WHERE WILL YOU GO AND DO FOR GOD?

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.Acts 1:6-8

We know that it was probably only as a result of persecution that Christians eventually moved out of Jerusalem to spread the Gospel. Hence, we know that God will do whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes. What was the eventual outcome? From what we know, Peter and his wife traveled into Asia Minor, over to Greece, and on to Rome, never to return home. John eventually made his way throughout Western Turkey and settled in Ephesus to oversee the work there. Notably, he ended up on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Thomas headed in the opposite direction to India, Matthew to Ethiopia. Judas Thaddeus to Armenia.

But for most of us, God’s call is to go out into the community where He has placed us. The big question is, are we completing the great commission to make disciples in our community? Considering we are approaching the time of His return the answer to this question in the affirmative is mandatory.

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MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE BIBLICAL MANDATE

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches?” The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Indeed, J.D. Payne points out, “nowhere in the Bible is the church commanded to plant churches” (Apostolic Church Planting, 114).

So it seems that making disciples is the mandate and church planting is the outcome.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020 by Jackson Wu

REQUEST FOR FUNDS TO SUPPORT MISSIONS TRIP IN KENYA

Th following email was received from Pastor Charles Otieno from Migori Kenya, I am supporting Charles and two other pastors in Kenya who are passionate about setting up Book of Acts – Home Church groups. As most of you know, I am 84. I am also a pensioner now so am limited in what I can contribute. I would appreciate your help to raise the $380 they need. You can click the donation icon on the front page to make a secure donation. Any amount received in excess of $380 will be used to set Charles up so he can hold Zoom meetings with appropriate training organisations.

I pray that this finds you Ron, your children, and the community of Living Eternal Now (LEN) followers in good health, and the Lord’s presence through all your days.

We are just remaining with 5 days, to our forthcoming mission trip, planned to begin on November 5th-8th, 2020. At Kogaja village, 1km away from the republic of Uganda.

It will be a one day drive, covering approximately 1500 kilometers ,and we shall need to start our journey early in the morning of Wednesday 4th.

Pastor, Alfred, Maurice, Jacob, Jactone, Melkio, Johaness, and Seth, and some church group members, have all confirmed their presence with me on the trip.

I pray and believe that our trip will be of a great blessing to us, and to the people of that area. And we expect to see a positive outcome from the trip.

Our host, brother Saoke has informed me that preparation for the meeting is at high gear. And as much as the meeting is concerned, they are suggesting we hire a tent, saying that the attendance might be big, and couldn’t be seated in a house.

It is apparent that the meeting is going to cost us a large expense, more so on fueling our two vehicles, tent hire, hotel, and food.

All church group members and pastors have helped contribute to our trip, but still is not enough.The little contributed can only help cater for tent hire & food.

Our own total budget for the trip is Kshs 51,500/

We have already Kshs 23,000/ at hand.

Request: I kindly ask you to help support us with A$ 380, which can be approximately Ksha 28,500, depending on the exchange rate of the day.

IS YOUR WORLDVIEW BASED ON A SOLID FOUNDATION?

William Kingdon Clifford was a philosopher who lived in England more than 150 years ago. He was not very well known because his life was cut short at age 33. His recently discovered essay entitled “The Ethics of Belief” is now receiving a great deal of interest. In this essay, written in 1877, Clifford says that it is a moral obligation to believe responsibly. We must base our beliefs on sufficient evidence that we have diligently investigated. He believed this to be of such great importance because beliefs influence one’s actions. They are foundational to life.

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Dr. Dallas Willard, former professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, found that many of the students and scholars who considered themselves to be agnostic or atheist that he encountered on campus and in the world were guilty of what he called “irresponsible disbelief.” These bright men and women would often choose to disbelieve in something without any significant commitment to an investigation of that disbelief by way of sound reasoning and careful examination of the evidence. This is one of the great flaws in our human character. We stubbornly hold on to our beliefs because they generally reflect how we want life to be rather than how life actually is. For this reason, the evidence does not seem to matter.

Before he became a Christian, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health USA and Director of the momentous ENCODE project was in this category until he was challenged by one of his patients, She was dying but because she was a Christan had no fear of death. She asked Francis about what he believed.

Dr. Collins, you’ve been so kind as to listen to me and care for me and listen to me share with you about my faith. Tell me about your faith. Tell me what you believe.”

Collins reaction: “Nobody had ever asked me that question before, not like that, not in such a simple, sincere way. I realized I didn’t know the answer. I felt uneasy. I could feel my face flushing. I wanted to get out of there. The ice was cracking under my feet. All of a sudden, by this simple question, everything was a muddle.”

Collins had previously believed that Jesus and the stories of the Bible were nothing more than mere myths. As he studied the historical evidence, he was stunned at how well documented and how historically accurate the Bible is. He also saw a surprising fidelity of the transmission of the manuscripts that were passed down over the centuries. And, over time, Francis Collins, based on the accumulation of the evidence that he observed, concluded that God exists and that Jesus is the Son of God. He also concluded that most of the religious skeptics that he knew and that he meets today are just like he was. That is to say, they didn’t want to think about these things and never looked at any evidence, never drawing conclusions from the real evidence that was available.

If your an agnostic or atheist are you guilty of irresponsible disbelief?

Much of the above information was extracted from the excellent book Reflections on the Existence of God by Richard E Simmons 111

IS TOTALITARIANISM COMING TO AMERICA?

When many of us think about totalitarianism, George Orwell’s 1984 or the former Soviet Union often come to mind.  Government inflicts terror and suffering on its people to force them to conform. Rod Dreher, the senior editor of The American Conservative contends America is fast becoming what he calls, a “soft” totalitarian state.

Dreher’s premise is featured in the new book, Live not by Lies: a Manual for Christian Dissidents.

“Ours is going to be a more soft version where they use the infliction of economic pain and marginalization and shaming to force Christians out of the public square and to compel us to conform with left-wing ideology and the fact that it’s soft doesn’t mean it is any less totalitarian,” Dreher said.

Dreher says today, social media is a major driver behind isolation and unease – especially among young people.

“It has made them desperate for something to solve their problem of alienation and their anxiety,” he explained.  “I think this is opening them up to the acceptance of a false idol that will be totalitarian that will tell them, ‘We can take care of all your problems, we can fix it if you will only say yes to us.’ That’s what happened in Russia and that’s what happened in Germany and that’s what’s coming here. And those who advocate Judeo-Christian values and reject the lies of the new American leftist state will be marginalized and singled out for persecution.”

Watch this video it will take just 5 minutes of your time.

UNDERSTANDING GOD

The Openness of God by Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger (1994). The Openness of God presents a careful and full-orbed argument that God known through Christ desires a “responsive relationship” with his creatures. While it rejects process theology, the book asserts that such classical doctrines as God’s immutability, impassibility, and foreknowledge demand reconsideration. The authors insist that our understanding of God will be more consistently biblical and more true to the actual devotional lives of Christians if we profess that “God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom” and enters into a relationship with a genuine “give-and-take dynamic.” The Openness of God is remarkable in its comprehensiveness, drawing from the disciplines of biblical, historical, systematic, and philosophical theology. Evangelical and other orthodox Christian philosophers have promoted the “relational” or “personalist” perspective on God in recent decades. It was probably the first major attempt to bring the discussion into the evangelical theological arena.

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Christianity Today’s 1995 Book of the Year

God is everlasting, without beginning and without end i.e. God is eternal. God is not limited by anything outside of himself. However, Scripture reveals that God although omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, is not the “All” or the “Everything,” but He is a being rather than Being itself.

What do we read about God in God’s own revelation, the Bible? And what do we “see” in God-in-person Jesus Christ? We see a self-limiting God who grants His creation a degree of autonomy, freedom to go against and resist His will. We see a self-limiting God who enters into time and history and goes on a “journey” with His creation and especially with his covenant people. We see a God who can be deeply affected, grieved, made angry or blessed, by what his creatures do.

It seems that before there was a creation, God was not limited, but self-limitation out of love was potential within God.

Sure, philosophy can sometimes help fill in some gaps left open by the Bible, but we must be careful not to allow philosophy to overtake our thinking about God such that the God of the Bible is a mere symbol for something “more real” who is not really like the passionate, personal, historical, suffering, intervening, resistible God of the Bible. We Christians must begin our thinking about God with Jesus Christ and work our way out from there.

WHAT IS YOUR HOPE SET UPON?

“Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 ESV

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the return of Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom is the primary focal point of all expectation, longing, and hope.

What is the primary hope of your church? If you follow my blog then you know I call it living eternal now because I know His return to this earth to establish His Kingdom is not too far in the future. Time is short, we need to get on with the Great Commission. Maranatha

I am sure that if the church will prioritize meditating upon, teaching, and emphasizing the hope of Jesus’ return, it will grow and bear good fruit.

The more that we recover an unshakable passion for His return, the more eager the church will be to finish the Great Commission.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25

JOURNEYS TO FAITH FROM ATHEISM TO THEISM

Testimonies of atheists converting to Christianity are powerful, particularly of people like Antony Flew and C.S. Lewis. Both men were members of The Oxford Socratic Club, a student-led organization that was dedicated to providing an open forum for the discussion of the intellectual issues connected with religion and specifically Christianity. The club clearly had an impact on these intellectual giants who spent over a decade together adhering to the practice of Socrates—following the argument wherever it led. The members were committed to following the truth of all arguments, even if it led them in a direction that they did not want to go.

Most people do not know that British philosopher Antony Flew was one of the most celebrated atheists of the last 50 years. For five decades, he launched an aggressive attack on the existence of God. And then, in 2007, he stunned the world by announcing that he had changed his mind. He laid out his reasoning in his book There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In the book he states:

“I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than half a century? The short answer is this: This is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”

At a symposium at New York University, Flew shared some controversial thoughts:

“What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.” When asked how his atheist friends responded, he said: “I have been denounced by my fellow unbelievers for stupidity, betrayal, senility, and everything you could think of, and none of them have read a word that I have ever written.”

In the end, Antony Flew’s mind was changed because of the principled practice he followed all of his life: follow the truth wherever it leads. It seems quite logical that if we do not have a great love of truth, we most certainly will never find it

C.S. Lewis is among the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Many people are somewhat surprised to learn that Lewis, who was dutifully raised in a traditional Christian household in Ireland, actually became an avowed atheist in his early teens while attending public school at the prestigious Malvern College in England. It would be years later, after World War I, and well into his years at Oxford University, before he began his great search for a deeper and richer understanding of God’s existence.

Lewis writes that there were two events in his life that ultimately led him to the Christian faith. The first step began when he read G.K. Chesterton’s book The Everlasting Man, and the second, he has written, had a “shattering impact” on him. This event occurred one night, when one of the more militant atheists on the Oxford faculty staff, a man by the name of T.D. Weldon, came to his room and confided that he believed the historical authenticity of the Gospels appeared to be surprisingly sound.

Weldon’s remarks about the historical authenticity of the Gospels wouldn’t let him rest, as the conversation echoed in his memory and continued to haunt him. So, Lewis, a determined seeker of truth, began an investigation.

As a professor of English literature at Oxford, he had spent his entire professional life studying ancient manuscripts. And though, up to that time, he had never seriously read the Bible, he nonetheless considered it to be one of the world’s great myths, like Norse mythology. The Gospels, Lewis noted, didn’t contain the rich, imaginative writing techniques of most ancient writings. With a literary critic’s ear for language and meter, Lewis recognized that the New Testament didn’t contain the stylized and carefully groomed qualities one would expect in any myth-making culture.

Lewis writes:

“[The Gospels] appeared to be simple, eye-witness accounts of historical events primarily by Jews who were clearly unfamiliar with the great myths of the pagan world around them…I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myth. They had not the mythological taste.”

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Lewis continues, emphasizing that the Gospels were different from anything else he had ever read in ancient literature.

“Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are, they are not legends. I have read many legends and am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view, they are clumsy; they don’t work. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so.

Here we have this brilliant man, C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature, a man of integrity and great education, who for so many years had dismissed the Gospels—the most influential body of writing in the Western world—simply because they sounded so unconvincing and without merit.

C.S Lewis books such as The Case for Christianity and Mere Christianity have done much to impact the world for Christ and will continue to do so.

AMY CONEY-BARRETT CONFIRMED AS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Amy Barrett has been confirmed as the new Justice of the Supreme Court after the Senate approved her nomination, delivering Donald Trump a major victory on the eve of the election.

Amy with her family and President Trump

The vote means the 48-year-old Ms. Barrett becomes the third conservative judge to be appointed in the president’s first term. Because she is appointed for life, it is an outcome which will shape the decisions of the nation’s highest court for a generation, impacting issues from health care to abortion to gun rights and labour and anti-discrimination laws.

Christians understand that without Trump at the helm Amy Coney-Barrett would not have been appointed to the Supreme Court. This should be a massive reason for them to return him to the Presidency at this upcoming election.

DIGITALISATION, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND ROBOTICS

THE SWITCH TO RENEWABLE ENERGY IS A MASSIVE DISRUPTER TO GOVERNMENTS, COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS TO MANAGE CHANGE BUT ADD DIGITALISATION, A.I. AND ROBOTICS AND WE HAVE CHAOS.

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.Daniel 12:4

How about this prophecy given to Daniel about the time of the end. In addition, we have many prophecies that in the “last days” chaos and lawlessness will abound.

How about this FLYING CAR developed by an Israeli company that uses hydrogen and electric battery power.

For some people like me that love change and can see all the new investment opportunities that this change provides, it is an exciting time. The big challenge for me is that I can so easily get sidetracked from what God is calling me to do in the twilight years of my life. I need to make sure I continue to live eternally now knowing that there are eternal rewards for building God’s kingdom on earth.