Church

Havest crusades Ana The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laure made history Sunday night, breaking the 4 million mark of persons reached, with 329,572 making a decision for Christ. A 126,000 people filled Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calf., last weekend with thousands more turned away at the gate. More than 4,500 people made decisions for Christ on Sunday, bringing the total number of professions over the three nights to 11,969, that’s 11,969 salvations in 3 days.

And over the last two decades 4,014,968 people have attended the crusades with 329,572 with decisions for Christ on this 20th anniversary weekend of them.

Greg Laure whom is one of my favorites pastors, I have known Greg for nearly 30 years, we go back to my/our days as Calvary Chapel. I set under his teaching for 10 years there, he is so gifted by God, endowed with the gift’s of both preaching and evangelism, I learned much from him. He has such great love and passion for Jesus, for the body of Christ and the lost, a true man of God.

In this day where it has become taboo to preach the gospel, teach the word of God and use words like sin, Hell and repentance. He unashamedly preaches the word of God as it is written, tells people they are lost in their sin and need The only Savor Christ Jesus and they must repent from their sins. And the result is 11,696 decisions for Christ in three days alone, proving the power of the gospel and the word of God.

He is the one model of a pastor – evangelist that everyone whom has such a call should learn from, imitate. Greg’s tag line should be theirs, “I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus, and He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” And Go and do likewise!

Read about the Anaheim crusade here.

internetchurch2 I read an article yesterday on internet church that was encouraging the use of internet church over attending a real body of believers. That pastors should build a following of Christian who make the online church their church.

This I must say I am greatly opposed to this, not a church putting their church services online, making the sermon mp3’s available for free. But encouraging people to just go to online church instead of being part of a body, telling pastors to encourage the use of the on line church over being part of the body of Christ, that I am very much against, and so is the word of God.

This is what the scriptures say about being part of a body or not:
Heb 10:25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Being in community is central to Christian identity and the purpose and function of the church, the body of Christ. And Community is central to the mission of the church. with out it the church ceases to exist as it was intended to be.

Online church can be useful to Christians for when they are home sick, or with a sick child. Great to let Christians experience another gathering of the body in other cities and countries. For those uses it is Good. But unfortunately the side effect is we have people getting lazy, and disconnected from the body, by slowly getting addicted to the online church, and just skipping the body altogether and just using the internet church. And that is very Bad.

It can be used as a tool to allow non-followers of Christ to view church, witness the Holy Spirit at work, hear the word of God preached. That is Good! If it is done as a outreach, that is to reach the lost, to draw them to Christ, the gospel, then get them into the body of Christ. That is very Good. But to leave them there, say let this be your church. But to promote it to be someone’s church, for it to replace being physically part of a church body as a way of life. That is very Bad!

My suggestion is STOP promoting internet church as church, promote it only as a tool of evangelism, it should lead, funnel people to become part of the body, to actual GO to the church gathering, not stay on the internet as “your Church”, but to become part of a live fellowship.

Detour Coffee Detours Coffee Shop one of Denver’s newest coffee shops is hoping to change their community by the way they do business. How, by giving away their coffee for Free. That’s right a coffee shop with FREE COFFEE. Once their sandwich and other goods became profitable enough to support the business they began to give away the coffee.

“At Detours It is our number one goal to create community and be active in the community we are apart of. We decided that when we began making a profit we would give something back by giving all our coffee away for free. There is a catch however. We ask that in return for never paying for coffee at Detours you would take the resources and do something for someone else. The average American spends over a thousand dollars on coffee a year. What would happen if we all took that money and spent it on others. Come by for a free cup of coffee today, and pay it forward to someone else.”
 
They say the average coffee drinker spends roughly $1,000 a year on their caffeine fix. If they can have that kind of impact, they believe it’ll make a positive impact. What there starving for is that the people will drink the free coffee and in turn use that money to help others, also do something charitable for others in return. Leading by example is what they are trying to do.

"Hopefully when you walk out the door, this sticks with you and you go above and beyond what you normally do for somebody else," she said. "With the economy, people losing their homes, we want to offer them one shot of energy during the day, one shot of hope."

With so many “churches” doing coffee shops, but charging like Starbuck for coffee, maybe they should take note of how to do it with a gospel intent, not a profit intent. Or what if 100% of the revenue when to something like ending world hunger, to support orphans, buy clothing for poor children in the community. Drink our coffee and save the life of a starving child could be the business model. So many more options to for profit, something to think about.

Visit Detours Coffee Shop if you are in Denver and read about them here.

I post on twitter the statement:

“Why do so many want 2 be like prophets of old, & like Tozer, Wesley & Spurgeon but no one wants 2 pay the price they paid?”

So someone asked me “What price did they pay” of course that can not be answered in the 140 characters limit on Twitter, it can not even be effectively answered in this post. But I will put a Cliff Note version on here.

The prophets of old as well as many of the great pastor and other great servants of God, those who spoke for God. The Tozer, Wesley Knox, Tyndale, Moody, Wigglesworth, Ravenhill & Spurgeon and many more.

  • To them ministry was not a paid 8 to 5 Monday – Friday job, a Sunday only job, it was a 24/7/365 job.
  • They labored hours a day in prayer, not unusual for them to spend a whole day or days on their face before God, for His people, the lost and the needy, for the Kingdom to be spread.
  • They labored night and day for the Kingdom of God preaching the word of God to the people anywhere they found man, street corners, bar rooms, anywhere, everywhere they went and they went everywhere.
  • They lived lives of great faith, displaying great faith in God to accomplish His work through them, they said no souls reachable for God, no task undoable.
  • Endured any hardship, made any sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, for Christ.
  • Spend hours a day in study of the word, the diligently committed themselves to the knowledge of the word.
  • They where obedient to the word of God, they lived according to the word of God at any cost.
  • They lived lives of complete dedication to the call of God, for Kingdom purpose, they forsake all things for the cause of Christ, for the gospel.
  • They put proclaiming the word of God, spreading the gospel, the Kingdom of God over possessing wealth, or anything of this world.
  • They left loved ones, wives, children for months even years at a time to do the work of the Lord

I will leave you with the words of John Knox: “Give Me Scotland, or I die!” that was the price they where willing to pay, and many did.

israel-flag There are more Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel than I could list in this post (100’s of verses), being one with Jewish roots does give me both prejudice, a bias as well as possessing intimate knowledge on this subject.

But simplify we will take the verse found in Genesis 12:3
"And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

That  alone should motivate every Christian to bless, support Israel. God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People.  History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

I was pleased to read an article in The Jerusalem Post that ’50 million US Christians back Israel’

Christian supporters of Israel who gathered in Washington last week did not just sit through policy briefings and lobbying sessions; they danced the hora, blew a shofar, sang Hatikva and celebrated all that they love about Israel.

“We’re here to tell you and the people of Israel that there are 50 million Christians in this nation who support you and the State of Israel,” said CUFI founder John Hagee to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who joined the conference via satellite.

I say, Amen! & Amen!!

Read the article here.

keith green Keith Green is one of my all time favorite Christian singer/song writers no one since him has impacted the Christian world with such encouraging songs. He’s lyrics challenged Christians in their walk with God like no other musical artist. In so many ways His concerts where like sermons being song.

A great example is his song ‘A Sleep In the Light’ probably my favorite song of his, the lyrics motivated me every time I heard the song. I can not count the number of times that the song came into my head, in opportune times to share the gospel, jump starting me to do so.

This song is so needed in the American church today, one that needs to be played in every church and on every Christian radio station, this message need to come from every pulpit, because the church has never been more a sleep as it is today. Read over the lyrics below, let it take hold of your heart, Hear it here.

My favorite lines are “How can you be so dead When you’ve been so well fed Oh, Jesus rose from the dead And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Light’: by Keith Green

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don’t you care, don’t you care
Are you gonna let them drown
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?
Cause He brings people to you door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left him out on the streets
Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay
God’s calling and you’re the one
But like Jonah you run
He’s told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can’t you see it’s such a sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

I had a great conversation with a former pastor of a underground house church in China, (read my post ‘Visit The Underground Church in China’) he shared with me the format for his church.

This is what his house church in China looked like:

  • They met every evening
  • Had a meal together most evenings, called a love feast
  • They begin with prayer
  • Someone would share a message, always a word for word study of the bible
  • Then they would pray over each other
  • Each person would make known their needs and everyone one would pray for them
  • Worship with song and praises to God
  • Encourage one another in the faith
  • Each gathering would last 3 to 4 hours

I asked him about how did he get the word out, evangelize his town?

He sated that everyone in his church shared the gospel with everyone they know or meet (despite the threat of imprisonment or death). That in the Chinese church it is considered the greatest joy in life to share Jesus, to have someone come to Christ. That the church there lives to share the gospel and to have fellowship with one another.

He and his wife where arrested and put in prison for sharing Christ, they where released after a international out cry that gained them freedom, and exiled to the US.

I asked him to compare his church in China to the churches in American, said no comparison, he misses the church in China. Said we do not have church here (the US), it’s all programs and entertainment.

I agree.

More to come.

 

Related post: Visit The Underground Church in China

Jump-for-Joy 2 The word in the English bible Praise, actually in the Hebrew and Greek text it is not as Americans define, envision it. In the original languages of the bible, there are 52 Hebrew words in the Hebrew text (OT) and 29 Greek words in the Greek text (NT) of which the majority are translated as simply Praise. In church today it has come to mean something much less that what the bible says it is.

Here are some of the key Hebrew words used in the scriptures and their meaning:

Havah worship, kneel
Samah rejoice, be glad
Yadah to worship with extended hands – to though out the hands
Hallal to be loud, to boast, to be clamorously foolish
Barak to kneel
Shabach to shout in a loud tone
Karar to dance
Pazaz to leap
Patzah to bust forth with
Rana shouts of joy
Gil shout, to circle in joy
Rinnah shout in triumph
Tzavah to cry out

Some of the Greek words and their meanings:

Allomai to leap
Gonupeteo kneel down
Kampto to bend knee
Proskuneo to fall down and worship
Skirtao to leap with joy

That’s just a 18 of the 81 Hebrew and Greek words in the scriptures you read simply translated “Praise”, the key and most used ones. So when was the last time your church gathering worship service was the people doing any of these things listed above. How about you when was the last time you where loud and clamorously foolish (I love that one), extended your hands with a shout in a loud voice, danced or leaped with joy, or fell on you face before God. Most important to note is Not one of the 81 words is defined as sitting, being quite, or being somber, not one of the 81 words. They are all physical actions with loud voices.

This is how God defied to Praise Him, the words He used when instructing Israel in worship and praise, they are word that described how God’s people praised Him, what they did to praise Him. The words Paul used to teach the gentile believers in how to praise God, it gives us a glimpse at what the first century church worship services looked like.

I say let’s go back to the days of old when the people of God, worshiped and praised Him like this. I would love to see this as the normal worship service, real worship and praise going on, not this sit in your seats and set back and enjoy the show on stage, but instead a bunch of people being  loud and clamorously foolish.

time 

Take this quick quiz . . .

How much time did you spend this past week:

  • Watching  TV shows and movies?
  • Playing video games?
  • Watching sports on TV or at a game?
  • Surfing the Internet, or hanging out on Facebook?
  • Have conversations about meaningless worldly things?

Add all those hours up______:

Now how much time did you spend:

  • Reading, studying and meditating on the word of God?
  • Praying?
  • Worshiping God?
  • In community and fellowship with other believers? (and I do not mean just setting in same pew)
  • Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mat 16:15
  • Going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded you. Mat 28:19-20
  • Fulfilling Matthew 25:31-46………
  • Feeding the hungry?
  • Giving drink to the thirsty?
  • Taking in a stranger?
  • Clothing the naked?
  • Visiting the sick?
  • Visiting those in prison?
  • Visiting orphans and widows in their affliction? James 1:27
  • Delivering the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him? Job 29:12 

Add all those hours up______:

If our total hours is larger on the first than the second, then our lives are out of sync with Jesus, with His calling for every follower of Him, and things must change. All the things on the second list are the things Jesus said if you love Him you will be found doing, daily. All those things are what the life of a true follower of Christ should looks like, what it means to truly imitate the life of Christ. The difference between confessing who Christ is and truly being a follower of Christ.

It is time to reevaluate our lives and what we spend our time doing. Is it following Christ, obeying His commands, living for Christ or our selves and our own pleasures, just like the rest of the world? Is our life being spent to reach the lost, spread the gospel, make disciples, heal the sick, take care of the needy, orphans & widows, or it to obtain and maintain the American dream, be rich, happy and comfortable?

The key to the only tool you need to plant a church, the Holy Spirit as I explained in yesterday post is found in Act 11:24  For he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And many people were added to the Lord. It says full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many where added.

Faith is the key to the Holy Spirit, what is the faith spoken of here? It is Faith that Jesus will give you the Spirit as He promised He would. That the Spirit will empower, equip and lead us, will enable us to be an witness to the world. Give us the words to day, the gifting to do the job, that Jesus will build His church as He said He will.

I believe that is why we have so many conferences and books on church planting, because we have to many people who ether do not have the faith to trust and reality on the Holy Spirit or to many who are not filled with and walking in the spirit. And are doing works of the flesh trying to reproduce the work of the Spirit and plant, start church on their own fleshly power. So they need a fleshly plan, way to make it happen.

I propose that the only real "how to church planting" conferences that should be going on, is prayer meetings, on your face worship, seeking God and wait to hear His voice meetings. Not let me tell you about our man conceived plans and ways to make it happen conferences.

When I was in YWAM, everyone had to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) a 5 month boot camp if you will, that is focused mainly on finding your unique individual gifts and calling in God. To learn to hear God’s voice and follow His will for your life, a time that you inquire of God as to which of the 800 bases in more than 100 countries in the world are you to go to, His will for you, not your own. And which of the over 3500 ministry opportunities are you to do. They do not tell you where, what and how, but rather lead you into the presents of God, and help you learn to listen to for Gods voice, to hear Him and seek His face. They leave the where, what and how up to God, the Holy Spirit to answer. And that’s the way it should be for every follower of Christ, missionaries, pastors and even for “church planters”.

Part 2 in the series