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.

HOW GOD USES CATASTROPHES

The conflict in Armenia has taken the lives of many soldiers and displaced over 100,000 people. All the while, the world has kept silent and preferred not to know about it. In November a Russia-brokered peace deal was agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It ended six weeks of war in which thousands of people were killed and displaced. In these conditions, the role of the Church has increased. People just have nowhere else to go. The church becomes the only place where people can be helped. The churches have become the beacons of hope for scared and suffering people. They don’t do services on Sundays because of the coronavirus but they continue serving refugees every day sharing their bread and their homes as well as words of comfort and hope. Even before the war, more than 32% of the population lived below the poverty line. Now with the conflict raging on, these alarming rates are growing every day. Asatur Nahapetyan, pastor and general secretary of the Baptist Union of Armenia, anticipates this conflict to linger and asks everyone to get ready for a hard winter. Over 100 families from Karabakh have been placed by Baptists in their homes and 42 people were accommodated in a conference hall in Razdan.

The church with a symbolic name Noah’s Ark (in Ararat) is providing shelter for 40 people. At first, the refugees were really afraid of Christians regarding them as sectarians but now they don’t want to leave. Pastor Araik says that people from Karabakh are not very religious and many of them still retain the Soviet spirit, but there are no atheists in trenches. The church in Ararat has 700 members. They all minister to refugees as one strong united team. “It’s the only place where we are welcomed,” say women refugees, who didn’t want to know anything about God just yesterday. They learned to pray in the church and when their husbands who are on the front lines call their wives many now say, “We didn’t believe in God but it was your prayers that kept us safe” women and children say to their pastor often, “When you pray we sleep well and we stop having nightmares.” Everyone lives on prayers here. It all started on the first day of war when the pastor called the mayor’s office and said that the church was ready to take in refugees. It’s been filled with people since then. It’s important to understand that the church prepared themselves for this ministry even before. The pastor says that successful work with young people changed the way the society viewed the church. “We fed 40 people every Saturday and took hot lunches to 20 families even before the war. Everyone knows us as the ark of hope and salvation. For people, we are not just a religious organization but a charitable organization. Although it’s interesting to see how the state church starts to imitate us. Priest David started doing what we do, preaching the Gospel, visiting people in their homes, meeting them and talking to them. Even the police say to people, ‘contact the church; they’ll help you there.’ Everyone respects us now.” Pastor Vazgen from the church in Abovyan says something similar: “Almost all the refugees that we received in our church have made a decision to follow Jesus.” The church in Artashat is also filled with refugees and it’s also filled with the spirit of hope.

 While evangelical churches of Armenia are serving their people we have an opportunity, even responsibility to pray for this ancient Christian nation.

ISRAEL’S FUTURE FORETOLD

There are many prophecies in the O.T. where God reveals to His prophets the end of the story for the nation He created. The book of Jeremiah is just one where we learn that God is going to restore both Israel and Judah back to their promised land but only after a period of trouble greater than anything they have experienced in the past.

For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
“Thus says the Lord: we have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace.
Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob, yet he shall be saved out of it.Jeremiah 30:3-7

Can it be said that any previous times of trouble fulfil the requirements of the prophecy here in Jeremiah 30 and 31 and answer to “the time of Jacob’s trouble”?

It does not seem that they do, for the simple reason that the prophecy before us clearly defines a time of trouble from which Israel is saved by Yahweh. This saving then brings about a spiritual revival. It is because of the saving of the people that they turn to God once again and are acceptable in His sight. This outcome cannot be said to have been accomplished in the past events of Israel’s history.

Could there be a gap in time between the trouble and salvation and the spiritual revival? By simply reading the text it is clear that the troubles from which Israel are saved and the spiritual revival are directly correlated – meaning that they have to occur together.

Consider what the prophecy says about the final outcome of the time of Jacob’s trouble: “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” Ezekiel 30:8-9

The two aspects are inextricably linked. Because Yahweh had saved Israel, therefore they serve Him. It is not only Yahweh that is served though – the spiritual revival causes Israel to serve Yahweh and “David their king, whom I will raise up unto them”. This is interesting – who is “David their King”? Is this not a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ? The one who the Lord God shall give “the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). The one who will “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). “David” means “beloved” and this is a term applied to Jesus in Matthew 3:17 where, after his baptism the Father says “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Therefore, due to these connections it is reasonable to conclude that the outcome of this prophecy is the Kingdom of God being restored again on earth under the rulership of the son of Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

‘Explosion of the Miraculous’: Thousands Hit the Streets in FL Where Souls Were ‘Running to Get Saved’

Huge crowds of Christians and people hungry for the gospel gathered in several cities across Florida over the past few days to stand together and proclaim the name of Jesus.

The “Let Us Worship” tour led by praise leader Sean Feucht came to Lake Eola Park in Orlando on Saturday. Despite the rainy weather, thousands of worshippers poured their hearts out as they sang, danced, and repented of their sins.

“Last night drug addicts and prostitutes off the streets were running to the altar to get saved!! The harder it rained, the more God kept pouring His Spirit out!!” Feucht wrote on Instagram. Go to the website seanfeucht to be inspired.

EARTHQUAKES AND VOLCANOES ARE NOW ERUPTING WORLDWIDE

The waves of earthquakes are rocking the centre of the U.S. and the sudden awakening of several volcanoes around the world may be a sign of the pre-Messiah shake-up predicted by the prophets. At the same time, several far more mild earthquakes in Israel seem to embody the Biblical concept of God’s mercy being aroused by Man’s actions.

The earth seems to be waking up as seismic activity is being reported around the globe. Last month, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake shook Idaho, generating a multitude of avalanches. The quake was the largest in the region since a 6.9 quake hit in 1983. There have been 238 earthquakes in Idaho in the last week according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. Five of those have been substantial in size rating 4.0 to 6.5. Idaho isn’t new to experiencing earthquakes.

Two weeks before Idaho felt the earth move, Salt Lake City, Utah, approximately 340 miles away from the Idaho epicentre, was hit by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake. Since that earthquake, there have been 886 smaller earthquakes and aftershocks in the Salt Lake area. The belly of the country is clearly rumbling as the University of Utah Seismograph Station mapped a total of 980 tremors throughout Idaho, Utah and Wyoming since March 18

Earthquakes and Volcanoes Are Now Erupting Worldwide

An article in Discover explained the epidemic of earthquakes as being caused by the continent “stretching,” a process described in German as “horst and graben.”

“As North America continues to stretch across the Basin and Range, these faults can generate earthquakes as the valleys continue to drop,” the article explained. “Both of the earthquakes that happened in Nevada and Utah recently were on one of the normal faults that bounded a valley.

VOLCANOES AROUND THE WORLD

But it is not just the central U.S. that is experiencing a seismic awakening. Since January 21, the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland has experienced more than 8,000 earthquakes and about 10 centimetres of land uplift due to magma intrusions underground. Geologists believe the volcanic systems in the region become active about once every thousand years. The last time this region experienced volcanic activity was 800 years ago. Beginning in the tenth century, the volcanically volatile period lasted for 300 years.

The region is about 30 miles southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, but is only nine miles away from Iceland’s international airport. A major eruption could shut down travel for all of Iceland as well as endanger the nearby town of Grindavik as well as the Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist destination. There is also a nearby geothermal power-plant which could be endangered by volcanic activity.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia exploded on Friday. Though two relatively small eruptions were recorded, the volcano is a hotspot and cause for concern. In 188, a Krakatoa eruption had one of the highest death tolls of any volcanic eruption, killing more than 36,000 people. The most recent eruption at the site was in 2018, generating a tsunami and killing 437 people.

Volcanoes are explicitly mentioned in the Bible as one of the “end times” signs as God shakes all that can be shaken as a wake up call that He exists and that He judges unrighteous nations.. The following Scripture reveals how God refines His own people.

And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name and I will answer them; I will say: ‘It is My people’ and they shall say: ‘Hashem is my God.’ Zechariah 13:9

LET’S REDEEM THE MOMENT

“As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’” (John 9:1-5)

Please note the Lord didn’t say this man was blind to the glory of God but rather that his blindness would be an occasion for the glory of God to be revealed. The man’s terrible, difficult, lifelong condition was an opportunity for the Lord to be exalted. That is the Jesus mentality. As He said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

The darkness is the divine setup for the light. The sickness is the divine setup for the healing. The current Corona virus crisis is the divine setup for the church to arise and shine and make a difference. We must seize this moment before it passes (and then, in the aftermath, once it passes). We must milk it to the full for the glory of God. I hope you agree.

Beijing Airport During Coronavirus Outbreak : Stock Photo

The big question for us all should be: What does God want to accomplish through this crisis? We all know the answer to that is: More will come to know their saviour, Jesus Christ and therefore the goodness of God. So, let’s seize the moment and redeem the crisis with our actions to reach out to those God has brought across our path.

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THIS HOUR

Francis Chan recorded a video from his new home in Hong Kong to remind the body of Christ to hold on to their joy, peace and trust in God during this unpredictable COVID-19 crisis. He says it’s amazing that he’s been preaching sermons about small-group church for years, and now that’s reality in many places around the world.

“This is one of the greatest opportunities we’ve ever had as a church where people are open to talking about serious things, life-and-death things, and suddenly we’re no longer in control,” Chan says. “I understand it is crazy, but don’t lose your love. …

It’s kind of crazy that for seven years, we’ve been preaching, ‘Come on, you guys, we’ve got to get ready: There’s going to come a day when we can’t get in these big gatherings.’ … And then two weeks after I leave, you’re living, and the whole country is having to live, that. But I believe it’s God’s grace on us to show us, ‘Am I prepared? Have I lost my love, my joy, my peace?‘”


			

GOD AT WORK

God is always at work with believers and unbelievers, on this earth, in His Cosmos, and there is no doubt He uses catastrophes for His purposes both to refine His people and to awaken souls to their need of Him, their Creator.

Looking at the Corona Virus in this light, hopefully. one can see what God is doing and how we can get in step with Him in our prayers and action.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Image

Sadly, in most church circles we are hearing prayers asking God to “come against” the virus.  Yes…may God’s Mercy prevail, but it’s time to see this virus as God’s WAKE UP call. Jesus told us that in the “last days” God would use pestilences, famines, earthquakes as wake up calls to humanity before He pours out his wrath upon the earth prior to Jesus return.

Jeff Daly of http://www.repentday.org presents an insightful view of what God is achieving with the corona virus in the USA.
“Allow me to present a totally opposite (but more spiritually accurate) understanding of what is REALLY going on in the unseen world.
In just a few short weeks:
#1) Public schools and colleges (which are mostly secular and Marxist in nature) are being shut down en masse as students are now being “home schooled” in droves.  
#2) Governors are calling on all “elective procedures” to be cancelled and/or postponed. It is not too difficult to see abortion death camps being shut down as all medical professionals are engaged in battling the Coronavirus to save lives instead of causing more death.  
#3) Sexual perversions involving unclean practices (particularly anal sex) are being looked at again in revulsion and questioned in terms of how they add to pandemic diseases. People are being cautioned against any behaviour that opens them up to diseases.

One can’t help but compare the current plague of pandemic virus to the Exodus story in scripture and the plagues God used there against Egypt.  Egypt represents all sinful societies; really every nation on the planet today.  Today, God’s people find themselves in bondage labouring inside sinful cultures.  At all times, the Living God protected the Israelites against the many plagues He sent to let His people go, covering them by the blood of the lamb to exit Egypt. Now we have the Blood of the Ultimate Lamb without spot, Jesus the Messiah, covering us who have repented from the world, died to our own old thinking and now believe in following His Way.  He is allowing this plague to awaken souls for their need for Him.  You and I are to be His salt and light with out neighbours and in the workplace, bringing them into the Kingdom at this hour of His timing. 

HEALTH EXPERTS FEAR CORONAVIRUS MAY BE ‘DISEASE X’

A new report from Bloomberg is enough to send chills up your spine! The World Health Organisation has been warning humanity for years that a mysterious “Disease X” could spark a global contagion. and this current coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender and it’s not helping any that many are fearing that this outbreak is playing out like a Hollywood thriller called “Contagion,” In the film patient zero is seen contracting the virus in Hong Kong — via a sick bat that infected a slaughtered pig handled by a chef who later comes into contact with the woman who spreads the virus. 

Health Experts Fear Coronavirus May Be ‘Disease X’

In less than three months, the coronavirus has infected almost 78,000 people, predominately in China, and has killed more than 2,300 and has spread to more than two dozen countries and now South Korea, Iran and Italy have stoked further alarm. “Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category,” Marion Koopmans, the head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and a member of the WHO’s emergency committee, wrote Wednesday in the journal Cell.

The report is indicating that unlike SARS, the Covid-19 virus replicates at high concentrations in the nose and throat of the patient similar to the common cold, and appears capable of spreading from those who show no, or mild, symptoms. This was the case with a report of a Chinese woman who recently infected five relatives without ever showing any signs of an infection presenting solid evidence that the coronavirus can be spread asymptomatically. This makes it impossible to control using the fever-checking measures that helped stop SARS 17 years ago.

Veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara told Live Science,  “If we want to protect people, it makes sense that we should detect these threats in animal populations before spillover to human populations.” The most disturbing thing about this coronavirus is the fact no one has yet to determine the source of the virus and “patient zero” has not been found.

Christians should not be surprised at what is unfolding in our day, Jesus said that in the “end times” just prior to His return to this earth: “there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:1112

God tells us that He sends pestilence among us and locusts to devour the land. Moreover He also tells us what we should do to put things right.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

IS AUSTRALIA EXPERIENCING JUDGEMENT FROM GOD?

Reported in The Australian 21st November, 2019

“Australia is entering uncharted territory this bush fire season. What’s evident from the experience in NSW and Queensland to date is that more of just about everything is needed to tackle the lethally dry conditions: more muscle power on the ground, more water-bombing aircraft overhead, more cash from the taxpayer.

“The risk is here, the risk is now, and we will have worsening conditions as we head into summer,” NSW Rural Fire Services Com­missioner Shane Fitzsimmons warns.

In Victoria, more than 80,000 households are without power, dust storms have struck and as fires worsen homes, lives and health are under threat. Melbourne is cloaked in dust and for some Victorians it’s too late to leave as fires circle. The bush fire threat continues across Australia, with Sydney shrouded in smoke.

Image result for pictures of fires in australia

Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland was razed back in September, something no visitor to that usually lush retreat backing on to World Heritage-listed Gondwana rain forest could have considered possible.

“If you had told me that Binna Burra was going to burn down and that was just the pipe opener to the fire season, I would have said you were nuts,” says David Bowman, the professor of pyrogeography and fire science at the University of Tasmania. “But now we are seeing all these other iconic places like Wauchope (and) Nightcap Range burning and it’s so un­believable. These are wet, subtropical or warm-temperate rainforests … I am trying to remain on an even keel. It’s so serious.”

More than one million hectares have been blackened in NSW — 2½ times the area affected on Black Saturday 2009 in Victoria — and Queensland has had more homes destroyed in the past 12 months than the accumulated losses from all past bushfire ­seasons. If scientists are agog, imagin­e the shock for the local communities and emergency services­, which have been stretched to breaking point this week, as the fire conditions in NSW touched catastrophic levels on Tuesday and continue to deteriorate north of the border.”

We know that the Bible says God is sovereign over everything. History also shows us that God does use catastrophes for His purposes. He also tells us that in the “end times”, droughts, famines, pestilences and earthquakes will increase. Sadly, Christians, even our Prime Minister, do not believe it is helpful for Israel Folau, nor anyone else for that matter, to suggest that God is involved in anyway in the current catastrophes, especially to suggest God is using them for His purposes.. I am not sure what they do with the following Scripture.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14