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Tag Archives: Church

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By Joseph Mattera

In my reading of the word of God over the past 34 years I have noticed a keen difference between the biblical measure of success and the way many American churches seem to measure success.

Many of the ways American churches measures success are in fact direct violations of the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 23. In this passage Jesus speaks against people loving titles, celebrity status, and desiring prominent places in public events. Through the centuries theology and church practice have been greatly influenced by the surrounding cultures. The following are my opinions regarding five myths for success that have crept into the church from American culture. Continue reading “Five American Myths of Successful Churches and Ministries” »

By Joseph Mattera

In the past several decades we have seen massive church growth. Church attendance in the world is at an all-time high. Yet, in most places of the world, cultural decline keeps accelerating at an alarming rate.

For example, in spite of now having numerous megachurches with over 20,000 attendees, social issues that undermine Judeo-Christian values like abortion, same-sex marriage and threats to religious liberty continue to be on the rise! This has often troubled many people who wonder why a nation like the United States could have so many people who claim to be Evangelical, born again believers (some estimate as many as 45 million, not including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal and mainline Protestant churches) and yet far-left political leaders continue to be elected by people of faith.

This is because many believers view entitlement programs, access to political power, skin color, and economics (the Keynesian view) as higher priorities than public policy issues grounded in God’s nature, character and law (for example, the Ten Commandments). This includes sanctity of life issues. Continue reading “Are You Gathering a Crowd or Building a Church?” »

Weakness and Foolishness
By Art Katz

God delights in choosing the things that are weak and foolish in the eyes of the world to usher in the holy and glorious. He wants to rub this into our consciousness, and that the way of the kingdom is utterly contrary to the way of the world.

I feel like declaring war on Charismatic and Pentecostal “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” — anything that presumes to know anything, and I just want to be utterly foolish and celebrate failure, confusion and everything that characterizes what I believe is the true work of God; for only the true work of God will compel the attention of the world. I am suspicious of anything that is outwardly impressive, well-funded, runs smoothly, has an ambitious building program, or has programs producing shining examples of disciples. It seems to me to be not of God, but has rather the stink of man precisely because it is too efficient. If something works too well, and has been accomplished without the suffering of the cross, we are likely out of the purposes of God. Continue reading “Weakness and Foolishness” »

By Leonard Ravenhill

Peter in prison! What a jolt!

We are too far removed from the actual scene to catch the atmosphere of dismay the Christians of that day felt.

Peter had moved from Pentecost to prison, from jeers to spears. He was guarded by sixteen soldiers. One wonders why such a defenseless man needed such a group to watch him. Could it be that Herod feared the supernatural, seeing he knew that Jesus escaped such a group that guarded Him?

Had Peter been hedged in by sixteen hundred soldiers, the problem would not have been increased nor the escape less sure. Peter was bound not only by two chains, but also by the thick walls of the prison, by the three wards of the prison, and finally by an iron gate.

When Peter is in prison, does the church organize a plan to get him released? No. When Peter is jailed, do the believers offer a plea to Herod or suggest a price to offer the lawmakers for his freedom? No. Peter had released others at the hour of prayer; now others must believe for his release. Continue reading “Faith Laughs at Impossibilities” »

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today? Continue reading “Today’s Sleeping Giant” »

A prophet “blows the whistle” on the things that are unreal, feigned, false, synthetic, compromised, the things that constitute a lie, and if people continue in their deception, it will constitute death for them. It is not death as biological termination but death even while they live. The prophet is totally committed to life. He has an uncanny ability to discern those elements of death that have become so normative in the lives of people. Jesus said: “I have come to bring you life, and that more abundantly.” We need to contend for life and oppose every kind of artificial, stultifying, pharmaceutical thing that even children are now taking to quiet their “disorders”. The prophet will cry out, he will intervene and intercede for the fullness of life. Any falling short of the full-orbed life that God has intended for men and women in their humanity in God is a measure of death. Continue reading “The Holy of Holies” »

FEASTING WITHOUT FEAR
By C.R. Oliver, PhD

These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.  (Jude 12,13)

One of the great attributes of the early Church, as well as the nation Israel, was a matter of the fear they both produced in those outside their ranks. In Jude, the little power packed book that gave a second witness to those things brought out by Simon Peter in his second epistle, the author adds a bit of ingredient which addresses the amalgam which is the modern church. NONE fear it!

When the church was holy and speaking the oracles of God, those outside the body of believers observed miracles, signs and even death among its members. They feared: 1) the presence, 2) the power, 3) the prayers and 4) the persistence of the early church’s membership. Continue reading “Feasting Without Fear” »

Oh, how desperately the Church, including the Neo-Pentecostal Church, in this last hour needs a full-color picture of a genuine black-and-white prophet, to portray to its constituency what one looks like, to allow them to fully receive “the reward” or benefits of a genuine prophet, instead of the cheap thrills dispensed by diluted and often deluded imitations circulating around the church scene these days. To accurately differentiate the genuine from the counterfeit, chances are its going to “take one to know one.” The late Leonard Ravenhill certainly was one, and before his death, fortunately for us, he snapped “the picture of a prophet” for us all to see and contemplate. Continue reading “The Picture Of A Prophet” »

“The Glory of the Latter House shall be greater than the Former!” (Hag. 2:9)

The hour we live in without equivocation is the most spiritually profound of all of history, and certainly of all “His-story.” Indeed, it can be no less when we are told that all of the historical Biblical events comprising His-story—i.e., the history of Israel—“happened to them as an example (illustration) and they were written for OUR instruction upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11; cf., Rom. 15:4). God is therein declaring that the entire content of the Old Testament—the events it chronicles and the wisdom and instruction those events illustrate—are and always were intended for the true end-time believers comprising the end-times Church that Jesus is building!

Moreover, our spiritual assimilation of the morals illustrated and reflected in those Old Testament events and examples coupled with those given us in the New Testament will play a major role in producing the outcome that the Glory (tangible manifested presence of God) that abides upon those comprising the “Latter House”—the house of the faithful High Priest, who was faithful over His house as a SON (Heb. 3:1-6), that is, the Church Jesus is building—will far exceed any Glory that was ever upon the Former House—the house of Moses, who was faithful over his house as a SERVANT.

While the faithfulness of God’s SERVANT Moses produced per the Law of Reproduction a succession, intermittent as it was, of SERVANTS, the faithfulness of the SON over His House produces the surpassing results of “bringing many SONS unto Glory” (Heb. 2:10). By virtue of the fact that the House Jesus is building is a House of SONS, versus SERVANTS, the Glory of the Latter House MUST indeed be GREATER than the Former, for the Glory of SONS of God versus SERVANTS of God is like unto the glory of the sun compared to the glory of the moon (a non-illuminary planet). Continue reading “The Church’s Greatest Need” »