You Are Narrow-Minded

I am often accused of being narrow-minded and exclusive because I believe there is only one way to Heaven and His Name is Jesus. I often fool around and say that it is okay to be narrow-minded when you are right. But, all fooling aside – is what we as born again Christians really believe narrow-minded and exclusive? I think not.

Imagine if you fell into a well. A rescue crew comes along and lowers a rope down to you as a way of escape. It would be silly to criticize their one way of escape as too exclusive, too restrictive, or narrow-minded. It is none of these things. It is available if you wish to get out of the well. It would be available regardless of who it was who fell into the well. It is a wonderful offer and a way of escape from the well offered free of charge and without any prejudice.

Why do people believe that the rope God offers us as a way out of the well (hell) is narrow-minded? Simple! We demand multiple options because WE want the power to decide our own method of rescue, because WE want to be in charge of everything. WE want to play God. But a single solution does not imply exclusivity or narrow-mindedness – not if that solution is offered to everyone without exception.

Why don’t all religions lead to God? Why is the Christian faith the only way to God? Why is there only one way of escape – a rope? Well, look at it from God’s vantage point and not man’s vantage point. God came down to us in human form, embodying as well as announcing that He desires for everyone to have eternal life, really apart from any religion. It is found only in Him and a personal relationship with Him and never found through any religion.

This is not exclusive nor narrow-minded. It is a wonderful offer from God because He loves everyone equally and desires all men be rescued from the well. Just because He only offers one way out does not make it narrow-minded and exclusive. It simply makes it available to everyone and thus a person’s choice.

The angels announced at Jesus’ birth: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people.” (Luke 2:10 KJV). What could be more inclusive and wonderful than that – it is available to “all people.” That’s not narrow-minded!

On the Road to Russia

Late last night I finished ministering to a sizable crowd in the city of Komrat, Moldova. This was an add on to our original schedule and one I am glad we accepted. It was an amazing night with many lives seriously touched for the Kingdom. And, a number of young people were ministered to powerfully by the prophetic.

I have, on occasion, asked for your prayers for safety when traveling. This is so important. This last week we did a 100 kilometer trip in freezing rain going one way and freezing rain and fog returning to where we were staying. Then two nights later right in the capital city it had rained all day and then began to snow heavily. As we were driving down a 6 lane street on a hill a child ran into the road and we had to swerve hard and fast to miss him. We slid through four lanes – one going in our direction and three in the other direction… and ended up back-end first on top of the sidewalks nicely planted between two trees – no one was injured or hurt and the van was in perfect condition. Your prayers for protection are greatly appreciated.

Today I travel from Kishinev, the capital of Moldova to Moscow, the capital of Russia. This is a three plus hour flight. Then, a three hour drive into the city of Novomoskovsk (New Moscow) to minister for 5 days in one local church. We will be running several sessions for leaders and the majority of the four sessions a day for people who want to learn about the basics of prophecy. We will also, it appears, be meeting with leaders from another Network (union) to discuss their transition to an apostolic-prophetic DNA for their 100+ churches (just added to the schedule where we originally had some free time).

Thank you for praying and standing with us in this ministry to Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Pictured: A part of the 100 leaders from one local church packed into a room for a six hour leadership training session on “The Prophetic in the Modern Church.”

Attitudes

When you read the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) you see three different attitudes toward material goods demonstrated. If you don’t remember or know the story Jesus told, take the time right now to read through it and give some thought to it and then come back and read this short blog.

There are three attitudes displayed openly in this parable – three approaches to material belongings and money.

1> THE THIEVES – What is yours is mine, and I’m going to get it
2> THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS – What’s mine is mine, and I’m going to keep it
3> THE SAMARITAN – What is mine is yours, and I’m going to share it

Now, as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, ask yourself honestly, which role do you end up “playing” in your life the majority of the time? Yes, we have all three attitudes at various times and in different circumstances – but which of the three attitudes is the most active and dominant in your life? Be honest and real now!

And, which attitude or approach to material belongings do you see exhibited in the life and ministry of Jesus? Most people will say that of the Samaritan. However, I believe that this is not the case. I believe Jesus had a vastly different approach to material things and, in fact, set out for us a Kingdom perspective on wealth and money management.

So, I challenge you to read a gospel or even all four gospels and specifically note the attitude and thus approach Jesus took to material belongings and finances (money management). What was His attitude? How did He view this aspect of life? What were His actions? And, what did He teach about it? And, teach He did. He taught more on money and material wealth and possessions then He did on prayer, heaven and hell, and faith all piled together.

I look forward to interacting with your comments.

Last Day In Moldova

Monday and we will have finished ministering to the Spiritual Council for this union (Network) of churches we have been working with. This morning we spent several hours talking to and ministering prophetically to the members of the Council who help to steer the ministry and outreach of this group of churches.

This afternoon is suppose to be “free” but that seldom happens and so I await the arrival of whatever will occupy the time. Often we meet new pastors who have been in our sessions and have been impacted and simply want to thank me and fellowship for a time before heading back to their responsibilities in their home churches. I am actually praying for some quiet time and an opportunity to rest.

Tonight we are driving to the city of Komrat to work with another church plant of this union of churches. This will be the fourth church plant we have worked with since our arrival as well as Sunday in the mother church. Not sure yet what I will teach but the Lord has faithfully lead me to this point and I don’t see a reason for this to change now. Please pray with us for God’s will and direction concerning tonight.

Tomorrow we head out to the airport early and fly into Moscow, Russia and then drive for three hours to the city of Movomoskovsk where we will be ministering for almost a week. Again, our first time in this city.

Your prayers for tonight’s service and our travel day tomorrow would be greatly appreciated.

Picture – young 14 year old learning to prophesy. Working on the ministry team of a local church we were in on Friday night.

A Religious Revolution

Erwin McManus states, “Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don’t even put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name. If He was willing to turn Judaism upside down, don’t think for a moment our institutions are safe from a divine revolt. I am convinced that even now there are multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ who are sick and tired of the church playing games and playing down the call of God. My travels only confirm that the murmurings of revolution are everywhere. I am convinced that there is an uprising in the works and that no one less than God is behind it.”

I too believe that there is a major revolution coming – and that the Church will look very different in 10 years time. I believe it is being led mostly by young men who are being called to be apostles and who are not settling for the status quo. I believe that some areas of the world are already in this time of change and that it has powerfully begun to alter the face of Christianity in those nations. I believe that this revolution will totally alter the way the church is structured, its focus and the work that it does. I believe that this revolution will lead to a radicalness that we have not seen in many centuries in the Church; a radicalness that will take the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. I see many signs of this beginning in my travels in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Of course we want to see this happen in North America as well. However, so far I do not see any signs of this radical revolution in our nations. I see that the majority of young people are still caught up in the world and its ways and not dedicated to the ways of the Lord. I see that the brand of Christianity we practice in North America is very much a cultural brand and has little resemblance to the biblical Church as seen in the book of Acts. I see a real need to return to our first love, take our focus off of ourselves and our needs, to receive a heart for the lost, and to rise up and volunteer to be laborers in the harvest field. Until this transpires I do not believe we will see the radical shift we need to return to a vibrant, dynamic and effective church.

However, I do believe that the Lord will have His way. And, if the current Church in North America does not respond, the Lord will simply find the few who do want to follow Him and He will start again in a fresh and new way. Meanwhile, those who declare themselves to be believers will simply continue to play church. Hopefully you will be one who choses to follow the radical leading of the Lord.

Sunday In Moldova

I am nearing the end of my week in Moldova. This morning (Sunday) I was in a local church in the city of Kishinev which is the capital of Moldova. The church was planted 18 years ago and has 500 in attendance on Sundays. As well, they have planted a number of other churches in many of the towns and cities in this southern part of their nation. They are truly obeying the Lord to go into all their world… and they are excited to have an opportunity to witness for Jesus and plan to do so in every town and city in their nation as they plant vital and alive local churches. This is being accomplished often at great cost to the many believers who are involved (80%+ of the local church).

After the service there will be a meal and a time of fellowship with the senior leader and his wife. Then an opportunity to have some quiet time and some personal space (we hope). It has been very busy with each day ending well after midnight and as late as 2:00a. So, some personal time and space would be greatly appreciated at this point in time.

Monday we are working with the spiritual council of this network of churches and some of the main leaders and office workers (20 in total) and they are wanting us to minister prophetically to each person. Then, in the evening, we travel out to another church plant in the city of Komrat (1 hour drive) and that will be the last official ministry we do during this visit as we head to Moscow on Tuesday morning (by plane).

Please pray for our time with their senior leaders and spiritual council whom we meet and minister to on Monday. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Pictured: The Leadership School for this Network of Churches and their Bible School students (as many as we could get into the picture)

Difficult but Fruitful

G. K. Chesterton said, “The way of Jesus has not been tried and found unfruitful. It has been found difficult, and left untried.” So, perhaps the problem is not with Jesus’ teaching, but with Christians’ simply not doing what He said.

This is not to say that Jesus didn’t say some fairly controversial and difficult things. He did. And, we can certainly admit that some of the things He spoke and demanded of His early disciples were even dangerous if done properly. But, let’s also admit that if Jesus is telling us to do something He has a reason for doing so and is expecting us to obey Him. And, as we obey Him, stepping out in faith, He will help us to fulfill what He has asked of us. And yet, we don’t obey but simply ignore His commands and live as we chose and do the things we want to do.

So, why don’t we do what He said and obey what is recorded in the Bible? Simple. We have not made Jesus Lord of our lives and thus are still in control of and running our own show. We are therefore in charge of our own lives and will decide to do whatever we want to do and not what we are commanded to do by an “outside source.” Of course this makes Jesus just a wise man and someone whose advice should be considered when making a difficult decision or approaching a change in life. He is not seen as Lord and His commands and demands are simply options we might consider but are certainly not a foundation upon which we build.

So, can you have Jesus as Savior – and thus be assured of His love now and a place in His Heaven when the time comes – without Him being Lord? I don’t think so. The early Church preached about the Kingdom of God and the resurrected King, Jesus. They preached about entering an alternative Kingdom to the “kingdom” of the Romans – the Roman Empire. They understood that being a disciple meant bowing to and pledging to obey the King and thus He was seen as Lord of each life and of His Church.

As a result obedience to what Jesus spoke and even, at times, commands, was not an option. It was simply expected and done. And because they obeyed they had a powerful and life-changing impact on peoples lives and on the Roman Empire as a whole. They were able to march through the known world declaring Jesus is Lord and establish churches in every major city known in their day. And the world and billions of lives have never been the same.

I am currently in Moldova and working with a network of churches that is also marching through Moldova establishing churches in every city and town of their nation. In the last week I have been to three of their current church plants ministering to the saints. The leaders are sacrificing much in life to obey the Lord’s command to “go into all the world…” As I watch their life and their ministry it is evident that they are obeying the commands of Scripture and living a lifestyle that Jesus can bless and use. The have made Him Lord of their lives and families – and of the Church. I have been impressed and powerfully impacted by their obedience and their zeal for the “Christian way” and all of the commands of Jesus. And, as poor as they are they have begun a church plant in Romania and have plans of reaching two other bordering nations as well.

Yes, they have found it difficult to follow Jesus but they have been willing to do as asked by the Lord and have taken the Gospel into towns and cities where the message of salvation had not been heard. They have found what Jesus said to be difficult – but have not left it untried.They have tried what Jesus said and taught and are finding it fruitful. And, I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be a small part of what they are doing here during my week with them.

Prophetic in the Modern Church

That’s today’s topic at a one day school for leaders of local churches belonging to the Charismatic Union of Churches that I am working with here in Chisinau, Moldova and surrounding area. We have well over 100 people in attendance and they are hungry to hear what God has to say to them and to know and understand the changes they will need to make to be in step with the Holy Spirit today.

I actually had the morning “off” and so managed a little extra sleep, some preparation time, some extra time for my own devotions, as well as doing some administrative details via email regarding upcoming trips – including next week in Russia. Seems like you can never escape the office work – even when on the road ministering. So, as you read this we will be just starting and we will go well into the evening. Please be praying for us. There is a lot to accomplish and only today to do it in.

Tomorrow – Sunday – we will doing the main Sunday service in the city. Just one service with an expected attendance of 500+ Please remember that whole day in your prayers as well. After the service we will certainly be spending time with the local leadership as we eat a meal and have some time to pray together. It will be a good day and I am still seeking the Lord as to what to teach on as this will be my first time in this church (which has been the case every night this week – first visits to each church). Again, let’s really saturate today and tomorrow in prayer that God’s will will be done in each situation and location.

Thanks for taking the time to lift us up before the Lord each day…Greatly appreciated.

Just Jesus!

Jesus Christ is in an amazing position to offer help to everyone in the world today. Here is what I mean – He is a rabbi to the Jew, a prophet to the Muslims, an avatar to the Hindus, an enlightened one to Buddhists, the Son of God to Christians, a wise teacher to secularists, and “a friend of sinners” for the rest of us. So, really no matter who you are talking to Jesus will fit right into the conversation if you are bold enough to introduce Him into the ongoing personal interaction.

Think about it now…no matter what a person’s present worldview or concept of God might be – if they are seeking for spiritual truth Jesus is the perfect place to start their search. He, like Paul, can be all things to all people when they first start their search. But, of course, He must become their Lord and Savior before they can declare their search successful. He is so good and so gracious and will meet each and every person where they are at leading them to where they need to be – the foot of the cross. Then He can be where He wants to be – in their heart and walking with them on a daily basis.

Please note, however, that He wants a personal relationship with them. He does not want them to become religious. He does not want them to simply have a number of new things to do – pray, read the Bible, go to worship on Sunday, and fellowship with others….He is inviting them to have a personal relationship with Him. Amazing, awesome, exciting, wonderful and absolutely essential if a person is to live a life that is pleasing to God. You are not inviting them to join a church – Jesus is inviting them to come to Him.

Jesus said, “come unto Me all of you who labor and are heavy laden…” note that He is inviting people to come to Him and not to a religion. The Message Version starts by saying, “are you burned out on religion?” and most people are. In fact, not just burned out but often deeply wounded. As a result they are definitely not looking towards religion for the answers to their spiritual questions. This is a good thing because religion does not have the answers – Jesus does!

So, when engaging others in spiritual conversations stay focused on Jesus. Stay away from your particular brand of the Christian faith, your traditions, your pet topics such as end-time prophecy or the rapture. Jesus wants a relationship with them and religion, no matter what brand or make it may be, simply gets in the way. People do not want or need all the religious and traditional baggage that so many of us mix in when talking to people about spiritual matters – just Jesus! He is more than enough.

Another Church

It is Friday and this is my last day teaching in the Bible School and Seminary here in Chisinau, Moldova. It has been a wonderful three days and I am sorry to see them come to an end. The topic has been “church planting” and this was the first time I have been asked to teach this topic. So, it has been an adventure working out my thoughts and expressing them and taking the many articles and blogs I have written about this area of ministry and putting some order to the thoughts expressed. It has been good – very good.

Tonight I am in the city of Ungeni which is a 90 minute drive from where I am located during the day. This is another small church of about 35 members but we are expecting many more than that because “the prophet from Canada” will be there. It is always fun to bring people up front during the service – people who have never prophesied before, give them 5 minutes instruction and have them join the team. Then they realize you don’t need to be a prophet or come from Canada to do this. You just need to believe what the Bible states and then do it.

Tomorrow I am teaching back in the city of Chisinau – a one day seminar on “Prophetic in the Modern Church.” They chose the topic and I have no idea what I will be teaching yet – but there will be 6 hours of teaching and as many prophesying over people and ministering healings and deliverances. So, a long day but with your support in prayer it will a better than good day for the King and the Kingdom. They are expecting 100+ people to this one day seminar.

Thanks for praying – when here ministering in Eastern Europe and Central Asia I am away from almost everything that is familiar and comfortable. So, often the feeling is like being adrift. It is not a bad feeling – it is just that all the things that keep a person anchored when at home and in a routine cease to exist. So, your prayers help to anchor the team members – all of whom are away from their home base and they regular support structures. Thanks for being a vital part of all that the Lord is accomplishing here this week.