Archive for April, 2011

Why is intimacy over service a problem?

April 29, 2011

We are rooted and established in love FOR works. Jesus made it clear that he EXPECTS works from us. James made it clear that faith without works is dead.

We get all these messages saying ‘we were made for intimacy, not service’. Or the Westminster Shorter Catechism question 1.

Everyone applauds because it sounds so right.

Then christians spend their lives in worship meetings and worship conferences and 24/7 prayer and ‘protesting’ outside abortion clinics with tape on their mouths and saying that they’re ‘called to be worshippers, intercessors and prayer warriors’.  Spending hours ‘soaking’.

Thinking that because intimacy is their primary purpose, they have done all they need to do. They quote Martha and Mary, forgetting the critical part of the story – that Jesus had a word to bring and Martha was too busy to hear his word. It wasn’t some vague ‘being in his presence’. Jesus has a message for Martha – was specifically wanting to speak to her – and she wandered off, too busy to listen.

So, YES, I want to provoke. This nonsense needs breaking because it excuses people from doing what they are truly called to by leaving fake religious super-spiritual ‘callings’.

Service versus intimacy

April 28, 2011

The religious say that our primary purpose is a life of intimacy with God and thus, by implication, outworking our salvation is secondary.

If that is true, why did God completely fail to explain that to Adam? God gave Adam a job of work to do – subduing and replenishing the earth – overcoming the damage done by Satan after he was cast down onto the earth. God never mentioned the priority of intimacy, and there’s no record that God and Adam interacted during the day while Adam was getting on with his job.

Adam’s PURPOSE according to God’s words to him and therefore scripture was to do a job of work on this earth. That is why Adam was created. In God’s likeness and image IN ORDER TO be equipped to fulfil his purpose.

If this were true, then we could spend a life of intimacy with our God never doing anything for him, but still doing our primary call.

This is in total contradiction of all of scripture, and in particular the clear words of Jesus – it’s not about hearing the word but doing it.

Hearing the word is intimacy. Doing it is service. Be doers of the word, not hearers only. That does NOT say that service is secondary – which is what this quote is claiming.

James says that faith without works is dead. Jesus said that to only listen to his words is like building your life on sand. Every significant figure in the bible is called by God to works of service. Find me one who isn’t. God never calls them to intimacy.

What you are called to is, by definition, your primary purpose. So why, oh why, is scripture so silent on intimacy being our primary purpose? I suggest it’s because God always called everyone into a relationship with him out of which they fulfilled their purpose. They could never fulfil the purpose outside of the context of an intimate relationship with him.

But that NEVER make the relationship the priority. We have all of eternity for intimacy with our God, but only a few short years of life on this earth to set our fellow man free from the oppressed of the devil.

How does Luke summarise the life of Jesus? In Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth who went about in intimacy and prayer with God, demonstrating what an intimate lifestyle looks like? NO

Jesus went about doing good and healing all oppressed of the devil, because God was with him.

Yet there was never a man who had a more intimate relationship with God than Jesus. But it’s not on his epitaph, The bible presumes that we will have such a relationship with our Father. But check the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Which was a hero because he/she was intimate with God? NO. They were heroes because of their works of faith.

Common teaching on being filled with the Spirit – a response

April 21, 2011
I think the most common charismatic teaching on being filled with the Spirit is, broadly speaking, this:

We get first baptised with the Spirit, when we are soaked and filled for the first time. Then we need to go on continually being filled. However we tend not to do this, so, because we leak, we become more empty. Then, like a part full glass, we need to come to God to be re-filled.

Now, this understanding of the dynamic of our relationship with the Holy Spirit and how he fills us has a number of implications.  Some we may be aware of, some we may not even think about. So the following list if implications and consequences of our understanding.

  1. We receive a finite quantity of the Holy Spirit and, as we grow, the amount of him we receive and can contain will grow.
  2. When we pray and ask to be filled or receive prayer from another, our ‘levels’ are topped up.
  3. At other times either we’re using up the resource we received or it just leaks out of us and dissipates. There may be a number of reasons for this ‘leaking’. We do not need to address what these may be at this point.
  4. We recognise the filling because we experience either emotional release or physical responses to God being present with us like shaking, joy, tears, falling down etc etc. We would rarely consider ourselves to have been filled if we do not have some kind of experience as a consequence.
  5. We thus recognise ourselves as being filled more by sight than by faith.
  6. We then consider ourselves as anointed because the feel God upon or in us, and so feel able to move in the gifts of the Spirit in a more special way due to this anointing. Maybe we say that we are ‘in the Glory’ and that God moves more when we are in the Glory than at other times.
  7. The source of the filling is the Holy Spirit who we lack being poured into us from outside, in other words from heaven, like the Holy Spirit fell on Jesus at his baptism.
  8. When we feel full we feel anointed and then we expect God to move. But if we feel empty, we feel distant from God and thus do not expect him to move, unless we receive the infilling again.
  9. The purpose of being filled becomes to bring us more into the presence of God and enable us to enjoy his presence among us. This becomes the main reason to seek to be filled again – to enjoy his presence.
  10. So we view being filled with the Spirit as being like taking a car to a petrol station – we can keep topping it up or we can run it until it’s empty, then try to push it along by our won strength. We are the car and the petrol is the Holy Spirit. But this car has a leaky tank.

Next I will show what the bible teaches me on the subject.

First, a key principle is that we are learning about how the Kingdom of Heaven comes in this earth. In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus said

“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,  21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

So, we shouldn’t be looking for outward manifestations to let us know the Kingdom is working, because it is within each one of us. Don’t look for ‘God is moving there’ or ‘Revival is breaking out here’. Know that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

From this I learn that the source to us of the filling of the Holy Spirit shouldn’t be from Heaven ‘out there’ but ‘Heaven within’. Jesus said two things about how we would receive the holy Spirit and how he would interact with us.

In John 4:13-15 Jesus explains
“Everyone who drinks of this [the water from the natural well] water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

So the Holy Spirit will be a source within us of water that will continue flowing and release eternal life. Now, this life is the opposite of death or sickness. So this will result in healing for us and others.

Next in John 7:37-39 we learn of a different picture of how the Holy Spirit will be within us.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Interestingly Jesus waits until the last day of a feast when everyone will have drunk and eaten and none will be physically thirsty! Out of the heart of believers will flow rivers of living water – or rivers of the holy Spirit.

Never anywhere did Jesus suggest that believers would in some way run dry of the Holy Spirit and need a re-filling. Actually, if rivers are flowing from your heart or a spring is running inside you, what will happen is that you will be filled from inside and, far from ‘leakin’, the Holy Spirit will be gushing out of you to bring refreshment to others. The only way to stop being full would be to stop the rivers flowing and the only way to get re-filled would be to unblock the source of the rivers.

A principle of the New Covenant is that we receive by faith that which God has provided by grace. So, we need to know the truth, that this is how we are filled with the Spirit and start believing it. Stop thinking that we havea  finite resource of the Holy Spirit that keeps running out and realise that we have been given ALL of him and he flows out from us so that we never have any lack.

We can learn much from John 20:21-22. First Jesus sends us in exacly the same way the Father sent him. So with the same purpose and the same empowering. Anything in our mission that differs from how the Father sent Jesus must be considered doubtful.

We learn in Luke 4:18-19 why the Father gave Jesus the Holy Spirit. This is the only reason given for Jesus having the Spirit. Can the Spirit be given to us for a different purpose? According to John 20:21, NO. The Spirit is upon me because the Lord has anointed me.

So we learn that the Holy Spirit being on us (us being filled) does not cause us to be ‘anointed’. The anointing comes first. This anointing is the task to which Jesus is appointed by God and is the only anointing Jesus ever claims for himself. According to 1 John 2:27 this anointing abides – in other words it doesn’t come and go. We are always anointed because the anointed One is always within us. There is no anointing to seek other than the anointing of Jesus in Luke 4 and this anointing is given to every believer the moment they are born again.

It is to preach good new to the poor. Freedom/release to the oppressed and captives [healing from sickness oppression addiction etc]. Recovery of sight to the blind [speaking of salvation as well as physical healing]. And to proclaim the year [season] of the favour of the Lord.

First we note that Jesus sends us in this same way and therefore that will never change. Second these and ONLY these works are the reason we have the Holy Spirit and are to be filled with him. The Spirit is in us and flows from us so that we can do these things. Not so that we can enjoy lovely times wallowing in what we call God’s presence. Flipping and flopping and acting drunk. We are filled with the Spirit to equip us to love the lost. So the best way to get filled is to go out doing Luke 4:18-19. He will always flow out of us if we’re doing the things we’re anointed to do.

Next, it’s interesting to note that in John 20:22 Jesus deposits the Holy Spirit within them. Now, they didn’t act as if he were there. But on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit breaks out. Not from heaven out there somewhere. Jesus had expalined that heaven is within you. He had deposited the Holy Spirit within them ready for this day. Now he is released, for the first time in history, as rivers of living water, just as Jesus had prophesied in John 7:31.

But this was no ordinary rivers. This was a positive explosion of a Holy Spirit who had been waiting for al lof time for this moment. 120 people, all with multiple rivers flooding out of their hearts. The sound would be akin to the Niagra Falls. They would have exploded out like volcanos, but of water not lava. These rivers would fill the whole room with ‘water’. The whole atmosphere would be flooded. Water falling onto the ground splashing around. The Spirit being spoken of as fire as well as water then rests on their heads like candles, kept burning as he continues to flood out.

This explosion prefigures the way all filling with the Spirit will happen from that day on. No an empty glass being topped up with a finite quantity of God, but rivers being released from the heart flooding out to bring healing and deliverance to a dying world.

The purpose of this filling is never to give us great Sunday evening meetings with supernatural manifestations. The Spirit flows out of us because we are anointed and we need to do those things we are anointed for. It is not for our pleasure and enjoyment, but so that we can, like Jesus, spread life to the world.

So don’t wait for God to fill you to replace a lack in your life and look for evidence in your flesh that it’s happened. Believe the words of Jesus in John 7:31 and allow the Spirit to fill you and then to gush out to love the sick and lost world.

  1. We have an infinite resource of all of God within us and if we will only believe he will flow out of us to others for thier benefit, not ours.
  2. When we believe John 7:31 and go out to DO luke 4:18-19, we are filled with the Spirit.
  3. The resource will never run out and we will always have more than enough.
  4. We know by faith that we are filled and can see the results by Luke 4:18-19 being done.
  5. We know that we are filled by faith, not feelings or manifestations in our flesh.
  6. We know that we are anointed at all times and can never be more anointed that we were on the day we were saved. The anointed one is in us and his anointing is the only one we seek. No impartations mantles or double portions. Just a single portion of the infinite God within.
  7. The source is the Holy Spirit with us always flowing out unless we by faith [lack of faith] stop him flowing. There is always enough and we don’t have to wait.
  8. We know that we are always anointed. Always ready. Based on truth not feelings. We know that if we move, he will move and flow out of us.
  9. The prupose of being filled is not our self-centred pleasures but to do Luke 4:18-19.
  10. We’re not going to a fuel station to be topped up. We always have more than enough  for every good work. We never need to run on empty because Jesus said we’d never thirst again.

What is an Evangelist or prophet????? Do we have it all wrong?

April 20, 2011

An evangelist in the church is know as one who goes to big meetings and preaches the gospel so that people are saved. This is his main function – and he is called an evangelist because he is successful. Maybe he goes around many churches doing this.

BUT all Eph 4 ministries are for equipping the saints for works of ministry. So an Eph 4 Evangelist will be one who teaches the saints to evangelise and to preach gospel messages. The one doing the preaching as his primary gift, by definition, cannot be an Eph 4 evangelist. Naturally the evangelist will do some evanbgelism work and even preaching. They need to do it well in order to realease others to do it. But they are defined by how they release others to do evangelism, not by the evangelism they do.

Now, the prophet. I believe the same principles apply. We call prophets those whose prophesying has matured in character and dimension. Maybe to prophesy over the broader issues of the church or nations. However, this is just a modified job description for an Old Covenant prophet. The church has remained stuck in an Old Covenant model.

A New Testament Eph 4 prophet is defined as one who equips the saint to prophesy. Clearly he will prophesy too. he may even prophesy to saints about their individual giftings, to release them into it. But they are not prophets because they make big ‘words’ about global events.

An apostle is sent to break ground and oversee churches, ensuring that all the saints firstly become saints, then that they are served well by the other ministries to be doing works of service.

Then the old chestnut of teachers and ‘pastors’. First, the Greek word mistranslated pastor is shepherd. It means……yes……..shepherd. And the text is clear that teacher and shepherd is a single combined role. So there is no place, at least based on Ephesians 4, to serarate shepherding from teaching.

So, as long as your idea of what a ‘pastor’ does is fully compatible with First Century Palestinian / Hebrew shepherding, that is fine by me. But you must remember that shepherds are teachers and there are not teachers who aren’t shepherds. Not in Ephesians 4.

What does a shepherd do? He [or she] leads the flock to places of safe and good pasture. He keeps wolves out. He looks for wolves in sheeps clothing and treats them as wolves, not as misguided sheep. He goes in search of any sheep that stray and brings them back.

So I see this role as doing what is says, in order to release the saints for all their works of service. And then equipping some saints to become shepherd/teachers too.

In summary, we have our definitions and therefore expectations of these ministries all wrong!!!!!

Brief overview of my methodology for healing ministry.

April 16, 2011

1. Interview the patient to determine problem/problems.
2. Identify any links between different symptoms.
3. Determine a course of treatment.
4. Touch the affected part, or somewhere close, or take their hand and tell the body/pain/sickness what you require it to do.
5. Never speak for more than 10-20 seconds.
6. Then ask if any change or if they can feel anything happening in their body.
7. Adjust treatment appropriately based on patient feedback.
8. Ensure that patient is 100% fit before leaving, if at all possible.
9. Get them to do something they couldn’t do.
Example – get an asthmatic to run up stairs.
10. Tell them they just experienced the Kingdom of Heaven.

A brief history of Job – a prosperity gospel.

April 12, 2011

God prospers Job and puts a hedge around him so Satan cannot do Job any harm at all.

But Job still has fears, so keeps sacrificing – just in case his sons may have sinned. Then when disaster falls ‘what I FEARED has come upon me’. So despite God’s protection Job is living by fear not faith.

God agrees that Job is in Satan’s hands – note God doesn’t PUT Job there – Job’s fear did that. STILL God limits what Satan can do.

A few months or maybe a year or two of suffering ensue.

Then Job gets a revelation of God and ‘sees’ Him.

Then Job returns to further decades of prosperity again fully protected from Satan.

Now – can someone tell me how this is anything other than a message that God intends us to prosper – even a gospel of prosperity.

 

 

 

Kampala, Uganda hospital Monday 11th April

April 11, 2011

David and I went to the hospital today at around 3PM. On our way to the labour ward we were able to remove a lot of the pain from a man who had fallen from his motorbike.

At the labour ward we started going around the beds. Following the first woman who said she was fine, we started meeting women who had c-section births. We stayed there for a good four hours. It is a very big hospital and there must be 100+ women in the maternity unit. We guess that we ministered to upwards of 40 people while there – maybe as many as 50. To the best of our recollection most who asked for prayer were totally healed of their pain or sickness and the rest all received healing to a substantial measure.

Some of the ladies with c-sections weren’t allowed to move much, so we couldn’t test their healing beyond being pain free when lying down. But a fair number were even able to get out of bed pain free. We were asked to pray for a number of babies who were in the special care unit, but were not allowed to go in there so do not know how or if those babies improved.

Only a few there had had a natural birth. The conditions are fairly basic. There is very little modesty in there! Many were so shocked to find that their pain had gone. On our way to the second ward we came upon someone who had a c-section the previous day. She was almost instantly fully healed as soon as I laid hands on her and she went into the ward telling people about the miracle of her healing and sending sick people out to us.

So we had a crowd gather around us for a while and as fast as we could get them healed, more came to us.

A girl of around 11 suffering from asthma felt much better and went for a run up and down the stairs and around the building. She came back a bit out of breath, but with no asthma symptoms and said she couldn’t run like that before. Someone with diabetes and high blood pressure felt ‘something leave her body’ and electricity flowing in her. We think she was fully healed, but have no medical confirmation. There were others with heart disease who felt great improvement and also various leg, joint headaches and other pains.

One of the ladies was in an RTA – probably fell off a motorbike taxi [boda boda] so had many pains and injuries on her left side – neck shoulders etc. Most of that was healed as well as her c-section pain.

Let’s say 98% of those who wanted help were 80+% healed and as best we could test, 80% or more fully healed.

Right at the end there was a christian relative watching as we healed a patient, so I shared with her how she too could heal the sick, then I called her to minister to the woman in the next bed. She rather panicked and said she didn’t know what to do! I assured her that I would show her. She was really surprised when all the woman’s pain left. The last patient had her sister with her reading a bible. So I told her that the bible she was reading said she could heal the sick and got her to heal her sister. Total healing again.

As a disclaimer I should say that we didn’t pray or fast or ask for God to ‘come’ or any other religious thing before we went. We simply went and did the works of Jesus. We already had them so needed nothing extra from God.

Uganda April 2011 visit day 1

April 3, 2011

Sunday 3 April

Arrived on overnight flight. Steve collected us and we returned to Kampala to his home. Then off to the church. Fred shared, then I spoke for a while and then we ministered to the sick.

Fred ministered to three babies, one with malaria. Not sure of the outcome, we’ll find out next week. Sissy, a local girl ministered to three ladies all of whom were healed. She got them involved in ministering to each other. No further details right now.

David, my translator, and I had a man who had a persistent cough for 4-5 years. Must have been some kind of minor damage in his larynx that was aggravated by the cough. Anyway, it went almost instantly and he felt much better. I then checked his arm length in case there may be a link. His left arm was a little short so I commanded it to grow and it grew out to an inch longer than his right.

A young girl about 7 years old came with stomach pain. It had been there for a day and when she had it before it would last 3-4 days. It left instantly.

Then we commanded the right to grow and it went out to be an inch longer than the left. And then we brought the two to line up. He felt some stuff going on in his upper body at the time. Then checked his legs and grew out the left. Testing his cough he feels that he’s cured.

There was a lady who had burned her leg with an iron and had an inch long wound. It didn’t heal up but all the pain left and she could touch it without pain. She had some kind of skin problem on her lower legs, being dry and itching. The itching was also cured. Pious, another from the church here then grew her left leg out a good half inch. Following this she declared that now she felt balanced when she stood and walked – whereas before she has always felt a little lopsided.

Then Pious asked for help with sinus pain. Fred ministered to him and all the pain left.

A reasonable mornings start to the visit.

The balance of the day we spent recovering from the flight and fellowshipping with our friends.

Tonight we went out for about an hour to the shops near home. Met a lady who was healed last time of long term stomach ulcers and got a couple more healed – one lady with pain going from her shoulder all down her arm. She had a little pain left in her shoulder – hopefully that will clear up in the next day or so. Prayed blessings on a few.

 

Off to bed now

Did God make us primarily for relationship?

April 1, 2011

Many seem to think that God’s primary purpose for us is relationship with him. What is called intimacy. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.

But is this in the bible? It is very hard to stop those who hold to this doctrine to drop it because it is very precious to them and sounds so spiritual. But it is false.

Think about it this way (the operative word being THINK). Please don’t just regurgitate your pre-conceived ideas.

If we fulfill our chief purpose, then that should satisfy what God wants. By definition other things are of secondary importance. So someone who spends their life loving on God in worship soaking and intimacy would be doing the will of  God for them.

But in Gen 1:26 it says God made Adam to have dominion to subdue and replenish the earth to go forth and multiply. In short to work. God never mentions relationship here.

When Jesus calls Peter and Andrew it was not merely to hang out with him, but to be turned into fishers of men. In fact Jesus could have chosen to say follow me and I will make you a true worshiper of God, but He DID NOT.

Then, in John 21 when Jesus is restoring Peter, the question is do you love me? But the imperative isn’t then spend time with me. It is ‘feed my sheep’. Again the priority being work. In John 14:15 Jesus again says that if you love Him you will keep his commandments. Now if Jesus were referring to what He called the first and great commandment – love God with all your heart, then this would be a recursive and meaningless statement – if you love me you will love me.

He must have been saying if you love me you will do things I said, like take the gospel of the kingdom to people.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. We cannot be like Him and place most of our focus on intimate times with Him. The intimacy He enjoyed with His disciples was as He was doing the work of the Father. If His main priority were for us to be hanging out with Him, that would be selfish on God’s part. His main goal is to love a lost and dying world. Acts 10:38 to go around doing good healing all oppressed of the devil.

How can it be any different for us? How can we think that God wants us to live a different life from what Jesus demonstrated. Jesus would take nights out to pray so that His days could be spent in service.

In conclusion it is clear throughout the bible that God made mankind to do a job on this earth and that when God calls people it is to do a job. There isn’t, to my knowledge, a single person in the bible called by God other than for a task that needs doing.

So we were saved primarily to serve others. To do the will of God. To release captives and the oppressed. As we do the work, we have relationship.

Is pray or worship wrong? No. But if it’s your main focus then you’ve missed your main calling which is to go and DO the things you’re praying about.

A final analogy. If I buy a car it is for the purpose of it taking me places. That is its purpose. I can sit in it. I could sleep in it. I have to sit in it for it to achieve its purpose. Relationship is like sitting in the car. Necessary but not the purpose.