A Local Church?

A true local church, as the Bible sets it out and as I understand it, is a group of true disciples of The Lord who are committed to The Lord and to His mandate to seek and save the lost as we go into all the world.

These true converts would also be committed to one another standing together as they live their lives as Christians and face situations as well as persecution in the world. They would truly, in thought, word and deed “love one another,” encourage one another,” and “bear each other’s burdens.” No one would stand alone because everyone sees themselves as a member of the family and if one member hurts we all hurt.

True believers are also committed to obeying His Word – all of His Word and not just the parts that we happen to like. This means being committed to everything The Lord teaches and the Scriptures stand for regardless of our opinions or thoughts on the matter. Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will obey Me.”

Those who belong to a local church will also be committed to a common vision. If that commitment is not there then the believer should be asking The Lord to show them the church they should become a part of. 1 Corinthians 12 states that “God places each member in the body of His choice.” So, sharing the vision of the local church is essential.

Of course, it goes without saying, that those who belong to a local church would want to be accountable to spiritual leadership. This is not a popular thing to mention in today’s world of ‘do your own thing’ and being accountable to yourself and no one else. But, the Bible states that we need to submit to biblical leadership and become accountable to them for your life as a disciple of The Lord Jesus.

The local church is a group of believers meeting together regularly, caring for one another, watching out for one another and corporately seeking to worship, sere God and reach those who do not know Jesus.

That is a local church, whatever its size, style, or building in which it meets.

Simple! Don’t complicate it. Find one and join it – becoming an active and productive member of the Body of Christ. This is God’s plan for all of His people… and we need to simply get on with what He has asked us to do.

Letting Go

To move into your future you have to be let go of the past and be willing to alter the present. To grab hold of something new you will always need to let go of the old. Once you do it will feel a little unnerving at times but, after all, it is a walk of faith where you are trusting that this forward movement into your future will be guided and directed by God.

If you hold on to what is you will never grab hold of what is to come. This is called fighting for and maintaining the status quo… this was once done by a governor of New York.

31 January 1829

To President Jackson

The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as “railroads.” The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:

1. If canal boats are supplanted by “railroads,” serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen, and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses.

2. Boat builders would suffer, and towline, whip, and harness makers would be left destitute.

3. Canal boats are absolutely essential to defend the United States. In the event of unexpected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war.

As you may well know, Mr. President, “railroad” carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by “engines” which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock, and frightening women and children. The Almighty never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.

martin Van Buren
Governor of New York

What are you hanging onto that is preventing you from moving into God’s intended future for you? What do you need to let go of so you are free to move forward and grab hold of something new and different that The Lord has graciously prepared for you? Give it some thought so you don’t find yourself simply maintaining the status quo which simply means “the mess we are in.”

Losing the Edge

Have you lost your spiritual edge? Has life so overtaken you that you are overcome and losing your spiritual momentum. How can you tell? When you lose your spiritual edge and lose momentum you simply begin to backslide into the realm of the ordinary. Is your spiritual life and walk with Jesus “simply ordinary?”

Oh, I know. You were not purposeful about or even conscious of losing momentum. It’s not usually cataclysmic events that make it happen. Typically our momentum slips away in the everyday activities of everyday reality. Somewhere in the busyness of everyday life and ministry, in the flurry of activity, we lose our edge. We come to a moment when, in the midst of working hard for God and doing what seems right, we realize that something is missing.

The moment can come quite unexpectedly.

You didn’t realize the tank of your passion for God was below empty

You didn’t realize that the deep ache to see your friends and family come to life in Christ had waned.

You didn’t notice that the dream God placed inside you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom had grown dangerously distant.

You didn’t know that a hurtful comment had turned into a root of bitterness in your heart.

You didn’t know you were relying too much on old victories.

You didn’t notice that you had lost your gratitude and had started taking the blessings of God for granted.

You didn’t notice you had lost your sense of reverence for what really matters.

You didn’t know there was no longer any heart behind the things you used to do for God’s glory.

You see, if we don’t make an intentional daily decision to follow Jesus and take time every day to actually be in His presence then we will lose the edge. This is more than reading your allotted portion of Scripture, saying a few prayers, and then packing it in to start your very busy day. This is actually touching God and sitting in His presence knowing and experiencing afresh His love and His care for you. This is listening to His voice and recording what He says – then doing it.

This means we need to realize that in our daily life we have somehow, somewhere turned on the autopilot and forgot to make the decision to live with God and then live for God. But, it is never too late. Even if you have totally lost the edge and have drifted into deep waters spiritually God has a plan to recover anything and everything you have lost along the way. He had this plan designed and waiting for you even before you actually lose it. His recovery plan is custom-tailored to your situation. In otherwords, it is a tried-and-tested plan that you can follow.

Why not talk to Him today and see what you and He can do about your loss of momentum and passion.

It’s Simple, Don’t Complicate It

You can be a soul winner. Really! It is not that complicated and everyone can do it. Simply get to know people. I was on my last flight from Kazakhstan to Regina, Canada and was really just wanting to rest and play a game on my iPad. I got a seat with leg room and was thanking God for being able to stretch out after 18 hours in two previous planes with my knees near my chin. And the seat next to me was empty. Ah! There is a God. Then just seconds before the door closed a young man rushed through the opening carrying several oversized bags. And guess where his assigned seat was – right next to me.

We spoke briefly and I went back to my iPad game while the safety procedures rolled on. I have hear it all a thousand times I am sure. However, as soon as the machine was quiet the young man and I struck up a conversation that lasted until the wheels touched down in my home city. He did most of the talking – I did the listening. I know so much about his life, his family, his new home, his job, his travels for his job, his hopes, his dreams, and his planned vacation for this coming August. I listened.

When we landed and began to taxi I asked is I could have a business cards to stay in touch. I had run out of my English ones and could only offer him a Russian language one which would not be a help at all. So, after reaching the baggage claim area (he had his bag with him) he stopped and pulled a card from his computer case, gave it to me, and then said “stay in touch.” I will.”

Suggestion: If you want to be a soul winner get to know people.
Suggestion: To get to know people you need to be the best listener in the place
Suggestion: Begin to pray for the person on a daily basis
Suggestion: Watch carefully what God can and will do.

As you do your part God will be doing His part. So, don’t be surprised when people ask if you have a “second” to listen to what is on their heart. Take time for them when they ask. It is never convenient – so just take or make time to stop and listen. Take the ones you click with and are praying for out for coffee. You initiate. Ask them how they are doing and then listen. Speak words of encouragement. Don’t try to fix people – just listen and love them. Don’t wait until you have taken three years of counseling classes, read 10 books on mentoring, and attended unending workshops on discipleship. Start small. Everyone is capable of discipling between one and three people. You cannot wait until you think you are ready to be a perfect disciple0maker, because that will never happen. Simply learn to listen with your heart and then be amazed at what will happen.

Suggestion: Today would be a good day to start… Stop for one or two people today as you buy coffee, purchase gas, shop for groceries… Look them in the eye and let them know they have your attention – your full attention. And then listen with your heart. Don’t talk – listen. Stop, look, and listen. And you will be amazed what will happen… and above all you will become a soul winner.

Thoughts after my trip

It has been an interesting two weeks. I have discovered a lot about myself. I have discovered a lot about the Church Jesus is building. I have discovered some really neat places where God is working to influence people and impact nations. I have discovered some doors that opened for future ministry. And, I have discovered some new brothers-in-Christ.

It has been an exciting journey. Each day has been seriously different from the day before. There was a sense of adventure on this trip that is often lacking on other trips. There were opportunities to get to know cities and people in more depth and thus appreciate the life of believers as they manage daily life where they live. And, what a joy to visit with friends that I have made in the past during similar ministry trips.

One city where I spent some time was Anatolia in Turkey. This was the home base of the biblical Hittites and their empire – an empire of tremendous proportions that is spoken of in the Old Testament. I also walked through the mountain top ruins of a city that defeated Alexander the Great and gave him his first and only defeat in battle. Fascinating to reach back into history and actually be there in person.

I met some tremendous men and women of God (in Turkey and Kazakhstan) who, in spite of tremendous odds and great hardships, are spreading the Gospel and seeing God’s Kingdom push back the spiritual darkness. They live with little to nothing investing much of what they receive back into the Kingdom. One man who I worked with for three days is expecting their fourth child and literally owns an old car and the blankets and pillow he sleeps on. He has several changes of clothing and a small, rented apartment that is anything but comfortable or adequate for his family. He does not complain and is simply happy that he gets to work for and with Jesus and impact people with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

I sensed that this trip was a turning point in my trans-local ministry. Something clicked inside me. Something changed in the spirit-realm. And the mandate of the ministry that The Lord has given to me was altered, adjusted, transitioned, and changed. Maybe it was that I heard God say that the “metron” (sphere in which I have authority to function and minister) was expanding and would now embrace more nations – some outside the former Soviet Union. And there was a definite ease of ministry that was not there before; including an increase in confidence and power. The change was palatable and could definitely be seen and experienced by others to whom I was ministering.

What this all means in the practical realm of every day ministry (and administration of that ministry) I am very much at a loss to say. But, it seems to me that massive changes in what I am currently doing and how I am accomplishing it will be needed so as to make room for this expansion, growth and new reality.

Much was accomplished for God’s Kingdom. Numerous churches were impacted. Lives were touched. New foundations were poured. New relationships were formed and old ones renewed. And, the Spirit of The Lord ministered mightily to me as well. Two weeks well invested in spiritual things….

Thanks for listening to me ramble!

Travel Day

I am in route to Canada as you read this … I left at 5:00p last night (5:00a Thursday here) and will arrive in Toronto at 6:30p tonight local Toronto time (4:00p Regina time). Home by 10:30p tonight in Regina. Of course, that will be 10:30a Friday body time. So, about 30 hours in transit. Please pray.

Thanks for your prayers over the past two weeks. It has been a very powerful trip for me personally (both Turkey and Kazakhstan) and for those I have been honoured to minister to. God truly is amazing and does terrific things when He finds hearts that are open and loyal to Him.

My next major trip is the end of April to three cities in Russia. I begin preparation as soon as I am home. There is much preparation needed for this upcoming trip due to the nature of the topics I will be ministering on. Plans are established for a trip to Armenia in June and several trips into the United States. Plans are being established for a two week ministry trip into Moscow (negotiating dates), another into Kazakhstan, as well as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. As well, I have an invite to minister in istanbul, Turkey, the nation of Burundi, Africa, Seoul, South Korea, and Peru (dates not final yet). Please pray for all of these and other upcoming ministry opportunities. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

All Things Are Possible

The Bible states that all things are possible, not that all things are easy. Even Jesus dealt with problems while investing His life in the 12 disciples. They all left Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He felt alone and forsaken. But He knew that the last chapter was not yet written! Fifty days later, Peter stood with the 11 and preached at Pentecost, where 3,000 people came to faith in Christ, No doubt, Jesus was just as proud of fearful Peter preaching to the multitudes as He was to see thousands believe in Him. For Peter this journey was never easy.

We need, on our journey with Jesus, to stop looking for things to be easy. We will have to work hard and mistakes and hardships are inevitable. Never walk in fear of failure or fear of making mistakes. Bob Mumford once said, “I do not trust anyone unless he walks with a limp.” He was referring to Genesis 32, where Jacob, after wrestling with the Lord and demanding His blessing, was touched in his thigh and from that day forward, walked with a limp. When God lovingly deals with us through hardships and difficult times, we walk with a spiritual limp the rest of our lives. This is the stuff of which true disciples are made.

Both Jacob’s and Peter’s examples testify to the fact that we all make mistakes. They also teach us that we must not give up. We may be doing all the right things, but problems will still arise. He never said it would be easy or painless. Or we may be tempted, as a leader, to go back to something easier than dealing with people and all their shortcomings. But, we need to remember that God never said it would be easy – but He also reminds us that everything is possible.

It may not be easy winning the lost, discipling new believers, and living in community with other believers – but it is rewarding.

Last Day In Kazakhstan

This is my last day in Kazakhstan. I fly out tomorrow having to be at the airport at 5:00a I am working with a group of leaders – Day three. It has been interesting. Very interesting. They have great hearts and are exciting to be around. God is truly touching each and every heart and amazing things are transpiring almost hourly. Today I am teaching on the apostolic church and the ministry of apostles. it will be a joy, I am sure and not something I need to struggle with while teaching. This is what I live for – to explain the amazing ministry and role of apostles in today’s church.

There will be lots of questions. There have been all along this week from this group. They have a lot of traditional and religious ideas and God is slowly removing these barriers and strongholds and letting them see so many things in a new light. It has been and is amazing and powerful. God is so good and moves so wonderfully when He finds hearts that are open to Him.

Please pray for the Church in Kazakhstan as they do not always have an easy time. There are many laws and restrictions that they must work under and, for some, they are simply totally off the radar and function as an underground church. Pray that people will continue to hear the Gospel and that people will come into the Kingdom. Less than 1% of Kazakhstan is born again. Also, please begin to pray for safe travel – good weather – connections as I switch flights. My route is Almaty, Kazakhstan to Istanbul, Turkey, to Toronto, Canada to Regina. Thanks for being a part of what God is going here.

Meetings or Movement

I have been holding church services – meetings of the saints – for over 40 years. These are weekly meetings and sometimes more often than once a week. Recently I have come to wonder if I should not be thinking differently. Let me explain.

Jesus changed many things when He came on the scene. He removed the Old Testament style of top-down leadership. You know, a hierarchal style of leadership with the high priest at the top – and today the pastor at the top of the heap. Jesus was very much a leader in that He spoke with authority. He could say, “Here are the boundaries; here’s where we are going,” but He exercised His authority from BESIDE, not from ABOVE. He didn’t have to have the title of “pastor” or “priest” to lead. He was not interested in getting a meeting established – He wanted a movement to be born! He was going for the long haul, the big picture. He modelled a style of leadership that facilitated any leaders and many of the people following Him.

I wonder if we are too focused on meetings and not enough on seeing a movement birthed and prospering. A movement involves many more in ministry and even in leadership than a meeting does. A movement spreads where a meeting is stagnant and does not continue to grow in influence. A movement will push back the darkness establishing new outposts for the Gospel. A meeting might do a little of that by sending someone out for short term missions… but usually little is established that is permanent.

So, I have decided to focus on “movement” and not “meetings.” I am working, praying, believing that I can plant a seed or two with the Lord’s help that will multiply and move out into the darkness claiming souls for Christ and expanding the rule of the Kingdom as I read happened in the book of Acts. I have some thoughts and even a few plans on how this might look and how it might function.

I believe God has birthed something in my heart that is massively different than anything I have been involved in before… Time will tell, I suppose.

Still In Kazakhstan

Second to last full day in Kazakhstan. I am working with a young man who has influence throughout Kazakhstan as he leads a number of regional men who oversee some tremendous work being done for the Lord. Sorry for being somewhat vague but necessary in the situation in which I am working. I am training his leaders from this district as well as the heads of the work in two other nations.

Early morning coffee before the first session with the leaders. meeting with one of the national leaders from another nation (again, sorry for being vague) as I answer some questions he has about the supernatural and then hear some of his story. I will be meeting with him Wednesday morning as well before the main sessions.

A full day with this group of 12 leaders teaching and ministering prophetically. Then supper and a mid-evening return. Yesterday was draining as I answered questions and taught for 8 hours straight. They have strong opinions rooted in traditions they have come out of – but they are open to truth if you can definitely show it to them in the Bible. Again, there is a serious lack of true Bible knowledge but they are further ahead than some groups I have met with this week.

Of course there will be a great deal of prophetic ministry as most have yet to receive a word from the Lord through my ministry and some have never had a prophetic word. Please pray for the day, the events, the people, and for me as I near the end of the trip and am a little weary… Thanks greatly!