THE APOSTOLIC CENTERS

 

God’s plan for the Church that Jesus is building is that there would be a fivefold ministry team involved in the life of each local church

*Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the                      shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the                     body of Christ.”

The purpose of the fivefold ministry is to equip / teach / train the saints – God’s people – how to minister to non-believers so that the Church can grow and multiply and thus witness for Jesus in every nation, region, community, neighbourhood, and house

Our problem is that most churches, whether small house church, medium size congregations, or even larger churches don’t have all five of these ministers within the local church

The solution:

Read more

THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY

Around the world God is making major changes in the Church

The way we view the Church

The way the Church functions

The work that the Church is involved in

The way that this work is carried out Read more

NOMINAL OR PHENOMENAL 

LOOKING AT BELIEVERS … (Their life – not their ministry)

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ

As a disciple of Jesus

As someone who is following the way of the Lord

You can choose to be nominal and thus insignificant in impact and a Christian “in name only”

Or – You can choose to be phenomenal – extraordinary, exceptional, unusual and out of the ordinary – having a major impact for the King and Kingdom on those around you Read more

BURNING YOUR BRIDGES

I want to talk about “burning your bridges”

I have noticed something in Scripture recently – a truth I needed to be reminded of once again

I believe God brought it to my attention

Abraham was told by God to leave what he knew and was successful in and move out in faith to something new and yet unknown

The future – nothing wrong with the ‘past’ or the ‘present’… Just exchanging the good for the best

Never to go back …

Lot and his family had to leave Sodom and Gomorra and not look back Read more

IS JESUS REALLY ENOUGH? [The Basics of Salvation]

I have noticed over the past decade or so that many well intentioned believers are no longer satisfied with ‘just Jesus’

Many Christians are adding to Jesus

Jesus and a personal guardian angel

Jesus and an anointing

Jesus and a new revelation

Jesus and ministry

Jesus and end times prophecy

Jesus and interpreting dreams / visions Read more

“Revival” Christianity

There has been a lot of talk recently about revival

The need for it today in the Church

The desire to see God move like He used to in ‘the good old days’

The wish to relive what we once personally experienced of God’s presence and power

The thought that a revival would change society for the better

 

There has been a lot of praying about and praying for revival in the Church today around the world

 

There has been a lot of planning of revivals as if God will manifest Himself simply because we have planned a series of meetings for a week or ten days

 

There is even a lot of study going on as to the process of revivals hoping, I am sure, that if we understand the process better we will actually activate a revival today or tomorrow or…

 

It seems to me that, in this realm of revival, we are trying to

Plan

Program

Pump people’s emotions

Perform

RELIGION….

 

All this because we see revival as something we initiate and that God will respond if we do certain things in a certain way….

 

We see revival as an event that will bring life back to the Church

 

We see revival as the answer to the issues we are facing

 

And yet – the world looks at what churches are trying to do in this realm of revival and they simply make fun of it… and it can be funny because often it is simply not God but is man at his worst

 

Video: The Mississippi Squirrel Revival – Ray Stevens

 

Recently while in the United States:

Azusa Now (Cincinnati – Cleveland – Akron)

People praying for revival everywhere that I go to minister

> I am not really sure what they are praying for or what they are expecting                                     to happen were God to answer their prayers

> I am not sure they even know why they are gathering to pray

 

Ed and Sheila Wachtel … in September – they attended and have strong feelings about it

 

What is “revival”? … what are we talking about when we say we are praying for or wanting to see a revival?

 

Dictionary:

 

an improvement in the condition or strength of something:
“a revival in the fortunes of the party”
synonyms: improvement · recovery · rallying · picking up

 

an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again:

“cross-country skiing is enjoying a revival”
synonyms: comeback · reestablishment · reintroduction · restoration · reappearance · resurrection · regeneration · renaissance · rejuvenation
a reawakening of religious fervour, especially by means of a series of evangelistic

meetings:

“the revivals of the nineteenth century”

 

What is revival?

                This is the commonly held “Church” understanding…

 

“Revival is a sovereign, powerful, extraordinary moving of the Holy Spirit through the

preached Word which spiritually convicts, arouses and enlivens professing,

backslidden Christians in the church and which results in a supernatural acceleration

of the conversion process to the unsaved “

 

The Church has a number of words that relate to the word “revival”

 

Refresh … “Times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19) –

 

Renew … a spiritual stirring refocusing God’s people on the gifts that God has given to them.

“…fan into flame the gift of God”     (2 Timothy 1:6)

 

Restore … God adding back to the Church, His people, the things that have been lost through

neglect or that have been stolen by the devil (Acts 3:21)

 

Revive … God moving sovereignly bringing new life and power to His people that then sees

many unsaved people come into the Kingdom

 

Sometimes difficult to separate one from the other as they often overlap and one can run into

another – for example, a renewal can result in a revival

 

In the Old Testament there are a number of times that God sovereignly brought revival to His people => God never called it “revival” but He did always call His people to repentance

 

Revivals in the Old Testament

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

=> Will look at this verse in depth at the end of the teaching – always misused

  1. The Revival under Jacob. (Genesis 35:1-15)

Time to Get Rid of Idols.

 

  1. Revival under Moses. (Exodus 32- 33)

Time to Confess Sin.

 

  1. Revival under Samuel. (I Samuel 7:1-13)

Time to Serve the Lord Only.

 

  1. Revival under Elijah. (I Kings 18)

Time to Let God Be God.

 

  1. Revival under Asa. (2 Chronicles 14-16)

Time to Seek the Lord.

 

  1. Revival under Jehoshaphat. (2 Chronicles 20)

Time to Pray.

 

  1. Revival under Hezekiah. (2 Chronicles 29; 30:1-9; 31)

Time to Turn Back to God.

 

  1. Revival under Josiah. (2 Chronicles 34-35)

Time to Humble Ourselves.

 

  1. Revival under Zerubbabel. (Haggai 1; Zechariah 1:1-6)

Time to Renew God’s Work.

 

  1. Revival under Nehemiah. (Nehemiah Chapter 8)

Time to Rejoice in the Lord.

 

  1. Revival under Jonah. (The Book of Jonah Chapters 1-4)

Time to Obey God.

 

Not called “revivals” in the actual writings of the Old Testament

 

There are nine characteristics of these revivals (these calls to repent and turn back):

 

  1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression;
  2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it;
  3. Each revival rested on the Word of God, and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power;
  4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God;
  5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed;
  6. In each revival, there was a recorded separation from sin;
  7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws;
  8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness;
  9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity.

 

There was an ebb and flow to each of these revivals…

A discernible cycle of events

 

The Book of Judges chronicles this cycle of departure and return, describing the first cycle in Judges 2:

 

1> The People Served the Lord:“The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:7).

 

2> The People Forsook the Lord: “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals” (Judges 2:11).

 

3> God Defeated Them Through Enemies: “The anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies” (Judges 2:14).

 

4> The People Cried Out for Help:“They were greatly distressed…. [and] the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning” (Judges 2:15, 18).

 

5> God Had Compassion and Delivered:“The LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them…. for the LORD was moved to pity’ (Judges 2:16,18).

 

So, there is this ebb and flow here in this relationship between God and His people

 

God’s people turned away from God in times of prosperity and peace

 

God’s removes His hand of protection and peace

 

God’s people begin to suffer from their godless lifestyle and wrong focus

 

God’s people cry out for help when things get really ugly and desperate

 

God rescues His people and they turn back to God with repentant and thankful hearts

 

God blesses and protects … and the cycle begins again

 

 

In the New Testament we don’t really hear the mention of “revivals”

 

We do not see this ebb and flow with God:

Slipping away from God – facing tough times – turning back to God – things being good

 

In fact, in the original languages of the Bible there is no reference to the word “revival” and             just a few to the word “revive.” => In the whole Bible / Old and New Testament

 

And there is a major difference between being revived and what the Church                                   knows and understands as revival – an event where God moves

 

NIV Concordance:

Revive – 5 references

Revived – 3 references

Reviving – 1 reference

Revival – no references

 

It seems in the New Testament – in the Church Age – there was little to no need for “revival Christianity” because the people of God were living “on fire” and passionately for Him

 

With a few – very few – exceptions …

 

In the early Church they lived a “radical Christianity” arising out of a deep passion for Jesus and a solid foundational understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom

 

And it was this radical passion that changed lives and impacted the world – not                              scheduled revival meetings

 

Revival focused Christianity has had a minimal impact compared to regular disciples of Jesus living their lives by faith with passion and simply touching the lives of their family members, friends, and those that they come into contact with on a daily basis

 

What I call “Radical Christianity” where people dare to believe what Jesus said as                 recorded in this book (the Bible) and live their lives accordingly has and is making major impact on others

 

The difference in the New Testament – in the Church — is more than subtle, it is massive

 

In the Old Testament:

 

God was “out there,” “over there,” or “up there” and therefore you could walk                                 away from Him and ignore Him

 

In the New Testament:

 

God is “in here” (your spirit / heart) and although you might ignore Him you can’t                             walk away because He lives in us

 

And so can and does convict us, warns us, talks to us, pulls gently on our                                      heart strings

 

In the Old Testament:

 

Rules, regulations, rituals … things to do to please Him

 

In the New Testament:

 

Relationship … and Jesus did everything for us through His death and                                           resurrection

 

In the Old Testament:

 

A nation of people called by God to be His people being told to turn back to Him                            and embrace Him once again … a national call

 

In the New Testament:

 

Individuals within the nations are called and are the Church and God touches                                 each heart in unique ways – not a national thing at all

 

And so we can live daily in His presence and by His power experiencing His                                 supernatural peace of heart and mind

 

And, if we lose it – let life overwhelm us at times, taking our eyes off of                                             Jesus and living by the flesh and not by faith…

 

We simply need to respond to the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, repent,                                      receive forgiveness and we are instantly back where we are suppose to                                           be

 

So, no need for programmed, scheduled revivals … Just radical Christian living according to God’s Word

 

To impact our communities and our culture – to influence our nations – we don’t need a revival programmed and packaged by man

 

We need each individual living a radical Christian lifestyle based on what Jesus has                    commanded

 

We need to risk living according to God’s Word and thus live God’s way… daily

 

Praying for and waiting for a revival is simply a cop-out – an excuse for not living the way Jesus has commanded we live – radically, risking our lives for Him and His Kingdom

 

Praying and waiting for revival is simply a man-made program that takes our attention off of how we are called to live life and what it is He has told us to do

 

We are waiting for Him to move when He is patiently waiting for us to live the radical                      lifestyle He designed for us to live

 

The Christian faith is not an event – a revival, for example

 

The Christian faith is a lifestyle as we live out the life of Christ that is inside us

 

John 1:4 “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

 

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”

 

His life inside us – seen by others in the way that we live and relate – is                                          the light that pushes back the spiritual darkness

 

So, we receive His life when we are born again

And, we receive His love when we are born again – Romans 5:5

 

And then, with passion and purpose, we allow that life and love – God’s nature – to express itself in the way we live

 

Our words, our actions, our attitude, our lifestyle

 

Walking in His love and giving it away…

 

Galatians 5:22-23 “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (The Message Version)

 

The Christian faith is a “way of life” that releases God’s life and His love to others who do not know Him…

 

Too often we have made Christianity into:

 

A set of beliefs we are to understand and accept

A set of rules and regulations we are to follow

A set of dos and don’ts that we are to obey

A set of events – special speakers, a week of special meetings, revivals

A set of opinions not even mildly in line with God’s radical call on the life of believers

 

When the Christian faith is simply receiving the life / nature / essence of God inside us and then releasing His life and love – God expressing Himself through us

 

“In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28

 

When this is true in our lives THEN we impact other people!

 

So, we receive His love

 

Romans 5:5 “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who                   has been given to us.

 

We experience His life – the very nature and essence of God – inside us – as Jesus lived

 

Galatians 5:22-23 …The Fruit of the Spirit

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,                                   faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

 

And we live in such a way that we express and release His life and His love so others can see and experience it….

 

This is what He has called us to do

 

And, as we live this way, others will notice and begin to ask questions as they hear us talking about Jesus and the amazing gift He has given to us – salvation

 

Talking about Jesus must be a daily and consistent thing… natural to us as believers

 

People will become born again and then you will have what is commonly called ‘revival’ but what is really simply “normal Christianity” radically altering people’s lives

 

 

POSSIBLE LAST COMMENT:

 

Let’s go back to the now famous verse I quoted at the start of the teaching… well known by most believers

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and             pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and          will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

 

Made to Israel who were God’s people living in a land that He had promised and supplied

 

Not a promise made to the Church which does not have a nation but is a “holy nation                    within the nations”

 

We don’t need to humble ourselves because we are to live with and in humility …

 

“God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5

 

Not false humility where you think and act like nothing about you is good or worthy

 

True humility – where you recognize and know your strengths and have submitted all of              them to the Lord so He can use them for His purposes

 

Moses – meek and humble BUT powerful and a strong leader

 

Relying on God and controlled by His Spirit = true humility

 

Bold but not arrogant = true humility

 

We do not need to “seek His face”…

 

God is not ‘out there’ where we need to seek Him and go to some place to find Him

 

He lives in us and we have a personal relationship with Him and He is always there for                us

 

As disciples of Jesus we should not have “wicked ways” so there should not be anything to turn from because we live a holy lifestyle

 

God said, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16)

 

“…then will I hear…”

 

They were earning the right to be heard – religion

 

We are heard because of all that Jesus has done and accomplished by His death and                  resurrection – relationship

 

We can come at any time and from anywhere we might be right into God’s presence and   receive help … He will and does hear us regardless … because we are believers

 

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that                           we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

“Forgive their sin…”

 

In the Old Testament sins were not really forgiven – they were covered – atonement                      which happened once a year

 

Hands were laid on a goat, all sins imparted to the goat, and the goat was sent out into                  the wilderness to die – scapegoat

 

Our sins are instantly forgiven daily as we confess them to God

 

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and                         to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

“… and heal their land”

 

This is not our land … we are aliens here and citizens of Heaven

 

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior,                            the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

He was referring to a piece of land He had promised and given to the Jewish people and not to any specific nation that we, as disciples, might be living in

 

Totally misused and abused verse of Scripture with reference to “revivals”

 

So, we are not to be looking for or even praying for revival as it is always a sovereign move of God

 

We are to be releasing His life – His nature, His essence – so others experience it through the way we live and interact with them

 

God’s life and nature is what we call the “fruit of the Spirit”…

 

The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and                         control of self by God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

 

We are to be walking in His love and giving it away… As they see these qualities in our lives

 

Then we will see people saved and transformed on a daily basis as they did in the Book of Acts and throughout the early history of the Church

 

Not revival – simply “Normal Christianity.”

 

Video: Francis Chan and meeting with Jehovah Witnesses…

 

Afraid to Love

It is true:

That those closest to us can, and often do, hurt us the most

Reject, divorce, fail to understand, judge, criticize

And then, often we are afraid to reach out and love again

If you minister to someone in their time of need

Love them, accept, help, pray for, support them – – – That they often walk away, never say thanks, speak against you, gossip, spread rumours, abuse you

And then, often we are afraid to reach out and love again Read more

The Forest for the Trees

Jesus did not come JUST…

To save you so that you don’t go to hell when you die

To have a personal relationship with you

To meet your needs and heal your hurts

To bless us because He loves us

To birth and empower the Church

He did all of those things Read more

The Way

Jesus hates religion

He came to destroy religion in all of its aspects
He came to deliver us from the death grip of religion
He came to make THE WAY into Heaven
He came to make A WAY for us to be saved
He came to make A WAY for us to have a personal relationship with God now / forever
He came to show us that He is THE WAY…. Read more

Jesus Was Not A Very Good Christian

A very famous British Christian preacher and author who ministered with her husband for years in America – her name is Jill Briscoe – tells of a visit to a funeral home with a grieving widow, standing by the open casket.

Out of the corner of her eye, Jill sees a member of her church coming towards them and thinks, “Here comes trouble.”

The woman approaching the casket believes Christians should never be sad or weep; they should always be upbeat and happy. Predictably, the dear lady comes up and starts to comfort the grieving widow with words about thinking positively and lifting the chin. You know, be plastic no matter how you are really feeling inside.

The widow looks at her and says, “Well, if we are not suppose to grieve and cry, how come Jesus wept at the grave of His friend Lazarus?”

At that tense moment of two Christian women confronting each other, Jill, with her wonderful British wit, says, “Well obviously, honey, Jesus isn’t a very good Christian.” Read more