Category Archives: The Church

Prayer and Missions Movement Conference

One of our local Houses of Prayer in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, called the Prayer room will be hosting a conference the weekend of January 18-19 on the prayer and missions movement.  There appears to be a convergence of the movements that God appears to be orchestrating.  The two appear to be rising together and supporting each other.  The guest for the conference will be  Dwayne Roberts who started years ago in misssions across Europe with YWAM and became concerned about the lack of power in their efforts.  For the last several years he has served in leadership at IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City.  He will soon be moving to Brazil to begin a Houes of Prayer there.  This conference is free but seating is limited.  If you have any interest in missions and prayer go to the website and check it out.

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Filed under Missions, Prayer, The Church

What Should a Christian Gathering Look Like? What is the Church- Continued

I’m still exploring what it is to be the church.  At this time, I am not attending a formal gathering.  I’m really not comfortable with that, but that is the direction the Lord has led me.  I still give.  I certainly consider myself part of the church.

It’s not that I don’t gather with believers.  I do.  I do not nor never have believed in “lone ranger” Christianity.  Currently I meet with other believers a couple of times a week for periods of extended worship, prayer, and listening to God.

It’s not a formal gathering.  There is no preacher.  There is no formal teaching.  People do step out in a number of ways according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Is this the church?  I believe it is.

Now there will be many that will challenge this because we don’t do an hour-long teaching when we gather.  Frankly in the case of those I am gathering with,  we are all mature Christians who spend a great deal of time studying and reading the scriptures ourselves.

Even though it’s not a one stop shop, I do consider this a gathering of “the church.”  I’m still getting comfortable with this idea because I’ve always been a part of the “one stop shop” type of gatherings before.

The interesting thing is that even though we have no “formal” teachings, our informal discussions about what the Lord is showing us in scriptures is far more lively and for me life changing than what I get from “sermons.”

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Filed under community, Relationship, The Believer, The Church

Oral Roberts – Man of Faith

I was saddened today to hear about the passing of Oral Roberts.  He was a leader in the healing movement in the 1950s.  I know a lot of people don’t respect him, but I do.

I disagreed with some of his theology, but I rarely saw Jesus commending people for “good theology.”  He made mistakes.  He wasn’t perfect.  But I am convinced that he loved God and he preached Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus did commend people for – their Faith.  He commended people who were outside the covenant of Israel because of their great faith – with the promise they would be ones who would sit at the table with Abraham.

Oral Roberts was a man of faith.  He would lay hands on the sick and believe God for their healing.  Did they all get healed – No.  Did most receive healing- probably not.  But many did get healed.   Many also came to faith in Christ through his ministry.   So when all the negative stuff starts being said about Oral Roberts, count me out.  It is said in Hebrews that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.

Even in his old age,  his faith seemed vibrant and alive.  He also seemed to me to be humble but confident in God.  I can still hear him saying as he always seemed to whenever I saw him in an interview or something,  “Have Faith in God.”

On a more personal level, early in my Christian walk, I remember God taking me back through some things I needed to repent of.  One of the things specifically was the way I had talked about Oral Roberts before I came to Christ.  I was very negative about him, and I made it known.  I felt convicted that I needed to make this right.  So I sent him a letter, told him what I had done,  and asked his forgiveness.

I received a personal response back.  It wasn’t a form letter.  It specifically mentioned things that I had put in the letter.  He assured me of the Lord’s forgiveness, of his own forgiveness and thanked me for writing to him.  Then he put in a blessing.  He didn’t have to do that.  He didn’t need to respond to me personally.  I was never put on a mailing list and never asked for money.  I honor him for that and for the humility with which he responded to me, a young man in the Lord.

I don’t know his heart at the end, but I believe he finished well, and I suspect that he will receive a “well done” from the Master.

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Filed under Leaders, The Church

Signs of God – or Deception

There is a lot being said in Charismatic circles about some signs that people are taking as proof of God’s presence.  Some of these “signs” include:

  • orbs
  • angelic feathers
  • jewels
  • gold dust
  • oil on hands or other body parts

These signs” are disturbing .  We know the enemy is capable of supernatural acts.  I’ve heard people suggest these can’t be the enemy because the worship was so great.

When these “signs” appear what is the result.  I’ll tell you what the result is, people start getting distracted with them.  It takes the eyes off of Jesus and these “events” or “activities.”

What do they accomplish then?  Every supernatural act of Jesus had  a reason and a purpose beyond being a “sign.”  A person was healed.  Blind men were made to see.  The Deaf heard.  The multitudes were fed.  The dead were returned to life.

I am not opposed to the supernatural of God.  I am pentecostal/charismatic in my beliefs.  I long to see the true acts of Jesus – the deaf hearing, the blind seeing, the lame walking, people being healed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.   I have laid hands on the sick and seen God heal them.  I’ve prayed for changes in weather and God has done it when there was a real need.  When feeding groups of homeless people, I’m pretty sure that God has multiplied the food.  I believe in the real and supernatural power of God.

There is no record of  orbs, gold dust, angelic feathers or jewels from heaven during the ministry of Jesus or the Apostles.

When I’ve challenged some on this:  Their response is Jesus said “and greater things will you do.”  Really!  Jewels which have no value,  gold dust, oil on hands and angelic feathers are greater than raising the dead, healing the sick, opening blind eyes, feeding the hungry, making the deaf to hear and casting out demons?

I am convinced that these so-called “signs” are deceptions from the enemy to get us off track.    I don’t believe the Holy Spirit is interested in indulging us in trivialities.

For those that think these things can’t happen when the Holy Spirit is present.  I would remind you of the parable of the wheat and the tares.  According to this parable often the evil and false ends up planted beside the true and real.

I would ask you to search the scriptures.  I would ask you to ask the Lord and see what he says.

I also want to address those that are into the idea of  “toking” the Holy Spirit.  That is very close to blasphemy.  It is a substantial stretch from being “filled with the Spirit.”   The Holy Spirit is not your personal party pal.  He is the most High God and deserving of the respect, love, and obedience of the Father and Jesus.   I see this movement as nothing more than trivializing the  Spirit of the Most High God.  I am convinced that when he sees the excess being done in his name,  he is grieved.

I am beyond caring if people like what I have to say on these issues. I don’t intend to be intentionally offensive, but I intend to speak out on these issues.  I don’t care who does or doesn’t agree or like me.  If you are going to challenge me – fine – but do it with scripture.  Not your opinions.

When they came to Jesus looking for a sign, he said an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.  Jesus didn’t do signs to show off.  He did them to change lives.

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Skype – the Internet – The Church

A friend of mine, Willie Butler, was once part of a worship team called FACE DOWN.  Frankly up until a week ago, I didn’t know about this part of his past.

Well, the group had broken up several years ago as all of the team members went on to their various ministries that God had called them to.

The group decided to get together for a night of worship at the Church they had all attended as kids and young men, First Baptist Church in Flower Mound, Texas.  All but one were in the area and it seemed a good time to get together.

One member is now a church planting missionary in Poland.   He obviously couldn’t make it -0r did he.  They set up a camera in the sanctuary so he could see what was going on and they set up a skype connection.  It was so immediate.  He got to say hi to his mom and dad who were attending and they had the opportunity to tell him how proud they were of him.  He talked about what they were doing and their prayer requests.  He also took questions from people.

It was really awesome.  I’m wondering what this could mean for the future of the Church when you can use an internet technology like Skype.  Could it mean that technology like this could be used for pastor’s conferences in third world nations?  Would that be a good thing?  Or would it lead to even more relationship problems.

I was amazed at the technology.  What could it be used for?  What are the possibilities?  What are the risks?

In places that are remote and we want to build schools but maybe we don’t have teachers there, can we use technology like this to bring teachers into the classroom?  I don’t know.    But it’s worth thinking about and questioning.

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Filed under Missional, technology, The Church

What is the Church?

I’ve been doing a lot more thinking about the church and what it is.  I’ve been a part of mega churches.  I’ve been part of house churches.  I’m just not interested in the model or form anymore.  Now my question is – are we making disciples?  Are people experiencing life together, helping one another,  and loving one another?  Do we get together and talk about the things the Lord is doing in our lives?  Do we share struggles and ask for help.  Do we really offer help?

I’ve been struck lately in John’s Gospel with the fact that Jesus goes on quite a bit about if you love me, keep my commandments… but the ONE commandment he mentions keeping is that “you love one another as I have loved you.”  He didn’t use it to talk about “the sin issues” we often get caught up in (Not saying those aren’t important by the way.) But he emphasized loving one another.

So now I’m on a journey to explore more of this.  I’m not interested in models.  I’m not interested in movements.

How do we love each other?   Correction: How do I love my brothers and sisters?  So God has me looking at ways and stepping out in ways to help my brothers and sisters.  For me,  a lot of time, it’s practical /financial.

I’m trying to help meet real needs and relieve some stress for brothers and sisters who’ve suffered loss in this recession.

I’m also working on other areas of my relationships.  I have a number of friends that I meet at various times but still on a regular basis.  There are no “leaders” but there is real ministry.  There is real transparency.   There is real relationship and love.  I think this is more the church than anything.

I hope that when I leave this Earth, Jesus will say well done.  So to answer the question,  I believe the Church is a group of believers connected to one another in love.  I don’t think it has to do with Pastors, or Elders.  Those are important, but the Church can exist if they’re not present.  But the Church does not exist without real love and real relationships.

Meanwhile,  remember one of Jesus’ last commands to his disciples.  “Love One Another.”

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What The Church Is Not

I’ve been exploring the idea of church lately.  What is it?  What is it not?  There are some things that I am sure the church is not.  I am tired of seeing the purposes of God being hindered because the church is being used by men to be what God never intended it to  be.

  • The Church is not a building so quit putting most of your resources in it.
  • The Church is not a corporation and the Pastor is not the CEO.
  • The Church is not an institution.  Church traditions don’t mean anything unless they are solidly founded in the scriptures.
  • The Church is not the Pastor’s vehicle to get people involved in “his vision.”  You mega church pastors who think this,  repent.  You house church pastors who think this and want to use the people in your church to become a bigger church…repent.
  • The Church is not an arm of the State and should not be engaged in promoting  nationalistic agendas
  • The Church is not an arm of any political party and should not be endorsing,  openly or under the table any political candidate.
  • The Church isn’t the property of the leadership.  Leadership does not own God’s people.
  • The Church is not a shopping mall for Spiritual services. 

I know some who read this will think I’m being hard on Pastors and leadership.  It’s true, I am.  I don’t think they necessarily started thinking about the church they lead in these ways, but it appears in the Western Church that’s where they end up.

They will stand before God and answer for good or ill about how they shepherd the people that God has brought into the congregation.

What do you think?

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