The End of the Stone Age

Here is an obvious fact: The Stone Age did not end due to a lack of stones. Neat, right? But, you knew that. Look around you – there are stones everywhere. Well, when I heard that the other day (from The Lord) it was a new revelation for me. I knew it was the voice of God speaking. That much I was sure of. I knew what it was that He had said to my spirit. I am a good listener. Now, the full meaning of what I heard has yet to be revealed. But, the Holy Spirit has been shedding some light on what The Lord is telling me. This is good – and I have learned over many years that the fullness of the revelation comes in time. But, there is always an immediate truth that a person can grab hold of and run with.

The Stone Age did not end due to a lack of stones. The Church Age that we are now in will not come to an end due to a lack of churches. But, it will come to an end. And at that time we will see the return of Jesus Christ coming for His Bride, the true Church that He is building. A Church without spot and wrinkle. So, what will bring the Church Age to an end? Well, I believe three things are needed:

1> The Church taking seriously it’s only mandate or task given to it by the Lord of the Church, Jesus. This means that the christians stop “playing church” and begin to take seriously the command to “go into all the world and make disciples.” The believers need to become true “ministers of reconciliation” and “ambassadors for Christ.” They need to have a heart for the lost which translates into an empowered prayer life, sacrificial giving for the work of the Kingdom, and being willing to obey the Lord – proving they really believe that the Bible is the Word of God. This will mean a total shift of focus from “self” to others.

2> The Church needs to be designed according to the biblical pattern and then function biblically. The “senior pastor” as solo leader must disappear being replaced by a team ministry encompassing apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We need to see massive changes in the focus, function, faith, and fruitfulness of the church. It needs to become a risk-taking organism instead of a self-protecting, safe organization. It needs to be flexible, fluid, and flowing outward into the world enabling the Kingdom to be built and the Gospel to be preached where it has not been heard before. This will happen when the ministry of the apostle is fully accepted and welcomed into the local church.

3> The restoration of everything that has been lost from the life of the Church over the centuries must be made complete. Acts 3:21 states that “Jesus, whom Heaven must receive until the time for the restoration of all things…” I believe we still have a few things to restore within the Church that Jesus is building.These include apostolic-prophetic teams (apostles and prophets ministering together in local churches); the training and releasing of apostolic-prophetic people who are “sent” into the world to form incarnational communities; the introduction of a working “discipling” structure in the local church bringing new believers to maturity where they are reproducing and making disciples; and the end-time harvest during the great falling away where the love of many Christians will grow cold.

The Church Age will not end for a lack of churches – man-made churches will always exist because religion tends to have a strong hold on people’s hearts and souls. But it will come to an end when serious-minded disciples of the Lord Jesus build churches according to the biblical pattern and begin to reach out with passion for the lost and thus fulfill the call and mandate Jesus had on His life to “seek and save the lost.”

Your Dream Has Become Dangerously Distant

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks when I read them. The full sentence read: “You didn’t notice that the dream God placed inside of you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom had grown dangerously distant.” And the reason it hit me hard was that it was true. The dream had almost died and I had not noticed. I was too busy with maintenance – not ministry. I was busy changing diapers of believers who had been following Jesus for years and who, by this time, should have grown up, matured, and been potty trained – taking responsibility as mature adults for their own walk with God. I realized that many of them didn’t need help they needed a kick in the rear so that they would do something for themselves.

No excuses – I let the dream of doing great things almost die. I settled for maintenance and let go of valid, dynamic, powerful ministry. Oh, I still had this dynamic, cutting-edge ministry when I travelled elsewhere but at home base I had let it slide into the boring routine of helping those who should be helping themselves; those who should no longer need someone to change their diapers – in fact, should have long ago outgrown the need for a diaper. I mean, how many times does a person have to hear sermons on having a prayer life, hearing the voice of God, reading your Bible, tithing, forgiving, dealing with offences and resentments … once should be enough if they are truly walking with Jesus and taking Him and His Word seriously. And, if they are not walking with God and growing a dynamic relationship then all the teaching in the world is not going to help. They simply need to become responsible adult Christians and do something for themselves. And, they never will if coddled and “comforted” by others.

So, I took a good look at my local ministry and made some serious and major decisions. I cut out a lot of what I had been doing. I changed the way I was doing things. I simply stopped meeting with many whom I had coffees regularly with. I dropped a number of people I was mentoring. I stopped playing the “Christian game” and got back to being focused on what Jesus called me to do. If what I was doing was not, in my mind, beneficial to the Kingdom and in line with the original call on my life – I dropped it. If what I was doing was in line with the call on my life but not fruitful -I changed (am changing) the approach and the way that I was (am) doing it. Massive changes and adjustments.

I didn’t focus on the financial repercussions because if it is what God has called me to do, He will enable it and supply the funds in His own time and His own way. I didn’t focus on people’s feelings – I simply did what I knew needed to be done to end the game and get back on track. I did it gently and lovingly but I did it. Ending maintenance and beginning to minister again. This also means a good number of “relationships” have ended or are on the back burner because they were not healthy and were, in major ways, one way – me giving care, support, and love and not receiving the same in return. I needed to face the reality of aging allowed myself to be used in the name of ministering. So, I am free to move on and pour time and effort into healthy relationships, with people who are not using and abusing me – taking me for granted – and with people who are moving on with God.

The result – my dream is coming alive again. God’s power and, even more importantly, His presence have become very real and very “present” at all times. I am investing my limited time wisely. I am no longer carrying the weight I should have never picked up in the first place.* I am moving forward in my personal walk with God because I am no longer assuming responsibilities that were not mine to pick up. I am spiritually alive like I was when I was first saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. I am determined and focused once again. The zeal is back. The passion has returned. The dream is alive and doing well. And, I honestly don’t care what people think – only what God thinks is important.

How is your dream doing?

*I am not responsible for the spiritual health of God’s people – they are. And, I refuse to be responsible or even feel responsible for their well being. My mistake. Time for believers to grow up, become mature, and be responsible for themselves – time to walk in the truth they already know; time to move out with God and make disciples and help Him build His Church and expand the Kingdom. Babysitting and helping maintain the facade of Christian respectability has ended. Obedience based in love for God is what is needed and God is moving on with those who are serious and passionate about Him and His cause of taking the Gospel to every nation.


Everything that lives and is healthy grows – trees, plants, people, movements. So, the Christian who is a true disciple of the Lord should be growing, maturing, developing. The church that has life should also be growing in numbers, in influence, in impact. The whole purpose of intimacy with God is to then be enabled to move out into the world with His presence and power so as to impact that world with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Living things reproduce – apple trees reproduce more apple trees, sheep begat more sheep … and Christians should be reproducing – a disciple making another disciple as Jesus commanded. If the Christian is healthy then the Christian will be reproducing. If the local church is healthy it too will be reproducing – multiplying it’s influence and impact by planting another church and then another and then another.

In John 15 Jesus talks about bearing fruit, much fruit and eternal fruit. Healthy disciples bear fruit. Yes, the fruit of the Spirit (character) but also reproductive fruit. Because life always reproduces more life.

Well, it is time to examine our lives and our churches and the “life flow”… It is time to be honest and real because, at times, we need to admit there isn’t a “life flow.” Things have died; the flow has stopped; stagnation and “stability” have settled in; comfort is a key word; and we are no longer being challenged to reach the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom. How can you tell? Just ask yourself: “When was the last time you led something through godly sorrow and repentance and into the Kingdom?” Ask yourself, “When was the last time your church baptized new believers?” Ask yourself: “Are you passionate about Jesus and excited about His cause of world evangelism or have you simply settled in for the long haul going through the motions of being a Christian?” Come on, be honest!

Christians are busy with prayer movements, weekend praise and prayer events, Bible studies, writing in their spiritual journals about a journey that is no longer a journey. But, all of this and many of the other Christian activities can be a simple smokescreen covering up reality – feel good work that makes us think that everything is okay because we are busy with Christian events. Excuse me, but God said – God said – “Go into all the world and make disciples.” If what we are doing and what we are involved in is not directly linked to each participating individual being (not becoming) a soul winner then it is simply more programming and meaningless activity to make Christians feel good about themselves.

It is time, like Jesus, to be about our Father’s business and stop playing Christian. It is time to examine our health and find out why we are not reproducing.

Gifts and Fruit

The Church today places an emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) and this is good as we need supernatural gifts to touch the lives of non-believers for Jesus.

However, we must not neglect the development of the fruit of the Spirit as we grow and mature in Jesus. Jesus remarked, “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16). He never said you will recognize them by their gifts. In fact, He said, “Not everyone who says o Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of God…Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23). Gifts and proclamation alone are not enough.

It was not the gifts that really distinguished a Spirit-filled Church or Christian. The Corinthian Church had every gift (1 Corinthians 1L7), but was carnal, full of division (1 Corinthians 3:2-4), and even had extreme immorality in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). Gifts are not as important as the fruit of the Spirit. One can use gifts in a selfish manner, but one cannot exhibit love in a selfish way.

Paul tells us that we could have all of the gifts possible in their maximum expressions, but if we do not have love (the fruit of the Spirit), we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8). The evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the fruit, not the gifts.

The ultimate proof of God’s presence in us is the fruit in our lives.

“The greatest of these is love. So, pursue love, and earnestly seek after the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 13:13b-14:1)

Think Global – Act Local

Everywhere in the world where I minister there is always numerous signs advertising Coke products and always a local store that sells the many products produced by this company. Recently in Turkey I could not find Coke Zero or Coke Light in the hotel where I was staying. However, just by walking across the street I found a number of stores selling Coke products in the long row of kiosks that dotted the side of the main road through town. In Kazakhstan, Coke products can be found on every street and at every street corner.

The reason for Coke being being so “available” is that they have consciously thought on a global basis – they have a global vision and a plan to actually be available in every nation of the world. But, it is more than a large business plan or a “day dream” that will never come about. The reason? They have trained their people that while thinking globally they are to act locally. They understand that the global vision of Coke being available to every person on the planet can only be achieved by each employee of the company acting on behalf of the company right where they are, right now.

There is a good lesson in here for the true Church of Jesus Christ. Not the franchise branding of the faith we see in denominational and the institutional church… we don’t need more MacChurch’s in the world. But the real Church that Jesus is building needs to be thinking globally and acting locally. Thinking globally because Jsus said, “MY house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations.” Acting locally because Jesus commanded that “we love our neighbour as we love ourselves.” And to do either or both we must be very focused and very intentional. Having a Christian witness in every nation and then on every street in very city will not just happen by accident. It was be something we, the disciples of Jesus, constantly think about, plan for, and act upon.

This is more than thinking about global missions once-in-a-while and making a donation to someone who is travelling overseas on a short-term mission trip or some mission fund within the institutional structure. This means every individual disciple of Jesus should be praying daily for various nations in the world and asking the Lord where He would have you go in His Name to speak to people about the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus does expect every true disciple to be praying daily for the nations and working in those nations so that the Christian faith is as available as Coke products are in every nation of the world.

So, I challenge you to begin to catch the vision. And then to study up on the 197 nations of the world (Google and Wikipedia) and begin to pray for those the Lord leads you to pray for. While doing so, ask Him which nation He wants you to go to and impact for Him and His Kingdom. Yes, you! If not you – then who?

Saturday – Sunday – A Disconnect

It has been a fantastic weekend. Saturday night my home was full of believers – serious followers and disciples of Jesus. By 6:30 the kitchen and front room were full to overflowing with people, young and old. And, there was life – the rooms were alive with people talking, sharing, laughing, eating… Of course, it really all began at 5:00p when a dedicated group showed up and prayed for an hour in the same rooms asking God to bless and for His presence to be felt. By 10:00p most were gone but there was still a group in the kitchen talking intensely… Way to go APEX – tremendous second service and, as one of the leaders, I am seriously encouraged. We are moving forward in God’s plan for us and, like Moses in Exodus 33, His presence is very real and is with us.

Sunday I was with a tremendous group of faithful believers at New Hope where we have seen God do so much over the past years. We are preparing for a wonderful launch of the next step in our walk together with the Lord. We are close to opening our own “church home” and leaving the rented facilities that has been our home for a good number of years. A while back we chose a new name – New Hope – and that is what we are offering to the community we are located in and those who live in the many communities in the area … new hope that is found only in Jesus. Our worship was honoring to God, God’s Word was preached and received into the hearts of the people, and the fellowship was good with many taking the time to share with others and pray together. It is worth the 520+ Km of driving to be a part of this vibrant family of believers.

Meanwhile three of our world-wide family of disciples were killed in an attack on a church in Kenya as they worshipped (BBC News – Sunday at 9:00a); believers in many countries are meeting to worship in underground churches because it is illegal to be a born again believer in their nations; in many nations meetings are held in buildings that would be condemned here in North America as unfit for habitation; people are being saved minute-by-minute in tens of thousands of house churches in Muslim nations … the Kingdom is healthy and expanding. Peoples lives are being altered and the history of many nations is being written in the blood of believers who are dying for their faith.

But, many sit in comfort in warm, modern buildings where the coffee corner is superior to Starbucks both in looks and in coffee available, sanctuary seats are padded and comfortable, the worship is of high quality using all of the best equipment available (with few really engaging in worship), and the Word is taught to people who will do little to nothing with it – lives will not be transformed. I am uncomfortable with the massive difference and the apparent indifference.

In my mind, there is a massive disconnect as we all belong to the same Kingdom and worship the same King. I am praying that God will continue to shake His Church and that believers will come to realize that they have “family” in every nation as they reach out to help their brothers and sisters… no longer able to simply ignore those whom we could help if we so desired.

Starbucks – A Local Church

As I write this I am sitting in Starbucks waiting for someone. It is a Friday and the place is moderately busy. People sitting, drinking “expensive” but good coffee (I am having an apple cider with caramel and whip cream, in case you were wondering), chatting and sharing with one another. Sharing “life” as they see it and are experiencing it. Sharing their thoughts and their feelings. It is real and, at times, it is raw. Feelings and real life often are. But here in this sanctuary apparently it is safe to share the intimacies of the heart. Maybe it is the coffee – it certainly is helped by the atmosphere that has been created by those who founded and run Starbucks. Everything is intentional. That’s why people, including me, will pay twice the price for a cup of coffee than other places and three times what it is really worth.

As I look around – a man is sharing his thoughts with his journal as he thinks, writes, and cries a little. Not a good day? Maybe some good memories! A young couple are sitting close to each other sharing some intimate thoughts, or so it seems. A man in his thirties has earphones on and is Skyping with someone – obviously enjoying the conversation. Several students are doing their homework on-line taking advantage of the free Starbucks internet – seriously focused and thinking so hard you can almost hear the wheels turning. Two sisters sit next to where I am are talking about families and their parents. Others are sharing and laughing; some are sipping and reading (Starbucks is located in a large bookstore). It is a place for celebrating and sharing life.

Then there is the institutional church. Where you sit and look at the back of another person’s head. Where a few enter into worship but most simply stand and tolerate the lengthy singing or the hymn that they were told to turn to in the hymn book. Are they entering into worship? Is worship a shared experience? Then it is time for the “talking head” routine of a sermon where the many listen to the expert explain the ins and outs of a particular Scripture passage they are interested in or that they “felt” The Lord telling them to speak on. Most times totally irrelevant to where anyone in the “audience” really lives life at that present moment. No sharing, no discussion, no questions asked. Simply the expert or the professional (clergy) sharing their knowledge and expertise with the amateurs (laity). People may leave well informed, or not. But, most likely, they don’t leave transformed or even inspired. When the local church has a fellowship time – it certainly does not look or sound like what one can experience at Starbucks. But then you intentionally go to Starbucks to listen and to talk and share – you don’t normally come to church to listen to others or to share … and people certainly don’t share “life” with others at fellowship time. Why would you – most times you know the person can’t be trusted not to repeat what you share with them with others (we call that gossip).

So, in some places, more people go to Starbucks on a given Sunday than go to a local church. And, as I experience the atmosphere and the “life” around me today as I sit in a Starbucks I know why that is the case. However, I believe in the Church and so know that the Church can and must change so that people will see it as a wonderful and safe place to come and share. A place where they can be themselves and where everyone is real and “religious plasticity” and the “Christian game playing” has been banned.

I am not looking for such a church – I am planting them!!!!

A Passion for The Lord’s Cause

The Lord came to “seek and save the lost.” This was His cause, His purpose, His mandate from the Father. When you and I were born again we joined Him in His mandate or cause. We were instantly enlisted in His purpose as He said to us “go into all the world and make disciples.” So, we have a purpose in life and for our lives. We are to help Jesus complete His work upon Planet Earth. This is an exciting reason for living and a wonderful cause for which to give you life. But few really do.

Let me tell you a story … a true story.

In 1983, a Christian befriended Sharif and through that relationship, Sharif became a Christian. He had been a Muslim. Consequently, Sharif’s family disowned him, and he was often beaten by members of his community. Things started to change in 1991, however, when Sharif led his friend Bilal to The Lord and the two were baptized. The following year, the two men led their first Muslim family to Christ and started the first house church in their Islamic community. Over the next decade, just 10 years, they saw nearly 4,000 churches planted and more than 150,000 Muslims come to faith in Christ.

Here was a young man who, at great personal cost, began to tell others about Jesus. His passion for Jesus overflowed as he “loved God and loved his neighbors as he loved himself.” He was not concerned with what others thought. He wanted to please His Lord and Savior and knew that Jesus had said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” So, out of love and without fear of death, he did as commanded by the Scriptures and began to share Jesus with others. He did not let fear stop him – and there was much to fear. He did not make excuses about a hectic life, being busy with his family, or that no one had taught him to evangelize. He did not need to be taught to love – he simply loved (others) as he was loved (by God).

The results were slow in coming but then seeds take time to germinate and grow ofter being planted. He did not give up because no one was interested at first or because hearts were hard and the message was not received – in fact, seriously rejected. He simply kept planting and watering and left the harvest up to The Lord.

But the key was his love for Jesus – love that allowed him to obey everything Jesus had spoken and commanded and that took him into the streets and homes to share about Jesus. His passion for The Lord because a passion for the Lord’s cause as he went about loving his neighbor as he loved himself.

How about you? What are you passionate about? Your Starbuck’s morning coffee; your favorite hockey team; your current ‘special’ television show that you watch regardless of how busy you are; your dog; the political party that you think needs to be in power; your retirement fund; your stocks on the stock market; your opinion; or simply you!

If you are a true disciple there is only one thing we can be truly passionate about – Jesus and His cause. And, that passion will be seen in what you talk about and what your life is all about – your focus…. Your passion can always be seen by others.

The Amazing Race

I have to be honest – I have never watched even one episode of The Amazing Race … no matter what national edition of the program it may be. I simply have absolutely no interest in the program or the race they are running… Can’t think of anything more boring or mundane.

After all, God has called us to run an amazing race of our own. Hebrews 12 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (verses 1 and 2)

So, we have have a tremendous “amazing race” of our own to run. it is not a sprint – it is a long distance run because we are running into eternity. We need to look at our lives and see if there are some things that are preventing us from running to race from start to stop – attitudes, opinions, unbelief, lack of trust, no or little true fear of The Lord, doing your own thing and not focusing on His will… and then there are the sins that cling to us. A spiritual inventory would be good to see if there are things you are doing that need to stop or things that you have omitted doing that you need to add into your life at the very core of your being. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. And, then we need to focus on Jesus because He has already run the race and finished a winner.

Focusing on Jesus allows us to run the amazing race and to have an amazing time running the amazing race. This means we need to stop focusing on ourselves … our hurts, our offenses, our desires, our dreams, our ministry, our plans, our life … and look unto Jesus who is the Author of all life. It is time to examine life – your life – in the light of the Author of all life. Let Him show you what is really important and what is not; what is eternal and what is temporary; what is His will for you and what it is He wants you to do… After all, when you stand before Jesus on your judgment day He will be inquiring what you have done with the gifts He gave to you and the calling that is on your life. He will want an accounting of the amazing race that He set before you. And, you will surely want to be able to give a good report of a life well lived and a race well run…

An Amazing Opportunity

God has given each and every one of His followers an amazing opportunity to change a life by introducing friends and family to Jesus. We are called to follow Him so that He can “make us…” This means to change and adjust things in our hearts and lives so that we can become good at fishing for men (Matthew 4:19). The purpose of changing and adjusting us, maturing and teaching us, is so that we can join with Jesus in fulfilling the work that He started when He came to “seek and save the lost.” We call this The Great Commission which is “to go into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19).

So, the relationship we have with Him – the intimacy – is not really just about us. It is about us influencing people as we talk about The Lord that we love and follow intimately. Then, as we influence people we will seriously impact nations. This is why Jesus said to “make disciples of all nations.” Anything less reduces our intimacy with The Lord to a self-centered, self-focused, all-about-me, selfish activity that it was never meant to be. He invites us to join Him in His work to impact the world and spread His Kingdom to the four corners of the planet – anything less is simply not acceptable.

What an amazing opportunity to actually do something important and eternal. Yet, so many disciples settle for so much less. They allow their issues, their feelings, their attitude, their needs, their desires, their agenda, their opinion to dictate what they do and don’t do. God’s Word and the actual demands and commands of Jesus take a backseat if they are even considered at all. And, then is some sort of self deception and self-allusion they believe everything is okay between them and God and it’s all good. Which, of course, it is not. They are living as carnal and immature believers when they have had more than ample opportunity to get over themselves (the Bible calls this dying to self and becoming a new creation in Christ) and focus on Jesus and all that He said and still speaks to our hearts today.

Time for believers to examine their hearts in light of the Bible and deal with personal issues. Time to bury the old nature and truly walk in the newness of life that Jesus offers each true disciple. Time to step back and see the big picture and realize that it is really not about you or us at all. It is all about Him, His will, His desires, His commands, His Church, His mandate, His Kingdom, His coming again. Only then do we really enter into the adventure He offers each one of us. Only then do we grab hold of the amazing opportunity that He offers to us – to join Him in seeing His will fulfilled.