WHAT DOES GOD WANT FOR HIS CHURCH?

Francis Chan does His best to try and answer that question. His walking away from a church of 5,000 to seek God’s answer to that question, demonstrates his heart and desire to know what God wants for His church.

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Francis admitted in an interview about his new book “Letters to the Church”(available later this month), “I spent years doing “whatever works” to get people’s attention. I had joined millions of Americans in being too quick to speak and too sure about my opinions. Over the last few years, I have spent time crying in the presence of God, confessing my arrogance. 25 years after launching that first church, I’m asking myself, “Who cares what Francis Chan wants?” Is there anything less significant than my opinion of what church should be? Could anything matter less than the kind of church I want to create? The good news is that by the grace of God, some of us are seeing our failures now and are training ourselves to prioritise His desires. Scripture is our starting point, not desire or tradition. Rather than thinking of what we would enjoy or asking others what they would like, we ask the simple question: What would please God most?

Q & A with Francis Chan – By Voices Contributor to Christian Post, 

Q: Fans of your books may not be aware that you are in a new season of ministry and church planting. How are things going?

A: Things have been going great. Do we have the perfect church? No way—we’re people. But I think we are on to something.

While I believe I have loved Jesus for years, it feels totally different now, and I love it. The strangest part about this season of my life is that my intimacy with God has been directly tied to my connection with the Church. This is really weird for me because for years, I felt closest to God when I was away from people and alone in my prayer room.

For the first time in my life, I actually feel closer to God while praying alongside my church family! It’s like I can sense His actual presence in the room with us. It makes me want to stay in a room with them all because I want to get as close to Jesus as possible. Just the other day, a one-hour teaching session spontaneously turned into thirteen hours of prayer! We were enjoying His presence together so much that no one wanted to leave! It is an awesome thing to experience God’s presence in a room full of people who truly love Him.

Q: You write passionately about God’s desires for His church. Does 30 years of ministry change your sense of urgency?

A: Yes, I believe it does. I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot over these 30 years of ministry. I became a grandpa recently. (It’s weird to say that sentence.) The older I get, the more aware I am that the end is near. There is no time to care about what I want in Church. There’s no time to worry about what others are looking for in a church.

Typically, when I speak at a conference, there is a countdown clock letting me know how much time I have remaining on the stage. Sometimes I pretend that the clock is a countdown clock of my life. I imagine that I’ll be standing face to face with God when that timer expires, and I try to say everything I think He would want me to say. If I really was going to die, I would care very little about people’s complaints.

I have the same thought now. If I knew I was going to die right after writing this book, what would I write? But even more than that, the warnings in Revelation are very real and we need to take them seriously. Over and over, His message was repent or else. Repent or else.

Jesus is coming. We should be urgent about eternal things. I tried to write the book from this perspective.

Francis says that the pattern for an effective church is given in the Book of Acts and it is simple: God is present in His Word: As we read, we encounter God and allow others to do the same. God is present in fellowship: As we join together for the mission, people see God. God is present in Communion: As we break bread together, we proclaim the sacrifice of Jesus. God is present when we pray: As we cry out on our knees, we will see God act.

TRUMP DEFINITELY GOD’S MAN

New American secretary of state: “We’re with Israel in this fight”

Mike Pompeo, Trump’s new American secretary of state, voiced a strongly worded message of support for Israel as he came to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday on first trip to the Middle East as secretary of state.

New American secretary of state: “We’re with Israel in this fight”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 29, 2018. (Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

The discussions, unsurprisingly, focused on Iran, its actions in the region, as well as the nuclear accord that President Donald Trump has threatened to walk away from by May 12th if serious changes are not made. Pompeo and Netanyahu apparently see eye to eye on these issues.

In a joint news conference, Pompeo called Israel “an incredibly important partner.” He also stated, “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region and Iran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains. The United States is with Israel in this fight,” he declared.

His support was warmly reciprocated by Netanyahu, who called Pompeo a “true friend of Israel, a true friend of the Jewish people,” adding, “I can say that today America and Israel are closer than ever before.”

TIME TO STAND STRONG AND STAY THE COURSE

Francis Chan speaks to pastors, realising there is an urgency at this time to challenge leaders of the need to be courageous and fearless, and to prepare their flock for the coming of the Lord. Of the need to stay on course, despite the tragic end times events that are unfolding. Don’t judge those outside the church, but we do need to judge those inside the church.

He takes us to 2 Timothy 3. In the last days there will come times of great difficulty, people will be lovers of self, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”, even having the appearance of godliness.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3;1-7

He really challenges these pastors:

  • about loving their flock, as Jesus prayed to His Father that they would be one as we are one. Why? So that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
  • about teaching the truth of God’s Word.
  • about the truth of what can be achieved with the Holy Spirit.

 

“LAST DAYS” EVENTS ESCALATING AS PROPHECIED

Celebration of passing the Same Sex Marriage bill in Parliament House Canberra yesterday. Labour’s Senate leader Penny Wong is the one standing in the picture on the left. She has a particular interest as she is in a lesbian relationship and she and her partner have two girls. On the right, Bill Shorten, Labour’s leader takes part in a March to support the YES VOTE.

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Sadly, most of these people live their lives as if God does not exist, certainly not the God of the Bible who tells us that   to fear God is the  beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7  At this time, I am also reminded of what Jesus said,

“If you abide in my WORD, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

God’s word also tells us, that “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.

The world no longer believes that God judged the world just four thousand years ago. Only eight human survivors of a worldwide flood and yet the evidence of billions of things buried quickly all over the world is stark and ample evidence.

Probably the greatest proof of the authenticity of the Bible is fulfilled prophecy. Over 300 prophecies of Jesus first coming is enough, but do you know that there are many more prophecies concerning His second coming and these are beginning to unfold in our time. One of the most significant is the prophecy of Israel being reborn as a nation and that God would bring Jews back to Israel from all around the world. This is happening at an increasing rate as we approach the last seven years before Jesus return – The 70th Week of Daniel.

Many of the recent posts on this website clearly demonstrate we are in the “last days”. Another, very significant sign given by Jesus, is that in the “last days” there would be apostasy in the church. A great falling away, as the church no longer stands on God’s Word, heeding sound doctrine. Abortion, same sex marriage, gender fluidity and euthanasia are four abominations in God’s sight which will bring God’s judgement on nations that approve of these sins. Australia now joins those other nations that are going down this path of destruction. Judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah was a real historical event but the scoffers are blind.

ONLY A RADICAL CHURCH WILL SURVIVE THE COMING TRIBULATION

The Coming Church: article by John Burton – see bio below. I suggest you reread these posts for further confirmation – Are our churches making disciples, July 16th – Church as God intended, July 26th – Wake up church, Aug 3rd – Church in the last days, Aug 9th – Building church God’s way, Aug 17th.

“The book that I’m currently writing will address some of the spiritual and practical changes that will come to the structure and expression of the church. Trust me, it will shock our nation severely.

Those who hold on to a structure or a ministry instead of Jesus Himself will not be willing to go where God is leading.

The coming church will be rooted in scripture. The biblical structure has been largely forsaken in traditional churches. What will the emerging church look like? Here’s just a small peek into a grand shift in the structure of the church:

1. Services will become more like prayer meetings. One of the greatest indictments on the church today is that prayer is not the driving force. Today, people tend to choose churches based on the appeal of the teaching and the worship instead of the fervency of prayer. If the church was a house of teaching or a house of worship, that would make sense, but it’s not. The church is a house of prayer for all nations. Every person in the church will function as a burning intercessor and the services will be marked by this unified groan of fiery prayer.

2. Personal need will give way to personal mission. Today, churches are often more like organic, socially driven hospitals. People tend to use the church as a way to meet their personal needs instead of serving it as a minister of God. This is going to change. Of course, there will still be personal ministry and true needs will be addressed.

However, instead of the church functioning as a hospital, it will once again function as a mission-driven military. The mission will take precedence. The saints will be equipped for service, not for personal survival. In this ancient and emerging model, there will be MASH units that will take very good care of the wounded with the primary purpose of getting the soldier back into battle. Apostles will again lead with governmental authority and pastors will be seen as the main leader less and less as they focus more on shepherding and less on primary leadership.

3. Teaching will be minimized while instruction is emphasized. Teaching is mostly for personal edification while instruction is mostly for corporate assignments. Today, most churches focus on teaching principles of Scripture, providing truths that will help believers navigate through their lives and giving nuggets of biblical info. While there will still be important Bible teaching, apostolic instruction will emerge as a necessary new ministry.

There is enough Bible teaching online, on CDs, in books and on video to turn every one of us into personal spiritual giants. We need to take it upon ourselves to grow. What is lacking, however, is apostolic leaders, military commanders who give instruction and assignments to a ready army. Teaching is personal growth-based while instruction is a call to corporate action for the sake of mission fulfillment.

An example of apostolic instruction is this: The apostolic leader gives a corporate assignment for everybody in the church to fast for a week and then show up together to prayer walk through the city streets. It’s a corporate call to action versus biblical study. It’s mission focused versus personal growth focused. Personal growth will be largely our responsibility between services so we can be ready to respond to the corporate instruction where we will receive our assignments.

4. We will gather together most days of the week. The 24/7 church will again emerge as the church drives culture instead of reacting to culture. Cares of life will lose their power as we simplify our lives and put corporate prayer and mission ahead of most everything else.

This may be the most challenging change for Christians. Today, Sundays are the days to set aside for corporate worship while we give precedence to our ‘normal lives.’ In the Coming Church, the very reason we live will be to pray on fire together every day, receive apostolic assignments and then move out into our lives as kingdom ambassadors. It wouldn’t be surprising if a tithe of our time is what became the standard. Two to three hours a day, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon or evening, or even in the late night hours, will be given by every believer to praying on site together with others, ministering and giving ourselves to intercession-fueled kingdom ministry. Of course, much of what we have been giving ourselves to will have to be eliminated so we have the time necessary to devote.

5. Worship will be supernaturally driven. There is a new sound coming to worship, and it’s not simply a new style. There is a supernatural, otherworldly groan of intercessory worship that will explode out of the entire body as a new breed of trembling worship leaders lead the way into the shock and awe of the glory of God. We will no longer simply sit in a pew or stand with a raised hand while a familiar worship song is sung.

The prophetic, groaning sounds of Holy Spirit facilitated worship will make it normal to shake and fall to our faces as we cry Holy! The natural, logical sing-a-longs will be no more. We will have a hard time standing as God’s Shekinah and Kabod glory resides in His church. Worship teams will practice less and pray in the Spirit with tears in their eyes more.

Of course, this is an extremely limited glance into the many, many changes that are coming. I wanted to share this to provoke you to preparation. There is much that you and I enjoy in the church, or that is comfortable to us, that we will have to let go. Again, the coming church will be troubling and shocking, but it will result in the power and life that we have been crying out for.

God is about to answer that cry.

I strongly recommend that you read my book 20 Elements of Revival. That book reveals much of the shift that we must embrace right now. If you truly take in all that it has to say, you’ll never participate in the church the same way again.”

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John’s mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship. He planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit called thelabuniverstity.com.

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES: ISRAEL, ISLAM AND THE GOSPEL

Hi Brothers & Sisters, I mentioned in a previous post, I was attending a Conference in Tyler Texas, August 4th and 5th – Understanding the Times: Israel, Islam & The Gospel. My main reason for attending was to meet up with Dr Nelson Walters who was a speaker at the Conference. Nelson has agreed to be on the Board of an “End Times” Ministry I am setting up, to provide pastors and Christian leaders with Power Point Sermons and Video Sermons to equip the church in these “last days” to make disciples to complete the great commission – website http://www.powerpointsermons.net.  As well, I hoped to connect with some of the speakers at the conference who would become partners in the ministry. Two great connections were Joel Richardson and Mark Davidson.

Joel is author of many books but two I can recommend are Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist and Mystery Babylon: Unlocking the Bible’s Greatest Prophetic Mystery.

Mark is author of several books but as with Joel I can recommend two – Daniel Revisited: Discovering the Four Mideast Signs Leading to the Antichrist and Iran’s Great Invasion  and Why it’s next in Bible Prophecy.

If you want to get up to speed on what end time events the Bible has prophesied for the near future, then listen to Mark being interviewed on Wings of the Eagle. They were also active at the conference and a website to watch.