ARE OUR CHURCHES MAKING DISCIPLES?

Great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us.

His only obsession was to please the Father. We should be likewise obsessed.

Matthew reported that Jesus preached the gospel and healed the sick all over Galilee. (4:23) Because of his preaching and healing “His fame spread” which resulted in even more preaching and healing. (4:24) The predictable result of all this preaching and healing was that “great crowds followed him.” (4:25)

So, Jesus now has fame and crowds. The only thing missing (for modern success) is the fortune. But great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us. But it often does. Even in ministry.

What did Jesus do with His newfound fame and huge following? How did He “leverage his platforms” in order to increase his following? How did He alter His content to increase His followers? How did He monetise His influence? That’s what we would do, right?

Notice carefully what Jesus did. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain. And when he sat down, His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1).

Two important words: “crowds” and “disciples.”

1. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain.” Today when we see crowds in our Sunday service, in our campus ministry or on social media, we think we have succeeded. We must be doing something right and God is must be blessing our efforts. In order to be good stewards of our success, we do everything imaginable to maintain and grow our audience. Our first move is to leverage our platform for growth and influence. Jesus did the opposite. His first move was to walk away from the crowd.

2He traded a massive crowd of adorning followers for a small group of committed disciples. A careful reading of the Gospels will reveal that the more crowds followed Jesus, the more he retreated to be alone with the Father and with his disciples.

Every leader of a growing ministry will be faced with an important decision: attract crowds or make disciples. Will we leave the crowds in order to make disciples, or will we allow the demands of the crowd to pull us away from small group discipleship?

Too many pastors and ministry leaders choose the crowds. Pastor Francis Chan, author of best seller, Crazy Love chose correctly, as shown in my recent post Church as God Intended.

This article originally appeared at stevemurrell.com. Steve serves as the president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a ministry that does church planting and campus ministry in over 70 nations.

WHY I LEFT THE MEGACHURCH I CREATED!

Listen to Francis Chan, author of best seller Crazy Love, tell why the church needs to return to church as it is revealed in the Book of Acts. As the world gets darker (Godless), church as it is today no longer works. We need persecution to refine the church, to get back to church being family.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN YOU & YOUR CHURCH?

Us Christians, we should be continually astounded by what God has done and is doing for us and those in the world around us. Consider just a few of his mind-boggling blessings:

  1. You have been forgiven. If you’re a Christian, you carry absolutely no guilt for your past sins. Like a criminal who was released from death row, you have been declared not guilty, and you no longer face punishment. When you wake up every morning, you should pinch yourself as you realise how merciful God was to pardon you!
  2. The Father has adopted you. Adoption is a foreign concept in many cultures. There is not even a word for adoption in some languages. Yet God loved you so much that He brought you into His family, called you His child and shared His eternal inheritance with you. Have you taken time to ponder what that means?
  3. You can read and treasure God’s Word. There are still many people today who do not have the Bible in their language. There are others who live in countries where Bibles are restricted. Do you realize how high a price was paid by previous generations so you could have the Bible now? Do you read it with a sense of grateful humility? Do you realise it prepares us for coming events? There are more prophecies about Jesus second coming, than there were of His first coming, and there were over sixty of those. The Pharisees and Sadducee’s did not get His first coming, what about the church and His second coming. Is the church asleep, as were the ten virgins in that parable, five had oil in their lamps but all were asleep at the time of their Lord’s coming? I believe we are in the “last days” and as we watch events unfold, particularly in the middle east, we can line them up with the O.T. and N.T prophecies. As the world descends into increasing darkness, just as the Bible prophesied, is your church preparing you for these events?
  4. You have continual access to God’s presence. In the days of the Old Covenant, people who worshipped the true God could only do it from a distance. They stood outside the door of the temple while priests made sacrifices for them. You should pinch yourself now! Because we live in the New Covenant era, every born-again Christian can approach the throne of God with confidence. We worship the Lord in “spirit and truth” as Jesus prophesied to the Samaritan woman at the well.
  5. The Holy Spirit lives in your Spirit. Before Jesus came, the Holy Spirit only “came upon” certain people—prophets, kings or special messengers and sometimes only for a specific purpose or season. But today, because of Jesus’ atonement, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to rebirth your Spirit (died at The Fall). The Holy Spirit now lives in you 24/7. He is your counsellor, your comforter and your teacher. He prays for you, refines you, refreshes you, empowers you and leads you deeper and deeper into God’s truth. He is the one that produces the nine fruits of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self-control. He is also the one that enables your use of the nine spiritual gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Speaking in Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues. Shouldn’t you be in awe of a God who does that?
  6. You can enjoy God’s house and His people. Jesus said when we gather together, His presence is there. He dwells in His congregation. Yet many Christians have given up on the church because they got hurt, or because pastors weren’t perfect. But do you realise that the church is a miracle? It is the living body of Christ, and until He returns it will be the place where God accomplishes His purposes but find a church that stands on the authority of God’s Word. Don’t miss this profound blessing!
  7. You get to experience the Holy Spirit moving all around you. Ministries such as that of the Danish evangelist Sorben Sondergaard are experiencing Church as in the time of the “Book of Acts” where Holy Spirit healings and miracles are commonplace. The Holy Spirit is moving in profound ways today. Churches are growing rapidly in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, and many new churches are now being planted in the United States which stand on the authority of God’s Word. Instead of focusing on the negative trends you see in the media, you should stand in awe that we live in a day that ancient prophets longed to see.
  8. You are going to heaven. No matter what pain, sickness, disappointment or trial you face during your short time on Earth, you are going to step into an eternity where there is no darkness, no death and no tears. As Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Phil. 1:21. When this life is over, you are going to live forever. It will take an eternity to comprehend a God who would treat us so mercifully.

Please take time to ponder God’s marvellous, mind-blowing love. Pinch yourself and be reminded that the truths we read in the Bible are not just words on a page or dry doctrinal concepts. They are living realities that should shake you to the core and produce the purest form of wide-eyed, awestruck worship.

Modified article by J Lee Grady former editor of Charisma Magazine.

 

IS GOD GOING TO USE MICRO-CHURCHES IN THESE LAST DAYS?

A revelation received from the Lord by Lance Wallnau on the concept of micro-churches.

“A micro-church is what Daniel had in Babylon with his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah.

In Daniel 2:17, Daniel went to his house and made the dire situation known to his three friends.  If he could not interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the king would kill Daniel and all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel encouraged them to seek mercies from the God of heaven—that the meaning of the dream would be revealed.  Later, the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. God gave him Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and a download of what was going to happen in Babylon.  As a result, Daniel was appointed by the king to rule over the province.  When Daniel was promoted, he promoted his friends.

No matter how dark our world becomes—even if it reaches the level of sin as in the days of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar—those with the Daniel anointing will rise to lead. The Bible says that when Nebuchadnezzar had his dream, Daniel had to reach into the supernatural dream interpreting power of God.

As I reflected on this story, I said to the Lord, “So this is a vision of a house church.” The Lord said, “No, not a house church.  A house church doesn’t have a common work assignment.”

 So what are the characteristics of a micro-church?

  1. Common assignment. A micro-churchis when you come together with those who share the same calling and faith.  A house church is different. There is no common assignment in a house church other than fellowship and mutual edification.  A micro-church has a Kingdom agenda, a shared assignment that brings them together.
  2. Small in size.  I asked the Lord for another reference, and He took me to Peter’s arrest in Acts 12.  There again, when Peter gets supernaturally delivered he went to the one location that made sense—the house of Mary the mother of John.  When he arrived he discovered many gathered together in prayer for him (Acts 12:12).  It was a house filled with intercessors.  A micro-church is a praying company with a common assignment.  This is a group small enough to fit into a first century house.
  3. A company of people connected to your assignment.  Daniel’s friends all shared the assignment of Government, but Peter’s group was different. They were a company connected to the Apostolic assignmentof the twelve disciples. Therefore, even if the members do not share directly in your assignment, they may be connected to you as family and close friends. The key is that they are affected by what happens to you in the warfare of your assignment.  This group could include your spouse, your closest friends, your children. Proximity is criticalGathering together is a core principle.

Micro-church is the natural extension of any strong local or apostolic church. Not everyone has an assignment to go up against the gates of hell in the various mountains. Those who have been given this call need to be involved not only in the give and take of community life in a local church, but in a micro-church as well. You need to have a small company of people who are holding up your arms and standing with you in the assignment God gave you.  And you need to be standing with someone else in the battle they face. Until the local church establishes micro-churches in proximity to the gates of influence we are not yet an Apostolic church at the end of the age.

If this applies to you, I pray that this year you discover the power of a small committed company of like-minded warriors in your mountain.  If you are on a college campus or in the military or travelling more than 100 days a year with your business, you should answer the call of God to START your own MICRO-CHURCH! “

This resonates with my spirit and I saw it operate in the company I owned and operated for 30 years – Care & Share Products. We had a prayer group that were all involved in the enterprise that prayed at least weekly for the company and more often during a crisis.

Daniel 8 – Key Scripture for the END TIMES

Joel Richardson does a great job of challenging the church in these last days. What the mighty angel,  Gabriel says to Daniel is clearly an END TIME prophecy. Do we have a clear road map to view the days ahead in the Middle East? Joel thinks so, and challenges us be a Berean and check it our for ourselves. Is the looming “Day of the Lord” at hand?

Another great testimony from an indigenous brother and his granddaughter.

Let us declare with Pastor Anthony: “Today, I stand for righteousness. Righteousness will exalt a nation. We proclaim that this nation will have righteousness. We will go back to the cornerstone, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, and build our foundation on truth (God’s Word). Truth will build our family house. Trust in the word of God will establish and confirm our house.”

Watch Ps Anthony Edwards Snr. and Tilly Fejo’s story below:

2016: Another prophecy that resonates with all I am hearing from our Lord.

At the foot of the Cross

Recognize this prophecy is directed at the church in America, but its core message is relevant to us all. It is an abbreviated version of a prophecy given by Clay Nash. It appeared in the latest edition of Charisma Magazine. Clay serves on the team of Network Ekklesia International along with Dutch Sheets and Ken Malone as well as Global Spheres with Chuck Pierce and C. Peter Wagner.

“Many are asking what this year will bring. I want to seek to communicate some things God is revealing to me and how they will mesh together this year.

The first word I am hearing out of His heart and Spirit is “surrender.” Jesus in His humanity asked His Father to let His cup pass from Him, only to surrender by stating, “Not My will, but Your will be done.”

The Lord spoke to me, “Those who surrender to My will are going to reap where they have not sown this year.” Surrendering is not just a decision but a process.

The second word I have heard is “to sharpen our focus.” I have determined that, this year, I will be as “intensely intentional” as I can possibly manage. I am not just sharpening my focus to do things right, but intentionally sharpening my focus to do “right things.” The airways are so full of sounds, and the sounds are distracting, to say the least. It is time we clear our slate and press in to recognize His voice.

The Scriptures state in John 10: “My sheep hear my voice” and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. It is not about not hearing the other sounds that fill the airways; it is about allowing the authority of His sound alone to have any influence.

The third word I hear is “harvest.” The harvest that is at hand will be unprecedented in nature. This will prove to be an authentic harvest, producing disciples and not just converts.

Now I want to address a word that God has been building in me for over a year now. This word is a word of caution and direction to the church and the leaders in our nation. A word that I pray can be heard by leaders far and wide and those with greater influence and those with significant but smaller sphere of influence.

This final word I have heard is, “Will you continue to pursue your Rachel as your desire or will you focus on the Leah of your life and produce a legacy of inheritance?” Joel 3:14 says, “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of the decision.”

God began to speak to me about His church in our nation (USA): “Will you, My chosen, continue in your performance and preferences or will you surrender to a stance of submission, to obedience? Will you seek to impress the Ancient of Days in how well you look, how well you perform, and how well you speak or will you discern your heart and see that what is done is to impress those you desire to lead? Will you continue to make your worship so that it is the centre of your focus rather than My Presence and manifested presence?

I desire your obedience to emanate from your love for Me.

I have set before you a time to make wise decisions based on My will and a way that is not convenient. Will you seek to allow your preference to guide you, or will you yield, and allow My conviction to speak deeply to you and bring your heart to a place of surrendered passion?

“Will you choose Rachel—she who is beautiful, fancy and dignified—as the desire of your heart? Will you allow her beauty, the convenience of her attention and her dignified ways to influence your preference? I would desire that you shift in your attention and choose Leah—she who is plain, simple, undignified and uncomely, even dimmed eyed. For Leah, the ministry I have set before you, is surely not that which is attractive or convenient. For Leah will not attract the masses and give a look of success, but it will be the significance of your choice of Leah that can shift this nation from seven hard years of increased warfare and produce “deliverers” for this nation.

“It can be that even as from Jacob and Leah came forth a descendant, Moses, My deliverer, so it can be again. I desire to birth deliverers who can bring awakening that will establish reformation. It can be, says the Lord, as you choose Leah, out of obedience, over Rachel, no longer seeking to excel in the performance of how you look, but bringing forth an obedience that will produce fruit that will remain. From your obedience, I will birth a line of successors as strong as Moses and David. So choose to do My will and do not allow your desire to override My will.”

I ask us all to search our hearts and answer these following questions as we apply Matt. 6:6 (Message) “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.”

Will we turn from that which impresses and engage the grace which produces?
Will we turn from the relocation of sheep from one holding pen to another?
Will we allow God back into our worship with simplicity?
Will we allow the Holy Spirit to be Lord once again, bringing God’s liberty to our services?
Will we turn from the fear of man and allow the Holy Spirit to do whatever He wills even if it offends church attendees?
Will we turn from needing the mass in attendance to finance our man-designed programs?
Will we realize that it is time to properly position ourselves by empowering the saints to move forward and do the works of God?
Will we remove the Rachel of ministry and no longer trust it as “eye candy” that draws attention to us and our ministry?
I pray this word pierces hearts to the point that services are called off and ministries are suspended until a fresh word from heaven penetrates hearts and causes not only a shift but also a tipping point in our nation.”

The church is the USA needs to repent of not listening to God and not doing His will. Sadly the church in Australia is in a similar position to the church in the USA.

 

LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU

Consider how easy it is to tell the religious faith of many people in the world by their dress or actions. One religion’s members shave their heads, wear saffron-colored robes, play musical instruments, and chant and sing in public. The faithful of another religion stop and kneel for prayers, wherever they are, five times a day. Another religion’s orthodox members wear black coats and hats, white shirts, and have long, curly locks of hair or beards.

hindusburqa image

There is only one mark Jesus asked His followers to display to the world: the mark of love. He told His disciples,

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35)

It is not if we dress or speak a certain way or act religious in a certain way, but if we have love for others. Loving people the way Jesus loves people is the true mark of His followers. Love is the highest kingdom value (see Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 13:13).

Let our love and service for Christ be translated today into love and service for others.

Liberal Party decision has protected Australia from God’s judgment

Tony Abbott made a courageous, God honouring stand, to ensure there is no change to the Marriage Act in his term of Parliament. Nor can we forget the other 65 members that supported him.

Sadly the young activists supporting same sex marriage shown in the picture below marching in Brisbane August 8th, 2015 have no fear and knowledge of the one true God.

Same sex marriage

God is sovereign over nations. History shows that he uses nations for His purposes, raising up and deposing leaders, at will. King Nebuchadnezzar, greatest king of ancient Babylon (Daniel 2), is a good example as is King Cyrus (Cyrus the Great) founder of the Persian Empire (2 Chronicles 36:22) whom God used to bring the Jews back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

These young people therefore have no understanding that Tony Abbott’s decision protected Australia from further judgment by God.

As the consequences of changing the Marriage Act in countries such as Canada, UK, Ireland and the USA unfold, including persecution of Christians who hold to God’s ordained role of marriage, hopefully Australia will remain a beacon of light, blessed by our Almighty God.

The church of Australia needs to understand what a blessing we have been given and therefore responsibility to pray for and support our Christian brothers and sisters in all the domains but particularly Government. As well as Tony Abbott, Glen Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank comes to mind, as does Mike Baird, Premier of N.S.W., all three are staunch Christians.

Roman Catholic Ireland has just voted to legalize Gay Marriage.

Did gay deviant priests bring this debacle upon the Irish people?

Supporters celebrate outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on Saturday.

Supporters celebrate outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: AFP
NEWS BRIEF: “Church unnerved by Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ ” Sky News, Australia, 25 May 2015

“The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland is trying to come to terms with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage … the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape. ‘The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,’ Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told reporters after mass at the city’s St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

” ‘We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.’ ”

My wife exclaimed to me when she heard that Ireland had just voted to legalize gay marriage, “how could this happen in Catholic Ireland”?

The answer is both simple and profound. Ireland has lost so many tens of thousands of Catholic adherents for the same reason the Catholic Church the world over has lost so many — the scandal of gay deviant priests preying upon innocent children within the church has gotten so deep and so dreadful that families have been leaving in droves for years.

The pressure for Tony Abbott to legalize gay marriage is now increasing exponentially. After the Ireland announcement, listen to what the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is in favour of marriage equality, said, “Mr Abbott now needs explain why the Government is unwilling to pursue the change. If the Irish people can vote in favour of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott’s problem with it?” he said. “Most places in the world are dealing with marriage equality, why is Tony Abbott stopping Australia becoming a more modern nation?”

The world is quickly shedding God’s moral standards and sadly so much of the church no longer holds to God’s Word as TRUTH and it is infallible/inerrant. As a result, many church denominations have accepted gay marriage, gay priests along with other heresies.

Those nations, such as the U.S.A, that legalized abortion and have progressively taken God out its life, which now includes embracing gay marriage, are already under God’s judgment but don’t recognize it, and that judgment is set to escalate – see my posts on Jonathan Cahn, God’s prophet to America.

Prophesied last days events are unfolding rapidly, people who don’t know God and His Word will be shattered as it becomes obvious that governments are no longer in control and anarchy abounds.

I believe, it will be opportunity time for Christians as we understand what is happening. If we stay close to God, and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our activities, His church will bear much fruit in these last days.