Friday, October 30, 2015

Pray for the persecuted Church

Communion Meditation

Matthew 5:10-12  "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

2Timothy 3:12  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

1Co 12:26 ,27   And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.

Heb 13:3  Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

I.  Persecution is part of God’s plan for the Church here “East of Eden”

II.  The Reality

Each month 322 Christians are killed for their faith, 214 Churches and Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians.

I.  Islam
II.  Hindu
III.  Totalitarian States – North Korea[1]

III.  How Should We Then Live?

Practical Help

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What about tongues?

I do have a question about talking in tongues . I thought you needed a interpreter for someone who is speaking in tongues. But I never seen some who interpreted that ever are people doing it wrong?

Thank you for your question.  There are many different views on the gift of tongues.  Here are a few.

1.    Speaking in tongues are a sign that you are saved.  If you don’t speak in tongues you are not saved.
2.    Speaking in tongues are a sign that you are able to serve the Lord in HIS power.  If you don’t speak in tongues then nothing that you think you are doing to serve the Lord matters.
3.    Speaking in tongues show you are spiritually mature and no longer a spiritual baby. 
4.    Tongues are real human languages such as English, Spanish, German, and Hebrew.   The miracle was that people could speak in these languages that had never learned them to proclaim the gospel.
5.    Tongues are a heavenly language or angelic language and therefore can only be interpreted by one having the spiritual gift of interpretation.
6.    Tongues should be used in the worship service and many people can speak in tongues all at the same time.
7.    Tongues should only be used as a private prayer language and not in services since it turns off unbelievers.
8.    Tongues are to be in the worship service but only if there is someone there who is gift in interpretation.
9.    Tongues when translated become prophecies telling the future about other people.
10. Speaking in tongues was a temporary sign gift used to show physical Israel that the Holy Spirit or Shekinah glory was now being poured out on the followers of Jesus but was not normally given after the apostolic age. 
11. Speaking in tongues is a psychological experience today that is mimicked in many faiths and is not what the bible speaks of when it speaks about people speaking in tongues.
12. The experience people are calling “speaking in tongues” is really a groaning in the Spirit.  They have wrongly associated their experience with the gift of tongues.
13. Speaking in tongues is not biblical but true believers may get caught up in this false experience sincerely. 
14. Speaking in tongues is from the devil and those who speak in tongues are not saved.
So as you can see many views held by Christians on this issue so we must acknowledge from the beginning that many people will have different opinions on any question that arises from the experience people now have which they claim is speaking in tongues.

In answer to your question about if people need an interpreter to speak publicly in tongues would seem from the Bible to be, yes interpretation is needed if one is to speak publically using tongues (languages). 

1Co 14:27,28  If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret;  but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

So when we see the whole congregation or thousands of people speaking in tongues in a public meeting without interpretation then this would not be the will of God according to the Apostle Paul.

Now my view on tongues is that they were a sign to Israel in the New Testament times to show that one could only enjoy the gift of the Holy Sprit and the Kingdom of God if one accepted Jesus as their personal Messiah and LORD.   This particular ability (gift) ended at the close of the apostolic age about 100 AD.  What is experienced today and called speaking in tongues may have many different sources ranging from a psychological or sociological experience to a groaning in the Spirit (Romans 8:26).

So Peter points out to Israel that the promise of Joel that the Holy Spirit would come in the end times was now fulfilled in the Spirit being poured out on the followers of Jesus as the Messiah and not in the Jewish temple as they would have expected.  It appears that Samaritans were given the gift of tongues to show to the Jewish believers that they were actually accepted as much as Jews in Messiah Jesus.  Peter is called to preach to the Gentiles and so here with Cornelius the gift is given that there can be no doubt that Gentiles are being accepted into the kingdom of God by accepting Messiah Jesus alone.   Finally, those who were orthodox Jewish disciples of Apollos also had this at their conversion to make us aware that Orthodox Judaism cannot save without accepting Jesus as Messiah. 

The purpose of the gift of tongues as a sign to unbelievers is clearly taught by Paul. 


 1Co 14:22  So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.

So Paul seems to indicate that the purpose of this gift was to show in a very clear way that having faith in Jesus could also save others outside of Jews who accepted Jesus.  It was important as well that the Jews came to see that just being Jewish without having Jesus could not save.   This was accomplished in the New Testament times.

I believe that it the disciples of Apollos that are in the Corinthian church and were the original speakers in tongues in that congregation. 

Why would I think that the gift of tongues would cease?

1Co 13:8  Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

Now prophecy and knowledge will be done away with and Paul would seem to indicate that this might be at the second coming.  However, tongues is placed in a different category, they "will cease" and because this word is in what in the Greek is in the “middle voice” the word could mean that they would “cease of themselves.”    This would seem to fit the idea of a few people being given this gift in the first century and this gift ceasing when they died. 

So there is a little information on the gift of tongues.  We can of course agree to disagree in an agreeable manner.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Enduring Faith

Enduring Faith
by Anonymous
I've dreamed many dreams that never came true,
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me to want to dream on.
I've prayed many prayers when no answer came
Though I waited patient and long,
But answers have come to enough of my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
I've trusted many a friend that failed,
And left me to weep alone,
But I've found enough of my friends true blue,
To make me keep trusting on.
I've sown many a seed that fell by the way
For the birds to feed upon,
But I've held enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on.
I've drained the cup of disappointment and pain
And gone many days without song,
But I've sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.

Kingdom Prayer Needs for October 2015

Ministry Prayer Focus October 21, 2015

"May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right,
the will to choose it and the strength to make it endure." Amen.[1]

I.  Area of Up-reach

*    Pray that our worship team will be able to use their God given talents to encourage us to give glory to the Father, Son, and Spirit in the power of the Spirit, with passion, according to the word of truth, and with spiritual integrity.

*    Pray that our prayer ministry will more and more make us a consistent and fervent community of praise and petition before the face of the Living Lord.

II.  Area of Outreach

*    That our Evangelism Explosion teams will talk to people who are prepared by the Holy Spirit to listen and accept the gospel with sincerity and true faith.   Ask the Holy Spirit to give the gifts of faith and repentance to those our teams give witness to on Sunday afternoons.

*    Pray that Socrates Café can be an effective means of sharing a Christian worldview to people who are extreme doubters or believers in other religions.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help Dr. Norm to facilitate these meetings effectively and to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. 

*    Pray for the Voice of the Martyrs and all of the persecuted church that they may continue to give a faithful witness under persecution.   Ask the Lord to give us spirit of passionate intercession on November 1st as we dedicate this day to cry out for the needs of the persecuted church. 

*    Pray that we will develop a well thought out and effective ministry to the poor that will provide practical help and spiritual aid to those who are in great need.

*    Pray for Living Water’s counselors and staff to effectively minister the gospel to hundreds of people each month.  Ask the Lord to provide $20,000 of donations through the fundraiser on November 14th that we might have the resources needed to continue this outreach.   Pray that we will find ever increasing effective methods to help hurting hearts and homes.

III Area of In-Reach

*    Pray for the “Digging Deeper” studies on Wednesday nights to be better attended and have power to transform us through the application of the Word into our lives.

*    Pray for the Sunday School “Transforming Truths” study in Acts to help us to better understand what God desires First Church West to become.

*    Pray for the Woman’s meeting to show the way that the Lord would want us to head in this ministry in 2016.  Ask the Lord to have wisdom in ministering to the needs of women in our community. 

*    Pray for the Men’s Breakfast meeting and ministry.  Ask the Lord to help us to attach more men to this meeting and that it will have the spiritual energy needed to transform the men into the likeness of Christ.  Seek the Lord for what the men should study in 2016.

*    Pray for Pastor Damon as he seeks to establish ways to assimilate visitors and members into the ministry and life of the church

*    Pray that our community of disciples of Messiah/Christ Jesus will be of one heart and mind.  Ask for protection against gossip, grumbling, and division.

*    Pray that those who hear the teaching on Sunday morning during the service will seek to understand with their minds and apply to their hearts the messages that have been prepared.  Pray for Pastor Norm to be to be filled with the Holy Spirit as he prepares the message.  Also guide him as he seeks to see exactly what he should teach on during 2016.

*    Pray for the deacons to develop an effective ministry to those in need in our community of disciples.

IV.  Area of Structure & Practical ministry

*    Pray that the church will have $14,000 monthly to have the funds needed to accomplish this ministry.

*    Pray that our attendance will in 2016 reach 200 people on an average Sunday and in 2017 become 300 people weekly coming to services.

*    Pray for needed repairs to the Living Water offices air conditioning and the ability to better sound proof the rooms.

*    Pray for the session and board of the ministry that they might be wise in all their thoughts and godly in all their actions.
*    Pray that we can develop an effective process using teams to do the work of ministry.  Pray that we can keep unity during this time of learning how to best structure the ministry that we may maximize our spiritual power and potential.

*    Pray for the team leaders and members of the teams that they may be effective and joyful in their work of service 

*    Pray that we can get the fellowship hall entirely organized and looking good for the November 14th Living Water Fundraiser.

*    Pray for the protection of our church property from vandalism and theft.

*    Pray for the property management team to be able to define and develop our property to maximize its use for ministry that can be done in a safe and beautiful environment.

*    Pray for training and development of elders, deacons, and team leaders.

*    Pray for Pastor Damon and the finance team to be able to develop better processes for following, analyzing, and using the funds that God has given to the ministry.

[1] From the movie “First Knight”