Prophetic Evangelism

I have recently finished teaching in a leadership school on the topic of prophetic evangelism. We can call it a number of other things – Bible evangelism, supernatural evangelism, or simply Christian life. The way evangelism was done right from the start in the Church (Acts 2) was supernatural with the disciples speaking in tongues after being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus used many of the gifts that come with the baptism to impact and change the lives of those He encountered as He moved supernaturally. In Paul’s life evangelism was not simply a program it was actually a way of life and apparently as natural to him as breathing.

Programmatic evangelism which has been around for as long as I have been saved says we need to give people answers to all of their questions. Fair enough. Prophetic evangelism says we need to give them mysteries. We need to do some stuff they can’t figure out. This way they have to consider the existence of God and the fact that God knows them and wants to have a part in their daily, every day lives.

We have been so busy trying to give people answers that we have taken something potent out. We need to let a generation know our God is indescribable! People are tired of programmed and packaged religion. They want to see the power of God demonstrated. The want to see the presence of God – blind eyes to see, paralyzed legs to jump out of their wheelchairs. When the church fails to provide an engaging experience with God, you will see the youth immediately go to drugs and the occult. We need to show the world and especially the younger generation that Jesus is alive. We have been doing that here in Rusia during our recent apostolic trip. It has been exciting.

It is time for the Church to return to her supernatural roots and change whatever it takes to demonstate God to the world today. Paul knew this and said so in 1 Corinthains 2:1-5 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

The word “demonstrate” means to put God on public display and exhibit Him in the real world in which we live. God demonstrates Himself through us His people. We need to know how to walk in the power and presence of God so that we can do just that – let others know that He is truly alive and deeply in love with them. Prophetic evangelism does just that!

It Has Been Amazing

Today is the last day of a four day leadership school being held in the city of Moscow in Russia. We have had full house every day with hungry students arriving early and staying late. Just yesterday they requested to start at 9:00a instead of 9:30a so that they could have an extra half hour of worship before beginning – meaning an hour instead of the regular 30 minutes. They are certainly wanting all that God has to give them.

It has been a powerful time with the Lord. The teachings on prophetic evangelism and reaching people for Jesus in today’s world have been well received. Each meal time we have meetings with various other pastors and leaders. Each evening I meet in-depth with a pastor who has some personal things he needs to discuss or with one who wants me to mentor them. The regreful thing is the lack of time to meet with some of the young people who are here and over whom I have spoken prophetic words. Wish there were more days in the week.

This evening we move to another location in Moscow where we will stay until Monday morning. Saturday we have a morning off (funny way of saying meeting with a pastor who needs to talk) and then two meetings with the leadership of a local church we are working with for the weekend. Sunday – two services in the local church and between the two public services another meeing (yet unscheduled but I have been here and done that so know that there will be one.) Monday we move on to our fifth and last city before heading home.

Please pray for safe travel for the 125+ students we have with us – some by bus, some by train, some by car. It is winter here and so the travel conditions can be dangerous and change quickly. Pray for my team members as they too travel home and several others travel in to join with us. The team is changing make-up as it is the weekend and other duties and ministries call team members away. Please pray for strength and refreshing for myself and Miroslav as we begin working in the local church and as we plan the teachings and ministry times over the next two and a half days. Pray that we would have wisdom and needed strength – the days are getting longer as we are tired as we are ending our second full week here in Russia. Many thanks.

A Dream Come True

An aspiration will only become a realization with perspiration. Remember that – it is important. If you are ever going to achieve anything in life for Jesus and His Kingdom; if you aspire to do something great with Jesus – it will never happen or become a reality – it will never be realized – without a lot of hard work and an investment of time and energy. Nothing comes easy and everything in the Kingdom is moved forward by prayer and being willing to invest yourself in the task at hand. It is called hard work. For your dream to come true you will need to remember that An aspiration will only become a realization with perspiration. Read more

If Facebook Were a Country

If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s third largest. Data Genetics reports that 42% of the U.S. population has an account with the social networking site – in Canada the percentage is far greater. And, the majority of the “Facebookites” are unsaved. It is a vast mission field that touches almost every nation on the planet – and you can reach into those nations without leaving the comfort and warmth of your own home.

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THE LIGHTHOUSE

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station.  The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost.  Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.  Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work.  New boats were bought and new crews trained.  The little lifesaving station grew.

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Chrislam Rising

I have spoken out about this rising threat to the Christian faith a number of times both in blogs and in Power Point presentations on Sundays. I believe this is a serious threat to what we believe as Christians and needs to be taken seriously. This article is one of many from recent Christian news sources…

‘Chrislam’ Rising
10:40AM EST 11/22/2011 Stefanie Schartel (Christian news….)

Pictured: Caleb Carter, 26, reads the Quran at home in Dearborn, Mich., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. For Carter, the road to becoming a Muslim took years, but Sept. 11, 2001 was a turning point – specifically a high school teacher’s hostile reaction that day to the terrorist attacks. “I was a junior in high school at the time, taking a class called Nonwestern World Studies,” said Carter, who then lived in Columbia, Mo., but now resides in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, home to one of the nation’s largest Muslim communities. “For him (the teacher), it was purely, ‘This is what Islam teaches. We shouldn’t be surprised.’ He played the whole ‘Islam equals terrorism card.’” (AP Images/Paul Sancya)

Communities across the nation are taking Christianity and Islam—two diametrically opposed theologies—and working to blend them together.

“Chrislam, as the name suggests, is a growing movement wherein some Christians are seeking to find common ground with Muslims,” explains theologian Bill Muehlenberg of the doctrine that began in Nigeria in the 1980s. “Indeed, it actually seeks to combine Christianity with Islam.”

Chrislam has gained significant momentum since the seed was planted nearly three decades ago. Earlier this year Christian communities in Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C, and other cities placed Qurans in church pews—right alongside Bibles—and preached about the Prophet Muhammad.

Chrislamists use similarities, such as the monotheistic elements of Christianity and Islam, to unite believers under a common banner. For example, Chrislam advocates point to the mention of Jesus 25 times in the Quran, as well as congruent teachings on morals and ethics. By identifying these supposed parallels, proponents believe they are drawing a spiritual sword to battle atheism and polytheism and solving a deadly conflict in the West.

Bible-believing Christians are rejecting the movement. Tim Forsthoff, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Highland, Mich., is one of many speaking out against it. “We are not brothers with those who reject Christ. We are not part of the family of God with those who deny the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he stresses.

In June, Jack Van Impe, the popular end-time television host, walked away from TBN in the wake of a dispute over naming well-known ministers he claims are mixing Muslim and Christian beliefs. TBN decided to pull the broadcast, and Van Impe cried censorship and ended the 23-year relationship. “When I see heretical teaching leading to apostasy, I will speak out,” Van Impe said.

Paul L. Williams, an author, journalist and professor, blames the ideal of multiculturalism for the successful spread of Chrislam. He says most Christians think multiculturalism and diversity are the best things for the U.S. In some American pulpits today, speaking against diversity is a sin, he notes.

“People have been led to believe all cultures are equal, that all religions are equal. The No. 1 culprit here is embracing … the different cultures,” Williams says. “[Muslims] are coming in and converting the Christians.”

Surrounded

If you want to move forward as a believer and as a leader in the Christian Church and the Kingdom of God you will need to surround yourself with quality people who can help you in your journey towards your destiny. I am not talking about friends and family. I am talking about strategically surrounding yourself with people who will help you on your journey, help you fulfill the task the Lord has given to you, and help you to simply accomplish more. People you trust and with whom you can be yourself and be open and real.

I am currently in Russia as I write this. I am working with some wonderful men of God with whom I have worked before. This time several have spent quality time with me and they have entered into long-term mentoring relationships with me. They want to grow; they want to learn; they want to move forward in their relationship with the Lord and in their ministry. They came looking for me and came with specific requests with regard to being mentored. They are serious about being disciples and being better leaders and disciples of the Lord. Last night I met with a pastor from Armenia – he too wants an in-depth relationship and is serious about being mentored and moving into the fullness of his destiny with Jesus. I have said yes to him as well and will be with him in his nation for a week in April.

Each of us needs to surround ourselves with others who are further ahead in their walk with the Lord. Two years ago I lost a long-term mentor who had walked with me for over 30 years. He was almost 90 and went to be with the Lord. For a year and a few months I was seriously looking for new mentors … in the last six months I have approached two men and asked them about the possibility of entering into a mentoring relationship with them. In the process of talking, praying, thinking – I have decided on one and not both – as I believe one of these men has a lot to give and can be a wonderful benefit to me in my faith walk. I once again have a mentor. I am thankful. I am still looking for a second who will walk with me on my journey.

Every serious disciple needs to have a Paul in their life. Someone more mature and further ahead on the journey than they are and with qualities that can help them to grow and mature. Every disciple needs a Timothy – someone they are discipling and mentoring because this helps them to grow as well. These people need to be found and hand selected. This is an intentional process and not something that just happens. You need to go looking and then ask people to enter into these relationships with you. With long-distance calling, Skype, emails and text messaging – distance is not an issue any more.

I am looking forward to continuing to develop my relationship with my mentor who lives a day’s journey from my home and I look forward to mentoring two men in their mid-fourties and one in his early thirties who are looking to move up to the next level in their walk with the Lord. It is time for all serious disciples of Jesus to come into biblical order…

Many Facets To The Daily Ministry

This is day three of a four day leadership school being held in the city of Moscow. We are wall-to-wall in the facilities we are using and most times there are some who are standing during the three 2 hour daily sessions of teaching and practical, hands-on applications. It has been a powerful time. All those in attendance are leaders and all of them are serious about following Jesus and doing whatever it is He is doing to impact their communities for Him and His Kingdom. Hungry people are easy to teach – they simply suck the anointing and power right out of you. An apostolic delight – people who delight themselves in the Lord and have taken time off work (and suffered a loss in salary) to be here for these four days.

As the facilities are fairly basic – on my floor there are two toilets (private as they have doors) and two shower stalls – not private as they are see through glass. There are a good number of us staying on this level of this building and so I get up at 5:55a and head down as they open the doors to that end of the building at 6:00a. I tend not to be an extrovert at the best of times – but early in the morning and before first coffee I would rather not have company. And, there is always a language barrier so I am limited in what I can communicate – getting better but limited.

The food we are eating in the team’s dining room is 100% Korean and wonderful. In Kazakhstan we eat 100% Korean and have come to enjoy and even look forward to the three meals a day. Here is the same. Healthy and wholesome. Of course, the one Russian thing that I carry on faithfully is the habit of eating chocolate with your coffee (they don’t serve desserts). So we are dealing with Korean and Russian cuisine at the same time.

Thank you for praying – your prayers are being answered. People are growing; some have been baptized in the Holy Spirit; a number have discovered their gifts and callings as they have been prophesied over in depth by the team; and everyone is receiving Jesus’ vision for the Church He is building and the changing methods of evangelism needed today to impact a fast-changing and post-Christian culture. Please pray for the many meetings that go on during the day and well into the night with leaders. This is the part I love the most but the part that can be most draining. Also pray for Alexander and Vladamir as I meet with them one-on-one to discuss the mentoring process they are about to enter into with me and for Robert (in Siberia) as I continue to mentor him by email on a weekly basis. Your prayers, as always, are greatly appreciated.

Nothing to Prove – No One to Impress

Jesus wants us, as disciples, to get to the point where we have nothing to prove and no one to impress. This means we will have found our identity in Christ, not the size of our church, the impact of our ministry, or the dynamics of the home group that we lead. This means you can enjoy the privilege of ministering even when times are tough and fruit is sparse. It is nice to know that the success or failure of the Kingdom does not depend on the success or failure of our ministry.

It is all about Him. He is God! He will not and does not fail. And He has got our back. We just have to do our best – then leave the rest to Him. That is all that He asks – even when others may be demanding more than that from us. Remember to focus on what He is asking of you and not what others expect or even demand.

The Bible puts this in a wonderful way. Listen to the words of Jesus. “”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.”

Listen to it in the Message Version (my favourite for this passage): “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Powerful! And true! But hard to learn and do because we have been taught to perform and we believe that God is measuring our value by our performance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, He has prepared things for us to do now that we are saved (Ephesians 2:10) but He wants us to work with Him and not just for Him. We are to enter into His custom-made yoke remembering He is in the other half of it and then simply follow His lead. We do what we see Him doing and speak what we hear Him saying – the same way He accomplished so much of eternal value in His ministry. And then we know we are doing what He has called us to do regardless of the outcome or what other people might think or say.

Jesus truly does want us to get to the place in our understanding of Him and His Kingdom and our grasping of who we are as disciples that we have nothing to prove and no one to impress. How are you doing in this regard?

The Apostolic Flow – Part One

Often when considering a church plant those involved do one of two things. They either announce that they are starting a church and advertise this fact thus attracting disconnected and often disgruntled believers together to form the base of the new work. Or, they send out a launch team from a local church comprised of a few families willing to do what it takes to begin a new work. Either way you are beginning a church with a church. Read more