All posts filed under: Teaching

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What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?

Several decades ago, I was part of a church that took a strong stand against drinking alcohol, but it wasn’t just alcohol, it also had an opinion on several other things like long hair on men. The list of unwritten rules and regulations was quite extensive. Looking back now I realize the church was caught up in a religious spirit which I define as making up rules for Christian living that are not required by Scripture. The church leaders were essentially adding man-made rules to Christianity. In fact, one of the respected teachers that the church connected with wrote a book trying to prove that when the Bible talked about wine, it was speaking of non-fermented grape juice. Yes, he believed when Jesus turned water into wine at the Cana wedding, the headwaiter was shocked that the bridegroom had reserved the “best grape juice” for last (John 2:1-11). Though the Bible condemns becoming drunk, it does not forbid drinking wine. In fact, the exhortation forbidding drunkenness proves that the wine people were drinking was alcoholic. …

Great White Pelicans: Credit: Costel Slincu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Inner healing: My story of three pelicans

In my previous article, I wrote how Jesus wants to bring healing to our inner hurts and when the Lord does this He often takes us back to the point when we were first hurt. Jesus did this for Peter through a charcoal fire and the Lord did it for me through three pelicans. In the summer of 2018 I was at a church senior camp, enjoying all the fun a “senior” can get away with – kayaking, swimming, climbing a climbing wall and practicing karate, as well as tormenting people with a water gun! In the midst of this, I had no idea what God had in mind to complete my healing. Although I had experienced significant healing in the 90’s, there was more to be done. One day at camp the movie “I Can Only Imagine” was going to be shown. It’s a fantastic must-see movie about the life of Bart Miller and what led to his writing the song. I had not seen it yet, so was looking forward to spending the …

Credit: Vincent Maurin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Inner healing: Peter’s ‘charcoal fire’

Have you ever had a sports injury that put a stop to your active life? Sometimes once the medical treatments have been done and we have a clean bill of health to continue our sport, the fear of not really being healed or of re-injury can cause us to freeze in our tracks. It started with a real physical injury, but the real problem has become an inner one, a fear of moving forward, an “infirmity.” We can look healthy on the outside, but inside be broken with fear, doubts, anger, insecurities, etc. The gospels use similar phrases to describe how Jesus ministered in different communities, phrases like, “healed the sick,” “forgave sins,” “cast out demons,” “preached the good news,” and “healed people of their infirmities.” Most Christians can easily define the first four phrases, but many are not sure exactly what an infirmity is. Matthew 8:17 says, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Other references to infirmities can …

Las Vegas Credit: Mr. Jason Hayes/Flickr/Creative Commons

Vegas and Hollywood: the truth

On the evening of October 1, 2017, a man named Stephen Paddock used a gun to kill and injure spectators at a country music concert in Las Vegas. You probably know something about the story, but have you noticed all the comments and conspiracy theories that have spun off from the incident; the story about the story? It’s interesting because Mr Paddock is such a mystery. We don’t know why he shot those people except that he made a decision. His background story gives us no clues, so we are free to make our own judgments. That’s useful for some people. RELATED: Las Vegas Shooting: Wikipedia A few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published an article about Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the Hollywood movie industry. He has been accused of gross misconduct with young women who were trying to make careers in movies and television. At this time, it is fair to say the accusations have been denied, and any accusations are only alleged; but that …

Brussels, Belgium Credit: Francisco Antunes/Flickr/Creative Commons

God Bless You

Do you feel better now? I hear people getting blessed all the time, when they sneeze. In ancient times, people worried that the soul would come out with the sneeze, where the devil might steal it. A blessing would put it back safely. But really, what is the point of a blessing? Is there something we should know here? I learned some lessons about blessing yesterday. Lesson 1) I already know that words spoken into the air have no power, unless God does a miracle. OK, not ‘no power’; I might feel better about myself if I hear myself saying the words, but the other guy only gets words. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2: 16) Lesson 2) Blessings are common in the Bible, so they must be a good idea. In ancient Israel, the priests were told to say these …

Church in Hishult, Sweden Credit: Jacob Surland/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where Is the Love?

Cue Black Eyed Peas I always seem to get a giddy feeling when I see competitive sports with good sportsmanship. Something about the opposing team helping their opposition up off the ground, giving acknowledgement when someone makes a good play against you, or giving a high-five after a solid punch to the face. Granted, it’s not a very common occurrence, but I absolutely love to see that type of comradery from the opposition. But then, the question begs to be asked: Why do we lack this type of behavior in the church? I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t exist, but nearly every church has seen some kind of separation through its years. I haven’t seen anything extreme, but I’ve heard of people getting worked up enough over the music or seating arrangement that they feel the need to find a new home for Sunday morning. A couple of years ago, I did see some division in my home church. While I won’t get into the specifics of what went on, one of the …

Festival of the Assumption of Mary being held at a Roman Catholic church in Sicily. Credit: effems/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why did Mary become so prominent in the Roman Catholic Church?

Several years ago, my wife and I adopted our daughter from a Roman Catholic orphanage in Peru. Part of the process included being in the country for several weeks as we worked through the adoption. We ended up staying at the orphanage where our daughter was living. It was a well-run orphanage and clearly the men and women working there were dedicated to helping these children. My wife and I became friends with a young Peruvian couple working at the orphanage who could speak English. Though committed Catholics, they were also actively involved in the Roman Catholic charismatic movement that held services every Saturday night at the local cathedral, where they emphasized the filling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. I remember one evening, my wife and I went to their home for supper and we began talking about doctrine which invariably led to a discussion of Mary. The husband who helped lead the Charismatic group defended the Catholic church’s theological position on Mary . But things took a bit of change when I …

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Show Me The Easy Money

I once met a couple who won a lottery. They were ordinary people in a small town, and no-one would call them especially good-looking or interesting, they were just the neighbors. Before they won, they worked at jobs, and the cost of living was low in the small town. I think they had children and I’m sure their bills were all paid. After they won, they invested their winnings in expensive horses. They did not invest in each other, but they had to travel to the bank together to take out money, so they still had a relationship. I don’t know how anyone can make money on horses, and by now the money is probably gone. My best advice is, ‘Go back to work, that’s where you were successful.’ A woman in Canada won the lottery, one thousand dollars a week, for life. And guess how she is spending her money? She is not into investments, expensive jewellery, or sports cars. I made that up, but she is not doing what we expect. She decided …

Resistencia, Argentina Credit: Valerio, Pillar/Flickr/Creative Commons

2003 – The Third Heavenly Visitation

Español: 2003 – La Tercera Visita Celestial After having met the angel Preacher in the First Visitation and Conquer in the Second Visitation my expectation was that the Third Visitation would be similar. It was not. It was greater in power and I encountered an angel, or someone of a higher order that changed my destiny. About two weeks after Conquer had visited I was awakened in the night with a power in my room so great that I was immediately startled and started to rebuke this being “In Jesus na……”. I was going to command this one to get out of my room. Mid-sentence I shut my mouth, put my head under the covers and said “I’m sorry, what do you want?” I do not know if this was the Lord or the Angel of the Lord but the immediate response was “I WANT MY ARGENTINIAN REVIVAL TO MOVE NORTH!” I try in situations like this to get out at least one intelligent question and so I said “Why?” The answer was “They have …

Wealth comes to China Credit: Jimmie/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have You Fallen From Your Car?

Recently, a young man in Russia posed for a picture, with him sprawled on the ground. His feet were near the bottom step of a very expensive private jet. This was a joke, pretending to be richer than Solomon, and owning a fabulous private jet. Most of the world would never know about this small joke, except that it went viral and became a meme, in China. Now, China has a fad of ‘falling out of your car.’ Typically, a young woman, in expensive clothes will pose for a picture, sprawled on her face. Around her head will be an arch of expensive things that only rich people have, like high-end phones, make-up, jewellery, and wads of cash. Her feet will be near the open door of a very expensive car, as if she fell while getting out. All the hardware and clothes show that she lives the life of a fabulous movie star. RELATED: China’s ‘flaunt your wealth’ challenge goes viral with people falling out of cars with luxury goods I predict this meme …

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Heavenly Visitations 1 and 2

Español: Visitaciones celestiales 1 y 2 Dr. Sam Matthews, from Shawnee, Oklahoma serves International Christian Leadership Connections (ICLC) as a member of the Apostolic Company. As I mentioned in my previous article, Dr. Sam had spoken this RHEMA word over me, “If you speak in tongues for three hours a day for 30 days you will have three Heavenly Visitations and you will birth your destiny.” I completed the obedience and spoke in tongues for three consecutive hours a day for 30 days and then I waited. I didn’t know what would happen. What is the proper protocol to receive a Heavenly Visitation and what should the responses be? Early in my Christian life I was taught that if a spirit appears to you, you should demand that it says “Jesus is the Lord.” This stems from I Corinthians 12:3 that reads: “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed:’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.’” I had also …

Peter walking on water by Amedee Varin (1818-1883)/Wikipedia

Hello My Name is Peter

Español: Hola mi nombre es Pedro I am six weeks short of age 65. I have never written anything about my experiences. I met Jesus 48 years ago. When I was very young my rather fiery, English war bride Mother would have regular outbursts. All that it took was for one of my friends to call me Pete. She wore hearing aids and there were many different things she didn’t hear, but, she always seemed to hear when I was called Pete. Mother would yell from wherever she was and say “Do not call him that! I named him Peter!!” I always found it odd and a little embarrassing. I was born again when I was 17. I started reading the Bible and I went to my Mother and asked her “Why do you get so upset when people call me Pete?” She explained, from a very deep place inside of her, that I was named Peter, after the Peter in the Bible. It didn’t matter how old I got, teenager, adult, father of my …

Priscilla Shirer: YouTube capture

Don’t be out of step with the Gospel in terms of race

I was recently struck by the words of Priscilla Shirer, 44. She is a black woman, a motivational speaker, TV host, author, preacher and founder of Going Beyond Ministries. Priscilla recently had her first acting role in the Christian movie War Room playing Elizabeth, the wife of Tony Jordan. Chuck Bernal, the pastor of Lifepoint Church, recently shared a video on Facebook of some profound statements Priscilla made about race, politics and the Christian faith. On the video that has been viewed nearly 7.5 million times, Priscilla said: “I do not describe myself as a black woman because that gives too much power to my blackness. “I don’t want my race to be the describing adjective of who I am as a woman. I am not a black woman. I am a Christian woman who happens to be black. “It’s the job of your adjective to describe the noun of who you are. If there’s gonna be an adjective describing me it’s not gonna be my race, it’s going to be I’m a woman who …

Fire near Santee, CA during the 1980s. Credit: Rick Bolin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 5: The Final Occupation

This is about the end of the book that is at the end of the Bible. It’s the last installment in a series of articles on the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible. Revelation is a future description of the end of this age in history. Christians are supposed to read this book, but too many of us are satisfied with a few pictures like 666 (chapter 13 and verse 18) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (chapter 6), and Armageddon, the great final battle (chapter 16 and verse 16). The pictures are interesting, but we are told to read the whole book: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (1:3) We are supposed to make sense of this book, and to understand where we are in history. So, think about something that makes you angry, or someone who has that effect. Now calm down …

A tapestry of David playing a harp by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why I don’t believe Nitzevet was King David’s mother

Español: ¿Por qué no creo que Nitzevet fuera la madre del rey David? My article, King David’s big dark secret, is easily the most controversial article that I have written on opentheword.org. Including my responses, there have been well over 70 comments (English and Spanish) with many disagreeing with the article. It all revolves around a statement, David made in the Psalms: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NASV) The main point of the article is that I suggest when King David said that he was conceived in sin we are to interpret the verse literally. This means David was conceived in an act of sin by  his mother who is unnamed. No where in the Old Testament is David’s mother named. This is curious considering that the mothers of many of the great Biblical characters are named such as Joseph (Genesis 35:24) and Moses (Exodus 6:20). Now many Christians have interpreted this verse as simply suggesting that David was saying we are all born …

Joseph interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh by Adrien Guignet (1816-1854): Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does forgiving forget?

I remember years ago, I was selling advertising for a small newspaper. I was walking down the street to a particular business, when a memory of something that had happened years earlier flooded my mind. It was video replay of the incident. Something I saw or heard on that street triggered that memory.  I had about four or five memories that routinely plagued me. I would do something and suddenly there would a flashback of something negative that happened to me years earlier. There were about four or five memories that continually plagued me. But this time I did something different. As I walked down the street I asked God why I was having these memory flashbacks and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me it was happening because I hadn’t forgiven the people involved in the incident. I had thousands of things happen to me as I was growing up and I would not be able to remember them if you paid me, but there were about four or five memories that I …

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations

Over the years my friend Linda and I have walked and prayed around and through the park that is planted in the center of our city. Yesterday, we sat and prayed at one of our favorite spots. The leaves were just starting to turn color and fall to the ground. And we were drawn to the passage in the Book of Revelation: 2 … On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2 NIV) We contemplated the meaning of this verse as we have many times over the years. And like many scholars have noted, the interpretation can be unclear concerning this day and age. Many times this scripture would surface as we prayed for our nation. With the leaves falling all around, we began to pray once again that the leaves of the tree (Christ the tree of life) and we His people (the leaves) would receive …

The brothers show their father Jacob the blood soaked clothes of his favourite son Joseph saying he had been killed by a wild animal. Credit: Domenico Fiasella (1589-1669)/Wikipedia

Is an unbroken pattern a sign of unforgiveness?

Several years back while teaching a Bible School class, I told the students that many young people rashly state that they will not be like their parents. The spontaneous laughter that erupted was evidence that many — if they hadn’t already said it — were thinking it. The class took a more sober turn when I added that often people who make these statements are doomed to repeat the error of their parents. It’s not that this phrase has some magical properties that force the errors of one generation onto the next, rather, it is a principle of God’s word. In Mathew 7:1-5, Jesus condemns judging saying that if we see a sliver in our brother’s eye, it indicates there is a log in ours. Jesus calls anyone who judges a hypocrite because they suffer from exactly the same problem. When we judge our parents, it is a subtle indicator that we have exactly the same issues. But judging can also speak of unresolved issues between a child and parent. More importantly, it may also …

Storm near Garden City, Kansas, US Credit: Dave Sills/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 1: The Boring Part

Is it possible for people call themselves Christians to fail? Can we be wrong? That’s not a serious question, and the answer is yes. The famous Pentecostal television preacher Jim Bakker went to prison. RELATED: Jim Bakker And the Roman Catholic Church is trying to recover from the scandal of sex abuse by priests. RELATED: Child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church: What you need to know Sometimes we fail, and our failure has two sides; if we do something wrong, we are prevented from doing good things. Damage control to recover from our failures doesn’t leave room for all the good that we should be doing in this world. I think that is a good starting point to understand the Apocalypse. Everyone should read the book of Revelation. In the Christian Bible, it’s the last book, and one that we often talk about. What we seldom do is read the whole book. For me, that is the best starting point to understand the last book in the Bible. “Revelation” gives us images like the …

Peter's denial of Christ by Nikolaas Verkolje (1673-1746) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Be vigilant and guard your mind against attacks of condemnation

I remember my dad sharing a story from World War II. He worked as a scout for an artillery unit and they had bedded down for the night. They had pulled back from the front line, so were expecting a peaceful night. When they woke the next morning every one of the several men who had been posted to guard the camp during the night was gone. There were no bodies, they had just disappeared. It is suspected that a Nazi commando unit had snuck up on the camp during the night, silently killed the guards and then dragged their bodies away. The sentries were never seen again. He said the fact they disappeared unnerved his unit more than if the Nazis had killed them and left their bodies behind. It is the nature of warfare. A person must never let their guard down and it is no different in spiritual warfare. Peter understood spiritual warfare and he gained that knowledge first hand through his own personal failure. And he used that experience to warn …

The main mound of the ancient city of Nineveh on the Plains of Nineveh Credit: fredarch/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The power of forgiveness

When the Islamic extremist group ISIS invaded the Nineveh Plains in North Eastern Iraq over four years ago, the 140,000 Assyrian Christians living there were given three choices convert to Islam, die or flee. The Nineveh Plains are home to the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the city that the prophet Jonah called to repentance. Christians have inhabited this area for 2,000 years and many speak modern Aramaic, a version of the language that many believe Jesus spoke. Tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians fled into neighboring countries where they lived for years as ISIS ravaged their homeland. The Islamic extremists were determined to wipe out any evidence of the Christian faith on the Nineveh plain. ISIS leveled an estimated 13,000 homes of Christians, destroyed 263 Christian churches and obliterated Christian monuments including the tomb of Jonah. Christian cemeteries were also destroyed and purposefully desecrated. ISIS was determined to wipe out the memory of the Christians who had lived on this plain for the past 2,000 years.  But with ISIS routed, four years later Christians are …

Wine at Saint-Laurent-d'Agny, Rhone-Alpes, France Credit: mll/Flickr/Creative Commons

Be not drunk with wine, but instead be drunk in the Spirit?

When the Holy Spirit fell upon the Toronto Airport Vineyard church in 1994, people at the church my wife and I were attending went to Toronto to see first hand what was going on. They returned with a deposit of the Holy Spirit and God began to move in a profound way in our church similar to what was happening in Toronto. It was an usual time. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, people manifested all sorts of strange behavior. There were fits of uncontrollable laughter and crying. People were being slain in the spirit and falling to the ground. Others were experiencing travailing in the spirit and literally groaning when they felt birth pangs as the Holy Spirit prayed through them (Romans 8:26). I experienced that myself and physically felt contractions inside me. Sometimes they came so rapidly and intensely that I couldn’t stand. During this time one of the strangest things that happened is that every time I watched the Sound of Music, the true story of the Von Trapp’s family escape …

A church on the island of Barra that is part of the Outer Hebrides located off the coast of Scotland. Credit: A J/Flickr/Creative Commons

The first Christian?

Though the term Christian is used today to describe those who believe in Jesus, it was never a term used by believers in the early church to describe themselves. According to Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, the disciples of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26), which today is located in modern Turkey. With a population back then of a half a million people, it is often considered the “cradle of Christianity.” Emboldened by the martyrdom of Stephen, the Jews began to aggressively persecute the followers of Christ. The disciples fled Jerusalem and a number went to Antioch and began preaching that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah both to the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 11: 19-20). Luke made an unusual statement, “a large number who believed turned to the Lord,” (Acts 11:21) which seems to imply that thought many believed Jesus was the Messiah, not all became disciples. Though the term Christian (Greek Christianos) was first used in Antioch, the term is only found in two other verses (Acts 26:28, …

Snowy night on Brixton High Street in London, England Credit: A bloke called Jerm/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are you a chronic complainer?

Español: ¿Eres un quejambroso/a crónico/a? We have all heard the phrases “chronic complainer” or “Debbie Downer” used for people who always complain. If it’s sunny, it is too hot outside. If it’s snowing, it’s too cold. If their favorite team wins, it could have played better. They always see the negative and can find something to complain about in everything they do. And these people almost get a sense of fulfillment when their complaints have some legitimacy to them. Well, according to one neuro-scientist, there is a reason “chronic complainers” act the way they do. Canadian Psychologist Norman Dodge says the brain has a unique pliability to it that he compares to Play-Doh. Its official psychological term is “neuroplasticity.” This means if we practice a certain way of thinking long enough, it creates a loop in our brain that entrenches this pattern into our mind. It becomes a rut in the road that we easily fall into as we drive down the highway of life. It becomes a pattern or way of thinking that taints all …

The Dead Leaf butterfly with its colorful wing display that perfectly mimics a dead leaf when closed. Credit: Left image Public Domain/Right image quartl/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Transformed!

I remember as a boy living in Shellbrook, a small Saskatchewan town, walking down the main street when a butterfly fluttered in front of me. Almost instantly it was set upon by a sparrow. What followed was an aero-acrobatic display. Though the sparrow was clearly faster, the butterfly was incredibly elusive. It swooped up and down to avoid captures. Sharp turns left, then right. Darting in every direction as the bird repeatedly dove in to catch it. And the sparrow was always a second too late, biting at air as the butterfly made another erratic move with a brain barely as large as a dot on an “i.” Then just as suddenly as it started, it was over. The bird broke off its unsuccessful chase and landed at the top of the one-story building I was walking by. I could see its beak open, as it breathed heavily trying to catch its breath. The butterfly continued its flight as if nothing had happened. It is interesting display because the butterfly has two sets of wings. …

Fog in Tronheim, Norway Credit: Ksenia Novikova/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why does God test us?

One re-occurring theme in the Bible is that from time to time God tests believers.  Tests have some similarity with trials, but differ in one important respect. Tests are initiated by God, while trials are not. Trials are simply blatant attacks against Christians. But as we will see in the life of Peter, some tests can have a demonic origin. So why does God test us? Paul writes: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV) There are three key words in this verse: approved, entrusted and tests and they are all connected.  God wants to entrust us with more responsibility, but He needs to know how we are going to respond. So God tests our hearts, often through difficult situations, to see how we respond. Are we going to give up? Are we going to back away when the going gets tough? A life of faith is a struggle. …

Building a nest. Credit: Jill Bazeley/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it’s time to stop praying and start doing

In his letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul told the church to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He encouraged us to be perpetually in a spirit of prayer. But did you know there are also times when God wants us to stop praying and start moving. Shortly after Pharaoh let Israel leave Egypt, he hardened his heart one more time and sent his army to bring the Jews back into captivity. When Moses heard reports the Egyptian army was in pursuit, he cried out to God for deliverance. It is what every sane Christian should do in times of distress. But suddenly God commands Moses to stop praying and start moving: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:15 NASV) There comes a time when God wants us to quit praying and start doing. Prayer is absolutely vital for Christians, but sometimes prayer becomes an excuse not to do it. Sometimes prayer is just another way to procrastinate, …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Vancouver sunrise Credit: Ted McGrath/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and Prophets Part 3: The Apostolic Explosion

[by Keith Hazell] This is the third in a series on the Apostolic Ministry, a ministry being restored today for building the Kingdom of God. In this article, Keith Hazell deals with problems that hinder apostolic team ministry. Click here and here for the previous articles. “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.  (Acts 15:37-41 NIV) While this passage is not about Apostles and Prophets it does help to illustrate that relationships between senior members are not always smooth and harmonious. Paul seemed to have a knack for problems with other leaders and we have to confess that they were real problems and that …

Mural on the ceiling of Santa Prassede Church, Rome Credit: Jean Louis Mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and prophets Part 2: Working together in teams

[by Keith Hazell] When I was a young man of 18 and living in England I received a letter in the name of the Queen of England telling me to report for two years of service in the British Military. This was an irresistible request, backed up by the full power of the state. From some points of view this was the worst two years of my life, yet on reflection I learned many lessons in that two years that have stood me well in my life and ministry. We were verbally and sometimes, physically assaulted by drill sergeants who spent their time making us learn how to follow instructions so that we would know how to move together and not simply to respond to our own instincts. One particularly windy day as we marched across the square in the face of a strong wind, our sergeant who was way behind gave an order. Due to the wind, this order was lost to all but those nearest to him and we landed up going in …

Credit: Orlando Castro/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘set times’ of refreshing?

CBN is reporting on a revival that has broken out in Greeneville, Tennessee, a small town in the Northern part of the state with a population of just over 15,000 people. It started on April 15, 2018 at the Greystone Freewill Baptist church. The church had invited Evangelist D.R. Harrison to speak at a week-long revival meeting. By the third week, it was standing room only at the church. The pastor was becoming concerned because more people were wanting to attend than there was room in the church. As they were praying for direction, a North Carolina man stepped forward donating a large 80 foot by 140 foot tent that could seat up to 1,500 people. With this extra room the revival has continued unabated for three months with people attending from several states and a variety of denomination backgrounds. In an interview with CBN, Harrison reported that not only is God moving in power restoring lives and marriages, but people are also getting saved with over 230 people accepting Christ so far during the …

Credit: Sasha Tamarin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Martha Meltdown Moment Part 2: Broken Glass

This is my meltdown moment. In the 80s and early 90s I worked in the private security sector. My goal was to be hired with the city police, and I had taken a number of policing/security courses to that end. Being a cop was my dream, not God’s, or my wife’s. I did not hear God say “yes” or “no” to my dream, but He let me scratch my itch for a time. But in December 1990 everything changed. I was working as a loss prevention officer in a large department store. It was a busy Saturday two weeks before Christmas. I watched a tall male pick up a Nintendo unit, put it under his arm and walk out of the store into the attached mall. I started after him, he saw me coming, and dropped the game. I stepped over the Nintendo, still chasing him, and seeing me follow him, he ran full speed out of the back door of the mall. I was starting to catch up to him as he ran out …

Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

What does it mean God is enthroned in (or inhabits) our praises?

It is a question I have wondered about for years. Does God really need our worship? Or is it that we need to worship God, meaning it’s for our benefit? I think it is the latter and there is a verse that provides a hint to why we need to worship God. The Psalmist writes: Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 NASV) This verse tells us that God is enthroned in our praises. Other translations state that God “inhabits” the praise of His people. The Hebrew word “ysb” translated “enthroned” by the New American Standard Bible means to sit and remain sitting, to inhabit and to dwell. It implies the idea of ownership and control. We see the word used as Abraham and Lot dwelt (ysb) in the land (Genesis 13:6, 7, 12) and because of their growing size they were in conflict because both were trying to inhabit and control the same land and there was only room for one. But “ysb” also means …

Did God give a prophetic vision to guide Tua Tagovailoa?

People describe Alabama Crimson Tide’s comeback victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Football Championship on January 8, 2018 as nothing short of miraculous. Alabama was losing 13-0 at halftime and the coach pulled the team’s starting QB and threw in rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, 19, who led the team to an overtime 26-23 victory. After the huge win, Tagovailoa, a Spirit-filled Christian, ran into the crowd to pray with his family and when asked in interviews after the game how he remained so calm in the NCAA’s biggest game of the year, Tagovailoa said he spoke in tongues. But now more is coming out about how the gifts of the Holy Spirit played an even bigger role in a game watched by 28.4 million people. Tagovailoa played high school football in Ewa Beach, Hawaii where he attended Message of Peace church pastored by his uncle and aunt, Tuli and Sai Amosa. While waiting offers to play college football, Tua’s mother Diane shared a prophetic word that Tagovailoa received about Tua’s future. But it …

Rusty car in Bodie, California Credit: Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Martha Meltdown Moment Part 1: Rusty Dreams

Trusting God at times can be a real challenge, especially when your dreams seem to have turned to rust.   We all go through dark times when we must verbalize two things: God is Lord, and He is good. I will trust Him even when I don’t understand and it seems too late – the rust is too far gone! Psalm 42:10 says, “My enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” During these dark times the enemy loves to use people to taunt us, questioning, “If God really loves you He would not have allowed these things to happen. Where is God?” To answer, we can leave the Bible open to the book of Job. God is God, and He is good! If my dreams seem to have turned to rust, and I picture the word “rust”, and bring the cross into the picture, right at the beginning, we now have the word, “trust.” It’s always about trust. We walk by faith, full stop. Ask yourself, “Is this …