DO YOU REALLY KNOW FULLY, WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST?

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of the One having called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.1 Peter 2:9 

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 

Once you enter in the Light of Christ, where everything has meaning, everything is important, everyone has purpose, then, and only then, can you truly love others and live a life that is pleasing to God.  We become keenly aware of the importance of obedience to God and how we perceive and care for others.  This is not simply a gospel of “being nice” but a deep knowledge that the devil is “playing for keeps.”  We must view people as souls either on the path to destruction or walking the straight and narrow.  We are not permitted to “cross the road” or “look away” when we see someone taking a beating by Satan.  Like the Good Samaritan, we are to GET INVOLVED.

Remember, when Jesus sent out the 70 disciples “to heal the sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” they returned saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Luke 10:9,17

Jesus told them not to rejoice in this fact but rejoice instead that their names are written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20), He nevertheless acknowledged the fact that devils MUST obey them. This is TRUTH! When passionate Christians wake up in the morning, Satan should literally SHAKE IN FEAR. We should be a daily reminder to him that his days are numbered. Sadly, how many of us believe and act out this TRUTH!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, It is time for your army of spiritual warriors to be released.  Let us not be bound up with things of this earth but let us set our sights on Your Heavenly Kingdom. Let us never forget the One who died for us so that we may win the spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls.  Already, we are seeing more of our brothers and sisters in Christ being martyred for their faith and we know from end times prophecies, that in the last days before Jesus returns that will only increase. Help us to be fully cognisant of the sacrifices that will need to be made. Please send the power of Your Holy Spirit afresh this Pentecost to equip us so that we may be courageous warriors in Your service. 

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GOD IS EQUIPPING MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES FOR “LAST DAYS” MINISTRY

Acts 2:17-18 says,In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even on my bondservants, both men and women, I will in those days pour out My Spirit and they shall prophesy.

You are not left out, this Scripture is inclusive of all people. If you are not experiencing Acts 2 manifestations of the Holy Spirit in your life like those on the Day of Pentecost, I want to encourage you not to measure revival or your personal relationship with God strictly by visible manifestations. In fact, one of the most distinctive signatures of revival is a renewed hunger for God and a deep desire to find your identity in Him. Pursue God with all your heart and He will come in. He is always at the door.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

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Here are a few ways Kris Vallotton of https://krisvallotton.com recommends for you to experience revival and refresh your relationship with God: 

  1. Hang out with people who are alive and well in God (even if they may be having manifestations you’re not having). You may have heard me joke about having the “statue of liberty anointing,” meaning it seems like everyone around me is often powerfully touched by God while I seem unaffected! Check out this short clip of a sermon where I share what God directly said to me about being moved by God.
  2. Share your faith and testimony with others. Psalms 119:99 says, “I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.” This simply means that when you allow your history with God to counsel you, rather than your fears or any other thing, you will indeed grow in stature and wisdom. Allow your testimonies to be your counsel. Share them with others, and witness the power that you’ve been given. 
  3. Be humble. You were born to be amazing—in the very image and greatness of God. I find that one of the biggest deterrents for owning your God-given greatness is the fear of stealing God’s glory. If you don’t want to steal God’s glory, then here’s some good news: you ain’t that big! And get this… the truth is you can’t steal something that was given to you (John 17:22)! For more on humility, check out a recent podcast of mine, Humility is the Way Forward

In these “last days”, I believe you will experience the demonstration of God’s power in your life because, as we’ve learned, God is pouring everything out on “one generation”—all flesh; He is not withholding anything from you. As a Believer, you are a walking encounter of the living God. You are the embodiment of God’s revival. 

WAKE UP CHURCH TO WHAT GOD IS DOING

Love this video: Could the World’s Darkest Hour become the church’s finest hour. It suggests; it’s opportunity time for the church. As church buildings close, Christians are starting to ask questions about how they can be church now. Realisation occurs to some, that the church has never been the building, but the people in the building, and that those people are called to be a blessing to a dying world. Jesus has charged them to bring the good news of Christ to these lost souls destined for judgement by their Creator, punishment and finally a second death.

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

END TIMES: GREAT FALLING AWAY IN THE CHURCH

Can we tell in advance who is going to be part of the Great Falling Away, The Apostasy? Can we anticipate apostasy in our church by observing the actions and beliefs of churchgoers? Based on what the Bible tells us, the answer is YES. Churchgoers may act like they believe, but remember Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22

Watch this Nelson Walters YouTube Video to find the answers.

BOOK OF ACTS CHURCH IN OUR DAY

During a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference, Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, revealed what God is now calling him and his family to do. A trip to minister in a village in Myanmar where there were no believers , no not one, and seeing God turn up to heal not one person but everyone Francis laid his hands on, has changed Francis and his families lives. This is a story you need to hear, so I have attached his sermon, hopefully it will change your life too.

“At one point, we were in this village that had no believers, like zero. Not a single one,” he recalled. “And this lady had built a relationship with the head monk and the village leader and somehow was able to work out that we could go into the village.”

“My translator told me he had been in that area before and was chased out with knives and stones thrown at him, so he was terrified,” Chan continued. “But the entire village showed up, and I had the honour of sharing the Gospel through a translator, to be the first one to lay out the Gospel and explain that they had a Creator and explain that He had a son and explain what He did on the cross and the resurrection.”

“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”

Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering. 

“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.”

“Every person I touched was healed,” Chan declared as the audience applauded.

“You guys, OK, this is craziness to me,” he added. “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.”

Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.”

“I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared. 

Francis admitted that when he walked in the village, he had a “little bit of fear,” adding, “I said, ‘No, no, this is no different than if You walked in the village, and I know what you’d do, Jesus. You’d proclaim the Good News and you’d heal.'”

“I started having this mindset again of going, ‘No, no, this is what the Word of God says. You said I would do the same things that You did, and even greater things. Jesus, I know what You would have done in this village.’ I believe there was something about that faith, I believe there was something about the unity that we had as a group there,” he explained.

Chan said that although he disagreed theologically with some of the individuals on his team, he believes God was “honored by this fight for unity, and I believe God was honoured by this pursuit of the unreached, and obeying the Great Commission and we saw power.”

“And I don’t know that that means it will happen every time,” he clarified. “My theology says I don’t think it will happen everywhere … but best I understand Scripture, He wants me to believe in my unity with Him, this power that I have because He and I are one. He wants to believe that you and I can become perfectly one.”

Chan revealed that in three weeks, his family plans to move to Hong Kong and go to “some places that are pretty sketchy, dangerous.” The reality of persecution, he said, has caused him to “evaluate” his beliefs. 

“Do I still believe that my life has no value outside of accomplishing what God wants me to do?” he asked.

The pastor said that while he loves to preach the Word of God to believers, it’s “nothing like” preaching to people who have never heard the name of Jesus. 

“So I’m excited. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be moving, Lord willing,” he said. 

During the service, Chan also compared Americans to “spiritual foodies,” adding: “All of you are. … We’re just picking it apart. And I just go, ‘I don’t know if I can do that anymore when there are people who have no spiritual food, who have never heard the name of Jesus.’”

“I say this because there’s a crowd of young people here, and you’re thinking about what to do with your life,” Chan continued. “Just think through the calling of Scripture, because I want that peace that I felt there. I want that for your life, and I know what you’re going to face your entire life here. You’re going to hear a lot of lies and a lot of those are going to come from within the church.”

“If I had listened to those voices, I would’ve missed out on so much of life because so many people, even in the church today, they’ll reason with you from their logic rather than from the Scriptures,” he warned. 

Chan said it is “crazy” to him that it’s “perfectly normal” to be a Christian in America and be “obsessed with staying alive,” citing John 12:25: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

“Is that what you really see in the Scriptures?” Chan asked. “The only thing I’m trying to do with my every breath is complete the ministry He gave me. If I’m going to breathe another day, it’s to finish the task that He’s given me, which is to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I just want to get out and explain the grace, what God has given me, through Jesus Christ.”

2020 – YEAR FOR DISCIPLE MAKING MOVEMENTS

Joseph Mattera joins the list of Christian leaders in the USA that recognise that God is bringing about radical change in His church. It is imperative that believers have truly died to self and live life directed by the Holy Spirit.

He says in an article in Charisma News entitled Five Ways God is Reforming His Church in 2020. “I believe 2020 is the year when more and more leaders will attempt to build “disciple making movements”. The corporate business model of doing church—which took off in the 1980s—has proven that, irrespective of the crowds they garner, they usually fail at disciple making. Jesus proved that focusing on disciple making was the key to building the largest and most effective movement the world has ever seen.

This will be the year when disciple making will gain the traction needed to eventually challenge the assumptions of the “CEO convert driven” model of church.

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Luke called his historical narrative “the book of Acts” (or the book of Action), not “the book of theology or philosophy.” The Scriptures were written to tell the story of our missionary Father/God, who loved the world and gave up His only Son to save every tribe, nation and people. Those who are truly hearing the heart of God will read the Bible with a missional lens and desire to demonstrate the power of God to a lost and dying world!

In the context of the church, they will live to empower disciples for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12) and in the context of the world, they will desire to manifest His power in a way that proves Jesus rose from the dead. Consequently, many new evangelists will begin to arise (as we saw in the “voice of healing” movement in the 1950’s) and some will eventually fill stadiums, proclaiming the gospel and praying for the sick. (In the past decade, we have only seen a trickle of what is to come!)”

May the reformation of the church that started in the 16th century continue until the Lord Himself comes back for His bride. May all who read this post have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His Body!

2020 – TIME FOR A NEW HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT

Those that have been reading my posts for awhile now, know that my call from God is to provide videos and power point sermons for the last days church (http://www.powerpointsermons.net). Believing that the end times church will be a return to the church as described in the Book of Acts – a house church movement.

Francis Chan has taken a similar position having walked away from a church of 5,000 in 2010. He recognised that God expects every person in the congregation to use their spiritual gifts for the body not just show up and hear and see Francis use his gift. Moreover, the cost of running his show was millions of dollars.

Torben Sondergaad has reached a similar view of church for 2020 and I encourage you to view his video below explaining his journey to reach this position.

MEGACHURCH MODEL IN DISARRAY

After the suicides of two young pastors of Megachurches, one in 2018 and one this year, Rev. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, surprised his congregation earlier this month with an announcement that he is stepping away from his ministry for a season because he feels far from God, tired in his soul and needed to recuperate mentally and physically.

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“From January 1 (2020) to April 1. I am walking away from every responsibility I have as pastor,” Wesley announced in his sermon on Dec. 1.

“You can’t pour out of an empty cup. It is very dangerous for your pastor to be on empty,” he told congregants.  “I need to take care of me.

In a sermon entitled “Selah” on the value of rest, Wesley noted how common pastoral sabbaticals are in white churches while pointing out how rare it was in black churches. He argued that many black pastors don’t take sabbaticals because they are afraid attendance might dip and affect the bottom line or the church may just function just fine without them.

The journey of Francis Chan from a Megachurch in California to starting a successful House church movement and more recently to a ministry in Hong Kong demonstrates God is taking His church back. The end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. Take a look at my recent post Thailand – Free in Jesus Christ to see the Book of Acts church in action.

WHY PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

Extensive new research from The Barna Group shows that nearly half of young adults worldwide who have a connection to Christianity feel that the Church can’t answer their questions. 

Barna, a California-based evangelical research firm, partnered with the leading international evangelical humanitarian organisation World Vision to compile “The Connected Generation” study. 

Published in a research report, the study is based on a survey of 15,369 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 across 25 different countries and nine languages. 

According to the study, one in three young adults (32 percent) said “hypocrisy of religious people” causes them to doubt things of a spiritual dimension. Almost half of the young adults who have left Christianity see the religion as “hypocritical.” 

Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said “science” also challenges their willingness to believe. Which is one reason why we need to connect young people with Creation Ministries International (CMI) http://www.creation.com.

One-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said human suffering and conflicts around the world cause them to have doubts. Once again, having a Biblical world view is so important. Understanding that SIN introduced by man’s disobedience and lack of trust in God is the cause of all of man’s troubles.

“It’s always the question of why God allows suffering; this is the biggest objection to Christianity. And there is no easy answer to it,” Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London and pioneer of the Alpha Course, wrote in an essay published with the research report. 

I would agree with Nicky that there is no easy answer, but the only answer that makes sense of the world’s condition is JESUS and what He has provided for us, both salvation and the provision of the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, comforter and teacher.

The survey found that only 13 percent of respondents globally who grew up with a Christian background can be labelled “resilient disciples” today.

 A “resilient disciple” is someone who attends church regularly, engages with the faith community beyond just attending worship services, trusts firmly in the authority of the Bible, is committed to Jesus personally, and expresses a desire for their faith to impact their actions. 

Thirty-eight percent of respondents who grew up with a Christian background were defined by Barna as “habitual churchgoers” who do not fit the definition of “resilient disciple.”  Among respondents with a Christian background who live in countries with a “secular climate,” the survey found that only 5 percent can be defined as “resilient disciples.”

Eighty percent of young people who left Christianity said they believe that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual,” while 81 percent say present-day Christianity is judgemental.

Seventy-four percent of those who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity is “out of touch with reality.” Only 60 percent of respondents who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity “consistently shows love for people.”

Strangely, more than half (57 percent) of respondents to the survey, however, said they feel as though religion is good for people and society. 

“Ultimately, the only answer to it is in Jesus, who suffered for us and suffers with us. So that is the answer, but it’s much harder to get to. We’ve got to answer their questions, but more importantly, they want to know what we’re doing about [these issues]. If the Church is doing nothing and is not engaged in social action against homelessness, poverty, racial injustice, climate change or any of these issues, young people are not going to be very interested:, says David Kinneman, President of Barna Research.

END TIMES CHURCH WILL BE FOCUSED ON BRINGING OTHERS TO JESUS

Are churches preaching Jesus as a means rather than as the end? “Come to Jesus! Jesus will bless you! Jesus will heal you! Jesus will help you! Jesus will prosper you!

Now, all these things are true. Jesus is concerned about us. But according to the New Testament, these promises are the byproducts of the gospel, not its central message and core. The gospel is not about me. The gospel is about Him.

Loaves and Fishes Christians

“Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26).

In John’s Gospel, the miracles that Jesus performs are called “signs” because they point to who He is as the Son of God. He is their long awaited Messiah.

In this context, it is obvious that Jesus rebukes the people for seeking Him out of self-serving motives. They are not seeking Him because they recognise who He is. They are seeking Him for what they think they can get from Him. They see Jesus as a means to their own personal comfort rather than as the end and goal of life.

Because we have preached a man-centred gospel, our churches are filled with self-centred, immature Christians. They can speak in tongues and prophesy, but they have no real power to counter the forces of darkness so evident today.

Ephesians 1:10 says that God will “gather together in one all things in Christ”. The phrase “gather together in one” is the translation of a Greek word that means “sum” or “total.” In other words, when all of God’s activity in time and eternity are totalled, it will add up to Jesus Christ. He is the end and goal of God’s plan and purpose.

Repentance is the refocusing of a person’s life so that self is no longer the end or goal.

Let us, therefore, repent and take “self” off the throne and enthrone Jesus as Lord. Let us not be afraid to present the demands of His character and grace to this generation. As we proclaim Him as the end and goal of life and eternity, I believe we will see the church refocused on the Great Commission – It’s all about bringing others to Jesus as declared by Australia for Jesus.