BOOK OF ACTS CHURCH IN OUR DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT DOES A GOD INSPIRED REVIVAL LOOK LIKE?

A few years ago, Pastor Shane Idleman prayed, “Lord, bring revival to the churches.” Read the response God gave him.

“I was not ready for the response that followed. I felt impressed with these words: “You don’t want revival—it will ruin your schedule, your dignity, your image and your reputation as a person who is ‘well balanced.’ Men will weep throughout the congregation. Women will wail because of the travail of their own souls. Young adults will cry like children at the magnitude of their sin. With the strength of My presence, the worship team will cease playing. Time will seem to stand still. You won’t be able to preach because of the emotions flooding your own soul. You’ll struggle to find words but only find tears. Even the most dignified and reserved among you will be broken and humbled as little children. The proud and self-righteous will not be able to stand in My presence. The doubter and unbeliever will either run for fear or fall on their knees and worship Me—there can be no middle ground. The church will never be the same again.”

Pastors, do you truly want revival?

What about Christian leadership? Is it ready for revival?

Shane Idleman was recently asked for his take on the controversy surrounding Francis Chan speaking at what some call “questionable events.” He took time to pray while driving three hours to one of these events to meet Chan and hear him speak. Once again read the outcome.

Shane Idleman, left, with Francis Chan.

“When I met Chan backstage, I found him to be very humble and eager to listen as we talked about these issues. True to form, he also delivered a powerful message on repentance. Isn’t that our goal as preachers? The event moved me deeply during worship, and I had the opportunity to meet some of the other speakers such as Corey Russell and Derek Carr. Their passion for the lost and their heart for “genuine” revival was evident, as thousands came forward to recommit and renew their relationship with the Lord.

The irony is that when I try to tell it like it is, heresy hunters are not open, humble or teachable. The old adage “Don’t confuse me with the facts” comes to mind.

Why are emotional worship nights of prayer, and pressing into God, viewed as fanatical when these things are actually biblical? Why do I never see the heresy hunters at all-night worship services or broken by the Lord at the altar? This question demands an answer—and the answer is that many have never been filled mightily with the Holy Spirit. They can’t say, like Jeremiah, that God’s Word is in their heart like a burning fire (Jeremiah 20:9). 

FRANCIS CHAN RESPONDS TO CRITICS

Followers of my blog know that I promote Francis Chan’s view of the church. He has come under severe criticism for his involvement in the recent SEND Conference. This is his response.

WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES ACCEPT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS IN PLACES THAT TOLERATE THEOLOGY THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOURS?

I speak at events almost every week of the year. Often times, it’s more than one event a week. I don’t really enjoy it—I hate the travel, but try not to complain about it. Despite the toll it can take on myself and the family, it is always an honour to preach the Word. I believe it is my calling. Some question my choice to speak so often, but my best discernment and the discernment of the elders of our church is that it is still a part of my calling in this season.

I am asked to speak at approximately 500 events a year. I decline approximately 90% of the requests. It’s a difficult thing to do. Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us. It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching. It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers. While some may be dear friends, there are many that I know little about. This current experience has caused me to consider exercising more caution and to develop a team to help me research. That being said, I speak in many places where I am not in alignment theologically. I actually believe that is where I can be most effective, as long as they give me freedom to address anything I believe the Lord wants me to address.

I recognise, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t. Unless the elders of my church direct me differently, I will continue to be found preaching in venues with those I disagree. I will preach in just about any kind of setting if I’m given freedom to preach from any passage of scripture. The elders and I are trying to come up with more safeguards for future events to hopefully prevent misunderstandings. Pray for us.

ARE YOU IN A CHURCH LIKE THIS? IF NOT FIND ONE.

I have across another great sermon from Francis Chan. He starts in Revelation and its importance for these “last days” including sound teaching on the “Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18, but he concludes with information on how they are doing church. It lines up with the church we read about in the Book of Acts: small groups that require all participants to use their Holy Spirit given gifts, no buildings, no paid pastors and those small groups giving rise to more small groups – disciples making disciples. The centrality and inerrancy of Scripture is KEY.

YOU DON’T GO TO CHURCH, IT IS YOUR IDENTITY

Love this presentation by Francis Chan on the church. You will need an hour but you can hear it in 15 minute segments and not lose the message.

“We need to be the generation that kills the consumerism in the church.” says Francis Chan. I’ll say amen to that.

“Joy that is inexpressible.” “Peace that passes all comprehension.” “Power that incomprehensible.” Is that the church we see. It is the church that Jesus describes.

Lord, please enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we see the truth of Your Word.

Listen to Francis Chan read Scripture (Revelation 4 & 5) and realise we are reading God’s Word which beats any presentation that comes from the mind of men.

 

FRANCIS CHAN GIVES A RADICAL MESSAGE ON THE CHURCH

EASTER 2018 WAS LIFE CHANGING FOR FRANCIS CHAN, MAY IT BE SO FOR YOU TOO.

Francis Chan says Easter is the most stressful day of the year for pastors. Some people only go to church on Easter—and it’s up to the pastor to get them to stick around! Or is it? Chan says all his old views were challenged by a powerful lesson God taught him. Now he doesn’t hate or dread Easter anymore. Find out why.

You will need 35 minutes to listen to this powerful lesson. The new understanding Francis got on Communion was illuminating and challenging to me. Let me know what you think. Blessings, may you know His will for your life from this day forward. Ron

CHURCH HAS LOST FAITH IN THE SUPERNATURAL

Great message from Francis Chan on what the church has lost and how we need to take it back from the enemy. Knowing what God promises is the key. Supernatural power is available when we are in God’s will. We need church like in the Book of Acts when Holy Spirit power was evident. Sharing possessions like the church in the Book of Acts. The church is one, like Jesus prayed to the Father for, so the world would believe.

LAST REFORMATION – CHURCH AS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS

Why at this time in history, do we see God raise up people like Torben Sondergaard (Denmark) to show people that church, as described in the Book of Acts, can be experienced today.

Likewise, why was Francis Chan, author of best seller, Crazy Love and  pastor of a church of 5,000 in California, convicted by God to walk away. Few in the church were using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to train up disciples and yet it was costing thousands of dollars to maintain this organisation.  He now has 30 House churches, all training up disciples of Christ prepared to go out to train up more disciples of Christ. No paid leaders, Jesus is the leader of the church and His Kingdom is being built.

Even marketplace ministries such as the International Christian Chamber of Commerce realise that we are in the last days and workplace reformation is needed. The last ICCC Conference was in Geneva and called Reformation at Work (500 years since the Reformation). There we declared “We hereby welcome and receive a new reformation starting at our workplaces in every nation manifesting the power of the Kingdom of God”

Be encouraged, listen to Torben explain what God is doing to grow His church using the Last Reformation movement. We live in exciting times but only if we are totally sold out to God and delighted to do His will – “not my will, Lord, but Yours be done”.

CHURCH AS JESUS INTENDED & JOHN 17 UNITY.

In John 17:21, Jesus said that the purpose—goal—of His church here on earth would be accomplished by the testimony of UNITY in His church.

Why is unity so important? “that they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe you sent Me” John 17:21. It matters—because when unity is demonstrated to the world, it will be the testimony that Jesus is who He said He is – the only Son of God, Saviour. When Jesus is thus “lifted up” then all men shall be drawn to Him.

Paul continued to emphasise the importance of unity throughout his writings:

 “Be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

This is the vision and purpose Christ has for His body here on earth. Sadly, the world does not see a unified church.

What is the biblical model for unity of the Spirit in the church?

The perfect and highest expression of unity of the Spirit was modelled in the early church after Pentecost: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers. Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

Three distinct levels of unity of the Holy Spirit are actually expressed here:

Level 1 – Basics

(v. 42) “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.”

Level 2 – Signs & Wonders

(v. 43) “Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

Level 3 – A lifestyle of mutual support and sharing all things

All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).

Each of these three represents a progressively higher level of unity in the church, the body of Christ on earth. And, each of these levels is real, tangible, and measurable—just like the actual resurrected body of Jesus.

When you have time watch Francis Chan talk about church as God intended, with all of us using our Holy Spirit given gifts to further God’s Kingdom. Francis walked away from a church of 5,000 in California, when He was challenged by God that very few in the church were using their gifts, and the other issue was how many were really born again.

In the last days, will we see a church like that in the Book of Acts? Yes! we will, and in fact where the church is or has experienced persecution, we are seeing and have seen a unified church. In the Middle East, particularly Syria, the remnant church is unified and operating as the did the church in the Book of Acts and all three levels of unity are visible. The church in China that came out of 40 years of persecution under Mao, same story.

portion of this article was extracted from “Achieving True Unity of Spirit in Your Church” by Louis Posthauer. He is the executive director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry.

ARE OUR CHURCHES MAKING DISCIPLES?

Great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us.

His only obsession was to please the Father. We should be likewise obsessed.

Matthew reported that Jesus preached the gospel and healed the sick all over Galilee. (4:23) Because of his preaching and healing “His fame spread” which resulted in even more preaching and healing. (4:24) The predictable result of all this preaching and healing was that “great crowds followed him.” (4:25)

So, Jesus now has fame and crowds. The only thing missing (for modern success) is the fortune. But great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us. But it often does. Even in ministry.

What did Jesus do with His newfound fame and huge following? How did He “leverage his platforms” in order to increase his following? How did He alter His content to increase His followers? How did He monetise His influence? That’s what we would do, right?

Notice carefully what Jesus did. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain. And when he sat down, His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1).

Two important words: “crowds” and “disciples.”

1. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain.” Today when we see crowds in our Sunday service, in our campus ministry or on social media, we think we have succeeded. We must be doing something right and God is must be blessing our efforts. In order to be good stewards of our success, we do everything imaginable to maintain and grow our audience. Our first move is to leverage our platform for growth and influence. Jesus did the opposite. His first move was to walk away from the crowd.

2He traded a massive crowd of adorning followers for a small group of committed disciples. A careful reading of the Gospels will reveal that the more crowds followed Jesus, the more he retreated to be alone with the Father and with his disciples.

Every leader of a growing ministry will be faced with an important decision: attract crowds or make disciples. Will we leave the crowds in order to make disciples, or will we allow the demands of the crowd to pull us away from small group discipleship?

Too many pastors and ministry leaders choose the crowds. Pastor Francis Chan, author of best seller, Crazy Love chose correctly, as shown in my recent post Church as God Intended.

This article originally appeared at stevemurrell.com. Steve serves as the president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a ministry that does church planting and campus ministry in over 70 nations.