It’s Time For War


This is the tenth post in a series of reflections based on Jared Wilson’s book “The Pastor’s Justification.”

As we move closer to transitioning the Garretson Campus to an independent church, I have noticed the subtle effects of spiritual warfare have been magnified. Small disagreements threaten to bring division, obstacles appear to be impossible to overcome, and discouragement attempts to reign over my thoughts.

God reminded me of a truth this week that has placed things into perspective: We are overthrowing the dark forces of evil in this community and we must expect resistance. It’s time to fall on our knees and storm the gates of hell with the weapon of prayer.

Jared Wilson explains what happens when the kingdom of darkness is pierced by the light of the Gospel:
“The Devil is like a rat in a jar that is filling with ether. We should expect that as his death gets ever-nearer, he will beat his claws more furiously against the glass… As the Gospel takes over your ministry and the kingdom of God grows in your church like yeast in dough, you can expect that our enemy will not go quietly.” 

As we enter into a season of warfare, here are three principles we must keep in mind:

1. People are not the enemy.
Even if people are the source of persecution, insults, or division – we must never attack the person as if they are the enemy. Paul makes it clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood, instead it is against the powers of darkness that wreak havoc in our communities (Ephesians 6:12).

We must rejoice when we are insulted, persecuted, or slandered. When this happens we know that our reward will be great for we are experiencing the same thing as the prophets and apostles who have gone before us (see Matthew 5:11-12). In retaliation for the offense, we must not be overcome with evil but rather overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

2. We fight FROM victory not for victory. 
When David conquered Goliath, the war was already won. The once trembling and fearful Israelites overwhelmed the Philistines and slaughtered them (1 Samuel 17). In the same way, Jesus has already disarmed Satan and all of his demons by triumphing over them through the cross (Colossians 2:15).

We are invited to follow our Warrior-King into battle – knowing that the victory is already secured. Satan may let out a furious scream but the ether of the Gospel will suffocate his power. We do not need to fight for the victory because the victory has already been achieved through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

3. Our weapons will demolish strongholds.
Every community – especially rural ones – have demonic strongholds of addiction and false religion. These fortresses seem insurmountable but we must remember the weapons God has entrusted to us. We do not wage war with bullets, fire, or bombs. Instead, our weapons have been infused with a divine power to demolish strongholds, arguments, and every pretension that sets itself up against Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Friends, commit to the Scriptures and prayer daily. We must renew our minds so that we do not conform to the toxic pattern of this world (Romans 12:1). If we submit our lives to God and resist the Devil he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must battle by laboring in intercession for our families, communities, and churches in order to crush the ugly face of the ancient serpent.

It’s time for war.


Is All Religion Created Equal?

Many people, including Christians, have been deceived into thinking that all religion is generally the same.

In other words, God is a mountain and the various religions are simply different pathways to the top of the mountain as long as the religion promotes good will and sincere belief. Although there are hundreds of Scripture references from both the Old and New Testaments that directly refute this understanding of God, the story of the Exodus is a surprisingly powerful place to begin.

In summary, the people of Israel are forced into cruel slave labor by Egypt. At this time, Egypt wielded incredible political and military might which no one could withstand. Egypt was so powerful at this time that the king of Egypt – the Pharaoh – was viewed as the divine god Horus who had the ability to give and take away life.

Into this scene steps an unlikely deliverer named Moses who proclaims the famous statement, “Let my people go” repeatedly to Pharaoh in an attempt to deliver Israel from their bondage of slavery. Pharaoh, in his ignorance, declares he knows nothing of the God of Israel and refuses to let the people leave to worship in the wilderness. This sets the scene for the God of Israel and the gods of Egypt to spar with one another for dominance through the ten plagues God unleashes on Egypt.

Each one of the plagues is a direct assault on the gods and comforts of the Egyptians and the attacks culminate in a spectacular display of God’s sovereignty over all of creation.

1. Nile turning into blood.
This was an assault on the “Mother of Egypt” (the Nile river) which provided life to Egypt.

2. Frogs invade Egypt.
This was an assault on Heka – the Frog god of Egypt.

3. Lice/Gnats form from the dust of the earth to attack Egypt.
This was an assault on Geb – the Earth god of Egypt.

4. Flies/Beetles invade Egypt in unbelievable numbers.
This was an assault on Kephra, the Egyptian god whose head resembled the scarab beetle.

5. Cattle all becoming sick and dying.
This was an assault on the Egyptian fertility symbol.

6. Ashes landing on the bodies of Egyptians causing extreme boils.
Ashes were a sign of blessing in Egypt. God uses ashes to curse those who opposed Him.

7. Thunder, lightening, and large hail destroys and kills many Egyptians and their property.
This was an assault on Isis and Serapis who were the gods of fire and water. This was done to show that the false gods could not protect Egypt from the Living God.

8. Locusts destroying all the crops in Egypt.
This was not a direct assault on any specific pagan god but rather to show that the God of Israel is sovereign over all creation – even the supply of food.

9. Darkness covers all of the land and the people of Egypt cannot even see directly in front of themselves.
The was a direct assault on Re, the sun god of Egypt. Re was one of the most important deities of Egypt.

10. Killing of all the firstborn whose homes were not marked by the blood of the Passover Lamb.
All of the plagues culminated in this attack against Pharaoh to refute his claim that was a god and could give and take away life as he pleased.

Almost immediately after delivering Israel from the yoke of slavery, God proclaims the famous Ten Commandments which begin by declaring He is the only God and the ONLY one to be worshiped. The story of the Exodus is in direction contradiction to the popular belief that all religion and all gods are the same. Repeatedly through narrative, poetry, law, and teaching, the Scriptures proclaim the truth that there is only ONE God and the only way to have access to Him is through Jesus Christ.

What Does the Bible Say about ‘Mediums’?

Theresa Caputo, the star of the TLC hit show “Long Island Medium” will be at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls on October 19th. If you are a Christian and support Theresa Caputo by either watching her programs or attending this event, you are doing so in willful disobedience to the Word of God and inviting the demonic world to sear your conscience and make shipwreck of your faith.

Is that harsh? I am simply repeating Scripture.

Unfortunately, many Christians are Bible illiterate even though we have access to literally hundreds of different English translations. Instead of training ourselves to distinguish between good and evil (Heb. 5:14), we ignorantly allow the ideals and values of the world to blind us to the truth of God’s Word. This is very serious and dangerous.

So, why did I make the seemingly harsh and intolerant statement above? Let me say it again, for it is of utmost importance: If you are a Christian and support Theresa Caputo by either watching her programs or attending this event, you are doing so in willful disobedience to the Word of God and inviting the demonic world to sear your conscience and make shipwreck of your faith.

Before my statement is misconstrued by your anger, let me make a few points clear.

1. Theresa Caputo is not the enemy.
This is not a personal attack towards Theresa. Although I do not know much about her, I do know that God desires to have a personal relationship with her. Matter of fact, Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered a brutal death, and rose victoriously from the grave SO THAT Theresa can receive eternal life at the throne of grace.

Ultimately, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).” My prayer is that Theresa would have her eyes opened to the deceitfulness of Satan, the one who masquerades as an angel of light to bring confusion into the hearts of people (2 Cor. 11:14).

2. Theresa’s teaching finds its origin and power in the demonic.
What we see happening in our culture, specifically in the Sioux Falls area for this event, is a fulfillment of what Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy:

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-2

It is likely that Theresa is not simply cold reading people and guessing about their past and family members.

It is real.

What is false is the assumption that she is talking to dead people. She is speaking with demons who cloak themselves as dead relatives in order to lead people astray. By allowing yourself to buy into this deception, you will turn from the truth faith. You conscience will die. You will ultimately reject the Gospel and be separated from God.

3. This is not a gray area for Christians to debate.
There are many “open handed” issues in the Christian faith. In other words, good men and women who hold to the authority of the Bible disagree with one another on theological issues.

This is not one of them.

When it comes to mediums and speaking with the “dead”, Scripture is abundantly clear. I have included a few examples below:

  • “I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community.” – Leviticus 20:6
  • “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 18:10-13
  • “So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 10:13-14
  • “I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
  • “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

Ultimately, thanks to Jesus Christ, mediums and those who consult with them can receive forgiveness at the cross of Christ. Jesus died to take upon Himself ALL sin, including the sin of speaking with demons. If you are reading this and you are not a Christian, please send me a message ( and I would love to speak with you on what it means to follow Jesus.

If you are a Christian, let me repeat my statement for the third time, it is THAT important: If you are a Christian and support Theresa Caputo by either watching her programs or attending this event, you are doing so in willful disobedience to the Word of God and inviting the demonic world to sear your conscience and make shipwreck of your faith.

This is not a gray area. Do not allow your ignorance of Scripture to cloud your judgment when it comes to those who consult the “dead” for guidance. I speak not in my own authority on this issue but with the authority of the Living God for “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

Repent of your sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness if you have supported Theresa Caputo or any other medium.

The Battle for Your Mind

battle for your minds

This is the second part on a series about spiritual warfare. To read the first post, click below:
The Invisible War

The effects of spiritual warfare are often experienced in our minds. The enemy uses his vast power to distort our view of God and remove our identity in Christ. In order to be successful in this unseen war, we need to form tactics to reign victoriously in the battlefield of our minds.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

1. We wage war differently.
Our battles are not fought with assault rifles and grenades. We do not outmaneuver our opponent by clever political strategies. Our war is fought in an unseen realm which is populated by beings far more powerful than any of us. Our enemy does not falter at the thought of bulletins and explosions – if anything, that delights him.

Instead, the weapons we fight with are empowered by God Himself. Our two primary offensive weapons in this grueling battlefield are prayer and the Word of God. We wage war successfully when we allow our minds to be renewed by daily meditation on the Scriptures. As our minds are renewed, we are led to pray for holiness in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

2. Our objective is to demolish strongholds in our minds.
The enemy gains ground when he is able to assault our minds and establish strongholds of false belief. These beliefs may present themselves in the form of false religion (or lack of religion). This onslaught can also be experienced in condemning, judgmental thoughts that SEEM to come from God. Ultimately, if you are a Christian, the enemy wants to twist your view of God and of your standing before God.

If you do not tear down these strongholds with the truth of God’s Word and the power of prayer, they will utterly destroy your faith. The enemy has already gained ground in the minds of every person reading this. It takes careful discernment to discover which area of your thought life is being infected by the enemy. I would encourage you to pray Psalm 139:23-24 to discover strongholds in your mind:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

3. For victory, we must capture EVERY thought.
Although the old nature of sin is dead and we are alive in Christ, our depravity is still active in trampling our thought life. The enemy’s primary weapon is to confuse our thoughts and use them to debilitate our faith.

In order to capture every thought, you need to run them through the filter of Philippians 4:8 –

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

As thoughts come to your mind, capture them so they are obedient to this standard:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it noble?
  • Is it right (or just)?
  • Is it pure?
  • Is it lovely?
  • Is it worthy to be admired by others?
  • Is it excellent?
  • Does it cause my heart to praise God?

When you first do this, it will feel mechanical. It will also be an incredible challenge to take every thought through this rubric. As you begin to make this a regular process of your thought life, it will become a habit that reaps incredible rewards. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to shatter the demonic and worldly thoughts that assault your mind.

What are some strategies you have found helpful in the battle for your mind? Let me know by sharing a comment, I would love to hear from you!

The Invisible War


If you are a Christian, you are enlisted into an invisible war. When it comes to warfare, we need to develop tactics in order to be successful in the various skirmishes we will encounter each day. In order to better equip you for this, we will be spending time over the next few weeks to discuss spiritual warfare.

One of the most insightful passages on spiritual warfare was written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20. In the beginning of this section, Paul briefs us on the type of enemies we are facing –

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12

Specifically, I see three principles in this passage:

1. We are in a battle.
Many people believe the lie that when one becomes a Christian, life gets easier. The opposite is true the majority of the time. When you claim the name of Christ, there is a beast – his name is Satan – who wants to utterly crush you. His goal is to destroy every ounce of faith that resides within your soul. If you refuse to fight against this enemy, you will be thrown into ruin and torment.

2. The war is invisible.
The cohort of demons we fight against are entirely “other”. They rule over the unseen world which is all around us. Although we cannot see the physical appearance of our enemies, the effects of their warfare are visible in the destruction of churches and Christians around the world. They are fallen angels which have been cast down from the throne room of God to wreak havoc on the earth for a limited amount of time.

3. The enemy is incredibly powerful.
If we attempt to wage this warfare in our own strength, we will be utterly demolished by the great power of our enemies. As fallen angels, these evil spirits wield immense power to crush mankind. Those who foolishly rise up against the demonic world without the power and presence of Christ are destined to be annihilated by the mighty powers which rule the unseen world.

Over the next few weeks, we will be tackling the following questions:

  • How do we successfully wage war against this enemy?
  • What kind of weapons are available to us since the enemy is invisible?
  • What are specific tactics we can use to wage war offensively?
  • How exactly does the enemy fight against us? What weapons do they use?

My prayer is that this series would strengthen your faith, equip you for battle, and enable you to persevere in the midst of brutal, spiritual attacks against your faith.

Enjoy the post? Be sure to check out Part 2 – The Battle for Your Mind.