DISCIPLE MAKING CHURCHES IN THE LAST DAYS

As mentioned many times previously on this website, I believe the end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts and it is wonderful to see many Disciple Making Movements starting up. I have promoted Francis Chan (Multiply Movement), David Platt (Radical) two of the most notable Disciple Making Movements as well as Oikos Australia in my own country.

This article from Oikos and a short video from DMMS Frontiers Mission are worth considering for your church.

At Oikos, we are thinking about multiplication. With 25.5 million Australians, only 52% identify themselves as Christian – this opportunity is one we are passionate about impacting!

Did you know that one pair of rabbits can end up with 4 million offspring in only 4 years time? That is rapid growth!  Does your group, simple church or disciple-making strategy – have a clear plan where those in your group, clearly know how they can train to equip others to disciple new people and plant new groups/churches.

“If not, your strategy may need to be adjusted. Everything you do in disciple-making must pass the test of reproducibility. When we make things too complicated, we don’t get rabbit churches that multiply quickly” – DMMS Frontier Missions

Does your group know how to share the gospel, invite people to Jesus and know what to do if someone says yes? Do you have a vision for growth & raising up others?

2 Timothy 2:2 is our guide. Paul trained Timothy. Timothy trained faithful men. They trained many others.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 

That’s multiplication. That’s generational growth. It’s what we do to see Oikos become a Disciple-Making movement!!
Who are you developing as under you? Who are you passing the baton too? Effective disciple making involves multiplication of simple churches and disciples.

PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH IS TO COMPLETE THE GREAT COMMISSION

Sadly, church as we know it, is largely: we gather together once or twice a week and worship a little and pray a little (usually very little) and listen to teaching. After saying hi to friends and small talking with others, we head out into our world until next week.

May I suggest that one of the problems is the structure of the denominational church and the Bible Colleges it has spawned. Few now believe and teach the inerrancy of Scripture and hence have compromised with the world on major issues such as gay marriage and  the transgender movement.

This prophetic word that Pastor John Burton delivered to city pastors in Detroit several years ago is revealing.

“He said, I don’t believe it was received well, as most remained silent after I shared it. I do believe it was the Lord, however. It was a word of warning and a strategic call.

I saw an ocean beach on a sunny day. There were many people on the sand, a good number splashing in the shallows and a handful of people swimming in deeper waters.

Those who were on the sand were mostly happy building sand castles, tanning and enjoying the afternoon sun as the cool mist from the crashing waves blew over them. Some were curious about the water and even took off their sandals and walked where the waves met the sand. Others would slowly venture out and start splashing in the shallows, but most were satisfied just where they were.

The people in the shallows were having a good time. They were together, jumping, splashing and swimming. They were in waist-high water and were able to stand on the sandy bottom. They were also satisfied.

I then looked out at the small number of people who were in the deep. They couldn’t stand as the water was well over their heads. They were so hungry to explore the wide-open seas. It made no sense to them why anybody would be satisfied to experience so little. However, these people had nobody to lead them into the deeper waters. You see, the people on the sand, in the shallows and in the deep all represented a single local church.

What I saw next brought clear, obvious revelation to the situation.

I saw a man, the pastor, in khaki pants, a dress shirt and a tie. His shoes were off and his pant legs were rolled up. He had one foot in the water and the other on the sand. He was not dressed for the deep. In fact, he wasn’t dressed for the shallows or the sand either. He determined to remain anchored between the sand and the shallows where the majority of the people were, yet unable to really reach any of them.

The pastor was under great stress, as he would look upon those on the sand, then those in the shallows, and he’d then squint as he saw those who were drifting out to sea. His eyes continually darted between the three groups, attempting to maintain some sort of control over the spiritually diverse congregation. However, he couldn’t. Those in the deep became a nuisance. He found it easier to allow them to go and to focus on the sand and the shallows. He knew those in the low water would not go deeper, and those on the sand were safe. Maybe someday, they would jump in and splash around with the others.

Pastor Burton summed up with: I believe the strategy of the church must radically change. The pastor, the leader, must be in the deep ahead of the people. Just as the priests in Israel led the armies, usually with praise and certainly the blowing of trumpets, understanding that victory will come from the Lord. The priests are called to step into the waters and to lead people into miraculous situations.

Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you'” (Josh. 3:5).

The Gideon Church Growth Principle

Churches have too many people, or at least they have the wrong people. Church missions have been compromised.

Churches and pastors will benefit from applying the Gideon principle, though it will be scary, painful and humbling. Death to self, rejection of selfish ambition and mighty faith are required. I believe God is about to invite leaders into divine wrestling matches as they renounce their fabricated and confused identities and adopt their divine callings and discover their identities in Christ instead of success.

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6;12-13

We know that Gideon was still not convinced God was going to use him to save Israel and He tested God twice with the fleece. God did not get angry with Gideon and He obviously convinced Gideon to trust God no matter what, as he was prepared with only 300 men, to take on the “the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, who were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude (Judges 7:12)”.

How desperately we need pastors/leaders who will cry out to God to know His call for their lives, to seek  confirmation, to hear God’s voice, to discover their new identity and emerge as a true leader.

 

 

 

MANY KNOW JESUS AS THE LAMB BUT NOT THE LION WHO WILL RULE WITH AN IRON SCEPTRE

I believe this prophetic encounter Jeremiah Johnson had with our Lord is authentic, hence this post. Jeremiah Johnson planted and serves on the eldership team at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida.

“As the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me, He said, “Jeremiah, many know the Lamb who went to Calvary, but few know the Lion who is returning to devour His Father’s enemies. The same wrath that was poured out on the cross will be the same wrath that will be poured out in judgement upon my return.

I am releasing apostolic and prophetic messengers who will trumpet my end-time judgements to the church and warn of the consequences of those who only know the Lamb of mercy and grace, but reject the Lion of judgement and wrath.

Many only know Me as the great intercessor, which I am, but I am also the coming King and judge. There is more than intercessory prayer. For I will teach My people in these last days how to pray kingly and judicial prayers. I will establish My government in the earth and make My enemies a footstool. I will rule and reign with an iron sceptre.

Jeremiah, many will be offended at My return! They have created a god in their own likeness and image and will deny Me when I come with all My glory, power and splendour! You must warn the church of the scoffing spirit that will come, of the overemphasis of My goodness and never teaching on My severity, of never proclaiming and warning of My wrath and judgement that is here now and is yet to come.”

The look in the Lord Jesus Christ’s eyes as He said these words to me was so intense, yet so deeply grieved. He then asked me if He could entrust me with these words, and I said yes. When I did, He turned around and vanished from my bedroom.

I shook for days and have still never recovered. I pray that those who have read this sobering encounter for the first time publicly will pray and seek the Holy Spirit concerning your own view of who Jesus really is and prepare yourself for the days ahead.”

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)

GOD PROMISES TO POUR OUT HIS SPIRIT ON BELIEVERS IN THE LAST DAYS

The Jubilee Year, which started on the Day of Atonement in 2017, is as relevant today as it was when God had Moses introduce it to His people (Leviticus) two thousand years ago. When the trumpet sounded, the land must be returned to its original owners. It was a time of restoration.

In 1917, the land was given back to the Jewish people on a Jubilee year by the British with the Balfour declaration. In 1948, Israel was re-established as a nation by the UN but Jordan is given control over Jerusalem. The next Jubilee in 1967, Israel gets back its capital Jerusalem. This is exactly what is prophesied in God’s Word and therefore proof positive it was God’s plan, it came to pass. What about Jubilee 2017? This is the year that the leader of the most powerful nation, on earth, President Trump, recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved its Embassy there.

The Jubilee is relevant for all nations as shown by Jonathan Cahn on his trip to Cuba. You must hear his story of what transpired in Cuba. It truly is amazing, I have never heard anything like it before, God was in it, miracle after miracle. Proof of God’s sovereignty, His total control over His universe.

Jonathan believes that in this Jubilee, God is releasing His power to live as the church did in the Book of Acts.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over, and His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1. It is time for all believers to take up our inheritance. The Holy Spirit’s power will be released, as it was in the early church, for us to accomplish all that He has prescribed for each one of us in these last days.

ARE YOU IN A CHURCH LIKE THIS? IF NOT FIND ONE.

I have across another great sermon from Francis Chan. He starts in Revelation and its importance for these “last days” including sound teaching on the “Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18, but he concludes with information on how they are doing church. It lines up with the church we read about in the Book of Acts: small groups that require all participants to use their Holy Spirit given gifts, no buildings, no paid pastors and those small groups giving rise to more small groups – disciples making disciples. The centrality and inerrancy of Scripture is KEY.

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.”