Category Archives: Gifts of the Spirit

Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 10)

 

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters)

We have to keep in mind that the Great Tribulation will be a seven-year time period, which begins in peace. A man of peace – the Antichrist – will forge a peace treaty that will be accepted by most Christians, Jews, Muslims, and nations. This will stop the wars – nations fighting against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms.

The peace treaty will be so strong that the Jews will be allowed to build a temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and carry out daily sacrifices. I know – it’s hard to imagine this ever happening again, but it will!

This peace treaty will be in effect for three and half years until the Antichrist sets up the image of the beast in the Temple and stops the daily sacrifices.

Now, don’t go thinking the three and half years during the peace treaty will be a time for Christians to sit around a campfire, strumming a guitar and singing, “Kumbaya My Lord.” No! I believe it will be a time when churches will be pressured to accept compromises – small at first, but increasing in severity as time passes – in order for them to survive.

How do I know this?

This is what the Communists did in China with their Three Self Patriotic Movement. The same Satan who authored the suffocating rules on the Three Self Churches will attempt to do the same on our traditional churches. All of it will be done under the guise of tolerance and keeping the peace.

Then, BAM!

Many traditional churches and believers will be preconditioned through the gradual slope of compromises into accepting the mark of the beast.

“Home fellowships are persecution proof and are the only viable form for underground churches. We believe in the years to come, we will see increasing restrictions on our ability to meet together, to worship together and to pray with each other.” (Chuck Missler)

(Continued in Part 11…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, End-Times, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Prayers for America (10/11/2018)

“The devil made me do it!” (Flip Wilson)

The recent Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford brouhaha underscores a dismal situation for most American Christians: our lack of spiritual discernment.

So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11 NASB)

Sadly, we American Christians are ignorant of Satan’s schemes. You see, we allowed the accuser of the brethren (Satan) to manipulate us into being his pawns on social media and elsewhere for dividing the Body of Christ.

Somehow, we have to eventually realize that many of our problems in America are caused by the kingdom of darkness. Our only hope is to follow the King when He leads us so we can advance the Kingdom of God in our nation.

My prayer today:

Lord, open our spiritual eyes so that we can submit to You and then resist the devil. (Based on James 4:7)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Churches: Fellowships without Fellowship (Part 7)

 

Continuing with Wolfgang Simson’s 15 Theses from his book, House Churches That Change the World:

13. From Denominations to city-wide celebrations

Jesus called for a universal movement, and what came was a series of religious companies with global chains marketing their special brands of Christianity and competing with each other. Through this branding of Christianity most of Protestantism has, therefore, become politically insignificant and often more concerned with traditional specialties and religious infighting than with developing a collective testimony before the world. Jesus never asked people to organize themselves into denominations.

In the early days of the Church, Christians had a dual identity: they were truly His church and vertically converted to God, and then organized themselves according to geography, that is, converting also horizontally to each other on earth. This means not only Christian neighbors organizing themselves into neighborhood- or house-churches, where they share their lives locally, but Christians coming together as a collective identity as much as they can for citywide or regional celebrations expressing the corporateness of the Church of the city or region.

Authenticity in the neighborhoods connected with a regional or citywide corporate identity will make the Church not only politically significant and spiritually convincing, but will allow a return to the biblical model of the City-Church

14. Developing a persecution-proof spirit

They crucified Jesus, the Boss of all the Christians. Today, his followers are often more into titles, medals and social respectability, or, worst of all, they remain silent and are not worth being noticed at all. “Blessed are you when you are persecuted”, says Jesus.

Biblical Christianity is a healthy threat to pagan godlessness and sinfulness, a world overcome by greed, materialism, jealousy and any amount of demonic standards of ethics, sex, money and power. Contemporary Christianity in many countries is simply too harmless and polite to be worth persecuting.

But as Christians again live out New Testament standards of life and, for example, call sin as sin, conversion or persecution has been, is and will be the natural reaction of the world. Instead of nesting comfortably in temporary zones of religious liberty, Christians will have to prepare to be again discovered as the main culprits against global humanism, the modern slavery of having to have fun and the outright worship of Self, the wrong centre of the universe.

That is why Christians will and must feel the “repressive tolerance” of a world which has lost any absolutes and therefore refuses to recognize and obey its creator God with His absolute standards. Coupled with the growing ideologisation, privatization and spiritualisation of politics and economics, Christians will, sooner than most think, have their chance to stand happily accused in the company of Jesus. They need to prepare now for the future by developing a persecution-proof spirit and an even more persecution-proof structure.

15. The Church comes home

Where is the easiest place, say, for a man to be spiritual? Is it hiding behind a big pulpit, dressed up in holy robes, preaching holy words to a faceless crowd and then disappearing into an office?

And what is the most difficult, and therefore most meaningful, place for a man to be spiritual? At home, in the presence of his wife and children, where everything he does and says is automatically put through a spiritual litmus test against reality, where hypocrisy can be effectively weeded out and authenticity can grow.

Much of Christianity has fled the family, often as a place of its own spiritual defeat, and then has organized artificial performances in sacred buildings far from the atmosphere of real life. As God is in the business of recapturing the homes, the church turns back to its roots, back to where it came from. It literally comes home, completing the circle of Church history at the end of world history.

As Christians of all walks of life, from all denominations and backgrounds, feel a clear echo in their spirit to what God’s Spirit is saying to the Church, and start to hear globally in order to act locally, they begin to function again as one body. They organize themselves into neighborhood house-churches and meet in regional or city-celebrations. You are invited to become part of this movement and make your own contribution. Maybe your home, too, will become a house that changes the world.

(Continued in Part 8…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Apostles, Christianity, Church, End-Times, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 6)

 

Continuing with Wolfgang Simson’s 15 Theses from his book, House Churches That Change the World:

9. Return from organized to organic forms of Christianity

The “Body of Christ” is a vivid description of an organic, not an organized, being. Church consists on its local level of a multitude of spiritual families, which are organically related to each other as a network, where the way the pieces are functioning together is an integral part of the message of the whole.

What has become a maximum of organization with a minimum of organism, has to be changed into a minimum of organization to allow a maximum of organism. Too much organization has, like a straightjacket, often choked the organism for fear that something might go wrong. Fear is the opposite of faith, and not exactly a Christian virtue. Fear wants to control, faith can trust. Control, therefore, may be good, but trust is better.

The Body of Christ is entrusted by God into the hands of steward-minded people with a supernatural charismatic gift to believe God that He is still in control, even if they are not. A development of trust-related regional and national networks, not a new arrangement of political ecumenism is necessary for organic forms of Christianity to reemerge

10. From worshipping our worship to worshipping God

The image of much of contemporary Christianity can be summarized as holy people coming regularly to a holy place at a holy day at a holy hour to participate in a holy ritual lead by a holy man dressed in holy clothes against a holy fee.

Since this regular performance-oriented enterprise called “worship service” requires a lot of organizational talent and administrative bureaucracy to keep going, formalized and institutionalized patterns developed quickly into rigid traditions. Statistically, a traditional 1-2 hour “worship service” is very resource-hungry but actually produces very little fruit in terms of discipling people, that is, in changed lives. Economically speaking, it might be a “high input and low output” structure.

Traditionally, the desire to “worship in the right way” has led to much denominationalism, confessionalism and nominalism. This not only ignores that Christians are called to “worship in truth and in spirit,” not in cathedrals holding songbooks, but also ignores that most of life is informal, and so is Christianity as “the Way of Life.”

Do we need to change from being powerful actors to start “acting powerfully?”

11. Stop bringing people to church, and start bringing the church to the people 

The church is changing back from being a Come-structure to being again a Go-structure. As one result, the Church needs to stop trying to bring people “into the church,” and start bringing the Church to the people. The mission of the Church will never be accomplished just by adding to the existing structure; it will take nothing less than a mushrooming of the church through spontaneous multiplication of itself into areas of the population of the world, where Christ is not yet known.

12. Rediscovering the “Lord’s Supper” to be a real supper with real food

Church tradition has managed to “celebrate the Lord’s Supper” in a homeopathic and deeply religious form, characteristically with a few drops of wine, a tasteless cookie and a sad face. However, the “Lord’s Supper” was actually more a substantial supper with a symbolic meaning, than a symbolic supper with a substantial meaning. God is restoring eating back into our meeting.

(Continued in Part 7…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, End-Times, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, Spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare

Prayers for the American Church (10/2/2018)

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 2005

“Do you believe the Bible is the “inspired” Word of God?”

Almost every Evangelical Christians will answer “Yes” to this question and will then quote his or her favorite verses, such as John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8 and Psalm 34:19.

But if you ask Christians whether they believe in Pre-Tribulation Rapture or Post-Tribulation Rapture, 90% of them will answer: “Pre-Tribulation Rapture.”

If you then ask them, “How can you justify your beliefs in light of Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and John’s words in Revelation 11:15-19?”

Most of the 90% will answer: “Pre-Trib Rapture is what my pastor teaches and I trust him.”

Is this really a big deal?

Well, it’s not a big deal to all of the believers who have died before today. Their beliefs on the rapture did not hinder their faith one way or the other.

Yet, those believers who are alive right now have a chance of being a part of those who are raptured when Christ returns. And if not us, maybe our children or grandchildren will be in the rapture.

So, yes, it’s a big deal, especially because the Apostle Paul wrote:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want be deceived and fall away, nor do I want my children or grandchildren to fall away. I want them and myself to be prepared to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith all the way to the end.

There are more than 150 chapters about end-times prophecy in the Bible. That’s over sixty more chapters than the total combined chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Thus, as you can see, God has placed an emphasis on the end-times. Shouldn’t we at least  study and prepare ourselves, just in case our theology is wrong?

My prayer today:

Lord, open the eyes of the American church so that they are like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures to discover the truth for themselves rather than like the Thessalonicans who relied on their leaders’ teachings. (Based on Acts 17:10-11)

Join me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for the American church.

4 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, End-Times, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 4)

In his book, House Churches that Change the World, Wolfgang Simson stole a page from Martin Luther’s reformation playbook and wrote a 15 Theses for the house church movement:

1. Christianity is a way of life, not a series of religious meetings.

Before they were called Christians, followers of Christ were called ‘The Way.’ One of the reasons was that they had literally found the way to live. The nature of the church is not found in a constant series of religious meetings led by professional clergy in holy places specially reserved to experience Jesus. Rather, it is the prophetic way followers of Christ live their everyday life in spiritual extended families, as a vivid answer to the questions that society asks, and in the place where it counts most – in their homes.

2. Time to change the ‘cathegogue system’

The historic Orthodox and Catholic Church after Constantine in the fourth century developed and adopted a religious system based on two elements: a Christian version on the Old Testament temple – the cathedral – and a worship pattern styled after the Jewish synagogue. They thus adopted, as the foundational pattern for the times to follow, a blueprint for Christian meetings and worship which was neither expressly revealed nor ever endorsed by God in New Testament times: the ‘cathegogue,’ linking the house-of-God mentality and the synagogue.

Baptized with Greek pagan philosophy, separating the sacred from the secular, the cathegogue system developed into the Black Hole of Christianity, swallowing most of its society-transforming energies and inducing the church to become absorbed with itself for centuries to come. The Roman Catholic Church went on to canonize the system.

Luther reformed the content of the gospel but left the outer forms of ‘church’ remarkably untouched. The Free Churches freed the system from the State, the Baptists then baptized it, the Quakers dry-cleaned it, the Salvation Army put it in uniform, the Pentecostals anointed it and Charismatics renewed it, but until today nobody has really changed the system. The time to do that has now arrived.

3. The third Reformation

In rediscovering the gospel of salvation by faith and grace alone, Luther started to reform the church through a reformation of theology. In the eighteenth century, through movements in the pietistic renewal, there was a recovery of a new intimacy with God, which led to a reformation of spirituality, the Second Reformation. Now, God is touching the wineskins themselves, initiating a Third Reformation, a reformation of structure.

4. From church houses to house churches

From the time of the New Testament there has been no such thing as a ‘house of God.’ At the cost of his life, Stephen reminded us: God does not live in temples made by human hands.

The church is the people of God. The church, therefore, was and is at home where people are at home: in ordinary houses. There the people of God share their lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, have ‘meatings’, i.e. they eat when they meet; they often do not even hesitate to sell private property and share material and spiritual blessings; they teach each other in real-life situations how to obey God’s Word – and not with professional lectures but dynamically, with dialogue and questions and answers. There they pray and prophesy with each other, and baptize one another. There they can let their masks drop and confess their sins, regaining a new corporate identity through love, acceptance and forgiveness.

(Continued in Part 5…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, Spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare

Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 2)

 

Why did God pour out the ten plagues on Egypt?

It all began almost thirty-five hundred years ago with Moses having a burning bush experience. It was there that God said, “I have seen the oppression of My people and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. So I have come down to deliver them out of their bondage and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Moses eventually accepted His calling and headed for Egypt.

When Moses arrived in Egypt, he met with the elders and told them how God was going to set the Israelites free. The elders rejoiced, bowed their heads, and worshipped God.

That jubilant attitude by the elders and the Israelites lasted until Moses walked into Pharaoh’s court and said, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Let My people go.'”

“Ain’t no way, Moses,” said Pharaoh, “I’m not setting 600,000 male slaves free.”

Next, Pharaoh persecuted the Israelites and beat the officers who were in charge of the Israelite slave workers. Because of the spirit of anguish and cruel bondage, the Israelites no longer listened to Moses.

God did what only God can do, He poured out a powerful anointing on Moses, so that he could confront Pharaoh with boldness and speak truth to the Israelites, which they would listen to and obey.

Over several weeks, God poured out ten plagues on Egypt: blood, frogs, lice, flies, disease on Egyptian livestock, boils on man and beast, locusts, darkness, and death of the first-born. Each plague was aimed at a particular Egyptian god.

Finally, Egypt and its gods were plundered and destroyed by the Lord God of Israel. Pharaoh and the Egyptians said to Israel, “Leave or we will all be dead!”

But God was not quite done yet, He led the Israelites to the Red Sea, which became a trap for them when Pharaoh changed his mind. Pharaoh and his whole army soon followed and drew near to the Israelites.

What did Israel do?

They panicked and said, “Oh dear! Our God is not big enough! We should have lived and died in Egypt as slaves rather than trusting in God.”

But even so, God destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.

The Israelites danced and sang a new song to the Lord.

Hallelujah!

So, why did God pour out the ten plagues on Egypt?

Yes, the plagues obviously convinced Egypt to let the Israelites go free, but a second reason was that God wanted to set the Israelites free of their desires to ever return to bondage again.

Yet, when the times got tough, Israel always thought about returning to the bondages of Egypt and its cruel gods.

Ah, but there was also a third reason for the plagues.

“Return to Me, O backsliding children,” says the Lord, “for I am married to you…” (Jeremiah 3:14)

Israel was the Lord’s bride, He loved her, and wanted to have a deep relationship with her. He hoped to remove every one of her lovers so He would be the apple of her eye.

Who else is is known as a bride of the Lord?

(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, End-Times, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare, Uncategorized