Archive for February, 2009

Conservatives reject spiritual gifts out of fear

February 18, 2009

There are several fears I have observed over 30 years, but I want to concentrate on one. When conversing with my conservative, non-charismatic brethren about spiritual gifts the fear of success dominates the conversation or correspondence. Why would the fear of success dominate the discussion?

 

For many preachers and leaders in non-charismatic churches the personal cost of accepting that spiritual gifts actually happen today would be too high for most. They would suddenly find themselves very much alone spiritually, socially and academically. In many cases their denomination would fire them, their family would be ostracized and close acquaintances in church circles would challenge, condemn and eventually avoid them.

 

Yet, despite the potential costs involved, there can be no edification, exhortation or consolation of the Body of Christ without active spiritual gifts in ministry, 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. Edification has been replaced in some gatherings with shallow Biblical education. Exhortation has been replaced in many others by superficial oratory. Consolation has been replaced in most with psychological consultation. These three have their roots in the flesh and the world and not in the Spirit of God.

 

Surely the Holy Spirit has never retired? All that He is and can do remains available to minister to the Body of believers, I Cor. 12 -14. Nothing has changed His mind or His will to participate in the life of every believer; man and woman. What has changed is men and women fear that He might actually work alongside them as the paraclete He was promised to be and actually do what He came to do that is – to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and edify, exhort and console the Body of Christ through the exercising of His charismata in the life of humble believers.

 

So to my fellow preachers I say, the choice is ours – stay comfortable and secure in church employment and minister “for” God according to a fleshly, board approved “job description” or get uncomfortable in God’s kingdom ministry and begin ministering “unto” God and not “for” God, 1 Samuel 3:1; Matthew 25:37-40; Acts 13:2.

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The SECRET or the PROMISE?

February 15, 2009

 

A recent number one bestselling book was THE SECRET by Rhonda Bryne.

 

Yet, far beyond the worldly hope offered in THE SECRET, the bestselling book ever, the Bible, reveals THE PROMISE. Sadly the world has spent millions of dollars seeking to understand the hope of THE SECRET and paid negligible attention to truth of THE PROMISE of Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:39. Why?

 

Many believers don’t consider THE PROMISE and all it includes has had relevance since the first century and thus THE PROMISE to all Christ’s disciples fails to influence most of the world because mere religion, exclusive of THE PROMISE, does not convince or convict it.

 

Therefore, if THE PROMISE is superior to THE SECRET what it is THE PROMISE?

 

1. THE PROMISE still includes charismata such as prophesying, dreaming and seeing visions:

 

Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

 

2. THE PROMISE is still accompanied by the power of God:

 

Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Acts 1:4, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, ‘which’ He said, ‘you have heard from me’.”

Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”

 

3. THE PROMISE is not a mystery to be revealed to a select few but is fully revealed for all, men and women, to know:

 

Acts 2:16-17, “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  ‘And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions’.”

 

4. THE PROMISE came from God, void of any hidden mysteries:

 

Acts 2:33, “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.”

 

5. THE PROMISE, and all the charismata of the Holy Spirit it includes, is exclusively available to those who obey the gospel call:

 

Acts 2:39, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord or God will call.”

Eph. 1:13, “in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth – the good news of your salvation – in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise.” YLT

 

THE PROMISE is not simply the gift of the Holy Spirit as a seal unto eternal life. THE PROMISE is inclusive of all that the Holy Spirit is and wills (1Cor. 12:11) to do through disciple’s lives unto the glory of Jesus until the wedding feast of the Lamb, Rev. 19:7-8.

 

Disciples are not merely repentant, immersed believers redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and religiously involved in sacraments of men! They are redeemed recipients of THE PROMISE, indwelt by God’s Spirit in all His fullness and available at all times to His leading, empowering and anointing in order to accomplish God’s plans prepared for their lives before the foundation of the earth, Ephesians 2:10.

 

Blessings

Bob Chapman MA

UK Church flings doors open in it works!

February 15, 2009

Feature: The church that stays open all night

How an ecumenical night-time project is meeting people’s needs in Stoke-on-Trent …

It all began with an all night prayer meeting held in a former bank building. Lichfield Diocese’s mission priest Gordon Crowther and his team were asking God how they could engage with the local community when the local community began to drop in.

At first it was a group of girls out clubbing who began to peer through the window; then a group of five lads, one of whom wanted to talk. The others wanted to move on to their next venue – a strip club.

Eventually all five went in – one dressed as batman; four waiting for their friend as he talked about his life and God. And as the night went on several others wandered in, curious to know what was going on.

And there and then Gordon and the team realised they had their answer: open the doors and the people would come – and that has been their tactic for Night Church ever since.

“The idea was to engage people who did not traditionally come to church as we know it,” explained Gordon. “Initially we used to meet on Sunday afternoons for a worship service, but we still felt we were missing a group who would not engage on that level. So when the five lads interrupted that prayer meeting we knew that the way to go was a night-time project that targeted people who were usually out at that time.

“At first we started off opening the doors monthly on a Friday night from 10.30pm to 2am, but the response and the needs were so huge that we had to go weekly and stay open until 4am.”

Hospitality is key to the initiative, with all kinds of people being made welcome – asylum seekers, people sleeping rough, clubbers and older people who are in the city at night just wanting something to do or someone to talk to.

 

“It has been marvellous to see what God has been doing in people’s lives,” said Gordon. “We have had great conversations and meetings with people. We once had a young man from the Royal Marines who had been to Afghanistan. He had witnessed three of his friends get killed and on the night we met him he was out to get drunk. He came in and stayed for hours and we had the opportunity to pray with him.

“I remember too the 17-year-old girl who came in and knelt in front of the cross and just started praying aloud about some trouble her friend was in. We went and prayed with her. She wanted to talk with us about some strange spiritual experiences she had encountered and it ended up as a deliverance session. Afterwards she told us that she felt free.

“Night church is truly an ecumenical project and it has been great to see groups who would not normally work together now working together for the good of the community.”

 

http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/news.aspx?action=view&id=3128

Would flinging church doors open really work?

February 11, 2009

It’s a good question and one worth asking.

 

John, one of my readers, stated the following about my previous article, “My brother, your methods are not workable in the 21st century. You have it backward. They will never come to the church, but if I open the door to my home and invite them there, and show them that believers don’t just have a “religious” agenda and truly care about their pain, their sin, their failures, THEN they will believe.” John

 

A year ago I would have agreed with John. Recently though I am convinced that disciples exercising faith the size of a mustard seed can change the world. Sure, if one opens the doors and invites folks into an in vogue, Sunday entertainment repeat performance with “full-on” heavy music, disco lights, etc, then John and others have a point. Additionally, if we open the doors to numerous established, conservative, controlled, religious environments that deny charismata today, then John and others have a point. It is true to say that neither function will accomplish what I am espousing in my article of yesterday.

 

Here is what I was espousing. Hang a banner on the church building or letterbox your suburb or advertise in your local paper stating: “Have an encounter with Jesus. Signs, wonders, healings everyday from 9am” or something similar. Come to the church building several hours before the advertised starting time each day and pray. PRAY! don’t sing choruses, talk about prayer, have coffee while you’re contemplating prayer – PRAY! Cry out to God and initiate through your miniscule, mustard seed of faith all God’s promises revealed in His word. Let me assure you; one word of knowledge, one healing, one sign in the name of Jesus and you will see the place packed with hungry souls who are desperate for genuine, revealed Christianity.

 

But whatever you do, do not abandon the basics above and turn the gathering into a conjured up worship fest with worship teams isolated up front; something that is far too common today. Worship is not something we conjure up; worship is the exciting consequence of God’s kingdom power working in our midst, Acts 4. Worship in the New Testament era was never intended to be a series of religious activities orchestrated by talented people and overseen by spiritual policemen.

 

I believe and experience what I have espoused herein because I simply read the book of Acts and believe the first disciples lived by faith and witnessed God’s work in their lives. It is so obvious in the book of Acts that they were convinced God had called them to His work, whereas today we too often attempt to call God to our work. “By faith they…” Hebrews 11:1-39.

 

Blessings

Bob Chapman MA 

Worth repeating: Fling those church doors open!

February 10, 2009

 

Wow, what a great time this is! Mammon’s disciples are bewildered, their god has failed them and they ain’t even seen the half of it yet!

 

Fling those church building doors open night and day. Preach and teach Jesus night and day. There has never been a better time in the last 50 years to evangelize and make disciples of the mammon worshippers, both in the world and in Christendom. Their hope is fading; their god has let them down. Praise the Lord! They’re looking, like never before, for something to believe in and Jesus is the only answer.

 

Stuff those letterboxes with the good news, knock those doors, advertise you’re having day and night gospel and revival meetings with signs and wonders following, feed the needy and destitute, preach the Word without compromise, for this is God’s time in our age to shake both the foundations of the world and Christendom and turn religious believers into true disciples in order to save as many sinners as possible. This is the Lord’s time and our calling to participate in it like never before.

 

Two fellow disciples and I went to the little nearby country town of Narrogin last week to begin praying for our next revival meeting in 6 weeks. Instead of choosing a park  to pray in this time we drove around town looking for a church building to pray in. We found an old Anglican (Episcopalian) building with stain glass windows open all day for prayer warriors. We went in and prayed for a couple of hours and then found a local hall nearby, which we hired for two days in March. Each week, for the next 6 weeks we will go and pray there in order to bind the principalities and powers in that town. It is good to be at war, especially when you are on the winning side.

 

Bob Chapman MA 

Are disciples influencing today’s world?

February 8, 2009

Socially I would say yes; spiritually I would say ineffectually! Yet, God’s Word declares we are light and salt in the world and all things are possible in Jesus’ name.

 

Most believers I meet around the world hold to Jesus the Nazarene. You’ve seen Him; He’s on Sunday school posters with a lamb in His arms. Jesus today is – the Lord of Lord and King of Kings riding on a white horse with a war sword in His mouth going forth conquering and to conquer, Revelation 19:11-16. I don’t know about you, but this is the omnipotent Jesus I am learning to serve.

 

Jesus’ participation in influencing the world is absolute; our participation is limited. It is limited by our faith and religious theology. Religion demands a mountain of theology before we believe in ministering in the name of Jesus and thus we revert to social Christianity, which denies the Holy Spirit and all that He is and can do in our lives. Faith on the other hand requires only space the size of the fraction of a mustard seed in disciple’s hearts and mountains move.

 

Please do not think this thought trite because it is fact. Every day we live by faith and get in taxis, board trains, ride buses and fly in planes without ever checking the licenses of the drivers or pilots. We make appointments with doctors, dentists, lawyers and medical specialists without ever asking to see their certificates. And yet, when it comes to faith in Jesus why, we have more faith in our governments to sustain and empower us!

 

So it goes with social Christianity. Most people in Western cultures look around and choose some nice little building on the corner or go back to their parent’s religion when there happens to be some spiritual need. They address their spiritual needs by social standards. Few will ever have an encounter with God in such environments and nor will they abandon the security of the pews for the call of God to influence the world night and day.  

 

Only the kingdom of God residing in the hearts of God fearing disciples makes a difference to the world and people in it. Social Christianity merely entertains them; only the kingdom of God changes them. Sadly the world is not being changed because religion, has replaced faith. The faith I am referring to is the faith that has never changed since the first century and is INCLUSIVE OF active spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit wills (1 Cor. 12:11). Anything less than such simple faith is social religion no matter which way you cut it.

 

God is not looking for super faith heroes – there are none of those in the Bible! What we discover in the Old Testament and in the New Testament are weak believers, whose sins are revealed and yet, with miniscule faith make themselves available to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He and they achieve God’s impossibilities.

 

Blessings

Bob Chapman MA

Political discrimination verses Christ’s disciples

February 4, 2009

“A Christian nurse from Weston-super-Mare has been suspended from her work for offering to pray for an elderly patient. Caroline Petrie, a community nurse and devout Christian, is facing dismissal for an alleged breach of her code of conduct on equality and diversity.

Mrs Petrie, who is a married mother of two, has been accused by her employers of failing to demonstrate a ‘personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity’ because of her offer of prayer.

She was suspended, without pay, on 17th December 2008 and will find out the outcome of her disciplinary meeting this week. She says she has been left shocked and upset by the action taken against her.”

Daily Telegraph: Nurse suspended for offering to pray for elderly patient’s recovery

This story is making headlines throughout the world; praise God!  This disciple is making a stand for Christ, which is worthy of great note.

 

What I discerned about the situation is highlighted in blue. The issue is not about one Christian compassionately giving herself to a patient in need; it is about her doing it in the name of Jesus.

 

It would appear that the authorities would have all gods included in the prayer or, at worst, no prayer at all. As far as they are concerned Jesus is to be recognized as merely a god among gods!

 

The truth is; we are going to see more and more of this type of discrimination across the world.

 

True disciples of Christ cannot comply with such political correctness. They gave their lives to Jesus Christ who alone is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to God but by Him, John 14:6. True disciples of Christ cannot but pray in the name of Jesus for they know no other way to God. They recognize no other truth. They recognize no other life by which they are saved from sin.

 

PS: Is this the latest push for a universal religion in this song entitled “Born-Again American”. I would like to read your comments on this. (Take special note of all the religions represented among the singers) : http://www.bornagainamerican.org/

 

Blessings

Bob Chapman MA

Living in the context of the miraculous 24/7

February 1, 2009

This is my 41st year in the kingdom of God and I keep agonizing over one thing. As a matter of fact, I have been agonizing over that one thing since the day I was born again and put my hand to God’s plough (plow) and determined I would never turn back. What is that one thing? The urgency to save others as ignorant as I was about the need to be born again if they want eternal life with God. To some believers, this probably sounds trite.

 

Over the years I tried everything to win souls for Christ. I tried manning booths in shopping centres, knocking doors, letterboxing, directing a Bible School bus ministry, writing newspaper columns, doing one minute radio spots and many other things I cannot think of. Despite all this, the urgency has never diminished and the agony for the lost has soared. Agony, not only because the negative response from most people, but agony about the varying success rates of the different methods, most of which were birthed in the flesh and not the Spirit.

 

In recent years though, I have found the key to successful evangelistic ministry. Sadly, it also produces agony from time-to-time; mainly because few disciples want to live in this ministry at any time, let alone 24/7. This ministry is staring us all in the face as we read God’s Word, but for a variety of reasons most disciples don’t want to go there.

 

This ministry is sound. This ministry is effective. This ministry was practiced by way of example by the first disciple of the kingdom – Jesus. This ministry was witnessed by the seventy He chose. This ministry was practiced by those who turned the world upside down. This ministry was passed on to all those who were born again and entered the Kingdom of God beginning on the day of Pentecost. This ministry is birthed in the Spirit of God.

 

It is as simple as these two points:

 

1.      Following our immersion we need to constantly seek to be filled, led, empowered and anointed with God’s Holy Spirit just as Jesus did – Luke 3:22-23; 4:1, 14, 18; and those that followed did, Ephesians 5:15-21.

2.      We need to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first in our lives, Matthew 6:33.

 

Such spiritual hunger produces unencumbered disciples who go where they are sent and fearlessly accomplish what they are sent to do.

 

·         Such disciples have no allegiances to others or the world they are pilgrims in, Hebrews 11:13-16, Phil. 3:17-21.

·         Such disciples fear no man, nor do they entrust themselves unto any man, John 2:23-25.

·         Such disciples are not hirelings, John 10:12-13, Galatians 1:10.

·         Such disciples minister to all with compassion, Matthew 9:13; 35-38.

·         Such disciples live in a state of urgency, fretting about the eternal outcome of others, 2 Cor. 5:11.

·         Such disciples have no friends – they only have brethren and potential brethren, 2 Cor. 4:7-15.

·         Such disciples find themselves content, no matter what, Phil 4:10-14.

·         Such disciples don’t believe in miracles – they live in the context of the miraculous 24/7.

 

I have written this, not to provide some teaching outline or sermon note but to challenge all who read it to embrace their God endowed potential in the Kingdom of God; be you preacher, elder, evangelist etc. When are we going to realize who we are individually in God’s kingdom and corporately in God’s Kingdom as Ephesians 1:15-23 highlights?

 

Those who remain dead in their sins do not know who we are, because many of us do not know who we are in God’s will and sight – WE ARE THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH and nothing, nothing, nothing can separate use from the Christ we serve, Romans 8:31-39. It is time to stop living the entertainment enriched, church member lifestyle and threaten the world with love, mercy, compassion and the miraculous power of the born again life. Do something life threatening today; tell others about Jesus Christ and their need to be born again!

 

Blessings

Bob Chapman MA