NEED TO VALUE TRUTH OVER FEELINGS

Two high profile renouncement’s of faith have shaken the Christian world in recent days, with “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” author Joshua Harris taking the atheist plunge first, followed by Hillsong worship leader Marty Sampson declaring that he is “genuinely losing his faith.”

John Cooper, from the popular Christian band Skillet  wrote a lengthy (and scathing) post on Facebook offering some fierce push-back on some of the complaints made by these two apostates:

“I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it… therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed?”

A very strong observation, as many who critique the Christian faith enjoy throwing arrows yet leave the inadequacies and folly of their own worldview conveniently unaddressed. Why should someone believe this wavering person, especially when they are entering into a worldview that has no worthy justifications to explain virtually anything we currently experience in life?

I’ll fast forward to the crown jewel of the post, in which Cooper responds brilliantly to some of the (frequently asked/answered) questions raised by the Hillsong worship leader, who claimed these were issues the church “never talks about.”

“Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the inerrant Word of God. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Further and further they are sinking in the sea all the while shouting “now I’ve found the truth! Follow me!!” Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers… I implore you, please, please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

Amen and amen! Beautifully said by Cooper all the way around. If you check out the full post you’ll also be treated to his astute yet often looked observation that these leaders backing away from the faith say we just need to love people — yet by removing God you remove all justification and reason to even bother loving people in the first place! Everything becomes relative without Him, and Cooper does a nice job of fleshing this idea out.

From article in Faith Wire b

EVIDENCE REVEALED OF JERUSALEM’S DESTRUCTION BY ROME

Take a sneak peek at a soon-to-be opened Biblical era thoroughfare that still bears the ashes from the destruction of the Holy Temple.

Imagine striding up the same stone path that millions of people walked on to arrive at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during Biblical times, which is known as the “Pilgrimage Road.”

That fantasy is about to be reality as Israel prepares to open to the public an excavation project that has taken nearly a decade to complete. This new archaeological attraction will permit visitors to literally witness the ashes of the Jewish people’s Holy Temple, which was burned to the ground by Roman invaders.

In this clip, you’ll get an early glance at this amazing discovery!

END TIMES CHURCH WILL BE FOCUSED ON BRINGING OTHERS TO JESUS

Are churches preaching Jesus as a means rather than as the end? “Come to Jesus! Jesus will bless you! Jesus will heal you! Jesus will help you! Jesus will prosper you!

Now, all these things are true. Jesus is concerned about us. But according to the New Testament, these promises are the byproducts of the gospel, not its central message and core. The gospel is not about me. The gospel is about Him.

Loaves and Fishes Christians

“Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26).

In John’s Gospel, the miracles that Jesus performs are called “signs” because they point to who He is as the Son of God. He is their long awaited Messiah.

In this context, it is obvious that Jesus rebukes the people for seeking Him out of self-serving motives. They are not seeking Him because they recognise who He is. They are seeking Him for what they think they can get from Him. They see Jesus as a means to their own personal comfort rather than as the end and goal of life.

Because we have preached a man-centred gospel, our churches are filled with self-centred, immature Christians. They can speak in tongues and prophesy, but they have no real power to counter the forces of darkness so evident today.

Ephesians 1:10 says that God will “gather together in one all things in Christ”. The phrase “gather together in one” is the translation of a Greek word that means “sum” or “total.” In other words, when all of God’s activity in time and eternity are totalled, it will add up to Jesus Christ. He is the end and goal of God’s plan and purpose.

Repentance is the refocusing of a person’s life so that self is no longer the end or goal.

Let us, therefore, repent and take “self” off the throne and enthrone Jesus as Lord. Let us not be afraid to present the demands of His character and grace to this generation. As we proclaim Him as the end and goal of life and eternity, I believe we will see the church refocused on the Great Commission – It’s all about bringing others to Jesus as declared by Australia for Jesus.

IRREFUTABLE PROOF ISRAEL IS GOD’S CREATION

Recently The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) made claims that the Jewish people had no historical claim to Jerusalem and yet the artefacts found in the City of David provide irrefutable proof of the Jewish People’s ties to Jerusalem, dating back over 3,000 years.

City of David archives by Eliyahu Yanai

In 1867, British archaeologist Charles Warren was digging in the area around the Old City of Jerusalem. The Ottomans did not allow digging on Temple Mount, which turned out to be a wonderful thing for Warren, as it allowed him to discover the Ancient Biblical City of David.

The city was hidden for nearly 2,000 years, and Warren uncovered it, beginning a journey of 150 years of digging and discovery. New artefacts and archaeological sites are still being uncovered today, giving us insight into  Biblical Israel and Jerusalem. Until Warren’s discovery, people thought that ancient Jerusalem was limited to the confines of the Old City Walls. Warren’s discovery changed that misconception.

In 1867 City of David discovered by Charles Warren

Fifty years later the 1917 Balfour Declaration giving the land of Israel back to the Jewish people,

Fifty years later the 1967 Six-Day War and the Jews take back control of Jerusalem.

Fifty years later the 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by President Donald Trump and America—the first such declaration issued by a major world power since ancient times.

God spoke to Moses: “Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet sound throughout the land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession , and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you ; in it you shall neither sew nor reap what grows of its own accord , nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you…

Basically, it was a time of release, when land was restored to its original owner, release of Hebrew servants, restoration of all inheritances.  Debt was released every Shemitah (every seven years). God understood fallen man so instituted His way of restoring things and giving people another chance in His nation. Notice all is built around the family. It is God’s basic building block for society. Is it any wonder it is under ferocious attack by Satan and his demons.

Will we reach 2067 before Jesus returns to rule and reign from Jerusalem I am not so sure? By 2067, Jesus may be ruling and reigning in Jerusalem with resurrected saints.

 

THE VOICE OF TRUTH WILL NOT BE SILENCED

Be bold and truthful says Pastor Shane Idleman. The world wants to silence preachers of God’s Word. Sadly much of the church has abandoned God’s Word, denying its inerrancy, its inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

Fortunately, Jesus told us in Matthew 24:14 that “the major sign of His coming and the close of the age” will be:

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end will come” Matthew 24:14

The climax of the age will not be brought about by the actions of secular government or military power, nor by the floods of satanic deception and lawlessness. The final decisive activity will be the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom accomplished by the church of Jesus Christ.

Quoting from Derek Prince in “Shaping history through prayer and fasting”

Scripture is very precise about the message that will be preached in the last days. It is to be the gospel of the Kingdom. It sets forth Christ in His kingly victory and power. It will be true and effective witness to all nations.

“Where the word of a king is, there is power.” Ecclesiastes 8:4

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

The kingdom gospel is supernaturally attested “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit ,,, Hebrews 2:4

The “last days church” will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

God will bring together the various resources that are needed: the human resources of Spirit filled people of all ages but particularly young people, and the material resources of wealth and technology.

 

PROPHESIED END TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH

The Scottish Episcopal Church voted to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, becoming the first major U.K. church to break from the Anglican majority, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

However, Church of England says it will recognise marriages of transgender worshippers.

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The marriage of worshippers who transition to a different gender will still be valid, the Church of England has said. The position extends only to worshippers who were in an opposite-sex relationship at the time of their marriage, it clarified. The clarification was made in response to a question asked by Prudence Dailey, churchwarden of St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, ahead of the General Synod in York. The written reply acknowledging this position was from the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman.

Episcopal Church in the USA:  In 2015, the church’s 78th triennial General Convention passed resolutions allowing the blessing of same-sex marriages and approved two official liturgies to bless such unions. It ordains women and LGBT people to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the episcopate. In 2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop.

The Presbyterian Church USA allows same-sex marriage (2014), and ordains openly LGBT members in committed relationships as teaching elders (clergy), and ruling elders (elders elected to serve on the Session).

United Church of Christ: The national settings of the UCC have historically favoured liberal views on social issues, such as civil rightsLGBT rightswomen’s rights, and abortion.

Affirming Pentecostal Church International (APCI) is a Pentecostal denomination. It was founded December 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is currently the largest LGBT -affirming Pentecostal organisation in the World.

Some Good News to report:

United Methodist Church: By a vote of 438-384, delegates from around the world attending the United Church’s General Conference in St. Louis reinforced a United Methodist Church policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Sadly, almost 50% of the delegates don’t believe God’s word.

legates voted

GOD IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH IN INDIA DESPITE PERSECUTION

Source Premier News Service

The number of converts to Christianity continues to rise across India, despite growing acts of violence towards believers after Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi was re-elected as Prime Minister.  Pastor Kumar Swamy of the All India Christian council said “One particular incident took place in the state of Pradesh where a church were having their prayer meeting, which was disrupted. ” Around 50 Hindu extremists were trying to stop the prayer meeting and harassed and manhandled the pastor.”  Pastor Swamy recalled the struggle of sharing the gospel in Indian villages.

He said: “I shared my testimony and a group of people started attacking me with stones, I got hurt and was bleeding.  That’s the scene almost every day in the country as we share our faith.”  He continued: “But today in the same village, by God’s grace, we have around 15 churches planted.

“On one hand, there is attacks, threats and bloodshed but on the other hand, God is growing his church in the midst of this persecution and this will be the story of India.” 

Christian leaders have joined together to raise their concerns for the safety of India’s Christian community following the recent election results. Plans have been made to meet with the Prime Minister to request increased security for religious minorities.  Pastor Swamy said: “The Christian Council is planning to lead a delegation of Christian leaders, to meet our Prime Minister, and our Home Minister, to give us protection and freedom.  “We feel it’s important to enlighten our Prime Minister, and assure him that we will be praying and standing with him that God will give him the wisdom to rule this nation with peace.”  According to Pastor Swamy, education and an ongoing dialogue between the government and religious minorities is needed in order to bring about lasting change.

SHAPING HISTORY THROUGH FASTING AND PRAYER

USA President Zachary Taylor called for a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer” on August 3, 1849. The Resolution stated in part: ” It is recommended to persons of all religious denominations to abstain as far as practical from secular occupations and to assemble in their respective places of public worship, to acknowledge the Infinite goodness which has watched over our existence as a nation, and so long crowned us with manifold blessings, and to implore the Almighty in His own good time to stay the destroying hand which is now lifted up against us.”

In St. Louis alone 120 died of cholera in April, 1849.  “The toll grew six-fold in May…reached 2,200 in July..;.with a weekly toll of 640, seven times the city’s normal death rate… bodies were buried in ditches.. the official death toll was 4,317…The number of deaths dropped suddenly in August. President Taylor’s Proclamation of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer was observed Friday, August 3, 1849, and by the end of the month, the death toll had ‘dropped suddenly.’  [Miracles in American History,  Susie Federer,  Amerisearch, Inc, 2012, p.121]

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Queen Esther ponders Mordecai’s news. Ezra 8:21-23 and Esther in the fourth chapter of the Book of Esther provide other incredible examples of God stepping in to change the course of history in response to collective fasting and prayer.

All of the above examples relate to Israel but Scripture provides us with an example of a gentile nation, Assyria, at the time the most powerful empire in the ancient world. The Book of Jonah records God’s dealings with Nineveh (capital of Assyria). The response to the reluctant Jonah’s message was immediate and dramatic: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them. The king decreed “… and cry mightily unto God :yea let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if Cod will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not.” Jonah 3:5-9. Moreover we know the outcome – much to Jonah’s dismay God ” repented of the evil that He said He would do unto them” and we know Nineveh continued as a more or less stable and prosperous city for 150 years before God did ultimately judge the city and nation.

In God’s dealings with nations His promise of blessings and His warnings of judgement are both alike conditional. Judgement may be averted – even at the 11th hour- by repentance. Conversely, blessing may be forfeited by disobedience. If only the leaders of our nations understood this edict.

SEEKING AND FINDING THE ONE LOST SHEEP

In the Lord’s economy, seeking and finding one lost sheep is more important than protecting the ninety nine who are living safely in the sheepfold. Seeking one lost sheep ultimately produces more heavenly joy than protecting ninety nine sheep who are not lost. How much more should we feel the burden when we realise that not one, but billions are lost?  But only a single penny out of every mission dollar is spent to reach these lost sheep and only a handful of shepherds are searching for them.

Image result for picture of parable of the lost sheep

The church spends untold billions of dollars building bigger and better sheep pens for people who are bored with the Gospel. We say we want to live like Jesus and spend our money wisely. But these cold, hard statistics betray our perverted priorities. If we’re honest, we are the ones He is so lovingly chastising in Luke 15. For us to faithfully live out our mandate to make disciples of all nations, we have to actually spend our time, money, and manpower going to the places that are completely unreached but also to the lost in our own neighbourhood. We have to care and share. We have to prioritise unreached people with our intercession, time, and money.

NEW BRITISH PRIME MINISTER ON FAITH

It would appear that Christians have nothing to fear from the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Premier News Service delved into the archives to find the times Boris Johnson has spoken about faith.  Here’s what they found: On his personal faith: While the vast majority of his predecessors have been vocal about their Christian faith, Johnson has remained coy on the issue.  He did however attempt to describe his faith using an interesting analogy: “I suppose my own faith, you know, it’s like a bit like trying to get Virgin Radio when you’re driving through the Chilterns.  It sort of comes and goes. Sometimes the signal is strong, and then sometimes it just vanishes.  And then it comes back again.”

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Boris Johnson attended the Global Day of Prayer at West Ham as Mayor of London.  While he prayed with the estimated 10,000 gathered he later labelled a campaign by the National Secular Society to ban parliamentary prayers “cobblers”.  “Irrespective of your religious views, the fact is that every day Parliament begins prayers, for Her Majesty and for all politicians, that they should govern justly.  And it’s a very interesting moment because politicians, everybody, no matter what their beliefs, all pray and think about the sacred trust that they’ve been given by the people and I think it’s quite a good thing, whatever they may think about the existence or non-existence of God.

“It’s a good thing that they focus briefly in a moment of prayer on what they’re doing and the importance of it.  That’s why I think it works and I think that any attempts to ban it are misguided.” 

While Mayor of London Johnson was a vocal supporter of faith groups, attending a conference hosted by Street Pastors.  There he said he had no problem with Christian organisations coupling up social action and evangelism.  “I have absolutely no problem with that. 

One of the things that I think has been wrong in the last few years is the politically correct super sensitivity to anything that can be remotely classed as religious advocacy and frankly I’ve got no difficulty with it.