Boot Camp

Posted: Mar 22, 2024

“Out of every one hundred men in combat, ten shouldn’t be there, eighty are just targets, and nine are the real fighters. We are lucky to have the nine, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, he is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”
– Heraclitus, circa 600 BC

“The best training for a soldier of Christ is not merely a theological college. These institutions seem to turn out sausages of varying lengths, tied at each end, without the glorious freedom a Christian ought to abound and rejoice in. You see, when in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter: one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It’s experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the battlefield: it’s the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service. It is not so much the degree that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the ninety-nine well-fed sheep in the British pen.”
– CT Studd (1860-1931), British missionary to China, India, and Africa

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”
2 Timothy 2:4

Two out of the past three weeks I’ve written on how the occult has taken ground in secular society and in the lives of Christians (see Mixed Messages and This Time it’s Personal).

You should have seen the fireworks. We post these newsletters on our Facebook page; there has been a flow of comments we’ve had to delete that have included insults disparaging Christianity and myself, along with plenty of dark images, including another pentagram. (We seem to get those once a month now.)

The past several weeks the crazy has been out in full force. My team and I have had all sorts of issues pop up including computer and other problems, which shows we hit a nerve and the enemy doesn’t want us exposing these issues.

Most (as in 95%) of what I’ve learned about spiritual warfare, overcoming sexual sin, and prayer hasn’t come from the church. One can listen to sermons on the armor of God (Ephesians 6) all day, but there’s nothing like the reality of an intense spiritual firefight to force the reality on us that there’s much more to spiritual warfare than the armor.

I unwittingly stumbled (or rather, God led me) into the blessings that come from binging for hours alone in prayer by looking at what Jesus did, which was going away alone often to pray. I can’t remember one sermon where a pastor challenged the flock to spend a day or two alone with God in prayer. Much of what is heard on prayer in church is the occasional message on the Lord’s prayer, which is only meant to be an outline. When Jesus was at Gethsemane praying with such intensity that he sweated blood, He wasn’t rehearsing the Lord’s prayer.

Effective messages on the epidemic of sex, porn, masturbation and adultery in the church are rare. And have you ever heard all that the wives go through mentioned?

In this intense time of spiritual darkness, our churches must become boot camps where God’s people are equipped for the battles ahead, and, hospitals, where the wounded can be healed so they can recover and get back out on the battlefield.

Occasionally I’ll hear a church or ministry boast of the numbers that came to Christ during their event. That’s great, but the big question that must be answered is whether they will be discipled and equipped to persevere and overcome in the battles ahead. Many new converts will have struggles with sexual sin, be unaware of the intensity of the spiritual battle set against them, and be isolated, as many believers are who’ve been in church for decades. Will they be hung out to dry, just another notch for a church or ministry to boast about? Or will we equip and challenge them to become prayer warriors? We’re called to make disciples, not mere converts. In a day when many are hitting the exits and falling away, I’m deeply concerned that we’re missing the mark, big time.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20

Remember the narrow path that few will find (Matthew 7:13-14), and the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18-23). We have to equip God’s people for a life that counts for the eternal.

If church was a boot camp, we would consistently drill everyone on the basics, which are:

You must make prayer your top priority in life.
Prayer is the spiritual barometer of every believer and church. No prayer, no spiritual power. We’re commanded to devote ourselves to prayer (Col 4:2). Boot camp churches show people how to pray, hold weekly, if not daily prayer meetings, and challenge their people often to immerse themselves in prayer.

We learn to pray by praying, not talking about it.

You must spend time in God’s word every day.
We live in a time of great deception; it’s critical that you’re consistently soaking your spirit and mind in the truth. The American Bible Society did a survey on Bible use among Christians and found that:

This is beyond pathetic. No wonder so many are easily deceived. We need love-motivated spiritual drill sergeants to get in people’s faces and challenge them to incorporate the practices into their lives that will save and equip them in a firefight. Daily time in the God’s word is a must.

You must spend an hour with God, every day.
Some will wig out when you challenge them with this… which shows where their heart is. Those who love God from the core of their soul will be eager to go hard after Him. We need His power, strength, guidance, and wisdom every day, which brings us back to prayer. The average American will spend 2,500 hours in screen entertainment every year, not including time at sporting events and other hobbies. For many it’s not a matter of time, but what their first love is.

“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day.”
– Martin Luther

You must meet with another believer, or group of believers, at least once a week, for the rest of your life.
We’re commanded to confess our sins (“sins” is plural, which means ongoing) and pray for each other (James 5:16). The early church was devoted to fellowship (Acts 2:42). Yet, most Christians are isolated (80%+). If that isn’t a big-time failure to equip God’s people, tell me what is. The epidemic of isolation is a huge reason the church has been coming apart since 2020. People don’t have authentic connections and relationships where they can share their pain, sin, and struggles, so they’re on their own. We need to set the standard right up front that believers must not isolate themselves and that connections with others are critical for their spiritual and emotional health.

If you’re struggling with porn, promiscuity, masturbation, or any other sexual sin, you must not keep it a secret. Lust has the power to destroy your life.
Then the church must give them safe groups and people to share with and effective answers in these areas. We have zoom and phone groups going on all week at Blazing Grace. Contact us to get plugged in.

You are entering a time of intense spiritual warfare, and we will equip you.
Every believer must be equipped in spiritual warfare and to be a prayer warrior. Anything less is sending God’s people to battle in their pajamas. They need much more than a once-every-three-years message on the armor of God. I have a page on spiritual warfare up on The Rogue Christian to get you started.

If you’re hurting, please tell us so we can walk with you to healing.
There are many hurting, lonely people in our churches, some who struggle to make it through each day. Plug them in with someone who knows the language of suffering and can walk with them in the healing process. Tip: listening is critical!

You must set your mind on the eternal and live your life in a way that counts for eternity.
Don’t waste your life on the shallow, short-lived pleasures and entertainment of this world that many are immersed in (dare I say, worshipping), including Christians. One second after you die, all that will matter will be your relationship with God and the spiritual fruit that came from your life – which usually involves being a blessing to others. Remember the judgement seat of Christ that all will face.

Boot camp churches consistently challenge, exhort, encourage, and equip. They create teams who work together as a unit, not lone stragglers who are easily picked off. Discipline, ingraining the right habits and character into each member, is crucial.

Can you imagine what the church would be like if we consistently promoted and reinforced the Rogue Christian way of life as shown above to their flocks? We would be a spiritual powerhouse, routing the enemy. Instead, the enemy continues to take new ground and destroy lives as many watch from the sidelines, as the following news articles continue to show:

3-20-24: Florida Christian teacher accused of using AI to create erotic content from yearbook photos
3-19-24: 67 year old employed by Florida Christian academy arrested for child porn
3-18-24: Former pastor sentenced for possession of child porn
3-17-24: Piety and Profanity; the Raunchy Christians are Here.
3-14-24: North Carolina pastor charged with soliciting prostitute
3-13-24: Baptist pastor charged with possession of child porn
3-12-24: Child porn quadruples in Canada since 2014
3-11-24: Another porn star has a drug overdose
3-11-24: Michigan church leader arrested for child porn
2-28-24: Satanic Temple anticipates sending their chaplains into Florida schools

And these are just the news articles I happened to stumble onto. This wreckage is going on every day in America, unchallenged.

We are a church at war.
We’re not acting like it… we’re allowing many distractions to take us off course, some that are self-inflicted and involve our Christian celebrities, including:

* A well-known evangelical pastor recently said Martin Luther King wasn’t a Christian, stirring up more unnecessary division and strife at a time when the US is a tinder box.
* A group of 8 pastors are holding another cessationist conference this year.
* Immediately after the super bowl, the Christian community went nuts debating an ad depicting people washing feet.
* Christian celebrities bickering on who a false teacher is, to the point of insinuating Martin Luther might be one.
* The next season of The Chosen being delayed, which is all over Christian news.
* Turmoil over Christian nationalism.
* January of this year, a debate was sparked over a nationally known pastor’s advice regarding a controversial wedding.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”
2 Timothy 2:23

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”
Titus 3:9

Satan must be splitting his sides from laughing as he watches these distractions and bickering. Anything to keep God’s people from praying or building their lives on that which is essential.

Where are the calls for fervent prayer? For repentance? For being a part of God’s work to set captives free, beginning with those in the church? Where is the freaking out about youth leaving the church in droves, for those of all ages who are falling away? Why aren’t we facing the tsunami of sexual sin in the church head on?

None of these diversions equip anyone for a life of eternal significance, and some reek of arrogance! We’re in desperate need of some heaven-sent Elijahs and John the Baptists.

How are you doing in these areas? What do you need to change?

Stay focused on seeking God, prayer, and living your life Biblically. Refuse to be distracted with the swirl of madness going on.

I’ll leave you with the following from CT Studd.

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”