Consider this “As many as 70 percent of the boys who are being raised in the church will abandon it by their 20th birthday.” Many of these boys will never return.
I believe that one of the major reasons that the preponderance of the young men of the Joshua Generation has abandoned church is that their experience in the church has not led them to Jesus; it has led them to religion. Religion in many American Churches is characterized by ceremony, empty confession, and preaching about God’s power, without demonstrating His power. Much of the church in America has become what Jesus referred to in the book of Revelation as a lukewarm church. He said to the church in Laodicea “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”
Last month I introduced you to Pastor Guillermo Maldonado’s book entitled The Glory of God and I recommended that you obtain a copy and read it. In his book Pastor Maldonado asks “What is the main reason that believers who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and with fire attend church? It is to receive knowledge, revelation, activation, and the fire of His glory to take it ‘all’ out there. If the Kingdom is not manifested in the streets, and the knowledge of the glory is not filling the earth, it is because many believers are not doing anything with what they have received.They have become addicted to knowledge and attending conferences; this does not make them much different from an addict to any other substance. They seek only a blessing – for someone to touch their lives with healing and deliverance – but they never do anything with what they receive, and they never set anyone else afire with the glory of God.”
Frankly religion, without a demonstration the power, is one of the major reasons that I did not become born again until I was forty-three years old. When I went to church all I saw was religious ceremony. And when I was born again it wasn’t in a church, it was in a Jacuzzi Tub in my home. Here’s how it happened. When my wife Barbara and I returned from our honeymoon I found a book entitled Power in Praise (which had been left by my new Methodist mother in law) lying on our living room table. The book was authored by Merlin Carothers, a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army. Carothers had served with the famous 82nd Airborne; he was a master parachutist with over 90 jumps. He was my kind of man. Initially I thoughtPower in Praise was a success motivation book, but as I read the book I realized that Colonel Carothers was not talking about success motivation principles in a conventional sense; he was talking about God’s gift of eternal life.
He said, “Many Church going people think of God’s plan of eternal life as a ten-cent gift. They believe they have to struggle to live a good life to keep their ‘free gift.’ Trying hard to live a good life puts them under such a continual strain that they often wonder if trying hard to be a Christian is worth it. To them it just means going to church on Sunday, staying away from things that might be a lot of fun, and giving their hard-earned cash into the offering plate.”
Well, at the time that’s what I thought Christianity was. I found the book to be extremely interesting, and I began to read it nearly every day. As I read and rereadPower in Praise, it began to change the way I thought and faith in God’s word began to develop in my heart.
Then on the Sunday afternoon of March 8, 1976, I asked Jesus Christ to become my personal Lord and Savior. I remember the occasion vividly, because I sensed a new peace within my soul, and I also knew that the fear of death of which I had become acutely aware during my service in Korea had departed from me.
Most importantly, I knew that if I died I would be with in heaven with Jesus Christ. You might ask how I knew those things. I knew them by faith, which had developed in my spirit as I read the word of God quoted in the book Power in Praise.
In September of that same year, after reading that same book for another seven months, I also received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in my home. As I prayed in my new found prayer language, Jesus became very real to me. I knew that he was alive, and I knew that the Bible was true. Suddenly the issues of life became quite clear.
But neither my wife Barbara, nor I knew anyone who was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues except Merlin Carothers, the man who wrote the book, and Carothers lived several thousand miles away from us.
Barbara made some inquiries in our local area and found that a group of men who called themselves the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, met once a month in a prestigious downtown Seattle hotel. We decided to attend!
These meetings were nothing like any church service we had attended, they were alive. They were filled with joy and excitement. There was no preaching, the men simply testified as to how they had been born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit or healed, not thirty years ago, but in the last meeting. Jesus was alive and manifesting Himself through the Holy Spirit in every meeting.
As we attended these meetings we began to witness various manifestations of the “Glory of God”. I particularly remember one of the first regional conventions of the Fellowship that Barbara and I attended in Portland, Oregon. The Glory of God manifested in that meeting in a very dramatic way. As we worshipped the Lord at the beginning of one of the evening meetings, suddenly the music in the ballroom swelled into that of a large symphony orchestra. It was no longer a single organist in one corner of the ballroom; I was hearing a full symphony orchestra with hundreds if not thousands of instruments. As the music swelled through the ballroom I looked frantically around the room attempting to locate the source of the music. I looked at the others at my table, my mind couldn’t understand what was occurring, I wandered if others were hearing what I was hearing? As we neared the end of the song, the music slowly returned to that of the lone organist. Still somewhat shaken; I leaned over to the person next to me, and asked if they had also heard what I had heard. They quietly nodded yes; they too were in a state of awe at what had just occurred. While I didn’t fully understand what had happened at the time, I have never forgotten it, we had just been visited by a manifestation of “the glory of God”.
The next morning the convention featured a young speaker in his early to mid-twenties by the name of Benny Hinn who was just making his debut into the Fellowship, and again the glory Of God continued to manifest as he ministered to the people in the Convention.
I am telling you these things for the sake of the Joshua Generation men who have not yet experienced the full manifestation of the Spirit of God. We are beginning to see some of the first fruits of Gods Glory in the “Holy Smoke Meetings” that Vice President Gerry DeFlorio is conducting among the young people in Connecticut, just a few miles from site of the Sandy Hook school shootings that occurred in Connecticut several months ago. I believe that we are just on the edge of the Glory falling in our Fellowship all across America, but we need to understand how to flow in the Glory when it falls. That is the reason that I have asked every FGBMFA National Director, and Chapter President to obtain a copy of Pastor Guillermo Maldonado’s book entitled, The Glory of God. It is a handbook to guide you into understanding, and in flowing in the glory.
For the last several years members of the Fellowship from FGB and BMF have been gathering in the London Global Prayer Summit, asking the Lord to forgive us for the strife and division that we had allowed to enter into our Fellowship. I believe that the Prayer Summit we attended in London last month sealed in the hearts of our FGB-BMF men a new bond of love and harmony; we are being prepared to receive His glory.
If we are to see the promise of Isaiah 60:1-3 fulfilled in our Fellowship once again, we need to seek the glory of God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our minds.
The book The Glory of God is particularly important for you men of the Joshua Generation to obtain, read, and implement. I and others of my generation, who once flowed in the “glory” in the early Fellowship, will only see the beginning of this new outpouring of Gods glory. But you men of the Joshua Generation will see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic words.
I encourage you once again to order hard copy on Amazon, or Download an electronic Kindle copy of the book entitled, The Glory of God and prepare yourself to flow in God’s glory. Or go online to the Pastor Maldonado’s church website at http://kingjesusministry.org .
If this generation will learn how to flow in God’s Glory like Fellowship did in the early days of the Charismatic Renewal, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship will once again be a place where ordinary men, under a supernatural anointing of the Spirit will demonstrate “the glory of God.”
Are you ready to walk in the glory? Are you ready to believe God for a new outpouring of His Spirit? Jesus is waiting for us to prepare ourselves and to move.
In Jesus’ Name,
Robert W Bignold
Robert W Bignold
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America