-Jerusalem 2015: World Harvest Demonstrated

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So many American Christians are involved in the on-going ‘culture wars’ and the hopes for revival in our own country that sometimes we miss what God is doing in this generation all around the world. Nothing demonstrates this more than what happened last Sunday- Pentecost in Jerusalem.

The whole event was sponsored by Empowered21 and lead by American and Western Pentecostal and Charismatic church leaders including Billy Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University, and Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God. Other notables attending included-  Reinhard Bonnke, Morris Cerullo, Jack Hayford, Marilyn Hickey, David Mainse and Vinson Synan who were honored for their past service along with many others.

Christians came to the event from  more than 70 different countries but among the largest groups in attendance were those from China along with a group from Indonesia. It really does demonstrate that a ‘World Harvest’ has been going on for quite a while and now new evangelists and world church leaders are being called forth from those nations.

Look for young missionaries and evangelists to begin to come forth from Asian countries like China, South Korea, Indonesia and from the well established churches in Africa. Do not be surprised if they start showing up in Europe and America to re-sow the ground that was once fertile and produced the missionaries that originally brought the Gospel to their own nations.             *Top

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-SBC Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues

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Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board (IMB) dropped its ban on those who spoke in tongues along with several other rule changes at a recent meeting. Nevertheless, missionaries are expected to faithfully represent Southern Baptist churches and Southern Baptist teaching which does not include any kind of an emphasis on charismatic gifts.

This has been a long time in coming and considering the large number of cessationists in the SBC it is still surprising. However, years ago (2007) we discovered some research that showed over 50% of head pastors in the SBA believed in tongues so maybe the change is not so odd after all.

It does go along with what is happening overseas in the mission fields. I have heard that an increasing number of SBA missionaries had to hide their involvement in the ‘gifts’ from their board and their sponsoring churches just to continue. Healing and giftedness were not something they ever expected or sought out or even theologically believed in for that matter. It just happened in the midst of their ministry.               *Top

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-Is Christianity in America Really in Decline?


      (Photo: courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Actually It’s ‘Cultural Christians’ That Are Really In Decline

According to the latest Pew Research, it is time to pray for America as never before. The numbers seem to show that Christianity is in decline in the USA.

For years nearly every American (90%+) identified themselves as ‘Christian’ mostly because everyone they knew claimed it and besides as kids their parents took them to church at least at Christmas and Easter. In the mid 20th century after WWII everyone was considered to be a Christian unless they were Jewish. Now there are more ‘culturally acceptable’ options in America including ‘none of the above.’

Now only 70% of Americans according to the latest Pew Research are Christian so it appears that Christianity in America is in decline? I posted on this research a couple of days ago. In reality it is my contention that it is the ‘Cultural Christians’ who are actually in decline not those with real religious convictions and acted upon faith.

<Read the rest on my Apologetica blog>                 *Top

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-National Day of Prayer 2015

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Today (May 7, 2015) is the official U.S. National Day of prayer. Please remember to pray for our nation. Here’s a link to the official website with prayer suggestions.

National Prayer 2015 :

Heavenly Father,

We come to You in the Name that is above every name—Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Our hearts cry out to You. Knowing that You are a prayer-answering, faithful God—the One we trust in times like these—we ask that You renew our spirits, revive our churches, and heal our land.

We repent of our sins and ask for Your grace and power to save us. Hear our cry, oh God, and pour out Your Spirit upon us that we may walk in obedience to Your Word. We are desperate for Your tender mercies. We are broken and humbled before You. Forgive us, and in the power of Your great love, lift us up to live in Your righteousness.

We pray for our beloved nation. May we repent and return to You and be a light to the nations. And we pray for our leaders and ask that You give them wisdom and faith to follow You.

Preserve and protect us, for You are our refuge and only hope. Deliver us from all fears except to fear You, and may we courageously stand in the Truth that sets us free.

We pray with expectant faith and grateful hearts. In Jesus’ name, our Savior. Amen.

– 2015 National Prayer by Dr. Jack Graham  (Audio –  download)

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-2015 A Turning Point in America?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…’’

America is Moving in 2015 But Which Way is it Going to Go?

Many of us have been praying and looking for revival and a new awakening in America and many of us have hopes that 2015 would see the beginning of a new move of God –a turning point to bring the nation back to God and his purposes.

Another Kind of Turning Point

In the midst of that real hope that the Holy Spirit has been guiding many of us to pray for is another reality that is rising up in America. An evil design that could bring a different kind of turning point in our country where our religious liberty and freedom are questioned and re-defined. Where churches are forced to decide between following the Bible or the increasingly secular culture.

If the trend continues like it has so far this year, it is not too difficult to see that conservative churches may find themselves as outcasts and receive real discrimination in the years to come with 2015 being an evil turning point. It is critical that intercessors and prayer warriors rise up now while there is yet day for the night may be descending quickly and take us all by surprise if we stand silent and motionless at this critical time.

Here’s a prophetic word that I found completely on point and one which confirms what I have recently been seeing in the early months of this year and have been concerned about. From Daniel K. Norris:

“2015 will demand believers to be resolute in their beliefs. The media and culture has found a voice of influence into the church and this year will begin to exercise that voice with a greater authority. Culture will seek to define what is and is not acceptable Christianity. Many will allow their faith to be shaken. Some will come into agreement. Many will choose to simply be silent. Very few will stand as a resolute voice. We must unashamedly declare truth and boldly display love. There will be many who disagree with you, but let them not be uncertain about your love for them.”

Read the whole article where he addresses the current trends that support what I am writing about. Evangelicals including Charismatics and Pentecostals are in danger of seeing major divisions in their churches and denominations/associations over homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the near future and this year could be the turning point in America and the American church one way or another.            *Top

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-Happy Resurrection Day! 2015

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(Image by abcdz2000 via Flickr)

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

May You and your family have a wonderful Easter. May we all remember and reflect upon what is really important after all the cultural fun of Easter bunnies, colored eggs, and special ham dinners and family get togethers. May we remember what the day is really all about—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Happy Resurrection Day!

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Not only that but an angel met them there and said:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”

…And behold Jesus met them and said, “Greetings! Do not be afraid…” –Matt.28:5-10

Another good scripture to remember–this is what Jesus told Martha before he raised her brother Lazarus from the grave:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  -John 11:25-26

The good question for each one of us today—Do you believe this?

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-“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

Here it is again. My favorite message of all time for Good Friday is by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here is a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

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The whole tape is great but the best part is at the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he attends.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

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-Christian ‘Forgiving ISIS’ Videos Go Viral in Muslim World and Reports of Revival Among the Refugees


“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44

Here’s a video of a Christian child, 10 year old Myriam, forgiving ISIS even though her family has lost everything because of the terrorist group.  She said:

“I will only ask God to forgive them.

Now comes the news that the video and several others like it have gone viral in the Middle East demonstrating the teaching of Jesus to ‘love your enemies’ in a culture where ‘eye for an eye’ is the normal response. From Christianity Today:

To date, more than 1 million people have seen her witness online. [Full video at the bottom]

SAT-7’s 5 channels reach an audience of 15 million in North Africa and the Middle East, though it’s impossible to measure how many people watched Myriam. However, numbers can be tracked through the social media campaign, which has reached 25 times its normal audience, with subtitles of the video provided in English, Spanish, Turkish, and Chinese. Word spread not only through SAT-7 affiliates, but also in the local secular press.

Pan-Arabic al-Arabia praised Myriam for confronting ISIS with love. “Everyone who listens to her is astounded,” echoed the Egyptian Youm 7. Leading Lebanese daily al-Nahar called for the clip to be shown in the nation’s schools as a lesson in humanity.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Like I said when I first posted this video on my Answers for the Faith site:

What a lesson in faith! File this story in the  “for such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16) category. They are far better Christians than I.

Most of us in America wonder what kind of ‘Christians’ these displaced Iraqis really are. Since they mostly attend Catholic and Orthodox affiliated churches many of us have an erroneous impression that they might only be so-called ‘cultural Christians.’ Maybe that is why so few of us are upset or up in arms when we read the reports of their persecution and death. But hundreds of thousands of these Near Eastern Christians have lost everything for their faith and thousands have paid the ultimate price as martyrs. They actually have a greater right to bear the name of Christ than many of us living in safe and comfortable communities in the West.

The video above should transform our thinking about these fellow believers. I know of several missionaries and relief personnel loosely connected with my home church which are working among these refugees in Iraq. The word and reports we receive from them is that there is real revival going on among these folks with abundant healing and miracles in their midst. Please keep praying for these bothers and sisters and those who are ministering in their midst.            *Top

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-Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015

The Real Charismatic Ministry of St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015. Here’s the real story of St. Patrick:

image Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day to go to your favorite pub, eat corned beef and cabbage and wash it all down with plenty of green beer. Oh yes–a day of parades and celebration of Irish nationality.

But who was this Patrick anyway? A man born into a wealthy Christian Roman family in Wales around 385 AD with a given name of Macwyn Succat. He didn’t make it to Ireland until he was kidnapped at age 16 and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and like David became closer to the Lord in the process. Then he heard a voice from God instructing him how to escape and make it back home.

After he miraculously escaped slavery he went on to study at a Christian seminary and became a Priest. Then one day he had a vision from God commissioning him to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

Today a holiday is celebrated in his memory. But beyond the green beer and rowdy drunken debauchery that typically surrounds the occasion is a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist.

There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.

It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people”, and ordained hundreds of priests to lead the new Christian communities and villages he established. He also converted the sons of Kings, noblemen, and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.

Legend has it that he was a healer and that he banished snakes from the island though scientists today wonder if there were that many snakes if any on the island at the time.

Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of the church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but maybe written a couple of generations later:

From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.

We could use this kind of spiritual maturity today. What a great declaration to live by–an example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.   

Rather than a day with a built-in excuse to get drunk, I believe that it is a day for Christians to celebrate the reality and continual miracles of the Christian faith. A day to celebrate that God continues to give visions and directions to missionaries even today.

St. Patrick transformed an entire nation bringing the Gospel to an Island in darkness. Missionaries continue to leave the comforts of home and family to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every nation in the world.  Praise the Lord!        *Top

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-Beginning of Revival in L.A. High Schools

There is the beginning of an extraordinary revival in some L.A. and Orange County high schools in Southern California. Here’s the story from God Reports:

About 2,500 students at 15 high schools hear the gospel each week through campus Christian clubs, which invite One Voice representatives to speak, Giglio says. Kids have been saved from drugs, violence, sexual sin, and hopelessness.

The move of God began in Roosevelt High School two years ago. A watershed moment came when opposing gangs put down their weapons and met each other in the gym for prayer, along with 400 other students who had gathered to hear a heartfelt and compelling message. Giglio says the Holy Spirit came into the room and the kids just broke down weeping. …

On-campus Christian clubs, run by students, have a right to use facilities and invite outside speakers, Giglio said. Principals have been known to monitor these meetings but usually are happy to see students hearing positive messages about getting out of gangs, drugs and other life-ruining traps.

<Read the whole article>

This is just the beginning but it is spreading to other schools in Southern California including several Southern Orange County high schools that I know of where kids at our local church come from. I have also heard some antidotal evidence that it is also spreading to some of our area colleges and universities. Somewhat under the radar at the present time but a real move of God none the less.            *Top.

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