Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming! (Part 3)

Click on following link for: Part 1 and Part 2.

What are the Biblical requirements for being a prophet? Or an evangelist? Or a pastor? Or a teacher?

Actually, outside of being called by the Lord, there are no biblical mandates which have to be met for a believer to become any of these callings. None. Zilch. Nada. Zero.

Now, this does not mean that these callings are imparted without some degree of preparation, but this is strictly the Lord’s decision on what the preparation program will be. He’s the Boss; and He doesn’t confer with men or groups about His preparation plans.

For instance, when the Lord called me to be a prophet, I didn’t rush off to confer with a pastor or  a group; but rather, I just walked in my calling and used the gifts which came with the calling. I began prophesying.

And of course, I made mistakes – lots of them. But my mistakes did not negate the calling on my life. I repented often, learned about my calling and kept on prophesying.

And when the Lord called me to be a teacher, I followed the same course. I walked in my calling and began teaching. Period.

Okay, all of that is fine and dandy for the callings of prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher, but what about apostles?

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? (1 Corinthians 9: 1)

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. (2 Corinthians 12:12)

If you check Christian internet websites, you will notice a glut of people who claim to be apostles. It’s almost as if the calling is as common as pennies; they’re all over the place. So, do we just take a person’s word that he (or she) is an apostle and then submit to him? Take a look at what Jesus said:

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false. (Revelations 2:2)

Works are not enough to prove the validity of an apostle’s calling. I repeat: works are not enough to prove the validity of an apostle’s calling. The  true apostle must also have had a visitation with Jesus and he (or she) must have signs, wonders and miracles which glorify the Lord.

Anything less than these three biblical mandates causes the supposed apostle to fail the test.

And guess what? We believers are the ones who must check the apostles out.

So, get ready! The apostles are coming.

(Continued in Part 4)

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, church planting, Gifts of the Spirit, God, Home Church, jesus, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, reformation, spiritual warfare

The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming! (Part 2)

Click on following link for: Part 1.

For most of my dad’s life, he was a Christmas and Easter service attender. Anything more than that took a special program to drag him to a church’s pew.

In fact, I remember as a young boy, hearing a neighbor ask if he would see Dad in church on the following Sunday.

“Well, you just might see me,” Dad replied, “if the church’s windows are clean, and if you happen to look out when I drive by.”

So, with this in mind, you can understand the shock I felt in 1995 when the Holy Spirit spoke these words to my heart: “Your dad should have been the one who trained you and helped you into your calling, but he did not make it into his own calling.”

After hearing the words, I sat in my pickup truck without moving for minutes; I was stunned. To be honest, I did not know if Dad even knew the Lord. And as far as Dad having a calling on his life, that seemed impossible for me to believe.

So, I stored this experience on an empty shelf in my heart.

Two years later, Honey and I went back to my hometown to visit Dad while he was in a hospital. He had suffered a major relapse from a heart valve operation. Because of divine timing, Honey and I were able to spend some time alone with Dad. Honey prayed for him and I asked him questions about his personal salvation.

“Don’t worry about my salvation,” Dad answered, “that’s all taken care of.”

And the Holy Spirit impressed me that Dad was indeed saved. A point which I had not known before that day.

Then, for some reason, I left the hospital for a half hour or so. In that time period, Dad related his testimony to Honey.

It seems that Mom was very sick when I was a youngster. She was in a hospital and her doctor told Dad that it was iffy whether or not Mom would survive her sickness.

At that time, Dad was a twenty-eight year old farmer who loved his wife and had two children under six years of age. He was distraught and did not know what to do. So, while staying at my grandmother’s house, he bowed his knees in the middle of the night and cried out to the Lord.

The Lord saved him and Dad became a child of God. But even with this,  Mom’s life continued to hang in the balance over the next few days.

Finally, Dad threw himself on his knees once again in the middle of the night and cried out to the Lord for His help.

Then, Jesus walked through a wall into Dad’s bedroom and came to Dad and said, “Your wife will live and she will raise her children and see them grow up. But to help you over the next few days, I will come to you and comfort you each time the doctor tells you that your wife may not live. In this way, you will know she will survive.”

Jesus left the same way He entered the room: back through the wall.

Dad said that each time the doctor told him that Mom might not live, he felt peace in his heart. He knew Mom would live.

And Mom did survive the sickness. She is now eighty-six years old.

Five weeks ago, I went back to the Midwest to help my parents for what I thought would be a time of recuperation for Dad. But Dad’s condition worsened and I took him to an emergency room on a Sunday morning.

As I drove him to the hospital entrance, I had a quick vision. In it, I saw myself sitting in the truck fifteen years earlier after the Holy Spirit had spoken to my heart about Dad’s calling. But this time, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I’m taking your dad home.”

Dad died on May 2, 2010. He was twenty-three days short of being eighty-nine years old.

Now, I’ve included my Dad’s testimony to underscore an important point: the Church desperately needs the ministry of the apostles.  Many callings need to be fathered and brought into fruition.

(Continued in Part 3)

15 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, church planting, Gifts of the Spirit, God, Home Church, jesus, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, reformation, spiritual warfare

The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming! (Part 1)

I began this series with Part 1 on April 21; and now, I begin anew.

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” exclaimed the courier from Rome as he walked toward us.

I stopped working and stood up. The other tent makers did the same.

“Who’s dead?” I asked.

“Paul’s dead!” said the courier, wiping the sweat from his forehead. “He was beheaded in Rome about a month ago.”

Even though I knew the Apostle Paul’s ministry would probably have a sad ending, the news stunned me.

O Lord, why? I thought.

I turned away from the group, not wanting to talk about the apostle at that moment. It was just too painful! So, needing to  sort everything out for myself, I walked down to the Aegean Sea and sat on a rock. There, I thought back over my years with Paul.

The first time that I met Paul, I was not impressed. His stature was puny, only 4 feet 6 inches tall and 110 pounds in weight, and his public speaking skills were  limited when compared to Apollos and the other orators. Yes, he was brilliant and could write, but these were facts which I learned later and did not figure at all into my first impressions of him.

Yet, there was something about Paul which drew me to him. Maybe, it was his fiery passion for the gospel; or his fierce boldness; or his love for the church. I can’t put my finger on it, but anyway, I joined up with Paul and traveled along with him as his aide.

On our first journey to Rome, we ended up swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Somehow, the Roman soldiers did not execute us and we were able to swim ashore to Malta. And eventually, we did arrive in Rome.

Next, I spent two years, waiting for Paul while he was under arrest. When we finally resumed traveling again, everything became a blur of afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness and hunger.

Then, the fire in Rome changed everything for us Christians, from bad to worse. Believers were blamed for the fire and Paul became a marked man. Nero sent soldiers to hunt him down in Asia.

Finally, the stress wore me down. I could not take it any longer.

“Paul, I didn’t join your ministry to be killed by Roman soldiers,” I said on the day of my departure. “I’m going to Thessalonica, start a business and maybe marry a young woman and start a family. I’m too young for a martyr’s death!”

Paul was disappointed, but what could he do? I fled on a boat.

It had been almost two years since I last saw Paul and now he was dead. My mind wandered here and there as the blue waves splashed against the rock I sat on.

Did I make the right decision when I left the Apostle Paul? I wondered.  And how will I be remembered by future Christians?

for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…(2 Timothy 4: 9)

Demas’ decision has earned him a shameful legacy in the Bible for all to read. But still, before we are too hard on Demas, we have to consider how we might deal with an apostle like Paul.

You see, the apostles are coming…and they are not going to be clad in Giorgo Armani suits, speak ear-tickling words and live in gated Belair-like communities. They will arrive on the scene, full of power and the Spirit to crush our religious systems and ideas.

(Continued in Part 2)

15 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, church planting, Faith, Gifts of the Spirit, God, grace, jesus, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, reformation, spiritual warfare

A Shadow’s Viewpoint of Dad

“Roy, where’s your shadow?” the tractor salesman asked Dad.

And with that statement, I received a nickname that stayed with me for quite a few years. I was Dad’s shadow, his tag along little boy, who traveled with him when he went to town or a neighbor’s place or Uncle Bob’s farm or the Haldane Elevator or wherever.

Of course, being Dad’s shadow had its unique benefits because he was a softie and I could always squeeze a dime or fifteen cents out of his pockets. This was more than enough to buy an ice-cold Nehi Cream Soda and a Baby Ruth candy bar at Donaldson’s Grocery Store in Haldane or a Pepsi and a handful of peanuts at Gentry’s Farm Implement in Polo.

As his shadow, I watched Dad climb Ellis Dentler’s and Matt DeWall’s silos up to the top so that a new crop of silage could be stored in them. He was the fearless neighborhood Spiderman and unafraid of heights. I also saw him help Lawrence Zumdahl, Walter Paul and Doc Link with their projects. Dad always had time to help neighbors and also drink their coffee. “Black please, no sugar or cream,” he always answered on how he liked his coffee.

And of course, there was Uncle Bob Duncan. Dad farmed with Uncle Bob for thirty plus years and never once did this shadow ever hear Dad speak an angry word at Uncle Bob or vice versa. Both treated each other with the highest mutual respect.

When I was six years old, Dad put his shadow (me) to work for the first time, driving a tractor which pulled the hay fork into the barn. It was an easy job. All I had to do was pay attention to him and push in the clutch when he waved his arms at me. But as youngsters sometimes do, I anticipated his commands and stopped early a few too many times. At last, Dad said to me, “From now on, watch me. If you don’t see me waving my hands, keep on going…even if you end up in the orchard. Do you understand?”

His voice alerted me to the importance of his commands.

All went well for a few hours.

Then, Mom showed up and talked with him while we were working. The load of hay moved up into the barn and I continued driving the tractor, waiting for the waving of his hands. But he continued talking with Mom. I drove past every one of my earlier stopping points and headed for the orchard. Finally, I saw him frantically waving his hands. I stopped.

He ran toward me. His face was red and he held his hat in his hand. “Sonny, I am so mad…but it’s not your fault…it’s mine. But I am so mad! You pulled the backdoor out of the barn with the hayforks. I’m so mad! But it’s not your fault. Honest, Sonny, it’s not your fault, but I am so mad!”

I can still see him standing there next to the tractor tire, shifting his weight from one foot to the other in his agitation, so angry and yet so careful not to hurt my feelings. He eventually helped me off the tractor and gave me a hug. All was well between Dad and his shadow even though his barn door was busted to pieces.

And this is how Dad treated me his whole life. It is called love.

A few days before Dad’s death, a nurse asked me, “What was your dad like?”

“He was a good guy who wore a white hat and sat on a tall white charger. He always arrived at the scene just in the nick of time with a few dollars in his pocket, a hammer and a pair of pliers in his hands and words of encouragement in his mouth for his loved ones and neighbors. He was my hero,” I said.

And I believed every word of it.

16 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, Faith, God, jesus