Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Being a Kingdom-Driven Church!

The Holy Spirit has been speaking and challenging my heart about this coming year. I believe that our greatest hours as a New Testament Church are upon us. The world we live is facing unprecedented kinds of shocking evil. Threats and fear of devastation and loss now grips every nation in every continent. In the midst of all the chaos, God still has His own church in place. His church is not intimidated nor does it relent in fear because “the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

With that in mind, let me ask you a question. “What is the Church?” Dare I even ask “What your opinion is of what you think the church is?” Regardless of your opinion or even mind, God has a church that is a greater force for good in the world than all of Satan’s evil works combined.

What does the church that is a force in the world look like? First of all, the church as a force emphasizes that the world is the field, not the church as a field. The longer a church exists, the more it tends to become institutionalized where the emphasis becomes organization, visibility, programs, and promotion. However, the church as a force really is about people who are equipped to serve, meeting needs everywhere in Jesus Name!

The church as a force emphasis is worship, training, and fellowship, because these are the things that produce Spirit-filled people who can meet other’s needs in Jesus Name. The Bible says that pastors and leaders are supposed to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:12 What are we trying to accomplish? We are trying to bring healing to the whole man, to every area of a person’s life. WE are to be a healing agency in our communities. God has given gifts of the Holy Spirit to His body to equip us to effectively minister wherever we meet people.

The gifts of the Spirit, as I understand them, are God’s means of getting to men and meeting their needs through believers. I do not believe that spiritual gifts were meant primarily for the sanctuary. A “word of wisdom” for example, should not just be needed in the body of Christ. Why? Because we have the mind of Christ. (See 1 Cor. 2:16) But we can prophesy or give a word of wisdom to someone we may encounter outside the church and bring them encouragement. I believe the Holy Spirit is moving parallel with all the evil taking place. He is releasing His gifts of power and prophetic insights to help those who are confused and struggling through life. I see the church becoming an even greater force as we move into the coming year. It’s very exciting to me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Overflowing with Thankfulness!

We think of the month of November as the month of Thanksgiving...and deer hunting! But a thankful heart should always be first. There is a lot of instruction in the Bible about being thankful and offering praise to God. Psalm 50:14, 15 - “Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.”

This verse calls for bringing thank offerings to God and in the process fulfilling the vows made to Him. In Old Testament times the thank offering was the offerings of the first-fruits from the harvest as a thanksgiving to God for His bountiful supply. The people of Israel confirmed their commitment to the covenant and affirmed their confidence in the faithfulness of God by bringing these sacrifices to Him.

We are being called today to offer ourselves unto God as a thank offering. As we enter the sanctuary of worship we should be offering our lives as a thank offering in gratitude for the gift of salvation and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  Our prayer should be: “Lord, accept my life as a thank offering to you.” Amen.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:5-7 that our prayers, petitions, and requests should be made known unto God with thanksgiving. Why do you think the reason for that is?

Some of the unhappiest people are those who really don’t know the meaning of thankfulness. I believe God loves a right attitude and that good things happen to those with a thankful heart. To offer up our petitions with complaining rather than with thanksgiving is almost like we see God as a reluctant vending machine that we have to keep pounding on to get what we paid for. You can rest assured that those complainers not only have many unmet needs, but they also don’t have much peace in their life.

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace - and be thankful.” God’s peace gives us opportunity to be thankful and being thankful produces the peace of God!

Paul the Apostle gave us the secret to rejoicing and being thankful in all circumstances. He said he had found the secret of being content in every situation, whether he had plenty or was in need. The secret was that he knew God would supply all of his needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:10-19)  He also stated in 1 Thes. 5:16-18 to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  May our prayer be: “Lord, help me to present my needs to you with thanksgiving and help me to consistently walk with gratitude to You!” 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Daniel’s Vision of End Days

The prophet Daniel was given a vision to write about the end of the age and of time as we know it. In Daniel 12:4 a man clothed in linen spoke to Daniel saying, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

The mention of increase of knowledge and how it would accelerate near the end of the age is noteworthy to mention.  There is a prophetic verse in Proverbs 1:23 NIV, “If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you, and made my thoughts known to you.”

God’s Spirit is being poured out today and new revelation of His Word is continually proceeding forth to His people. The hundred year old Bible commentaries we used for studying scripture did help us to understand biblical theology - but with accelerated increase of knowledge, God has continually shed more light on His Word and is revealing even more complete meanings of some verses which were difficult to understand.

For instance, we are learning more understanding today about Bible prophecies and their fulfillment by virtue of what is happening today. There are things in prophecy that could never have been fulfilled before now.

Not only has knowledge of technology, science, medicine, and travel advanced exponentially, but an even greater sign of the end of the age has been the advancement of the gospel into every tribe and nation in the world.  Jesus said, “This gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

Our missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, Steve Salowitz told me recently that the projections for the translation of scripture to a written language for every single tribe on earth will be completed by the year 2025. Even that is moving at a faster pace then projected earlier.

The sum total of man’s knowledge is now doubling every two years. I read where 80% of the world’s total knowledge has been brought forth in the past decade. Ninety percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today.

What should our purpose be in these times of the “information age?” Daniel 12:3 NLT says, “Those who are wise shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” Do you want to be a Christian that shines like the stars? Then share your faith and love for Jesus boldly and unashamed. This brings the glory of God to rest upon you, and you will shine with God’s glory and His praise in your life. (I Peter 4:14 NLT)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Power of Unity!

That they all may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21

What is the greatest power that allows the unsaved to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ? It isn’t prayer, though prayer is very important. It isn’t good deeds, though good deeds do indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn’t just our good behavior, though Christ does command us to be obedient as sons.

The greatest power God’s children have over darkness is UNITY. Jesus talked about His oneness with the Father and the importance of unity in the Body of Christ. It might be the most difficult command Jesus has given to the church, because it wars against the most evil aspect of our sin nature which is - independence!

In these last days we are seeing God’s Spirit convict His children of the lack of unity among His Church. God’s Spirit is moving to bring unity between blacks and whites, ethnic groups, denominations, and para church groups. There is so much competition and walls of division among His body that must come down.

When God sees sectarianism and the pride of competition, He must weep over the lost who cannot come to Him because they cannot see Him in His body. When His body is one, the unbelieving will see that Jesus was truly sent by God. Unity and love for one another is like a supernatural key that unlocks heaven to the soul that is lost. The key is in the hand of Christ’s church. When there is unity, there is power! Imagine what God can do with a unified church. Scripture tells us that 5 will chase 100, but 100 will chase 10,000 (Lev. 26:8)

There is a dynamic multiplication factor in unity of numbers. If we could unify God’s people at any level, we would be much more effective.

Jesus prayed that we might all be one, as the Father and He are one. He wanted the same love God has for Jesus to be in each of us. When this love is in us the walls fall down. The independent spirit is broken. Competition is destroyed. Satan’s accusations are thwarted.

Our love for each other is manifest to the world around us. This will draw souls who are lost to be a kind of love that is completely foreign to them.

Psalms 133 tells us that it is very good and pleasant for God’s children to live together in deep spiritual unity. God’s supernatural blessings are resident there. I love you all!