A Season of Change

Recently on a trip to Kazakhstan I had the honour of being in a service where the people of God prayed for a team of 14 who were heading to Mongolia on a “mission trip” to win the lost and establish house churches. I later had the privilege of speaking at length with and then prophesy over two of those involved – a couple who work in an orphanage in Kazakhstan and pastor a house church. They were excited about the 42 hour bus ride they were about to embark on to reach the nation of Mongolia and the people there who have never head of Jesus.

Paul writes, “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.’”

The Passion Translation reads: “It is my honour and constant passion to be a pioneer who preaches where no one has ever even heard of the Anointed One, instead of building upon someone else’s foundation. As the Scriptures say: ‘Those who know nothing about him will clearly see him, and those who have not heard will respond (understand).’”

As I move along in my own ministry I find my passion changing. I was prophetically told that I was now in the third and final season of my ministry and that I would see many changes and much would be new. I love teaching the saints. I really greatly appreciate training, equipping, and mentoring young people in their calling to change the world. There is much that I do and have done that is both enjoyable and beneficial to the Kingdom. However, recently I have found myself impatient with the saints who simply sit and learn and seldom do anything with what they have learned. Saints who have lost their passion and zeal for Jesus and His cause. I am finding less value and even less satisfaction in giving just another teaching and then another teaching and then…

Recently in the city of Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan I had the honour of speaking to some campus leaders and some of the Christian students whom they lead. In the group were a number of new believers – less than two weeks old. Alive, hungry, full of questions. We spoke about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and answered many questions. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak with and prophesy over the leaders of the university campus ministry. Again, powerful. Here was part of the feedback:

“It was tremendous the move of the Holy Spirit after your visit of my team and students. You remember a student said that he had visions before becoming a believer and he has them after. That night Ersultan and the rest of my team and some students cast out demons from that student for 3 hours. It was shocking the way demons reacted in him. Then yesterday we continued casting out the rest major 2 demons and a devil from him for 2 hours. Everyone saw visions and then we prayed over students to release speaking in tongues, after worshipped together and the room filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It’s amazing the move of the Spirit which is a starting…”

In my heart of hearts this is where I want to be. I want to minister where the gospel has not been heard. I want to see the lost saved and raised up into new life. New expressions of the Church planted. I want to speak to new believers who are hungry to be trained and equipped and to learn more. I want to see churches that have not heard the true Gospel of the Kingdom come alive for the first time and embrace their divine destiny. I want to see the true Church that Jesus is building rise up and impact the community where they are located. I want to work with leaders who are wanting to go somewhere and do something significant for the King and the Kingdom. I want to mentor young people who are hungry for more and want to fully embrace the future that God has planned for them. Young people who are not satisfied with what is and are reaching for what could be. Young people who are wanting to see the lost won to Jesus and their nations transformed by the Gospel. 

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I am doing right now. I teach, I pray, I prophesy … but most of the churches I work with are not reaching the lost. And, to be honest, they really don’t have any interest in doing so. Add to that the obvious fact that little is changing in their lives and it leads to a bit of frustration on my part. Not to mention being somewhat bored teaching the same things and seeing nothing change.

So, as I enter the third and last stage of my 40+ years of ministry I am sensing a major change as I move into a serious season of raising up young people and training them to be world changers as they risk their life and take the Gospel of the Kingdom to places that have never heard the true Gospel. I will fade slowly from a lot of what I am currently doing. I will move forward embracing the new opportunities that have already begun to open up for me in the ministry – church planting in Canada, training young church planters in Viet Nam, working with campus ministries in Kazakhstan, and continuing to work with churches that truly are committed to the expansion of the Kingdom and are not simply maintaining the sheep and staying safe and comfortable. 

Change is never easy. But, in my life, I am welcoming and embracing this season of change and look forward to all the adventures it will lead me into. 

False Prophecy Today

Just because a prophetic word has a valid and true message to it does not mean it is a true prophetic word. There are many words spoken that contain truth and are accurate that the Bible would say are false prophecy. 

And, just because someone can move in power and perform miracles, signs, and wonders does not validate their prophetic words as true and from the Spirit of Christ. Jesus stated: “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders so as to lead many astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). In other words, those who are false prophets and apostles will sound good and look good thus deceiving many, even the elect of God, as they will be able to perform miracles that will be impressive and amazing.

Paul continues this thought when writing to the Church in Corinth when he states, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). 

True and false apostles and prophets can do similar miracles, signs, and wonders. And, when they speak and declare something “prophetically” they will sound like the real deal, their words will line up with Scripture, and what is spoken can come to pass – even though some of them would be declared as false workmen.

In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas confronts by a young woman who is speaking prophetically about them. 

“One day, as we were going to the house of prayer, we encountered a young slave girl who had an evil spirit of divination, the spirit of Python. She had earned great profits for her owners by being a fortune-teller. She kept following us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Great High God, and they’re telling us how to be saved!” Day after day she continued to do this, until Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit indwelling her, “I command you in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One, to come out of her, now!” At that very moment, the spirit came out of her!” (The Passion Translation)

Here we see a prophecy being given publicly by a young lady. Her words were: “These men are servants of the Great High God, and they’re telling us how to be saved!” That was true. Paul and Silas were men of God, called by God, and empowered by God’s Spirit. And, they were declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom and thus the way – the only way – to salvation. So, the words she spoke were true but it was a false prophecy.

Many of the words spoken over people by those who call themselves witches, warlocks, and psychics also are true and come to pass. Otherwise, people would not continue to use their services and pay large sums of money to hear about their future. But these words would be considered false prophecy as well.

What makes a prophetic word false? There are three things that determine if a word is true or false even when the content might be true.

1> What is the motive of the person giving the word. In this case it was to earn money for her masters. Paul writes that the gifts, including the gift of prophecy, is freely given by the Holy Spirit and those who move in this gift use the gift to benefit all others and not themselves (1 Corinthians 12). So, the motive of the prophetic ministry and minister help us to determine if a word is a true prophecy or a false prophecy.

2> Secondly, we look at the source of the words. In this case in Acts 16 it is an evil spirit or what we refer to as a demon. This young girl is definitely possessed and the source of her ability to speak truth is thus a demonic force. Some scholars will tell you that this young girl is under the influence and power of the python spirit. We know it is a demon as Paul eventually tires of her following them and casts the demon out of her.

3> The third reason it is a false prophecy is that the focus is wrong. The words spoken by the young lady are drawing people’s attention to Paul and Silas. A true prophetic word will draw attention to Jesus. So, the focus is wrong and thus her word is false.

Jesus, the early church, and the apostles chosen by Jesus all warn of false apostles, prophets, and teachers as well as false prophecies and how easily true believers can be deceived and drawn away from the faith and lose their salvation. We should heed their warnings and carefully examine all the words given and the people who speak them. 

So Many Prophetic Words

There are always numerous prophetic words circulating in Christian circles. There are numerous web sites that publish prophetic words. There are many Facebook pages expressing what they believe to be God’s heart for people, the Church, certain nations. 

It seems that God is speaking a lot. And, I am deeply concerned that many of the things He is supposedly speaking about contradict each other. Other words simply don’t line up with the written word of God, the Bible. And, many are being deceived by these words so freely spoken and shared.

We all know that God does not contradict Himself so not all prophetic words out there today are His Words. And we know that God never speaks contrary to what is written in His Word, the Bible. And, numerous words I have read are in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches. So, this points to the need to be discerning and not just accepting because someone said it is a prophetic word from the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

The issue I have with many of the words is that those posting them apparently lack any sense of discernment as to what is truly a word from the Lord and what is simply a person’s desire, dream, or their soul speaking. And, many of the words published that do seem to be the Lord sometimes are for the person or ministry that published them and not for the general population or even for the family of God. A personal word is shared and becomes corporate.

I personally read very few prophetic words that are published – even when published by some of the more well known ‘prophets’ and ‘apostles’ of our day. I simply don’t find them edifying and they often do not fulfill the three biblical purposes of the prophetic – to build up, the cheer up, to stir up (1 Corinthians 14:3). I prefer to invest my time in reading His Word as recorded in the Scriptures and seeking His face to hear His voice for myself personally and for the ministry He has given to me. And, those I don’t publish.

The Bible states (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21) that we are to test the prophetic words spoken to us personally, to the local church, to the Church, to a region or a nation… Test them to see what spirit is behind them. Where do they originate? Not all prophetic words are from the Holy Spirit as there are many false prophets ministering today in the Church and in the nations. And, many who are using the gift of prophecy do so for their own gain and notoriety which is also not biblical as the gift is given for others to benefit and not just the person with the gift benefitting – noted in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:7). 

Of course, the other issue is what are people doing with the prophetic words that they hear? If they are discerning and test the spirit (source) as well as test what is being said to the Scriptures, then most of the words would be tossed. So, you would do nothing with them and not even think about them again.

I understand that this is my opinion but it is an opinion based on 40+ years of prophetic ministry. 

For those words that register as biblical and from the Lord we need to act on them. In other words, do more than get excited and forward them to others or post them on your Facebook page. Personally act on what you know to be God’s voice to you. Obey what the Word has stated to you and do it immediately. Then your world will change, you will be walking in the center of God’s current will for your life, and you will be challenged and stretched. 

Let’s not worry about the Church or seek for a word for your region or another nation … you need to hear God for yourself and then walk in what you know to be His specific Words to you. 

As a result you and the church will have little time or interest in reading all the words that people are posting in the name of the living God. 

A side note: If you are a leader in a local church and God speaks to your local church prophetically – make sure that the Word is reviewed and acted upon. In other words, bring the people past the “that was nice” stage and into agreement with the word resulting in action being taken in line with the Word. 

SeeKing Jesus

The title at the top of the teaching (on the screen) is not a typo…

It is a time for Jews to come to Jerusalem to celebrate their feast days remembering all that God has done for them in the decades and centuries past
They come as commanded by their holy book – seeking to please God and find favour with Him
Jesus has come up to Jerusalem with His disciples – they are fulfilling the requirements of the Jewish law that all Jewish males come to Jerusalem at certain times of the year
In among the multitude of Jewish men were some Gentiles (non-Jews) who were from the part of the Roman Empire known as Greece (the former Greek city states)
Let’s pick up the Bible story at this point…

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BECAUSE HE LIVES

Jesus is alive – He is alive – Hear me, He is alive …

Living here with His people
Living here with you
Living here for you – available to help
Revealing Himself to others through you
In spite of the fact that many believers live life like…
He is not here
He is still in tomb
He is dead and buried
Her is not available or active today

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Everyone has a Story

Christians don’t have just one story or testimony; we have many. Our testimonies are stories of God’s power and presence in our lives. Every new day brings fresh stories of God’s goodness and grace.
Years ago I read Rebecca Pippert’s book “Out of the Saltshaker” on witnessing to others about Jesus. She wrote, “Every Christian has a personal story to tell … God has called you to be a very specific, very special person, and your story, your life, is a testimony to God’s goodness, his grace, his forgiveness. So share who you are with people. Let them know you have struggles, but that God has made a difference.”
In the Scriptures, we read about a woman at the well whom Jesus spoke to about salvation. So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’”   (John 4:28-29)

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What Zone Are You In?

We are living in a season when change is the key word. Everything is changing and as a result there is tremendous turmoil in the world. There are those who are leading the change and they are usually young and are using ‘people power’ and social media to bring about the changes they want and, in many cases, the world needs. 

There are those who are apposing the changes because they simply like what they already have and are not in favour of change or innovation in any area for any reason. 

And, you have a third group – often the largest of the three – who simply don’t care one way or the other. They are either apathetic or simply out of touch with what is happening in the world and in their small corner of the world.

I have observed that we all tend to fall into one of four different zones when it comes to innovation and change. Which zone we live in impacts how we live, how we relate to others, how we lead, and what we achieve. Here are the zones, along with the attitude statements that best represent them:

1> THE COASTING ZONE – “I do as little as possible”

2> THE COMFORT ZONE – “I do what I have always done”

3> THE CHALLENGE ZONE – “I attempt to do what I haven’t done before”

4> THE CREATIVE ZONE – “I attempt to think what I have never thought before”

To which zone do you naturally gravitate? Do you tend to live in the coasting zone, casually – even passively – doing as little as possible? Do you tend to stay in the comfort zone, avoiding risks? Do you connect with the challenge zone, where you try new things and willingly risk failure? Or do you try to stretch yourself the furthest by living in the creative zone, where you explore new ideas, seek out other perspectives, and cross bridges in your imagination long before you physically reach them?

The good news is that we have the ability to choose a zone different from our natural one. And I would recommend the creative zone, because it is where we experience abundance and expand our potential. If you want to take your walk with Jesus and your life journey to ever-higher levels and fulfill the potential God has placed within you then you need to shift from whatever zone you are currently living the majority of your life in and enter the challenge zone and then the creative zone.

Don’t settle for what is when there is so much more within you that needs to be expressed so that you reach your full potential and then the Church and God’s Kingdom can benefit. 

Listening – a Lost Art

If you want to connect with people and grow heathy and beneficial relationship you need to learn how to listen. Listening opens the best door for you to connect with people. Listening with your head and your heart. 

There is the story about the tennis pro who was giving a lesson to a new student. After watching the student take several swings at the tennis ball, the instructor began to suggest ways the man might improve his stroke. But every time the instructor made a suggestion, the student interrupted with his own diagnosis of the problem and how he might fix it.

After being interrupted yet again, the pro simply nodded in agreement and let the player continue on his own. 

When the lesson was over, a woman – who observed the lesson, was familiar with the pro, and had seen the whole thing – asked, “Why did you go along with that arrogant man’s stupid suggestions?”

The old pro smiled and answered, “I learned a long time ago that it’s a sheer waste of time to try and sell answers to a person who only wants to buy echoes.”

If you never listen, before long the people around you will stop talking to you, and you will lose the benefit of their input. If you are a leader in the church and you don’t listen well, you will become isolated and eventually no longer be leading anyone. If you do listen, not only will they tell you things you need to know but they will also connect with you because they see that you care and that you value what they have to say. You will build great relationships and connections.

So, how do you become a good listener?

1> Remind yourself daily to listen well.

Here’s a thought. Those that think they listen well usually don’t! So, remind yourself to listen. We all spend a great deal of time on a daily basis meeting with people – formally and informally. You need to decide that every time you meet with someone – and I mean every time – have a way to remind yourself to listen more and talk less. A past mentor of mine always carried a legal pad with him to take notes. He would open his note pad just as he was sitting down with the person and would write a large “L” on the top of the page. That “L” stood for listen. It was his reminder to shut up and listen.

2> Stop interrupting others when they are talking.

Most people are so focused on what they want to say or share that they simply ignore what the other person is saying, interrupting them often in mid-sentence. They simply take over and talk over the other person until the original person stops talking. This also happens when they want to respond to what is being said even before hearing all that is being said. And, sometimes happens because you think you know what others were going to say and so you jump right in. No matter how you slice it – it is rude and you appear very arrogant. You leave the impression that what you want to say is more important than what they are saying.

3> Start asking questions.

One of the ways to stop interrupting is to engage with what the other person is saying by asking them questions. Asking questions is the best way to encourage another person to talk. And, when you are asking questions you must stop talking to hear the answers. Then dialogue and good communications begins. You will discover, as strange as it may seem, that you ears never get you into trouble.

4> Invite others to hold you accountable in the area of listening well.

Ask people who are close to you to let you know any time that you are not “really” listening to them. There is nothing like accountability to keep you honest and help you to grow. And, whenever someone calls you out for not really listening with your whole being, apologize, close your mouth, and listen. 

If you want to be a good friend, marriage partner, business person, Christian leader – become a better listener. Invite others to hold you accountable. If you have the courage, meet with your team members, colleagues, friends, and family, and ask them how good a listener you are on a scale of one to ten. And, listen carefully to their response. Then make some changes. Then you will become a great listener!

Seven Passion Killers

      And what keeps you from having that constant passion for the Lord
An unbalanced schedule
That means if you’re overworked or you are under worked you’re going to lose your passion for life and lose your passion for God. Life is a series of seasons, the Bible says. There’s a season for everything. And there’s a rhythm to life. You need both in your life — both input and output. You need both rest and work. And too much of either will cause you to lose your passion. Too much work will cause you to lose your passion. Too much nothing — boredom — will cause you to lose your passion too, if you’re not working enough.
What’s the antidote for that? 1 Timothy 4:7 “Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.”
How do you do that? One word. Balance. We all know to be physically fit you have to have a balanced diet. And to be spiritually fit you have to have a balance of God’s five purposes for your life in your life. You need to have time to worship with God private and corporate. You need to have times when you are fellowshipping with other believers. You need to have times when you’re reading God’s word and growing as a Christian. You need to have times of ministry — service — where you’re giving out and using your abilities. And you need times of where you’re sharing your faith with others.

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Resurrection Life

I want to look at the whole idea of living differently than those who do not believe in Jesus
But, even more than that – living different than we live now – as believers in Jesus
In Paul’s letter to Timothy
Paul, an apostle mentoring a young man called Timothy who is also called to be an apostle
Paul writes and states to this young believer he is discipling and mentoring:
“He (Jesus) gave us resurrection life…” (2 Timothy 1:9a TPT)
But, to get to that point in tonight’s chat we need to go back to the start…

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