The title for this article is derived from many years of heart wrenching struggle in a very difficult process to hear and know God's heart for me and His people. To see us all become a beautiful Bride and begin to do those wonderful works foreordained for us by virtue of His power working in us.    Eph. 2:10

To finally begin to live the life required and expected by Our Lord's efficacious work on the cross for us. Yes we are called to go much higher, especially for those of us who have called upon His Name and said we will do whatever He says. 


To walk into a life of freedom we must be translated to new thought patterns, to live everyday knowing that our life here on earth has already been secured for us by virtue of the precious blood shed by our Savior. Testified by His powerful resurrection. His death and resurrection must then instigate in me and in His Body a different way of thinking and living.  So that we can together show off His power undeniably to this lost and dying world we live day by day. So our world might know what it means to enter into eternal life... life forevermore. 

This translation miracle in us will be hindered if we remain stuck in our current "performance" way of faith.  A religious life verses a life-giving born again experience.  In order to depart from the vanity we know kills our life in Christ we all have to ask the sobering question,
 "what can we offer a world predicated on a performance driven way of life?"  How can we help people if we suffer from the same sickness?

The higher we ascend the heights of a performance premise, we offer ourselves and our friends and neighbors more of the same, just with a different name and association. A christian club of people trying to be better verses the local optimist club etc. Rather than a Christ-centered completely different way of life and thinking that increasingly transforms us all together and translates us from death to life.

Over the last few years I have been forced to come clean and face up to the fact that my natural old man tendency is to try my best to prove myself to God. To perform as a christian in the way of personal holiness and righteousness in the best possible way. Sadly, in my heart, it seems less than it should be. 


In some mysterious and inferred way I am drawn into the idea of believing that I have to prove myself to God to win His divine approval. I can deny the fact that we are supposed to view our life here as a test.  The Word of God clearly commands believers in Jesus to prove themselves so as to show ourselves approved by God.  But not in the way of being a great performer of righteousness in our natural strength BUT in the way of allowing the Spirit of Christ to fill us up through a confession and heart change that allows for His power to reign in our mortal body.


When the Lord commanded us to have a transformed mind, He was really serious about how that reality is supposed to work in our everyday life. Especially for those of us who have openly surrendered our lives to serve Him with everything we have. Paul lays a very clear blueprint for us in Phil. 2, let me just quote a short section of this life changing chapter:


v2-4. make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

Wow, how do we do that kind of life together in this self-centered culture? 


So this article is an effort to share my personal struggles in the realness of how I came to see my personal problems in walking out my faith and where I hope to be as I live out my calling today. I hope that my candor will help you find the way of faith as it has been drawn out for us in the Word which candidly reveals real life examples of those who have faithfully gone on before us and who now dance ecstatically before His Throne. 


I believe that if you are a weary traveler in the way of religion and you work hard in your service to God you will find comfort in the things I seek to share with you today. I am learning slowly how to let God live through me as I struggle to obey God and do impossible things. 


Together we can and must agree that the current model we have chosen to live in for church is out of step with biblical revelation and what Jesus set out to accomplish for His people. We all have a long way to go in the category of being "real" with our struggles to become true men and women of God. Married to do only His will verses our own.  

I believe that if the Body of Christ were truly sincere about actively presenting Christ in our idolatrous America, we can, and we would remove this mountain of pathetic competition and self-seeking from our midst. To get to the place where we experience the pleasure of walking in a true God-focus every day. Then and only then will we see power return again to the body of Christ. A corporate life under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, our Moses to guide us all to the Promised Land. 

That for anyone who seeks Him with all their heart; they too can become a vessel of honor in the Lord's house. God is good. He has shown us from history that He is no respecter of persons or titles. Anyone can walk away from living beneath our privileges at any time. How about today?

Like many of you, I have had to come to grips with my natural tendency to give in to desire to "perform" as a christian. Not hypocritically, but without knowing it, I have been trying to make God proud of me or accept my efforts to please Him. But in Christ these thoughts and ways of living are supposed to be within the context of a transformed mind. We somehow have lost the concept of what the word "transformed" means. To walk in the Spirit... to walk on air!

For a Spirit led life to occur in our everyday walk before God, a completely new mindset must take over the old inherited one, the cursed one, that horrible adamic nature that we all got by virtue of being born in this world.. Thank you very much Adam and Eve. A new mind that must be renewed day by day in the way and will of heaven. To say we are heavenly minded means that we operate in a completely different way. We must allow the Spirit to transform our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

But how does Christ's Body get to the place where it has within the entire orbit of its context those that are living day by day in a holy and other worldly way of life?

Through my struggle to obey God, I have become increasingly wearier of the way I had been trained to react to hardship and setback... even failure. As my struggles and setbacks stacked up, I began to realize God Himself was the source of my troubles. He was seeking my heart, not my great efforts to please Him. 

So then shouldn't we embrace our pain and our setback if we understand in the depths that they came straight from the throne of Christ? 

To know in our heart of heart our pain was all on purpose. God was seeking to wear me and you out so we would finally release ourselves to Him. To give Him His rightful place in our hearts. To a place where we simply give up and say
, "OK Lord, what am I doing wrong, change me, and please save me from myself?"

Deep inside of my heart I sense that we can do much better in this world in our service for Him if we could all come to grips with how we could know Him in the depths of our struggle. To deal with our sinful tendency to seek to understand our world and our problems with our "flesh" mind, rather then through the mind of the Spirit. Platitudes serve us no purpose in this cause. We must develop a new vernacular, a different way of expressing our struggle to each other and to those that are going to be saved in the days to come.

The Apostle Paul warns us in Rom. 8:7:

"...the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be.."

How do those of us who consider ourselves "born again" believers, how do we, incorporate our life into the livingness of what the blood of Jesus procured for us? To please Our Father by putting away every vestige of carnal thinking. To reveal to Our Lord that we are truly seeking Him with all our heart, rather than our sense of well-being based purely on our external performance metrics. This He will do because He accomplished for us all that we need to be saved from ourselves and our political, religious, and very materialistic world system. 

Don't we really want to be set free from ourselves and our way of being? Is it really working for us? 

And... "are we, truly happy?"


As thorough going Americans, we bring our learned American version of carnal mindedness to our christian walk and life experience. This occurs when we bring an American derived "performance" driven way of thought to dictate the terms of how to live the christian life. A mindset absorbed from being part of our distinctly greco roman culture which directly contradicts the mind of Christ we received at the new birth. 

We bring all this junk to our christian walk and at the same time we fall miserably short of God's will for us. This "performance" mindset forces us to do things contrary to the Spirit of Christ which currently wars in our members to defeat the christian "performance" way of being... yet we fight on!  

No matter how hard we fight to be American Christians we end of being just that. An American version of being something like a christian. Sadly, a version that falls short of what God wants for us.

Our natural desire to be "better" plays a integral role in our thinking process and our way of doing things in the church, even when we get saved, we say we are born again believers, yet many of us are still clinging fast and hard to the self-preserving "flesh" principals that the Spirit of Christ longs to release us from. Those hairy tentacles that attach themselves to our new man. Jesus Christ within us wants us to be able to breathe the breath of God into our struggles and our calling.

We are fighting an uphill battle, after-all, we are a political block of people within our geopolitical system, and in our system we are catered to as "performance" Christians who have perceived wants and desires. The religious side of our system wants our votes because they count and these carnally-minded leaders use our propensity to walk in the "performance" mindset to stay in power.

We will stop performing as we walk before Our Lord to please Him and only Him, to live exclusively for the day of His appearing and His righteous throne of judgment. Men will love us and they will hate us, mostly hate us, but He will always receive our labor and apply it to our account in that day, without politics, with no duplicity, certainly He will not play a silly "shell" game with us, NO, He will deal straight up by providing a reward system purely based on merit, BUT it is only for those who wait for Him and allow His Spirit to change them on the inside... where our true intentions lie.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they should first cleanse the inside of the cup, and so should we.

But the Lord said to him
, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you. Lk. 11:39-41

Be sure of this, God is not interested in our "performance" persona or branding initiatives, or our applause. No, we are truly free from all forms of human measurement when we realize our lives are lost in the person and work of Christ Jesus.  And He grades our efforts and hearts in a different way.

I believe that if Paul were alive today he would be constantly exhorting us all to snap out of all this competition we currently have within the Lord's Body. And for what? Are we cultivating fields already fertilized just to win a few more members? If we seek to have a performance driven church what are we going to attract to our assemblies... sheep or goats? 

The question is this: 

How did we get so trapped into listening to church focused marketing and image consultants? What in the world do they know about following the Lord's leading?  Why do we care so much about our valued public reputation? Preach Him and all will be well. 

Yet our christian marketing consultants march on in an endless effort to become more relevant to a more depraved culture. As these consultants strive to make more catchy and relevant names for our new church growth ideas and schemes the Lord sits in heaven wondering what part of "making disciples" of My words and way did they not understand?  

While we make all this effort to reestablish better creeds and mission statements when all along Our Lord Jesus as clearly set before us a Great Mandate. He has painstakingly declared His last commandment just before leaving our planet. 

If we were to play God for a day we would have already given up on us. Our dullness to the simplicity of His words is legendary.

We don't need better management and the best possible pastor we can afford. In fact, we don't need a great sounding worship band. We, each of us individually, needs to be better... we need to “be” found lost in Christ Jesus!

"and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus."  

 I Tim. 1:14

Our God is very interested in us, you and me, He has always been deeply involved with using the turbulence raging in our hearts to drive us to a place where we quit striving to please ourselves, our world, and Him in our flesh. He knew we could never do it alone. That is why Jesus told His disciples before He lifted up into the clouds, "don't do anything until you receive power from on high" 

Our God desires to plumb the depths of the deepest part of our heart affection, the place of our deepest fears, to plumb the depths of where we really exist, and there do miracles that cannot be explained to the carnal world we live in. To flip our world upside down, starting with us!

In truth, only Our God, through His Spirit, can probe the depths of our favorite places of retreat and solace, where we hide our true feelings about rejection and finishing second all the time. It is here that the Lord makes a honest and thorough inspection and evaluation of what is really going on on the inside of us. 

Salvation is just that, salvation, a salvation from our wretched way of thinking and trying to be what we have no earthly idea what to be as followers of a heavenly King.


Since my youth I very thankful that hypocrisy was not an option for me. If was unhappy I was gonna tell people in church or in my family, “Hey, I'm pissed”. I have always wanted to be real with God and man.

If I thought God has deserted me, I would tell my parents honestly, “where did God go?” 

But now, after many years of seeking Him, I'm finally starting to get it. 

The apostle James told us to enter into the life of pure religion undefiled would be by feeding and caring for orphans and widows, with this added caveat “to keep ourselves unspotted from the world”

But what does the writer mean when he exhorts us to be “unspotted” from the world? 


If you have read any of my writings or watched any of the videos the Lord has led me to produce. If you have honestly tried to figure out what doctrinal perspective I embrace, you are probably frustrated. Why? Because I don't really fit a particular camp of theological thought. God Himself delivers His revelation in a completely different package. How is that?  I seek to write and say only that which has been born out of my personal very fiery experience of trying to please the Lord with my whole heart even in failure I am learning His way. Many times kept by the Lord is difficult state because I was seeking to please my former pastors and the folks in the congregation. An impossible task. 

This struggle has brought much soul pain to my life. In this crucible of finally departing the performance mindset to please the Lord... not a congregation of believers, friends and family members, I believe that I have finally found a real way of walking in Christ. 

You just can't figure out this stuff from a human perspective. Learning God's way takes a brutal kind of honesty. And God Himself has to intervene. So we can really can individually come to the place of knowing what the Lord is really saying to us and His Church, His beautiful Bride, His precious People called by His Eternal Name. This understanding can only be understood by faith combined with the wisdom derived by our difficult circumstances worked out through the continuum of time.

I can tell you very soberly that many in the church are not ready for the judgment seat of Christ, not because they are not trying to be good, no, because they are striving to please earthly masters rather than their heavenly Father. They are lost in the malaise of seeking to please man, a religious way of thought, a good program, rather than letting Christ rule our minds by relinquishing control of our entire way to Him.  

Many of us were misled for years by our confused church and societal leaders who were desperately trying to figure all this stuff out by themselves. They, like us, were working this stuff out in their religious flesh-filled performance-based minds to offer something valuable to men, not God. 

They and we mean well but it is not good enough for God. And it will not help the rising generation overcome the current state of affairs in the world and the secular church they have inherited.  The Lord desires for His bride to be ready and to be doing His exploits so He can prepare the earth for His Return. 


It wasn't long ago I had long hair, it seemed I played the part of a prophet in a movie. I can assure you that it wasn't on purpose it just ended up that way. 

But for many of the folks who knew me at this time in our community it provided a trap that only confused things in their religious minds, after-all, many of them still held the wrong religious thought and teaching that prophets have long been done away with. 

To even come up with the idea that we don't need prophets in the New Testament age is really silly. What is God left to do if His people are sleeping and not really reading His Word. After-all, the religious leaders will say, we have the Bible and the history of what the “real” prophets said to declare God's heart to His People. 

Sadly, if prophets really do exist, what do we do with those who truly have been called to the office of a prophet?  An ancient, very historically real way to deliver mankind from a idolatrous way of life.

Do we really need prophets today? Don't we really need a John the Baptist kinda guy to tell us to change?  

Some will say in fear, these prophetic guys will drive the church back to obscurity.  Then the church will be irrelevant and we might end up looking and acting like them... radical and strange. Do we really want to be that radical in the land of Babylon? 

See how our calculating minds work? We really don't want to die or carry a cross... we just want to sing about it, or hear and touching message about how good it would be if we would actually do that kind of thing. Or we would rather watch someone else do it!


Even to my very own christian family I was a man in a state of rebellion. Which was a true statement. I was rebelling against my former religious thinking and our family dependency on religious systems. Living in fear of the world and ignorant of our calling. 


When I sat on our land for two seemingly endless years without a job to wait on God for an answer for the next step and His patience for me to ask my “what now” questions, to my neighbors I was an infidel, unfamiliar with the reality that followers of Jesus are to labor for their food and drink. 

But the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount kept me focused on Him, words like, “don't worry about your life what you will wear, what you will eat, life is more than these” 

Jesus still instructs us, His people, to trust Him no matter how difficult the situation. In our time of struggle and waiting I asked my children often this question, "How can we become long-suffering if we don't suffer long?"

Performance mindset says to us, “get a job, for fear of our neighbors words and financial pressure"  To leave our ministry calling behind and retreat back to a place of normalcy. Even in such a place of knowing we had to fulfill our Christ inspired calling. Don't you think Peter, James, and John struggled with this. Even when I tried and tried to run back to normalcy, I couldn't. The Holy Spirit kept blocking me from getting back into business as usual. Until it was His Time.

Jesus would whisper sweetly into my heart, “work for Me, keep waiting, you will get you a job when you are done with the work I have given you to do.”


What many of you don't know is that somewhere in the 1998, unawares even to myself, I made a promise to the Lord in my backyard to serve Him with all my heart. At that very point in time I stepped from the place of “survival” in the christian life to a place of wanting desperately to see revival in this country. To do whatever to bring that place I happily call home out of the horrors of a religious status quo.

A man who really wanted to be more than just a pew sitting believer in Jesus. I just could not connect with the people of the Bible like I desired. And I desperately wanted to see what they saw and do what they did.

I wanted and still do yearn to live in a country that finally realizes why God is so desirous to reveal to all of us what His Son died to secure for us. The Lord's name has an element we rarely speak of anymore - "Jealous" - and He is jealous for our hearts collectively. 

To raise up people who are sensitive to the ticking time bomb hanging over all of us and this evil age. We all know that this age ends with great trouble but act like the clear words of scripture are not true. But still many of His people will die and are dying because of a sad lack of knowledge to busy striving to please a world that is perishing.


We all long to to be part of a life-giving organism of holy and truly loving people, refined in the fire. A gathering of the redeemed that works together to reach souls. To train the new converts the grace way first so they can do more then we could have ever dreamed to do in the flesh. A place where people grow up in the truth, and find their place in the Body of Christ in the first few years of their walk before His face. 

Where brand new believers will be led to find complete rest.

Where prayer is our only power and truth-filled love is our only way.

During this time we must see into the spirit realm, to truly see that the church is changing right before our eyes. This reality is happening in spite of us. So many youth are seeking truth, ready to do the crazy love acts for God with unquestioned loyalty... to be part of the group called out to bring His People back to the Father. 

Each of us comes back in our own way. But we are irresistably drawn to the King and we must submit to Him. Like Shadrach, Mesach, and Aben-Dego, we face the fire undaunted... we will not bow to the lords of Babylon, and we will not fear their threats.

But what will the end of this work be? 

While churches operate in yesterday's mindset. By focusing on their favorite pet issues, they, and we, miss the bigger things. And in doing so, we miss God... 

We miss revival. We miss the experience of true love feasts and real tangible gatherings of manifest power that we need to re-energize the Body again. 

We are on life support... and we don't know it!


But you wonder to yourself - what is the bottom-line, Jonathan? 

Are you saying you're better then me, that we, regular church people that are happy in our way if doing things, are we are all wrong? Are you so wrapped up in yourself that you can't listen to anyone else? 

If you don't see our sickness. If you can't realize your own mistakes. Then I am crazy, a false prophet, delusional, but if you start to see what I see and what many other of the broken see, then you would fall on your face like us and cry out for repentance, begging God for mercy.

We all are to blame for this broken very secularized church. We all played our part. If we continue to operate in the performance mindset it will not change.


I can assure you that I was a horrible english student throughout my school days. I hated to write. And I wasn't much of a public speaker. 

I can also assure you, my family will attest to this, I did not seek public places or the spotlight, I was too frightened, just a scared little farm boy raised in the hills of Northeastern PA. 

Never wanted to be a preacher, and a reluctant preacher at best. I feared the repercussions of not saying what God said correctly. I didn't want to screw up!

Why was I raised with this deep seeded attitude inside of me? 

Maybe it's because I saw firsthand the difficulty of the ministry on my family and my extended family. 

Pastors and preachers sometimes are the better actors, called on to walk a stage and perform christianity.  A stage and platform we, the congregants, the people in the stands, have built for them a place of isolation and unavoidable failure. In putting them on pedestals we mirror the attitude of society... to set up leaders only to make them our gods and demand them to suffer because they weren't. We have been trained to live in a spectator attitude that hypocritically expects more from our leaders than we do from ourselves. A slave mentality.

We ask them to be great performers like our sports and Hollywood heroes.

We set them up, and then we knock them down. And we seek another.  Why do we set them in positions that will on fail them? A real tragedy.


Recently I have been looking a diverse array of church websites and listening to messages in an attempt to grasp what is going on in the organized church beyond Pilot Mountain, NC

We all really do want to blend. So do my kids. And my precious wife.

But every time I get excited about a church I study on the internet and listen to some of their messages, then in excitement seek to make contact with them they seem to be too busy to share, to pray, and understand why in the world I am calling them. They really don't want guys like me.

Funny thing is they pray for conversions and those who do get saved they really don't want them to become a radical. They want them to play ball their way. 

Why are they, and we so busy?

I'm sure if the Spirit of God rests in any congregation that there are some in the midst who are longing for spiritual fellowship that is real. They would love to answer phone calls or respond to emails of other folks longing to hear what is going on with the churches within the Lord's Body, right?

Yet because our leaders have to be superstars, rather then servants, or even better --- they are expected to be men and women who follow the leading of God's Spirit YET are not given license to BE so.

If Paul were alive today and the Spirit of God wanted him to talk to a stranger, a wanderer, a sojourner, an alien, even if that guy was on the other side of the planet, I think the Holy Spirit could get Paul's attention long enough to get him to that person. To have enough sense to stop his business and go talk to the person who God wanted him to speak with, to start something new... 

Don't you think so?

But what's the point, Jonathan?

All our attempts to change things in the church or do a better version of church are going to continue to fail if we don't get the point. 

These great ideas that seem good for awhile are going to leave us frustrated by the difficulty of the agonizing process to build it better or make it great... a little better then the other guy's church.

The point is --- we are missing the point!


We “do” Jesus by letting Jesus fill us up with Himself. To find our place in His Body inside our hearts. To know who we are in Him. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

We are not here to try to do something for Him that is geared toward the business of religion. 

How can we rid ourselves of this religious idiocy if we continue in the idolatrous manner of catering ourselves to perform or jump to it's whims?  

To get other people in the ministry to say of us, even our fathers in the faith, “well done, pastor” You proved you could do it!

But what of Jesus, what will He say of you and me?

Have we really stopped long enough to ask the question, and have we waited long enough to get heavens answer?

I don't want to hear these words anytime soon, “Boy, you're a good preacher” 

“Church planter. Worship Leader. Sunday School teacher.” 

Why? Because Jesus wouldn't say those words to me.

Jesus will not say to me, “You're amazing, you can really write good books. and preach great messages”

If that is what we all are striving for today, then some of us will get it here... if we naturally gifted in these areas, some people are naturally good speakers and leaders, but is that word of approbation what we really want to hear? 

Don't we want Jesus to say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the rest prepared for you.?”

Can we reach a higher status in God then servant?

When we live to His face we enter our place in the Body.

When stop listening to our detractors, we find home.

When we get past how crazy God wants to be for Him, we find our purpose.

We are not here to have a title, or certain number of people who call us pastor. 

We are not a statistic, we sons and daughters of the Living God. He counts us worthy to suffer for His kingdom and that is amazing!

We find Him when we walk with Him. When keep our focus on Him and take our focus off the crowd... 

In the beautiful sung words of Jason Upton, “come up here, come up now, my beloved, my beloved”

Jason ends with, “I'm gonna fly, O Lord, like an eagle in the sky”  I want to see you all in heaven,