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.

IS YOUR CHURCH AUTHENTIC OR PART OF PROPHESIED LAST DAYS APOSTASY?

Pastor Francis Chan says he’s tired of man-made revivals and warned the church that there’s no time for “playing games” any more. Chan’s comments came during a February 6 speech at Liberty University’s Convocation gathering.

Chan, an avid surfer, compared man-made revivals to a wave pool—controlled and fun, but ultimately predictable and artificial. He says he came to that realisation while visiting a wave pool in Waco, Texas.

“It’s so different than going in the ocean, where it’s like, ‘Gosh, I don’t know if something huge is going to come.’ There have been times where we’ve driven for like an hour and just sat in the water—nothing happened. … There’s so many things that can happen in the ocean. And I thought, ‘This is so nice. You can just go to a wave pool and you won’t have any fear.’

“And when I looked at that thing, I thought, ‘Gosh, you know, this is what church services sometimes feel like to me.’ It’s like this wave that you can create. You know at 9:15 this is going to happen, and you know at 9:20, and then you know at 9:40 it’s going to start dying out because it has to. It’s just going to happen. And you can do it over and over and over again. And I feel like for many years I’ve been content with that, because it’s fun and everyone’s having a good time. But man, don’t you read the Scriptures and go ‘Gosh, there was so much that was unpredictable’? Where it really was a move from God. It wasn’t mad-made. It wasn’t this man-made wave, but things would happen that were out of your control.”

Chan says he is done with artificial moves of God and instead said he craves an authentic move of the Holy Spirit.

“I’ve been praying that this would be something that is not man-made, because I feel like I know how to make a wave in a room,” Chan says. “And I’m just done with it. There’s just no time for that anymore. I’m just done playing games.”

Jesus told the parable of the Ten Virgins as part of His response to the disciples question “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” All ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom, so we can presume they ALL thought they were Christians. What was the outcome? ALL slept (is Jesus telling us that the church will be asleep) and worse still half of them were not born again (no oil for their lamps). The Lord said to them, “depart from me, “I do not know you”. Could it be that 50% of people in our churches today are not saved?

I believe this wake up call to the church by Francis Chan is timely. Suggest you share it with others.

PROPHESIED GREAT FALLING AWAY IN CHURCHES

Barna Church Survey:

In a 2014 survey of all Christian and non-Christian clergy, over half of Protestant pastors (55%) admitted they were very concerned that religious freedom will become more restricted in the next five years; this percentage fell to below half (49% in the 2015/2016) and to one-third (34%) in 2017).”

At a time when religious liberties are under attack from every corner—from our children’s schools to our places of business and from the internet to the courts—how can it be that many Protestant pastors are less concerned now than before?

Sadly, much of it comes from Bible Colleges that no longer teach the inerrancy of God’s Word.

The teaching of evolution in schools and universities as fact has totally undermined the Genesis account of origins and the Biblical age of the earth, just 6000 plus years (www.creation.com).

Image result for pictures of Genesis as foundational book of Bible

The foundations for earths history are established in the Book of Genesis: Creation, Marriage, Family, The Fall, Judgement with Noah’s Catastrophic Worldwide Flood, Tower of Babel – new languages that established tribes and nations. God then establishes His nation, Israel, on a promise to one man, Abraham, all leading up to God’s Redemptive Plan, His Son, Jesus, entering earth’s history to provide a way for man to be born again into God’s Kingdom, for us to be reunited with our Heavenly Father in whom’s image we are made.

The World rejects God’s laws:

Gay marriage is law now in most Western nations and many of the large denominational churches have gay pastors and conduct gay marriages. Many pastors have compromised with the world’s values so why would they be concerned about the loss of religious freedom.

A significant portion of Scripture is “end times prophecy” so the good news for Christians is we know that in  the “last days” before Jesus return, there is a great falling away in the church, lawlessness increases and sin abounds, exactly what we see unfolding in our time.

We need to keep our focus on our role: “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.Matthew 24:14

THE GENERATION THAT REJECTS GOD

“So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old… When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.Judges 2: 7-10

Just one generation after Joshua died – they did not know the Lord, nor the work He had done to establish the nation of Israel. 

We are living with the generation that has been taught in our schools and universities that the Cosmos evolved over billions of years and consequently there is no purpose or meaning to life. In academia, the Bible is considered to be a book of myths and legends. Even our Bible Colleges no longer teach the inerrancy of Scripture and have compromised with the world, now calling evil good and good evil.

Over 100 years ago now, when asked about the dangers facing the Christian church, Salvation Army Founder, William Booth replied,

The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” How right he was.

Target department stores are not only offering clothing and accessories celebrating the gay lifestyle to adults and children, but the company has also pledged to donate to a nonprofit that trains students and teachers in LGBT politics and advocacy.   On Target’s official website, it has several pages dedicated to merchandise that features the rainbow gay pride flag as well as messages intended to instil pride in the LGBT lifestyle.

Target stores donate $100K to LGBT nonprofit that promotes ‘inclusive’ K-12 schools

In addition, Target proclaims that it is donating $100,000 to GLSEN, an organisation founded in 1990 that claims to be “the leading national education organisation focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students.” According to GLSEN’s website, “Our mission is to create safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” The organisation offers lesson plans for elementary school children on “gender-neutral” pronouns and terminology as part of the Common Core curriculum as well as introducing gender ideology to third-graders. GLSEN partners with the United Nations and like-minded groups in Canada, China, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Coincidentally, Target chief marketing officer Rick Gomez also serves on GLSEN’s board of directors.

GLSEN provides training and resources to LGBTQ activists on school campuses while also advocating the homosexual cause in the political sphere. According to its website, “We accomplish our goals by working in hallways across the country — from Congress and the Department of Education to schools and district offices in your community — to improve school climate and champion LGBT issues in K-12 education”

Besides Target, major donors to GLSEN include Walt Disney, JP Morgan Chase and Co., HBO, Delta Airlines, Hollister, NBA, McDonald’s, AT&T, Morgan Stanley, Gucci, Bloomberg, and Colgate-Palmolive. Through its board members, GLSEN also maintains a relationship with the largest teachers union in the United States, the National Education Association.

CHURCH IN THE END TIMES

“Realise this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

NOTE WELL: “holding to a form of godliness although they denied its power.” That line is not a description of the world; it is of a faithless, powerless, fruitless church! The light went out in the Church and the world got dark.

Image result for picture to illustrate Jesus is the light of the world

“If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)

One of the most destructive lies preached in many churches today is “In the last days the church will get brighter and brighter while the world gets darker and darker!

God’s word does reveal good news about the end times darkness and one of my favourite Scriptures in this regard is in Isaiah.

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness
of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

We need to consider how we can serve others in extraordinary ways. How can we do ordinary things in extraordinary ways? Perhaps for business people, it is how you serve your customers. Workers how you go the extra mile for your boss, so that he asks you why you are doing it, and as a result you have the honour of bringing glory and honour to your heavenly Father.

Maybe this will light up the darkness, illuminate cities and shift atmospheres? Might it be that meeting the simple, felt needs of our cities in extraordinary ways is what will drag communities out of the cesspool of despair into the wellspring of hope?  I believe it will! Jesus told us “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

 

WHEN WILL THE CHURCH BECOME AN ACTS 4 CHURCH?

When will the church in the west become an Acts 4 church? Only when the circumstances around us mirror the conditions of the early church. Fortunately, we are seeing many examples of it happening in the Middle East where the church has come under intense Islamic persecution. We are being given an example of what our Lord requires of us during the prophesied coming Tribulation.

Image result for pictures of destroyed churches in Egypt

In Egypt, where more than forty churches were destroyed in the months following former President Morsi’s (Muslim Brotherhood) removal from office via a military coup in July 2013, Christians who had not fled the country continued to calmly meet for worship and show forgiveness to Muslims who broke the steeples of their churches as they screamed, “Allah is great”! As one church’s caretaker  said, sitting in front of a devastated church building, “Whatever they didn’t take they destroyed”. Believers met while sitting in front of a wall with graffiti proclaiming “Egypt is Islamic!”

Bob Simon reported on 60 Minutes that Egyptian Copts believe suffering deepens their faith. “We were surprised that there was no anger, no call for revenge.” he added, after attending a worship service in the one room not burned to the ground in one church. Bob Simon explored this further with Bishop Thomas , a Copt leader, who replied, “Forgiveness is a very important principle of the Christian life. When you are able to present forgiveness and love, you are able as well to ask for justice. One day, justice has to be fulfilled.”

Middle Eastern Christians have learned what it mean to bless those who persecute them, but also insist on justice where possible.

In other words, Copts are willing to die for their faith, but they also will continue to insist on constitutional protection of their people, as any Christian should. When Jesus said “turn the other cheek”. He said it in a society that guaranteed no rights for His followers. If we live in a country that does protect those rights, we should insist on them for as long as the legal code covers us, which it probably will in the early days of the Tribulation.

Christians in Syria have learned how to do this. many have chosen to stay in their towns and cities, even if Islamist’s rebels have overrun them and looted, tortured, raped and killed them. As Open Doors USA spokesperson, Emily Fuentes has reported, based on eye witness accounts:

There are some Christians who are fleeing because they have no other choice, but there are many Christians that have really felt God’s call to stay in town, even though they have been attacked and targeted because of their faith. They realise that God is using them, and are reaching out to their Muslim neighbours.” 

Can you put yourself in that setting? Close your eyes and picture that for a moment. What would you feel? How would you act? At least, say a pray for your Middle Eastern brothers and sisters that are living this right now.

Churches have become de facto refugee care centres in the Middle East, not houses of worship alone.

In the parts of Syria where church buildings have not been desecrated, they have become de facto relief agencies, providing clothes, food, and Christian teaching. These churches are seeing people come to faith in Christ as the congregants love everyone who has been made homeless, not just for Christians. This is in stark contrast to the Islamic approach to provide aid for Muslims only. What an amazing witness, to care for everyone in the midst of intense suffering. The church has done this throughout history and no doubt will do it again during the coming Tribulation.

What will we do when faced with a similar situation, will we run or stay? Will we stay to win our attackers and fellow refugees to Christ? Will we show grace to other Christians who choose differently to us? Maybe, we will be in a church where people go separate ways as persecution intensifies.

Can I suggest church, we need to start to pray and prepare now, to know what God will have us to do to help our brothers and sisters under persecution around the world, not only in the Middle East, but also to know what we should be doing to prepare, in our own church, community, and nation.

 

DISCIPLE MAKING CHURCHES IN THE LAST DAYS

As mentioned many times previously on this website, I believe the end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts and it is wonderful to see many Disciple Making Movements starting up. I have promoted Francis Chan (Multiply Movement), David Platt (Radical) two of the most notable Disciple Making Movements as well as Oikos Australia in my own country.

This article from Oikos and a short video from DMMS Frontiers Mission are worth considering for your church.

At Oikos, we are thinking about multiplication. With 25.5 million Australians, only 52% identify themselves as Christian – this opportunity is one we are passionate about impacting!

Did you know that one pair of rabbits can end up with 4 million offspring in only 4 years time? That is rapid growth!  Does your group, simple church or disciple-making strategy – have a clear plan where those in your group, clearly know how they can train to equip others to disciple new people and plant new groups/churches.

“If not, your strategy may need to be adjusted. Everything you do in disciple-making must pass the test of reproducibility. When we make things too complicated, we don’t get rabbit churches that multiply quickly” – DMMS Frontier Missions

Does your group know how to share the gospel, invite people to Jesus and know what to do if someone says yes? Do you have a vision for growth & raising up others?

2 Timothy 2:2 is our guide. Paul trained Timothy. Timothy trained faithful men. They trained many others.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 

That’s multiplication. That’s generational growth. It’s what we do to see Oikos become a Disciple-Making movement!!
Who are you developing as under you? Who are you passing the baton too? Effective disciple making involves multiplication of simple churches and disciples.

JEZEBEL IN THE “LAST DAYS” CHURCH

Months after Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber issued a call for Christian feminists to send her their old “purity” rings, the once-discarded jewellery has been completely transformed.

The purity rings ― symbols of an abstinence pledge ― were melted or pounded down and reshaped into a sculpture of a vulva emerging from a throne of flames.

Bolz-Weber, the progressive Christian theologian and writer behind the project, unveiled the sculpture on Thursday at the 2019 conference for Makers, a feminist media brand.

Gloria Steinem and Nadia Bolz-Weber appear during The 2019 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2019 in Dana...

Bolz-Weber was the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, a queer-inclusive Lutheran congregation in Denver. Although she was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family, the pastor has become a prominent voice in progressive Christian circles.

The vulva sculpture project ― part of a promotion for Shameless, Bolz-Weber’s recently published book about sex and Christianity ― sought to prove that symbols of a harmful and patriarchal theology can be reclaimed.

“It’s actually part of the tradition, that we can take objects that have harmed us and turn them into objects that help heal and sustain us,” the pastor said.

Not only is this melting down of jewellery eerily reminiscent of the Golden Calf episode in Exodus, it strangely looked very much like the Black Stone of Mecca supposedly the “holiest” (no pun intended), place in all of Islam.
If you look really closely at the hideous “Freedom” statue, the symbolism is frightful.  There is no “freedom” in it.  It mocks the Truth of scripture:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17
Apparently, the sculptress utilised a can from the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas.  The name Collins means “dove” or a symbol of peace.  So far, so good, right?  But the name “Corsicana” is derived from the Island of Corsica which means SIREN SONG.  For those not familiar with Ancient Greek mythology, the Sirens attracted people with their sweet singing but only to entice them to their DEATH when they CRASHED ON THE ROCK.  These people are attempting to “bewitch” you to your doom.
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion. Proverbs 11:22
“You also took the fine jewellery of gold and silver I had given you, and you made male idols with which to prostitute yourself.”  Ezekiel 16:17
“You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied.” Ezekiel 16:28
I believe we are seeing Jesus’ warning to the church in Revelation come true before our very eyes: 
“But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads My servants to be sexually immoral and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:20

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.