a clean and pure thought life, and holiness before the Lord.

24/7. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; unceasing or continuous."

[end of article]

It's one thing to just mis-define a word. But if you give it your own definition and then use it in a new context than it's original definition required, you can develop a whole allusively vague language that only a select few can understand. I have literally listened to people from IHOP who can sit and carry on an entire conversation using the words I mentioned above and an eavesdropper in a coffee shop would think they were speaking Chinese. It is a poetic language which is intentionally made to be vague so that the definitions can be altered at any time it is necessary and because it's using a word already introduced, it will feel familiar and through the power of suggestion, the words will be put together and given new definitions will be adopted without question. See how dangerous this is?

Charismatic speakers and leaders who can use emotionally stirring words and speeches, sermons and monologues to move a crowd or lead a movement, you hold the power to persuade people to do just about anything you suggest.

Here's a few you have heard more frequently from someone that's not Mike Bickle.

"Yes We Can"
"It's Time for Change"
"Hope is now"

Every time I asked someone who quoted one of these phrases during the last campaign to please explain to me what they meant, I never got an answer. But read the words. They are rallying words. They are emotionally stimulating and move people to engage. I'm not intending to take this post a political direction. That isn't the purpose or the subject I'm highlighting. I simply want to illustrate how simple it is to tack a new meaning to a word and create a catchy, yet vague phrase and then sell it to the masses.

So now take some that I mentioned above:

Kiss me with your word
Let your spirit of burning come
I am lovesick for you
Awaken divine desire

Same sense of vague emotional sensationalism...but no real content to the message. You can make it mean anything you want. "Let your spirit of burning come" might sound really intense and spiritual and like a good thing but I want to interject a word of caution here. These are not just things being talked about, they are terms being daily prayed for people...spoken over their lives. Leaders lay hands on a 16 year old and pray for a spirit of burning to come upon them. Now stop and ask yourself: do we really know what spirit that is imparting when it doesn't line up with the name of any spirit God says to ask for or pray for. Jesus didn't lay hands on His disciples and pray that a spirit of burning would come upon them. Sometimes you just have to stop and take off the hyper spiritualized glasses we are sometimes told to look through and just evaluate very plainly and logically whether this is something you want to have imparted when there isn't a Biblical instruction or support to pray such a think over someone.

A quick word study reveals that scripture uses the word burning in a quite different way than the definition IHOP gives to it. The following ways are just the main themes that repeated themselves throughout the Bible:

Burning coal
Burning fire on an altar
Burning a city
Burning with anger
Burning sulfur
Burning fire in hell
Burning incense
Burning bush
Burning zeal
Burning like an oven
Burning stick
Burning with jealousy

The majority of uses in scripture of the word burning were either in regards to God burning with righteous anger or jealousy or the burning of judgement and destruction. Yes, I've certainly prayed that God would help me to make choices which guarded my heart from the things that would hinder my walk with Him, my sensitivity to be able to hear from Him, etc. But that is not the same thing as praying for an impartation of a spirit called Burning. Do you see the difference?

I could take these apart word by word but I think this is a start to begin to highlight the differences between the commonly used definition of a word based upon a dictionary and the way a spiritual sub-culture redefines those same words to put their own propaganda on them. It's all about selling a different message. If we don't guard carefully the things we buy into because we think we know what something means then we can fall prey to some very dangerous ideas and ways of thinking.

Remember that deception is deceptive and those that think they can't be deceived already are.

Feel free to post comments of some words with twisted meanings you have come across as well. I'm mostly familiar with IHOP's terminology but if you have experienced something similar whether from IHOP or another organization, feel free to share. Blessings to you!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Contemplative Prayer, Continued

It was brought to my attention today that in my April 5, 2009 post titled: Heresies: Re-cycled. Re-packaged. Re-named, that the direct link I included to IHOP's website where they explained and defined contemplative prayer had been removed.

HERE is where the link was. As you can see in the top of the internet tool bar the title of the article was on Contemplative Prayer. I guess it got some negative attention so it was taken down so as to not be able to be linked back to the new age practice I explained in detail in this post if you'd like to read it for more information.

I figured that eventually word would get out and IHOP leadership would see it was not in their best interest to broadcast the article on Contemplative Prayer directly from their website. So the text from the article was saved in a Word document and I am including it in this post for those of you who tried to visit their website after the link was removed.

(*note: this is a direct copy and paste of IHOP's article. It has not been edited or altered in any way from its original format)

IHOP's article described and taught contemplative prayer in this way:

Contemplative Prayer
Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you

I. Know He Lives Inside of You
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:24–27

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes…
— Ezekiel 36:26–27

But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
— John 4:14

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
— Romans 8:9–1

Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.
— John 7:37–39, KJV

II. Pray the Scripture

The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Method #1

• Choose a short phrase in Scripture.

• Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.

• Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).

• Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.

Method #2

• Choose a short story in Scripture.

• Read through the story several times silently.

• Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.

• Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.

• Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.

Method #3

• We call this "Beholding the Spirit Within."

• The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.

• Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.

• Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.

• You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.

• In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”

Overcoming Distractions

Your mind will have to be trained in practial ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.
Diligence in Prayer

In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.
Keys to Progress

• Humility—the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)

• Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)

• Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)

After the damage is already done, how does the heart heal and move forward?

Some recent healing in my own life lately over some issues from my childhood has caused me to look at this whole subject of dealing with pain and overcoming its grip on my soul. For the purpose of this blog I have talked mostly about the pains of going through spiritual abuse suffered from cults, abusive & controlling church leadership and dangerous religious groups. However, in this particular post I will share these realizations in light of how to repair and mend from the after-affect of pain from more personal, day to day events. Although the concepts still apply to dealing with all forms of pain and are certainly applicable to dealing with spiritual pain upon coming out of those places. Pain is pain and can be dealt with the same regardless of the type of pain or what caused it.

Most believers have at some time or another heard the truth that Jesus died to carry our sin and pain. He bore our sicknesses (of both body and heart) and disease (emotional and physical). He died to purchase healing and wholeness for our entire being...and for the whole of humanity--past, present and future. This is 100% true, yet I've heard those who have said "Well, if He died to carry my hurts why am I still feeling them? Why do I still experience abuse? Why am I carrying around pain I have carried since childhood?" This is where the rubber meets the road. For many that healing is embraced mentally but never fully applied. The pain doesn't get released and therefore the solution isn't activated.

Jesus's death was the down payment on freedom. He did 100% of His part. Why do we not fully walk in freedom? Because we have to release the pain to Him and give it to Him from our heart (not our head) or we continue to walk in the bondage of it. He doesn't violate human will. Yes, He died for sin, pain, abuse, etc but He won't come storming into your soul and take it all from you. He simply waits on us to offer the pain to Him so that the freedom can come full circle and He can have all that He died to pay for.

Perhaps you've been in a situation where you suffered spiritual abuse, rejection, abandonment of a parent or spouse, emotional or psychological abuse or a variety of pain in other forms. How do you repair after the trauma? Let's talk about that.

The first step is FEELING it. Pain is scary. It hurts (obviously). No one likes hurt or wants to feel it so we bury it, stuff it, hide from it, medicate it, escape from it, get busier, project it onto others, anything BUT feel it. Why is allowing ourselves to feel it important? Because we know in our minds that we feel pain and that we hurt. But we don't hold the pain in our minds. We carry it in our souls, our hearts, whatever term you prefer to use there. We can't release pain mentally and expect to stay free. That's like a 6-year old stuffing all of the toys and dirty laundry under the bed and calling the room clean. It's not dealing with the actual root of where the pain resides.

"Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

Scripture doesn't say "blessed are they that stuff" or "blessed are they that run, hide and avoid." Mourning requires feeling the pain.

For many of us who have suffered some form of abuse as children, we were not given permission to own or feel emotions growing up. It's a radical paradigm shift when you start giving yourself the right to feel things as an adult. It feels new, uncomfortable and even scary to start acknowledging how something makes you feel--to put words to pain. There is an ownership and responsibility once you can identify it and feel it. Many have been told that if you "don't confess it you won't give power to it and it will just go away over time." This is one of the greatest deceptions I've ever heard about how to deal with pain. It does the opposite of bringing freedom. It locks the heart into deeper bondage. Here's why:

1) You've probably heard the very over-spiritualized (and false) "If you confess it out loud, you're agreeing with the enemy and making it come true." This is the same school of thought that says "If you say you're sick, you're making yourself sick. You should say 'I'm on my way to feeling healed' or 'God is good and I feel great'". Ladies and gentlemen, this is nothing more than old fashioned denial. Denying pain or abuse or sickness doesn't make it go away. It prolongs the healing process because we aren't allowed the freedom to feel and get beneath the cause or root of that pain. Why do you think Jesus said "If you confess your sin, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness?" Because the Father designed us in such a way that confession from the heart releases something. Acknowledging sin brings freedom. Identifying pain and abuse or sickness is step 1 to being free from it. If you never admit that your kitchen is dirty you'll never take the next step to clean it. You'll keep using dishes and pile them into the sink and say "No, the kitchen isn't dirty. It's fine." Now this sounds absurd in the natural and we all clean our kitchens when they need it. We will acknowledge needs in the physical world but deny them on a spiritual level. Denial is the gatekeeper of abuse. If you deny something, you hold it outside of reality and don't ever have to deal with it. The sad thing is that this never makes it go away. It stuffs it and delays the healing process.

2) When pain or hurt that is hidden is brought to the light and felt, confessed and released, it loses its power. It loses its sting. As long as it remains inside it is a deadly poison that eats away at the soul over time and causes very real damage. It's like having a wrecking ball swinging around inside of us. When we give ourselves the permission to FEEL the hurt and the pain we've stuffed, we open the door to the internal prison where we have stored it and only then can we begin to find true and lasting freedom.

Maybe you're thinking "Okay, I've felt pain before and acknowledged it but it didn't go away." Not knowing your particular situation or how you define "feeling your pain" I can only speak from my own experience. So let me explain how I define "feeling the pain."

When something occurs (an argument with your boss at work, a fight with your spouse, a hurtful phone call from a parent you don't have a good relationship with, a hurtful word said by one of your children) whatever the incident, it causes pain and while that event is certainly painful in and of itself, it's actually triggering the pain from a root that goes back further than that moment. For example, if a boss snaps at your at your job and says "your performance is pathetic and your work ethic is worthless. I knew we shouldn't have hired you in the first place but people higher up than me made that call. You'd better get these numbers up and get your act together or you're out." This response is of course a very harsh, hurtful and abusive way to speak to another person. More than likely however, the hurt of this event will be compounded. It will often un-cover the hurt of perhaps another time, much longer ago when Dad or Mom or someone else in an authority position in your life said something that made you feel the same way. At that time you were probably a child with fragile self-esteem and with a deep desire to trust that those who had an authority in your life would only say something to you if it was true. So you internalized those feelings of hurt, rejection, unworthiness, and not measuring up. So now this experience at work has emotionally connected you to another memory far more hurtful.

If you blow up at your boss or go run at the gym after work to deal with the hurt and anger, you might think you have felt the pain and dealt with this event. You might then go into work the next day ready to start fresh on improving your performance and working harder to prove that you can be a team player and an employee worth keeping around. What has happened instead is that the pain of this event which triggered the same pain of a different event as a child are now linked to each other and creating a more compounded pain which was stuffed into the same drawer and not dealt with.

When I talk about feeling the pain I am referring to letting yourself feel it at its root. That's where the pain started, it's where the healing also starts. When you allow yourself to feel the pain, you'll start to honestly look at where that pain came from and be able to trace it back to when you felt that way at other times. For example, in the case of this hypothetical work situation I created for the purpose of this illustration (we'll call him Jim). Let's say Jim got home from work and felt awful. Instead of turning on a football game or yelling at his wife for something petty or telling his kids to stop talking so loud because he'd already had a long and stressful day, let's freeze frame that moment. Let's say Jim goes somewhere to be alone and instead of escaping from the pain, he lets himself really acknowledge it and feel it. He remembers in that moment that his Dad used to talk to him the same way. His performance was never good enough. He tried so hard to "do better" to win Dad's approval but it was never enough and now he and Dad didn't have a relationship anymore because Jim's way of dealing with the pain he couldn't allow himself to feel, was just to eliminate the one who caused it in the first place. Each situation is different and I'm not going to say whether that was right or wrong in this case. Everyone is different and there are certainly times when abuse is present that distance from the abuser is extremely healthy and right in trying to find our own healing. However, it doesn't in and of itself HEAL our pain. It just stops future pain from occurring from the same source that caused it the first time.

In continuing with our story, let's say Jim remembers being 7 years old and having a particular memory where Dad yelled horrible, degrading things at him that made him feel worthless. He's now finding the root of this pain that his boss's yelling only triggered and un-earthed. Now here is the moment when most people bail. They find the place that hurts but are afraid of their own hurt. It feels so big (because it felt so big to them as that child that first felt it). That little boy or girl had no ability to deal with the pain. They were being attacked by the person that God put into their lives to protect them. At this moment of identifying that place of pain, holding there is crucial. Staying in that moment and feeling the pain instead of stuffing it or running from it is vitally important to being freed from it.

So let's say Jim does stay there. He doesn't fight back the tears or push back the memories and call them childish. If He stays in that pain and feels the fullness of it, he's unlocking the prison and cutting the power of the pain. Then as the pain is being felt, it must be released to Jesus. He died to the purchase the pain and He is the only one who can carry it for us, so we must give it back to Him. He is the rightful owner because His death purchased our freedom from our pain. Now we can complete the circle and freedom can become permanent as we allow Him to take our pain when we are feeling it, acknowledging it and giving it to Him. It's very simple. In owning it, we tell Jesus out loud that it hurts, that we don't want to keep carrying it so we are offering it back to Him. We ask Him to take all of it out and to go to the root of that memory where that pain occurred and remove the root of it. Whatever you have to say in that moment to release how much it hurts and how it feels is important--it disarms the strength of that pain. If perhaps you recognize a lie that you believed about yourself in that moment, confess that too. Ask Jesus to replace it with the truth of who He says you are. Stay in that place and feel that pain until it's all gone...until the internal ache and throb of it ends. Cry until you don't have pain prompting the tears. Feel it, even though it hurts. It will start to taper off and hurt less as you pray it to Adonai and release it through tears, words, or whatever that needs to be for your own heart.

When there is no feeling of pain left attached to that memory, you might just feel drained emotionally and empty. Then ask God to pour His love into your heart, soul, mind, every part of you. Ask Him to fill you up inside with His peace. If you wait there a minute, you will notice a peace and perhaps a warmth settle upon your heart. You will notice a change. Your heart will feel different when you've released the pain. Jesus is the one who conducts the healing process inside. It's not something we do in our minds or try to force with emotions. We allow Him to be the healer and just let Him do the navigating. All we do is show up, feel the pain, acknowledge it and give it to Him.

I cannot even begin to articulate accurately and strongly enough with words how much walking through this process has brought tremendous healing in my own life. Yes, I do believe in blowing the whistle on abuse in spiritual places and "ministries". However, people can run around all day saying "this place is wrong. that place is wrong." And while there may be truth in that, acknowledging the places as being bad, wrong, in error, teaching erroneous things, etc. doesn't HEAL the abuse or pain that was caused. It's the other missing piece.

I hope to continue walking with you on the journey toward pursuing truth but my desire is that we all get free along the way. If healing from past congregations doesn't happen we will eventually walk back into a situation just like it or worse because we didn't heal. It's the same with abusive relationships, if we don't heal from the abuse and recognize what drove us to it then we will eventually go back to another abuser. The same wounds get dragged into the next situation or place. We then add that new damage to the old and become the walking wounded. God desires us to be healed and whole, free and vibrantly alive in Him so that we can fulfill all that He called us to do in our time on this earth. Do you want to finish the race dragging a broken body and wounded heart over the finish line or do you want to run triumphantly over it jumping with joy over the victory of winning the race? Something to think about there...

Let's finish the race together pursuing wholeness, freedom and healing in Jesus!

If you are interested in more information about the process of walking out of pain, I will attach a link at the bottom of this post for Family Foundations International. This is a ministry I have received a lot of personal healing through and have had key experiences of walking out of my own pain in a biblical (non-new age creepy) way unlike much of the "inner healing" I hear endorsed in some circles. Feel free to peruse the website and check out FFI seminars in your area.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coffee &Theology

This morning I sat with my laptop at my favorite coffee shop
where I met a dear friend for breakfast.

Three young adults around my age sat at the table next to me.
After an hour or so, one left and a guy and girl remained.
We had all exchanged small talk throughout the morning
and by 11:00 I was engaged in a full conversation
with the guy who sat across from me.

He looked part Indian and had wild black curly hair
but a kind smile and big laugh.
He heard me listening to Waterdeep on my laptop
which started a conversation about church.

When the discussion of beliefs came up
and I told him I was a Jewish believer, he was full of questions.
After approximately 15 minutes of answering them
he told me he was in his senior year of seminary
and had never been taught the things I was sharing.

He had a definite hunger for knowledge
and asked me about everything from the salvation of the Jews,
to the Hebrew meanings of words.

It was a casual conversation for the most part
and never grew to an antagonistic debate or disagreement
...just an exchanging of questions and answers
like an Oprah interview.

I turned the questions around as I began to ask him
what set him on his course toward theology.

I asked him what drew him to that study.
He was calculated and thoughtful in considering his answer.
He talked of wanting to make a contribution
to people's "spiritual formation" (this was his term)
and wanting to make a difference in the world.
He talked about how everyone in the world
has a desire toward spiritual things
in one sense or another.
He mentioned how affirming his professors had been that he
could do it well..."it" being the study of theology.
He said that initially his focus was on his own personal discipleship
and that if he goes into the PhD program he has been accepted into
he will then go into more of an academic focus on the discipleship
of other people and leading them academically toward spiritual formation.

I then asked a very loaded question:
What do you believe qualifies you for ministry or service?
Is it your personal relationship with Jesus
or your academic study and achievement?

He said "both" but talked only of his academic study
and what an accomplished scholar he hoped to become.
Here I was sitting in a coffee shop
with an open mind but a saddened heart
as I heard this modern day pharisee
talk of his pursuit of knowledge and desire for service
and valuable contribution
but his speech was void of any talk about relationship.
His pursuit of truth and growing in the knowledge of the God
under whose name he aims to serve
was not what drove his study--it was not his focus.

Is there a place for knowledge and study? Absolutely.
But what qualifies us is a RELATIONSHIP with our Lord and Messiah.
There will be no theologian greater than He
and time spent with Him is never wasted.
His education cannot be purchased with tuition
and his primary textbook sits on many shelves
collecting dust.

This conversation has plunged me into deep thought
and internal dialog with God about what He is saying in all of this.
I know my time this morning was orchestrated by Him
as He is the one who orders my steps and opens doors of opportunity.
What am I to learn from this?
What am I to take away?

In what areas does my own pursuit of Him
get lost in the details of the academic process
while missing the deep importance of the subject matter?
For what good is our scholarly research and understanding
if we merely comprehend and assent mentally while living
in total disconnect at the heart level?

The greatest scholarly minds of Jesus's time
saw debates with Him as a challenge
where their own wit and education were matched up
and put to the test as they went into the wrestling ring
with one they deemed a Sabbath-breaking heretic.
His answers trumped their highest degrees of study
and left them all walking away scheming His demise.

What made His message more effective than theirs?
People took note that He spoke with power and authority
not like that of the pharisees.
Why is that? Anyone can take a sentence or teaching
and use more boisterous language or higher volume
and sound convicting and motivating in their presentation.
But clearly this did not communicate the same message
to the hearts of the people
as did this humble-hearted carpenter who spoke truth
into their daily lives and situations.

What made His message different?
I believe it is this one defining thing:
He did what He saw His Father doing.

His life and His Father's were one.
They walked in perfect harmony even though the veil of time
between heaven and earth separated them.
What the Father spoke, echoed through the heart of Jesus
and was spoken into the situation to which it applied.
He did not speak on His own initiative as He himself explained.

So, the words of man can still have power and presence
without having life or authority to effect change
in the lives of those who hear them.
It's the Father's words which possess such life-transforming power.
Therefore, when the Father's words came through
an earthen vessel, they altered events in time as Jesus
touched blind eyes, healed lame beggars,
bound up unseen wounds
and wiped adulterer's tears.

As for this scholar whose path crossed my own today,
my prayer for him is that in all of his searching and study,
He finds more than sermon material.
I pray he finds a love for truth
and a desire to not just know about the God who made the universe
but to actually know Him in the power of His resurrection
and in the fellowship of His suffering
as he discovers the wild and glorious adventure
of being a follower of Christ and living a life in Him
that transcends the pages of a textbook.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Judgement vs. Discernment

How can one tell the difference?

What is the difference between making a judgment against someone and discerning when a belief, teaching, etc is false and speaking out against it?

A common disclaimer I hear from people is "well, don't speak against a person/ministry even if what they do/teach is wrong. God will take care of it. Just go on doing what you know is right." I call this the head-in-sand response. This means: "If I ignore false teachings and false prophets, they will all just go away." This is otherwise known as denial.

Did Paul say: "Hey, it's ok. No congregation is perfect. Go on believing the false gospel that is leaking into your congregation. You'll find heresy everywhere so no need to make a fuss over this." Um, I think not. He was pretty direct in how he dealt with this you will see further below in the scripture references I have included at the bottom of this post.

But to answer my question above, I believe the difference between judging a person and dealing with a false teaching is this:

To judge a person is to attack their identity based upon their actions. To discern a false doctrine and call it out as such is to deal with the two separately. This allows one to bring loving correction, healing and restoration (Gal 6:1) to the person/ministry while eradicating the false teaching and exposing it for what it is. In other words, in dealing with a false teaching or doctrine, it's important not to make harsh judgments of the PERSON who is in the deception. The person can come to repentance, be restored to truth and turn from that deception...but the deception is still just that, deception. It remains false. It cannot change. An erroneous teaching is just that and regardless of who buys into it, its validity as a doctrine is not based upon the one who believes it.

Take for an example a person with cancer. Is that person evil because they have a disease? Should they be hated and judged because they have cancer? Of course not. But will the cancer eventually destroy them if not removed? Yes. The properties of cancer are the same regardless of what person they have infected. Cancers are toxic, deadly and life-ending diseases that attack different systems within the body. They have measurable effects because they can be seen in the natural with medical equipment. False teachings and deceptions are internal cancers that are more elusive and more difficult to detect...thus requiring the discernment of the Spirit of God. The cancer is what must be removed in hopes of sparing the life of the person infected. The goal is to bring healing and freedom to the person by exposing the cancer that is eating them away inside...whether physically or spiritually.

As the verses below illustrate, there is judgment that comes upon those who buy into and teach false doctrines and lead others astray. But keep this in mind: the Father does not wish that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). So even his judgment is for the purpose of bringing them to freedom and wholeness. Spiritual chemotherapy can be painful.

So let's take a closer look at how Scripture identifies false teachers and doctrines. Where is there documentation in the Word of those who spoke out against false teachers, doctrines, etc? Please don't take my word for it. Go search it out.

What does God say about those who twist truth and teach and/or prophesy things that did not come from Him? What is HIS response? What did the apostles in the new covenant such as Paul, Timothy, etc say in response to false teachings that introduced a "new and higher gospel" than they had been preaching?

Here's a starting point:

Zech 10:2--The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. (vs 3) "My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD Almighty will care for his flock, the house of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle. (NIV)

Matthew 7 (Jesus's warning)
15-"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16-By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
17-Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18-A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
19-Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20-Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (NIV)

Matt 24:10--At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, (v.11) and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (NIV)

2 Cor 11:4--For if someone comes to you and tells you about some other Messiah than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received, or accept some so-called "good news" different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough! (CJB)

2 Cor 11:13--For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Messiah. 14. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Colossians 2:18--Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

1 Tim 6:3--If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4. he is conceited and understands nothing...(v 11) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 John 4:1--Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 Peter 2--whole chapter

Feel free to continue researching this issue on your own. I pray that the eyes of your heart will continue to be enlightened to the truth of God's Word and they He will lead your heart into freedom!

Heresies: Re-cycled. Re-packaged. Re-named.

One of IHOP's professed teachings on prayer is the introduction of "contemplative prayer".

Below are quotes from Mike Bickle on contemplative prayer:

· “Every one in the Body Of Christ is called to live lives of contemplative prayer...”

· “Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome (resistance to contemplative prayer).

· “…contemplative prayer, you gotta get over that hurdle! Barnes & Noble is prophesying it! Hurtle one we gotta understand it’s for everybody! Everybody is called to the fullness (contemplative prayer). We’re all going to go into this thing!” --audio message Contemplative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle

Many have asked me: So what is this contemplative prayer thing? What does that mean? Well, I have provided a brief definition below as well as links for you to do your own research into this dangerous new age teaching that has leaked its way into the body. This practice has become part of the "new" doctrine being presented by IHOP and other ministries. Contemplative prayer (also known by the term 'centering prayer') is simply a re-packaged heresy taught by the Roman Catholic church as far back as the 17th century. It was distilled into a prayer model and rose in popularity in the 1970's. (Click here for web source)

One source explains it this way:

"Contemplative prayer, also known as “centering prayer,” is a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. According to Catholic priest Thomas Keating, this is how it is done: "Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God's presence and action within. When you become aware of thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Although this might sound like an innocent exercise, this type of "prayer" has no scriptural support whatsoever. In fact, it is just the opposite of how prayer is defined in the Bible. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done" (Philippians 4:6, NLT). "At that time you won't need to ask me for anything. The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy" (John 16:23-24, NLT). These verses, and others, clearly portray prayer as being comprehensible communication with God, not an esoteric, mystical meditation." (Click here for source)

Anyone with an understanding of how the Bible teaches us to pray and a basic knowledge of the new age movement can clearly detect where this teaching is heretical at its core. So how has this been re-packaged and re-used in churches and congregations today? Simple. By inserting God's name and the use of scripture to bring the believer into a "higher form of consciousness in prayer". Um, hello. Red flags going off here for anyone else?

Some have argued that this is innocent and doesn't really mean the same thing that new age teaches. Well I argue that with this analogy: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quack's like a duck, it's a duck!

So, re-cycling, re-packaging and re-naming a doctrine something more "listener friendly" doesn't take it from its skewed meaning and make it suddenly okay. There is no scriptural foundation for this heretical teaching. If this were the highest form of prayer that humanity could enter into, wouldn't it have been what Jesus taught when he walked the earth??

Time and time again, I've heard Mike and other leaders/teachers at IHOP take scripture out of context to support the new teaching they were introducing. One such twisting in relationship to contemplative prayer is Matthew 6:6 which says "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Well clearly, Jesus is talking about not praying to be seen but to remember that communication with the Father is about a one-on-one dialog. This verse however has been twisted at IHOP to refer to contemplative prayer by stating that this "inner room" you are to go into to pray is actually yourself. They say that this verse supports the teaching of contemplative prayer because you are to retreat into your own spirit to pray.

If the above wasn't convincing enough, click HERE to read IHOP's detailed explanation of the different methods of contemplative prayer that they teach. This is directly from IHOP's website.

This is just one of many new-age/mystical practices that has found its way into the body by simply re-naming the components so as to deceive those hearing it. Uncover its roots and you'll see it in it's original packaging. It's like doing a cosmetic touch-up on a house that has been condemned and boarded up. When the paint starts cracking and the wallpaper comes down, you begin to see what it was before. Let us not stray away from the simplicity of devotion to our Lord (2 Cor 11:3)

For further research, here are a few other sources. I do not necessarily endorse these particular sites or ministries so please read for yourself with discernment and an open ear to the voice of God. Some sites below are PRO-contemplative prayer and will teach it with a different spin. Others are anti-contemplative prayer. But I thought you might be interested in seeing it from both perspectives.