GOD IS EQUIPPING MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES FOR “LAST DAYS” MINISTRY

Acts 2:17-18 says,In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even on my bondservants, both men and women, I will in those days pour out My Spirit and they shall prophesy.

You are not left out, this Scripture is inclusive of all people. If you are not experiencing Acts 2 manifestations of the Holy Spirit in your life like those on the Day of Pentecost, I want to encourage you not to measure revival or your personal relationship with God strictly by visible manifestations. In fact, one of the most distinctive signatures of revival is a renewed hunger for God and a deep desire to find your identity in Him. Pursue God with all your heart and He will come in. He is always at the door.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

Man knocking on the door. Stock Vector - 91216822

Here are a few ways Kris Vallotton of https://krisvallotton.com recommends for you to experience revival and refresh your relationship with God: 

  1. Hang out with people who are alive and well in God (even if they may be having manifestations you’re not having). You may have heard me joke about having the “statue of liberty anointing,” meaning it seems like everyone around me is often powerfully touched by God while I seem unaffected! Check out this short clip of a sermon where I share what God directly said to me about being moved by God.
  2. Share your faith and testimony with others. Psalms 119:99 says, “I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.” This simply means that when you allow your history with God to counsel you, rather than your fears or any other thing, you will indeed grow in stature and wisdom. Allow your testimonies to be your counsel. Share them with others, and witness the power that you’ve been given. 
  3. Be humble. You were born to be amazing—in the very image and greatness of God. I find that one of the biggest deterrents for owning your God-given greatness is the fear of stealing God’s glory. If you don’t want to steal God’s glory, then here’s some good news: you ain’t that big! And get this… the truth is you can’t steal something that was given to you (John 17:22)! For more on humility, check out a recent podcast of mine, Humility is the Way Forward

In these “last days”, I believe you will experience the demonstration of God’s power in your life because, as we’ve learned, God is pouring everything out on “one generation”—all flesh; He is not withholding anything from you. As a Believer, you are a walking encounter of the living God. You are the embodiment of God’s revival. 

YOU WERE CREATED FOR GOOD WORKS

Read this great testimony by Nathaniel Oliveri—Founder and CEO, The Normal Christian Life. It will encourage and challenge you at the same time. It certainly did me. The testimony is based on this amazing Scripture.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”Ephesians 2:8-10

“I just love how this Scripture builds to a climactic cliffhanger, as though heaven is awaiting our response. After establishing that we’re saved by grace and not by works—but that we are created for good works, it builds this profound picture of God preparing works beforehand.
Think about it: the God of heaven literally preparing hearts, events and situations before we even walk into the room or pass that by person or make that phone call. Then the Scripture peaks with this profound statement: “that we should walk in them.” Walk in what? The works! Which works? The works He has already prepared for us!
You mean, we have a choice? Yes! It doesn’t say, “you will walk in them.” It says “you should.”
The stage has been set by Heaven, prepared beforehand. And now we have a choice to partner with God Almighty. So, what does that look like? I’m glad you asked.
I am, of course, growing in this myself and I haven’t yet arrived, but here is an example from my life in the last week that encouraged me, and I pray it will encourage you too.
So, last week I was picking up some carpet squares from a church that was moving location and selling many items. As I was putting the carpet squares in the car, a lady walked past with someone from the church. She had seen some items on the internet and didn’t even know this was a church. She asked me about the carpet squares and I sensed she may not be a Christian so I asked her a simple question. Are you from this church? She said “no”. So I said, ”Well then, I get an opportunity to tell you that Jesus loves you!”

The church staff member looked surprised that I even mentioned the ‘J’ word to a stranger. But, at that moment her eyes shot open. “My ten year old son just said while we were driving here, “Mum, do you think Jesus is real?” I then prodded cheekily, “And do you?”


“Well, I’m not sure,” she replied. I went on, “Well, what do you think the chances are of me telling you about Jesus just moments later?” To this she agreed that the timing couldn’t be a coincidence, and this in turn led to her inviting me to share the Gospel and pray for her and her son. They were deeply impacted, and I gave them some video links from our YouTube channel The Normal Christian Life.
The kid was excited because he was meeting a “YouTuber” in his words, and seemed keen to watch the videos. Now, they didn’t give their lives to Jesus there and then, but I know seeds were planted. But what struck me was how God had prepared their hearts just moments before I shared with them, even allowing her boy to ask such a specific question about Jesus, just before they arrived.
I wonder how many amazing works God has prepared beforehand for you today. What a blessing to be able to partner with Heaven and respond with our free will and walk in them.

Prayer

Lord, today, help me to draw close to you in my prayer life and in my day-to-day life. Help me to be sensitive to your prompting, and help me to walk in the works you’ve prepared for me. Lord, thank you that you love me and value me enough to make me a part of Your story. Show me today the people you want me to reach. Prepare their hearts and help me to be bold and obedient. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

GOD IS BUILDING HIS KINGDOM

Great article by Joseph Mattera (josephmattera.org)

15 Contrasts Between the Kingdom Age and Religious Systems

I believe now is the time in which God is shaking the global church and establishing Kingdom principles. God is ripping away and exposing extraneous second-tier traditions and denominational positions that are opposed to His kingdom. Believers need to understand the difference between the characteristics of the kingdom and man-made religion. The body of Christ and its surrounding environment will be transformed only through proper alignment with His kingdom.

The following are 15 contrasts between the kingdom age and religious systems:

  1. The kingdom focuses on manifesting God in the earth, while religion focuses on applying its traditions inside church buildings.

The word “kingdom” implies that there is a king who rules within a region. Psalm 24:1 teaches us that the earth belongs to the Lord, and Psalm 22:28 tells us His kingdom rules over all nations, not just over the church. Consequently, we in His kingdom are called to show that the cross of Christ impacted the whole cosmos, not just the church realm (Col. 1:12-13, 1:20).

  1. The kingdom transforms individuals from within, while religion focuses on observing outward rituals.

Jesus taught us that God requires truth in the inner man (Matt. 5-7, 23; Ps. 51:6). Hence, the kingdom focuses on inner transformation, while religion concentrates primarily on observing church rituals (Luke 17:21). Christ-centered spiritual disciplines help create proper habits of the heart that are conducive to growth in the knowledge and love of God.

  1. The kingdom releases all believers to the work of the ministry, while religion merely releases professional clergy to minister.

In the kingdom, all believers are both kings and priests (Rom. 5:17, 1 Pet. 2:8-9). In religion, only those trained in seminary and who are employed in church ministry are considered priests.

  1. The kingdom sees the Spirit poured out upon all flesh. Religion sees the Spirit move only during Sunday services.

The apostle Peter made it clear that the Resurrection inaugurated the kingdom age, which was seen when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon every culture, tribe, kindred, tongue and nation (Acts 2:17). Two of the results of the outpouring was that God was no longer restricted to the religious Jews, and His Spirit was not limited to the most holy place in their temple. Despite this, many in the body of Christ continue to restrict the Holy Spirit to moving only within the four walls of a building during mass or church services.

  1. In the kingdom, the Scriptures have primary ecclesiastical authority. In religion, second-tier religious tradition has primary ecclesial authority.

This second-tier religious tradition is an issue not only for the Roman Catholics, who put custom and canon law on equal terms with Scripture, but also for the Orthodox Church. Many people place the writings of the apostolic fathers on the same level as the Holy Scriptures. Many evangelical Protestant denominations, Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal churches also have second-tier traditions that they regard as primary authority as they relate to Christian practices.

  1. In the kingdom, the presence of God is wherever the believer goes. In religion, the presence of God is at the altar of their church building.

In the kingdom, the power and presence of God that heals, delivers and saves the oppressed were commonly manifested in the streets. God wants to unleash an army of believers who will turn the world upside down, but religion wants to keep believers closeted inside church buildings.

  1. In the kingdom, the fivefold minister equips the saints to do the work of the ministry. In religion, the fivefold minister does the job of the ministry.

Traditional religious systems keep people dependent upon professional clergy to pray for the sick, counsel, preach and represent God to the world. In the kingdom, fivefold ministry gifts are focused not on doing the work of the ministry but on equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12).

  1. In the kingdom, the ministry focus is Monday to Saturday. In religion, the ministry focus is Sunday.

People participating in kingdom-focused churches cannot wait until Monday comes. Whereas those who are trapped in religious systems will only see purpose and meaning during church services.

  1. In the kingdom, the church is sent to serve its community. In religion, the church strives to get the community into the church.

Kingdom-focused churches equip believers to be the problem-solvers of society. They provide them with a biblical worldview to frame their service in every vocation that affects communities. In the kingdom, it is not about how many people attend church services; rather, it is about how many people in the church are sent out to transform their world!

  1. In the kingdom, the focus of concern is for the whole body of Christ. In religion, the primary focus is only on the denomination/local church.

Any person with a kingdom agenda will be concerned about the health of the entire body of Christ. Those with a religious mindset are sectarian and only care about the health of their denomination or church.

  1. In the kingdom, every sphere of life is integrated under King Jesus. In religion, the church stays out of the public square.

The kingdom of God prophetically speaks to societal structures such as law, politics, economics, families, art and business. In religion, the view is that such things are unimportant, unspiritual and therefore should be left to the concern of the world.

  1. In the kingdom, Jesus is the King of kings. In religion, He is merely the symbolic leader of the church.

In the kingdom, Jesus is not only the head of the church, but He is also the King of kings (Rev. 19:16). This is the most politically charged statement anyone can make about Jesus! Jesus is the political head of every president, politician, governor and mayor. It obligates every believer to be politically active by voting and doing their part to speak truth to power, as well as elect candidates who best represent kingdom values.

  1. In the kingdom, the church is the salt of the earth. In religion, the believer is the salt of the church.

Jesus called His followers to reflect His character and values. He called them to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, not the salt of the church and light of religion.

  1. The kingdom participates with Christ in the renewal of all things. Religion is focused on perpetuating its traditions in the church.

Every person in a kingdom-focused church should understand that the Great Commission involves influencing people groups and subcultures, not just individuals (Matt. 28:19). People stuck in religious systems work only to perpetuate the second-tier traditions of their church members.

  1. The kingdom engages culture, while religion escapes the earth.

The nature of religion is that it wants to create an enclave of safety from the unpredictable realities of the unredeemed world; religion is mystical, not practical or spiritual. However, disciples of the kingdom view every global challenge as an opportunity to be a problem solver and seek to reflect Christ to the surrounding culture.

ALL SAINTS CALLED TO BE BEREANS

Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to be our COUNSELLOR, COMFORTER and TEACHER. He will direct us into all truth if we ask HIM. Every time you open your Bible ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. He knows what you need and when you need it.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26

I believe the following Scripture reveals that our spirit was always meant to be the vessel of the Holy Spirit. It is only when we have the Holy Spirit in our spirit that we can be holy, and our spirit is the lamp of the Lord.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart. Proverbs 20:27

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?But we have the mind of Christ.1 Corinthians 2:12-16

If you are not desiring to spend time in God’s Word something is desperately wrong, at the very least, you are quenching the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and certainly grieving Him.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

IS THE CHURCH NO LONGER RELEVANT?

What are the cultural realities that are crippling the church?

1. Not Holy Spirit led. It is rare to see anything like what you read about in the book of Acts happen in churches today. When’s the last time the Holy Spirit has moved among the people of your church? If you can’t point to something, that may be a sign of a powerless (Acts 1:8) church.

2. Not serving their community. Simply protesting against sin in the world without proactively working for good causes in the community creates a negative impression in the minds of those who drive past your church on Sundays. Also, consumerism has most definitely infected the church and it is reflected in how praise and worship is conducted. When you have Christians (no matter their age) content to sit and attend services (no matter the type) while refusing to stand up and serve others, you have an irrelevant church.

3. Bible knowledge alone equals spiritual maturity. Bible knowledge is foundational to spiritual maturity, but it does not in and of itself equal spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity comes with obedience and love towards others. Paul warned about this in 1 Corinthians 8:1 when he said, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

4. No John 17 unity. Jesus himself prayed (John 17:23) that his followers would be one, so that the world may know that we are his disciples. The early church brought men and women, Greeks and Jews, slaves and free, all together under the name of Jesus. Do we see that same unity today, or is the church divided along racial, political, theological and socio-economic lines?

Image result for pictures of empty churches
Anglican church in the UK

Regardless, God is still on His throne. Jesus is still building his church. The Holy Spirit continues to do his work. My prayer is that the church will start being part of the solution.

Live a Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle

In Mark 9, Jesus modeled this for us:

  • Prayer = Jesus said His disciples couldn’t heal the boy because it required prayer
  • Care = Had compassion on the boy and his dad
  • Share = Jesus asked the boy’s dad to proclaim faith in Him before healing his son

Powerful Christians live accordingly, not content simply to invite people to church or stop at “telling their story”.  They understand that bringing people to Christ involves taking personal responsibility for all 3 – praying, caring and sharing.  

DIED TO SELF, ALIVE IN CHRIST

Paul tells us our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. He also tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Why? So that we will know the perfect will of God for this day and the days ahead.

“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.Romans 12:1

To be transformed, not only do I need Jesus, His blood sacrifice and the Holy Spirit, I also need the Word of God.

Jesus, in His prayer to His heavenly Father said:

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. ” John 17:17

This is how we transform our mind, with the Word of truth. It is only then, we will hear from God, perceive correctly the here and now, and know what God has for us to do today.

Our love for Jesus must be such that our hearts desire is to pray this prayer for all of those that God leads us to, or brings across our path. We must never forget God is the one who chooses – “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Jesus, you have brought this person to me, please help me to show them who You are. Also, I know, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, You are able to transform whatever their deficits are into victories, Holy Spirit show me the part I am to play in their journey with you.

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Is it true that God chooses people to have eternal life and yet we must believe to have eternal life? Why are we urged to believe when it is God who gives us the faith?

Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for dishonour? Romans 9:18-20

The answer to this paradox is unknown: it is a mystery but Scriptures tell us both are true. Hence, it is imperative we are led by the Holy Spirit moment by moment. The old hymn says it all: “Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

HOLY SPIRIT LED CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

As followers of this website know, I support the ministry of Torben Sondergaard and have promoted a number of his videos here. Particularly, those where Torben has been ministering the love and power of God on the streets of major cities of the world and training up disciples.

In these last days, I am aware that God is working in miraculous ways, particularly in those areas of the world where Christians are under intense persecution, but he is also at work, wherever Christians take seriously Jesus commission to take the Gospel to the lost. Bobby Dawkins is an evangelist ministering on the streets in the U.K. He is seeing people miraculously healed, as they were in the early church, as described in the Book of Acts. He’s even prayed the dead back to life. Like Torben, Dawkins teaches everyday believers how to walk in power evangelism, a term he uses to describe evangelism marked by the spiritual gifts of healing, prophecy, deliverance and ministry.

Watch this  video to learn how you can see the Holy Spirit manifest His presence wherever you go.

GOD HASN’T QUIT SPEAKING

God hasn’t quit speaking; He is opening our hearts and minds to hear His voice in new ways. He does this so that we will continue to grow progressively in our relationship with Him. He doesn’t want us to become locked in to the same patterns of hearing Him. God’s goal is a real, live relationship with us.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

Image result for picture of God talking to Elijah still small voice

Here are a few scriptural examples, which portray the multitude of ways the Spirit has used to speak to people:

  1. A dream or vision (see Job 33:14-18)
  2. A voice in a trance (see Acts 10:9-16)
  3. The voice of many angels (see Rev. 5:11)
  4. The voice of the archangel (see 1 Thess. 4:16)
  5. The “sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15)
  6. The sound of the Lord walking in the garden (see Gen. 3:8)
  7. The sound of the army of God marching in the tops of the trees (see 2 Sam. 5:23-25)
  8. The audible voice of God (see Ex. 3:4)
  9. God “speaking peace” to His people (Ps. 85:8)
  10. God’s written Word (our primary source of His voice and our chief reference point) (see Ps.119:105)
  11. Wonders in the sky and on Earth (see Joel 2:30-31)
  12. Visions and parables to the prophets (see Hos. 12:10)
  13. Words and physical metaphors to the prophets (see Jer. 18:1-6)
  14. The Holy Spirit speaking to a group (see Acts 13:2)
  15. Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, declaring God’s voice (see 2 Pet. 1:21)
  16. Heavenly experiences in which one is brought up before the Lord (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4)
  17. The Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit (see Rom. 8:16)
  18. A dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man (see 2 Pet. 2:16)
  19. One person speaking the revelatory counsel of the Lord to another (see James 5:19-20)
  20. God’s own Son (see Heb. 1:2)

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives a bird’s-eye view of some of the ways God has chosen to speak to (and through) His people. I have been surprised over the years at both how God speaks and what or whom He chooses to use, invariably the most unlikely person.

God is not limited in His attention-getting techniques. He wants to be heard, and He has plenty of approaches He can utilise.

Sadly for me, one of the ways God gets my attention is with an earache in my right ear. To me, it’s like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. I invariably have taken myself away from God’s best for me, doing my own thing, and I know it. As soon as I get back on track, and step out to do what God has for me to do that day, the earache is gone. I have to step out, expecting God to turn up and equip me for the task. On several occasions, the earache has gone before I reach the set of lights about 500 metres/yards from my home.

God wants us to hear His voice in all of its manifestations so that we can bear much fruit—fruit that will remain.

We must not forget that ultimately this is not about us. It is about our being transformed into the image of His glorious Son, Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us, you and I will be changed into the image of God’s Son. According to Psalm 29, we will shout praises together as we are changed from glory to glory: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Based on an article by James Goll: God has a Word for Us; No more Boxes! Charisma Magazine.

 

PARENTS DON’T RAISE “CHURCH KIDS”

Parents we need to raise kids that don’t just go to church on Sundays. We need to raise children that know the truth about the world, about the universe and know it can only be discovered in God’s Word – The Bible.

They need to know the Bible is inerrant. Down through the ages, God has told us through His prophets what would happen in the future. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled exactly as prophesied, proof indeed the Bible is inerrant.

That the Bible provides an accurate history of God’s universe. That it not only tells us why, when and how God made it but it also tells us what went wrong and therefore why the universe and us are like we are.

That Jesus death on the cross has provided a way (the only way) back into an eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father.

That the Bible tells us the end of the story, which is good news for all that have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and have been born again by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, but it is incredibly bad news for all those that reject Jesus, God’s free gift of salvation.

That they would understand the extent of what Jesus sacrifice has provided. Our Heavenly Father has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer, to be their counsellor, comforter, teacher, to produce the fruit of the spirit in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control and to provide all nine gifts of the spirit so we can be effective ambassadors for Christ in this world.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

That they would wake up in the morning thankful for the day, and commit to following the Holy Spirit’s leading, so that they can lay their head down each night, confident that God’s will had been done and His Kingdom advanced and that they had not grieved the Holy Spirit nor quenched His work in their lives.

That they would face the storms of life knowing God’s presence and provision.

That they would reach for the stars because they know the One who created them has a purpose for their lives.

That they will look up when they fall down. Reach out when they need help trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit.

That they will be like oaks planted by His stream of living water and bear much fruit.

That they would love their neighbours fiercely as their Heavenly Father loves them.

That they would see hope when every one else sees hopelessness. That they would share that hope and bring His light into every dark corner.