How would someone, called to be an apostle, prepare for that ministry? Is there training for apostolic ministry? Where would you go? What might that training or preparation include? Most of those who have that calling, assignment, office, have had to receive their preparation by means other than traditional schooling or ministries.
Please understand, it is difficult to speak of the things that follow. I feel like Paul when he said you’ve forced me to talk like a fool. No one desires to put oneself forward, yet in order to be a blessing to others, we must share what God is doing in our lives. We overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony. I cannot speak for all apostles, so I will testify to my own preparation in a sincere desire to assist someone who may be as baffled as I was.
First, apostolic ministry is not our choice but Christ’s. He sends. No one can choose to be an apostle. Jesus calls and sends. We either go or we don’t. From my conversion experience through my most recent ministry, all has been initiated by Jesus. My role is to respond to his calling and sending. From the time He spoke my name on Christmas day, 1976, He has been revealing His purposes and shaping my character–purging what is in me that hinders his honor. As I’ve responded in obedience (and that has never been perfect), I have been entrusted with more. And often I have not deserved to be sent by Him or to have seen the marvelous things I’ve witnessed. I can truly say it is all of Him. I would not have chosen this path. But I would not want to be on any other. He must become more and more . . . And we must go where He leads. Of course, others must confirm that call. Others will recognize, probably before you will, that you are called to the greater body of Christ. And your going and serving will have results. People will know that you have authority to bless and encourage, to comfort and challenge. Sometimes displays of gifts accompany assignments. These also “testify” to your assignment or ministry in any given place, at His appointed time.
Second, apostles share a deep passion for the Father, and the Kingdom. The apostle Paul said, “The love of God constrains me.” He was pushed, pulled , drawn on, and compelled by love of the Father and Jesus. And for love of those who are loved by God–his people. More about this apostolic passion in my next book.
Third, God has prepared us:
REJECTION. We have known rejection. We have had to fight through feelings of inadequacy and abandonment. My life before Christ has been one of rejection and continues to be in some sense even today; I experience rejection but from a different angle than when I was a child. The Lord has taught me not to take ministry rejection personally. Don’t get me wrong–it’s still difficult. But it’s not about me. I need only to be obedient and speak what I’m given. Faithfulness is all that’s required of me once I’ve heard and understood.
IDENTITY. We know who God says we really are. We are sons. We have found our identity in Him. Though I am the least among his many living apostles, I know that I am a son and have His authority on my life. I don’t always know how to walk in that and am learning more daily, but Jesus continually presents his own calling–his death and resurrection–in my life. I know that I am walking into His plan and purpose. I also know that difficulty awaits. But so does unimaginable blessing and fruit. I have many promises of God that I am waiting to see unfold. And they will.
KNOWLEDGE. We are learning and are living out what the Father is teaching. We are no longer on milk, laying over and over the same foundations; we have learned the teaching about righteousness (Heb 5.13-6.1). Now we are called to go from sincere love to deep love (1 Pt. 1.22 NIV). We have also prepared ourselves with study of the Word of God. Some of us have studied formally and others informally. Some have done both. But God has taught us. And we know that what makes us most effective is hearing first for ourselves. Being not only hearers, but doers of the Word. Then hearing what “the Spirit is ‘saying’ to the church.”
CHARACTER. We are being shaped by His hands. He is forming vessels of honor (to give honor and bring honor to Him). But the job description is not one that flocks sign up for. When I sought the Lord, asking Him how I could prepare, the Holy Spirit took me to meditate on and abide in 1 Cor. 4.9-21. Take time to immerse yourself in this text before you glamorize apostolic ministry. That said, there is nothing I know as thrilling as being sent on assignment. Whether that be to the local store or to a church gathering several states away or to the Republic of Georgia (I was sent there immediately following the Russian incursion into Georgia with a specific assignment to a specific man, with specific words. When I arrived, he was an atheist, today he is a precious brother in Christ. Dearer to me than flesh and blood brother. His conversion, while I stayed at his home, transformed not only his life and his family, but mine as well. His church and the market where he works was also impacted for Christ). God has a special call and assignment on his life too. Just as he has in yours.
These are some of the preparations I have experienced. I share more about the authority of apostles in my book, We’re the “sons of God” . . . So What?–available at Amazon.com.
Why not participate in a discussion. Leave a comment. Let us know if this post helps you or if you have something that can help someone prepare for apostolic ministry.
©2011, Dr. David C Alves
Who or what is behind groups like “Antifa” and “Black Lives Matter”? Why is violence and hatred characteristic of political extremists on BOTH sides.
Human beings live in an active spiritual war zone. All humans live on enemy held territory. How did this happen?
First, a quick word about “Dualism” so that you do not get confused. Dualism is the view that two equal but opposite intelligent, uncreated powers inhabit our universe and war against one another. In Dualism, one power is good and one equal power is bad. They have been opposed throughout eternity and neither has won. Here and there they have a loss and then a victory over the other. Some people choose the good power and some choose the evil. Though some untaught people believe that this is what Christianity believes, it does not. Dualism is completely foreign and contrary to biblical Christianity.
The biblical Christian knows that the two powers that war against one another are nowhere near equal. One is Creator. That would be God. The other is a created being. That would be satan or the devil (not the cultural devil of red union-suit, pitchfork. horns, and tail fame). Satan was created for a purpose which he chose to abandon. He is far below God in power, authority, and ability. He rebelled against God and drew other angelic powers after himself. They warred in heaven against God’s loyal powers.
The spirit-dimensional beings that fell in rebellion are now demons. Demonic powers are mainly disembodied, though they seek human habitation and animate some humans. Demonized humans are willingly and/or unknowingly used by these powers to wage war both on those who do not serve their cause and on those in fellowship with Christ.
Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote of these supernatural beings:
Ephesians 6:10–13 (ESV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Understand, the voices of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, CAIR, and those who foster division and who hate our nation serve demonic powers. Even though deceived people are the glove, spiritual beings are the hand in the glove. The real war is against spiritual forces. Only those who are equipped to wage war spiritually will be victorious. The majority of people are clueless. Most of them have allied with Satan. A few serve the true and only King. And they are equipped to stand against the demonic effectively.
Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
In the excellent 2012 movie, “Act of Valor,” one of the Navy Seals presents a toast to his Seal team as they are gathered informally around a fire the night before their deployment. He lifts his glass and says, “To all those who have been downrange. To us and those like us . . . damn few.”
Genuine followers of Jesus Christ, who understand their calling to displace demonic evil, have been “downrange” in the spiritual warfare. And we are precious few.
Many can talk or write about spiritual warfare and the demonic but some of us are veterans of the spiritual war. For us it’s not theory or doctrine.
I have seen the joy in the face of a woman who was delivered from a demon. Before her deliverance, the demonic spirit caused her eyes to roll back in her head and her body to go stiff as a plank. I have seen the result when I confronted a violent man bent on attacking me. In Jesus’ name, I commanded the violent spirit controlling him to be bound. He and his friend turned from me and couldn’t leave the scene fast enough. The terror of Christ filled them and overpowered that violent spirit animating them. I’ll never forget the look of fear on their faces. I remember the grateful thanks to Jesus of a couple in Brazil who had their lives and marriage set free from a local Macumba priestess who had overcome them by demonic power. We saw the living Jesus Christ not only set them free, but later deliver and save the priestess herself.
Like it or not, this warfare is real. And we believers have not only authority but the assignment and responsibility to confront and displace demonic powers by the authority of Christ. We are sons of the Kingdom—the “sons of God.”(Romans 8:14) We are with Jesus and we gather with him.
Luke 11:23 (ESV)
23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Revelation 6:15–17 (ESV)
15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Christ, the Lamb of God, will destroy Satan and all the demons that currently traffic with humans. To destroy Satan and his powers is to destroy the spirit of murder and terror.
This is the war we fight. Our spiritual battle is not against people, but against the spirits that animate them and use them to champion evil until Christ returns. We have authority over these demonic beings only because Christ gave it to us (Luke 10.19). It is our assignment to crush them through intercession and the command of Christ as we stand in our authority to displace darkness and the demonic:
Luke 10:17–24, ESV
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Followers of Jesus, do not give up. Fight the good fight of the faith! You will be victorious! For nothing can succeed against the Church–the body of Christ. No weapon formed against us will prosper; all those who rise up against us will fall. We will sit enthroned with Christ to pass judgment on these spirit-beings–the enemies of all that is good, right, beautiful, and true–and send them to their final and ultimate eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire. In Christ we already have the victory!
© 2013, Dr. David C Alves, D.Min.
- Stand Up and Fight Back – Book Review (rebeccaaarup.com)
- A Stealth Spiritual Warfare Weapon Satan Can’t Stand/Includes Jentezen Franklin – The King Has One More Move (vineoflife.net)
Who can guess what tomorrow will bring? Every day awakens new challenges. Your future depends upon you. You must face the future boldly. Don’t cling to the past. Don’t fear the next obstacle. Don’t try to avoid the next encounter with people who make you uncomfortable or insecure. You can be a person of peace and joy. Simply walk each day, each moment expecting that grace will be yours. Envision what you want to see in your life. Be gently bold. Give the benefit of the doubt to those you’d usually attribute negative motives to. Remember, you don’t know anyone’s motives. Give grace. Give generously of your favor and time.
NO SKIN IN THE GAME
Consider others better than you. Remember this: If you get your needs met by God, you will never have to use people to meet them. Then you can be truly generous to all without using them. Try to have no skin in the game when it comes to relating to people and you will be free. No skin in the game means there’s no hidden expectations you have on others. There’s nothing you’re trying to “get” from them. That way you’re free to commit and be “all-in” without being hurt or used. Can you think of anything better than being the kind of person this post describes? That would be peace of mind and freedom of conscience. You’d be FREE.
YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE . . . DRASTICALLY
Every blessing as you apply what seems good to you from what you’ve just read. But . . . be prepared for life to change drastically for the better. Oh, and remember . . . it may get somewhat worse before it gets better. But you will press through that to the freedom and victory that comes from being courageously creative. You will be a rarity in our declining culture–a person of influence for good.
QUESTION: Why not take a second and share this post with a friend–that would be an act of grace and generosity. Please . . . Let us know how things turn out for you.
©2014, David C Alves All rights reserved.
[DISCLAIMER: This post was written and published in Oct. 2013, PRIOR to Phil Robertson’s name being in the news for his views on homosexuality. Nor do I agree with the crude way he chose to express those views. Though I do support Scripture that was quoted verbatim and his right to express those views. “Duck Dynasty” was off my radar scope until it became the center of controversy over freedom of speech and the intolerance of Gay tolerance. Now I have viewed an episode and decided it will remain off my radar scope.
The following post is being republished given the importance of the content. It is in no way intended to disparage or hurt sensitive, loving people who care deeply for people and God. Nor is it a rebuke to those who, through no fault of their own other than ignorance, biblical illiteracy, or listening to the wrong voices, have embraced a lie and a lifestyle of hedonism. Rather, it is intended to bring truth and light to bear upon a subject that is covered in lies, innuendos, false accusations, and misinformation. Today, no one may speak about homosexuality without their speech being labeled as “hate” by those who disrespect and dismiss God, his people, morality, his truth and his children. The intolerant advocates and voices of the homosexual agenda champion their debauchery over the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Their inspiration is demonic (whether they are still healthy enough to know it or not). The Holy Spirit spoke of them when He warned that in the end times many would be led astray by “doctrines of demons” and inaugurate a delusion for even weak and nominal Christians to believe. My goal is threefold: First, to be the Lord’s witness to followers of Jesus who are parents. Second, to warn homosexual advocates to turn to God from their sin, before they have abandoned the possibility of eternal life. Third, to pluck the confused and misled from the mire.]
Last month I attended a conference in Idaho. The conference focused on twelve amazing, strategic, national and global trends which are dramatically transforming our world. One of the speakers said something that really grabbed my attention with regard to the relationship between God and Americans who practice and advocate homosexuality.
He took issue with the way Christians and their leaders assume that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah as a result of their rampant homosexuality. The speaker made the point that their homosexual behavior did not draw God’s wrath or judgment. Their sodomy was the RESULT, not the cause of God’s wrath and ultimate annihilation of the entire population of those two cities. God destroyed every last one of them for a greater sin than homosexuality.
Let’s look more closely at the relevant texts beginning with what he said regarding Sodom and Gomorrah’s end. Here the subject is Israel, but they are being compared to Sodom & Gomorrah:
“Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.” (Isaiah 1:4, ESV)
“If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9, ESV)
“But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.” (Isaiah 1:28, ESV)
THEIR REAL SIN
The great sin of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was that they had forsaken the Lord God—their Creator. They had exchanged the One true God–Yahweh–for a lie: that they as “enlightened” humans were the top of the evolutionary ladder. The Apostle Paul spells it out clearly in the Letter to the Romans—whose values closely match those of the current population of extreme liberalism in our nation today:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18–32, ESV)
All the other sins which the Sodomites committed—including their homosexual relationships—were the RESULT of the abandonment wrath of God. He “gave them over” to their already debased minds. Because many ancients rejected their Creator, His values, His people, His Kingdom, and His love, God removed the restraints of sanity. That removal resulted in men exchanging natural relations for those that the Holy Spirit labels “contrary to nature” (human nature that is). The Spirit through Paul calls them “shameless acts.” According to the Holy Spirit, these people are consumed with unnatural passion for their same sex. For all the centuries of human history from that time to the late twentieth century, human beings understood that homosexual behavior was abhorrent and a mental aberration. Only recently did the homosexual lobby ply its influence on the psychological community so that they took homosexuality out of the DSM–their diagnostic bible of mental disorders. The more recent editions normalized what had been a previously abnormal mental condition. It took our so-called highly evolved sensibilities of the fallen 21st century American and European cultures to abandon God and embrace the worship of science, technology, and men and women as gods and goddesses. They’ve returned to pagan culture and jettisoned centuries of human understanding and Godly counsel. Now the inmates are running the asylum.
And it doesn’t stop here. Once the Creator is rejected, so is His doctrine of Creation. Those who reject God (not just homosexuals, atheists included) do not see themselves as created beings. Since Darwin, fallen minds have decided that man is not special. Educated and “enlightened” influences now claim humanity crawled out of the soup and swamps as animals and “evolved” from lower life forms. Life came about, according to one so-called scholar, “on the backs of crystals.” This man is actually a paid faculty member a a prestigious university. These and other influences in our social and educational institutions have influenced societies to worship nature (the sciences) and creatures (themselves) instead of God. Although science, nature, and creatures are all good things, they have been raised to the place of idols in our culture. They are worshiped though its proponents would not call it that.
Those who have abandoned the Creator embrace a deception because they no longer recognize Truth and Reality. They have lost that FACT that they were created to have dignity, to be sons and daughters of God himself. Atheists have no God and no future. According to the Holy Spirit, they have abandoned sanity because they deny the ultimate Reality.
Can it go any lower? Can it get any darker? Oh, yes. Strap on your seat-belt .
Today the proponents (not all homosexuals, but the advocates and most vocal and vicious) of the darkness have become so emboldened by their sin that they have moved beyond a lifestyle choice. They realize that in order to make their choices acceptable for the future, they must “reeducate” the children. They have co-opted public school curricula to make disciples after themselves. Sin is not solitary; it infects everyone and everything. It always looks for someone else to justify it or participate in it. Where are the parents? Are they just standing by and allowing their children to be seduced? YES!!! Even believers drop their kids at “school” hoping to educate and expose their children to reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, they expose them to the worst of secularism and abandon them to the high-priests of unbelief. Well-meaning parents think that over supper they can undue the damage of six hours a day of indoctrination by the state, homosexual interest groups, and indoctrinated peers (if this family still sits down together to have an evening meal).
[IMPORTANT: Parents, get the facts on GLSEN and Kevin Jennings, (Obama’s Czar* of school “safety”) in the war they’re winning over the hearts and minds of your kids. Read this Focus On the Family Brief]
Otherwise sane and moral citizens are afraid to confront spiritually bankrupt, sexual totalitarianism, even though it is bent upon corrupting the nation’s children and forcing darkness upon the youth of America. I have not heard one voice among the homosexual lobby/advocates that will say that though an adolescent has a homosexual temptation or loves someone of the same sex, that this does not demand a sexual encounter. Sexual attraction is simply a temptation like any other temptation. Every such thought must be made captive to the mind of Christ. He is Lord. He can save and deliver from those things we’re tempted to give ourselves over to. [P.S. – Temptation is not sin. Even Christ was tempted in all ways as we were. BUT . . . He was without sin. He therefore is the ONLY one who can save. He is the one who will deliver from a debased mind. Sexuality was designed to be beautiful in its lawful context. Outside of God’s intent, sexuality becomes bondage.]
Homosexual advocates will not succeed, because God has already judged them. He has seen their dark exchanges. Their abandonment of the truth, of sanity, and of acknowledgement of the Creator has been overthrown. He will not stand by and allow them to continue to pervert a generation unchallenged. So he has begun their judgment by giving them over to the ultimate end of their sexual perversion—transgenderism.
As Scripture predicted, they already are self-destructing. One writer reports:
Transgenderism (or transsexualism) is not normal. In fact, it’s so abnormal and unnatural that a staggeringly tragic 41 percent of all transgender individuals living in the United States have attempted to commit suicide, according to a 2010 study.**
Remember what the Holy Spirit said in Romans 1—they are “receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Sadly, they are willing to face Aids, STD’s, suicide, depression and phobias to embrace the outcome of their darkened minds. I find this very sad, when God’s original purpose for their lives was one of compassion, love, dignity, and a legacy of righteousness.
Their madness increases. They now are no longer satisfied with a growing public acceptance of their “lifestyle,” they want to enlist the children. They want no other “choice” made available to our kids. And if we try to bring truth to light or lovingly confront their madness, they label it hate. Truth is not hate, it’s truth! God’s truth.
But Jesus said that they will reject us because those bent on sin rejected him. Remember what Jesus said? We are not the haters. They have projected their own hatred onto us just as they did to Jesus because his righteous life condemned them:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’” (John 15:18–25, ESV)
It is my personal conviction that the downward spiral of our culture and the rampant lawlessness and hatred toward the truly righteous followers of Jesus (even on the part of nominal “Christians”) is rapidly moving American followers of Jesus toward the persecution that Jesus prophesied for all who would choose to live godly lives in Christ Jesus. Even so-called “Christians” (church goers) will be deceived into thinking that those who do not accept alternate sexual orientations are overly prudish, judgmental and perhaps deserving of the suffering and persecution they will undergo as they continue to be witnesses of God’s truth and Christ’s compassion. Nominal Christians stood by as the leaders of the Third Reich dragged the Jews off to camps. They also stood by when the Nazis dragged believing disciples of Jesus who tried to house, protect, and save the Jews off to death camps. Nominal Christians are religious, but they don’t know Jesus or His Father. The wheat and tares grow together until the final angelic harvest.
Our response should not be to condemn those who walk in the darkness of their fallen mindset—though we thoroughly reject their behavior. Be warned, if you do not reject their abandonment of God as Creator and their fallen sexuality, then you will be judged with them according to the Scriptures (Rom. 1:32, above).
We need to pray for mercy, that God will relent from his “abandonment-wrath” and grant them mercy and and light to transform their darkened hearts and minds by the love of Jesus. Pray for clarity regarding the rejection of God’s intent for their lives. Ask the Father to give them godly sorrow and a real picture of what Jesus did to purchase their wholeness.
IMPORTANT: There is NO EXCUSE for violence or mean-spiritedness toward those of the homosexual community. We must not return what they dish out to us. Jesus told us to love those who speak out against us. We are to return good for evil. We must simply be true to the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God so that they hear the truth spoken in love, and are without excuse. Hopefully, some will hear and allow their hearts to be turned. Then they will be transformed to Know Christ and make Him known.
*For definitions: Google the terms “Czar” and “autocrat” (which is part of the description of a Czar/Tsar
** David Kupelian, “Transgender Madness: How Psychiatrists are Bullied into ‘Normalizing’ Sexual Derangement,” 22:10 Whistleblower, Oct. 2013, p. 10.
©2013 David C Alves
We’re in the very first stages of a transition. New Life Fellowship of Concord, NH was a traditional church that transitioned to a cell church. After ten years as a cell church, we just sold our building in town and are moving and morphing into a house church. We are not doing this intentionally. We’re simply following the Lord. The way we’re meeting has changed as much as the venue is now changing. We’re informal and relational.
Actually, the transition began with the way we worshiped. We added a period of silent waiting upon the Lord immediately following our music worship. And from there, we felt that the Lord wanted us to be less ordered and open up for more involvement by the people. As we invited folks to share what they sensed the Lord doing, we began to see that He was changing our focus.
Now we are hoping that we don’t just fall back on our earlier worship format. We don’t want to become–as one author wrote–“a church service captured by a living room.” We want to explore more fully anything that will draw us closer to our Father and to one another without compromising the Gospel or abandoning worship. But we sense our worship will change. And so will our outreach.
I’m not sure how we will meet without a plan, but the Lord knows; and we’re willing to let Him lead. He is the Head of the church.
We all agree that we’re teetering on the brink of the ministry of Jesus. People who need healing and deliverance are coming to us. We have always desired to have them see Jesus– “To Know Him and To Make Him Known.” We also know that in our age and culture, the only way to lead people to Jesus by demonstrating that He cares about their needs, their hurts, and pains.
I had a seminary professor, J. Christy Wilson. He had been a missionary to the Muslims in Afghanistan for fifteen years. He said once in answer to a question I posed: “You will never win a Muslim with an argument. You will lose every time. But the way they come to Christ is when they see Him heal their children or loved ones. They are won through the manifest compassion of God. Allah cannot heal. Allah does not heal.” Only a power encounter or revelation of Christ will bring Muslims to Christ. I believe that’s true of not only that group but of many modern people groups who have abandoned what they consider dead religion. Unfortunately, they threw out the baby with the bathwater.
Anyhow, I look forward to our first house church meeting this coming Sunday. Yes, we still meet every other Sunday and on off weeks, we meet on Saturday at barbecues to which we invite our friends and family who do not yet know Jesus. One week of outreach followed by one week of worship and prayer for those we love. That seems to be the pattern.
We do not feel that we have the exclusive corner on how to do church right and everyone else is doing it wrong. We feel that every church has a ministry if they want one. They fulfill a purpose that is specifically theirs. We simply believe that this is where God is leading us. And because we love Jesus, we can do nothing better than to follow. Unless of course, we’d rather be a museum than a ministry. Not us. We’re in this for life . . . all the way.
QUESTION: Wonder what God has for us as we abandon our old wineskin for a new one?