CHURCH IS A PEOPLE WHO, NOT A PLACE AT

I love that mantra for church, because it makes it clear that the church is not a building but a people who take seriously the GREAT COMMISSION for the church to GO and make disciples.

Torben gives us a simple “model” of what to do when you gather with small groups to disciple each other.

The simple model based on JESUS IS THE CENTRE and IN (fellowship), UP (focus on God, communion a good start)  and OUT (take the Gospel to the world)

JESUS IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH

Another video from Torben that will encourage you as to what God is doing to build His church. Listen to the testimonies of three young people who were sent out as Jesus sent His disciples with no money, no two pairs of shoes. They were to be dependent upon God as provider, and their instruction was to find a person of peace in the town who would invite them into their home. Who is the person of peace – one whom the Holy Spirit is already at work in their life. Jesus told them to stay in that at home and bless them and train them. The stories are powerful and an inspiration for us all to do likewise.

WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE HERE FOR?

Dave Benson gave this presentation “What on Earth are we here for?” at Movement Day in Sydney, a gathering of Christian leaders interested in impacting their community for Jesus Christ. Most people there recognised that institutional church for the most part is not equipping the saints to do the work Jesus commanded us all to do.

You will need 16 minutes to view the video and I would encourage you to share it with other church leaders. Time is short let’s make sure we are in the centre of God’s will for our lives. Start living eternal now.

IF ALL YOU HAD WAS SCRIPTURE, WHAT WOULD CHURCH LOOK LIKE?

Francis Chan is urging the rising generation to reengage the Scriptures about how church is done, stressing that the U.S. model has gotten many things wrong, even though motivated by good intentions.

“I got tired of hearing my own voice,” Chan said, explaining why he stepped down, something he writes about at considerable length in his latest book, Letters To The Church.

“And I felt like people relied on my voice too much and they weren’t getting in the Word for themselves, that they weren’t seeking God on their own.”

Yet because he did not give all of the reasons for why he left, people started making assumptions. Through several conversations with his elders and his own journey of poring over the Scripture about what the church ought to be, he came to the conclusion that he could no longer abide the status quo.

He tried to make some changes he thought were necessary but was unsuccessful, he explained. Compounding the struggle further was the success of his books Crazy Love and The Forgotten God and the proliferation of opinions on social media about what he should doing and be preaching.

“It was a confusing time. I just really didn’t know what more I could do for the church,” he said. “And as my wife and I prayed. Both of us just really sensed there’s something else.” He thought he would be positioned at this church for his entire life; he always respected other pastors who did so. But he continued to sense that the Lord had something new for him so he figured he had better obey that and move on.

In Letters To the Church, he addresses the credentialed, consumerist, and expensive economic model in which America does church.

“I would be going against Scripture to say that ministers can not be paid by the church,” he told Relevant. But in a lot of countries, that is not the way it is, he pointed out, and you must do what is best for the Gospel not what is best for yourself. Somehow, you have millions and millions of believers in China, and it wasn’t about all these paid clergy [where] that was their business. And even in the inner cities of America where most of those pastors are bi-vocational. In San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the United States, none of the pastors in Chan’s network of house churches are paid. They do not have a budget like most churches do; all the money they take in goes to the poor and other mission-related activities.

The American way has blinded Christians from staying focused on the advance of God’s Kingdom, he writes in Letters to the Church. Chan recounts in the book one particular occasion when he was speaking with a pastor from the Philippines who has over 30,000 people in his church. The pastor told him that they used to send missionaries to the United States for Bible training but that he would never make that mistake again. He explained that once these would-be missionaries spent time in the U.S., they never came back! Once they tasted the comforts, they came up with all sorts of reasons they were called to take a nice salary from a church and raise their children in America, Chan writes. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out glaring issues we have become blind to. This pastor now trains missionaries in the Philippines, in an environment where there’s no temptation to stay. It keeps them on mission. In the wild.”

THE CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS

This article is taken from the book by John Burton – The Coming Church. It only confirms what I have been saying for a number of years now. The traditional institutional church must change if it is to be used by God in the “last days”.

 The Coming Church, by John Burton

“We need a church on fire today more than ever. The lost are being introduced into lukewarm, natural, Ichabod religion instead of a supernatural shaking that can only come from the Great I Am. They are convinced they are saved as they are assimilated into a community of like minded quasi-spiritual people who would love to see God manifest in their natural realm—yet have no interest in manifesting in the spiritual realm where the Holy Spirit broods.

My challenge to pastors is simple: Risk everything. Allow your church to dwindle, if necessary, to a few remnant people who will live, pray, walk and advance in the Spirit. The world is waiting for them. (Francis Chan is a living example of a pastor who has accepted the challenge.)

We soon won’t be able to define going to church the way we do now. God is coming to reform, to crush structures of old for what is to be introduced very soon. Our call isn’t to stand strong until the shift comes, it’s to prophetically sound the alarm and awaken those at risk! God is coming! The force from Heaven, the celestial asteroid, is going to impact the Church, and most pastors and people will resist with everything that’s within them. Man-made support systems will be removed. People’s financial and relational structures will be threatened by this strange new spiritual invasion. The human wisdom and natural common sense that have been involved in the development of the current church structure will not be usable in the new. Those who walk by sight are in danger.

I’ve met countless pastors and others who say they are focused on revival, but who are misguided on exactly what it is. Their focus is on attracting people to the church, on people getting “saved” and on other church growth strategies.

The problem? The foundational pursuit of revival has nothing to do with church growth or the lost. It has everything to do with the church awakening, contending in intercession and attracting the fire of the Holy Spirit.

The lost didn’t show up in the upper room. Marginal followers of Jesus were repelled by the upper room. Acts 2:1-3

Revival isn’t marked by a full house. Revival starts in a room that reveals the remnant. The revival that erupted in that roomful of remnants resulted in explosive church growth and kingdom advance.

The pure Christian message of surrender, repentance, holiness, intercession and rescuing souls from hell has been replaced by a self-centred gospel that boldly affirms a focus on benefits without cost, on personal gain without sacrifice, on freedom without consecration. The Church has been unapologetically and boldly focused on how to have faith to receive while forsaking the call to have faith to give. The spirit of the age infiltrated churches long ago—and now, all too often, that demonic spirit is the primary counsellor.”

DISCOVER THE GIDEON’S IN OUR DAY

I was reminded by this verse in Judges 6:1,  “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years, just how often Israel was delivered by God into the hands of some foreign nation for judgement.
What about the church in our day? Is God delivering an apostate church into the hands of the enemy for judgement? God’s word reveals that there will be apostasy in the “last days” church  and that certainly is the case with many of the denominational churches compromising with the world’s values.
However, just as in the days Israel was delivered into the “hand of Midian”, God had his redemptive plan prepared and He chose Gideon a most unlikely candidate to achieve His purposes.
Who are the Gideon’s, God has chosen in our day?
When Gideon was called into action, Israel was in dire straits. Gideon had to winnow grain in secret just so the Midianites would not steal every little bit of food and sustenance from them. “Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. Judges 6:11(b)
Image result for picture of Gideon defeating the Midianites
Just as Gideon winnowed the wheat from the chaff, God winnowed Gideon’s army. God winnowed down a fighting force from 32,000 to three hundred. Those who were “afraid and trembling” were asked to leave first.  Cowards go first in Revelation also.  22,000 departed leaving Gideon with just 10,000 now to fight 120,000…outnumbered 12 to 1. God still said, The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there.” Judges 7:4. God then rejected another 9,700 men with only THREE HUNDRED remaining. What a crazy story but we are meant to learn from it.

God winnowed for two main reasons:

1. So we know, we can’t save ourselves. And the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Judges 7:2

2. God wants us to develop our faith and trust in Him as did Gideon.  David is another great example. Listen to David, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” Proverbs 28:7  When your heart trusts in the Lord, you can expect help. God only needs 1 person to make 1,000 flee and 2 people to make 10,000 flee. It’s never been about “numbers” with God.

Who are the leaders in the church today who are bold and courageous, who understand that the battle is the Lords and numbers aren’t a problem? They are those who believe God’s inerrant Word,  know we are in the “end times”, know God’s call on their lives and get on with the job, trusting God for the outcome. We need to work with these anointed leaders, confident in our own role in God’s “end times” plan.
Let me name a few humble leaders that I have identified as Kingdom warriors who understand the times: Francis Chan, http://www.wearechurch.com; Torben Sondergaad, http://www.thelastreformation.com; Nelson Walters, http://www.gospelintheendtimes.com; Don Batten, http://www.creation.com; Joel Richardson, http://www.joelstrumpet.com; Alan Kurschner, http://www.alankurschner.com, Jeffrey Daly, http://www.dayofrepentance1.org

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

Watch this 15 minute presentation by Peter Sutton on church. What can happen when pastors realise that they are just part of God’s church and the denominational barriers come down.

People don’t go to church, they are God’s church, wherever He has placed them in the marketplace. Only then, does the church start to impact communities and cities.

YOU DON’T GO TO CHURCH, IT IS YOUR IDENTITY

Love this presentation by Francis Chan on the church. You will need an hour but you can hear it in 15 minute segments and not lose the message.

“We need to be the generation that kills the consumerism in the church.” says Francis Chan. I’ll say amen to that.

“Joy that is inexpressible.” “Peace that passes all comprehension.” “Power that incomprehensible.” Is that the church we see. It is the church that Jesus describes.

Lord, please enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we see the truth of Your Word.

Listen to Francis Chan read Scripture (Revelation 4 & 5) and realise we are reading God’s Word which beats any presentation that comes from the mind of men.

 

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED: POWERFUL PREACHING AND TESTIMONY

I have attached two presentations and one Q&A session from the recent Last Reformation Summer Camp.

  1. Listen to Torben present on the real Christian life. How he had to rethink everything with regard church. Why the church is not training up disciples as outlined in the Book of Acts. What it is to walk by the Holy Spirit as Jesus did and how he trained disciples. We, also as Ambassadors for Christ, should God not also have a plan for our life which we need to walk. How many of us have received prophecies that we need to fulfil.
  2. Listen also to the testimony of Lebo Akatio. It is a powerful testimony of how God wants to use each of us.