HOW TO BE PART OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

God is reviving His church, to restore it back to the church as described in the Book of Acts. This is a must watch video for those interested to know what God is doing at this time in the USA. People selling their homes and going as God leads, to make disciples as God instructed. The barriers of the institutional church are being broken down and true, John 17 unity is being restored. It is exciting to hear the testimonies of these transformed Christians. I hope you will be inspired to get in step with what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do in these last days before Jesus returns.

HELPFUL ADVICE FOR A VIBRANT CHURCH

It is interesting to read the comments of a pastor from  the Grace Capital City, which meets at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. It is a growing congregation, with Lead Pastor Chris Moerman estimating that about 80 percent of its membership is millennial. Whilst I believe church growth can be a problem and the ideal church is the one described in the Book of Acts which is home groups, Chris Moerman makes some useful comments on how to reach millennial’s.

“I would attribute this growth to a combination of genuine and authentic relationships, a vibrant spirituality expressed through worship, teaching and community, and a passion to give people a vision for God’s work in their lives that impacts not just their Sunday’s at church, but their everyday existence,” Moerman added.

“At The Table Church, we’re passionate about Jesus, we create ministry around peoples’ gifts and empower them to put those gifts into action. We also have fun, do our best to love people well and we’re obsessed with helping people experience community. All of these things resonate with millennial’s, but I think everyone is hungry for the same thing.” We’ve discovered that millennial’s are looking for the many things other age demographics are. They’re looking for a church where the mission is clear and the path to getting engaged in community is simple and easy,”

Lum told CP that “keeping a clear mission” and helping people “use their gifts in the context of community” have enabled his church to stay vibrant.

“Congregations should look like the cities where God has planted them. If you’re in a city exploding with young people, then your church should definitely be reaching young people,” said Lum.

“Pastoring millennials requires a different approach to giving, but I think it’s a healthy and much needed transition. Millennials don’t give out of guilt or obligation, but instead they want to know that their generosity is making an impact.” Lum added that a key feature of giving in his church was “transparency,” adding that “everything is an open book.” “We provide quarterly financial updates that highlight the impact of our congregants’ investment in our church and our community,” he said.

While some majority-millennial churches are thriving, others have become a source of concern for what some believe is too great a focus on reaching out to one generation.

Jessica Lair with New Season church, a multi generational, multi ethnic congregation in Sacramento, California, told CP about a time when she worked with a millennial-centred church in Los Angeles.

Lair argues that millennial-centred churches deprive themselves of good spiritual wisdom from other age groups. “We as a generation need to quit with the attitude of ‘we can do it better,’ because sometimes, we can’t do it better,” wrote Lair, herself a millennial. “We as millennial’s NEED the generation before us. I have learned more life lessons at a multi-generational church in seven months than I did at a millennial church in two years.”

CHURCH AND SPONTANEOUS WORSHIP

What is spontaneous worship, and why do it?

The Bible tells us to do it so we must have what it takes to be led by the Spirit and step out during a worship set to lead a spontaneous moment.

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:18-20

There is a difference between singing a song already written and singing a spiritual song. While there is power in singing and declaring a song already written for our Sunday setlist, God also wants to meet us where we are in a specific moment in time.

He wants to speak straight to our hearts, and this can happen when we open up our worship set and allow Him to move!

A spiritual song, as referred to in Ephesians 5, is a song that comes from your spirit, and your spirit is connected to God’s Spirit.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 

This is the connection God longs for, to be in communion with us—spirit to spirit.

A spiritual song is something that comes straight from your heart and your history with God—expressing to Him in your own words what He means to you.

These moments come from a heart that is in love, and it captivates God’s heart to hear your voice.

Home groups where you are well known is more conducive to spontaneous worship. Once again church as described in the Book of Acts.

St Matthew's Harwell with All Saints' Chilton : Homegroups

Besides connection, spontaneous songs can be a prophetic doorway into deeper breakthrough for you and others.

In the story of Jericho in the Bible, God commissioned Joshua to command the people of Israel to march around the walls of Jericho 7 times, and on the 7th day after they marched, Joshua told them to “shout, for the Lord has given you the city.” At the sound of their shout, the wall around Jericho fell down flat. This shout from the Israelites was prophetic because they hadn’t yet physically conquered the city, but God promised that He had given it to them. So in faith, they shouted aloud before they saw the victory—prophesying that He would give them the city.

In the same way, spontaneous moments can become prophetic in nature when God is breathing on them.

Breakthrough will always follow a spontaneous and prophetic act.

Sometimes the songs we have planned to sing on Sunday are prophetic in themselves, but sometimes God wants to interrupt our agendas and speak in a different way. In the end, it’s all about His desire to capture your heart and draw you closer to Him.

MEGA CHURCHES ARE NOT GOD’S IDEA

Darrin Patrick, a megachurch pastor, author and speaker, has died. He died of what appears to be a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to a statement from the church. No official cause of death has been released.

Sadly this is not the first, I know of four in the past two years. Jarrid Wilson at 30 years of age was probably the most tragic. One has to ask what is the reason for this large number of suicides. Read what Darrin Patrick had to say about celebrity pastors -” It was recipe for disaster“.

Patrick had been a rising star among Reformed evangelical circles and was serving as vice president of the Acts 29 church planting network. He was fired from Journey for what church elders called misconduct including “inappropriate meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women” and an abuse of power.

Darrin Patrick

Patrick talked about losing his church in a podcast interview that was published this week. He talked about being part of a group of young pastors who became celebrities with book deals, speaking gigs, fame and money but little spiritual maturity.

It was a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Patrick said his early success led to an obsession with keeping up his image rather than his soul. “I was spending a lot of energy creating and sustaining my image,” he told podcast host Charles Smith. “It’s so subtle; I am trying to influence people for the gospel—you have to have a social media presence, you have to speak at conferences.”

Patrick said he eventually became isolated from many of his friends when he was pastoring Journey Church. “I stopped pursuing friendships,” he said. “Another way to say that, I stopped being known. And that was the beginning of the end.”

GOD IS PRUNING HIS CHURCH

More great wisdom from Francis Chan. Since Francis Chan walked away from the church he had in California boasting of over 5000 members I knew Francis was hearing from God. Church from then on for Francis was no more buildings, no paid pastors and accountability of all members.

God is using the coronavirus pandemic as a time to “prune the Church and cut off branches that aren’t bearing fruit,” ultimately allowing the Body of Christ to become more “fruitful,” according to popular speaker and author Francis Chan.

Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, on Wednesday participated in the Q 2020 Virtual Summit, an annual event that equips Christian leaders to thoughtfully engage culture from a Christian worldview.

“I hear a lot of talk of people being concerned about whether their church is going to survive,” Chan, speaking via Livestream, told host Gabe Lyons. “The illustration I think of is, if I had a diamond right here, and I just smash it with a hammer, what would happen to that diamond? Nothing. If it’s a real diamond, if it shatters, it wasn’t real.”

He pointed out that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

“This is going to be a group that the gates of Hell can’t stand against,” Chan explained. “No virus, no government, no economic this or that, life, death, nothing. And so we as believers are supposed to trust the words of Jesus and go, ‘The Church is going to be fine. If anything, this is the time where God is going to prune the Church and cut off branches that aren’t bearing fruit, but it’s only going to become more fruitful.’”

“And so with that type of confidence, we have to move forward and go, what’s the worst thing that happened to me? I die and receive the award I’ve been … longing for my whole life. We can be fearless.”

Statistics from a recent Barna Group survey found that six to nine percent of pastors are unsure or not confident that their church will survive the coronavirus pandemic. Forty-two percent of pastors said giving was “significantly” down and 28 percent said it was “slightly” down. Only around a quarter said it stayed the same.

Additionally, nearly a quarter of American churches (22 percent) have already reduced staff hours, reduced compensation, or laid off employees.

In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, the Crazy Love author stressed that “God knew you and I were going to be alive at this time, adding: “We were literally made for this, prepared for this.”

SID ROTH GETS IT RIGHT: CHURCH! IT’S TIME TO REPENT

“The major mark of this next move of God’s Spirit is repentance,” Roth said. He urges Christians to use this time in quarantine to do two things: repent and pray in tongues “without ceasing.”

“I’m excited about the new beginnings God is giving the church, and it starts with us as individuals living in rapid repentance,” Roth said. “It flat doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world. It’s what’s going on with you. It’s, ‘Are you living in rapid repentance? Are you praying in tongues every moment you have?’ That’s what’s more important because all things work together for good if you are praying in tongues and living your repentant life.”

“I think this is God’s time to have believers operate in all of the promises of the New Testament. The truth is we know how to stand on the Word. We’re experts about that. But what about the power of God being manifested as we speak, that is what occurred for the early Christians as expressed in the Book of Acts, that is what we will see evident in the “last days” church.

Roth said that despite the chaos happening in the world, God’s glory is “erupting now” and the church will be invited to fulfil Jesus’ words in John 14 that his followers will do greater things than He.

“I believe many should set their day to operate in the glory because it’s not going to be a superstar movement. It’s going to be one where the church knows we already have a superstar. His name is Jesus or Yeshua, and it’s Yeshua in us the hope of glory.”

BOOK OF ACTS CHURCH IN OUR DAY

During a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference, Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, revealed what God is now calling him and his family to do. A trip to minister in a village in Myanmar where there were no believers , no not one, and seeing God turn up to heal not one person but everyone Francis laid his hands on, has changed Francis and his families lives. This is a story you need to hear, so I have attached his sermon, hopefully it will change your life too.

“At one point, we were in this village that had no believers, like zero. Not a single one,” he recalled. “And this lady had built a relationship with the head monk and the village leader and somehow was able to work out that we could go into the village.”

“My translator told me he had been in that area before and was chased out with knives and stones thrown at him, so he was terrified,” Chan continued. “But the entire village showed up, and I had the honour of sharing the Gospel through a translator, to be the first one to lay out the Gospel and explain that they had a Creator and explain that He had a son and explain what He did on the cross and the resurrection.”

“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”

Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering. 

“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.”

“Every person I touched was healed,” Chan declared as the audience applauded.

“You guys, OK, this is craziness to me,” he added. “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.”

Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.”

“I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared. 

Francis admitted that when he walked in the village, he had a “little bit of fear,” adding, “I said, ‘No, no, this is no different than if You walked in the village, and I know what you’d do, Jesus. You’d proclaim the Good News and you’d heal.'”

“I started having this mindset again of going, ‘No, no, this is what the Word of God says. You said I would do the same things that You did, and even greater things. Jesus, I know what You would have done in this village.’ I believe there was something about that faith, I believe there was something about the unity that we had as a group there,” he explained.

Chan said that although he disagreed theologically with some of the individuals on his team, he believes God was “honored by this fight for unity, and I believe God was honoured by this pursuit of the unreached, and obeying the Great Commission and we saw power.”

“And I don’t know that that means it will happen every time,” he clarified. “My theology says I don’t think it will happen everywhere … but best I understand Scripture, He wants me to believe in my unity with Him, this power that I have because He and I are one. He wants to believe that you and I can become perfectly one.”

Chan revealed that in three weeks, his family plans to move to Hong Kong and go to “some places that are pretty sketchy, dangerous.” The reality of persecution, he said, has caused him to “evaluate” his beliefs. 

“Do I still believe that my life has no value outside of accomplishing what God wants me to do?” he asked.

The pastor said that while he loves to preach the Word of God to believers, it’s “nothing like” preaching to people who have never heard the name of Jesus. 

“So I’m excited. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be moving, Lord willing,” he said. 

During the service, Chan also compared Americans to “spiritual foodies,” adding: “All of you are. … We’re just picking it apart. And I just go, ‘I don’t know if I can do that anymore when there are people who have no spiritual food, who have never heard the name of Jesus.’”

“I say this because there’s a crowd of young people here, and you’re thinking about what to do with your life,” Chan continued. “Just think through the calling of Scripture, because I want that peace that I felt there. I want that for your life, and I know what you’re going to face your entire life here. You’re going to hear a lot of lies and a lot of those are going to come from within the church.”

“If I had listened to those voices, I would’ve missed out on so much of life because so many people, even in the church today, they’ll reason with you from their logic rather than from the Scriptures,” he warned. 

Chan said it is “crazy” to him that it’s “perfectly normal” to be a Christian in America and be “obsessed with staying alive,” citing John 12:25: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

“Is that what you really see in the Scriptures?” Chan asked. “The only thing I’m trying to do with my every breath is complete the ministry He gave me. If I’m going to breathe another day, it’s to finish the task that He’s given me, which is to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I just want to get out and explain the grace, what God has given me, through Jesus Christ.”

IS THE CHURCH NO LONGER RELEVANT?

What are the cultural realities that are crippling the church?

1. Not Holy Spirit led. It is rare to see anything like what you read about in the book of Acts happen in churches today. When’s the last time the Holy Spirit has moved among the people of your church? If you can’t point to something, that may be a sign of a powerless (Acts 1:8) church.

2. Not serving their community. Simply protesting against sin in the world without proactively working for good causes in the community creates a negative impression in the minds of those who drive past your church on Sundays. Also, consumerism has most definitely infected the church and it is reflected in how praise and worship is conducted. When you have Christians (no matter their age) content to sit and attend services (no matter the type) while refusing to stand up and serve others, you have an irrelevant church.

3. Bible knowledge alone equals spiritual maturity. Bible knowledge is foundational to spiritual maturity, but it does not in and of itself equal spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity comes with obedience and love towards others. Paul warned about this in 1 Corinthians 8:1 when he said, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

4. No John 17 unity. Jesus himself prayed (John 17:23) that his followers would be one, so that the world may know that we are his disciples. The early church brought men and women, Greeks and Jews, slaves and free, all together under the name of Jesus. Do we see that same unity today, or is the church divided along racial, political, theological and socio-economic lines?

Image result for pictures of empty churches
Anglican church in the UK

Regardless, God is still on His throne. Jesus is still building his church. The Holy Spirit continues to do his work. My prayer is that the church will start being part of the solution.

Live a Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle

In Mark 9, Jesus modeled this for us:

  • Prayer = Jesus said His disciples couldn’t heal the boy because it required prayer
  • Care = Had compassion on the boy and his dad
  • Share = Jesus asked the boy’s dad to proclaim faith in Him before healing his son

Powerful Christians live accordingly, not content simply to invite people to church or stop at “telling their story”.  They understand that bringing people to Christ involves taking personal responsibility for all 3 – praying, caring and sharing.  

LAST DAYS CHURCH MOVEMENTS

Listen to this important, if not way out, story from Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church, Redding, California on how God spoke to Bethel church through His creation.

Image result for picture of a road runner with a lizard in its mouth
Roadrunner with lizard in its mouth

“Here’s a wild story for you… One year, every time we would meet at Bethel Church to pray, a roadrunner would show up outside the glass door with a lizard in its mouth! This went on for months until we realised that the Lord was calling us to go out to the roads, the highways, and the byways and compel the lost to come in! One day the roadrunner managed to find his way inside the church. In a desperate attempt to get out of the building, he hit a window and died. The Lord showed us through this event that if we did not reach out to the lost, to “go outside of our fall walls” so to speak, that our church and movement would die.

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:14-19

2020 – TIME FOR A NEW HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT

Those that have been reading my posts for awhile now, know that my call from God is to provide videos and power point sermons for the last days church (http://www.powerpointsermons.net). Believing that the end times church will be a return to the church as described in the Book of Acts – a house church movement.

Francis Chan has taken a similar position having walked away from a church of 5,000 in 2010. He recognised that God expects every person in the congregation to use their spiritual gifts for the body not just show up and hear and see Francis use his gift. Moreover, the cost of running his show was millions of dollars.

Torben Sondergaad has reached a similar view of church for 2020 and I encourage you to view his video below explaining his journey to reach this position.