Spirit Empowered Church Planting

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16 ESV

It would seem that some people who are all for church planting are unaware of Romans 1:16, so I have reproduced it here for the benefit of those who think that a church is best planted by human invention.

What do I mean by ‘human invention?’ How about slick marketing programs that blanket the city? Or freebies, raffles, and give-aways that are meant to be a spiritual bait-and-switch? There are surveys meant to find out what unbelieving pagans want in a church so that a church can be tailored for them, and there are those ‘church planters’ who blanket Christian radio, Christian bookstores and encourage their core team to invite their friends over to their cool, new church that is so much better than the one they’re in now. There are other so-called church planting and church growth gimmicks I could mention, but I think that you probably know of one or two places like this.

Then there is Holy Spirit power that converts a soul from being a prisoner of darkness into a light-reflecting child of the Kingdom. Those churches that seek to grow from preaching a gospel that leads to Spirit-regeneration of the souls of men are true church plants. And those who plant churches by the power of the gospel do so in the methodology that gives all glory to God and cannot be conjured up by Madison Avenue methods.

To all my brothers out there who are holding forth the truth in faithfulness, keep it up. For those growing weary of doing good, email me and I’ll join you in prayer so that you won’t be tempted to give in to powerless quick fixes that yield a crowd, but not gospel growth.

The Massive Danger of Success

“When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.” 2 Chronicles 12:1

What a warning biblical leaders have in the example of King Rehoboam! The above verse shows the downfall of many, and O how the mighty have fallen!

When a ruler or leader becomes established and strong, it is then that so many no longer depend upon the Lord, but instead abandon Him for their own strength. King Uriah did this, and so did Hezekiah. David as well as Saul before him.

What a profound warning for all rulers and leaders! We all need to take heed, lest we fall when we think that we are strong and self-sufficient. How can we know that this is happening?

  • Our prayer life dwindles and even disappears.
  • We do not seek the Lord’s counsel when making decisions.
  • We put greater focus and dependence upon our strengths and push to the background our weaknesses.
  • We see victories as “ours,” even placing our achievements before others as memorials to ourselves.
  • We become driven and ruthless when dealing with others and grace disappears from our interactions with them.
  • We find ourselves less thankful to the Lord for using us as servants, and we become hungry for the applause of men, and even downcast when it doesn’t come.

These are a few of the symptoms of a servant who has become a king in their own mind. May we never forget that there is only one King whom we serve and Jesus is His name. The rest of us are but stewards and under shepherds by His grace.

Thus Sayeth the Lord: Why We Preach the Bible (weekend repost)

When stripped down to our historical foundation, IFCA International is a Bible movement. Our churches and ministries exist to preach Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:23), a prospect that has never been acceptable to the world and is rejected by the apostate church. Like the Apostle Paul, we do not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). We believe that God has spoken without error and that His Word has never failed. We believe that the Word of God rules over the Church and God’s people, and that this authority extends to all humanity whether it accepts it or not. We believe the Bible, and this should have a direct impact upon how we minister in the preaching of the Word.

Read the rest here: Thus Sayeth the Lord: Why We Preach the Bible

God’s Power and Prayer (weekend repost)

The sinfulness of man requires the power of God to overcome our nature, bringing us to Christ and setting us free from our sins, removing us from the kingdom of darkness and placing us into the kingdom of God, adopting us as sons of God and joint heirs with Christ, establishing both our ability to stand before the righteous throne of Almighty God as well as establishing our right to do so by virtue of Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to our account.

To read the rest of this post, go here: God’s Power and Prayer

God’s Power and Prayer

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

-Jesus

The sinfulness of man requires the power of God to overcome our nature, bringing us to Christ and setting us free from our sins, removing us from the kingdom of darkness and placing us into the kingdom of God, adopting us as sons of God and joint heirs with Christ, establishing both our ability to stand before the righteous throne of Almighty God as well as establishing our right to do so by virtue of Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to our account.

Therefore, our prayers are heard and answered upon this basis, seeing that God has opened up the doors of heaven, and by virtue of the cross of Jesus has welcomed us in.

In this post I’d like to briefly focus upon three prayer types: 1) Adoration and worship, Thanksgiving; 2) Confession; and 3) Supplication and Petition.

1. Adoration/Worship and Thanksgiving

The first prayer type (grouping three similar types together) is prayer of response. When we pray with thanksgiving and adoration, we are responding to the acts of God which reflect his power to redeem, provide, create and sustain. Some examples of these in the Scriptures are:

Adoration and Worship – Exodus 15, “Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said,“I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.“The Lord is my strength and song,And He has become my salvation;This is my God, and I will praise Him;My father’s God, and I will extol Him.“The Lord is a warrior;The Lord is His name.“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.“The deeps cover them;They went down into the depths like a stone.“Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.” (Exodus 15:1–6, NASB95)

Thanksgiving – Psalm 138, “I will give You thanks with all my heart;I will sing praises to You before the gods.I will bow down toward Your holy templeAnd give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.On the day I called, You answered me;You made me bold with strength in my soul.All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,When they have heard the words of Your mouth.And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,For great is the glory of the Lord.” (Psalm 138:1–5, NASB95)

In your life God has shown you his mighty power, whether it has been through salvation, provision, guidance, providential care, healing or some other way. Does your prayer life reflect this?

2. Confession

Confession is made with the belief that:

  1. We have an omniscient God who knows our sin and we agree with him that we have transgressed his law. Prov. 5:21; Ps 51:3.
  2. We have sinned against our holy God who cannot look upon sin and is just in punishing our iniquity. Ps 51:4, 11.
  3. We have a merciful God who can remove the dark stain of sin through the blood of Christ’s substitutionary death upon the cross. Ps 51:7-10.

Some people, even Christians, live with the awful burden of past sins that they believe are unforgiven and unforgivable, even by God. 

First Corinthians 6:9-11 is the hope of Christ and the power of God demonstrated to the worst of sinners. It says:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Take your eyes off of your sin and put them on Christ! 

3. Supplication and Petition

Supplications and petitions can be placed roughly into two categories:

First, Personal prayer needs (for self and others). Biblical examples of such prayers include:

  1. For food (Matt 6:11)
  2. For healing/trials (2Cor 12:7)
  3. For persecution relief (Acts 12:6-19)
  4. For pain and suffering (Psalms of David, Job)
  5. For wisdom (James 1:5)

Second, Prayer for the Work of the Kingdom, including:

  1. For open doors of opportunity (Col 4:3)
  2. For strength in times of persecution (Acts 4:29)
  3. For boldness in the face of opposition (Acts 4:29)

In the area of supplications and petitions we can become reluctant to pray as we should. We need to answer the questions: Can he answer? and Will he answer? Consider the words of Jesus himself:

“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mk 11:22-24)

“And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”” (Mk 9:23)

Do we use, “If the Lord wills” as an excuse for our lack of faith? Many things the Lord wills, but we often fail to ask (James 4:2).

Consider these verses:

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matt 21:22)

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (James 5:17-18) 

Do these verses cause you to imagine what God could do? Do they set your heart racing? Or do you find yourself doubting, and adding exceptions? The ability for your prayers to be answered is not so much about who you are, as much as it is about who God is! Pray dear friend!