Random Thoughts 11

What ever happened to the hunger for God’s Word? And, who today “fears the Word of the Lord?”

For many years people came to church hungry to hear what God was saying to them personally and to the family of God of which they were a part. During the week they regularly read their bible, learned the basic stories, memorized key verses, and became aware of the interaction of God with His people and the world He created by reading and knowing the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Sermons were an hour or more. Worship assemblies happened Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. Often there was a prayer meeting (sometimes all night) on the Friday. Every event spotlighted God’s Word.

Today it seems we struggle to attend regularly – once a week. In fact, regular is now defined as once or twice a month and no longer weekly. Regular bible reading has faded to occasional or not at all. Memorizing the Word generally has all but disappeared. And, the sermons are now 25 to 30 minutes or less. Christians are now bible illiterates and often don’t see God’s Word as authoritative in their lives. It is now simply something to ignore or to consider along with many other options and opinions.

Meanwhile, in almost every nation the moral standards are declining, human life seems to have lost its value, emotional health has generally declined almost as fast as mental health has. People are doing, as they did in the day of the Judges in the Old Testament, “Whatever seems right in their own eyes.” And, once again, the Bible proves to be accurate when it states that “every person will live in a way that seems right to them but the end is death.”

The decline in the knowledge of God’s Word and the place of God’s Word as an authority in and for life has been rapid. So has the decline in the moral standards in the nations and the rise of ungodliness. And, as Jesus told us in the gospel  according to Matthew “the love of many will grow cold.” The love here in the Greek is “agape” which only Christians can have as this is defined as “God’s love.” So, in the midst of this moral decline and decay many Christians will “lose their first love” and find themselves drifting from Jesus and His Word, the Truth, the Bible.

It is time for the true Church to defend the true faith and stop bowing to the pressures of society and the culture. Otherwise, like the Churches in the Book of Revelation we will see God remove His presence and power from our assemblies assuming it has not already happened.

Random Thought 10

The national synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, on a recount of votes, passed the motion to allow Anglican priests to perform same sex marriages. This was passed on the 12th of July as reported on the CTV National News.

This was not a surprise to anyone who knows the Anglican Church and their recent and steady move away from the Scriptures into apostasy (knowing the truth and not living by the truth they know). This national church has bowed to the pressures of the gay community and the current general trend of society to accept as normal people marrying those of the same sex. They are not the first national church to make this move and, most likely, won’t be the last. However, no amount of discussing and voting will make this right with God not will it ever line up with the scriptures – the Bible that we believe is God’s Word and our authority for the way we live and what we believe.

The Bible states that a person having sex with someone else of the same sex is not right in the eyes of God. It is a sin; not to mention that it is simply not natural. Now, everyone has sinned and thus not lived up to the plan and purpose of God for their life. And, one sin is no greater or lesser than another according to the Bible. So, this is not some huge sin that God cannot forgive. It is a sin just like adultery, murder, lying, and stealing are sins. And, no matter what society may call homosexual behaviour – it is a sin. Decorate it up with words like love, acceptance, and tolerance – it is still a sin. Pass Church law that allows this sin to be blessed by the church as two people of the same sex join in “marriage”and it is still a sin.

The solution is to confess the sin (1 John 1:9). Call it what God calls it – sin! And then, as the Holy Spirit convicts a person deeply of their sin, which offends a holy God, repent with godly sorrow and receive forgiveness. It is the same process for each and every sin for all sins are equal in God’s eyes. Then God can work inside a person’s heart and “clean us from all unrighteousness” which is the root cause of each and every sin – including the sin of homosexuality and the resulting same sex marriage.

The Bible states that we are to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3) because in these last days many will fall away and believe lies and myths – being deceived by leaders and teachers or deceiving themselves. It is sad that this deception is being led by well educated, seminary graduates who have a master’s degree in theology and the Scriptures.

So, be it a personal choice to enter into sin or someone being deceived by a priest or pastor into believing that sin is okay and acceptable under the banner of love and tolerance. Either way we have entered into a time prophesied by the prophet Isaiah where “darkness has become gross darkness” as the Church blesses the sinfulness of man in the name of Jesus. The message of holiness and righteousness has been lost and people are following “another gospel” and “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) – not the one as revealed in the Bible.

It is sad to see that we have reached the point of stupidity and craziness when those who have the truth and once defended that truth now bow to the culture and societal trends and call something holy when it is not, blessing something in the name of Jesus that God speaks directly against numerous times in His Word, the Holy Bible.

 

 

Random Thoughts 9

Reading about church planting … I have been asked to teach on it a number of times in the past five years. I know a few things about it but times are changing and thus so must the way the Christian Church plants and reproduces. And, of course, most books talks about “church planters” and I prefer to work with the biblical concept of apostles, prophets and the fivefold ministry as the correct way to plant. So, as I read I see things from a slightly different perspective.

According to a very recent study on new church plants in Canada, Australia, and the United States of America the sobering reality is that two-thirds of the church plants studies (843 in total started since 2008 and still in existence) have mostly connected with people who were already a part of a church and not reaching unbelievers with the Gospel. In other words, we are shuffling the saints. This is sad because originally (back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s) church planting was a major way of evangelizing a city or town. Now, credible statistics and surveys show that church plants are decreasing in evangelical effectiveness with each year they are in existence.

In other words, when a church plant starts the focus is often on evangelism because you need people to have a church. And, a vast majority of the initial crew will be recycled saints and not new believers. However, some new concerts will be won to the Lord and help to populate the church in the start of the life of the church. However, as the numbers increase through winning a few and welcoming transfers from other churches, the evangelistic zeal decreases because the need for more bodies and thus more finances is not as pressing. And, the key visionary leader and his team are now maintaining the saints and no longer as focused on ministering to the unsaved. Programs, buildings, and budgets now receive attention at the expense of less evangelism.

Across all church plants the average number of new commitments per year begins to taper off after year three. But, often the church continues to grow and look successful because of transfer growth – people coming in from other churches where they were no longer comfortable or satisfied. So, little is really happening in these three nations (and many others I suspect) in the area of evangelism and seeing souls saved for the Kingdom.

In those churches that continue to see new concerts to the faith, there are a number of common features…

1> Prioritize both a public and a digital church presence.                                            2> Emphasize strategic outreach after the initial launch of the church                        3> Invest in their leadership pipeline among members (grow new leaders)             4> Regularly communicate the vision and commitment to plant a daughter church

So, although the number of church plants is growing and some reach a considerable size … the amount of real life transformation is not as great.

Food for thought among those of us who are planting churches locally and overseas.

Random Thoughts 8

As I write this “random thought” I am preparing for an evening with a very powerful group of youth in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada. I am working in this region now on an almost monthly basis as an apostle. Every time I am there I try my best to meet with as many young people as I can and especially this group known as “Wildfire.”

As I am thinking about what to teach I am reminded of a verse – Romans 12:11 which states, “Do not be slothful in zeal, by fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” The ‘fervent in spirit’ could also be translated ‘fervent in the Spirit.” I happen to be reading The Message Version of the Bible this summer and this verse reads, “Don’t burn out; keep yourself fuelled and aflame…cheerfully expectant.” I think I am going to share this verse with the youth on Friday night.

I attend a lot of worship services. I face a vast number of different audiences on an almost daily basis. And, I see a wide variety of responses as I share, preach, teach, and minister. Overseas I see the people, regardless of age, come to events ‘cheerfully expectant.’ This is true as well in some places in North America. Winkler youth being one such example of people being ‘cheerfully expectant.’ However, in a large number of cases it seems to me that many come neither ‘cheerful’ nor ‘expectant.’

Of course, the level of expectation within the hearts of the people directly effects the preaching and teaching. It is simply a fact… when I look out and see people who are disengaged, distracted, distant, and disinterested then my enthusiasm wanes and the whole exercise becomes painful and draining. But, if the people I am facing are hungry, anticipating God is going to do something, anxious even to see the Holy Spirit move and touch lives, ‘cheerfully expectant’ … then everything changes and there is life and a fresh dynamic in the ministry of the Word. I, as the teacher, sense the hunger and the task of teaching charges my spirit and does not drain my spirit as often happens when people are not expectant.

It seems, in general, that people in North America no longer have a respect for God’s Word. They do not, as Scripture states, “tremble at His Word.” It seems we take it for granted; think we have heard it all before; we know it all and don’t think anyone can teach us something new. We are bored and approach the teaching of the Word of God as something to be tolerated and suffered through so we can get to the coffee served after the service. There is a definite lack of hunger and thirst for God’s Word. Maybe because it is not seen as an authority in our lives and not relevant to what we are facing in our world today. Not sure the root cause.

However, I find myself reluctant to say yes to an invitation to teach when I know that the hunger for God’s Word is not there. I am not interested in taking precious time out of my life to prepare and teach if what is being taught is not appreciated, received, and applied in the life of the hearer. I am praying that I can reach the point where there are so many opportunities offered to me to teach and preach that I will unable to fulfill all the requests … and thus say ‘no’ to those who are missing this element of being “cheerfully expectant.”

I am excited about God’s Word and I listen intently to every teaching I have the opportunity to hear. I take notes. I ask meaningful questions if an opportunity is given for questions and answers. I am hungry to hear God’s Word. I thirst for more. And, I approach my time in His Word (in the privacy of my home or in a public service) “cheerfully expectant.”
How about you?

Random Thoughts 7

Just heard that a young man and a pastor’s son was missing and has now been found dead having drown. This young man, several years ago, during one of my visits to his father’s church received a powerful prophetic word regarding his future and his ministry. The question this morning by Facebook messenger is “What happened?” “Was the Word a false prophecy?” “God had spoken such great things and now nothing?”

Although these situations are always heart-wrenching and difficult to understand we need to remember that accidents do happen. Receiving a Word from the Lord about your future does not guarantee your future. It is simply the Holy Spirit showing you the potential that God, your heavenly Father, sees in you. It is an expression of the future possibilities for your life and ministry. It is never a guarantee of anything. It does not protect you from the normal happenings of every day life. It is not fixed and going to happen regardless of what you do or don’t do. The Word is simply an expression of what is possible if you co-operate with the Word, walk closely with Jesus in your personal Christian life, stay connected to a local church, and live like a true disciple of Jesus. Of course, this includes taking care of your health and well-being.

When something happens and cuts short a life that had such promise the Word is simply never fulfilled. It does not mean that the Word was a false prophecy. It does mean that the devil succeeded in his work of killing, stealing, and destroying. Blame does not need to be assigned. Life happens and often there is no explanation or rational reason for what happens. The gift, calling, and anointing does not transfer to someone else. The Word was specifically given to this person and remains unfulfilled due to his death. Again, receiving a Word of the Lord is no guarantee that it will happen and it does not protect you from the normal issues of life. It is not a guarantee – it is simply an expression of a possible future. A prophetic Word expresses the potential God sees and the opportunities He is offering to you. It does not mean it will come to pass regardless of life’s circumstances. And, it does not guarantee a long and prosperous life.

Our heart and prayers go out to the family and local church involved (Russia) and we stand strong in the knowledge that Mark is in Heaven and God’s Holy Spirit is the Comforter touching the lives of al those who knew and loved him.

 

 

 

 

 

The Biblical Tithes

In His teaching ministry as He walked throughout the Holy Land Jesus spoke more on the issue of finances and money than He did on prayer, Heaven, and Hell combined

Money was an important and necessary part of life in those days

It still is a very vital part of life today

And, as Jesus said,

“You cannot serve God and Mammon / money” (Luke 16:13) Read more

Random Thoughts 6

Have you noticed that Christians seem to do things that are often questionable and that make you wonder where they are coming from? For example, a recent entry on Facebook read: “In Jesus name I release believers everywhere to KNOW what it means to abide in Christ!!!”

Gee, I though Jesus released us from the grip of sin and death and set us free. The Bible states that the truth sets us free and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the life. Didn’t know that I needed some believer to release me so that I would be free. And, I already know what it means to abide in Christ – I read the Gospel according to John whee Jesus commands us to abide in Him and tells us how this is accomplished.

Just a random thought.

Here’s another: “The fact that Satan worked overtime trying to hold you back is an indication that you have a call and destiny from God for something great.” Well, to be honest with you I read the Bible and it clearly states that my calling is to follow Jesus as a disciple so that I can learn to do what He did as He makes me into a fisher of men. The Bible states that I am a minister of reconciliation and an ambassador of the Kingdom who brings the message of the King into the domain of darkness or the devil’s territory. I do not need to rely on the work of the devil to let me know I have a calling from God. Think it though for a moment: So, if the devil is not currently bothering you or you are unaware of his attacks because, after all, they can be somewhat subtle … then you don’t have a call of God on your life?

Just a random thought.

Now the non-believers are not bothered by this. Most don’t read Facebook posts by Christians and, if they do, they already have formed an opinion of us and basically written us off. My concern is with those who are born again but are unsure about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. These types of non-blical comments that lack truth and reality simply reinforce their uncertainty and may move them further away from examining this encounter with the Holy Spirit. And, those who have been taught that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is of the devil will simply have that belief reinforced. They know their bible well enough to know these cute saying are simply not true.

So, as Spirit-filled believers be very careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media now available to each one of us. Remember, you represent the Lord and should speak truth in a way that states you deal in reality and live life with both feet solidly on the ground. That you are grounded in the Word of God and actually know what it states and how to accurately apply it.

Just a random thought that is worth considering.

The Bible – The Word of God

To establish your faith as a Christian and a disciple of Jesus you must begin at the beginning. And, the beginning when it comes to knowing God personally and living a life pleasing to Him is to know your Bible.

Keep in mind that the Bible is not a book of philosophy, although it is philosophical. Do not go to the Bible for a scientific treatise. However, there is no discrepancy between ascertained facts of science and the Bible. The Bible is not a book of history, but is found to be accurate when recording history. The Bible was given to man from God, revealing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God the Son, the only Saviour. Read more