This quote from church thought leader Carey Nieuwhof sums up the institutional church well. It is obvious that only a major disruption , indeed a catastrophe was needed to bring the church to its knees and consider it may not be serving the purposes of God.
History tells us that God uses disruption even major catastrophes for His purposes. History also tells us that disruption leads to innovation which in turn changes the world.
God forcefully moved Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden. This pattern of forced displacement of people by God is in the whole narrative of Scripture. It is an essential part of His global plan for the redemption of mankind which brings glory and honour to Him.
Does God bring destruction and calamity? Does our loving and gracious God cause disasters to occur in the world? Read these words God spoke to Noah:
“I have determined to make an end of all flesh for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold I will destroy them with the earth” Genesis 6:13,
God destroyed that He might save. God saved Noah and His family that He might preserve the line of His coming Redeemer.
What about the TOWER OF BABEL: “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:3-4
Once again we see a massive disaster brought about by God, which caused massive migration and displacement of people: the foundation of the nations that exist today. A refugee crisis on a much larger scale than today.
Covid 19 is another of God’s major disrupters. The church needs to recognise that we are in a time when God is doing something new. Therefore, it is a time to get into prayer to seek His leading, just as the church at Antioch did in Paul’s day. Those that read my posts know I believe the church in the prophesied “last days” before Jesus returns to take His Saints to heaven and before He pours out His wrath upon a world which is fast becoming as it was in Noah’s day, will be much like the early church as described in the Book of Acts. It is one of the reasons I am supporting the Kenya House Church Movement (KHC) and I am hoping that some of my followers will join me in that endeavour. None have done so as yet, but that is OK, God’s timing is always perfect. My next post will be an update on KHC.
“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.And a great many people were added to the Lord” Acts 11:19-24
It was the church at Antioch that first reached out to non Jews and note the “hand of the Lord was with them”. “And a great many people were added to the Lord.”
When a famine struck Judea, the church at Antioch was the first church recorded in Scripture to voluntarily collect resources and send them to assist another church.
“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3
The church at Antioch had prophets and teachers. It was a worshipping church and its members fasted. It was Holy Spirit led, sending out disciples to spread the gospel and plant new churches.
How do our churches line up today to the Antioch model? It is an important question to ask. Could they be more like the church in Paul’s day back in Jerusalem? They were busy forcing Peter to defend his action of entering a gentile’s home and trying to get the gentile Christians to become Jewish. In other words, they were involved in activities other than those Jesus commanded church to do.
I was prompted by the Holy Spirit in late 2013 to start a website http://www.livingeternal.net. The circumstances were strange. I was in Isaiah 52 and 53 and had been thinking about the Pharisees and Sadducees and how blind they had been to Jesus first coming and yet so many Scriptures presented the facts of Him coming as a “suffering servant” and “pierced for our transgressions”. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit cut across my thoughts and it was as if Jesus, Himself, said, “Let me tell you Ron, there are many more Scriptures about My second coming and the church is blind to it, they are asleep and are not prepared for the coming tribulation and persecution of Christians that is already upon us and will escalate in the years ahead. I have now published 1413 posts on livingeternal.net and into my seventh year. Its purpose is to not only alert the church to understand we are living in the “end times” exactly as prophesied in the O.T and N.T Scriptures but to convict Christians that church is about making disciples who make disciples as described in the Book of Acts and to connect them with movements that can help them get in step with God’s call on their life in these last days. This book is a distillation of the posts on livingeternal.net and is also available as an eBook on Amazon. “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12. I am a pharmacist by profession. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry in senior management positions: General Manager, Hospital Products Division of Abbott Laboratories Australia. General Manager, Abbott Diagnostics Division Australasia, Managing Director, The Ramsay Group, Division of C.R Bard.
After being born again in 1982, I purchased Christian Press in 1983 and managed it and Care & Share Products Pty Ltd for 30 plus years. God now has me now preparing the saints for His second coming with livingeternal.net and powerpointsermons.net.
This extremely simple presentation on a napkin outlines what church is all about, what it is designed to do and then explains what the institutional church has added which has made it extremely difficult for it to accomplish what Jesus designed for it to do.
Bob Gallaty finally realises He was the problem in His church. The reason why churches are not seeing God move is the Holy Spirit is not directing them, particularly their leaders, and true prayer is absent. Pastors in particular need to watch this video.
Robby Gallaty is senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He spoke with Faithwire about his church having seen 1,048 people baptized from Dec. 20 to April 11. He spoke about how to lead a church, how to make space for the Holy Spirit, and how to pursue God in prayer in effective and meaningful ways.
Those who follow livingeternal.net know that I believe the end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. Church is relational, home groups, and is about making disciples who in turn make disciples of Jesus. Therefore, I am not saying that Bob Gallaty has discovered the right model but he is certainly moving in the right direction.
Many evangelicals in the USA have been anticipating some kind of confrontation with the changing social order. Crawford Griffen writes about it in his new book Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America – Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last five years, he says, ” I’ve been writing about what might be one of the most significant trends among American evangelicals – a migration movement into the Pacific Northwest that has resulted in the formation of some very successful and increasingly influential intentional communities.
From small towns in northern Idaho, and elsewhere in the region, writers, artists and polemicists are publishing books with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Random House, and broadcasting talk-shows on Amazon Prime. While offering different perspectives, they present a similar sense of crisis. The nation is no longer held together by common values, they explain. They argue that the teaching of evolution in public schools, the debates about abortion, gender and marriage, and the guidelines that shut down churches for reasons of public health are different fronts in a long war against Christianity. They recognize that the neutrality of the public square is an impossible ideal. They understand that politics is always about coercion. And so they proposed their solution. While, in the grand scheme of things, the believers who have migrated to the Pacific Northwest are not numerically significant – although they may number in the tens of thousands – they do project considerable soft power. Many of these believers live very visible lives. The community of several thousand members that has been established in Moscow, Idaho, for example, supports a publishing house, a music conservatory and an impressive liberal arts college. Led by Douglas Wilson, whose many publications include a book that he co-authored with Christopher Hitchens, this community sets out to make Moscow a Christian town.
Other migrants into the region prefer more secluded lives. They are attracted by the idea that this region could form an “American Redoubt,” as James Wesley Rawles has argued, a hold-out for those who want to resist the cultural powers that be. Rawles is the author of several novels and preparedness manuals, which are published by Penguin, and his website, survivalblog.com, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. His work sets out a more ambitious agenda for survival and resistance, in which readers are encouraged to adopt evangelical piety while being ready, if necessary, for less spiritual forms of defensive combat. For obvious reasons, those who follow Rawles’ agenda prefer not to attract attention. But for all their differences, Wilson and Rawles agree that believers need to expect an extraordinary cultural crisis in the short to medium term, and prepare for the new world that will follow. While their tactics for dealing with opposition are sharply different, their vision of the future is much the same. Dark skies are on the horizon, but they predict huge numbers of Americans will be converted, the social and political life of the nation will be renewed, and the policy of a renewed republic will be built around the demands of biblical law. Their optimism is appealing but I don’t believe Biblical prophecies such as these two by Jesus supports this optimistic view.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matthew 24:21-22
I believe the Bible reveals that those Christians that adopt a praying church as it was in the Book of Acts intent on making disciples in their own communities, loving their neighbours and honouring Jesus regardless of the cost, will have the most impact for the Kingdom in these last days. The power of the Holy Spirit will be once more evident in this Home Church environment.
As you may already know God connected me to several pastors in Kenya who are followers of Living Eternal Now. They believe as I do that the church in the “last days” will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. The following is a report provided by Pastor Charles Otieno Owino on their activities for 2020. I and several of my followers have provided funds for several projects to support the growth of this community and I hope more of you will consider joining us in this missional work. I have added a donation icon on my Home Page for that purpose. Moreover, I hope some of you will begin to communicate directly with members of the KHC.
2020 Report on Kenya House Church Movement
Here at KHC, we endeavour to make disciples for Jesus Christ in fulfilment of the great commission that Jesus Christ gave us in Mathew 28:19. The disciples made, are put in house church groups (Ekklesia). No buildings neither nor paid pastors.
FINISHING WELL 2020, EXPECTING WHAT GOD HOLDS FOR US IN 2021: 2020 was a big year for us here at KHC, God has been gracious to us, and every place we have visited, we have been able to receive a positive outcome despite some few challenges that came our way, such as strong opposition from the religious leaders. But we were able to sail through and we give God the glory.
APPRECIATION TO THE FOUNDER OF LEN, RON EDWARDS & TEAM MEMBERS.
We hope the LEN team is also blessed by being part of the KHC movement, all through the year 2020 and since God has placed us together in the work of ministry. We(KHC) are very much thankful to the founder of LEN and his colleagues in the work of ministry, and we appreciate you all for standing behind us in prayers.
We are very much thankful to all those who have been faithful in giving their financial support to help expand the KHC movement to ensure it becomes strongly established here in Kenya.
KHC 2020 OVERVIEW PROGRESS:
We are honored to share with you an overview of our progress in 2020. It has been the most successful year since KHC was founded in 2010, upon the revelation of God’s word, and prayers.
1) House Church Groups: Numbers are important to and through our numeric increase we have been able to start eight house church groups in 4 different sub-counties within the Republic of Kenya.
NAMES OF 8 CHURCH GROUPS & REGIONS FOUND:
– Mubachi in Migori region (Charles’s home church group) – Buembu in Migori region. – Kokendi in Migori region. – Bondo in Migori region. – Ong’er in Nyatike region (Alfred’s home church group) – Ndhiwa in the Homa-Bay region. – Karungu in Nyatike region. – Opapo in Rongo region.
A newly founded group of believers at Kogaja in Busia region near the border of Kenya and Uganda is still undergoing our foundational teachings. Come 2021, an elder and a church group pastor will be appointed from among them, to head the church group, to enable it to be a fully functioning house church group.
In Tanzania, God is giving us a breakthrough; a wide door is opened to the KHC team so come February 2021, two new church groups will be started in Mwanza and Nyamuzi in the Republic of Tanzania. We expect exciting additions in 2021 and it is our hope and prayers that 2021, KHC team will be able to take the gospel to places we could not visit in 2020.
NUMBER OF CHURCH GROUPS MEMBERS:
In 2020, we have witnessed a rapid increase of Church group members than in the previous years. Many lives have been reached for Jesus Christ. An additional 3 church groups were founded.
The total number of our church group members in the 8 church groups has increased from 220 in 2018/2019 up to 300 in 2020.
2)DISCIPLE SHIP & EVANGELISM CAMPAIGNS:
-Evangelism and discipleship, is the heart of KHC movement, here at KHC. The evangelism team led by pastor Jacob, has been able to lead our team, visiting several places ministering, in market places, hospitals, prisons, schools. And visiting marginalized families and destitute children, sharing with them the love of God and leading them to Jesus Christ.
In the past 12 months, KHC team members have been able to visit 24 secondary schools, 30 homes, 10 prisons cells, 15 hospitals, 25 market places, and ministered to 120 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
3) TRAINING THE TRAINERS:
In 2020, KHC have been able to teach and give training to 4 members, from all our church groups, after every six months.And after undergoing our training manual, they are being sent out to various places as ambassadors for Jesus Christ, with the sole reason of making disciples, and starting a house church group. Currently, some of our two brothers were in Tanzania and just came back to us 5 days ago and reported about the need to start up the two church groups, mentioned above.
4) WEEKLY BIBLE STUDIES:
Here at KHC,we have a weekly Bible study, whereby church group members meet once a week to pray and search the scriptures.
5) EMPOWERING THE POOR:
In 2019 to date, KHC initiated an empowering program to help support the widows, orphans, and the needy members in the KHC movement. Every church group has the freedom to start its own income-generating projects, such as crop farming, vegetable growing, dairy keeping, shopkeeping, poultry keeping, second-hand clothing business etc, this is to help support our church group members to become financially stable.
2021 KHC PLANS:
1) Zoom meetings:
In 2021, KHC, has a plan to buy a large TV screen and a computer, to help KHC, join other parachurch organizations in holding zoom meetings. This will help KHC, to learn and share end time signs of Jesus second coming,and other teachings pertaining to the last day’s church.
2) Discipleship & Evangelism:
In 2021, KHC movement has a plan to expand its discipleship making programme and evangelism campaigns to other places, and territories, moving outside the 4 sub-counties.
3) Bible study programme.
In 2021, KHC has a plan to open a KHC library, where a number of books from the recommended parachurch organizations can be sourced. This will help our church group members, be able to learn and understand from different authors about the last day’s church, prophetic end times signs of Jesus second coming, living eternal now, kingdom business, etc.
Income generating projects:
KHC in 2021 is planning to open up a medical facility/laboratory where church group members,and other people from the neighborhood communities can come for a medical check-up, and treatment, the minimal and affordable fee, paid will be used for the financial stability and physical growth of the KHC movement.
2021 KHC GOALS:
KHC’s goals is to flood the nation Kenya with the gospel, and moving out and enter new territories with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For 2021, KHC’s prime goal is to reach out to 500 people with the gospel and start-up 5 more house church groups based on Biblical foundation.
This is a God-sized blessing from Ron Edwards, founder of LEN, and all the brethren who have helped to contribute by prayers and finances in 2020. Thank you all, you are a significant part of our success in growing the KHC movement in Kenya. Respectfully, Charles Otieno Owino.
Although 61% of American millennials consider themselves to be Christian, just 2% of them were found to hold a biblical worldview, according to a recent study released by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
A biblical worldview, as previously defined by Barna, includes believing that absolute moral truths exist, and that such truth is defined by the Bible, as well as firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views are that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Considering the American Worldview Inventory 2020 study found that only 6% of American adults, in general, hold a biblical worldview, the fact millennials (18- to 36-year-olds) were at 2% is not surprising. Moreover, it helps to explain the degree of lawlessness erupting across the country.
Even a rudimentary understanding of the foundations of the American republic reminds us that unless the United States maintains spiritual unity under the hand of God, it will not be able to sustain the freedoms that have made the nation unique and desirable. The heart and soul of the nation pursue other gods and beliefs to its detriment as a nation.
The existing church has not been able to stop the decline that has been evident over the last decade, the war is over and an escalation of persecution of believers is a forgone conclusion. As could be expected, God is raising up His church as described in the Book of Acts. Holy Spirit led leaders such as Francis Chan understood the call of God in this regard. For the past nine years, his family has been in San Francisco, where they started “We Are Church,” which has grown to 25 pastors. No buildings or paid pastors.
Francis is now in Hong Kong reaching out to the unsaved in countries such as Myanmar (Burma) and is seeing God work miracles as he never saw in his church of 5000 in California.
In Acts 8, a massive disruption upset the Christian world. Led by Saul of Tarsus, massive persecution drove Christians from their home base of Jerusalem. Up to that time the new Christian movement was centered in Jerusalem and was confined to Jews. By the end of the book of Acts the church was more Gentile than Jewish and the church at Jerusalem was a side note. What made the difference? During the disruption, one church used it as an opportunity to innovate, and innovation changes the world.
In Acts 11:19 we see the Jewish Christians scattered from Jerusalem, where they were only telling other Jews about Jesus. But in Antioch it was different. The Christians there spread the gospel and opened their doors to both Jews and Greeks (innovation #1, Acts 11:20-21). Not only was this church open to non-Jews, but they also sought out Jews with scandalous pasts, creating an opportunity for the same Saul of Tarsus to provide leadership now that he had become a follower of Jesus (innovation #2, Acts 11:25-26). When a famine struck Judea, the church at Antioch is the first church recorded in Scripture to voluntarily collect resources and intentionally send it off to assist another church (innovation #3, Acts 11:27-30).
The COVID-19 crisis is another massive disruption (not interruption). This is the moment for the church at Antioch to rise up, to blaze boldly into the hybrid digital world we all now live in and spread the gospel in new and powerful ways. As church thought leader Carey Nieuwhof accurately questioned, “are churches behaving like malls in the age of Amazon?” I believe that churches that treat the COVID-19 crisis like a minor interruption are like malls, like the church at Jerusalem. If your church is waiting for this crisis to pass so that things can go back to normal, you might be waiting awhile. There will be a new normal we will eventually settle into, but it won’t be the old normal. A worldwide pandemic disrupts the world in ways that will forever change us. I believe that churches that leverage the massive disruption of the COVID-19 crisis are innovating in the age of Amazon, like the church of Antioch.
The above is an abbreviated version of an article by Pastor Josh Daffern of the Centreville Baptist Church Virginia USA “This is the Moment for the Church of Antioch to Rise Up”