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Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Problem with Being Too Nice in Ministry

questionsfacingmen.wordpress.com
"Go tell that fox!" said Jesus one time.

"Fox" is a crafty or tricky person, like how unscrupulous politicians are. It's not a good word to describe the top leader of your nation. Jesus was referring to King Herod who supposedly wanted to kill him.

Not very nice of Jesus, was it? Well, not very nice of Herod, too.

Jesus was frank and honest. He wasn't one to flatter people with nice but inapt words. When Jesus spoke, you always got what you deserved, although his grace made sure you didn't get it full-swing.

Most pastors have been accustomed to being too nice to people, sometimes even overly too nice to the point of aiming to over-please everyone at all times. In fact, most ministries are actually PR organizations designed primarily to keep people feeling good about themselves and pampered and spoiled---so they'd keep coming back to church every Sunday.

I've always wondered why Jesus was different. He was a good guy, no doubt---he grew up in favor with God and man [Luke 2.52]---but he often wasn't nice with his words. In fact, you sometimes caught him being anything but a Mr. Nice Guy.

Lots of pastors are Mr. Nice Guys, except those who serve as propagandists for their denominations. They tend to be rude with people of a different denomination. Some are difficult people to deal with. To get along well with them, you need to always agree with what they say.

Worse, they need to see you always admiring or praising them.

Jesus wasn't like that. He'd let you alone with your personal opinions, whatever you thought of or decided, like how he let Judas go to the priests to betray him. And he never needed your praise. But if you asked him questions, he'd answer you frankly and honestly. He'd never answer by telling you what you wanted to hear.

But neither was he rude or impolite. His honest and straight-from-the-shoulder answers are what I call, Godly candor.

Once, a Pharisee invited him for dinner. You'd expect any invited dinner guests to be polite and nice with other guests, and especially with the host. Well, during dinner, the host noticed how Jesus didn't wash his hands before the meal. So, the Pharisee was surprised.

That's all the host did---get surprised. He didn't even say anything.

But look at what Jesus told him:
"Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” [Luke 11]
You can imagine the tension building up amid dinner that time. The atmosphere became just right for a terrible stomach upset. I'd probably just ignore the surprised look on the Pharisees's face on seeing my unwashed hands, or else stand up and wash my hands in the restroom. That would have been polite and becoming of a servant of God. Right?

Well, that's what we think.

Now, a law expert reacted. "Teacher, saying those things offends us as well."

He probably thought Jesus would calm down and watch his words this time. Well, he was wrong. Jesus started his long invective with "Woe to you experts in the law..."

You can just imagine how the dinner turned out after. If you were Jesus, wouldn't you want to be civil with Pharisees and teachers of the law---those who have religious authority in the land? Anyway, they were just trying to be nice to you when they invited you over for dinner. It would be right to return that favor by being nice to them, too.

They looked like they just wanted to befriend him, and probably hear some words of his wisdom. Or, they were probably looking for a way to trap him with his words that's why they had invited him. Be that as it may, nonetheless, I would have been polite about it all.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. [Colossians 4.6]

But look at what Jesus did. He openly lambasted the religious leaders with provocative words. As a result, the bible says, since that incident, the Pharisees started opposing him.

Often, God thinks differently as we do. What's "full of grace" and "seasoned with salt" to Him is often what we mortals find to be offensive. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Another incident was when Nicodemus visited him one night. When he was at a loss about what Jesus was explaining about born-again, Jesus told him: "You're a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?"

I don't know about you, but I'd feel insulted with that remark. Just imagine---here I am, a member of the elite Sanhedrin, a respected teacher in the country, and probably equipped with all the seminary titles and degrees one can imagine. And there is Jesus, who never had schooling, without any degrees or titles, son of a poor carpenter, jobless, and does nothing but roam around the streets. Then he tells me, ""You're a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?"

At least, Jesus should've been polite and just said: "I'm willing to share with you more about what born-again is." or something to that effect.

One day he was teaching his disciples but they couldn't understand what he was telling them. Jesus asked them: "Are you so dull?" [Mark 7]. 

QUESTION: Would it be okay if your pastor asked you that same question just because you missed what he was saying? He should at least say something kinder, like "What exactly didn't you understand?"

At another time, Jesus drove out the vendors and kicked their tables over at the temple courts. What if your pastor does that, too? 

Think about it---you'd see nowhere in the Gospel Jesus teaching us to be too nice to people. He taught us to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, to be righteous, merciful, pure in heart, to be peace-makers, etc. But he never said anything about being Mr. Nice Guy.

He told us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. But often, we misinterpret these things and think they teach us to be too nice in ministry. Loving our enemy and doing good to them don't necessarily mean we become nice to them.

Most times, we have to be stern with people, especially those with controlling or manipulative spirits, even be unsympathetic with them, precisely because we love them. We want them to fully understand the gravity of their situation and the dire consequences of their actions or desires.

Often, they also need to see that a true church ministry like what Jesus had will never pursue after people.

Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. [Jeremiah 15.19]
Jesus told the apostles:

If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." [Luke 9.5]
A lot of pastors do the opposite today. If rejected by people, the more they insist themselves to them. The more they visit them and please them. Does it work? Oh yeah! It sometimes even grows mega churches. But question is, is it Jesus' way of doing ministry?

Only Jesus' ways are approved by the Father. And only Jesus' ways will build his glorious church.

Nice is often equated with compromise. Being nice means you allow certain concessions to people, especially those who want to control you---just to please them---and that necessitates lessening your commitment to God's stern requirements. People often see you a potential victim of their manipulations when you're too nice to them.

When some of the disciples found Jesus' teachings too radical, they left him. What would a pastor do today if half his congregation walked out on him? He'd be scared stiff and probably ask them for a dialogue. A reconciliation. And he'd probably be apologetic in his manner, trying to be super nice to them.

Jesus didn't do any of that. He let them leave. He even dared the remaining disciples to also leave him.

He also let the rich young ruler walk out. I doubt if there would be a pastor today who'd let someone rich, popular and powerful to walk out of his church. I hope I'm wrong.

You may smile at people all the time and laugh at their jokes, hug them and pat their backs. Go ahead and love and care for them. Be kind to them. But being Mr. Nice Guy is still beside the point. We weren't called to be nice to people. We were called to do God's will---and often, God's will hurts a lot of people.

Watch this and decide for yourself:


For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

You Can Only Raise Up People the Father Draws to You

blogs.thegospelcoalition.org
You can grab as many people as you want to become members of your church. But those you can actually raise up to be fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ depends on how many people the Father draws to you.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. [John 6.44]
The principle applies to Jesus and all his true followers---no on can come to you to be raised up by you unless the Father draws them to you. If say, the Father draws only 10 people to you and you have a thousand church members, the 990 others will just play church. They may be very active members and "supporters" in the eyes of men, but they will never bear good fruit, fruit that God looks for in a believer.

Aside from the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5], the fruit God looks for is this:

If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing...This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples...You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit---fruit that will last---and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. [John 15]
The fruit is remaining in Christ as branches remain with the vine. A lot of church people just remain being faithful and active members of their church denomination. Nothing more.

Most times they just end up being church attenders. Their idea of the Lord's day is going to church each Sunday to attend a 2- to 3-hour worship service.

For them to really grow spiritually mature in Christ, they need to be released to the church God wants them to be part of. But you grabbed them out of that and kept them in your church out of greed for greatness, popularity or money. This was the sin of Jeroboam. [1 Kings 12.25-33]. God had already given him the 10 tribes of Israel but he wanted more, worried that his "church members," so to say, might leave him for another church. And this sin lasted and passed on to generations.

Many dream of having a mega church someday and be popular so they think of ways how to lure more people into their church buildings. And they justify this by pretending their real concern is for lost souls. 

Few ministers genuinely think of lost souls and building God's Kingdom on earth when they share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They always think of leading converted souls to the glorious church of Jesus Christ which is without spot or wrinkle or any blemish but holy and pure. If you are genuinely God's flesh on earth, your one desire is to disciple people to be members of the one true, glorious church of Jesus Christ. not a church denomination.

Majority of pastors share a watered-down gospel to win the contest of who has the most number of members or who has the most number of churches. And you'd see how people in their churches do not know a thing about God's Kingdom on earth and how to be part of it. They can't operate in its supernatural ways. All they know are their man-made church traditions, denominational policies and manuals.

The name of the game is church marketing---who can sell the products (church and its programs and activities and features) to more people. Who's the pastor that can grab the most number of people and keep them in his church building longer. 

Even in Paul's time, there were greedy ministers who just wanted to "draw away disciples after them" [Acts 20.30] and do this by distorting the truth. Today, they distort the truth by presenting a gospel where people do not have to give up anything. They can have both God and the world. They can retain their rotten characters and still be considered born-again.

A faithful minister of Christ will be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and be honest with himself about how many he can really feed spiritually and raise them up mature in Christ, making them familiar with his supernatural ways.

It's not just to gather as many people. More importantly, it's raising them up to be mature or "perfect" in Christ.

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. [Colossians 1.28]
Here's how God does it---"They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me," [John 6.45]. Thus. you share the Word to them. As they listen, God talks to them. Anyone who listens and learns will be drawn to you by the Father. So you don't have to manipulate or force people or visit them or follow them up everyday. 

Just wait for God's move on their lives. Pray for them. 

If no one is drawn to you (and this is what most pastors fear, so they try to preempt what God is doing), then simply look for other people to share the Word with. It is better to have no one but flow along God's plan than to get a lot using your own efforts but contradict God's will.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. [Matthew 10]

So what if you have only a few people (or no people yet) in church? The main thing is to faithfully share the Word of God to people.

There should be no fleshly or dead human effort.


For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why are Some in Church Rich and Some Poor?


celebrationpublications.org
There are those in church who are rich and there are those who are poor. There are rich churches and poor churches. There are rich pastors and poor pastors. Why is this?

God has a wonderful plan here. If we obey his Word, no one in the body of Christ would be too rich or too poor. We see this in these passages:
"However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today."[Deuteronomy 15.4]
But what if there were poor people among them nonetheless? This was God's formula:
"If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need."
It's clear. God's will is that there should be no poor among his chosen people, even in the church. Still, why are there poor people and why has this been unresolved for decades?

Because the church has not been fully obeying the WORD of God. God's plan is that there should be sharing. And by sharing, I don't just mean sharing a bit now and then. I mean equal distribution of wealth---all the believers willingly surrendering their wealth to be shared to all equally, especially those who have need.

Those who have excess should share with those who are wanting, to balance wealth distribution. We saw this principle during the Passover.
If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. [Exodus 12]
The Acts church followed this model:
No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had...For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
And the result?
...there were no needy persons among them. [Acts 4.34-35]
This practice wasn't put in the bible just to be marveled at. God put it there as his model, his will for the church. And he will restore this practice in these last days as part of his last present move to effect a big and genuine church revival before Jesus comes back. It is among things that will definitely make the glorious church unique.

The church needs to go back to this radical communal sharing if it wants to fully obey the Lord. If God has made you rich, it's not because you are great in his eyes or because you worked hard for it. It's a test to see if you will give up everything so the church can evenly distribute wealth. If you don't do this, you prove to be nothing but disobedient. Don't think you are so blessed by God. You are hording up his wealth for yourself. And that won't be a good report come Judgment Day.

The first sign of the rich being truly Christian is when they become willing to share a big part of their wealth with the poor. Look at what Zacchaeus said when he met Jesus personally in his life: "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

And look at Jesus' reply: "Today salvation has come to this house," [Luke 19].

But look at what Jesus said to the rich, young ruler who refused to share his possessions with the poor: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." [Mark 10]

God's plan for the church is to be his family where possessions are common and equally distributed. That's what fathers would want for their kids in their families, right? And the church is really God's family---although men have made their churches into private corporations and franchises run by pastors who look more like managers than spiritual church overseers.

The end goal of godly sharing is so there will be no poor among the church. Just imagine if this finally happens!

As it is, the rich in church flaunt their abundance and brag about how blessed they are, but never willing to share anything, while the poor look on in envy. The rich love having a captive audience when they display their blessedness. They may give their poor brethren a pittance now and then, and that would make them feel so generous.

But a pittance is not God's will. Jesus said: "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." [Luke 12.33]

If you are rich, you hold the answer to the prayers of the poor brethren who have been crying out to God for financial prosperity. God has answered them---giving the answer through you---but you choose to withhold it for yourself.

The Same with Rich and Poor Churches and Pastors

Why are there rich and poor churches and pastors? Because the church in general has been disobedient to this Word of God in the bible. Rich churches flaunt their wealth with their expensive buildings and facilities instead of sharing it with poor churches.

Pastors, meanwhile, grab more people than they can handle just to build their mega churches. And then they live luxuriously. Can a pastor really feed 5,000 or 10,000 members spiritually? Jesus had about 120 disciples before he left for heaven.

It boosts the ego to have a mega church but you will answer for members who are not fed well spiritually. Giving them sermons each Sunday, no matter how good the sermons are, is not enough to feed your flock. You have to personally disciple them.

You shouldn't fill up your church beyond your capacity to pastor it (or beyond the pastoring grace God assigned to you) so that people can be distributed equally to other churches. This results to equal distribution of wealth as well. It is something similar to how God distributed the manna in the desert:
This is what the Lord has commanded: "Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent."
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. [Exodus 16]
Discipleship can break up a huge congregation into smaller groups to ensure quality spiritual feeding. The pastor can disciple leaders (his core) who would disciple others also, and so on. But if his congregation numbers 20,000 members, the number of small groups would be about 1,666 if each group had 12 members, following Jesus' discipleship.

Even if the pastor disciples his leaders well, he still would have to oversee or manage the 1,666 small groups to check how they're doing. That would be too much for one pastor. He can't just leave the small groups to his leaders and forget about them.

Jesus' discipleship is the model. By the time he ascended to heaven, he left behind about 120 disciples or believers. This could mean his 12 disciples (his first generation) each had 10 disciples (his second generation), more or less.

I believe the ideal number of believers per church is about 120 to 150 (or say about 200 at most), having up to second generation disciples, to be properly supervised by one pastor. If this were the case, each pastor would have just enough believers to look after. And each pastor would be sufficiently supported, too. There won't be rich or poor churches or pastors.

If your leaders get to a point where they are discipling 15 or 20 people already, then they have to start getting ready to break away from you  gradually preparing to start their own small church when they get to be 30 or 50. They need to start their own families. These leaders, however, remain connected to you and feed from you. You are their spiritual father.

With this system, church leaders or pastors come from within your discipleship, not from bible schools. You personally train them as sons working side by side with you, as Timothy did with Paul.

Mega churches should start giving up some of their members (this is a radical move, but then all moves of God are radical) and send them to nearby churches in the neighborhood, regardless of denomination (better yet, denominations should be dismantled. Denominations are not God's will. You find them nowhere in the bible). These members should understand God's plan and willingly support the churches where they will be sent to. If this happens, a genuine church revival will happen, one that is personally being effected by God himself. because it is according to his Word in the bible.

I have yet to see a big church give up some of its members to nearby churches to be regular members there. John the baptizer didn't mind having some of his disciples leave him to follow Jesus. Such sharing is God's will.

And I have yet to see rich churches share their resources and money big-time with poor churches, especially of a different denomination.

A genuinely completely united body of believers (as defined by Jesus in John 17) should have no problem doing all this.

So much more on this topic in my e-book, "The Last Move of God in These End-Times." Click here for a review of this e-book.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Most Modern, Hi-Tech and Updated Church I've Ever Seen

www.the-philippine-travel-guide.com
I also like to title this article, "How a Church Becomes Obsolete" or "How a Church Becomes Useless."

Most church people do not understand that Jesus' ministry---what he did in the bible---is the model. It is the highest and most superior. It is most advanced.

Some ministers think that we ought to improve on what Jesus did. They think that Jesus' ministry was too simplistic, so they need to do something better, something more sophisticated, yet make Jesus' ministry its "foundation."

Actually, it should be the reverse---all our ministries today should veer towards having the form and essence of Jesus' ministry. Our ministries should gradually transform or metamorphose into a Jesus' ministry.

So, you'll easily see how our ministries should get rid of a lot of non-essentials---buildings, programs, aimless activities, entertainment, gimmicks, titles and degrees, seminary, bible school, concerts, elections, parliamentary procedures, and all that garbage.

The simpler things are, the closer we get to Jesus' ministry. Just stick to what Jesus did and what God says in His WORD.

Study thoroughly the Gospels plus the Old Testament (because Christ is the end of the law) and the rest of the New Testament. See how Jesus and the apostles and prophets and patriarchs did ministry. Everything was simple yet powerfully supernatural. Simple yet modern, hi-tech and updated in Kingdom technology. The best in the eyes of God.

We all have to develop into that, from glory to glory.

Thus, the more modern, hi-tech and updated your church is in the eyes of the world, the more backward it is in the Kingdom of God. If the world likes your church and feels comfy in it, you are becoming obsolete and useless in the Spirit realms.

There's nothing wrong with the use of modern technology and conveniences found in the world. The thing is, if the world becomes comfy with your church, it is failing big-time. And often, the world gets comfy with modern conveniences that technology affords. It very seldom gets comfy with the spiritual and supernatural of God.

Thus, the danger of becoming dependent on technology. If I were you, I'd rely on God's technology---everything spiritual and supernatural. That's how Jesus did it. And Jesus is supreme, the most high God.

A progressive church in the Spirit realms is one that just meets as a family in a home or garage or park or somewhere comfy for family bonding. A home is usually the ideal setting, like the house churches in Acts. Progressive believers never bother with church buildings or facilities or equipment. All they need is probably a guitar to worship God or perhaps their hands to clap and tap on their laps.

People think churches should always have a cross displayed outside and inside. That's just a carry-over tradition that has no bible basis. In fact, that tradition comes from an idolatrous church. Church is where you gather for Jesus, much better without displaying a cross or any religious symbol.

What if church grows big? Then you need to use the parks often, meet along the seashore or hillsides or break up into small groups. Conferences are good but not necessary. Small groups can actually accomplish more.

Progressive believers don't need to practice singing on Saturdays to make their voices blend well. They just sing and make music in their hearts to the Lord. They know that purity of heart and being filled with the Word and the Holy Spirit is what make singing beautiful in God's hearing, not the perfect blending of voices or playing of instruments.

To God, it's always life and character quality, not expertise.


"...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship."

An updated church is a family---God's family---with a father and mother, brothers, sisters, and elders. The fathers and mothers act as pastors and elders can act as teachers. Some among the brethren can be evangelists while the one who started it all may act as apostle or prophet---all according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It's either you are a disciple (part of the family) or a visitor or friend. No one is a church member. Some churches are funny---they have full-time members, associate members and inactive members. Sounds like the Rotary or Lions Club. The bible never mentions of them.

God's true church is run by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, according to Ephesians. It doesn't have to be an organization where there are boards of trustees, presidents, chairmen and directors, manuals, mission-vision, constitution. etc. That's a corporate setting, not a church. Church is family, not a company. If your church sounds like a corporation, it's backward in the Spirit realms.

Jesus is not a CEO. Jesus is Lord.

If you keep things simple and stick with Jesus and the Gospel, you'll never go wrong.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Antioch Phenomenon: Why Your Church Needs It

dataready.ca
They didn't expect the sudden twist. What most Christian Jews at the time had been doing was sharing the Gospel only to fellow Jews. They thought all along that God's chosen people were confined to the Israelites.

Very few realized how Genesis 22.18 was then coming to pass: "...and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Very few in the Acts church knew that this prophecy, which was at the time the present move of God, was then happening. The believers from Cyprus and Cyrene saw this and, led by the Spirit, ventured to Antioch and shared the Gospel to the gentiles there.

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." [Galatians 3.8]
It was a first! Not only that, they were attuned and updated to the present move of God in real time!

How did they know the present move of God? "The Lord's hand was with them..." says the proceeding passage.

God's hand is with you when you share the Gospel, but there comes a time when he shifts direction and leaves past moves to themselves. Christians who shared the Gospel only with Jews still got what I call "leftover" power (afterglow) from the Lord. But his hand, (his present power) is always with his present move (or what he is presently doing).

However, past moves can sometimes trap you in glory that fades away (see 2 Corinthians 3.7-11] and which later results to a ministry that brings death [2 Corinthians 3.7].

The bronze snake Moses made was a move of God in his time but it became idolatry in King Hezekiah's time. A lot of people get caught in past moves and end up with idolatry. Church denominations are so prone to this because of their fondness to stick with their traditions and inability to step out in faith to the unknown when the Lord leads so.

(Hezekiah) broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) [2 Kings 18.4]
Imagine if the Acts church continued to make the Gospel exclusive to the Jews and never ventured to share it with the gentiles. Can anyone in church today dare break into pieces the bronze snake their church fathers had made if the Spirit leads them so? 

A popular bronze snake that church people look up to today and ought to be broken to pieces is church denominationalism.

Churches should be Antioch churches---always updated about the present move of God in real time. The key to this is being updated with the spoken Word of God---the Word that proceeds from the very mouth of the Father (or the Now Word or the Proceeding Word).

The spoken Word cannot happen through human theology or denominational doctrines (which are all outdated)---even if you earned degrees from seminary. It can only happen if you believe in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit---because the man without the spirit of God cannot accept the things of the Spirit; they are foolishness to him. 

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. [1 Corinthians 2.14]
The danger is that, a lot of growing church ministries today, like many mega churches, are built not like the Antioch church (through the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit) but like the tower of Babel---built to make a name for themselves. They are built by worldly (Babylon) systems which include the use of marketing, advertising, psychology, sociology, politics and other man-made tools.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Jesus Never Pursued After People or Bothered with Membership

www.inc.com
Even when I was already actively doing ministry the denominational way, I'd been questioning some things we were doing. My question was, why didn't Jesus do them?

Sure, the things church denominations were doing resulted to increased church membership and increased church income, plus increased number of churches planted. But I saw that these increases didn't really mean the Gospel was being spread and people really getting to know the King and his Kingdom. Often, it only meant people were becoming more aware of the church denomination and gradually getting involved there.

What I saw more was the spread or expansion of the church denomination using God's Word as cover or front. Honestly. And I was beginning to be disappointed. The goal then was really to get more people into the church so there would be more money to build more churches elsewhere for the denomination and be able to say, "Hey, look how our church denomination is growing!"

It's all to feed denominational pride.

But the Gospel wasn't really being proclaimed. I mean, you saw the life of Jesus Christ nowhere in church. You heard about it in Sunday school and sermons yet all around you saw nothing but the world. You saw the same things you'd see in the secular world--church politics, pride and arrogance, corruption, selfish ulterior motives, stiff competition, stage exhibitionism, grandstanding, dog-eat-dog, back-biting, divisions, and partisanship.

Even the music sounded like the ones played by your favorite secular pop or rock stars.

You also saw wrecked marriages and broken families, sometimes even worse than what you see in the world. Worse was that there were times when  churches covered up everything, justified it or acted as if the problems weren't there.

Why was all this happening?

Because the church was built by pursuing after people. Going after them than going after God.

Pastors (and other church ministers) pursued after people so they could start a church, often so desperately that they were willing to compromise the standards of Jesus. If you carefully observe, you'd never see Jesus in the Gospel going after people, doggedly inviting them to come to his church or visiting. Many pastors today beg for an audience. They panic at the thought of having no members or losing them.

Jesus' principle was different---his actions told people, "pursue me or nothing." Often, you'd see how he hinted that people who heard him should take it or leave it. He even sometimes discouraged people from following him. Have you ever seen a pastor today do that? You probably won't, because they were trained to desperately pursue after people. To grab people and push them to become church members.

And many become "born-again" through that method. But later you'd see that they're more mere church members than real born-again followers of Christ. You see no new creations in Christ, just new converts to another religion.

One time, Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus: "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" [John 14.22]. In other words, why won't you go after the world? Why won't you pursue after people? Why focus on your disciples? Don't you want more church members?

Jesus replied: "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

In other words, if you're really serious about him, pursue him! That's what "obey my teaching" means. But pastors today obey their congregations' demands and caprices and please people they're eyeing for membership. They'd do anything for them. While the congregation obeys only their desires.

One book I read boasted about how the author started a church that grew big and became known internationally. The pastor went around the community to ask people what they want from a church. And the pastor built the church on that basis. It grew fast, indeed, and became a model mega church worldwide. It's a pastor's dream church.

Not my dream church though.

If you pursue after people, your church would probably experience a boom. But the real result?

It may be a big church because you pursued and pleased a lot of people, but it will never result to the church Jesus Christ is building:

"...on this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." [Matthew 16.18]
Most churches today are easily conquered by the powers of hell. They have lots of members and money, but they're weak and confused, entangled in the systems of this world. They have systematized their doctrines, but they're useless doctrines because they're collections of how men adulterate the Word of God to suit their designs.

These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt--completely useless! [Jeremiah 13.10]
I don't want a big and moneyed church with lots of programs and accomplishments and where "many souls get saved," but is also "completely useless" in the eyes of God. Anything of this world (or birthed by the world) is useless to the Lord.

You have to do church the way Jesus did it.

Most mega churches are nothing but towers of Babel---they agree to build a tower that reaches heaven to make a name for themselves [Genesis 11.4]. They do it all for the name of their denominations.

The moment you pursue after people and concern yourself with membership, your standards are compromised and you'd end up building a synagogue of Satan rather than the glorious church of Jesus Christ, which is without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, holy and pure.

Once, they tried to make Jesus king by force [John 6.15]. That would've made lots of church members for him. But he declined. He didn't want people to put him in power. As a principle, Jesus never pursued after people or allowed people to put him in ministry. He would have had a mega church by doing that. but a mega church that is worldly and anti-God (and anti-WORD) in the end.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Why Jesus Never Did What We Do in Ministry Today

www.godsrainbow.net
Here's Part 1

So, while waiting for the Father to start things for his ministry, Isaiah 53.2 says Jesus just "grew up before him" (the Father)". He "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" [Luke 2.52].

He never desperately went around the neighborhood looking for someone to invite to his ministry. He never did any visitation work.

He just grew up.

I used to do things the traditional denominational way. I'd go around the neighborhood, introduce myself as a pastor and invite folks to my bible studies, prayer meetings and then later to church. Sometimes I forced them, pestered them with my visits, or made them feel guilty if they didn't come. But then one day, in my quiet time, God showed me something in his Word.

I saw how Jesus never did any of the things I was doing. Neither did his apostles in Acts.

That served like a bright bulb that suddenly lighted amid black darkness. What did Jesus and his apostles do then? Like Jesus, the apostles simply "grew up before Him." They roamed the streets of Jerusalem with Jesus, literally lived with him everyday, absorbed his ways and character, and did nothing until the Father said it was time.

They didn't decide a date or schedule when ministry should start. They simply grew up before him like a tender shoot. And then one day, the Holy Spirit came and everything began.

So, that's exactly what I did. I mean, I quit traditional and denominational church, stepped out in faith, and started to just grow up before Him like a tender shoot. For two years, I had no ministry (no job, no money) and we lived by faith (we still do). I prayed and meditated the Word of God so I could grow up before Him like a tender shoot---exactly what Jesus did.

I didn't worry about ministry or where I'd get my church members or how my church would "grow." That was the Father's concern. If he called me, it means he has prepared something for me.

Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation. [Isaiah 51.2].
Jesus Starts Preaching and Discipling

Later, we see Jesus starting to preach and heal and drive out demons. Then, he called his disciples, picked them personally. 

Jesus never promoted his ministry or invited people to come to his worship service, conference or crusade. People just came to him, as people did to John the baptizer's desert ministry. They went there of their own volition. How did this happen?

1. First, Jesus lived the life of the Father. He served as Light.

"...the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." [Matthew 4.16]
2. Then, his life fulfilled Scripture. In other words, he lived out the Word of God daily. He applied the Word to his daily life so he'd have the life and character of the Father. And people around saw this powerful testimony. Ministry should be heavily backed up by spiritual feeding using the spoken Word of God.

"...he went to live in Capernaum...to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah," [Matthew 4.12-14]. 

3. His preaching was powerful because it came with heaven's full backing---signs and wonders and healing. In contrast, churches today use gimmicks, fanfare, entertainment, advertising and marketing---the ways of this world, not the ways of Jesus.

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him." [Matthew 4.23-25].
Now, this is not a formula for building a mega church (mega church, by the way, is the new idolatry of most pastors today). The verses above was how Jesus did church ministry and the apostles followed it. If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, we should do everything according to his ways.

It doesn't matter if you end up with a big or small church. God decides that. After all, it's his church, not ours. Like in the parable, it's the prerogative of the vineyard owner to give you ten, five or one talent. And how big you grow the talent does not reflect your greatness or superiority over others. In the end, you're all given the same appraisal---"good and faithful servant."

Those found faithful with more will be given more. But again, Kingdom policy says more does not mean superior. It simply means, you have received God's grace to produce more. The ability comes from God and he alone is to be praised. Remember what Jesus taught on this:

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, "We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty." [Luke 17.10]

In fact, you can be found faithful even with your less. The rich put in large amounts in the offering box while the widow put in a meager sum. But Jesus appreciated her and was unimpressed by the big offerings of the rich.

Many ministers with big ministries today often act like they are superior to those with smaller ministries. They feel smaller ministers should listen when they speak. John the baptizer had a bigger ministry than what Jesus had, but he felt he should be the one baptized by Jesus.

Greatness in the Kingdom is not how you have more but how you live and behave as the least. Jesus said, a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. In short, in God's eyes, success is not how you have more---though it's good to have more, so you can share more with others.

Neither is it how you have less.

But success is how you remain meek and simple, either with more or less, realizing all you have is by God's grace alone.

So Jesus simply deepened himself in the Word and lived according to it daily, then the Father moved the people to be attracted to him. Jesus never pursued anyone to make then his church members. Rather, people came to him in hopes of somehow becoming his disciples.

This is how Christian church ministries should be done.

Now, to answer our question---why Jesus never did what we do in ministry today: he never did them because you cannot use the ways of the world and end up with God's Kingdom.

[Continued here...]

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Starting a Church the Way Jesus Did It

www.homeyconstructions.com
This has been a challenge to me---start a church the way Jesus did it. After all, Jesus is the Author of it all---the church. He is the only Way to please the Father.

If we want a church pleasing to God, we have to do everything as Jesus did it.

So, how and where do you start it?

You start with yourself.

Well, the usual way is to go around the neighborhood, tell people you're a pastor and invite them for bible studies or prayer meeting.

But Jesus never did it like that. Filled with the Spirit, he was first sent to the wilderness to be tested and then came out in the power of the Spirit.

That's always step one---you have to be taken and exposed to the wilderness and there defeat the devil. A lot of people who want to serve God in church have never been to the wilderness and never defeated the devil there.

Some had their wilderness experience, but instead of defeating Satan there, they were deceived. They joined him do the ministry.

Anyone who wants to serve God should first live in the wilderness. If God called you, he will lead you there. During your wilderness experience, it's the best time to defeat the devil. That gives you tremendous power for ministry. But of course, churches today don't realize this and they'd probably just laugh this off as nonsense.

To them, what matters is to get as many church members as possible.

And many pastors hate the wilderness. They want to have a big church pronto so they'd have big income. They'd choose to pastor moneyed churches already established. They go for mega churches. They despise small and poor churches because they think there's no power there. To them, big is always powerful. So they prefer established ministries. It's lots easier this way. Some of them minister abroad for greener pastures.

Some pastors who do experience the wilderness easily fall to the devil's deception. In their hunger, they listen to the devil's smart and practical ideas and turn stones into bread. They also climb up the pinnacle of the temple, only to later throw themselves down.

And then, because they want to plant churches everywhere as fast as possible, the devil shows them the kingdoms of the world and promises to give all to them if they bow down and worship him. Of course, they won't do that literally, but they'd do everything in the ways of this world, not the ways of Jesus. It's the same thing. Doing things in the ways of this world means bowing down to Satan.

Pastors starting a church in a locality always begin with hunting for potential members. They trouble themselves with that everyday. They worry about not having anybody in their ministry. So they pull anyone they see around and beg them to attend their bible studies---and make them keep coming back, by hook or by crook.

Jesus never did that. He just subjected himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Only the Father decided when things would start taking shape. Meanwhile, Jesus "grew up before him (before the Father), says Isaiah 53:2. He "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" [Luke 2.52].

It's very important to grow up before Him. In fact, it's the only thing important in ministry. Bible school and seminary are all garbage compared to it.

Don't worry about where to get members. Just grow up and develop good character. The devil is not scared of your bible college or seminary degrees or titles or your being called a Reverend. He's not defeated if you have a big church ministry (sometimes, he even likes it that way).

But he fears you if you have Jesus' Life and character in you---because he literally sees Jesus in you. And that, to the devil, is torment.

"What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" [Matthew 8.29]
But that's the problem, most times. Most pastors start their ministries without having grown up. While in their immaturity and rotten character, they start church.

I'm often disappointed at pastors who grow old in ministry with rotten characters. They build big churches but remain rotten inside. Why? Because they never had quality time growing up "before Him." They've always been busy worrying about their ministries and membership.

How and where to begin when starting a church the way Jesus did it? Just grow up before Him. And everything else will be added unto you.

[Continued here...]

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why Many Christians Despise Reading the Bible

americanvision.org
Many pastors would deny it, but if you're honest enough, you'd admit that a lot of Christians today despise reading the bible. Young people or adults. They'd bury themselves in various church activities but not in seriously studying the bible.

I always study people's attitude toward the Word of God when I visit churches.

You'd see them seriously involved in the choir, worship team, fellowship, church concert or cantata (or other stage ministries), medical mission, feeding program, gifts giving, social work or community outreach, etc.

But it's different when it comes to serious bible studies.

Listless During Bible Studies

When bible study comes, they show disinterest, sluggishness, lethargy, don't pay much attention (you always catch their thoughts wandering far from the topic) or don't show up at all. Or they'd show up late, when bible study is almost over.

Others go there just to see their crush in church, or be recognized, or because they have responsibilities or positions.

I once checked a group of young people in church about how familiar they were in the bible. Mostly, all they knew was John 3:16 and other popular passages like that, and these were long-time church members. Amusingly, they were mostly strangers to Romans 3:10.

Romans 3:10 was among very basic and easy passages to us when I was in a college campus ministry where we seriously studied and meditated the bible. Everybody knew what it was. But today, you ask young people active in church about it and they'd likely give you a blank stare.

What more passages in Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Micah or Nahum?

And yes, I wonder how many church people today actually meditate God's Word in their quiet times alone with the Lord? Even among pastors---I wonder who'd study in bible schools or seminaries if these institutions didn't give out diplomas or certificates?

Most pastors enroll in bible institutions for the diploma and credentials---to earn degrees and titles, probably to get higher-paying ministry jobs---not really for their love for the Word.

And you who are reading this---do you love meditating God's Word day and night?

Born-Again Yet WORDless

It's alarming how the number of born-again people who despise studying the Word is growing. They received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, profess being born again, and yet there they are, terribly lacking interest or love for the Word, despising or even hating the Word of God.

They think being active in church is all it takes. And many church people and pastors mistake their activeness in church as a sign of "spiritual growth."

There's no other way to measure spiritual growth and maturity except seeing how a person is deep in God's Word and living it out daily.

Church involvement  and seminary studies prove nothing.

I asked the Lord about this and one day he showed me something. There are two kinds of people who receive Jesus as Savior---those who received him because they fear going to hell and those who received him because they fell in love with him.

Well, there's a third---those who just became used to going to church. Somehow they have equated that with "receiving Jesus," especially after they have learned church lingo and traditions.

There is no fear in love. The reverse is true---there is no love in fear. But perfect love casts out fear. I received Jesus Christ not because I feared going to hell---it was more of discovering how deep he truly loved and cared for me. I was feeling extremely and rebelliously worthless in those days when I heard the Good News that Jesus saves from sin and hell because he sincerely cares for people.

I saw how Jesus actually loved and cared for me.

That caught my attention---no, that nailed my attention. I had thought that God hated me because of the wrong things that had happened in my life. But hearing the Gospel, I realized how wrong I was, aside from how wicked and sinful I had been and how I needed Jesus to save me.

I knew I was a sinner needing God's grace. But more than that, I embraced God's love and concern for me.

I fell in love with God.

Since I received Jesus on September 5, 1980, I have been extremely dependent on the Word of God. I've been like an addict---I desperately need the Word, even craving for it. And each time I have it, I experience extreme highs.

If You Love Me

Then God told me a secret---a secret that those who still loved the world can never discover. He showed me how to know if you received Jesus out of love and not out of fear: "If you love me you will obey my commands" [John 14.15].

Those who receive Jesus out of love obey or keep his commands or his WORD. If you don't have that love for God's Word, it means you received him out of fear.

And fear has nothing to do with love. Even demons fear God [James 2.19]. But they can't love God. Only God's true sons and daughters can love Him because true sons and daughters of God obey his Word.

If you love Jesus and keep his Word, only then will he ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit.

"If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth."
You see, if you have the Holy Spirit in you, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE not to love the Word, study it deeply and live it out daily. You can't claim to have the Holy Spirit and yet be uninterested about the Word. 

The reason many church people cannot love the Word as they ought to is because they still belong to the world.

"The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him."
Even if you have just a little bit of the worldly system still in you, you cannot accept the Holy Spirit. And anyway, if you don't love the Word, Jesus won't ask the Father to send you the Spirit of Truth. Everything has to be according to God's Word, not traditions or church denominational manuals.

If you received Jesus out of fear of hell , you have to re-think and re-consider your salvation. Get serious with it before it's too late.

"If you...believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."[Romans 10.9]

Salvation is believing with your heart (genuine belief because you love God), and not just knowing in your head (because you feared going to hell).

Some people think they're born again, not realizing that all that happened was that they transferred church membership.

You will know them by their fruit, says Jesus.

And the most important fruit of being genuinely born-again is loving the Word, being deep in it, and living it out daily. If you love the Word like that, the fruit of the Spirit will naturally manifest in you.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

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