Thursday, December 19, 2013

CHANGING THE GUARD



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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Leaving The Pew To Stand On The Mountain

God is your Leader, not man...




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Friday, November 22, 2013

FACING PERSECUTION

Kriston Couchey

“Are you able to take of the cup which I am about to take?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “Truly, you will take of my cup…” 

THE KINGDOM BY FORCE

I am convinced that we have crossed a threshold into the age where the kingdom of God is being fully established on earth even as it is in heaven. The Spirit of God has been speaking that in this particular time we must be prepared to face persecution beyond what we in the western world have known before. This persecution is not increasing because the enemy is getting stronger, but because the Kingdom of God is coming forth more forcefully.

The advancement and establishing of the Kingdom of God poses a threat to the systems and seats of power from which principalities exert their will in the lives of men and women. The proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom judges the enemy and his works; dismantling strongholds and dethroning spiritual forces. When the powerbases of these demonic forces become threatened, the enemy uses these systems and seats of power he controls to bring suffering and persecution in an attempt to stop the threat. It is a spiritual battle we are engaging in. Because of this, all of God’s children are and will be affected by persecution to some degree.

We see this dynamic throughout scripture, and clearly in the life of Jesus. His preaching and demonstrating the kingdom threatened the system of power in Israel and led to his death on a cross. I have experienced this in the church, and know what it is like to be persecuted by brothers and sisters in the Lord.

PERSECUTION BY BROTHERS
Years ago as worship leader in an institutional church, I was given a specific word to share with the congregation that greatly upset an individual who wielded an inordinate amount of power over church decisions. I was pressured by this women and her husband to recant, but the Spirit of God would not allow me to recant. It was then I had a night vision in which the Spirit of God revealed to me a spirit of antichrist controlling the church that He was having me confront. Because I was threatening its power base through the prophetic word it was attacking me through the woman and her husband.

Things began to get tumultuous as my refusal to recant upset them so much they used their influence over the elders to force me give answer to the elder board. Before I was to meet with the elders the Spirit of God spoke to me and said, “Son, I want you address the elders with the truth that this couple is controlling and usurping the spiritual authority in this church.” I followed Father’s instructions and shared this with the elders. I was immediately dismissed as the worship leader and over the next months there was a power struggle on the board. One day at work in the midst of this turmoil I was feeling down about everything and suddenly I was filled with joy; joy so great I wanted to literally jump for joy. Shocked at this I asked Father what was happening. Immediately this verse came to my mind:

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

I continued to worship with saints of this congregation while great changes took place as to how spiritual authority was exercised in the church. As a result of the changes I was eventually restored as worship leader. The pastor later confessed to me after all the trouble, “You were right Kris.”

YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

It is the testimony of Jesus and the apostles that doing the will of God and following Him comes with persecution. I testify to you that God is speaking to His people right now that we must be prepared to face persecution of every kind in the coming days. For many today, the persecution they face is people simply opposing and reviling their doctrines and practices. The enemy tries to take us captive by causing us to take offense by this opposition. We are called to respond in love to the persecutors, but remain resolved concerning the truth.

It is important to know that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but principalities and the powers they wield. These are powers that men and women look to for safety and security apart from Christ and His kingdom. The Spirit has shown me that the powerbases by which principalities rule over and take men captive fall into any of four categories as follows:

POLITICAL POWER – Power that influences the formation and administration of institutions by various interest groups and their agendas. This is achieved through legitimate or illegitimate authority and leadership within the institution.

RELIGIOUS POWER
– Theologies, practices, regulations, ideologies, doctrines or worldviews that unite, motivate, and empower people.

ECONOMIC POWER - Money and/or its representative physical resources or possessions and the power and influence it wields.

MILITARY POWER (WORKS OF THE FLESH) – Exerting influence over others through intimidation, dominance, control, coercion, and extortion, military might, threats, and bullying, etc.

I have found that many of the messages I am given for the body of Christ confront or expose principalities and the powers they use to oppress and keep people captive. I have also seen that these threatened bases of power can be the very means by which persecution comes.

It is important to see beyond the people who are being used as pawns and recognize the authority we have been given to overcome all the power of the enemy. The enemy can only wield power, but the sons of the kingdom walk in authority. Christ in me is greater than any offense or attack the enemy may bring against me.

Jesus is our greatest example of the uncompromising determination to do God’s will in the face of the persecution of the devil. He is also an example of our attitude toward those who are used to persecute. But more than that, we are one with Him and have all we need is inside of us to face and overcome it with joy.

Jesus said of the people used to kill Him, “Father forgive them for the do not know that they are doing”. Then He went on to defeat the evil one by this same instrument used to kill Him. It was love that ultimately won the day and it is love that causes us to execute the victory Christ has won over all the power of the enemy and set captives free.

In His Love
Kriston Couchey

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

LEADERSHIP OF THE SPIRIT AND KINGDOM AUTHORITY





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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Overcoming Principalities and Powers



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Thursday, September 26, 2013

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

An external sign of an internal condition, not necessarily a future event...




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Thursday, September 19, 2013

BABYLON THE HARLOT



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Thursday, September 12, 2013

ANTICHRIST IN THE TEMPLE



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Thursday, August 29, 2013

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOU?


WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOU?
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

THE VOICE OF MANY WATERS




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Thursday, July 25, 2013

THE UNVEILING OF THE BRIDE - DEBUNKING THE ELITE REMNANT




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Friday, June 28, 2013

Apostolic Way

By Ron McKenzie

Jesus gave very clear instructions about the way that an apostolic team should do its work (Luke 10). These are probably the most ignored words in the entire New Testament.
Neighbourhood

When they are sent out into a new area, Christians should seek God to find the right neighbourhood.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go (Luke 10:1).
Jesus appointed the seventy-two and sent (literally apostled) them out. They went everywhere he was going to go. Now that Jesus has gone and the Holy Spirit has come, apostles should go where the Holy Spirit is about to go. Being in Jerusalem is pointless, if the Holy Spirit is moving in Antioch.
Some neighbourhoods and nations are spiritually tougher than others. Jesus said,
When you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near' (Luke 10:10,11).
Apostles should not waste their efforts where they are not welcome. They should move on and find a place where the Holy Spirit is moving. Antioch is a good example of such a place, but apostles initially missed out on the opportunity (Acts 11:20-24).
Person of Peace

When they move to the chosen location, the apostles should try to establish contact with an influential person or “person of peace” in that place. Jesus commanded the seventy-two to stay in one home and not go from house to house.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them,… When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you (Luke 10:1,2,5-6).
He had said something very similar when he sent out the twelve.
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you (Matt 10:11-13).
The Holy Spirit will lead the apostles to a “worthy person” or “person of peace”. This is someone who is open to the gospel and who has contact and influence with other people in the area. Sometimes that person might be a Christian with a burden for their neighbourhood. The new Church will usually meet in the house of the person of peace.

Paul often went to the local synagogue to identify the worthy person. This was how he and Barnabas started a Church in the house of Lydia.
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us (Acts 16:14,15).
Lydia was the person of peace and influence and the first convert in Philippi. Paul and Barnabas established a church in her house.

Sometimes the person of peace or influence will be a town official or key business person. Publius, the chief official of Malta welcomed Paul into his home (Acts 28:7). Lydia was a successful businesswoman. In Paphos, the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God (Acts 13:6,7). Winning a person in authority for Christ will open the whole neighbourhood or village up to the gospel.

The fact that he person is at peace may be a sign that the forces of evil are not strong in that locality. This will make it an ideal place to establish a spiritual stronghold.
Stay in a House

In most cultures, the apostles would go and live in the house of the person of peace. Jesus said,
Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house (Luke 10:7).
Jesus had said the same thing to the twelve when he sent them out.
Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town (Luke 9:4).
Paul and Barnabas went to stay with Lydia. Paul went to stay with Publius. Ideally an apostolic team would accept customary offers of hospitality and stay in the house of the person of peace.

In western cultures, staying with the person of peace or influence might be too intrusive. The apostle should rent or buy a house as close as possible to the person of influence, but they would still have their meetings in the home of the person of peace.

If the rest of the apostolic team are single, they could stay with the apostle in his house. If they are married, they should find houses close by.

The apostolic team will focus their chosen locality. They will build a spiritual stronghold and form a Christian community, in which they share and care for each other. This will be a tremendous witness to the people who live around them.
Healing the Sick

Once contact has been established with the person of peace, the apostles should look for opportunities to heal the sick. Jesus said,
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you' (Luke 10:8,9).
An apostle has authority to heal the sick, so someone should be healed, when the apostolic team moves into the new neighbourhood. The healing will often crack the neighbourhood open.

At Malta, Paul prayed for Publius’s sick father and he was healed (Acts 28:8-10). The whole island came and were healed (many would have been saved). The proconsul in Paphos believed the Gospel, when he saw a sorcerer struck blind by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:8-12).

When people in the neighbourhood hear about the healing, they will be curious. Many others will come wanting to be healed. The apostles will take the opportunity to share the gospel and pray for them.

In most cultures, a crowd will gather. The apostle or the evangelist will preach the gospel and pray for the sick. God will confirm their preaching with signs and wonders (Mark 16:20). Jesus regularly used this method.

The apostolic team will disciple the new Christians, teaching them to live in obedience to Jesus. They will mould them together into a Church, based in the home of the person of peace. The new Church will become a community in which the life of Christ is visibly demonstrated. As households are converted, they will be drawn into this community. Seen from this perspective, becoming a Christian is becoming part of a Christian community.
Starting with the End in Mind

Apostles will start the new Church with the end in mind. The first priority of the apostolic team will be to get to the stage where they can appoint a team of elders from within the new Church to take over its leadership. Most of their energy will go into those whom they expect to become elders. The apostolic team will intensively disciple them and start to replicate their ministries in them. They will focus on developing a team containing the full range of ministries.

People with influence are important because they are likely to become leaders in the new Church. A person of peace is less likely to have a lot of personal problems that need to be sorted out before they can grow into leadership. A person with both influence and a peaceful spirit should have potential to become an elder.

The ideal is for the apostle to live with the person of peace. This would increase the intensity of their discipleship. They would see everything the apostle does and be able to join in all the apostle’s activities. Having an apostle, and perhaps a prophet, living in their house will also provide a high level of spiritual protection. These benefits will help the person of peace grow very fast.

The apostolic team will not be concerned about gathering a large number of new converts. They will be busy with those who have leadership potential, so they will not have time to disciple a large number of new converts. They will not want a lot of new converts until some of the first batch of local Christians is ready to disciple them.

A work is ‘unfinished” until local elders have been appointed (Titus 1:5). When a local eldership team is in place, it will be easier to bring people into the Church.

Apostles will not be interested in church buildings. Their focus will be on growing to the point where they are able to send out apostles again, so they will not waste time and resources on buildings. Sending out apostles and starting new Churches is more important than a place to meet. The members of the apostolic team will usually rent their houses, as they will want to be free to move on when the time is right.
Summary of the Apostolic Way

Go where the Holy Spirit is moving
Seek the person of peace
Get established in a house
Heal the sick
Preach the gospel
Make disciples
Establish a Church
Train elders
Go out again.
Effective Strategy

Jesus spelt out a very clear strategy, but implementing it will require a radical change in the mindset of the church. For a long time the goal has been to get people to come to the church to hear the gospel. The problem with this approach is that in many cultures, most non-Christians will not come into a church service.

Jesus never said we should get people to come; he always said the church should go to where the people are (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). The advantage of the New Testament way outlined here is that the Church goes to where the people live. They will see real hard-core Christianity being lived out in their living room or in the house next door.

Ron McKenzie
Kingdom Watcher, in New Zealand

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

END TIMES PROPHECY




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Saturday, March 16, 2013

THE NARROW GATE

By Kriston Couchey

THE WROUGHT IRON GATE

As I began to pray suddenly I found myself standing on a narrow path leading off into the distance. As I scanned further I could see the path led into the dark night to an unknown destination.As I walked this path I came upon a long line of people standing in the middle of the path. A man in the front of the line cried out, "You cannot go further unless you enter the narrow gate!" He stood before a narrow wrought iron gate and the people were attempting to go through. The top of the gate was fashioned from wrought iron and formed the words, "The Narrow Gate". This wrought iron banner was fastened so low down upon the gate that anyone desiring to enter had to crawl on their hands and knees fit beneath it, and then they still were required to squeeze between the narrow posts on either side.

I scanned the path beyond the gate and noticed that as far as I could see was what seemed to be a carnival of sorts stretched out along the narrow path into the dark. To my surprise I saw men and women positioned along the road shouting out instructions to the many souls traversing the road as they presided over a series of hurdles, doors, curtains, and obstacle courses blocking the path. At each obstacle someone would give instructions to those making the pilgrimage as to how to pass the obstacle.Finally I asked Father, "What is this gate and path with the obstacles all along the way?" He replied "This is the gate and path of religion. These hindrances on the path in front of people are stumbling blocks placed before them by men. Religion is a stumbling block that places requirements upon men that I never place on them. It attempts to get men to pay or work for what I have already freely given them.”

I turned again to the path and saw that many of the obstacles on the path were created and erected by the very ones giving out “advice” as to how to overcome them. They had figured out how to turn the path of religion into an elaborate extortion scheme. These were receiving in return for their services; money, honor, titles, or position, etc. Something was received of everyone to pass an obstacle. When these received the appropriate payment, the pilgrim would be rewarded with the “secret” to overcoming, the “keys” to unlock doors, the “guidelines” on fasting, the “steps” to spiritual success, and on, and on. All of these purported to get you “closer” to God, become more like God, be pleasing to God and receive His blessing, or help you get to another spiritual level.

THE SUPERHIGHWAY

As I continued to gaze upon this religious charade, to my surprise I noticed that this “narrow path” that at first seemed to be the only path was simply one “lane” of a much bigger super highway that had many lanes on it. This road was very wide with hundreds of lanes being traveled upon by a multitude of people. Each religion had their own lane with their own stumbling blocks for the people that adhered to their ideologies. But, many of the other lanes were filled with people carelessly rushing down the road oblivious as to where they were headed.The lanes of the highway seemed to be divided between two different philosophies of travel. One philosophy of travel was religious engagement that lured people with levels of spiritual attainment and power. The other lured people with the philosophy that there was no absolute truth other than pleasing self. One philosophy was rooted in striving to be like God through requirements and laws. The other philosophy was rooted in believing that man was his own god and no law existed. These two philosophies formed into two distinct streams of humanity flowing in the same direction, to the same destination, and on the same road.

It was then Father spoke "This highway is so wide that those in the religious paths do not see that the lawless are on the same highway headed to the same destination. These two philosophies are manifestations of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Both are of the same tree, yet they manifest differently.Religion manifests as self-effort and self-righteousness. Lawlessness manifests as unchecked and unrestrained self-indulgence and self-expression. But son, I only showed you the highway in order to show you the TRUE Narrow Gate.”

THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE
As He finished speaking a light shone brightly from behind me and cast my shadow alongside the superhighway. Then a voice of as of many waters spoke from behind me saying "Turn around!" I turned to look and there stood Jesus shining in brilliant light.He was standing in the midst of a large fountain of water, and water flowed out from Him. As He spoke the waters rushed out with greater force and spread across the ground. "I AM the narrow gate. I AM the way! He who drinks of Me will never thirst again!”

I immediately hit my knees in worship and began drinking from this fountain of life.Joy overwhelming burst from within me and I lost track of all time as I basked in His goodness and love.I awoke as if from a dream from my state of heavenly bliss and opened my eyes to a bright light like noonday. I found myself standing among a small gathering of people and realized the light was not coming from the sun, but emanating from the people standing with me. Even more shocking was the water flowing from everyone’s belly, including my own. The water flowed in the same manner as the fountain that flowed from Jesus. When people spoke the fountain within them welled up with a greater flow that quenched the thirst of everyone around them and bathed them in light. The water was also the source of light. As it came from within each one it caused the person from which it flowed to and from to emanate light.

I turned around to see the super highway and to my amazement many of those on the road nearest us drawn by the light were on their knees scooping up and drinking the water as it flowed down around the small group gathered there.We began offering water freely to any willing to drink. Many who received the water were weary and downtrodden, but when they drank the water the transformation that came upon them was complete. Sorrow turned to joy, anxiety to peace, and fear to love. As the people were transformed they began to also overflow the water of life from their bellies and freely offer it to other thirsty souls. To as many as received what was offered, the water of life transformed them.

COME AND DRINK
We began walking among those on the highway offering water to all who would receive it. The people began to mob the water bearers for a drink. As a result, the explosion of light on the super highway caused many people to stop their journey to investigate what was happening. The light began to shine so brightly that the darkness shrouding the highway began to lift and it was clear to most that it lead to a precipice; anyone going over it would plummet to a certain death.

Again Father spoke, “Son, the stingy requirements of religion are not the path to life, nor is it found in simply pleasing self. Jesus IS the narrow gate, Jesus IS the path of life, and Jesus IS the light and water of life. The gateway to life is not narrow because it is hard to enter; it is narrow because Jesus is the only way to life. You must cease from your religious labors to enter into Him. His yoke is easy and his burden is light and you will find rest for your souls in His life giving flow.

Only from Him, in Him and through Him can you obtain life. All who will drink of Christ receive abundant life; not someday, not through hard work, but NOW! Men either trust in what is already finished by embracing and receiving abundant life of Christ, or they follow another road which only leads to death. The Spirit and Bride say come and drink that life.”

In His Love
Kriston Couchey
www.openheaven.com
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Judging Prophecy


So there I was...trimming my rose bushes the day after Valentine's day when the Lord began asking me questions about judging prophecy. What follows is what I took away from that conversation:

I haven't written a lot of prophetic words. And although I'm hosting a prophetic word thread right now, I don't give or receive many prophetic words. I'm more interested in learning how the process of prophecy works than I am in giving or receiving words.

The bible says that prophecy must be judged or discerned (1 Cor. 14:29).

The question is - how do we judge prophecy?

One of the most common answers is, "Prophecy needs to line up with the word of God."

Although this is one of the most common answers given, it may be the least reliable and the most dangerous way to judge prophecy. That may come as a surprise to some of you, so let me explain why I say this.

There is no place in scripture where we are instructed to judge prophecy by measuring or comparing it with scripture itself. While this might seem like a good idea - it isn't taught anywhere in the bible.

It's true that the Bereans searched the word to see if the things they heard were true - but this passage does not refer to prophetic utterance. It refers to doctrine. It's true that a sound knowledge of the bible can help keep us from error, but when it comes to judging prophecy - there is no instruction telling us to compare prophecy with scripture.

If a prophetic word happens to be about earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest - how exactly is the prophecy supposed to "line up with scripture"?

Does the prophet toss in a few verses from the bible about earthquakes to make his word appear to be more scriptural?

And if he did - would it increase the chances that it was from the Lord and not his own imagination?

There are many people delivering "prophetic words" who are not hearing from God, but Satan. These people know the scriptures well. They have an evil agenda and they know how to couch their agenda in the language of the Christian culture. If their agenda is to bring condemnation on a congregation, all they need to do is deliver prophetic words of condemnation, throwing in scriptural references from the book of Revelation's letters to the Churches of Asia, claiming that the Lord Himself is displeased with their disobedience. The terrified congregation will recognize that these prophetic words, "Line up with scripture" and live under condemnation not from the Lord, but from Satan.

Many true prophets of God have become involved in a kind of 'prophecy for profit' enterprise. There are a number of organizations that engage in a subscription service which delivers regular prophetic words to a reader-base. Prophets write a certain number of words each year and submit them for the reader’s consideration. The subscription service delivers them. And in the process, advertisers pay big bucks to everyone involved. The prophets go on tour, sell books, CDs, DVDs and other goods and services, keeping their itineraries booked and bills paid.

I have no qualms with prophets receiving donations or selling books and other services. But the system they've become a part of is dependent upon them producing prophetic words on a regular basis. If there are no words, there is no income. So the words must be written.

But what kind of words does the system deliver?

I've been enrolled to one of the subscription services for several years. To be honest, about 90% of the prophetic material I've read over the last 4 years appears to be nothing more than the same recycled words year after year with only a few minor changes from the year before.

"New anointings, new assignments, new mantles, a new move of God, a fresh wind of the Sprit blowing, a greater level of God's glory, the bride making herself ready....ad nauseum.

I'm not saying that these things are not coming in the near future. I think many of them are. I am saying that if a prophet wants to, he can throw together a few clichés, a few verses of scripture, and a story about a dream or vision and have their word for the month.

Most of the words being written have become so generic, so repetitive and so cliché, they seem to be of little value. But they're always full of scriptural references, because the prophets know, "Prophecy has to line up with the Word".  So we have a lot of worthless prophetic words that are very scriptural.

Judging prophecy is not a matter of determining whether a prophetic word contains a certain number of biblical references. There is no "Scriptural litmus test" for a prophetic word.

Prophecy is judged by the Spirit.

It is discerned when the Holy Spirit confirms or denies His signature in the prophetic word to our spirit. It is evaluated by whether or not it produces light, life and love in the one who hears it. It is judged by whether is brings comfort, consolation or encouragement. It is accepted as valid when the saints agree that their spirits see the breath of God speaking to His children.

Judging prophecy by such standards may not be easy. We may not always come to an agreement. We may not even be certain that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness to our spirit. But that is what we must do. And if it takes training the saints to learn to hear the Holy Spirit a little better, we ought to get moving in that direction.

Let us learn to discern the voice of God speaking through prophecy in a way that builds up the body of Christ and brings glory to the Father.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Transition

As we leave one season and look forward to the start of another, there is a short time of transition; a bridge if you will, that must be crossed.

There are things from the last season that we should keep and just as many that we should leave behind. Take an inventory. Don't be afraid to leave things behind. You'll be picking up better things, soon.

The assignments of the last season must be forgotten. There are new ones you must learn and be equipped for. Resist the comfortable, familiar flow that would keep you living in the past.

This time can be seen as a bridge.


We are done with the last chapter, but we can't begin the next one. The time has not yet come to enter it. We are now on the bridge between seasons.

The bridge is not really a season itself. It's the time between seasons, when we must move from one, toward another, being 'in' neither of them.

It's a time of having your wounds from the last season healed and a time of preparing for the challenges that lie ahead. The more you allow yourself to be healed from the past, the better you will do in the future.

The challenges and assignments in the next season require you to be re-armed and re-equipped with different weapons, tactics & strategies. What worked in the past will not work in the future. The landscape of the future and and opposition you'll face will be dramatically different. Now is the time to get prepared.

We're on the bridge. Don't set up camp. We're not staying here long. We're just passing through.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

What Is This Revival Going to Look Like?


Before I moved to Canada, I was looking for the Third Great Awakening to start at any time in the US. I didn't know what it was going to look like, but I felt that something really big was going to happen. After being in Canada awhile, I started doing a bit of research on revivals and what they looked like. Canada has never had a nationwide revival, although there have been several pockets of a real Move of God. In my research, I found a few prophecies that stated Canada was headed for a great awakening, or Move of God, and that through this (or at the same time), the US and other nations would have a revival.

The following is a list of characteristics of what I believe will happen in this Move of God.

1. This revival will be different from anything that has happened in the past. Do not look for God to do what He did in the US during the Great Awakening or the Second Great Awakening. If you do, you will miss what God has for you. (confirmed by Charlie Robison on 03/22/2011 in Kelowna).

2. The revival will be led by lay people, not pastors, preachers or evangelists. The lay people will be those that are in tune with the Holy Spirit and have a heart for God. Those gifts that were intended for use outside "the church", will be used in a dramatic way. People will be healed, and eyes will be opened with words of wisdom and knowledge from "normal" people. People will suddenly feel the Spirit of God move within them, and they will speak as if God Himself were speaking. The lay people will "naturally" do what is right, being led by the Holy Spirit. This is not to say that pastors, etc. won't have a role, but the main thrust will be through lay people.

3. There will be a God ordained "civil war" within the church. In the same way that Paul had to rebuke Peter for compromising the Gospel through his actions with the Judaizers, there will be a desire to get back to the pure truth of the Gospel: that is, that there is no way to the Father except by a confession of faith in the Lord Jesus. We are not talking about doctrinal differences. Those that get into a fight over doctrinal differences will be left behind in this revival (or may find themselves in a fight with God). Instead, we are talking about any "gospel" that is preached distorts who God (the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit) is and teaches any other way to the Father than through Jesus. (this has already started)

4. Related to the items above, the Lord will use the people who have been rejected by "the church" in the past. These include those that have sinned greatly, but have been miraculously transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Apostle Paul was transformed from a murderer to a warrior for God, so shall these days be. As people are being saved, God will transform them into soldiers for God. God is going to use ex-drug dealers and addicts, ex-gang members, ex-prostitutes, etc.... those people who "many sins have been forgiven," will love much (Luke 7:47).

5. Because some in the current church do not understand what is happening, because some will take offense at the outcasts that are coming to salvation, and because there is a split over the True Gospel, many will leave the church, but many more will be moved into the Body of Christ. Those that take offense and don't repent will start mocking, and then move to persecuting the Body of Christ. This may very well include those the are true children of God, but don't accept what is happening in the church.

6. The Body of Christ will become "spotless and without blemish," i.e., she will move into the Righteousness and Holiness that God intended.

7. Any Move of God also includes a great Move within the youth - the very young through the college age. This will be from the very beginning (and may have already started). This will, of course, include the outcasts, but also include the youth from our mainline churches who just "catch fire." The youth will move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a mighty way, so much so that it will astound the older generations.

8. This Move of God will cross all denominational boundaries. This is not about who is right doctrinally, but who God is! Those that deny the Move of God as legitimate because it didn't come from their church or denomination will be left unchanged. Those that claim that the Move of God started with their denomination or church, or lead by their denomination or church, will be left unchanged through this Move because of their hard hearts - they may even open themselves up to the judgment of God. There will be attempts for some to lead this movement, but if they have personal motives, they will crash as an example to others. This movement will truly be lead by the Holy Spirit. He will raise up "leaders" that do not want to be recognized but want the Kingdom to be advanced. Individuals in the Body will just "do" what they are supposed to do.

9. There will be a 24/7 prayer movement in major regions or cities across denominational and church boundaries. (this has already started)

10. There will be a restoration of David's Tabernacle, that is, there will be a movement for 24/7 praise and worship in major cities and regions across denominational and church boundaries.

11. There will be a Move of God to promote justice across all boundaries (socio-economic, racial, etc.). Please note that there is a false "social justice" movement in place at this time that will not get (and will not even try to get) justice. You will recognize the difference in the two by their results.

12. There will be a move by the Body of Christ to secure a place in society for the "fatherless." This includes the UNBORN. Today's trend of abortion on demand will be reversed by the Spirit of God. The Body will make every attempt to empty the orphanages and adopt the fatherless.

13. The Body of Christ will become the New Testament church once more. As the church walks in Holiness and Righteousness, the miracles of Acts will be seen once more. It will be both glorious and terrifying.

14. As the Body of Christ sees what Jesus means to her, individuals will live sacrificially with their finances and their time. Material possessions will become meaningless to the "alive" church. Seeing people added to the Body of Christ will be the church's main focus.

15. The revival will cover all (or most all) nations. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. (that is, people from all religions) will have their eyes opened to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be converted.

16. The Body of Christ will learn to truly "walk in the Spirit" and walk in the authority that God has given her.

17. There will be great conflicts and disasters during this time - but for those of us who are focused on Jesus Christ, it will not matter. These troubling events will only strengthen our resolve to do what God has called us to do.

18. This last revival will remain in place until the Lord's return.

Compiled by Don Deskins, Kelowna, BC, Canada



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Monday, January 14, 2013

The 7 Worst (and best) Things I Did in Traditional Church Ministry


by pastor Smith

I recently left a twenty-five year pastorate and the professional ministry. The move came after a two year struggle of conscience where I tried to do what Wolfgang Simpson describes as “trying to cross the river without getting your feet wet.” After a year of reflection I offer to you the seven worst/best things I did as a conventional  church pastor.

1. Took a full-time salary. Until I left the ministry I had no idea how corrupting a compensation package is to the church. It changes the way you think about yourself and changes the way people view you. You become a sort of professional  Christian that floats above the unwashed masses of laity. It affects your decision-making almost every day. The Trinity becomes Father, Son and Holy Cash Flow.

2. Defended tithing as a principle. This is closely related to the first point. By “defended” I mean that I never really believed that tithing was a  New Testament requirement but I kept the clergy conspiracy of silence in order to protect the finances of the church. By “principle” I mean a nicer word for “law.” No one in our congregation had to  tithe but if they wanted to be in any leadership role…well…

3. Preached every Sunday. This was a surprising one for me because like most pastors I had a high degree of (over) confidence in my ability to inspire, entertain, and transform lives from the pulpit. Now, of course, I realize that being the  voice of God week after week creates a group of listeners who have no confidence in their own ability to hear God let alone teach others.

4. Promoted music as worship. Anyone attending our church for very long would come away with the idea that the half-hour music concert at the beginning of every Sunday morning celebration was the high point of praising and worshiping God. Presenting yourself as a living sacrifice each day came in a distant second.

5. Marketed the church. I spent an inordinate amount of time and money through the years keeping the church in the public view of our community. Advertising, signage, and special events, took the place of signs, wonders, and miracles in practice if not in doctrine.

6. Established an equipping track. The equipping part is classic discipleship. It’s the “track” part that crossed the line. Trying to systematize spiritual growth is not only inorganic and unscriptural, it is also impossible. Much time, energy, and emotion blackmail was expended pushing people through artificial, inflexible programs that at the end of the day puffed up more than they built up.

7. Purchased a building. My crowning achievement as pastor was saddling my congregation with 20+ years of debt and maintenance costs.

Life isn’t all bad, however. Here are the seven best things I did as a pastor:

1. Established cell groups. Beginning in 1994 we spent more and more time and emphasis on small groups. Routinely we had more people involved in cells than were attending Sunday mornings.

2. Taught people how to have devotions. I spent two years equipping the congregation how to journal their way through the Bible. People still contact me to tell me how much it has meant to them.

3. Became a police chaplain. In a desire to reach out beyond the congregation and model evangelism, I acted as police chaplain of our city for 16 years.

4. Reached out on campus. The church I pastored is located in a college town. With several others in the church I reached out regularly doing surveys with students. Some of my best ministry memories happened during these outings.

5. Made disciples. The longer I pastored the more time I spent building relationships with people and the less I spent preparing for Sunday. Ironically the less time I spent on “quality control” the better the services became.

6. Never stopped praying or learning. I have always viewed prayer as the R&D department of the church. It was prayer that launched me into the ministry, prayer that sustained me in the ministry, and ultimately it was prayer that led me out of the ministry.

7. Pastored bi-vocationally. The first two years and the last two years I worked part-time outside the church. The first two out of necessity and the last two out of choice. The last two also prepared me to support myself in the simple church ministry role I have now.

I can summarize these two lists this way: Most of the worst things I did as a pastor I did promoting, protecting, maintaining, and leading Sunday morning services. Most of the best things I did as a pastor I did during the course of living life during the week. Hopefully these lists will help equip others to avoid the same mistakes.

Pastor Smith was a conventional church pastor for 25 years in the Northwest. He now lives with his wife in Las Vegas, NV coaching simple churches, reaching out to the lost, and ministering bi-vocationally.

Originally published here:
http://www.story.house2house.com/2011/03/18/the-7-worst-and-best-things-i-did-in-traditional-church-ministry/

Also found here: http://on.fb.me/Uc4Ie7

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