AA GROUP EXCLUDED OVER CHRISTIAN CONTENT IN MEETINGS

An Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group has been separated from the organisation because it includes Christian content in its meetings. Leaders of the group which meets in a church in Yeovil were told that prayer and talking about Jesus made new members feel uncomfortable. It’s now been removed from the AA online directory following a vote by local bosses. Minutes from a meeting of the Somerset Intergroup, which oversees AA groups in the region, describe the church-held group as a “Christian based meeting, lovely meeting but not along AA guidelines”.Concerns were also raised over an announcement in one of the recovery group sessions that the only way to recovery is through Jesus. The Somerset Intergroup claimed that, while there was nothing wrong with discussions about Jesus, they didn’t belong in an AA meeting.

1971 Bill Wilson died. His last words to AA members were, “God bless you and Alcoholics Anonymous forever.

John Palmer, a leader of the group, said: “AA was founded by Christians to transform lives. Over the years I have seen Christianity marginalised from the organisation. It is sad to see, and I think AA is having less of an impact on people’s lives as a result. “Of course, you don’t have to be a Christian to be part of an AA group, but if you cannot say the Lord’s Prayer in a church without being treated like this, what are we coming to? “We were shocked when we found out about the action being taken against us, but we are determined to carry on.” Campaign group Christian Concern is now taking action to get the group reinstated within Alcoholics Anonymous. Chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The message of the gospel is of a saviour who came to bring hope to every one of us. The power of the gospel is what inspired the setting up of AA following the radical transformation alcoholics experienced after encountering Jesus Christ.

Is now saying the Lord’s Prayer in a church offensive and not appropriate? “It is sad, but not surprising in our world of cancel culture, to hear from this group that the gospel message is no longer appropriate for AA and must be kept ‘separate.’ “We call on the AA to reinstate this group to the online directory and to recognise the crucial role Christian faith plays in transforming lives.”

Source: Premier Christian News

Separating and punishing Christians so that they cannot attract new members for sharing the gospel message of hope is disturbing and ludicrous but Biblical prophecy tells us that this is just one of the signs we are approaching the end of this age. Jesus soon coming return is in view and we need to be prepared for the increasing tribulation that God allows Christians to experience to refine His church.

 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

REINTRODUCING AMERICANS TO JESUS

A group of private investors has launched a massive multi-million dollar ad campaign to reintroduce Americans to Jesus.

“He Gets Us” will reach people via TV, radio, digital ads, billboards, and experiential platforms. With a $100 million budget, it’s expected to start conversations among a wide array of people.

“Our focus is getting Jesus into the places where people are consuming a lot of media right now,” said Jason Vanderground, president of the marketing firm Haven, and one of the creators of the campaign.

“He Gets Us” follows nationwide research last year showing many adults in the U.S. aren’t sure what they believe and that many have negative views of Christianity.

Haven founder Bill McKendry says the campaign is targeting that audience. “‘He Gets Us’ is disrupting misconceptions by pointing out how Jesus identified with the marginalized, how He didn’t favor the powerful, how He often offended the religious by associating with social outcasts,” he said.

Dr. Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, says the research also shows that many people have a positive view of Jesus himself. “The hope of the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign is they might actually dig a little deeper,” he said.

The campaign’s ads focus on current issues like anxiety and crisis pregnancies.

“We looked at Jesus’ life and we looked at what the American public is going through right now and just said, ‘What are the things that are most relevant to people?‘” Vanderground explained.

In addition to the ads, the campaign also provides opportunities for people to chat, text and read passages of Scripture in an organized reading plan.

“The main goal is just to increase the respect and the personal relevancy of Jesus,” said Vanderground.

Stetzer says the campaign’s wide reach could lead to large numbers of people both seeing its ads and responding.

“We want to encourage people in this moment, a time of confusion and division,” said Stetzer. “Maybe this is an opportunity–not to vent everything we have an opinion about on social media–but to talk to our friends and neighbors about Jesus, who’ve seen these ads.”

The campaign is set to run through the end of 2022. It has to be good that Christian businessmen who do not want to be known are prepared to invest so much money in making Jesus known to people in a way that is relevant to them and who would not get to know Him any other way.

TRAIN UP EFFECTIVE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST

This upcoming series from Torben Sondergaard will help you to be an effective disciple of Christ and to help you train up others as well. Make sure you get this message out to others.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

BEING SAVED AND BEING A CHRISTIAN

Who will live with God on the new earth and heaven that He creates for His children? This is a valid question and we know it is not only Christians. Some will be taken back, as I was when I first read this statement. However, I quickly realised that Abraham, Moses, Job, David would not strictly come into the category Christian.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

Think about the one thief upon the cross that simply asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, What was Jesus’ response?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

I think therefore that the thief put his heartfelt trust in Jesus as the Messiah of God and that was enough to get him saved.

Roger Olson in his excellent article “Answer to the Question: What must a person know/believe to be saved or to be a Christian” raises the story of Paul and Silas and the time God opened up the prison doors for them. Paul stopped the jailor from killing himself as he thought the prisoners had escaped. The jailor knew there was something different about these men who had been praising God in their chains and were now free of those chains. He asked them this question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe on (trust) the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

Roger makes the point that from this statement, for the jailer and his family to be saved they had to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and they must put their trust/faith in Him. This is the simple rule of faith for salvation.

To be a Christian there is more and Roger points out that Paul and Silas then went on to say:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.Acts 16:32

Roger’s interpretation and I have to agree with him, is that the jailer, like the thief on the cross, was saved the moment he believed on (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord. However, to be a Christian there is more, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission; repent, be baptised, and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables believers to comprehend the Word of the Lord. He sanctifies us over time and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He will guide our every step if we allow Him. Therefore, He enables us to live the Christian life.

SAVED

God knows the condition of our heart and it is a heart issue that gets us saved. This Scripture from Exodus reinforces the issue of having a heart/spirit for God.

“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.Exodus 35:21-22

CHRISTIAN

To live the Christian life you must have the Holy Spirit which is given once you repent of your sins (prepared to die to your old life) be baptised (signifying death to the old life and arising as alive in Christ) at which time God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler, to be your counsellor, your teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live a Christian life.

ETERNITY

For me, this understanding gives me comfort in knowing that there will be many people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ who will be saved because they had a heart after God. Moreover, I am sure you like me have heard of many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims and they have come to saving faith in Him. Jesus answered their heart cries. We can trust God to ensure that all those that should be in His Kingdom will be there.

WHAT IS GOD’S CALL ON YOUR LIFE?

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:16-17

The following testimony from Joseph Kazembe from Malawi shows he is a chosen one, who has obeyed God’s command to go and bear fruit. Joseph is part of a new youth ministry, yOUT that has reached over 1,400 young people already in one year! yOUT leads them to not only the best gift of all — Jesus Christ— but also helps them discover His call on each of their lives.

Pastor Jeff Daly explains: “YOUT sprung up under our repentance ministry, national day of repentance (http://www.dayofrepentance1.org). We focus on teaching Matthew 4:17 and then John 15:16 giving each young person the unique calling on their life. All Christian denominations are included:  we give each participant a banner bearing simply “JEHOVAH NISSI”
We believe this new “wine skin” is directly from Him in these end times and He started in the very impoverished nation of Malawi to show that it is from HIM alone!”

Joseph Kazembe has left a significant position and salary in a major denomination to travel, sometimes on foot, to deliver the Gospel message all throughout Malawi. Here is his most recent email.
“Today is July 31st, we are believing God for great testimonies from young people this coming month. God continues to show us the importance of this ministry. Young people need hope, just a few minutes ago l received a message from Mathew, one of our translators, that his brother killed himself this morning by suicide. Apart from that many young people are catching Covid 19 and dying. This third wave is killing many young people. Let’s pray for Mathew too in his time of trouble. I am writing to remind the team to pray for our budget for Mchisi. We have only 6 days to go and we still need to book accomodation in Chikondi ,Hamidah and Henderson. Prayer moves the hearts of people to do something l thank you all for your prayers. Printing of additional repentance route booklets is needed as many pastors needs the booklet in Mchisi.”
Joseph Kazembe

As many of you know I support the Kenya House Church Movement in Kenya and have been seeking donations to fund new Missional trips and for Bibles for the new House Churches that are being established in these new regions. Here is another request for funds this time for repentance route booklets for Malawi. If you would like to help you can use the Donations icon on the Home Page. I would also appreciate an email to ron@bakb.com.au to let me know how you would like to be involved, e.g. I connect with the KHC leaders every 3 months by Zoom. It would be good to have other supporters join the Zoom meetings.

HERE I AM SEND ME

Another powerful message, The Truth of It from Martyn Isles that will minister to each of us, but it is also a message that will impact and convict many unbelievers. As you watch it, prayerfully make a list of those with whom you will share it.

God is using this young man powerfully to impact many for Him. Thousands of people attended the RAC arena in Perth W.A. last Saturday and over 6,000 viewers watched the meeting live streamed. Make sure you watch it too.

JON VOIGHT’S POWERFUL TESTIMONY

Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Jon Voight recently opened up about his role in the new faith-based film Woodlawn, revealing that it “celebrates the Christian faith and its influence on young people” at a time when discrimination against Christians is rampant both in the United States and across the world. It is due for release in October.

In an interview with Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson for his daily show on Fox Nation, Voight, an Academy Award-winner who’s been an actor in Hollywood for over 50 years, and is also known for being the father of actress Angelina Jolie, said he was facing hardship following a divorce and his career was struggling when a voice of “wisdom, kindness … clarity” spoke to him. It was then that he realized he was not alone and known by God. 

Voight said he was on the floor when he cried out loud, ‘It’s so difficult.’ Then he heard a voice in his ear tell him: ‘It’s supposed to be difficult.’ “At that moment in time, I knew, I’m not alone,” Voight recalled. “Everything is known. … I am known.”

Voight said that although his parents were devout Catholics, his own faith wasn’t strong up to that point. And while hearing the voice was unexpected, he felt “a tremendous energy” afterward and he began to believe someone was rooting for him. 

Despite having been a person who didn’t believe someone was actually listening to his prayers, after that divine encounter he realized he shouldn’t give up and his life had a purpose.

“Now, I know we’re covered. … Everything we think, everything we say, everything, it’s known. … They say God knows every bird that falls. … We all are known. We’re being observed, and helped and loved,” Voight continued in the interview. “And we’re expected to get up and … do what’s right. … There’s a purpose here. And the purpose here is to learn our lessons and grow. And what’s the big deal? To give to each other, and to be here and be of help.”\

For the next few days, Voight told Carlson he kept having strange things happen to him. “I was drawn to certain things from that point on, and I’ve had many, many experiences. But that was the beginning,” he added.

“So that’s the moment you realized that God is real, knows you and is on your side. What were the implications of that?” Carlson asked. 

“I had to straighten out,” Voight replied. “If I’m going to be a vessel for God, I better be cleaner than I was. I’ve got to be a righteous fellow.” 

Voight said he has always had good role models. He described his parents as being very righteous throughout his life. However, he said, he had fallen off track at that time and it took hearing God’s voice to encourage him to get back on track and be a better person.

I have fear of the Lord. … I got it. … I am afraid of offending God. Because God is everything; God is love, God is all these beautiful things, beauty, everything. And how can I live up to that? I need a lot of help. I think that is the fear of the Lord. It keeps you on track,” he added, explaining that he’s not afraid of being attacked, but fears doing the wrong thing or making a terrible mistake.

In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Voight, who also stars in the movie “Roe v. Wade,” stressed the importance of family and raised concerns about factions in society that are working to dismantle the family structure God designed. 

“Family is so important, and family is being attacked by people who are really trying to tear down the fabric of our society, it’s true,” Voight said at the time. “I don’t want to get into any kind of conspiracy stuff, but it’s really happening. So we have to protect the values of our country and the values of family and guide the focused lives; we have to protect that aspect.”

Testimonies are powerful; make sure you write down your own testimony and then first practice sharing it with close friends, then pray that the Holy Spirit will give you opportunities to share it with unbelievers.

AMAZING TESTIMONIES OF WHAT GOD IS DOING IN IRAN

This amazing article by Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org@DanielPipes) President of the Middle East Forum appeared in Newsweek magazine Friday, July 9th 2021.

Something religiously astonishing is taking place in Iran, where an Islamist government has ruled since 1979: Christianity is flourishing. The implications are potentially profound.

Consider some testimonials: 

David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries stated in 2018 that “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.”

The Christian Broadcast Network found, also in 2018, that “Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country.” 

Shay Khatiri of Johns Hopkins University wrote last year about Iran that “Islam is the fastest shrinking religion there, while Christianity is growing the fastest.”

This trend results from the extreme form of Shi’ite Islam imposed by the theocratic regime. An Iranian church leader explained in 2019: “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? …What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini[, the founder of the Islamic Republic]?” An evangelical pastor, formerly an Iranian Muslim, concurred as far back as 2008: “We find ourselves facing what is more than a conversion to the Christian faith. It’s a mass exodus from Islam.”

As a clandestine phenomenon, the practice of what are sometimes called Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) lacks clergy and church buildings, but instead consists of self-starting disciples and tiny house churches of four to five members each, with either hushed singing or none at all. Its lay leadership, in striking contrast to the mullahs who rule Iran, consists mainly of women.

In another contrast to the government, Iranian MBBs tend to be fervently pro-Israel. They are, explains a documentary, “bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people.” Converts have even expressed a hope to build a “resistance church” in Iran to counter regime threats to Israel.

Given the Iranian house church movement’s underground nature, estimates of its size are necessarily vague. Open Doors found 370,000 Muslim Background Believers in 2013 and 720,000 in 2020Duane Alexander Miller approximates as many as 500,000, Hormoz Shariat at least one million and GAMAAN even more than that.

The mullahs have usually responded with predictable repression that includes prohibiting Christian missionaries and Gospel preaching. The U.S. State Department reported in 2012 that “government officials frequently confiscate Christian Bibles and pressure publishing houses printing Bibles…to cease operations.” Also, Christians “reported the presence of security cameras outside their churches.”

Iranian authorities routinely arrest and jail MBBs, often for extended periods; for example, the United Nations reported in 2013 on “more than 300 Christians” who were arrested in the prior three years, mostly for vague security-related offenses. An inquiry found that “those arrested have been subjected to intensive and often abusive interrogation.”

The punishment can be severe: In 1990, for example, the Rev. Hossein Soodmand was executed for apostasy. In 2008, the government advanced legislation to impose the death penalty on anyone born to Muslim parents who converts to another faith. Indeed, “as more Iranians convert,” Khatiri notes, “their situation is getting worse.”

“You’re creating problems in the country,” an Iranian convert reported being told during a 2018 police interrogation. In this spirit, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi in 2019 spoke of his ministry’s research into conversions to Christianity, its questioning of ordinary people to explain their motives and its efforts to “counter the advocates of Christianity.” Iran’s leading Islamic seminary sees the domestic fight against Christianity as one of its top priorities, and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly once vowed to “stop Christianity in this country.” The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, blames house churches on “Zionists and other enemies.”

Indeed Lela Gilbert and Arielle Del Turco argue that the regime considers Christianity “an existential threat.” And it should, notes Reza Safa, the Iranian-born founder of Nejat TV (“ministering to Muslims living in Farsi-speaking nations”), who titled a book The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran. He sees Iran’s Christians as “an army of God” who are bringing Iran to “the brink of another revolution, this time orchestrated” by a Christian spirit.

If this analysis is even partially correct, the consequences are enormous. The collapse of Khomeini’s regime would not only fundamentally alter the balance of power in the Middle East; it would also likely terminate the region-wide Islamist surge that Iranian revolutionaries forwarded in 1978-79, ending the malign historical cycle that largely began in Iran.

JESUS SECOND COMING

Did Christ at His first coming fulfill all that God promised regarding the establishment of His Kingdom, Israel and the church? At His first coming, Christ provided the means for us to receive the Holy Spirit and be reunited with our Heavenly Father but our “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time 1 Peter 1:4-5. Peter makes it clear that our inheritance is future. Therefore, many of the covenantal promises of God are still awaiting fulfillment at His second coming. Most of the O.T. prophets spoke of their Messiah ruling and reigning the nations from Jerusalem. The Scriptures are not just focused on redemption. Of course redemption is important, but so is the judgment of Satan and the demons; so is the Kingdom; and so is the glory of God. Even redemption does not always refer to His first coming, as the books of Hebrews and 1 Peter make clear (e.g. Hebrews 1:13-14; 5:9; 9:28; 1 Peter 1:3-9 ; cf. Romans 13:11).

The fast spreading Progressive Covenantalism does not see the church as directly extending or fulfilling Israel as did Replacement Theology. Rather, Christ is the antitype of Israel, who fulfills Israel’s identity, purpose, and mission such that in Christ the church inherits all the covenant blessings. It is Replacement theology with a twist and still fails to view Jesus second coming is when He fulfills all that God had promised. The driving assumption of fulfillment at the first advent endangers unfettered exegesis of “the texts in their context.”

Dr Paul Martin Henebury of Telos Ministries is the source for the information on Progressive Covenantalism. Paul is a Biblical Covenantalist (his description). I agree with his understanding of the Biblical covenants and of creation about 6000 years ago. Paul is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (M.T.S., M.Div., Ph.D).