Margaret Court and Diversity

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Here is a letter to the editor which I sent to The Courier a couple of weeks ago while the media and the leftists activists were demanding Margaret Court’s head for daring to stand up for the existing law of the land that marriage is between a man and a woman. Due to other pressing issues at the time, they published it yesterday.

Tolerance and diversity are buzz words in our culture. Of course if you deviate from the politically entitled view tolerance comes to an end and diversity is discouraged.

Tennis great Margaret Court, now Senior Pastor at a big Perth church, stated that because of Qantas’ constant promotion of same sex marriage, she would not fly with them any longer unless there was no alternative means of transport. As a christian she believes in the Biblical view of marriage as between one man and one woman.

All the enlightened, “progressive” media and celebrities, led by Ten program “The Project”, piled on, calling her a homophobe and a bigot. Sam Stosur called for a boycott of Margaret Court Arena until the name was changed; on recent form she would probably only miss one match there anyway.

This is what passes for civil debate in this age. If you disagree with me, I will shut you down by just calling you names. We must not allow any rational debate that might upset the status quo.

By insulting a great tennis player who happens to be a significant christian leader in Perth, the knee-jerk attacks have also alienated tens of thousands of people who agree with the Christian view of marriage. A boycott might just be a blip on the bottom line of Qantas, but it might be enough to push Ten over the edge.

The supporters of diversity and tolerance would do well to actually look up the meaning of those words, and show real tolerance to those who really are diverse.

The Prayer God Loves To Answer

From desiringgod.org


The Prayer God Loves to Answer Most

Article by 

Executive Editor, desiringGod.org

God loves to answer the prayer “Show me your glory.” When your soul hungers, when your tank feels empty, when you’re running on fumes, when you open your Bible in the morning and ask for God’s help, a great go-to request is this simple, honest, humble plea: “Father, show me your glory.”

God made the world to show and share his glory. He made us in his image to reflect him in the world. But we will not fully reflect him if we haven’t yet stood in awe of him and enjoyed his beauty in our hearts. And our hearts cannot look on him in awe if we haven’t yet seen him with the eyes of our souls. Changed lives (and a changed world) begin with seeing glory. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“God, show me your glory.” History hangs on him answering that request. And one great evidence of his work in a human soul is feeling, and then expressing, that longing.

Read the rest of the article here

Don’t Look Now, But…

t2gospel

ISIS CRUCIFIXION

When 22 people died outside a concert hall in Manchester, England, the media coverage was wall to wall.  The cry went up that something must be done! Journalists followed the investigation.  Press briefings were scheduled regularly. With broken hearts, we pored over color photographs of the victims, many of them only children, and we listened to bystanders describe their horror.  The world grieved as the story unfolded for a week.

Five days later, 29 Christians in Egypt died when terrorists attacked their bus. Forty-two others were seriously injured and the assassins got away.  That story vanished in less than 48 hours.  No color photos.  No interviews with authorities. No tragic details.

Here’s what you probably never heard.  The Christian group of parents, grandparents, and children were traveling in two buses to pray at a monastery. Their vehicles were stopped by terrorists outside the town of Minya.  After the buses were…

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Joseph Mattera: The Ministry of Apostles

THE MINISTRY OF APOSTLE IN CONTEMPORARY TIMES

THE MINISTRY OF APOSTLE IN CONTEMPORARY TIMES

The book of Ephesians 4:10-16 teaches us that the ministry gift of apostle will continue to function so that Christ can fill all things (every realm of society) until we come to full maturity in Christ as a church. Obviously these two things have not yet happened. So the question arises: What would the ministry of apostle look like in today’s world?

Without qualifying all my statements due to the brevity of this article, the following are some observations and opinions I have related to this ministry in context with today’s world. There have been many wonderful books written on the subject of the fivefold ministry (my favorite is Kevin Conner’s The Church in the New Testament). Thus, there is no need for me to repeat content found in these other fine books.

Those walking in the apostolic ministry have a strong leadership gift (Romans 12:7)

They are not primarily followers who conform to the mainstream but are willing to go against culture and carve out a countercultural movement that is based on the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven (read Acts 4:19-31). Thus, they are willing to lead a strong movement even in spite of religious and political opposition.

Contemporary apostles need to be able to preach the gospel and lead countercultural movements that can deal with postmodernism (that there are no absolute truths that can be known in this world) and a post-taboo world (a classical Greek-Libertarian approach in which we live and let live; people can engage in any behavior they want with legal protection, for example same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia) in a manner that does not make Christians come off as ignorant, uneducated biblicists but in a cogent, compelling manner that utilizes logic, godly wisdom, current events, statistics, and artful subtlety with the power of the Word and Spirit of God.

Apostolic leaders have the ability to manage whole networks of people, congregations and ministries that are relevant to and thrive in the midst of cultural complexities because they can adapt their methods and message based on the culture in which they labor.

For example, Paul established complex apostolic networks in over 30 diverse cities in the Roman world. He had to speak messages and build churches relevant to Jews (Acts 9, 21, 28), intellects (Acts 17:16-34) and people steeped in carnality and debauchery (First and Second Corinthians). He was not just an evangelist who blessed people and then left town; he was a master builder (1 Corinthians 3:10-14) who had a long-term plan to build communities of faith in the main cities of the Roman world (Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, Colossae, Rome, Thessalonica) so they would eventually alter the culture and turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6; 19:21-41).

In today’s world, God is still using global leaders in India, Africa, Latin America, the USA, Asia and other places to start non-denominational complex apostolic networks that are driving missions across the earth.

Apostles develop new emerging leaders

When Paul met Timothy he immediately perceived that he was someone worth investing in to develop as a leader (Acts 16:1-3). Scripture teaches us that Paul’s intuition was correct; we read that Timothy turned out to be Paul’s best protégé (Phil. 2:19-25).

Perhaps the most important calling of apostles is to see and develop the leadership potential in others.

In today’s contemporary, fatherless world apostolic leaders are going to have to learn how to be fathers who can re-parent and bring healing to the fatherless, so potential leaders will have the internal affirmation necessary to become great leaders.

Apostles are humble and broken, not superstars in their own minds (2 Corinthians 12:1-7)

Scripture teaches us that Paul ministered out of his weakness, not his strength. In today’s world, I am skeptical of the superstar celebrity leaders who are always bragging about their ministries and accomplishments. Today we need authentic, transparent apostolic leaders who minister out of their weakness, as Paul did, so the glory and power are from Christ alone and to Him alone!

Apostles have seen Jesus

In Acts 1 we see the 11 apostles attempted to choose a person that had walked and talked with Jesus personally to take the place of Judas Iscariot who fell away from his calling and committed suicide. In 1 Corinthians 9:1 and Acts 22:14 an important part of Paul’s calling to the apostolic was that he had seen Jesus personally. Whether this was in the body or just a vision we don’t know (2 Corinthians 12). But the main idea is that Paul had a powerful life-changing encounter with Jesus that rooted and grounded him in the faith and gave him an intimacy with Christ that sustained him through all his trials and tribulations.

Contemporary apostles, like Moses and Paul, need to know the Lord face-to-face as a man knows his friend (Deut. 34:10) so they can clearly hear His voice and have faith to walk in great exploits, and so they are not walking in presumption and embarrass themselves and the gospel.

Apostles move in signs, wonders and miracles (Romans 15:18-20; 2 Corinthians 12:12)

Paul and the other New Testament apostles regularly moved in miraculous signs, wonders and miracles which included gifts of healing, working of miracles and casting out demons.

In contemporary times, this is not only related to the aforementioned supernatural signs, but the signs of God’s providential favor being at the right place at the right time, supernatural doors opening up, financial provisions miraculously coming for ministry projects, and great faith to see God do supernatural things in the hearts and minds of people so the great apostolic vision God has given them can be accomplished.

Apostles speak in principle what prophets prophesy by revelation

The apostolic leaders I know, like John Kelly (ICA), speak in principle words of wisdom that constantly flow out of them, even in ordinary spontaneous conversations. This is unlike many prophetic people who depend upon the Spirit to come upon them and prophesy to give a word of wisdom. Both are effective; that’s why prophets and apostles complement one another and give each other balance.

Apostles are great problem solvers and strategists

Apostolic leaders are able to look at a project and think of all contingency plans (and even have a plan A, B, C based on what happens) like no other leaders! They can take the complex and make it simple for all to understand. They are master builders who can come into a disorganized church or ministry and bring great order within a short period of time. While others see reality in bits and pieces, apostolic leaders can put all the pieces of the puzzle together; they plan ahead, see life at light speed, and see all of life like a chess player who plans ten moves ahead.

Apostles are great fundraisers and operate in the gift of faith for new territories

Apostolic leaders, like Paul, are great visionaries who can motivate people and churches to give to the things of the kingdom (read 2 Corinthians 8, 9).

I have never met a true apostle who didn’t have great vision as well as faith and strategy to believe and receive provision for the vision. This is one of the main ways to distinguish between true and false apostles. False apostles may have apostolic teaching and revelation, and call themselves apostles on their business cards, but they have never built anything of substance. True apostles not only talk but walk the walk with provision for the vision so they can build great works for the Kingdom of God. This is because they have learned to trust God to meet their needs as well as to touch the hearts of potential donors who can fund the vision.

Apostles usually don’t focus on minutia but see the big picture

Apostolic leaders usually miss the tree because they see the forest. They usually do not have much patience for one-on-one counseling unless it is with a high-level leader they are mentoring or covering. This is not because they do not have compassion but because God has wired them to focus on the big picture. Apostolic leaders are “high D” doers and are satisfied more in accomplishing tasks. If they had grace for minutia and hand-holding they would spend most of their time doing those things and would not have the emotional and spiritual energy left for the larger picture of the vision God has assigned to them. Thus, apostolic leaders have learned to nurture pastoral leaders who do the counseling, coaching and hand-holding that the congregation needs.

In closing, we need to greatly value the gift of apostle in our midst. God says this gift is so important that when He starts a work He first sets in an apostle to lay the foundation before any other office or function is established, thus ensuring that the whole building will have the proper foundation (read 1 Corinthians 12:28).

J. Lee Grady: 6 Signs of a Toxic ‘Apostle’

From Charismamag.com, J. Lee Grady warns of toxix “apostles.” I’m glad my apostle is the real deal and is the opposite of this.

6 Signs of a Toxic ‘Apostle’

Untrained, untested leaders often result in spiritual abuse, false doctrines and financial corruption. (Getty Images)

I’ve just spent two weeks in South America, where the Holy Spirit is moving in unprecedented ways. Churches are growing and average Christians are sharing their faith passionately. One recent Pew Research study showed that 1 in 5 Latin Americans now identifies as an evangelical Christian—and a majority of these are Pentecostals.

But this growth is not without problems. While there are certainly many healthy Christian movements in the region, other churches are suffering from a lack of trained leadership. And untrained, untested leaders often result in spiritual abuse, false doctrines and financial corruption.

I’ve become more concerned lately with leaders who declare themselves “apostles” when they have no business wearing that label. I believe true apostolic leadership is needed today, but a small army of imposters is threatening to damage the work of God. It is time to heed the apostle Paul, who warned of “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” who were “disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13).

Discerning the difference between a true and false apostle is not complicated. Since Scripture clearly tells us that Paul is our apostolic model (see 1 Cor. 4:16), we can use his surrendered life as our standard. Here are six signs that a man or woman who claims apostolic leadership is actually a dangerous influence in the church.

Read the full article here

Apostolic Summit

It’s been a fantastic few days at the Apostolic Summit here at Rockhampton, the 20th Summit.

The speakers were John Alley and Bob Hausleman. Bob Hauselman is the Senior Minister of Restoration Christian Church in Sellersburg, Indiana, and also the Apostle in charge of ARM Network. Both of these men are influential in their respective ministries, carrying a lot of spiritual authority but with great humility.

The theme of the Summit was “Exploring Apostolic Authority.” This is not just about the authority which apostles carry within their own gifting, but the authority given to the church when apostolic order is in place. Many stories were told by the two main speakers and cameo speakers such as Lloyd Gill and Ross Blamey who has the “Kick up the backside anointing.”

We caught up with our favourite ex-Narrabri teenager, Choni Smith. Choni led us to the Rockhampton Zoo.

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This year we are staying at Rockhampton Serviced Apartments, in a renovated Church of Christ building now called “The Chapel”.  It’s a four- bedroom apartment on Denham St, a very pleasant place.

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Tomorrow we head over to Rosslyn Bay for the Sons’ Retreat. This is a low key retreat for pastors and other ministers. It’s a great time of fellowship and encouragement.

You can find more photos from the Summit, and from the Retreat as I add them at this link https://goo.gl/photos/1Ajmm52dG9G6qDo17

 

Few Christians Have A Biblical World-View

I’ve been seeing a few different reports on this survey today. Although based in the U.S., I suspect that results would be similar in Australia. I’m not sure whether to throw up my hands in despair or just try harder and make sure my own flock know who the Shepherd is.

 

From Relevant Magazine:

Research: Only 17% of Christians Actually Have a Biblical Worldview

BY RELEVANT GOD MAY 11, 2017

A new joint study by Barna and Summit Ministries looks at the worldviews of practicing Christians. The results aren’t flattering. Among other things, it found that only 17 percent of Christians have what the researchers consider a biblical worldview. For that definition, Barna these markers: “believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”

Among other things, it found that only 17 percent of Christians have what the researchers consider a biblical worldview. For that definition, Barna these markers: “believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”

The full article is here