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.
“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 dipand 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.
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll,just 30% of respondents identifying as Millennials or Generation Z (ages 18-38) say religion or belief in God is very important, which means70% don’t believe in God.This compares with 67% of those over 55 who say belief in God is important.
The above poll results demonstrate, conclusively, the devastating effect the teaching of evolution as fact in our schools and universities has on belief in God and His Word.
Despite the fact the latest scientific evidence, particularly the DNA Encode project, has proved conclusively, living things are highly complex, with an extraordinary multi layer level of information on the DNA. Moreover, the DNA controls highly complex machines in the multitude of cells that make up a human body so that only intelligent design can be their source. The information on the DNA, and the design of the machines in the cells, had to be correct when the organism came into existence (irreducible complexity). Evolution by random chance is nonsense and yet it is still being taught in our schools and universities. Why? Because they cannot countenance a supernatural God, certainly not the God of the Bible. Moreover, they are oblivious to the fact that supernatural beings are influencing their actions. This is spiritual warfare as described by Paul in God’s Word.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”Ephesian 6:11-13
Another devastating result is most respondents under 38 do not see having children as very important while some 54% of respondents over 55 say it is.
Don’t believe in God, and judgement, and life after death, then why be concerned about anything but self. God’s Word prophecies that prior to Jesus second coming that this is what it will be like for Christians.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24: 9-14
Will the church be prepared for the coming tribulation? What is being preached in your church about increasing persecution of Christians and the end times? Has your church compromised with the world on gay marriage and homosexuality?
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.
This article is by Ron Cantor. He is the CEO of Tikkun International, a global family of Messianic congregations, leaders and ministries dedicated to the restoration of Israel and the church.
“For the past few years, a wave of healing and prophetic evangelism has been taking place in Israel. I know this because I’ve witnessed it firsthand.
In Hebrew, the word for “preaching the good news” or “evangelist” is mevaser. About a year ago, I was in the Mevaseret Mall—which could also be translated as the Gospel Mall—on my way to a meeting, and I thought, What better place to share Yeshua? I was in the drugstore when I noticed the woman in front of me point to her back as if she were in pain.
The woman in pain inexplicably stopped outside the pharmacy (as if God made her wait for me) while I paid for my item. Clearly, I was supposed to pray for her.
I ran out of the pharmacy just as she was finally walking away.
“Slicha (excuse me)!” I greeted her. “Did you tell the woman at the pharmacy that you have pain in your back?”
“Yes,” she said. “Can I pray for you?” I asked. “I believe God will heal your back right here.”
She was a little stunned. After all, asking a complete stranger if you can pray for them—who does that? But when you are in pain—especially lower back pain—you will do anything to get the pain to stop. Looking curious, she said I could pray for her.
I asked her if I could put my hand on her back, and she said I could. I prayed for her in Yeshua’s name in the middle of the public mall, with plenty of onlookers, and asked her to check her back. Clearly shocked, she reported that all the pain was gone. I explained that God healed her back because He wants to know her and for her to know Him. She was very grateful, and I asked if she could just wait a minute. I ran to the car and got my testimony booklet and my book Identity Theft—both in Hebrew. I wondered if she would wait.
I ran back in, and there she was. She took both items and again thanked me. I explained that God loves her and the healing was just the beginning. He wants more. She had no idea what I was talking about, but she now has all the information she needs.
This is just one example of the miraculous healings taking place across Israel. It all started when two young men began watching Todd White and other ministers on YouTube. These ministers would go out on the streets and pray for the sick, often after getting words of knowledge—information about someone that you could not have known naturally.
These young men didn’t know anyone in Israel who was doing this, and they wondered if they could go out on the streets of Tel Aviv and do the same thing. Being Israeli, they did not ask for permission. They began to ask people what was ailing them. Then they would pray. To their shock, a high percentage—roughly 80%—were being healed and touched by God.
They came back to our congregation and testified, and then more people started going out and praying for the sick—and more people got healed. Finally, they started getting invitations to come and share their testimonies in other Messianic congregations. Even more Messianic Israelis were emboldened to go out on the streets.
In our congregation, a woman from a kibbutz (a collective farm community) came to faith. She was under demonic oppression, and when they baptized her in the Jordan, she came under attack. She stepped into the water but then could not move. When they finally got her in far enough, she was immersed, and immediately, the demons left. Suddenly, all the cute nibbling fish that you endure during a Jordan River baptism began to attack! It was like when Yeshua cast the demons into the pigs (Mark 5:1-20).
One Friday, this woman came to share her testimony. One of the young men she grew up with came to hear her speak. He was deeply moved, but not convinced. He wore a prosthetic on his leg. One leg was an inch or two longer than the other. Noticing this, our senior pastor, Gil Afriat, prayed for him, and suddenly his leg grew out. The young man got rid of his prosthetic and is now born again and sharing the gospel.
A few months later, White himself came to Israel on a tour. Most tourists in Israel have no idea there is a growing, thriving expression of the body of Yeshua. There are over 200 congregations and more than 20,000 Messianic Israelis who love Yeshua. Overnight, we arranged for a meeting where White could encourage the believers in healing and prophetic evangelism. We had a crowd of 300 (which, for context, would be like gathering 30,000 in Dallas).
The next few days, I walked around with White throughout Jerusalem and received a master’s course in praying for unbelievers.At one point, a group of teenaged Israelis surrounded us as White prayed for each one to be healed. It was amazing. But I returned to my hotel angry and jealous. I thought, How could this man so freely share Yeshua in my city and see such results?
When I walked into my room, an Arab man named Mahmoud was cleaning the room. Without thinking, I asked him, “Are you in any pain?”
“Yes, my knee,” Mahmoud replied.
We prayed. He was healed. Over the next three days, I saw five workers at the hotel get healed—three Muslims and one atheist. They were all overwhelmed. On the last day, as we were departing for Tel Aviv, the Jewish front desk manager asked me, “Excuse me—can you heal people?”
“Well, God can,” I said. “What is hurting?”
She had hurt her knee. The woman asked for prayer, and God instantly healed her. She was overcome. (For the skeptics out there, yes—we have video of these healings.)
Later, we brought White back to Israel with Tom Routoto and Robbie Dawkins for three days of training and evangelism. We had 300 people at one time on the streets of Jerusalem praying for the sick and sharing Yeshua. The results were astounding.
I have discovered that if you don’t fan the flame, the flame goes dim. We had hoped that more evangelists moving in street healings would want to come to Israel to train believers, but we have not yet been successful in getting them to come. Many do not understand the biblical principle of Romans 11:12, which says, “Now if [Israel’s] transgression means riches for the world, and their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness mean?”
Paul is saying here that the key to world revival is Jewish acceptance of Jesus. He says if the Jewish people’s rejection of the Messiah resulted in the riches of the Book of Acts, then imagine what type of move of God will come when God’s chosen people finally receive the Messiah and fulfill their calling to be “a light for the nations” (Isa. 42:6, 49:6, Acts 13:47)?
In Romans 11:15, Paul repeats this point: “For if [Israel’s] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”
We are seeing this happen in our lifetimes. You can trace the revival in China to 1948 when Israel became a nation (again). Back then, there were roughly one million believers in China. Now, there are over 160 million! The greatest revivals are happening now in China, South America, Africa and India. Every miracle in the book of Acts is taking place. And I tell you, this is prophetically connected to Abraham’s seed after the flesh coming back to their Messiah.
When Paul addresses this, he tells the Romans (who had already adopted negative attitudes towards the Jews) that the issue of Israel and the church is a mystery, and if you don’t understand it, you may become proud. He tells the Gentile believers not to give up on Israel, as God will send a massive Jewish revival once the gospel hits every nation—the fullness of Gentiles.
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you be wise in your own estimation, for a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-26).
The more we see revival in Israel, the more we will see revival and spiritual riches in the nations. When we do our Israel tours at uptozion.net, we not only show people the dead stones of history but the living stones of the modern-day Messianic Jewish apostolic movement.
What began in Jerusalem is coming back. God has raised up Yeshua-loving congregations in the Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and even in Abraham’s desert hometown of Beersheva. The Israeli body has a Bible school and is producing indigenous Hebrew worship music. We live in amazing times—and we need you to stand with us!
In the fall of 2016 the Lord began to give us markers. First we believed He told us He would give us more instruction after the presidential election. When the election was over, He instructed us to live, eat, and breathe Romans 12:1-2, which says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
November 2016 – January 2017
From November 2016 to January 2017 our time together became more focused. The Lord again spoke to us in January and said He would show us after the inauguration what He had been preparing.
January 23, 2017 | Holy Spirit Moves
The inauguration was on January 20th. We gathered together on Monday evening the 23rd. Normally our times together would end between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm. That night was different. Intercession and worship were very intense. Jerry was on his knees praying. Johnny and Leslie laid hands on him and began to pray. Jerry fell over on the floor and stayed there for about 45 minutes. Johnny and Leslie went over to the couch and did the same with Joyce, Jerry’s wife. After praying, Joyce said the Lord had done something so deeply in her that she would never be the same. We continued worshipping until around midnight. Jerry and Joyce were so affected by what happened on Monday night that they stayed home the rest of the week reading their bibles, praying, and worshipping God.
January 27, 2017
Friday morning, January 27th, Jerry’s granddaughter and great granddaughter came to visit. When they left Jerry picked up his bible to read. He had been reading in Psalms all week. His bible fell open to Psalm 39 and and he noticed a wet spot on the page that had soaked through to Psalm 63. He asked Joyce if the great granddaughter had spilled something on his bible. Joyce told him the baby had not had anything to drink. Later that afternoon Jerry and Joyce took the bible over to Johnny and Leslie’s home. They all agreed it was oil.
February 2017 | The Oil Begins To Flow
Over the next couple of weeks the oil moved through the bible from Psalm 39 through the book of Revelation and even into the back of the bible on the maps and the concordance. The oil stopped then appeared at the front of the bible in Genesis 1. It continued to move through the Old Testament to where it started in Psalm 39. It then began to saturate the whole bible. Jerry placed the bible in a gallon size Ziploc bag. When the oil began to fill the bag, we then placed the bag in a plastic container. Once in the container, the oil began to flow even more, filling that container.
April 2017 – Present
The bible is now in its fourth container. As the container fills up, Jerry takes the oil and puts it in containers until we get together and fill vials. We believe the Lord has instructed us to not advertise, to not market the oil, to not “knock” on doors, and to not try to convince people what it is.
His word to us was to give the oil away so He can replenish it. (story of Elijah and the widow with the jar of oil, 1 Kings 17:14) He instructed us to share the story, share His word, give the oil away, and the miracles will happen “outside the building.” And they have. His word was, “The church is leaving the building!” The oil has gone all over the world. We have given away over 150,000 vials. We receive testimonies everyday of the miracles God is performing in the marketplace, in the hospitals, in the workplace, in the streets, in almost every country of the world.
Lord is always at work. In fact, it is specifically in the midst of catastrophe, crisis, and the times when it seems as though the Lord is most absent that He is actually most active. Learning to see gospel opportunities when many others only see crisis is not a skill that comes naturally. Yet it is a skill that the body of Christ must learn. The closer we get to Jesus return the more we are going to see crisis situations and catastrophes. The Bible is clear, the last seven years of history prior to Jesus return will entail Christians going through tribulation and great tribulation in the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel. We are fortunate that God has given us many prophecies concerning His Second Coming so that the church can prepare and even use the prophesied events as part of our evangelism efforts.
Is the church preparing for this period?
We are told that there is a great falling away in the church in the last days. Sadly, we see that happening in our day with much of the church compromising with the world on issues such as gay marriage, homosexuality and other LGBTQ issues.
The catastrophes of history have not been meaningless. God’s plan was that in the fullness of time, He would reveal the hero of the story who would make sense of all the suffering mankind has endured throughout the ages. From the chaos is revealed a mystery of unimaginable grace from God to His creation. More than has ever been given out, by way of indescribable human suffering, God has taken upon Himself in the person of His Son. The promised Deliverer finally came, and His tragedy was greater than any catastrophe to ever befall mankind, for God made “him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Before the first human disaster ever struck, God determined that He Himself would bear all of the suffering of man’s failures on Himself when He would come and die on a wooden cross. If we are tempted to think it has been unfair that God would orchestrate catastrophe in human affairs, can we still remain uncertain in light of this truth?
Quotes taken from the book, The Mystery of Catastrophe: Understanding God’s Redemptive Purposes for the Global Disasters of the Last Days by Joel Richardson and Nathan Graves (Kindle Locations 119-121). WinePress Media. Kindle Edition.
Just as described in the Book of Acts, the first generation of the church witnessed many miracles, also as Corrie Ten Boon describes in the following excerpt from Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place., God provides in miraculous ways for the faithful in dire circumstances. It is reasonable to postulate that God will also have the last generation of the church experience a spate of miracles in order to strengthen—and reward—the faithful during its worse time ever in tribulation, the great tribulation when Satan will seek to exterminate God’s church.
Left to right: Betsie ten Boom, Nollie ten Boom, Corrie ten Boom
Since the faithful will not be able to buy or sell during this time, they will not be able to purchase food and water. But don’t doubt that God will also miraculously provide water, food, and protection on occasions for his faithful people—making water and food come out of thin air. The same God that created the world out of nothing and the same God who fed five thousand men from a few loaves of bread and fish is the same God who will be present during the awful time of the Antichrist’s great tribulation.
It will be the faithful, those prepared to be martyrs for their faith, who will be blessed by such miraculous deeds of God. Those believers who have been taught that they will be raptured before this intense time of tribulation, will be the very ones who will be fretting over their faith. Sadly, we are told that there will be a great falling away in the last days and we are seeing it occur in our day with much of the mainline denominational church falling into heresy. At a time when it should be reaching out to the lost, the church will be confused and vulnerable to Antichrist’s schemes.
However, those who believe in Jesus’s end-time teachings (especially the Olivet Discourse and Revelation) will take part in bringing in a great harvest of “end times” souls and see miraculous blessings.
Be bold and truthful says Pastor Shane Idleman. The world wants to silence preachers of God’s Word. Sadly much of the church has abandoned God’s Word, denying its inerrancy, its inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
Fortunately, Jesus told us in Matthew 24:14 that “the major sign of His coming and the close of the age” will be:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end will come” Matthew 24:14
The climax of the age will not be brought about by the actions of secular government or military power, nor by the floods of satanic deception and lawlessness. The final decisive activity will be the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom accomplished by the church of Jesus Christ.
Quoting from Derek Prince in “Shaping history through prayer and fasting”
Scripture is very precise about the message that will be preached in the last days. It is to be the gospel of the Kingdom. It sets forth Christ in His kingly victory and power. It will be true and effective witness to all nations.
“Where the word of a king is, there is power.” Ecclesiastes 8:4
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20
The kingdom gospel is supernaturally attested “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit ,,, Hebrews 2:4
The “last days church” will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
God will bring together the various resources that are needed: the human resources of Spirit filled people of all ages but particularly young people, and the material resources of wealth and technology.
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17
John tells us here that the church remnant in the “last days”will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ and he repeats it just two chapters on with a reminder of the deadly tribulation facing Christians in the last seven years before Jesus return.
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13
The good news is that Jesus reveals in Matthew 24:14 that the remnant (keeping His commandments, walking in holiness) will be active and achieving great things for Him, “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in ALL the world as a witness to ALL nations, and then the end will come.” NOTE BOTH ALL’S
God is in the process of restoring all things, and we are going to be the generation that finally gets things right. The greatest move of God of all time is going to happen right before the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we are going to become the kind of bride that He deserves. On our own, this is impossible, but with Him all things are possible.
Expect God’s judgement on His church in these last days.
Both Ananias and Sapphira, together with Simon the sorcerer, attempted to introduce into the glory of the early Church corrupt values that would have defiled and greatly diminished her glory. However, it was stopped at the door and the glory was protected and allowed to increase.
In like manner, the true judgements of the Lord that produce holy fear and genuine repentance will return to the Church in these “last days”, so there can be a thorough cleansing and the glory of the Lord can be restored. Already, we see a great falling away in the church as it compromises with the world’s values. This will increase as tribulation builds: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” Matthew 24:9. But we also know the “end times” church will receive Holy Spirit power, as in the early church as described in the Book of Acts, so that “this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
Smith Wigglesworth prophesied correctly back in 1927:
“There must be special preparation for the return of Christ and at least half of all believers will be totally unprepared. We have to see that these days have to come before the Lord can come. There has to be a falling away. I want to speak to you very exactly. All the people which are pressing into and getting ready for this glorious attained place where they shall not be found naked, where they shall be blameless, where they shall be immovable, where they shall be purified by the power of the Word of God, have within them a consciousness of the very presence of God within, changing their very nature and preparing them for a greater thing and causing them to be ready for translation.
This is the day of purifying. This is the day of holiness. This is the day of separation. This is the day of waking. O God, let us wake today! Let the inner spirit wake into consciousness that God is calling us.”
What an appropriate call for our day. Let us prepare now for what Jesus is calling us to do preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to our circle of contacts, our community where God has placed us.