ARE WE CALLED TO BE FISHERS OF MEN?

Of course, all of us are. Listen to Francis Chan on following Jesus call to go to Asia. What a journey: from a church of 5,000 last year, to starting up house churches (Book of Acts church) that will raise up disciples that will raise up disciples and now to leave all, home, family, friends, comfort of life in the USA, to go to Asia where God is calling him, to where the workers are few and the number of lost is large. “lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for the harvest!” John 4:35

WHY PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

Extensive new research from The Barna Group shows that nearly half of young adults worldwide who have a connection to Christianity feel that the Church can’t answer their questions. 

Barna, a California-based evangelical research firm, partnered with the leading international evangelical humanitarian organisation World Vision to compile “The Connected Generation” study. 

Published in a research report, the study is based on a survey of 15,369 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 across 25 different countries and nine languages. 

According to the study, one in three young adults (32 percent) said “hypocrisy of religious people” causes them to doubt things of a spiritual dimension. Almost half of the young adults who have left Christianity see the religion as “hypocritical.” 

Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said “science” also challenges their willingness to believe. Which is one reason why we need to connect young people with Creation Ministries International (CMI) http://www.creation.com.

One-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said human suffering and conflicts around the world cause them to have doubts. Once again, having a Biblical world view is so important. Understanding that SIN introduced by man’s disobedience and lack of trust in God is the cause of all of man’s troubles.

“It’s always the question of why God allows suffering; this is the biggest objection to Christianity. And there is no easy answer to it,” Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London and pioneer of the Alpha Course, wrote in an essay published with the research report. 

I would agree with Nicky that there is no easy answer, but the only answer that makes sense of the world’s condition is JESUS and what He has provided for us, both salvation and the provision of the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, comforter and teacher.

The survey found that only 13 percent of respondents globally who grew up with a Christian background can be labelled “resilient disciples” today.

 A “resilient disciple” is someone who attends church regularly, engages with the faith community beyond just attending worship services, trusts firmly in the authority of the Bible, is committed to Jesus personally, and expresses a desire for their faith to impact their actions. 

Thirty-eight percent of respondents who grew up with a Christian background were defined by Barna as “habitual churchgoers” who do not fit the definition of “resilient disciple.”  Among respondents with a Christian background who live in countries with a “secular climate,” the survey found that only 5 percent can be defined as “resilient disciples.”

Eighty percent of young people who left Christianity said they believe that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual,” while 81 percent say present-day Christianity is judgemental.

Seventy-four percent of those who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity is “out of touch with reality.” Only 60 percent of respondents who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity “consistently shows love for people.”

Strangely, more than half (57 percent) of respondents to the survey, however, said they feel as though religion is good for people and society. 

“Ultimately, the only answer to it is in Jesus, who suffered for us and suffers with us. So that is the answer, but it’s much harder to get to. We’ve got to answer their questions, but more importantly, they want to know what we’re doing about [these issues]. If the Church is doing nothing and is not engaged in social action against homelessness, poverty, racial injustice, climate change or any of these issues, young people are not going to be very interested:, says David Kinneman, President of Barna Research.

CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS

We in the West are waiting for a move of God, and yet in many parts of the world, a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit is already taking place that rivals the Book of Acts.

Thank goodness God is revealing to Pastors like Francis Chan and John Comer – see recent post “Do You Really Believe God is in Control”, that the church has deviated from His design for the church, as outlined in the Book of Acts.

Non Biblical Churches, which include many, if not most, of the Institutionalised churches, Mega churches and Prosperity Doctrine churches, to name the principal groups, are not producing disciples of Christ committed to the call of God on their lives. Sadly, what most churches are doing has little to do with what the Bible teaches e.g “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16, What about “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

The model of the institutional church isn’t structured to foster close biblical relationships. In most, you can go on almost indefinitely enjoying your uninvolved routine merely consuming but never contributing to the community you call church.

The church is not a building or a place to go, but a body (ekklesia) of believers.

One of the places, where a great outpouring of God’s spirit is evident, is Iran, the most unlikely place from a worldly, so called natural viewpoint, but typical from a Biblical perspective. View the following video and be challenged or encouraged or both.

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE GOD IS IN CONTROL?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

When the weight of the world is closing in, transfer that weight to God. Resist the cultural push to hurry and do more; instead, slow down, spend more time with God and in His word.

Don’t fall for the great modern lie: The more you do and achieve, the more purpose you have. In his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Pastor John Mark Comer explains how he learned the hard way how to give in to Christ’s easy yoke. 

In his early 20s, he was part of the team that planted Solid Rock Church, a Portland megachurch with multiple campuses. The church was an immediate success. Solid Rock grew by roughly 1,000 people per year for seven years straight. Then the church began to plateau—just as Comer began to burn out.

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Pastor John Mark Comer of Solid Rock Church Portland Oregon

Comer distinctly remembers waking up one morning and thinking, I don’t think this is a healthy way to live—and I’m not practising what I preach.

“I was up there preaching about Jesus’ ‘life to the full,’ yet my life felt less and less like that,” Comer says. “I just felt more and more tired, on edge, always in a hurry and not present. It was difficult to hear God’s voice in the chaos and rush and busyness of life. To put a very long story short, I essentially had an early midlife crisis at 30 years old.”

 The big existential question arose: “What has God called me to do with my life? Because I actually don’t think I’m made to lead a giant church like this. And it was the beginning of a new path for both Comer and Solid Rock church.”

After months of discussion by Solid Rock’s leadership team, the megachurch disbanded. Each site became its own independent church. Comer chose to lead not the largest of the sites—the one in the suburbs—but the little site in the heart of the city: Bridgetown. The church switched to an elder system that split up leadership responsibilities; Comer became “pastor for teaching and vision,” while co-elder Gerald Griffin became “pastor of staff and community.”

I feel like God is using me more than I ever have been used, even though our church is much smaller than the one I used to lead,” Comer says. “I think it’s a myth that more busyness equals more effectiveness. I find that the more I pare my life down and just do a couple of things to the best of my ability—and my ability isn’t even all that great sometimes—the more effective I become. Maybe I’m going deeper, not wider. At the time, it felt like I was sacrificing role, calling and effectiveness. But I think it’s turned out to be exactly the opposite.”

“If you live and have any kind of vocation that you do for a living—whether it’s church or something else—at some point you have to really make peace with both your potential and your limitations,” he says. “Recognise what you can do and what you can’t do, and make peace with that. Let go of comparison, let go of envy and let go of ambition, and just begin to do your work—not out of ego or striving, but really just out of love.”

All I can add to Comer’s advice is to remind you of the truth of this Scripture”

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

The lamp requires oil (Holy Spirit) to function as the lamp of God.

Jesus made it possible for our heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to born again believers to be our counsellor, comforter and teacher. He will direct our paths and give us the wisdom we need to make good decisions minute by minute, day by day, month by month… Are we saying as Jesus did: “not My will but Your will be done” or are we grieving the Holy Spirit by quenching His work in our bodies. Remember our bodies are supposed to be the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

John Mark Comer’s story is similar to that of Francis Chan and will be that of many other pastors of mega churches that want to do the will of God in these last days.

TODAY’S CHURCH NEEDS TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S PRESENCE

This article by John Burton in Charisma News will not be well received by pastors of most churches. It reveals the truth about the sad state of the church even in those churches that see themselves as alive and well. Churches that are great places to raise a family, to connect with other believers and to worship and even grow in God. Sadly, they are not reaching out to the lost. Nor, disciples making disciples.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has given his support for transition within marriage (Picture: PA)

Fortunately, there are some, even in these churches, that realise there is something desperately wrong. The world around them is getting darker and the church is no longer seen relevant by the majority, in fact, the church is seen to be in opposition to all that he world sees as good; gay marriage, no longer male and female in a life long loving commitment before God., abortion on demand, sex whenever and with whomever, gender is fluid and a matter of choice, family is whatever you choose,

“And when Solomon finished praying, fire came down from the heavens and consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests were not able to enter into the house of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. And all the sons of Israel saw when the fire came down and the glory of the Lord came on the temple, and they bowed their faces low to the ground on the pavement, and they worshipped confessing, “The Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

Prayer and sacrifice resulted in fire coming down from heaven and the glory of the Lord filling the place! When that dramatic, supernatural event impacted that building, nobody could enter. They all hit the pavement and worshipped and declared God’s goodness!

We need God to turn up and His power to be evident in church in this hour. A revelation-driven church will be filled with prophetic decrees, biblical declarations, groans of intercession and messages that shift atmospheres. The church as revealed in the Book of Acts.

THE VOICE OF TRUTH WILL NOT BE SILENCED

Be bold and truthful says Pastor Shane Idleman. The world wants to silence preachers of God’s Word. Sadly much of the church has abandoned God’s Word, denying its inerrancy, its inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

Fortunately, Jesus told us in Matthew 24:14 that “the major sign of His coming and the close of the age” will be:

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end will come” Matthew 24:14

The climax of the age will not be brought about by the actions of secular government or military power, nor by the floods of satanic deception and lawlessness. The final decisive activity will be the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom accomplished by the church of Jesus Christ.

Quoting from Derek Prince in “Shaping history through prayer and fasting”

Scripture is very precise about the message that will be preached in the last days. It is to be the gospel of the Kingdom. It sets forth Christ in His kingly victory and power. It will be true and effective witness to all nations.

“Where the word of a king is, there is power.” Ecclesiastes 8:4

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

The kingdom gospel is supernaturally attested “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit ,,, Hebrews 2:4

The “last days church” will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

God will bring together the various resources that are needed: the human resources of Spirit filled people of all ages but particularly young people, and the material resources of wealth and technology.

 

PROPHESIED END TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH

The Scottish Episcopal Church voted to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, becoming the first major U.K. church to break from the Anglican majority, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

However, Church of England says it will recognise marriages of transgender worshippers.

Image result for picture of Gay marriage in church

The marriage of worshippers who transition to a different gender will still be valid, the Church of England has said. The position extends only to worshippers who were in an opposite-sex relationship at the time of their marriage, it clarified. The clarification was made in response to a question asked by Prudence Dailey, churchwarden of St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, ahead of the General Synod in York. The written reply acknowledging this position was from the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman.

Episcopal Church in the USA:  In 2015, the church’s 78th triennial General Convention passed resolutions allowing the blessing of same-sex marriages and approved two official liturgies to bless such unions. It ordains women and LGBT people to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the episcopate. In 2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop.

The Presbyterian Church USA allows same-sex marriage (2014), and ordains openly LGBT members in committed relationships as teaching elders (clergy), and ruling elders (elders elected to serve on the Session).

United Church of Christ: The national settings of the UCC have historically favoured liberal views on social issues, such as civil rightsLGBT rightswomen’s rights, and abortion.

Affirming Pentecostal Church International (APCI) is a Pentecostal denomination. It was founded December 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is currently the largest LGBT -affirming Pentecostal organisation in the World.

Some Good News to report:

United Methodist Church: By a vote of 438-384, delegates from around the world attending the United Church’s General Conference in St. Louis reinforced a United Methodist Church policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Sadly, almost 50% of the delegates don’t believe God’s word.

legates voted

SEEKING AND FINDING THE ONE LOST SHEEP

In the Lord’s economy, seeking and finding one lost sheep is more important than protecting the ninety nine who are living safely in the sheepfold. Seeking one lost sheep ultimately produces more heavenly joy than protecting ninety nine sheep who are not lost. How much more should we feel the burden when we realise that not one, but billions are lost?  But only a single penny out of every mission dollar is spent to reach these lost sheep and only a handful of shepherds are searching for them.

Image result for picture of parable of the lost sheep

The church spends untold billions of dollars building bigger and better sheep pens for people who are bored with the Gospel. We say we want to live like Jesus and spend our money wisely. But these cold, hard statistics betray our perverted priorities. If we’re honest, we are the ones He is so lovingly chastising in Luke 15. For us to faithfully live out our mandate to make disciples of all nations, we have to actually spend our time, money, and manpower going to the places that are completely unreached but also to the lost in our own neighbourhood. We have to care and share. We have to prioritise unreached people with our intercession, time, and money.

DID POPE FRANCIS JUST CALL FOR A ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT?

Members of the Pontifical Academy met late May, 2019 at the Vatican to discuss the topic of: “Nation, State, Nation-State.”

Pope Francis is pushing for steps toward global authority that supersedes the rights of individual countries, all with the goal of pursuing “the common good” on issues like climate change and immigration.

“When a supranational common good is clearly identified, it is necessary to have a special authority legally and concordantly constituted capable of facilitating its implementation. We think of the great contemporary challenges of climate change, new forms of slavery and peace,”

“The nation-state is no longer able to procure the common good of its populations alone. The common good has become global and nations must associate for their own benefit,” Francis said.

While addressing the conference, Francis rebuked the trend of nationalism among individual countries and the many tensions that “come from an excessive demand for sovereignty on the part of states.”

Francis also implied national sovereignty becomes twisted when countries do not have a welcoming attitude toward migrants.

Image result for picture of pope and the imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar,

Issued a joint declaration with Muslim leader proclaiming that ‘pluralism and diversity of religions are willed by God‘;

“The church observes with concern the reemergence, in many parts of the world, of currents that are aggressive towards foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good,” he told the conference.

This, in turn, “threatens to jeopardise consolidated forms of international cooperation, undermines the aims of international organisations as a space for dialogue and meeting for all countries in a spirit of mutual respect, and hinders the attainment of the sustainable development goals approved unanimously by the United Nations,” the pope said.

The Pope also said individual countries can no longer look out for their own people by themselves due to globalisation.

The Pope also pushed the idea of supranational entities to the conference.  A supranational union is defined as a type of multinational political union where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member states.  The term is sometimes used to describe the European Union, according to Wikipedia.

For instance, a group of nations could “strengthen their cooperation by connecting certain functions and services to intergovernmental institutions that manage their common interests,” he said.

“When a supranational common good is clearly identified, it is necessary to have a special authority that is legally and concordantly constituted and capable of facilitating its implementation,” the Pope concluded.

As I have posted many times, this Pope is a strong candidate for the end times False Prophet. It must be remembered that Pope Francis is the leader of over a billion of the world’s Christians. This push by him for supranational union is a big step towards one world government. However, the big indicator for him being the False Prophet is his statement that Jesus is not the only way to God and as a result acceptance of other religions as valid.

Pope Francis on Muslims – ‘We must never forget that they profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day.‘   (November 24th, 2013 VATICAN.VA)

It is amazing that the following prophecy from Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen is coming to fruition

We are living in the days of the Apocalypse–the last days of our era…. The two great forces of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of Antichrist are beginning to draw up the battle lines for the catastrophic contest.  The False Prophet will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit church. Christ’s Church will be one. And the False Prophet will create the other. The false church will be worldly ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions forming some type of global association, world parliament of churches. It will be emptied of all divine content and will be the mystical body of the Antichrist. The mystical body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from among our bishops.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen (source:  The Thunder of Justice)

GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY IN IRAN

Report from CBN News on Christians in Iran. Watch this short video and be encouraged. You will see Dylan Thomas of FAI talking about what God is doing in Iran. If you haven’t viewed the first “Sheep in Wolves Clothing” video that I recently posted then can I suggest you do so, if you want to learn more.