All posts filed under: Teaching

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 …

Redcliffe City Church worship service at the beach Credit: Leonard J Matthews/Flickr/Creative Commons

Restoring the Tabernacle of David worship in the Church

I have written articles in the past about the Tabernacle that David set up in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 16:17). This tabernacle or tent existed for less than 40 years and was taken down shortly after the Ark of the covenant was transferred from David’s tabernacle to Solomon’s temple. 31 Now these are those whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark rested there. 32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem; and they [a]served in their office according to their order. (1 Chronicles 6: 31-32 NASV) It needs to be pointed out that God did not want David or his son to build a temple, God preferred to stay in the Tabernacle of David. But because of its brief existence, it seems that David’s Tabernacle played a minor role in Israel’s religious life. But that isn’t true. The Book of Psalms, one of the most …

Calling of the Apostles by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448 - 1494) Credit: Perledarte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and prophets Part I: Five or three

[by Keith Hazell] Some of us have lived through days of exciting change in the Body of Christ.  We have seen God bringing the Church into her own; equipping her in ways that had not been seen for many years in the past. In particular God has been giving us the opportunity to see the resurgence of men and women who carry the Ministry of the Apostle and the Prophet in their lives. Many have had to pioneer the modeling of these ministries without themselves having good role models to follow. In my lifetime I have seen the return and recognition of both the Apostle and the Prophet by New Testament Churches; although it has not come without much confusion and controversy. In 1948 God began to bring a revelation to the church in North America through the Latter Rain Revival which broke out in North Battleford in Northern Canada. The principles released in those days to the Church were to reverberate around the earth and to be catalyst for the release of these ministries …

Credit: Ben Freeman/Flickr/Creative Commons

If you want to know God’s will, start moving

Many of us can struggle trying to decide what God wants us to do. It is clear from Scripture that God has a purpose for each of us. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote: 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NASV) God has a plan for each of us. He has a future destiny laid out for you. But knowing God’s purpose for our lives can be a struggle and many times we find ourselves sitting and doing nothing waiting for a messenger from heaven to hand deliver our instructions. I think that is a mistake. If you want to know God’s will for your life, get out of your chair and start moving. This is exactly the advice that King Solomon gave: The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASV) We are told that we can make our plans, but God directs our …

Credit: arbyreed/Flickr/Creative Commons

Just Don’t Drink the Poison

“We teach people how to treat us.” (Dr Phil) Toxic people are everywhere, and one of them will find you if you give them a chance. They range from overbearing parents or others in the family who know how we should live our lives, to addicts and alcoholics, and sometimes to violent abusers. You might have heard words like this “You make me like this, it’s your fault.” or “I drink because of you.” or “I only lose my temper when you …” RELATED: Cut toxic people out of your life says Christian psychiatrist: Christian Today In my extended family, I have a cousin who came under the control of an abusive man. She tells this story in churches, and this is my summary. As a young woman, I think a teenager, she met an older man and then moved in with him. They never did marry and she was a Christian. After some time, she realized that the man was controlling and abusive, and she needed to get out. One day they had a …

Credit: Anna Ghislaine/Flickr/Creative Commons

A ‘light’ does not judge

Some of you may be familiar with Jordan Peterson. He is a Canadian psychologist from the University of Toronto who has become famous in recent months for being a voice of reason in a world careening towards Marxism, totalitarianism and political correctness. In his many lectures available on YouTube, he made this curious statement that has stuck with me. When people look at Nazi Germany, we want to judge the Germans for falling under the spell of the megalomaniac Adolf Hitler and his utter hatred for the Jews. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that we are different and would never have been taken in by Hitler’s lies. Peterson disagrees. He says that if we had grown up in Germany when Hitler was coming to power, we (meaning you and I) would have become Nazis and embraced antisemitism just like the Germans did. Certainly, there were a handful of people in Germany, like Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who opposed Hitler and died because of it. We can try to convince ourselves we would have been Bonhoeffer, but …

The 12 Apostles is a collection of 12 limestone stacks jutting out of the ocean on the southern coast of Australia Credit: Pablo Fernandez/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ministry of an Apostle — Part 2

[by David Wells] In the first section of this teaching on the ministry of the Apostle, I taught on the need for church structure to return to the pattern described in the New Testament, including the restoration and full functioning of the apostolic ministry. I examined the purposes, foundational nature and vital necessity of apostolic ministry in church life, as well as the different realms of apostleship and the qualifications of apostles. In this section, we will explore the role and function of apostles more fully, as well as address questions concerning the nature of apostolic authority, with an understanding of the interdependent cooperation between apostles and churches. Function of an Apostle An apostle is one who takes the gospel to unreached areas: “And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man’s foundation”. (Romans 15:20) A true apostle is a traveler not a settler. In Scripture, we see that apostles traveled and planted churches. A sense of timing is important, and we …

St Bartholomew's Church in Berchtesgadener Land, in Bavaria, Germany. As one of the 12 Apostles, Bartholomew is considered the Apostle to Germany as it is believed he was the first to bring the gospel to that country. Credit: Nuno Vilela/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ministry of the Apostle — Part 1

[by Dave Wells] The days in which we are living are not normal times. We are beginning to move into a season of the greatest outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit and the greatest harvest of souls in all of Christian history. The beginning of the last century was characterized by great moves of God. This century will be the same. In light of this, the church of Jesus Christ cannot just continue with “business as usual”. If our church structure does not conform to a New Testament model, we will be blown out of the water by what is coming. “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Acts 3:19-21) We have experienced times of refreshing that have …

Credit: Tamara Leaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unlocking your future

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote: 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:19 NIV) It is a powerful verse when we understand that we are God’s handiwork, literally God’s work of art. But the kicker here is that there are things, good works, that God has prepared and called you to do. The tense of the Greek word prepared (proetoimasen) means that the decision about what God wants you to do was made long before (well in advance of)  your salvation. God has a long-term plan for your life. When you look in the Old Testament, you see examples of this. The prophet Isaiah understood that God had called him to a prophetic ministry while Isaiah was still in the womb: Listen to me, you islands;     hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me;     from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. 2 He made my mouth like a …

Credit: EBCanon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your Money and the Church – Part 3

Here is one of the best secrets for managing your generosity and giving of money: Don’t. If you spend any time among religious people, you will be asked for money. When I go to church on Sunday, there is always an offering, a time when all other business stops and the ushers collect money from us. I have lived with this all my life and I have an acquired immunity, but some people who come with me are offended and disoriented. What will God think about them if they don’t give enough? So, don’t give. The exercise will be good for you. Yesterday I was walking in the mall. It’s not really my place but I had a meeting with someone. At an intersection in the walkways, I saw a display booth with two young women looking hopeful. They represented one of those Christian charities that sponsor children and they were looking for sponsors. I won’t name the organization, but there are several and they do very good work. What bothered me was all the …

Freshwind Band at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March 2008 where the Toronto Revival broke out. Source: andrewgazaneo artwork by Sarah M Gazeno/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s mom Pattie Mallette ‘Travailing in the Spirit’?

Pattie Mallette may not be a familiar name to most of us, but her pop star son, Justin Bieber, is a household name in many parts of the world. In earlier articles, I have written about the remarkable spiritual transformation taking place in Justin’s life. Dale Hurd writing for Christ for All Nations tells the story about Pattie’s spiritual journey. Incredibly, it started at the Toronto revival, also called the Toronto Blessing, that broke out in a Vineyard Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 1994. The church originally called Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has since been renamed Catch the Fire Toronto and is pastored by John and Carol Arnott. Pattie shared her journey to faith at the 2018 Light the Fire Again conference held at the same building, the Attwell Center, where the Toronto revival broke out. In the early 1990s, Pattie became a Christian in a hospital room shortly after a failed suicide attempt. She was led to the Lord and mentored by a couple who attended the Vineyard church where the revival …

Credit: Andrei Niemimäki/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t fear your mistakes

Several years back I was working on a small newspaper. We had just sent our most recent issue to the printer and the finished product had just arrived and someone brought a copy to my office. The typo on the front page was the first thing I saw when it landed on my desk. I don’t know how many times we had proofed that issue, but a mistake had somehow slipped through. And there it was glaring at me. Though it was years back I still remember the distinctive purple color that accentuated this particular cover. The last place you want to see a mistake is on the cover. After looking at it for several minutes, those feelings that had haunted me for years started welling up inside me. I needed to punish myself and say how stupid I was for allowing this mistake to happen. I didn’t think these thoughts, I said them out loud. Typically I yelled at myself how stupid I was when these type of things happened. I wanted to take …

The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) Credit: Wikipedia

Are Apostles for today?

We have leaders today who refer to themselves as Apostles. Some even add the term as part of their title. It was part of the five key ministries that Paul listed as necessary for building the church: 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (Ephesians 4:11-12 NASV) Traditionally non charismatic churches or cessationists have opposed the usage of ministries such as apostles and prophets and even spiritual gifts. Also called dispensationalism, those holding this view believed these ministries and spiritual gifts were for another dispensation, and not for today. It has always been a bit puzzling why ministries such as prophets and apostles were rejected while pastors, teachers and evangelists were embraced even though the five are listed together. However, that all changed with the Revival that took place in North Battleford, Saskatchewan Canada in 1948 where they rejected dispensationalism and restored …