MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE MANDATE – CHURCH PLANTING IS THE OUTCOME

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches? The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Planting churches flows naturally out of making disciples. The heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4.

And now, Lord, look upon their (the Worlds) threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

Missionaries have historically been the most vital source of a nation’s social development. These findings yield two important conclusions about the work of Protestant missionaries. Their message was good for the world and their focus was making disciples.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020, by Jackson Wu

BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS STORY OF THE CHURCH

BAD NEWS

Neo-pagan Anglicanism is beautifully packaged in some of the most elegant liturgy, music, and tradition in Christianity. But it has become liturgy for the sake of liturgy, music for the sake of music, and tradition for the sake of tradition. As the apostle Paul wrote, they are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). And as Athanasius argued against Arius’s heresy, the Jesus whom they promote is not the Jesus of which the Bible speaks.

As a result of this tragic accommodation to culture, Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, eschews the flaccid slogans of the hierarchy from Canterbury and New York City about “communion across difference,” “mutual flourishing,” and “walking together” because there can be no truce with heretics and schismatics who advance a counterfeit gospel (Romans 16:17–18).

Speaking with a prophetic mantle, Beach observes that “liberal innovations in theology and sexual ethics” are hidden within an orthodox façade, comparable, I would say, to the Trojan horse.”

GOOD NEWS

Eliud Wabukala introduces Bible-based Anticorruption Guide

Fruitful death

The Gospel of John probably best describes the future of orthodox Anglicanism.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit” John 12:24, KJV

“The ‘Anglican experiment is not ending in failure,” says Eliud Wabukala from Kenya and Mouneer Anis from Egypt, “but is on the verge of a new and truly global future in which the original vision of the Reformers can be realized as never before.” When Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey said in 1990, “You don’t have to be English to be Anglican,” he probably could not have foreseen that today, “Anglicans in the Global South represent more than 80 percent of the members of the Anglican Communion,” according to Anis.

From Wabukala’s address to the faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans “At the heart of our gathering will be the Lord Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and as we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to that purpose, we can trust in the promise that comes with the command, the promise of His presence ‘to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).

Much of the information in this article has been extracted from the book The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism by Gerald R. McDermott 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHURCH

A major issue afflicting the Church is the “clergy-laity mentality.” It is a pervasive mindset where the paid clergy leads the church and they are called “pastors.” They do most of the ministry work and laypeople serve the ministry of that pastor.

The Apostle Paul writes that the Church, the household of God, is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20

Paul continues that the Lord gave fivefold offices for the edification of the Church, specifically

apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12

All five of these gifts are needed and on a broad-based level, you need the apostles and prophets working together, hearing from God together. To use military terminology: apostles [are] the generals. The prophets being the seers, they’re the ones getting the intel [from God],

For a local church, there needs to be impartation from all those gifts, equipping from all those offices to equip people to minister to those who are not part of the Church, not just to minister to each other. The apostles are the builders, the church-planters, those who are trainers and equippers. And the prophetic is to come alongside them to help guide and speak to that — what is the Lord saying right now in the present. All five offices are needed to work together so that the Church can hear the full counsel of God.

 

Episcopal church ordains lesbian Bishop

Unfortunately, the institutional church came up with the model of training one man, then one man or woman and now transgender as well to be the pastor/leader of the church. This model is not Biblical and is in fact the apostate church Jesus (Matthew 24:12) and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 ) spoke of as one of the “end times” signs. It has no understanding of the fivefold gifts working together to see each and every believer functioning and bringing the Kingdom into their workplace, in the marketplace, into their school, then a greater expression of Jesus is manifested in society. What is needed is small-a apostles?

Larry Kreider of DOVE International — an interdenominational global family of churches and ministries on six continents believes that an apostolically inclined small-a apostle is motivated by and is thinking on a macro, big-picture level, and wants to see the Kingdom of God extend across their city, state, region, nation and world. As with any other spiritual gift and vocations, this gifting is to be called out and affirmed by others in the Body of Christ. To function in these gifts, one needs to see the gifting’s in others, It’s not just someone who prophesies or carries a prophetic gift, but someone who trains up and pours into others so they can mature spiritually. 

This is truly the church as described in the Book of Acts and will be the church that overcomes during the tribulation in the last days before Jesus returns “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.Revelation 2:10-11

JIREH/HOW HE LOVES

Love this song from Justin Bieber and Chandler Moore posted by Churchome. They are a community built on the life and teachings of Jesus.

Extract from their website:

“The name, “Churchome,” reflects our belief that we are going to be a church that functions like a home, that looks like a home, and that loves like a home. And ultimately, what we experience on earth will look a lot like heaven.

Luke 15 has become a hallmark passage for our community. The idea and concept of home is centric in scripture. It is the idea that every human is a sojourner and he/she is returning home. Home is not so much brick and mortar, an actual space or room. Home is a place and a posture our soul discovers in Jesus—where the created returns to a loving relationship with the Creator. Bringing people home is what God does. Whether prodigals or prodigies, artists or intellectuals, rebels or rejects, God’s arms are open to all.”

INSTITUTIONAL CHURCHES COMPROMISE WITH THE WORLD

Over the last few decades in the West, and particularly in America, we have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage, the removal of God’s Word in most areas of public life, particularly schools, and the embracing of Critical Race Theory. Moreover, most pulpits are silent about governmental abuse, the LGBTQ agenda, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against the nations and the church – our silence speaks volumes. Are God’s people watchmen or cowards?

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.

Sadly, many pastors under the direction of their institutions are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort…they are not aflame with righteousness. They are motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness and females taking male roles of leadership in the church.

Arlington Street Anglican Church
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Westboro Baptist Church

Pastors (Christian leaders) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need churches as outlined in the Book of Acts filled with the Spirit of God. Disciples making more disciples of Christ.

The Institutional churches and the prosperity gospel have emasculated the church. It will be the church of Laodicea:

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.Revelation 3:15-18

This is the church that is “Left Behind” to experience the wrath of God with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. As I have explained previously, each of the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 represent the church in each of the seven years prior to Jesus return (70th week of the 70 Weeks Prophecy given to Daniel by Gabriel – Daniel 9:24-27). The church of Laodicea is the last church that will live through the seventh year when the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world. The previous church, the church of Philadelphia is the church that is raptured.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my nameBecause you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.Revelation 3:10-11

Which church will you belong to the church of Philadelphia or the church of Laodicea?

A COVENANTAL COMMUNITY AWAITING THE DAY OF THE LORD

The church of Jesus Christ is a community of redeemed sinners bound to their Lord and to one another in the bond of love known as the covenant of grace. God gives Himself to them with the Holy Spirit to be their God and takes them as His people.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

The covenant promise to the Jews was spelled out in Leviticus. “And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.Leviticus 26:12

Likewise, Christians belong to their covenant Lord: “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself…whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7–8). This also means that Christians are bound to one another and must think of themselves as part of a community. 

Paul expresses this truth using the language of the body in Ephesians 4:25: “We are members of one another.” We are therefore to take our covenant brothers and sisters into account in all aspects of our Christian living. The covenant community is no place for rugged individualists. We must constantly be asking, “How will this affect other believers?”

If we love our covenant brothers and sisters, we will seek what is best for them, especially their growth in grace. This can be done in a positive way by exhortation and mutual encouragement. The writer to the Hebrews, after speaking of the blessings of the new covenant that are provided by the blood of Jesus, has this stirring call for God’s people:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24–25)

What Day is drawing near? The Day of the Lord

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” Obadiah 1:15

Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?” Amos 5:19-20

Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.” Joel 1:15

The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Joel 2:31

The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.” Zephaniah 1:14

Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord.Zephaniah 1:18

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.Malachi 4:1

And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2: 19-21

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.1 Thessalonian 5:1-3

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.2 Peter 3:10

All of the above Scriptures reveal that the awesome Day of the Lord is a time of intense judgement for unbelievers. However, Paul also tells us the good news about the awesome Day of the Lord: “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.2 Timothy 4:8

We do not like to think about God’s judgement but Scripture is clear the time is coming when God pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant world

BIBLICAL CHURCH DISCIPLINE

The Pattern and Basis for Discipline

(1) The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor. 5:12-132 Cor. 2:6).

(2) Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God’s holiness—His desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him—is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to exercise discipline in the church evidences a lack of awareness of and concern for the holiness of God.

(3) Church discipline is to be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scriptur(1 Cor. 4:6). We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God’s directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible (1 Cor. 5:1-13Matt. 18:17-18Titus 3:102 Thess. 3:6-151 Tim. 5:20Gal. 6:1).

(4) Another basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world (1 Pet. 4:13-19). The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

(1) Discipline must be done by those who are spiritual, truly walking by the Holy Spirit and growing in the Lord. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1

(2) Discipline must be done in a spirit of humility, gentleness and patience, looking to ourselves lest we too be tempted (Gal. 6:1-22 Tim. 2:24-25).

(3) Discipline must be done without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality (1 Tim. 5:21).

(4) Those who walk disorderly are to be admonished, warned, and appealed to in love (1 Thess. 5:14-151 Tim. 5:1-2Eph. 4:152 Tim. 4:2). This admonishing, is not restricted to church leaders, but may be done by any person in the body with another if that person is Spirit controlled and spiritually minded (cf. 1 Thess. 5:14 with Gal. 6:1).

(5) If there is no response in repentance and obedience, then the sinning believer is to be rebuked publicly and members of the body are to withhold intimate fellowship through the process and procedure of group disapproval and social ostracism as prescribed in procedures for Church Discipline outlined in step 3, (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Tit. 3:101 Tim. 5:20). This action has a two-fold objective:

  • It is to indicate to the offender that his/her action has dishonored the Lord and has caused a rupture in the harmony of the body. The goal is always restoration and the person is still to be counted as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
  • It is to create fear in the rest of the flock as a warning against sin (1 Tim. 5:20).

FIRST STEP

First, seek private correction and/or reconciliation with the offender (Matt. 18:15). In Matthew 18:15 many manuscripts have “and if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private.”

(1) When the problem involves one believer sinning against another, there are two problems that need to be taken care of: reconciliation and restoration (Matt. 5:23-24).

(2) When the problem involves a believer overcome in or by some sin, as was the case in Galatians 6:1, the need is restoration.

Matthew 18:16-17 should not be limited to the problem of one believer sinning against another in view of Galatians 6:1. So, the one offended or who recognizes the offense or sin is to go privately and try to rectify the problem.

Please note these guidelines:

(1) Begin by expressing your genuine appreciation for the person and their good qualities to show you are genuinely concerned about their welfare. Then and only then bring up the matter which is of concern.

(2) In some situations the sin is apparent and there is no question, but we must allow for the possibility that we have misjudged or have wrong information. We must listen to the other person’s side of the story and seek the facts in the interest of truth and fairness.

(3) If the person fails to respond, warn them that, according to the instructions of Scripture (Matt. 18:16), you will have to get others as witnesses and return with them to deal with the problem.

SECOND STEP

If the first step fails, take witnesses to strengthen the effect of the discipline, preferably spiritual leaders, so that if it has to be brought before the whole church it can be firmly proven and established (Matt. 18:16-171 Tim. 5:19). The aid of church leadership should be sought if the problem involves an offense that is against the whole body or if it is a threat to the unity of the body.

These initial contacts, private and with witnesses, provide opportunity for loving admonition, correction, and forgiveness. On the other hand, if these first steps do not produce results, it constitutes a warning that further action will be taken and provides occasion for serious rebuke (2 Tim. 4:21 Thess. 5:12-13Titus 2:15; 3:10).

THIRD STEP

If the second step fails, seek reconciliation and restoration through the whole body. If further action is necessary, it is to be taken before the whole church (2 Thess. 3:14-15Matt. 18:171 Tim. 5:20).

This action appears to fall into two stages when we combine 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 with Matthew 18:17.

(1) The body is to exercise group disapproval by way of social ostracism (refusal to have intimate fellowship).

(2) If this doesn’t work, the local body of believers is to exercise excommunication: removal from church membership, loss of voting privileges, and continuation of the loss of intimate fellowship. This must be approved of and done by the entire congregation (2 Cor. 2:6).

This is, in essence, the Lord carrying out discipline through the action of the entire body under the leadership of the elders or the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 5:4). Similar heavenly authority is seen in the ratification of this disciplinary action as spelled out in Matthew 18:18-19.

CAUTIONS

If you see the offense or you have accurate knowledge of the sin(s), please note these cautions:

  • Be sure it is an offense which calls for discipline and not merely one of our pet peeves. Again, the Word must be our criterion.
  • Remember how we too have sinned in the past and heed the warnings of Galatians 6:1.
  • Bring the matter before the Lord in prayer before the confrontation takes place (1 Sam. 8:6).
  • Don’t procrastinate. The longer the delay, the more difficult the condition can become. Remember the consequences listed above.
  • Don’t gossip or even talk to others about it in the sense of Matthew 18:16 until you have talked to the sinning believer privately. We must guard and protect the person and the flock from rumors and a slanderous tongue (Prov. 6:19b; 10:19; 11:13; 18:8, 21; 20:19).

From article by Jack Wellman: What the church says about church discipline – http://www.patheos.com

THE GREATEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED

Megachurch Pastor Jonathan Stockstill recently released his debut bookThe Real Jesus, Challenging What You Know About the Greatest Person Who Ever Lived, as a way to combat cultural Christianity.

Here we have a megachurch pastor realising that the church has largely failed in its mandate to produce disciples who can produce more disciples but he is yet to realise that the church model he continues to pursue is a major part of the problem. Nevertheless, his new book conveys important truths and the following edited transcript of Stockstill’s interview with The Christian Post where he identifies the differences between cultural Christianity and the biblical mandate to follow Christ is helpful to understand the state of the church. Another observation of Stockstill in this interview; in my opinion, he does not give sufficient recognition to the Holy Spirit and His role in every believers life.

The Real Jesus: Challenging What You Know About the Greatest Person Who Ever Lived

Christian Post: What inspired you to write The Real Jesus?

Stockstill: Three things: 1) I have seen that we live in a cultural Christianity — whether seen in our Christmas and Easter holidays, or in the gospel choir on the Grammys. We are a product of Christianity. I wanted to put the person of Jesus Christ back in the center of what it means to be a Christian. 2) I had an encounter with God in October of 2007 that forever changed my life. I talk about it in the book. 3) Jesus said, “if you love me, you will obey my commands.” That verse pierced me to my core and sent me on a journey of discovering exactly what He taught. This book is all about the man, the model, and the message of Jesus Christ.    

CP: Does Western society have different versions of who Jesus is?

Stockstill: Absolutely. … People commonly confuse their church attendance, spiritual habits, and good deeds as a sufficient substitute for their own faith in and relationship with Jesus. Yes, all of those things are great, but unless these actions are the result of an intimate relationship with our Savior, then it’s all for naught. Our faith in Christ should be so flourishing and fruitful that we can’t help but regularly do those things. 

Sadly, the idea of Christianity has become a to-do list for many, while Jesus just desires to know each of us more intimately.          

CP: How do you keep your ministry focused on the real Jesus despite the many different versions of Jesus that exist in this day and age?

Stockstill: Here at Bethany Church, our mission statement is: “Bringing all people into the life, family, and purpose of God.” If our ministry isn’t bringing someone into a personal relationship with Jesus, connecting them with other believers to do life with, or empowering them to live out the God-given purpose in their life, then we know that what we are doing isn’t of the real Jesus that we read about in Scripture.    

CP: What can someone do to identify how they might be following the wrong gospel?

Stockstill: To be a Christian means to be a little Christ. The only way you can be a little Christ is if you study Him, follow Him, obey Him, and allow His Spirit to transform you into His image. 

Simply put, if you have a religious tradition, but not the things I mentioned, you may be on the wrong track!  

CP: Along with being a pastor, you’re also a worship leader. Does being a worshiper help your connection with God?

Stockstill: For sure! Whether I’m leading or not, there’s no doubt that entering into the presence of God through worship is powerful. 

There are many instances in the Bible where praise preceded a breakthrough. No matter what it may sound like, declaring whose we are and who He is will always create an environment where God can work in our lives and reveal Himself to us. 

A Jesus-centered mentality has changed how I lead worship. When I lead in worship, I focus all my attention on Jesus. His presence follows.      

CP: What do you say to those who might not believe in real-life encounters with the son of God?

Stockstill: It’s human nature to doubt and play the “what if” game. However, Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” When you pursue Jesus, and not just what He offers, you can’t help but encounter who He is. 

For those with their own questions, I encourage you to seek out Jesus wholeheartedly for your answer(s) because you’ll soon experience for yourself everything that He is and wants you to become in Him.      

CP: Why do you think people do not have a real, raw and relevant relationship with God? What are the roadblocks? How can we cultivate that?

Stockstill: Life happens, and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the things of today. Intentionally creating time and space for any relationship is difficult. With a world full of distractions, it’s no wonder that people lack authentic relationships with others and God. You may be doing a bunch of good things but that doesn’t mean you’re doing what’s best. And it’s hard to know what’s best unless you’re in constant communication with who has given us His best. Being still and knowing that He is God is most definitely easier said than done. 

We can’t hear His voice unless we’re close to Him and have removed ourselves from the things of this life. Until we are disciplined enough to create space for God, it’s crazy to think that we’ll know Him fully. Jesus was intentional about His relationships with others and even sought refuge in a garden to get clarity from His father, so shouldn’t we learn to do the same.

CP: What are the benefits of being a true disciple of Jesus and not just a fan?

Stockstill: Being a disciple of Christ means that we have everything through Him that God’s Word promises. As His sons and daughters, we will never be without because we are one with Him. 

A fan of Jesus may temporarily experience these things, but being His means that it’s ours for eternity.    

URGENT WARNING: CHURCH WAKE UP

The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And when He is killed, after three days He will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.Mark 8:31-32

Just before Jesus death and resurrection when the disciples were shattered at the events unfolding and Jesus telling them He was going to die (three times) they asked Him about His future coming in power to rule and reign on earth.

Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3b

Jesus account of the events preceding His second coming (Olivet Discourse) is given in the three Gospels, Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 so it should be obvious that God wants us to heed this information.

One stark lesson Jesus gives us is in the parable of the ten virgins.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.Matthew 25:1

It is clear in this parable that Jesus is the bridegroom and the virgins are the church. The first thing we learn is that half of them were foolish and did not have oil for their lamps. Moreover, when they get oil and return Jesus says to them depart from me I do not know you.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 24:11-13

This should cause all pastors to be concerned. Half of the people in the church in the “last days” are not born again. What is the state of the church you attend?

A sure sign we are in the last days is the state of the church today with gay and transgender pastors accepted in many institutional churches. Therefore most people including the pastor in these churches are not born again with the Holy Spirit.

God’s word is clear, leadership in the church must be male just as leadership in the home is male. God has assigned roles and responsibilities for male and female and he assigns our gender at conception.

Bishop-elect Megan Rohrer of the Sierra Pacific synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Via Facebook.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Sierra Pacific synod on Saturday (May 8, 2021), becoming the first transgender San Francisco pastor, Megan Rohrer is the first transgender person to be elected bishop in the denomination or in any of the U.S.’s major Christian faiths.

The Sierra Pacific synod encompasses 180 congregations in northern California and northern Nevada, with more than 36,000 individual members and about 13,000 worshipers attending on Sundays. Bishops are elected to six year terms in the ELCA.

Rohrer was elected on the fifth ballot in Saturday’s episcopal election, edging out the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, pastor of the University of California, Berkeley’s Lutheran chapel, who led the voting until the final ballot. 

While gay bishops have served in mainline Protestant denominations since Bishop Gene Robinson was named a bishop in the Episcopal diocese of New Hampshire in 2003, transgender priests and ministers are only slowly finding acceptance. In 2007, Drew Phoenix was permitted to remain as pastor of a Baltimore United Methodist parish after coming out as transgender; the UMC appointed its first transgender deacon in 2017. The Episcopal Church approved transgender priests in 2012.

The other major concern from this parable is that at Jesus return all ten were asleep not just the five without oil. This is a clarion call for all believers and a reason for my call to alert the church to the coming tribulation and the prophesied events Jesus gave us so we would not be taken by surprise particularly by the great falling away that we are observing in the church today. I am glad to say that God has called many others to do as I am doing and it is important we stay connected. I make sure I include videos and message from these brothers in Christ on this website.

ARE CHURCHES BEHAVING LIKE MALLS IN THE AGE OF AMAZON?

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 earthGenesis 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.

“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives (eternal life).” Luke 21:17-19

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.