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Is the Church Running Upside Down?

Wow, what an interesting perspective of what we describe as the five-fold (or four-fold) ministry of the church this video has?! What if those who are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were NOT meant to be some celebrated, anointed and exclusive office holders of these 5 areas of ministry but intended to teach the whole Body of Christ (i.e. everyone!) HOW TO BE apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? How would that change the way we function in the church? How would that change the way we disciple one another? After all, didn’t Paul say in Eph.4:11-12 that Christ gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers TO PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE? (Instead of God’s people sitting in the pews listening to messages and enjoying the good stories and testimonies of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher!) Who better to teach us how be apostles to our own community and the nations beyond than the one given by Christ to be an apostle? Who better to help us grow and learn how to prophesy than the one given by Christ to be a prophet? Who better to train us to be daily evangelists to reach out to the friends and strangers we meet than evangelists? Who better to show us how to be pastors in our workplaces and neighbourhood than the pastors? And who better to equip us to teach others the Word of God than those given by Christ to be teachers? Every one of these persons called, anointed and appointed are probably not intended by God to rise to fame and be celebrated individuals, but to be EQUIPPERS of the saints to prepare God’s people for works of service in the same areas the equippers themselves are gifted in. As Richard Jacobson asked in his video below, is today’s church leadership backwards? Or as I would put it, have we gotten church running UPSIDE DOWN?

Walking in the Supernatural 2

Walking in the Supernatural 2: Walking in the supernatural requires supernatural faith – faith that is beyond what is natural and ordinary for a person. It’s about having faith that does not waiver in the face of a tough situation – when things don’t go our way or when asked to do things we don’t feel like doing or when it’s something inconvenient to do. Such as that nudge of God to serve in a ministry, submit to your boss, ask for forgiveness, admit you’re wrong, go on a mission trip, continue to go to church during children’s exams period, go to prayer meeting even though work is keeping you busy, give up precious annual leave to do something for the Lord, etc. It’s the ability to see good about something or see God in something even when the path or task appears unpleasant. Supernatural faith dares to believe and dares to act when the odds are stacked against you and when the enemy taunts and belittles you. Supernatural faith is founded upon our supernatural God who has done the unimaginable and unexpected – sending His beloved Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins – the offended God crucified for the offenders – the God who raised Jesus from the dead and who mocked death and the grave saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1Cor.15:55) Supernatural faith is much needed amongst the saints today that the world may see God through our faith.

Walking in the Supernatural

supernatural - no ordinary lifeWalking in the Supernatural: It is vital that we walk in the supernatural every day! While we live in the natural, the supernatural God walks with us and talks with us. He wants to lead us into situations where through us, He can act to change a situation or transform a life, including our lives! First, be AWARE that He is with you. Second, be in constant conversation with Him – a very important part of this is to LISTEN to what He is saying to you. Third, ACT boldly on what He tells you even though it may feel awkward (as long as it does not lead to sin, injury and anything that opposes the written Word of God). Whether it is blessing a colleague, a friend or a stranger with something – a gift, an act of love or a word, don’t hesitate, DO IT and you will see the supernatural God in action through you! Jesus said in Jn.10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Have a great day!

Intimate Conversation With God

Oh how I long for songs that lead us into intimate conversation with the Lord, not just songs of declaration and proclamation that are loud and passionately sung. They are good and they give a good adrenaline rush – but I just love the moments when we draw near, go deeper and converse with the Lord through a simple song. Sometimes, every song in the set seems to be the declaration type songs (whether slow or fast). An example of a song that facilitates intimate conversation with the Lord is “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe – “The more I seek You, the more I find You, the more I find You, the more I love You, I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hands, lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heartbeat, this love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand, I melt in Your peace, it’s overwhelming”. That’s intimate conversation. There is a place for songs of declaration like, Kim Walker’s Happy Day, “Greatest day in history, death is beaten You have rescued me, shout it out, Jesus is alive!” but we need moments when we are engaged in deep, personal, intimate conversation with the Lord – conversations that express our love and hunger for Him and also to express our deep desire to be like Him in the way He lived and loved, in His holiness and express our passion to live to fulfill His Kingdom purposes. Declaration is like something you do in the outer court – but intimate conversation is what you do in the holy of holies, and the holy of holies is where divine exchanges take place – “You called, I answered, here am I, Lord, ready, willing and available, send me!”

Songs Form Our Theology

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Hymns of old conveyed great biblical theology – though criticized for their use of secular tunes of the day, over the last 200 years or so, they have been embraced by churches all around the world, even the extremely conservative ones. Through the 1970s – 90s, many choruses were written for the church and they brought into corporate worship something that the hymn-writers have not emphasized – the element of personal communion & intimate conversation with God through songs of worship. “I worship You almighty God, there is none like You, I worship You, O Prince of peace, this is what I long to do ….”, “Within the veil, I now would come, into Thy holy place to look upon Thy face ….”, “O Lord, You’re beautiful, Your face is what I see ….”, etc. These are words of the choruses written in that era, an era characterized by intimate worship – deep personal expressions of desire, worship, devotion and surrender. Of course, there were also many songs written about other themes. For instance, songs about spiritual warfare that encourage Christians to fight and win spiritual battles against the devil – our unseen enemy. Today, there seems to be an interesting reversal to writing songs with lyrics and tunes similar to the hymns – but sung to modern musical arrangement. For example, 10000 Reasons, Cornerstone, etc. There is good solid theology in these new songs and that is always a good thing. There is also a strong emphasis on declaring the love of God the Father, the Father-child relationship (yet not so much on intimate communion and personal conversation with God; neither is our relationship with God as His servants found in most songs today). This emphasis on God’s love for us is also often expressed in the first person singular – “for me”. As a result, if the worship leader is not careful in his or her selection of songs, week after week, he or she will end up leading the congregation into a ME-focused, ME-centred worship (isn’t it supposed to be all about Him?). Isn’t that what worship means? Primarily to offer something to do the Lord – our hearts, our lives and our resources, and not primarily focused on receiving or being thankful for what we have received? While there is a place for songs of gratitude and even songs of comfort, these songs should not dominate our worship experiences which should be mainly focused on us offering something to God in worship. And it doesn’t help when our mindset is often about how to minister to the people forgetting that in worship, we are supposed to lead people to minister to the Lord! The other glaring thing for me is the seemingly absence of songs about spiritual warfare. What happened to words like, “Making war in the heavenlies, tearing down principalities, standing firm in Jesus’ victory; making war in the heavenlies, tearing down every high thing, that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ”, “Rise up, you people of power, stand up across the land, take up the Sword of the Spirit, pull down the enemy’s plans ….”, “Summon Your power O God, show us Your strength as You have done before!”, etc. All who are involved in leading worship ministries in church must not only think about polishing the skills of the musicians and singers, not only teach about having the right heart and attitude in leading worship, but also ensure that God’s people go away having had an intimate communion with the Lord that will result in real lifechange (not just providing a wonderful dose of high emotions) and receiving good, comprehensive understanding of God, His Word and our faith journey through careful selection of songs to sing. Many of us remember phrases from the songs we sing in church more than what the preacher said in his sermon! And the frequent recollection and singing of those phrases will eventually form our theology. How do we want people to leave church service feeling each Sunday? Feeling loved and comforted? That’s a good start. But what about also feeling strong and determined to fight the good fight, run the race and keep the faith? While I love to see people smile at the end of our service, I also love to see people looking intensely serious and radically focused on wanting to live it right and fight hard to win the spiritual battles that surround them.

The Righteousness of Christ and the Importance of Its Practice

The righteousness of Christ is not only imputed on us but must be PRACTICED. John says in 1Jn.3 we are of the devil if we make a practice of sinning because no one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning. That means if a man or a woman keeps on sinning, even though they may say or think or believe they are Christian, they really are not! The evidence of true faith is not only in the receiving of the righteousness of Christ but the practice of it. So dear fellow believers, practice righteousness today and everyday.

“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice if sinningis of the devil…..” – ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:6-8 ESV‬‬

Your Church – A Community Or A Commercial Entity?

IMG_5948 - old chapel-near-fflad-y-brenin copyDoes your church feel more like a community that is caring, supportive, real, authentic, unconditionally loving, warm, friendly, serious about teaching God’s Word, uncompromising in discipleship to help fellow believers faithfully live out what we believe, passionate about winning souls to Christ and about life-change OR does your church feel more like a commercial entity where the above qualities have been compromised? When you attend your church service, does it feel like you’re truly worshiping God and that there is sincerity and earnestness in people on the platform reaching out to you to encourage you, comfort you, teach you and correct you where necessary OR does it feel more like you’re attending some sort of a mass music event and public talk that lacks authenticity and heart-to-heart connection? Are the people serving in your church busy with the works of the ministry or busy with touching lives one by one – making time to connect with you at a genuine and personal level? There are many more questions to ask but I think the above are more than sufficient for now. If you are currently in a church that feels more like an authentic Christian community, great – and please contribute unconditionally and sacrificially to your amazing community. But if you are currently in a church that feels more like a commercial entity, don’t be quick to judge, instead lovingly seek to make a difference one life at a time. BE THE CHANGE and before long, you’ll find yourself making the change. Kindness breeds kindness. Generosity breeds generosity. Unconditional love breeds, you guessed it, unconditional love. “Be excellent in what is good, be innocent of evil.” (Rom.16:19)