CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

Church Revolution Today

The first Christian leader who read this book changed what they had been doing in starting new churches. Following the Biblical model in Church Revolution Today, in 5 years they started over 6,000 house churches and saw over 60,000 new baptized believers. This book is indeed revolutionary.  

available from http://www.jimsbookstore.com for a donation

The author, Jim McCotter, has personally started countless house churches and a worldwide movement of churches. He has trained thousands of believers in how to win others to Christ and how to work together to grow and multiply churches in cities throughout the world. Some that Jim has trained internationally and that have read this book are now starting, on average, more than one new house church a week.
Jim has proclaimed the Gospel in person to tens of thousands in cities and universities all over the world. And through newspapers, radio networks and television stations, which Jim and his team have owned and operated, he has communicated to literally millions of people nationally and internationally advancing the Kingdom of God. Now Jim and his team are developing new media, interactive multimedia, to reach every nation in the world.

Think about it… without any modern-day transportation, communication, or technology the New Testament churches were literally fulfilling the Great Commission in their day. It was even the heathen that were saying, they are “turning the world upside down for Christ!” Yet today, Christians have not even turned one city upside down for Christ, much less the world! Something is wrong! The church and church leadership must dramatically change. We must humble ourselves and acknowledge that the churches, spiritual leaders and we are missing the mark. It is we that must be revolutionized. We need a spiritual revolution.

Charles Otieno Owino of the Kenya House Church Movement brought Jim McCotter to my attention and I am glad he did. Make sure you read it and bring it to the attention of all those who want to be obedient to God’s call to preach the Gospel, particularly to pastors in traditional denominational churches.

HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES

God is over mankind and all of us are under God’s authority. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation and human beings were given authority over all other aspects of that creation. These two facts of reality are unassailable– in virtue of this we, as free agents, are burdened with hierarchy. And, being burdened with it, we are burdened with “moral responsibility” and “inescapable accountability”.

The structures of the biological family and of God’s spiritual family, the Church, are also hierarchical. To advance this truth today will obviously put one in the crosshairs of many who resent hierarchy in both arenas. However, the Church’s purpose is not to be the culture, it is to subvert the culture and call it to repentance.

The Triune God Is the Source of Hierarchy

Jesus subordination to the Father discloses something transcendent to us: the eternal subordination of the second Person of the Trinity to the First:

““Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.” John 6:57

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:18

These and several other passages, especially in John’s Gospel, reveal that there is subordination within the Trinity itself. This is why hierarchy can never cease to exist. Because there is a hierarchical relationship within the very Godhead, in the Son’s eternal subordination to the Father, and because the creation proclaims the glory of God, there can therefore never be a creation without hierarchy.

The problem, therefore, is not with hierarchy. The problem is what we as sinful creatures do with the authoritative roles that exist within hierarchies. That is the problem that requires our attention. All other attempts to eliminate hierarchy, authority, or subordination are but fool’s errands. They are quixotic undertakings that can never be realized and that only lead to our own misery as we continue to tilt at windmills.

Servant Leadership

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45

“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:12-14

And so while bad hierarchies or bad people who fill authoritative roles within a hierarchy may corrupt our understanding of it, it is not “hierarchy£ itself that is the problem. In fact, it is part of the solution to our modern malaise, our current malady of “tyranny of the masses.”

Unfortunately, for a culture saturated with Critical Theory in its various manifestations, just the mention of hierarchy, often construed as “subordination,” will engender a kind of primal rage– one that goes so far as to abandon the neutrality of law itself. Mari Matsuda, one of the founding mothers of Critical Legal Theory, explains the need to dismantle hierarchy and the means by which it might be done:

“Through our sometimes painful work in coalition we are beginning to form a theory of subordination; a theory that describes it, explains it; and gives us the tools to end it. As lawyers working in coalition, we are developing a theory of law taking sides, rather than law as value-neutral.” Matsuda, Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory out of Coalition

For Matsuda, any structure of authority in the culture is a threat to autonomy. It is “subordination” to an authority other than the self, and subordination of any form to an external authority is treated as an intrinsic evil.  The means to end “subordination” for Matsuda is to turn the law itself into a tool of political activism; to make the law “take sides.”

In this vision of the law, lady justice (or “person justice”) has the blindfold removed. Now the all-seeing eye of justice can impose justice where justice has been neglected. But this imposed justice cannot tolerate inequality of any kind, and so hierarchy in all its forms and manifestations must go–to include hierarchy in the family. As is with any Marxist-inspired mode of thought, however, the injustice that might have to occur in the process of righting previous injustices is given little to no consideration.

Jesus, unlike modern, Ivy league-trained lawyers, has a very different view of hierarchy and authority. On the one hand, he commends those who recognize their place in hierarchical structures, praising them in fact for their faith:

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healedFor I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.Matthew 8:5-13

The centurion’s grasp of his place, both as a man under authority and one in authority, is held up by Christ as a model for others. Of course what stands out in this account is that the man in authority, the centurion, comes to Jesus on behalf of his servant–out of genuine concern, out of love, for the one under his authority.

This is servant leadership. It is the same kind of servant leadership that Jesus Himself exemplifies in paradigmatic form as the Creator of the universe who comes into His own creation to serve it:

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. Mark 10:45

“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

GOD USES CATASTROPHES FOR HIS PURPOSES

Just as Covid has caused massive disruption to the world now we have Russia invading Ukraine which has caused an enormous refugee crisis. Just as we see in the Book of Acts, catastrophes are opportunities for the church to innovate and to step in and help.

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.

Churches in countries neighboring Ukraine have opened their doors to shelter and aid refugees as the United Nations refugee agency estimated Thursday that 1 million people have fled the Eastern European nation since the beginning of Russia’s invasion last week. 

“In just seven days, 1 million people have fled Ukraine, uprooted by this senseless war,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement. “I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years, and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one.”

Many of the displaced have fled to neighboring countries such as Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Hungary, while many more remain in Ukraine. 

Churches in neighboring countries are among community centers and camps sheltering refugees who’ve fled from the violence, with some seeing hundreds of Ukrainians coming and going in recent days. 

Refugees from Ukraine are pictured after crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border in Korczowa on March 02, 2022. – The number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has surged to nearly 875,000, UN figures showed on March 2, as fighting intensified on day seven of Russia’s invasion

As Poland has taken the brunt of the Ukrainian refugees, one church that has served as many as 400 refugees is a Baptist church in Chelm. According to the Baptist Federation of Europe, the church is “filled with life” as it has pushed its pews out of the way to make room for beds. 

“It is not tension that you feel as you enter the building but life, peace, and joy,” a statement from the federation reads. “Children laugh and play while mothers prepare for onward journeys. The church piano plays a variety of tunes, none of the hymns, as the children practice their piano lessons.”

“Pews are in the pulpit and beds fill the sanctuary, the balcony, and every available space,” the statement adds. “Ukrainian and Polish families work side by side, making food, receiving donations, and cleaning the toilets. The laundry vibrates as the three new washing machines continue their endless 24-hour cycle. The supply rooms are full of children excitedly selecting new clothes and discovering new toys that have been donated.”

The church’s kitchen has supplied soup, snacks, and hot meals for the refugees arriving while packing lunches for the refugees that depart. The church receives help from local hotels that provide clean linen for the beds. 

The Polish Baptist Union hopes to house as many as 1,000 refugees. Polish Baptists have established 40 shelter camps. The PBU provides the camps with bedding items, food, and hygiene items, while Send Relief, IMB’s relief arm, provides funds to assist in the relief efforts. 

First Baptist Church of Gdasnk, Poland, will host one of the refugee centers, according to IMB missionary Ken Brownd. “It’s just cool to see Polish Baptists stepping up and taking care of their neighbors. They’ve done that for a long time now, but this is a different level,” Brownd was quoted as saying in an IMB report “Our team is trying to organize the Send Relief help … but really, this is mostly driven by Polish Baptists, so we’re not the main players in this at all. We’re helpers, and so it’s amazing.”

If nothing else Christians all around the world need to be in prayer and look for ways to financially support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and the surrounding nations that are reaching out to help the refugees.

MEGACHURCH EXPOSED

The explosive three-part docu-series, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, will premiere on Thursday, March 24 on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service, with all three episodes available on that date. Featuring interviews with Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall, the series will explore the high-profile, star-studded church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and cover-ups.

Is this church as it is described in the Book of Acts? I am sure it is not, just as the institutional church model is not God’s model for His church.

CHURCHES ARE BEING TRANSFORMED IN THE USA

We are so excited by the amazing fruit being harvested at the Last Reformation Kickstart Weekends that are happening all over the world. They are transforming people’s lives. Even churches are being transformed as you will see in the video below.

Here a whole church got transformed, the Pastor got baptized, and they are now changing the way they are doing church and will go and start small groups. This is transformational!

If you live in the USA and have the opportunity to go and join a Kickstart near you, Torben and his team would love to see you. Keep your eyes on TLRMap.com, where there are often new Kickstarts. For example, in California, a new Kickstart will happen at the beginning of the year in the southern part.

However, you don’t need to wait for a Kickstart Weekend. You can host your Kickstart by using the Kickstart Package. The Kickstart Package comprises seven videos where you get all the teaching for a Kickstart Weekend. The Package comes with a leaders book along with a workbook. Of course, it is not the personal contact you get in a Kickstart Weekend. However, it allows you to host it where you are, such as in your living room. You can invite people over to your home, and you can be the host. Use this tool to reach out to others around you just like other people have done.

Below is a testimony from Jeff and Diana in Pennsylvania.

Testimony from Pennsylvania

Jeff and Diana Ellis hosted a Kickstart in a conference center in downtown Butler, PA. This was the first time they used the Kickstart Package in a seminar-type event vs. a home setting. They utilized the Kickstart Package videos, engaging the workbooks. There were about 25 people in attendance, two of the attendees got baptized, and several received prayer and personal ministry.  Jeff stated, “we learned that anyone could do a Kickstart using this package. However, if you have more than four attendees, it is good to have other disciples present to minister alongside you. Overall, for our very first Kickstart, I believe this was a successful event!”

Jeff and Diana plan to follow up with several people for Bible Discovery Groups and do more Kickstarts.

ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE REALLY HAVING CHURCH?

This post is taken from a great article by Shane Idleman: The great shrinking church in America.

It’s clear that many churches have closed or have considerably shrunk in size since COVID-19. Reasons range from “church-goers are still scared to return,” to “they prefer watching live feeds.” But why have bold churches experienced tremendous growth? This issue is much deeper — it’s crystal clear that people are hungry for the truth. 

As a church in California located in Los Angeles County, I understand the enormous challenges of pastoring in these dire times. But, if the truth is told, the COVID crisis simply revealed the foundation of many churches, as well as the heart of many pastors. But thank God, there is hope! 

Pastors, I’m writing this to you to encourage you to be bold as you lead your congregation through these difficult and challenging times. But this boldness won’t come naturally, it will come supernaturally. It will have a cost:

“Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much — death to self, crucifixion to the world, and the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching only can give life. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man” (E.M. Bounds).

The fire of the Spirit is contagious 

On October 25, 2021, we began having church every night at 6 pm for two straight weeks. At times, the atmosphere was overwhelming — a full altar, dozens of baptisms, the demonic realm being crushed and countless lives changed, both in person and through Livestream. As the old-timers used to say, “God heard our cries and showed up!” The key verse for us was Isaiah 64:1, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.” (You can view the services here.)

Speaking boldly is no longer optional, it’s essential. That’s the missing ingredient today. God is no respecter of persons, status, or achievement, but He is a respecter of principles (Acts 10:34). If you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. Then you will be better equipped to lead your congregation to the Fountain of Living Water once you yourself have drunk deeply. The fire of the Spirit is contagious.

This doesn’t mean that your church will grow; it could shrink, but it does mean that you’ll now have the power of the Spirit resting upon your life. Churches filled with the Spirit do the works of the Spirit. Jesus said that “whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NIV).

If your church doesn’t look like the New Testament church, are you sure that you’re truly “having church”?

Dead is for a graveyard, not a church

The Christian life is to be living and vibrant, not dry and dead. It begs the question: “Where are the rivers of living water that Jesus spoke about in John 7:38?” When it comes to experiencing a spiritual awakening (revival), it can’t be worked up, it must be brought down from heaven. 

In Lev. 9:23-24, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and the fire came down and consumed the burnt offering. God brought down the fire, but the responsibility fell on the leaders to keep the fire burning. They were to remove the waste but not the fuel. The same holds true for you and me. We must remove the waste of pride and add the fuel of humility.

Ignite your church with prayer meetings and worship nights. Humble yourself and lead the way and find comfort on the altar as you cry out to God for boldness. The two-week event described above was over a decade in the making as we persisted in seeking the heart of God. He truly is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). When God chooses to give us a measure of revival in our bondage, worship, humility, and obedience, He will keep the flame going. 

The beauty of brokenness 

The beauty of brokenness is that humility crushes pride and ushers in the presence of God. Moses spent years on the backside of the desert as God broke and prepared him. Joshua’s humility no doubt came from lingering in the presence of the Lord. Isaiah was completely broken when he cried, “Woe to me! … I am ruined! …. My eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). Jeremiah collapsed and cried out for humility in the people, “My soul will weep in secret for your pride” (Jeremiah 13:17).

The Psalms are saturated with the brokenness of David, and Jesus’ disciples had to be crushed like olives so the anointing oil could flow. Paul had to be knocked to the ground and his eyes blinded by the glory of God before true humility became a mark of his ministry.  

Do you sound like a voice “crying in the wilderness” because you’ve been touched by God, or a voice whining in the wilderness because you’re dying spiritually? You can change that today. 

We provide the sacrifice, He provides the fire

When you lose intimacy with God, you lose boldness and the Spirit’s fire. Return to Him, and He will return to you (Zechariah 1:3). The strength of your church is in its purity and spiritual power, not in its numbers. God doesn’t need a majority — He is the Majority. We are not CEOs running a business, we are watchmen warning a nation. Prayer can no longer be a footnote at the end of a sermon; instead, prayer and worship must guide the church in these critical times.

How can you receive a measure of revival in these dire times if there is no desperation? God can’t pour into your heart if it’s already full of self: Self-willed. Self-sufficient. Self-made. Self must die in you before God can really live within you. 

The greatest hindrance to revival is within your own heart. It’s time to break up your fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (cf. Hosea 10:12). Again, although we can’t work revival up, God can bring it down from heaven if we prepare the soil of our hearts. We provide the sacrifice — He provides the fire.

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane’s sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at shaneidleman.com or wcfav.org

My followers know that I believe the church in the end times will be the church as described in the Book of Acts. I promote the church model as modeled by Francis Chan which is House Churches, no paid pastors, and no buildings. Nevertheless, I thought the truths expressed by Pastor Shane Idelman are worth a post.

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