If you are not fishing – you are not following

Jesus said: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

Well, we have people say a Sinner’s Prayer and plop them down in a pew and teach them how to be worshippers.We teach them to pray. We teach them to read and study their Bible. We teach them (wrongly) that God will fulfill all their wildest dreams and financially prosper them answering all their prayers if they just have faith and confess the right words.We teach them that they are ministers – which they interpret as – I can now go out and form a ministry and be up front and be popular and well-known and be my own boss (and not have to work hard).

Jesus said that if we become true disciples of the living Lord Jesus Christ He would make it His personal responsability to train every disciple in soul-winning so they could preach (share) the gospel with the people they come into contact with on a daily basis.

But most disciples today are not fulfilling the Great Commission to share the good news with the lost. Statistically we are told that less than 2% of born again believers will ever lead someone to the Lord in their lifetime.

May I be so bold as to say: “If you are not fishing – you are not following!”

“Yes, but…” I can hear some say, “Jesus said His House would be a house of prayer”. Right! You missed part of the verse. He really said (repeating the Father’s words from several places in the Old Testament) that “My House will be a house of prayer for all nations”. That the Church would be praying for the salvation of people in all nations – more than praying… actually going to them, as well. And that the House of the Lord would be so well known around the world that non-believers would come looking to hear more about and even to experience the Christian God in these houses of prayer.

That was the purpose of the Gentile Court in Solomon’s Temple and in the temple in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day. This was a place for people who had heard about God to come and learn more and even to experience this God. This is why Jesus, twice in His ministry, went through the Gentile Court and cleared it rather angrily of the money changes and those who sold sacrifical animals. Yes, these merchants were also ripping off the travellers who came to worshop. But, more importantly, they were filling the space where non-believers were to come to hear about the glorious deeds of this wonderful God who was worshipped in this temple.

The same is true today – we have made the Church into many things God never intended it to be. A teaching “room”, a place of worship, a fellowship hall, a counselling room, and so many more things. All along the intention was that God’s House, His Church, would be a place of focused and concentrated prayer FOR THE LOST and a place where believers were taught about the Great Commission and how to “go into all the nations” starting at home sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples and then teaching them…

It is time to change the focus of the Church. It is time to repent of the Great Cop-out and begin to speak boldly of The Great Commission and the need for all true believers to know the Gospel, proclaim the Gospel, and defend the Gospel. Otherwise, we will be in rebellion to the will of the Lord and the mandate He gave to His Church and the society in which we live will simply continue to go further down the sewer.

When we stand before God on Judgment Day He will not say: “Remember the Great Commission that I gave to the Church? Never mind about that, I was just fooling, come on in and let’s party.” No, NEVER! Each and every true believer and disciple of the Lord will be held acountable for what they did or did not do about the Church’s marching orders and mandate – The Great Commission.

This is serious business.

The Church of Oprah

I am a listening to XM Radio due to the poor quality of regular broadcast stations in my area and the long hours spent in the car driving. On the dedicated XM station where Oprah and Friends occupy 24 hours a day on the airwaves there is now a church service. It is broadcast from The Church of Oprah.

Starting the 1st of this year Oprah has been spreading a false gospel and a false Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4) and thus false hope. I have listened to a few broadcasts over the last few months simply out of curosity as to what is attracting hundreds of thousands of listeners daily.

A friend of mine sent me an e-amil recently about his take on the show. In his observations he includes a few of the lessons and objectives of the overall 365 lesson course…

For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.” Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.” Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe “My salvation comes from me.” By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset—a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training” and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”

Now, the concern I would have is that many who state openly that they are born again Christians are listening intently to her daily broadcasts and are believing everything that she is endorsing. They are buying in to the New Age teachings which include the following:

* There is no sin. . .
* A slain Christ has no meaning.
* The journey to the cross should be the last useless journey.
* Do not make the pathetic error of clinging to the old rugged cross.
* The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol… It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.
* God is in everything I see.
* The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.
* The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.
* The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.

We could say that these Christians simply lack discernment.

However, maybe what is lacking is the teaching of sound doctrine from the pulpits of churches in Canada and the United States of America. Maybe these so-called Christians simply attend church to have their needs met by others or to receive a weekly warm fuzzy leaving thinking that everything is alright with them and God. So, maybe the problem is not in what Oprah and her new church is teaching – but in what the local churches in North America are not teachings. Maybe we have tickled ears for far too long and it is now time to return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Apostolic doctrines held precious by the saints over the centuries. Maybe it is time for the Church to stand up and be the Church once again. That will take changing what we focus on (buildings, budgets, and bodies) and will take guts because our message is one of declaring the sinfulness of man, the coming judgment and the need for recognizing our personal sin, repenting with godly sorrow, and humbly accepting the Lord’s forgiveness. No self-help, feel-good gospel here. No ‘just say a sinner’s prayer and everything will be alright’.

It is time for the Church to be the Church and like a ‘voice in the media wilderness’ cry out “repent, repent, repent”.

For more on this growing and very popular teaching as propogated by the Church of Oprah – go to: http://youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

Then, come back and leave a comment….

Oprah and Dr. Phil…

The visible Church in North America is in serious and deep trouble. I was in two different churches in my area yesterday – teaching and ministering – and it is sad to say but those occupying the pews apparently have a very limited and deficient understanding of the Christian faith. They have said a Sinner’s Prayer sometime in the past and then never grew much past this feeling of being safe from Hell.

I mean, I preached very basic Christian doctrine in an interesting and engaging way with Powerpoint presentations and personal stories. But both teachings (different for each church) were really basic doctrines of the Christian faith. And, the reactions were amazing. From disbelief to astonishment. For some who are hungry for truth there was a personal “Aha experience”. Generally the reaction was one of total unbelief bordering on horror.

In the morning I preached on how Jesus is building the Church and the pattern or blueprint that He is working from. Basic material from the writings of the Master Builder Paul and from the book of Acts. They had never heard that there was a specific way that Jesus was building His Church – so that the task or mandate of the Church could be fulfilled. Personal needs being met seem to take presidence over the task of evangelizing the world

In the evening at a different Church I preached on what Jesus meant when saying to a potential discipleship candidate “he who puts his hand to the plough and then looks back is unfit for service in the Kingdom”. Here I explained some of the Lord’s expectations of those who confess His Name and claim to be His disciples and thus are following Him. You would have thought that I had just declared myself the anti-Christ.

Jude, the half-brother of the Lord, was right when he wrote the early believers and stated that it was time to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.”

It is time that the Church in North America rediscovered the basic doctrines of the faith. That means it is time for the pastors and teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles to, once again, declare with a clear voice the truth and to speak up loudly against the heresies and self-improvement ‘gospels’ being preached today from so-called born again (and often Spirit-filled) pulpits in both nations -Canada and the United States of America. And to counteract the powerful proclaiming of a non-gospel by such well-known television personalities as Oprah and Dr. Phil – whom even Christians listen to thinking what they are saying is Christian and thus okay.

Willie Nelson and Me…

My theme song may as well be “On the Road Again” as I seem to spend more time on the road these days than I do at home. That’s okay because after 32 years as a full-time pastor. these past three years as a trans-local apostle have been an adventure. It was time. I had heard prophetic words for over 25 years about my call to be an apostle. My 6 children are all grown up and living in the same city but away from home. My wife is very involved in pastoring our local church and many others areas of interest that she has. So, time to try my wings and see if I can fly yet. It has been different, I must admit. I have learned a lot and matured a great deal.

Tomorrow I will be preaching and prophesying at a local church in the City of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in the morning. Breakthrough Family Church (part of Breakthrough Ministries) is a soul-winning, Spirit-filled church plant pastored by Bob and Ellen Paun. Great couple who love Jesus and are on fire – equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.

In the afternoon I meet with some young people in the town on Oxbow, Saskatchewan (2.5 hours from Regina) to chat with them about their prophetic words received recently. This is to help them see what they are to do to cooperate with the words to see them come to pass. Then I preach and minister at Shekinah Christian Fellowship, Oxbow. A regional Church with a call on it to bring revival to the Souris River valley, especially with the youth. I supply apostolic oversight to this local church as well as teaching there regularly every month. Then 250 KM drive back home. Full day.

Prayers appreciated.

If it looks like a duck

An apostle is a strange duck. They think differently than the average believer. They function differently than prophets. They lack the patience of the pastors. They certainly teach as well as five-fold teachers and often it is hard to distinguish between an apostle and an evangelist as apostles love to talk to others about Jesus and the need to be saved from judgment and Hell.

An apostle is a strange duck. Apostles look past outward appearances (buildings, bodies and budgets) and look to foundational issues such as character, honesty, integrity, and purity. They look past the outward veneer and peer into the hearts of people (especially leadership) and see such issues as offences, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment that need to be dealt with. They are deeply concerned about the lack of fruit in the lives of Christians and whether Christians are really rooted and grounded in love.

An apostle is a strange duck. They are concerned with the doctrines of the Christian faith. What it is we are to believe – the basic beliefs of the faith “once deliverd to the saints (Jude 1:3). Heresies and apostacy are deep, daily concerns for them. They weep over the Bible illiteracy of today’s Church. They spot and confront false teachers and prophets and bring incorrect teachings into the light, exposing them for what they are. They often appear to be really picky and somewhat negative.

An apostle is a strange duck. They examine the DNA of local churches. They need to know the historic roots of a local assembly – who birthed the church, when and why? Then they want to know why the DNA has changed since the foundations were poured and who it was that brought the change – either good or bad. They are interested in the roots and the foundations – because they can see what God wants to do in and through the local church and yet it is not happening. So, they want to know why the church is stuck where it is at and what is preventing the sheep from being healthy. Because if the sheep are healthy the church will grow – healthy sheep begat more sheep.

An apostle is a strange duck. They tend to tear down so that they can then build up. They see that what currently exists will not be able to hold what the Holy Spirit is about to do. So, they are used by God to tear down what is (even when it is still good and has been built according to God’s plans for the past)so they can build what needs to be. They go right under the ground dealing with foundational issues – pushing out walls, tearing out cement, erecting new and bigger foundations. Afterall, you can’t build a skyscraper on a chicken coop foundation. So the foundation must change.

Yup! Apostles are strange ducks. However, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck – accept it, you probably have an apostle in your midst attempting to do what the Lord has begun to call them to do – as Jesus reestablishes this office and ministry in His Church.

You shall receive power

I belong to what is known as the Spirit-filled or Charismatic side of the Christian faith. Pentecostal and Full Gospel are other words among many to describe us. We are the ones who believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as a second experience after salvation. (see Acts 19:1-7) It is in this experience and encounter where a born again believer receives power (Acts 1:8) and the gifts of the Spirit are released (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

But here is where the problem lies. Most Spirit-filled believers exercise the gifts within the four walls of the church building ministering to other believers. This was never to be the primary purpose of the Baptism, the power or the gifts. Yes, Paul goes on the explain how some of the gifts are to function within the worship service – especially the gifts of prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues. But look at several of the references where Jesus spoke about the Baptism. In Luke 24:49 where Jesus tells the belivers to stay put until they have this promise and “not to leave home without it.” Leave home to do what? Well, that is answered in Acts where Jesus states: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8). There it is! The power they were to receive before leaving home was the power needed to witness in the world. Not in the Church.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to enable believers to witness about the resurrected Jesus Christ in their daily lives as they release power and the gifts to impact the lives of non-believers. The baptism and the gifts are witnessing tools that we need before we go out on the streets and into the coffee shops to share about Jesus. They will back up our words and witness so that we can fully proclaim the Gospel with “words and through the power of signs and miracles” as Paul did (Romans 15:18-19).

This really hit home this past summer as I was preaching the morning sessions of a week long camp. The evening speaker did an excellent job of proclaiming the Baptism and the gifts the night before. Everyone was pumped and excited about the Baptism and the gifts. I mean excited. The most life I had seen all week – even more than in my own morning sessions.

The next morning I mentioned how dynamic the previous evening service had been and everyone came alive once again. Excitement ruled! Then I had them turn to the verse from the previous evening – Acts 1:8 – and simply asked what the purpose or focus of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power was to be. Obviously they saw it – to be a witness. Things quieted down considerably. Then I asked if they had been witnessing to non-believers over the past few weeks. Dead quiet. Finally I asked if they had ever led someone to the Lord since meeting Him themselves and being baptized in the Holy Spirit? Everyone was, by this time, looking down at the floor. It’s a gift I have, a spiritual gift – of being a wet blanket!

Folks, let’s do as Jesus did and obey what He said to do …. witness to others regularly as part of our daily life. It’s not just an add on feature one night a week as part of a church program. It is a way of life – daily life! And, let’s expect the power and gifts to be there and released as we witness. Jesus promised they would be – so let’s believe Him. Makes for a great adventure and a truly living and dynamic faith.

Ministry Trips

This blog will contains details of experiences I am having in real time on specific ministry trips. Some trips are one day outings others will be into foreign nations and be up to two weeks long. This log will allow you to read about what the Lord is doing as well as any current prayer requests my team or I may have. Upcoming ministry trips will be posted a few days ahead and then, once the trip starts, daily entries will be made. Your comments are always welcome – but, be aware that all comments need to be approved before they are so that we can assure that this blog glorifies the Lord whom we serve.

Soul-winning blog

I share the gospel daily with people I meet in my every day activities and life. I also try and spend an afternoon a week sharing the gospel on the streets of whatever city I am in that week. As well, I have several favourite “fishing holes” that I try to visit weekly – coffee shops and businesses – where I continue to build relationships with the same people on each visit.
This section of my blog is to share some of my experiences and the lessons I am learning as I share Jesus with people. Your comments are more than welcome – and feel free to share your experiences. It will take a short time for your response to my log to appear as they go through an approval process to ensure that everything on this site honours the Lord. Thanks for understanding.

Apostle’s blog

A warm welcome to my newest adventure – a daily blog. I’ll am using this space to comment or blog on varying subjects – everything from items in the news to current events in the Christian world – all from the point of view of a functioning apostle in the Church today.

You are invited to ‘jump in’ and leave a comment about the content being talked about. However, your comment will not appear on the blog right away. We have a delayed posting system so that we can read your content to be sure that it is appropriate and honours the Lord Jesus whom we serve. This delay is usually no more than an hour or so. Thanks for understanding.