Pastors and church leaders let us have ears to hear
what the Spirit is saying to us…

 The tendency we humans have [Christians too] is make life all about us. We spend our lives focused on our needs and wants,
and on our dreams and aspirations. We make plans and formulate strategies to accomplish what is in our hearts and minds. From
our earliest days on earth as an infant, we concentrate on getting enough to eat, on feeling comfortable, having our wants
fulfilled, being safe, feeling wanted and accepted, being educated so we can fend for ourselves, etc. Self is our primary concern
when we boil everything down. But the question is this: “Is this really the way God planned for us to be?”

  We see in the garden of Eden God had a specific purpose for Adam and Eve which was to tend His garden and care for His
creation. He gave him ultimate authority to rule on the earth and made provision for his every need from the bounty of the garden.
Man lived in utopia and stood in covenant with Almighty God the Creator of the heavens and earth enjoying personal fellowship
with the One True God. What a life he had!

  The simple fact that we see God’s initial purpose for man as being His emissary on earth and because He has given specific
directives to mankind to serve the Lord leads us to rightly conclude that we are not our own – we are the Lord’s. We were never
meant to follow our own thoughts and dreams but rather we are designed especially for His works on the earth. Now, under the
New Covenant in which God Himself dwells in us and is always with us, we see that He has taken fallen man back to his original
purpose having removed our guilt of sin and re-established us in covenant with Him. Now we have been readied to serve Him
totally. This is the main theme that we see from the words of Jesus and through the writings of the apostles when they penned His
words that now form our Bible. We are His servants. We are His ambassadors. He speaks through our mouths. His love flows from
our hearts. Healings from Him are imparted through our hands. His thoughts fill our minds. His anointing empowers us to do the
supernatural work of the Kingdom. We are His preachers of righteousness. We are the light of the world and the salt. And, His
name is now attached to us because we are His children.

  Religion has severely damaged this glorious plan of God for us. Religion is the set of beliefs and practices developed by man
intended to connect with God. Religion is the pursuit of righteousness through good works. Religion is man’s attempt to impress
God through prayers, sacrifices, or our generosity towards Him. Religion is manmade and therefore it is incapable of
accomplishing any of these things. Religion is a counterfeit relationship with God. To the religionist man is viewed as “defiled and
down here on earth” while God is viewed as “Holy and somewhere up there in heaven out of reach of sinful man.” There is no
understanding of our oneness with God through our blessed covenant with Him. The introduction of religion into the Church of
Jesus Christ has essentially been its undoing and has severely weakened what was intended to be the representation of Jesus
on the earth fulfilling the original mandate to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. I thank God not all is lost! There are still
many of God’s children who rightly divide the Word of Truth accepting His commission as their own.

  Today, much of what happens inside the church is designed to edify the individual and help him feel better about himself, have
a happier life, stay healthy and be successful, and be a better person and get along with others. A significant portion of the
church budget is allocated to such things as the gymnasium, the softball team, the volleyball team, exercise classes, arts and
crafts, landscaping, maintenance of the campus, expansion of the campus, newer and better technology, and the list goes on...
These are not bad things but the problem is that they distract the people of God from their original purpose. The Church must
repent and refocus; we must get back to God’s divine commission.

  The “spirit of the Pharisee” is alive and well in the Church! This is the spirit that seeded religion into the Church and then was
tasked with the job of maintaining it and even increasing it. This evil spirit seeks to destroy true worship and undermine the
divine purpose and commission of the Church. It is darkness. It is the working of the evil one to counter covenant relationship
between God and His children and even between His children – the covenant-breaking spirit. This demonic power emphasizes
church programs, buildings, plans, rules and regulations, and the traditions of men. Priority is given to things other than the
precious people of God. It is just as it was with the Pharisees in the time of Jesus who blindly failed to rejoice over the miracle of
healing that took place and judged Jesus because the miracle happened on the Sabbath. The correctness of their program was
given priority over the person who was healed. The preservation of churches, denominations, and our “sacred cows” has
displaced the will of God and His desires for His Church. I wonder what letters Jesus would write to most of our churches today
given His thoughts to the seven churches in Revelations 2-3.

  Church leaders and pastors, the responsibility to get the Church back on track rests squarely on our shoulders. We allowed the
evil one to derail the Church and we have allowed religion to remain unchecked throughout the centuries. Yes we have made
strides in some quadrants toward righting the flailing ship, but much remains to be done if we are to correct this problem and
please Jesus who is the Head of the Church. We must fall on our faces before the Throne and confess our sins and repent of our
failure to rightly lead the people of God. Then we must rise and stand in our pulpits and confess to our people our failures of
many generations of ordained ministers who have followed the path of carnality rather than upholding the righteous ways of God.
Only then will we be positioned to start the process of repentance. It is not too late for the Church to arise and become the
glorious church Paul the great apostle saw by the Spirit. Let us begin now. Today is the appointed day.
Righting The Flailing Ship
Bishop Randy Barnett