2024; Holy Spirit Entrepreneurship vs the Rise of Evil
What is Holy Spirit entrepreneurship? Essentially, it is working fresh and creative strategies inspired by the Holy Spirit. They could be a strategy/idea given by God to a research person, a government official, a business leader, or a church leader. One of the essential reasons we need Holy Spirit-inspired strategies is that it enables us to distinguish between good ideas and God’s ideas.
Looking Past the Details
Albert Einstein famously said, ‘I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are just details.’ Good ideas can seem good at the moment but often fail to be anointed with God’s favor for success. While good ideas are sometimes fruitful in some situations, they may fail miserably in a similar ones. God’s ideas are also quite often counterintuitive to our ways of thinking. For example, it seemed like a good idea for David to wear King Saul’s armor to face Goliath, but as David discerned it was not a God idea. In the second battle, in the Promised Land, the Hebrew people were defeated by the city of Ai because they acted on a good idea rather than seeking God’s leading.
A classic Biblical example of Holy Spirit entrepreneurship is when the Holy Spirit spoke to the church leaders of Antioch. While they had set aside time to fast and worship the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ God’s leading resulted in the historically groundbreaking first apostolic mission. In my home church in 1992, my friend, Mark Hoffman, received directions from the Lord to start a unique off-campus ministry to teenagers in a troubled part of San Diego. Obedience to this ‘God idea’ resulted in literally tens of thousands of young people coming to Christ and being discipled in the ways of God over the last 30 years as the ministry has spread to several nations.
The Rapid Acceleration of Championing Evil
When the tribes of Israel sent their armies and leading warriors to support the newly crowned King David, the Bible relates something unique regarding the men from the tribe of Issachar. 1 Chron. 12.32 tells us they were ‘men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.’ While we know that many of the works God calls us to are timeless, it’s essential to know the specific things God calls us to at different times. Knowing what we should be uniquely focused on in any given season begins with recognizing what type of time we are actually in.
The previous four years have, in various ways, seen a rapid and significant increase in evil. What is also noteworthy is not simply the increase of evil but the championing of evil. This rapid rise of evil is self-evident on several levels. Let’s briefly mention three such areas.
1. The rapid increase in thievery and other crimes in many large cities.
Cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have seen such a prolific acceleration of crime. It has gotten to the point that San Francisco has experienced a multitude of longstanding retailers and restaurants close their doors due to the unsustainable increase in the cost of doing business related to growing crime rates and homelessness. The growing danger to their employees and customers has also become untenable. One of the leading causes of the increase of crime in California is due to local governments in many of these cities having made it a policy not to prosecute criminals who steal less than $950 in each instance of robbery. In several large towns, ideological progressive prosecutors have chosen not to prosecute many criminals- sometimes even repeat offenders committing violent crimes. The gross negligence of protecting the public is, in effect, a championing of crime.
2. The rapid increase of warfare against children and families.
In the United States, as well as many other Western world countries, there has been an onslaught of attacks on the well-being of children in areas such as education and entertainment. While there have been cross-dressers and transgender people throughout history, just in the last three years, there has risen an enormous effort to take gender confusion mainstream. Consider Disney theme parks; they have provided a safe, fun place for young families for decades. Disney movies and shows have also been a massive source of wholesome entertainment for millions of children. Just over the previous few years, however, many Disney animated movies have begun to champion homosexuality and gender fluidity in a very intentional way. When a young child is confronted by a male in a Snow White costume at Disney World or by Buzz Lightyear kissing another male in a movie, they are being targeted! If someone had predicted ten years ago that Disney would begin to intentionally groom children sexually, they would have been laughed at!
On a parallel track many teachers and school administrators are currently attempting to undermine parents’ rights to raise their children with Judaic-Christian moral values in very overt ways. They are grooming or targeting very young children by promoting trans and homosexual lifestyles in the classroom. *
One school in California made attendance mandatory at an all-school meeting featuring a drag queen focused on the LGBTQIA agenda. It has even gotten to the point where some schools have been encouraging children to identify as the opposite sex while keeping this secret from their parents. The push over the last several years to allow trans students to use restrooms and changing rooms of the opposite biological sex needs to be recognized for what it is: an open door for sexual abuse! Due to how impressionable children are, this is intentional warfare on them and their parents. In the summer of 2021, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus sang, “We’re coming for them, we’re coming for your children!” This is blatant championing of evil!
Just recently, two Christian public school teachers were fired in my home county of San Diego. They were dismissed due to their refusal to comply with school administration demands that they, as teachers, keep secret from parents when young students identify as another sex. As Christians, they refused to undermine the parent’s God-given right to raise their children according to Judaic-Christian values.
*Please note: some homosexuals and homosexual groups have strongly spoken out against sexual grooming of young children and shared changing rooms in schools. Those voices, too, believe it is the parent’s right and responsibility to raise their children with their morals- not the schools!
3. Lastly, and perhaps most startling, is the extremely rapid increase globally of antisemitism.
Just since October 7th, the day Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on a mission to rape, murder, and take prisoners, antisemitism activity has risen dramatically. The following is a quote from the Anti-Defamation League from October 25th; ‘Preliminary data from ADL Center on Extremism indicates that reported incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault (against Jews) increased by 388 percent over the same period last year’. What’s also noteworthy is the near silence of the #MeToo movement towards the Israeli women who suffered horrific sexual assault at the hands of Hamas on and after October 7th. The #MeToo movement, over the last few years, has been prolific in bringing to light sexual crimes against many, many women in society- especially in the entertainment arena. Their disregard for the Jewish women who were raped on October 7th, however, is so blatant that a counterpart has risen called ‘#MeToo unless you’re a Jew’!
The sad truth is that horrific acts of torture, sexual abuse, and the murder of innocent people historically are all too often part and parcel of war when demonic influences are allowed free rein. Once the spirit of murder is let loose, all sorts of hellish mayhem likewise follow. It’s important, however, not to confuse the murder and torture of captives, non-combatants, and innocent people with the killing of enemy combatants in a declared war.
What dramatically stands out at this point, however, is the amazing acceleration of global antisemitism. Carly Pildis, a director at the Anti-Defamation League, is quoted by Kim Hjelmgaard, in his December 20, 2023, USA Today article as saying ‘that the Evidence of sexual violence on October 7 is “overwhelming and irrefutable.”‘ ‘”We are living in this believe-all-women era, and somehow that philosophy vanished very quickly when we’re talking about Israeli women,” she said. “It’s really hard not to see that as ingrained antisemitism, an ingrained bias that leads people not to want to believe these voices.”‘
Since October 7th of this year, events straight out of Nazi Germany in the 1930s have globally accelerated. Hate speech against Israel and Jews in major universities without much criticism from university officials would be one example. Assaults against Jews both on university campuses and public streets have significantly increased. Swastikas have been painted on the outside of many Jewish businesses and synagogues. Just two weeks ago, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT refused to denounce public hate speech against Jews on their campuses in a Congressional hearing.
When a well-known former Princeton professor refers to the Hamas terrorists who gang-raped women, and tortured and killed Israelis from infants on up as ‘love warriors’ we are way beyond society confusing evil with good. One can easily imagine that very statement being made by Hitler regarding his followers who were hell-bent on the genocide of Europe’s Jews and Gypsies. We are beholding the blatant championing of evil.
Learning from History
If this article were simply about evil manifesting on earth, it would be nothing new to write about. Our focus, however, is the rapid acceleration of evil in the last few years. We, the Church in the West, must be cautious not to fall into the ‘frog in the pot’ syndrome. The frog was lulled into being cooked alive due to failing to realize that the water went from a comfortable warm to a deadly boiling!
The contemporary church must be careful lest we fail to learn from history. For the most part, the public in Germany, including many Christians, throughout the early 1930s either failed or refused to recognize the acceleration of evil in their day. Their ignoring of the acceleration of evil resulted in the atrocities not only against ethnic groups that Hitler deemed ‘subhuman’ but also, finally, in the persecution of the church, as well. We cannot be lulled into a false sense of well-being simply because hatred and racism are being directed toward others and not ourselves. When the Allied Soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, they forced the nearby German towns to help bury some thirty train cars filled with the rotting corpses of prisoners killed in the final weeks of the war. The fact that these German citizens were deeply shocked by the atrocities that had taken place so close to their neighborhoods is, in and of itself, highly shocking!
Back in the late 30s, when a more significant number of Christians in Germany began to speak out against Nazism, it was very late in the game. As Martin Niemoller so poignantly put it,
‘First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.’
Niemoller, himself, as he began to speak out against Nazism, was arrested by the Gestapo and held in German prisons until the end of the war in 1945.
Recognizing our Extended Family
Consider the Apostle Paul’s insight that we Gentiles have been grafted into the existing tree of God’s family. (Romans 11.17-27). Paul continued by saying that the Jews would be regrafted into the New Covenant! Paul emphatically prophesied that all of Israel shall be saved! (Romans 11.25) As we consider this ‘mystery’, as Paul labeled it, we ought to perceive that, within the context of this mystery, we are all part of the same family in a distinct way. This, in turn, points to the fact that persecution of Jewish people is essentially one step away from persecution of the Body of Christ.
It is critical to realize that the rapidly growing persecution of Jews is not simply arising from the current war in Israel and Gaza. It is rooted in the historical warfare of the anti-Christ demonic principality against God’s people!
While nations such as Nigeria, China, and India have experienced strong persecution against Christians for decades, there is about to be an increase in persecution against Christians in many Western world nations. It will flow out of the same demonic principality that fuels the current rise in antisemitism. Consider this report by Joel B. Pollak, on December 10th; ‘The latest example was Friday’s protest in Los Angeles, where pro-Palestinian radicals marched from a fundraiser for President Joe Biden to an area where there are several synagogues. They sprayed anti-Israel graffiti on the walls opposite the synagogues and also vandalized a local church. (Italics mine) While I realize that one isolated story is anecdotal, I believe situations like this are telltale.
Give ear to the Commander of the Army of the Lord!
I am not calling for panic or fear. Instead, I believe we need to be prayerfully and proactively aware of the rise of evil and, more importantly, hear the strategies from heaven for advancing the Kingdom of God on earth in this very hour. In meetings with different apostolic network leaders over the last several weeks, I have sensed the Lord saying, ‘2024 will be a year of Holy Spirit entrepreneurship for the church.’ The first step in entering God’s seasonal strategies is emphasizing prayer and waiting on the Lord, as the elders did in Antioch. (Acts 13)
The Apostle Paul stated that where sin abounds God’s grace abounds all the more. Isaiah proclaimed there would be no end to the increase of God’s government or Kingdom. In this time frame characterized by a rapid rise in evil, God desires to impart fresh strategies for extending His Kingdom! Jesus told the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, ‘Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying’. We need to hear what the Holy Spirit desires to say to us. As mentioned, the first apostolic mission of the early church was a God’s idea, not the result of leaders brainstorming for good ideas. The church teachers and prophets had gathered to minister to the Lord and listen to the Lord!
Let us commit to beginning the New Year with faith that the battle belongs to the Lord and seek the face of God. Just as Joshua experienced a startling and more profound revelation of the ‘Commander of the Army of the Lord’ before the miraculous defeat of Jericho, so might we! (Joshua 5.14) We ought to pray at this season (and every season) that by God’s grace, we can be like the Sons of Issachar, who were ‘men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do’.
As a final encouragement, may I also suggest we reconsider the implications of God’s promise that He will bless those who bless Israel!
‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you'”. Psalm 122.6