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)

LOVE 2 LIVE 2 LOVE: REFLECTION ON CHURCH BY MAN OF GOD

In an interview with The Christian Post, the longtime pastor of the multi-campus Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois, Pastor James MacDonald, candidly shared what he’s learned and continues to learn about the heart of Jesus, and where he sees the Body of Christ going amid profound cultural changes.

With three decades now behind him, MacDonald is already vision casting and planning for the next 30 years, alongside his three children who are also active in ministry. MacDonald founded Harvest Bible Chapel in 1988 with 18 people and today hosts 13,000 at their seven Chicago-area campuses every week.

MacDonald shared that only more substance (Biblical) makes better disciples. And it’s really hard work. Jesus was more gifted than any person on Earth and He spent three-and-a-half full years on 12 people and didn’t get all of them to the finish line. So, it’s really a time consuming, exhausting thing making disciples, and I think I’ve seen the church swing back toward a focus on quality. We’ve said for years in our church “not a quantity of disciples, but quality of discipleship.” And more and more, I hear pastors leaning in that direction.

The primary type of evangelism that we see in the Scriptures is one-on-one. Jesus with Nicodemus, Jesus with the woman at the well, Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. And that does not in any way negate mass evangelism. In Acts Chapter 2 we see a mass evangelism situation with the coming of the Holy Spirit. But was that normative or an exception? I think typically we see one-on-one evangelism and to subjugate the Sunday morning, which is so needed for infusion of spiritual strength through proclamation [of the Word], through worship, through fellowship, from giving and serving is, I think, increasingly seen as  inadequate to sustain in a strong, growing church. All of those things stoke the fire of a Christ follower’s vertical relationship [with God].  That’s the reason why in 2012, I wrote the book Vertical Church. We have to come back to that as our primary focus.

James MacDonald’s response to this question is enlightening. “What do you make of the credible allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse within influential churches and Christian ministries over the past two to three years?”

Scripture says “He who sins in the presence of all, rebuke in the presence of all that others may fear.” And you look in the book of Acts when they lied about their tithe, Ananias and Sapphira were taken, “and great fear came upon the Church.” Also, the only response to public exposure of private failure should be to look in the mirror, even when disaster strikes. In every instance when calamity strikes, when personal failure is exposed, we should be looking in the mirror. We should be saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.” We should be deepening our own reflection and repentance. And most of all, we should not be piling on and shaming others but we should be responding with grace and with genuine reflection upon the needs of our own heart. Because none of us are all that we have articulated to be important. And I’m not saying leaders shouldn’t be an example. Of course, leaders need to be an example, and if they are not an example of the believer, then they should step down.

We’re talking a lot in our church right now about what we call “love 2 live 2 love.” You’re not living until you’re loving God. That’s the first great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” And then “live 2 love.” You’re not really loving God unless you’re loving others. And Jesus said the second is like the first. And not like it because they are both great, and not like it because they are both about love. But like it because he was only asked for one and he gave two because they are inseparable.

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.

 

CHURCH – PREPARE FOR GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRASH

Signs are brewing that asset markets are finally reaching a tipping point. we’re heading for a similar bubble burst to 1987, 2000, 2008 or even 1929, only this one will be bigger. Who has the most to lose? Whilst these are US statistics they don’t differ much in the western world. The rest of the world’s economists, having observed America’s apparent financial success, copied its Keynesian methodology developed in the 1930s. Thus, virtually the whole world is now marching in lockstep like lemmings towards the edge of a cliff.

OWNERSHIP OF FINANCIAL ASSETS

Since 1983, the top 1% has climbed from 34% of financial asset ownership to 40% (and I’ve seen some studies say that it’s closer to 50%). The bottom 90% have fallen from 32% financial asset ownership to 21%. How much can the latter lose when they don’t have many financial assets to begin with?

For a broader view, look at this chart, which shows the top 10% versus the top 20%.

The top 20% control 90% of the financial assets while the top 10% controls 79%. That means the bottom 80% control only 10%!

The whole wealth curve is exponentially skewed, much more than income…

So, there are no two ways about it: When this bubble finally bursts for good, and wealth is destroyed for a long time, it will be the richest that lose the most! Whilst they lose the most, it will be the 90% that will suffer the most as they will not have money or jobs to put food on the table.

Church are you preparing for what’s coming? It will be church as described in the Book of Acts that will be a blessing.

“Now when the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul, neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands, of houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4: 32-34

 

CHURCH AS JESUS PRAYED FOR IN JOHN 17

Film “The Last Reformation – The Life”

It is now available for everyone to watch on YouTube for free. You can see the movie with subtitles in around 30 different languages. Since the premiere in Holland, a little more than a month ago, there have been over 1000 screenings all over the world and the response has been amazing. People really loved the movie and after watching the movie many people experienced healing, deliverance, repented, got baptised in water and received the Holy Spirit.

Now it is time to share it with everyone out there, so they can see church  as God intended.

 

EXTREMES OF CHRISTIANITY: WHICH TRULY EXPRESSES JESUS EXAMPLE?

Simple missional forms of church were normal in the first century – and are proving relevant for today. Here are some insights on the early church taken from the New Testament. 1. All NT churches met in homes, 2. There were multiple churches in each community that loved on its people, 3. All members of the church participated, 4. Church was not a building Christians went to or a denomination they belonged to. Christians were church in their community. 5. Households provided natural leadership for home churches, 6. Paul did appoint ‘overseers’ to foster these networks. These were mature believers, not given to power seeking – but encouragers, able to facilitate disciple making and the planting of new churches, 7. They were relational communities – eating, serving, sharing. Christians shared in Sabbath fellowship, Communion, Scripture reading and prayers. There is no tension over culture or ethnicity. 8. They were ‘zero dollar’ – but high cost church plants. First century believers shared faith with family, friends and neighbours, inviting them to their homes. High cost because it is a sacrifice of time and energy to share faith with family and social networks. Offerings help with rent, food for someone who has lost their job or a struggling family. Maybe to assist school expenses for a single mum or support another church start up. 9. Church structures are simple and Holy Spirit directed. No hierarchical structures, 10. Churches easily reproducible. Disciples made disciples and baptised them and in turn they made disciples. 11. They are the best environment to hand on faith.

Developed from article by Peter Rosenfeldt. Check out his website http://www.newlifechurch.com

PASTOR IN INDIA

A pastor in India who was known for long five- to six-hour prayer sessions was found beaten, tortured and hung to death from the rafters of his church, parishioners said. The murder has deeply shocked the congregation.

Morning Star News reported on Sunday that the body of pastor Gideon Periyaswamy of Maknayeem Church in southern India was found early Saturday morning. His death comes after he had complained about Hindu extremists.

Pastor Azariah Reuben, a close friend of the 43-year-old victim, said that Periyaswamy converted from Hinduism 25 years ago, and has served as pastor in Adayachery for more than 12 years, becoming known as a “prayer warrior.”

“The local Hindus were not happy with growing Christianity,” Reuben said. “They had several times tried to stop the ministry.”

PASTOR IN THE U.S.A

Kenneth Copeland’s ministry announced last Friday the acquisition of the “debt free” jet, which hit the market with a $36 million price tag in 1998. The ultra-long-range business jet can accommodate up to four crew members and 14 passengers in an executive configuration, according to Gulfstream. It is unclear how much Copeland’s ministry paid for the jet but A V Buyer says they currently have the lowest priced Gulfstream V on the market priced at just under $6 million.

“Father we thank you so and I’m asking you now sir, according to your word, bless our partners beyond measure. Yes, in the name of Jesus. For you said in 2002, ‘I’m sending you new partners who are very strong financially and they will obey me.

And I will increase your longtime partners and they will obey me,” Copeland, 81, said in a prayer of thanksgiving for the new jet.

“And you will not come short. And you will not fail. And you will not lack. And you will not come behind and you will not be diminished. Praise God,” he said of his donors.

 

CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCH

Francis Chan challenges the traditional church. Is it working? Of course, we know it is not.

You need to watch this video, and then ask yourself, am I in a church that is impacting my community?

If you don’t think we are living in the “last days” you must be on a different planet to the one I am on. In my recent post, END TIMES SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HANUKKAH, Jonathan Cahn reveals what we can learn from the Hanukkah, on how to face the Antichrist in our day. What did the Maccabees do to overcome the impossible odds in their day?

  1. Decided there could be no compromise with the world regardless of the impossible odds against them. Must trust God.
  2. Must obey His Word and stand on His Word. Even fight with the Word of God.
  3. Separate from the world, don’t try and fit in and bend the Word of God. Become radical and be the salt and light.
  4. Learn how to be warriors, putting on the full armour daily – Belt of TRUTH first, breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, GOSPEL OF PEACE on our feet, take up the shield of FAITH, helmet of SALVATION to shield our mind and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is the Word of God. The Maccabees were called the “hammers of God’
  5. The Maccabees carried on the war joyfully knowing God was with them giving them victory over impossible odds.

CHURCH HAS LOST FAITH IN THE SUPERNATURAL

Great message from Francis Chan on what the church has lost and how we need to take it back from the enemy. Knowing what God promises is the key. Supernatural power is available when we are in God’s will. We need church like in the Book of Acts when Holy Spirit power was evident. Sharing possessions like the church in the Book of Acts. The church is one, like Jesus prayed to the Father for, so the world would believe.

BIGGEST THREAT TO CHRISTIANITY IN THE 21st CENTURY.

The biggest threat to Christianity in the modern day comes from within, a panel of theologians said at an event hosted by Ligonier Ministries on Tuesday evening to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The panel of theologians at the Ligonier Ministries event “Reformation 500 Celebration” on Tuesday, October 30, 2017. Left to right: Chris Larson, president and CEO of Ligonier Ministries; Stephen J. Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College; Sinclair Ferguson, teaching fellow and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary; and Derek W.H. Thomas, senior minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Sinclair Ferguson, Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, responded that the greatest threat is “probably Christianity in this century.”

“That’s a greater threat than Islam. Christendom is a far greater threat to Christianity than Islam is. Islam can never destroy the Gospel, but Christendom can easily destroy the Gospel and is destroying the Gospel,” said Ferguson, adding, “the Church is the greatest threat to real Christianity in the world. God help us.”

“Especially with the Church in America, we have far too casual a view of God and that might be right at the centre of some of our theological malaise,” noted Nichols.

They stated the truth, but what they failed to say is that the majority of church denominations and Bible Colleges in the USA no longer hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, particularly the foundational book of the Bible – GENESIS. The acceptance of Evolution and billions of years history for the universe totally undermines the foundations laid in Genesis and its history of the Cosmos. Moreover, we should not be surprised as the Bible tells us that in the “last days” apostasy is rife – “there will be a great falling away”.

A NEW CHURCH REFORMATION NEEDED SAYS JOHN LEE GRADY

The following article by John Lee Grady for Charisma Magazine outlines great reforms needed in the church. What it does not address is what Francis Chan is heralding; we need to get back to church as it is outlined in the Book of Acts. Francis discovered that you can’t train up disciples who will be committed to the great commission in a church of thousands, even hundreds. Moreover, the cost of buildings and paid staff is better off being spent on outreach to our communities.

Image result for picture of Martin Luther nailing Theses to door in Wittenberg

In honour of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I’m (John Lee Grady) offering my own list of needed reforms in the modern charismatic/Pentecostal movement. And since I can’t hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I’ll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere.

  1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around. (And we should also stop ignoring Him, as if He is an optional “add-on” to our scripted agendas.)
  1. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any exotic experience must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t measure them against Scripture, we could end up spreading deception.
  1. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
  1. Stop playing charismatic games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
  1. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  1. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to prosperity preachers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.
  1. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.
  1. Expose the creeps. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.
  1. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.
  1. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit to cause more damage.
  1. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride. Christians should avoid prideful leaders instead of rewarding them with applause.
  1. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.
  1. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.
  1. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.
  1. Stop the politics. Our deadly mixing of nationalism and party politics with the gospel has diluted our message and ruined our credibility. We are not Democrats or Republicans first—we are followers of the Lamb. Our allegiance is to Jesus, not Trump or Obama. Christ’s kingdom transcends presidents.
  1. Quit trying to be so cool. Our desire to be popular has ruined our witness. Today we care more about our giant LED screens, our coffee bars and our stage lighting than whether people have an experience with the Holy Spirit.
  1. No more racial division. Let’s get rid of the idea of a “black church” or a “white church.” There is only one body of Christ, yet we pretend we are integrated if one person of color serves on our greeter team. True Pentecost is multicultural. The Holy Spirit builds bridges, not walls.
  1. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue entertaining people with our charismatic sideshows or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will stop trying to please the crowd so they can focus on God’s priorities.

J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organisation that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression.