HOW TO PLANT A CHURCH

In this day and age, the process of church planting in America roughly follows the steps below (give or take a step or two):

1. Personally feel or hear the call
2. Get training
3. Prayerfully select a location
4. Begin a Bible study in a home
5. Invite friends, family, acquaintances, network and make connections in the community, attracting those in the market for a good church
6. Build a core group
7. Incorporate (501c3)
8. When large enough rent a small facility
9. Get a worship team and children’s ministry together
10. Advertise, promote through social media, direct mail, word of mouth, start a radio program, etc
11. Raise enough funding to rent or buy a larger facility
12. Conduct a major event to draw a crowd on the first Sunday of said new facility
13. Train additional lay leaders for ministry in the church
14. Grow budget to the point of being able to hire office staff and pastoral associates
15. Initiate a building drive to buy a bigger facility
16. Move into the bigger facility with a well-promoted celebration event
17. Groom associate pastor to take over the church once you retire
18. Retire with an adequate financial package

Paul’s process:

Serve, freely sharing giftings, doing life with a local community of believers, growing in intimacy with the Holy Spirit, deepening dependence on the life and power of Christ within, becoming familiar by experience with Jesus as Lord of the gathering (manifesting and ministering through the various parts of His body without hierarchy)

Be singled out by the Holy Spirit in a worship and prophetic gathering and subsequently sent out

Enter regions where there were no believers, but only blood-drinking, temple prostitute using, idol worshiping, spell-casting, adulterous, swindling, conniving, back-stabbing sorry excuses for humanity who would just as soon slit your throat if you crossed them. Of course, there were some Jews present in these areas, but they too would not hesitate to have you killed for religious reasons. Additionally, there were a few God-fearers who were basically Jewish wannabes. This was the crowd that Team Paul and Barnabas got to “network” with.

Sovereignly, people were born again and would do life together, eating together and hanging out in each others homes. Gatherings were also home-based. Jesus was raising up a community of believers from scratch.

There were no paid positions, all held the same rank as kings and priests. When they gathered, all shared with teachings, worship, prophetic words, tongues, interpretations, etc. Jesus, as Lord and Conductor of the gatherings, was the only Cornerstone that these wise master builders laid. They allowed Him to be the Head and direct the flow and proceedings of the gathering.

All were taught and learned by experience to abide in Christ’s presence and live by His all-sufficient indwelling life.

Paul and Barnabas received no income. They could have. Itinerant church planters, by virtue of their being transients without the ability to hold down a job, were the only ones in those days to receive nominal support for food and shelter. Paul chose not to accept support because he felt that it would hinder the work. He, through self employment, supported the needs of himself and his team.

The Christian communities that Paul started had no building costs, for they met in homes. They had no administrative costs for staff salaries and benefits. All served in the fellowship, using their gifts as Christ commanded “freely you have received, freely give”. As a result, plenty of money was available to help the poor among them and in the neighborhood.

After serving the new fellowship for, on average three months, the duo would move on to the next location. Often, their reward for starting the new fellowship was to be beaten and run out of town by the city folk. No pastor in charge was left behind. The fledgling community would survive Paul’s absence, even the blistering heat of persecution, because they had all learned to tap in to the indwelling power of Christ’s life. It might be years before Paul would return to recognize those who had matured to the point where they could be depended on to serve and protect their peers. Those recognized in this manner had no position to hold onto, no salary to protect, no podium or platform to rule from. They were servant-peers.

Paul would continue this process, being led by the Spirit, until he was retired by imprisonment and finally a grisly death. He amassed no retirement fund or assets other than some books and a cloak.

Just saying…
Dan and Debbie Murrill
April 15, 2016

THE TRUTH ABOUT AZUSA STREET

There is a lot of interest in the anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival this year. This is largely due to massive commemorations of the revival taking place in the LA Coliseum as well as in DC.

For all who participate and for all involved, it is vital to read first hand, eyewitness accounts of the Azusa Street Revival lest we miss the whole point of what the Spirit is trying to say to the body in this hour.

In the reading of these accounts, there are many features of the Revival that are striking and run contrary to how Christian gatherings of any size and nature are conducted today.

THERE WAS NO PROGRAM

As the Holy Spirit fell in the early days of the Revival, it was absolutely anathema to allow any human organization. There was no worship leader. The Spirit of Jesus led the singing spontaneously through the people and not from a platform.

Actually, there was no platform. There was no pulpit. There was no auditorium style seating that would focus attention on a few leaders, turning the congregation into spectators.

Messages could be brought by anyone in attendance. There was no roster of well-known speakers lined up. All, young and old, ignorant or educated, presented the word fresh from the Spirit as He gave them utterance. There was no filtering by professional leaders of what could be said. There was no asking of permission to address the group. Hearts burning with a freshly-downloaded message from the throne spoke as those possessed by the Spirit of God.

In the words of Frank Bartleman, an eyewitness and participant in the early days of the revival:

“All was spontaneous”

“We had no human program. The Lord Himself was leading”

“We had no hierarchy”

“We did not even have a platform or pulpit in the beginning. All were on a level”

“These things have come in later, with the apostatizing of the movement”

“They had cleared space enough in the surrounding dirt and debris to lay some planks on top of empty nail kegs, with seats enough for possibly thirty people, arranged in a square, facing one another.”

“Brother Seymour generally sat behind two empty shoe boxes, one on top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting, in prayer”

“No special speakers”

“No one knew what might be coming. All was spontaneous, ordered of the Spirit”

“All were equal”

“We were delivered right there from ecclesiastical hierarchy and abuse”

“The meetings started themselves spontaneously”

“We had no prearranged program to be jammed through on time”

“We did not have to get our cue from some leader”

“The Lord was liable to burst through any one. It might be a child, a woman, or a man. It might be from the back seat, or from the front. It made no difference”

“The meetings were controlled by the Spirit, from the throne”

“I never saw an altar call given in those early days. God himself would call them”

“The presence of the Lord was so real.”

“Presumptuous men would sometimes come among us. Especially preachers who would try to spread themselves, in self-opinionation. But their effort was short lived. The breath would be taken from them. Their minds would wander, their brains reel. Things would turn black before their eyes. They could not go on”

“The Holy Spirit Himself is taking the lead, setting aside all human leadership largely. And woe to the man who gets in His way, selfishly seeking to dictate or control. The human instruments are largely lost sight of.”

Excerpts from: Bartleman, Frank. “Azusa Street.”

Some might argue “that was then, this is now” and “Azusa was just an exception not meant to be the norm”. On the contrary, in almost every move of revival, the Holy Spirit has tried to reestablish the Lordship of Jesus over the gatherings of His own body. Whether it was the Welsh Revival, Azusa, Asbury, or even the afterglows of the Jesus Movement, the Spirit of God sought to wrest control from the hands of professional human hierarchy. He sought to express Himself through the members of His body and not through a select, educated, and privileged few. His heart was to “level the field” and put everyone on an equal plane instead of having a professional pulpit class of Christian who belonged on a platform and a spectator class who belonged in the pew (or stadium seat).

Every Sunday morning, across the world, the Spirit struggles with the human hierarchy that has time and again killed revival in its deepest and purest form. In virtually every case the human element wins with its insistence on program, leadership from the stage, and professional monopolization. There may be a few token bones of prayer ministry, testimony, or prophetic utterance tossed in the direction of the congregants but, by and large, hierarchy prevails.

As tens of thousands witness the proceedings of this week live and on tv, as the parade of church leadership makes its way across the platforms, as the body sits as silent spectators, as the Spirit of God continues to grieve, as Jesus is continued to be robbed of His very Lordship over the gatherings of His own people…what is the outcome?

If leaders truly want to bring Azusa to the flock, let them lead the charge, crowbar in hand, and dismantle the platform, tow the podium off to the dump, donate away the sound system, tear down the projector screens, and have true Holy Ghost led gatherings with Jesus finally in charge and not the program.

…but they won’t.

CHAIN OF GRACE

Looking out across the banks of the River Nile, they fell in love. It was their umpteenth missions trip between them, but the first one in which they were both part of the team. Seeds were sown on that trip to Ethiopia, the flower of love grew and then blossomed. Months later, the first of our children was married.

Our son Brian and his lovely wife Jennifer began to raise a family. Two beautiful children, Destiny and Maya were born to them.

Worship was a priority for their family. After first encountering the Holy Spirit as a teen, Brian would worship hours into the night.

Jennifer was raised in a family that valued worship. Even today, when visiting her parents’ home, the law is laid down – “if you eat with us, you will worship with us afterwards”. The dinner guests are then treated to a lush spiritual banquet of worship that transports them into heavenly places.

It is so encouraging to us as parents to hear that their little ones, the oldest of our grandchildren, are already encountering Jesus, going into the Spirit and experiencing His presence during family times of worship.

I met up with Steve E in the church hallway during a break from an all night prayer meeting. There was a prophetic word for him burning inside of me. I was embarrassed to share it with him because I thought it might be off-the-wall. At any rate, I could keep silent no longer and shared with him my word.

The gist of the word was that he must obey what God was putting his heart despite resistance from others who might discourage him. I shared that the Lord told me that he was going to be used to start a Jesus movement. Hearing that, he fell over onto the carpet in the Spirit. When he came to, he shared with me that the Lord had been putting it on his heart to go to Austria to bring revival. He felt that my word was a encouraging confirmation of that call.

Fast forward months later, both of our girls, Kristin and Sarah, joined Steve E’s team in Austria. Scores of youth were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in an environment of signs, wonders, miracles, and supernatural phenomenon. It was a true Jesus movement.

One of the young people who came to Jesus during that time was Simon. A preacher at heart, Simon is very vocal about his faith.

Our daughter Sarah is a worshipping musician who writes songs of her intimate encounters with the Lord.  As a teenager, she had originally intended to minister with Iris in southern Sudan.  Because of the extreme danger involving the LRA operating in the area, Debbie and I encouraged her to consider other locations.  Thankfully, the opportunity in Austria opened up.

As as you might have guessed, Sarah and Simon fell in love. They were married with dual ceremonies held on both sides of the Atlantic. Their beautiful daughter Lucy will be the beneficiary of not only a blending of cultures, but also of the complimentary spiritual influences of her parents.

Steve E’s youngest daughter, Suzanna, is very artistic. She is also a gifted musician and songwriter. Our son Stephen had known her for almost a decade when they both went on tour with a worship band. After retuning from the tour, they began to date and eventually married.

As a youngster, Stephen had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit during a home group meeting. At that time, something was downloaded into his spiritual DNA. As a result, when he plays his lead guitar, heaven shows up.

Being our most recently married couple, they have not yet started a family. When and if they do, their children are bound to be very creative musicians and worshippers.

Returning from Europe, Kristin took up work as a server. One night she was surprised to see Luke outside waiting for her in the parking lot of her Restuarant.

Kristin had known Luke for almost a decade. She had attended ministry school and been on missions trips with him as well. While working in Texas, Luke heard the voice of God telling him that he was to marry Kristin.
He drove non stop from Texas to share that word of the Lord with Kristin. After she got over her shock, they began to date and eventually married.

Both of them are passionate and talented worshippers and musicians. Already, Aya their beautiful little two year old loves to express herself in the dance and in song.

Lila Grace, their second child, was born just yesterday. Her name symbolizes for Debbie and I how we feel about our children. Despite our shortcomings, the grace of God has freely blessed us with children and spouses for them who deeply love Jesus and are worshippers.

Our prayers when our kids were young were not only for them but also for their spouses wherever they were in the world at that time. We prayed that each would find Jesus, live for Him, and be a wonderful spiritual compliment to our children. Those prayers have been abundantly answered.

When we were in the Renewal, the Holy Spirit was adamant that we continue to expose our children to the presence of God. Kids from other families were watching tv and playing games in church childcare while ours were in deep worship encountering the Father. I’m sure that many times our children wished they could have been with other kids instead of in a renewal meeting. However, those years of carting them around to revivals deposited good seed in them that has sprouted into worshipers’ hearts that are passionate for Him and sensitive to the Spirit.

Our continued prayer is that their children, our grandchildren, will come to intimately know the Holy Spirit and become worshippers as well.

Years ago, Dallas Holm wrote a song about how the intimacy of the Grace of God spreads from person to person like links in a chain…a chain of Grace.

The cry of our hearts is that “the circle will be unbroken” with all of our future generations coming to Jesus as each previous generation makes Him known. May there not be even one missing link in our Chain of Grace.

Dan and Debbie Murrill

August 20, 2015

GARY’S SONG

He was always there when we needed him. At every low point in our lives, Gary would appear with his song.

When the Holy Spirit landed at the Toronto Airport Vineyard in 1994, Gary was there with his song. He accompanied Randy Clark as his worship leader for those momentous meetings that launched renewal around the world.

Desperate for more of God, we discovered that Gary was leading worship for nightly renewal meetings about an hour from our house. Each night for two weeks, we were lifted up into the stratosphere with a wonderfully extended worship set. After prayer ministry at the end of the meetings, we would lay on the carpet in the front of the sanctuary as Gary played soaking music over us all for over an hour.

We called him the “Energizer Bunny of Worship”. Gary would play and play without stopping and God’s presence would come and come without ceasing as well.

Years later, we found out that Gary had moved from St. Louis to become the worship leader for a large church in Pennsylvania. We drove a three hour round trip just to be in his worship again.

It had been a very long period of spiritual dryness for us. Debbie, my wife, had almost given up on encountering the presence of God in church again. Renewal seemed like a distant dream. “Maybe it never really happened?” she was tempted to wonder.

In the very first meeting, with Gary’s song playing in the background, the Holy Spirit powerfully filled her again. She says that it was as if she “came back to life” that night.

Years passed and we entered the dark night of our souls. During this time, we literally thought that we were going to die. We had lost everything.

Actually, it was more than “a night”. It was darkness that lasted for almost six years.

We found Gary and his song again. In a little church up in the mountains, he was leading worship and soaking music for three hours every Friday night. Arriving, we would lay our pillows and blankets on the floor and then bury ourselves in them.

The sweet tones and heavy presence of God would seep into our tortured world, soothing our nerves. Once again, hope was injected into our gloomy existence. We left recharged and ready for battle again.

We feel that if it were not for God using those Friday nights filled with Gary’s song that we might have both been checked into a mental institution during this terrible time.

So, there you have it…Gary Shelton, a beautiful instrument in the hands of a loving God was used to save our very lives.

Gary, you have been the soundtrack of the Renewal for us.

We love you!

Dan and Debbie Murrill
August 2015

FIREWALL YOUR CODE

All who have been birthed by the Spirit of God have been given a code, to use computer jargon. Functioning like spiritual DNA, this code determines who we are to be and what we are to do. This code makes us an original. We are un-duplicatable.

Jesus, in John 3, spoke of us who are born of the Wind of the Spirit. He says that like our Parent or Sire, the Wind, no one knows where we are coming from or where we are going. We are undefinable. One cannot pigeonhole us. Like trying to grasp moving air, it can’t be done. We are round pegs that do not fit into anyone’s square holes.

Enter the Christian institution…

After forty literal years of wandering in the wilderness of Christian institutions, it has been our observation that they attempt to overwrite our code. This overwriting is a malicious code. It is fraught with viruses. Its origin is in the “steal, kill, and destroy” of John 10:10. Its goal is the theft of our God-given originality and free spirit.

Christian institutions seek to decide for us what our gifting is. Some employ tools used in the corporate world to do so. Personality and spiritual gift inventories are given which supposedly indicate what our bent is. Once assessed with these tools, we may now wear what amounts to an invisible tee shirt or badge of our job description. To a large degree, this assessment relegates or pigeonholes us into a restricted role in their organization. Organizations cannot tolerate much originally. There are jobs to do and slots to fill.

This flies in the face of the fact that we are wind. We have our Daddy’s DNA. Various facets of us and our giftings will manifest at different times, places, and venues. It will not always look the same. While we may be prophetic at one moment, we may manifest mercy the next. Far be it that a secular test “sanctified” by a Christian organization should be the basis for an assessment of who and what we are.

What is preached from the pulpit and written in the self help books of the Christian institutional world will also seek to overwrite our code. We are what we eat. If our diet consists of listening to several hours a week of sermon material from the pulpit, radio, or books instead of time spent listening directly to what the Father says about us, we will be increasingly squeezed into the mold of the institution.

Any desire on our part to imitate and conform for acceptance sake will accelerate this overwriting process. We will abandon who we are, compromising for the sake of conformity. Choosing to follow the path of least resistance creates less friction, criticism, and confrontation. Our peers and our hierarchy will be pleased. The handlers that we report to will be impressed and recommend us for the next rung on the ladder.

This is the law of the corporate jungle. Conform or be eaten. Be assimilated or be destroyed. The Christian institution behaves like a corporation. It is not an exception to the rule but actually proves the rule.

What is a child of the Wind to do about all of this? How can we firewall and protect our Spirit-given code? Can we possibly avoid the Christian institution’s relentless violation and comprise of who we really are?

No…if we remain in the institution.

Our motives may be noble. Determining to remain part of the institution in the hopes of changing it, we become changed, altered, mutated. It is a slow but steady process. It begs the illustration of the frog and pot. Before we realize it, we have become another casualty of institutional compromise.

It is our conviction that Christian institutions were never God’s idea for spiritual growth. From the inception of the ekklesia, gatherings were meant to be organic, spontaneous, and unscripted. They were never meant to be tethered to curriculum and program.

If we decide to leave the institution, we are not leaving God. God never was the institution. We may actually find the opposite to be true.

In the leaving, there will be the finding.

We will find God. We will find our Father.

“Come out from among them…and I will be a Father to you”
2 Cor 6:17, 18

 

Dan and Debbie Murrill

August 2015

 

“Typing computer screen reflection” by Almonroth – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Typing_computer_screen_reflection.jpg#/media/File:Typing_computer_screen_reflection.jpg

ARAB KIDS EXPERIENCE JESUS

Debbie and I were invited to be part of a team that was providing children’s ministry for a conference of Arab christians, mostly from Egyptian and Syrian descent. More than 70 children took part, ranging in age from 7-14.

The first night after inquiring of the group, we discovered that not one of them could tell us how to be born again. All of their answers had to do with good deeds making them acceptable to God and being their grounds for entering heaven one day.  It was as if they were all in bondage as slaves to a spiritual Egypt.

After a salvation message, a dozen kids responded to an invitation to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

In the ministry time that followed, we laid hands on the children who responded to the gospel. As the Holy Spirit quickened their abilities to hear and see in the Spirit, many were granted visions and encounters with God. Afterwards some testified of seeing angels, the cross, and the face of Jesus. One child, after he came out of the deep presence of the Holy Spirit, shared that he was actually taken up to heaven in a vision.

Another little boy, aged nine, shared during our testimony time that he had not accepted Jesus yet. However, he then went on to say that Jesus had told him that He would be forgiving him. Upon hearing this, one of the adults helping us immediately took initiative and ushered the boy into a side room. She gave him his own personalized gospel message and invitation.

This little boy was under deep conviction. He told her that his church taught that he could be forgiven only 39 times and he was sure that he had used up all of his chances! Our helper assured him that Jesus’ forgiveness was infinite. Knowing this, he was then able to receive the forgiveness that he had been promised. Jesus showed him the angels as she prayed over him afterwards.

We asked him during snack time what Jesus had done for him and he responded that Jesus had cleansed his heart and he was now forgiven.

During the second night of the conference, there was even more freedom of the Spirit. Usually, we have found in doing outreaches, that the first night is always more of a challenge. There is a spiritual realm to be broken through. In the wake of a first outreach, there is a perceptible difference in the atmosphere with much more openness and less resistance being encountered.

This night was no exception. We watched the Holy Spirit do even more. Another 30 children responded to the invitation to receive Jesus.

Debbie shared about how Jesus can heal our inner wounds. This was very significant because we were in the midst of a deeply traumatic time in our own lives. There was much wounding that had been done to us but also much forgiveness being granted on our part.

Debbie led a corporate ministry time where many were touched. Just looking at the expression on the sea of young faces during the ministry time was so encouraging. A hot button was being “pressed” and Jesus was bringing healing and release.

The Spirit then led us into a time of deliverance ministry from occultic influences. Many of the children had been experiencing torment and Jesus delivered them.

As the ministry time continued, more kids testified of visions. One boy saw Jesus’ hand reaching out to welcome kids into His kingdom. The little 9 year old boy mentioned above also testified of seeing another vision. This time, he saw Jesus sitting on His throne in heaven.

One might be tempted to wonder if young children are really making true decisions for Jesus. Debbie, herself, accepted Jesus at six years of age and remembers it vividly.

We always keep in mind that children do not have a “junior version of the Holy Spirit”. He can touch them, bringing the new birth, at very young ages.

In conclusion, a Barna Survey found that over 80% of those who get saved do so before the age of 14. Another approximately 10% receive Christ between 14 and 18 years of age.

The survey concluded with a very important question. Why are the resources of the Church largely invested into reaching a population that is the most resistant to the gospel? In other words, statistically only 10% of adults will be open to receiving Jesus. Put yet another way, this survey is soberly stating that if one does not accept Jesus before the age of 18, there is only a 10% chance of ever receiving Him.

We write these stories not only to honor Jesus and His saving power but also to encourage others that there is so much opportunity to see His kingdom come, especially with the young.

Let’s join together in the cry – “More, Lord! Birth more souls into Your kingdom!” May we all take advantage of the opportunities that He places before us in the Church, the streets, and even within our own families.

Blessings,

Dan and Debbie Murrill

FROZEN

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to come upon us in sufficient power, there can be a resulting state of not being able to move (or not wanting to). We are inebriated in tangible Love Divine. Surrounded, encapsulated, and saturated with the heavy presence of God, we are transported to another place.

A modern day example of this is Heidi Baker. Often during worship, she has become so immersed and overcome by the Spirit that she is immobilized and cannot preach. When she is finally able to speak, God shows up powerfully.

Many are fearful of this phenomenon. They dread the loss of control.

This is possession. Holy Spirit possession. We sing and pray about Him controlling our lives. However, when He comes to do exactly that, we shrink from Him in fear.

True Holy Spirit filling IS possession. Demonic possession is simply a counterfeit for the real thing. If we ask our Heavenly Father for this bread, He will not give us a snake.

This level of Holy Spirit intimacy is life transforming…and world transforming.

What would happen if evangelists were utterly possessed by the Spirit of God like Maria Woodworth-Etter was? We might see the powerful end time harvest that we have all been longing for.

She was so full of the Spirit of God that she was literally frozen in place until the next day. In one hand, she held a Bible while the other was raised toward heaven. Thousands were gathered to witness this spectacle when suddenly she came to. As she preached, many were stuck down under the power of God, saw visions, and were converted.

Being frozen as a manifestation is not the issue. What is important is that the Spirit of God utterly consumes and takes us over to the level that HE is pleased with.

Lets ask for it. Let’s pray that the Father would give us His Spirit to the max. May we not be afraid of it or of looking weird. We must remember that our flesh will side with the mockers and haters of Holy Spirit fulness and its manifestations.

We have a world to reach. Let’s all “get frozen”!!

Dan Murrill

MARKETPLACE CHURCH

Some may be thinking as they read yesterday’s post about Jesus cleansing the temple, “You’re being extreme. There’s nothing wrong with selling CDs, books, etc in church. Jesus was strictly speaking to charging exhorborant prices for things and oppressing the poor when He cleansed the temple.”

If I may make a comment regarding this, I think the following may be helpful:

History tells us that Caiaphas the High Priest allowed merchants to set up shop in the outer court of the temple in AD 30. It began as a service to worshippers. What they offered was the helpful and convenient exchanging of money for the temple tax and purchase of animals for sacrifice so they would not have to be brought all the way from home towns to Jerusalem.

Of course, any merchant worth his salt is going to make a profit.

It is at this point in time, where the temple marketplace is new and fairly innocuous, that Jesus, while cleansing the Temple for the first time, makes the statement “stop making My Father’s house a house of trade!” The original language used here is emporium or “store”. At this time, Jesus was not focused on the injustice of inflated prices. He was focused strictly upon the polluting of the purpose of His Father’s house. He is trying to nip things in the bud.

Jesus was angry about ANY merch being sold in His house. He told them to stop. They didn’t. In fact, by the end of His three year ministry, when He cleansed the temple the second time, history tells us that the marketplace system had become so corrupt that not only were prices exhorborant beyond the reach of the poor, but also the corruption of the priests who profited as well led to outright brutality in collection of the tax, extortion, and even the defrauding and deaths of their own priestly class.

Jesus warned them and tried to shut it down the first time. By the second cleansing, things had deteriorated into a robbers den condition. It was deplorable by now. They had opened up the door three years earlier, ignored Jesus’ warnings, and the spirit of greed, corruption, and theft took it from there. Once permitted entry, this foul spirit drove things in ever increasing degrees from bad to worse in a downward spiral of depravity.

So no, there is nothing inherently wrong with CD’s, books, or oils. However, Jesus says NO merch in His house. Don’t sell it AT ALL in a place of worship. It is a distraction. It pollutes the purity of true worship. This is Jesus’ message.

Sell your paraphernalia on your website. Even that is debatable. Jesus said, “freely you have received, freely give”. Since when has that ever changed? When did Jesus ever change up and say “it’s ok now to charge people for revelation or songs that I gave you for free”. That, in my opinion, is profiteering from the anointing. Christian leaders are making merchandise out of us (to borrow Paul’s words) as a result.

Actually, the issue of CD’s, oils, and books, etc is minor compared to the business deals that go down in church buildings where we, first hand, have known of many (including ourselves) who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Business deals have NO place whatsoever in the house of God!

One day, gatherings of believers will occur in an environment absent of anyone’s profit. In that day, the blind and lame (and prodigals) will come into His house again and be healed and the children or the next generation will be caught up in worship to Jesus (which was the immediate fruit from His second cleansing of the temple).

Our prayer is “let it come” and “may the zeal for His house consume us” until it does.

Blessings!

Dan and Debbie Murrill
August 1, 2015

DOORWAY TO DESTRUCTION

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing, especially after the devastating loss of everything we possessed. Listening to various Christian leaders support the very practice that opened the doorway to our destruction was more than puzzling to us.

It is popularly said that Jesus is “always having a good day”. He is always happy and fun to be around. Tell that to the merchants.

He did it twice.

The first time He was angry enough to fashion a makeshift whip and drive all of them out. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a store!” He shouted.

It was a warning. When Jesus says to stop something, He means business. If His words are left unheeded, there will be a natural progression to an even lower state of His house.

They didn’t listen.

Here He was again, this time at the very end of His earthly ministry, seeing the same activity going on in His house. With a broken and angry heart, He declared the outcome of His unheeded warning. “You have turned My house into a cave of thieves!”

There you have it. The natural downward spiral from allowing business to be conducted in the house of God ends with His house becoming possessed by a spirit of theft.

“We have to allow freedom for business to be conducted in the house” is what we have been told when we shared our story with Christian leaders as a warning. Like Jesus, we were unheeded too. As it was with the temple, waves of theft and fraud have rocked the churches that have tenaciously hung on to allowing the marketplace in the house of God.

Business deals being conducted over tables in the church coffee shop. Multilevel marketing meetings being conducted in Sunday school classes after hours. Tables full of oils, books, CD’s and other paraphernalia on display during Christian conferences or hawked from the pulpit by guest speakers. The emporium spirit has thoroughly invaded the 21st century church.

Jesus would have a hey day today, flipping tables. He would probably have the cops called on Him by church leaders and be charged with a felony as well.

It’s only a matter of time.

If a church allows this behavior, it will be on a collision course with outright fraud. It is a principle. Jesus predicted it. We, among countless others, have paid a very dear price to have learned this lesson.

We urge you to hear “what the Spirit is saying to the churches”.

Dan and Debbie Murrill
July 2015

 

HARVEST OF SOULS IN AMISH COUNTRY

We were enjoying a day trip in Lancaster county when suddenly we saw it. In the sky was an atmospheric phenomenon interesting enough to cause us to pull our car over to the side of the road.  As we snapped pictures, we watched it morph into the shape of an angel.

Taking a break from our ongoing court saga, we were showing our visiting friend from Austria the beauty of Amish country in harvest season when the “angel-like” cloud formation appeared.

Looking closely, there were rainbow colors inside the angel-like figure.  It was strikingly beautiful.  Yes, it was certainly a cloud high up in the stratosphere containing ice crystals that were reflecting the July sun. However, for it to take this shape, transform before our eyes into an angelic form, and then vaporize into irregular wisps minutes later was intriguing to us.

Coincidentally, a few weeks later, we were invited to share at the Lancaster County Full Gospel Business Mens meeting.  We were privileged to present the gospel to the twenty-five kids who were attending along with their families.  About half of the kids were Amish.   Twenty children and teenagers responded to the invitation to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We are not comfortable bringing young people to a decision for Christ and then dismissing them. The new birth is not merely a decision, but is an encounter with the Life-Giving Spirit of Jesus!  When He enters into a person, He brings to life their spiritual senses of sight, hearing, touch, etc.  As is our custom, we laid hands on the kids and asked the Holy Spirit to invade their lives in a powerful way.

He did!

Many of the kids went “out in the Spirit”.   Some, notably three young Amish girls, were in His manifest presence for over an hour.  When the children and teens “came to”,  we listened as they gave accounts of experiences such as:

 

“I saw this very bright light coming toward me.  As it got closer, it was Jesus sitting on His throne.  He was very bright and there were angels all around Him”    (7 year old Amish girl who was on the floor for an hour)

 

“I saw myself falling into hell, but Jesus caught me and brought me up to heaven”  (9 year old)

 

“I saw Jesus and He was brighter than the sun”    (10 year old boy of Kenyan descent)

 

“I saw people in cages, crying out for God”  (15 year old boy)

 

“I literally saw Jesus coming into my heart.  I thought I had Him in my heart before, but now He has come into me in a life-changing way!”     (Teenage Amish girl)

 

“Jesus was so bright that I could only see His hands”  (8 year old Amish girl)

 

“I saw people touching sick people and they were getting well”  (6 year old Amish girl)

 

The presence of the Lord was very heavy and sweet around these children as they were encountering God. One of the women helping us during ministry time wept softly as she prayed over the kids, touched by the nearness of Jesus.

Here we were in the cornfields of America, not in the bush of Africa with Iris ministries as we had originally envisioned. It didn’t matter to the Holy Spirit whether these were African village children, American inner city kids, or Amish young people, He wants to touch them all. Sometimes things don’t work out as we plan, but it helps to remember what Wesley said – “The world is my parish”. It’s important, whatever our circumstances, that we bloom where we are planted at the time.

We introduced our session at this meeting by stating that we are always only one generation away from the extinction of revival. The torch must be passed to successive generations. Youth must be presented not with a decision card but with a life-changing encounter with the Living God.

Already, statistics scream that we are losing the battle.  It is being said that only 4% of those born after 1984 are Bible-believing Christians. This current younger generation represents a huge mission field and it is right outside our church doors here in America.  We cannot be content to speak longingly of revivals of the past, we must have Jesus move on this generation TODAY!

Angel-like cloud phenomenons aside, our hope is that  the Holy Spirit’s visitation at this meeting was a token of a coming move of God in the area.   That is our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we ask You to come, powerfully sending Your Spirit not just to Lancaster county or the bush of Africa but across this entire planet.  Sweep millions into Your kingdom and awaken and purify Your bride, in Jesus’ name!

Dan and Debbie Murrill

 

“In the last days”,  God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. I will show wonders in the heavens above…”

Acts 2:17, 19