Why the gospel matters!

Jesus is the desire of the nations. He is the hope for humanity. No matter which side of the Cross you look at, the hope of the nations is Jesus Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom. Without the gospel, we are doomed to hell without a chance.

Michael Green in Evangelism in the Early Church makes it clear that we must be saved from our paganism, or our worldliness.The gospel is partly redemption from ourselves. We want to live in our own paganism or worldliness.

We want to claim we that we love Jesus but we do not love sinners. You can not love the Lord of the Harvest and not love the sinners. We are not allowed to determine the harvest by the size of the barn but rather the size of the field that is ripe. How big is your field?

The reason that we do not see more revival in the Church is not a problem on God’s end. It is because we do not want to pay the price for revival. We do not want to die to ourselves so the gospel can be preached to the sinner. Christianity is our Sunday fix.

 

Completing the Great Commission

As Ralph Riggs, the great Pentecostal statesmen put it, “When Spirit-filled people have the courage and the faithfulness to obey our Lord and follow the apostolic pattern in spreading the true gospel, we will see the whole world evangelized in this generation.”[1]Ralph Riggs, So I send  You, Preface We are still waiting for a missional church to finish the Great Commission!

Jesus left us with one thing to do: proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. That means every tongue, every tribe, every nation. No one in excused of hearing the gospel with miracle confirmation. They can accept it or reject it but they must make a decision about the Savior.

Wonsuk Ma, the Korean theologian says, “The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was taken as a sure sign for the end of the end time, the last opportunity for the greatest harvest of souls before the return of the Lord.”[2]Wonsuk Ma, The Theological Motivations for Pentecostal Mission, International Journal of Pentecostal Missiology, 2014 Many of us believed that from Azusa Street, we would take the gospel to the ends of the earth then the end will come!

For them, the call of Matthew 24:14 was litteral. They believe the gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to all nations (people group) then the end will come. 

Jesus is coming back soon and very soon. We are in the eleventh hour. How much longer to finish the only thing Jesus told us to be about is not promised. He could come for the Church tonight. Have we been faithful?

If we call people to a prayer meeting for the lost, we can pack a stadium. If we want to have a worship gathering, convention centers are full. If we want to evangelism, everyone is busy and full of excuses.

The gospel must matter

We have to come a realization that the gospel really is not that important to us as believers. We are glad that we got it, sucks for those who haven’t heard it yet. The Great Commission is not the great suggestion.

References

References
1 Ralph Riggs, So I send  You, Preface
2 Wonsuk Ma, The Theological Motivations for Pentecostal Mission, International Journal of Pentecostal Missiology, 2014

Revival is breaking out in Mindanao

God is on the move. I know of moves of the Spirit in Kentucky, Tennessee, Fiji and now the Philippines. As a former missionary to the Philippines, I know the pressures and the challenges of Pentecostalism in a Catholic nation.

See six minutes of the altar call from the first service. They are now going for over a week in revival services.

This is a small United Pentecostal Church church that has seen the power of God hit the service and continues to do so for nights. The power of God is setting the captives free and the sick are being healed. That is what really matters. Many people have services that are very emotional but no lives are changed. Jesus came to transform lives. If this is not the case, we are wasting our time.

What about theology?

At the mention of being Oneness Pentecostals, many will ask the question about Modalism. Here is the deal, the Spirit of God does not check out theology statement before He pours out. Pure theology is the mark of revival; hungry souls for the presence of God is. Revival does not come as a response to sound teaching and it does not stamp approval on bad doctrine, either.

In other words, I do not agree with Oneness Pentecostals doctrinally but I love them and they will be see the end time harvest just like everyone else.

What is next for them?

I believe it will expand in Mindanao, especially in the areas of strong Muslim presence. Zamboanga Peninsula, I think, will become a major target of the revival. It might be in the Pentecostal churches, including Assemblies of God or it might become church plants.

Either way, revival will spread in some form across Mindanao. It could also end up in Malaysia as well. Many Filipinos move between Mindanao and Sabah regularly.

Hyperbaric Oxygen & PTSD

There is a study on oxygen and PTSD out of Israel.They have come to believe they can use a form of oxygen to decompression damage done on the brain from trauma. This could be a real game changer.

According to the research in Israel, about half of the people struggle with PTSD saw positive results from the research done. While this research is limited to mild cases among the Israel Defense Forces; it is beginning a discussion that would later be developed by researchers at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. (It seems they are underway.)

This could be a game changer for many.

Is Science good for PTSD?

Many people with faith struggle to believe that help could come from science. I do not believe that science has any answers but they can help lead the discussion. There is no hope found in labs and science is deeply rooted secularism.

In this case, people can learn from the study of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and it can part of the question on how to help someone that has been traumatized. It is just important to keep it in its context for reaching the answer.

The answer is still the gospel

People tend to put their trust in the science of this world. They have nothing to offer. The only answer for PTSD is the power of the Spirit and the presence of God. When the manifest presence comes, miracles happens and demon flee.

The development of HBOT is interesting and can help as we guide people to the presence of God where they can find complete freedom. It is not anti-science. We just know the only hope for humanity is in the gospel of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit and in the presence of God.

However, I do look forward to more research like hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

 

Paul Cain: Remembering the Soul Winner and Prophet

Paul Cain passed away three years ago today. For me, personally, the impact he had on me is important. It was a prophetic word from Paul Cain that really confirmed the call to ministry.

Paul was a story of strengths and weakness and both were quite extreme. Some of them were up close and others were not. However, despite his personal struggles; God used him powerfully. In some ways, he reminds me of A.A. Allen that God used to do great works despite being drunk while doing them.

There is no getting around either. I would be dishonest to believe that the issues were not there. I would be equally dishonest to pretend the sins did not happen.

His story does not start with the “Kansas City Prophets” though. It actually went back to the late 1940’s when he worked with William Branham, another questionable preacher that had problems but God uses anyways.

The healing revival was good for Paul Cain then he completely disappeared. He would spend 25 years on the backside of the Arizona desert until he came back in Birmingham, Alabama.

This was at least, in part, due to people becoming very uneasy about the Latter Rain movement and its’ extreme doctrines.

How a prophetic word changed my life

On August 4, 1998; I had the first open vision of my life. I was at Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola, Florida and during worship, I saw the great end time harvest and the angels of harvest. I did not know what to make of this. In classic Pentecostal churches, we talk about them happening but having it happen was different.

A few months later, I am at a prophetic conference at Metro Christian Fellowship pastored by Mike Bickle. Paul Cain is speaking and he turns around, points me out and telling me exactly what the vision I had.

He goes on to say three things that would mark my ministry even since that day

  • You will be confrontational…
  • You will be controversial….
  • You will be widely misunderstood but the Lord will be with you.

While I did not understand the impact all of those would have that night, they have became true on so many levels over the last 20 years since he gave me those words at that meeting. To be honest, I am still confrontational, controversial and misunderstood in many cases.

A few years ago, I was in the middle of a witchhunt by people who love their sin. I had taken a strong position for holiness while on the mission field. People who loved their immorality came after me in a way that was over the time. I was considered very controversial for standing against sex trafficking by people that were Americans.

It was those guiding words by Paul Cain that gave me strength to continue in the fight for purity and holiness among people claiming to be followers of Jesus but living in immorality. It was not an easy road by any means but one that must be walked out.

Paul Cain and Latter Rain

There is no other way to say it: Paul Cain has connections to the Latter Rain revival, the only revival condemned by the Assemblies right out. There was many positive things about it but there is some very unsettling ideology that they tried to turn into theology.

They would hold that God can not move without fasting and prayer. This is simply not true. They would present this as biblical truth when in reality, it was a conviction of a small group of people. Prayer brings revival but God can move with or without our help!

One of the more outlandish views was that there was the restoration of the Apostle and the Prophet. The truth is that there could not be a restoration of something that was never taken. The Church has always had Apostles and Prophets even if they did not carry that title. Count Zinzendorf was an apostle to his generation, for example.

Another outlandish doctrine was that the “church must be in unity” for the gospel to be preached in the region. This is not found anywhere in context. John 17 is about worship of Jesus and rejecting the the Pharisee influence. Yet, this was preached in the Latter Rain movement.

Probably the craziest doctrine of them all was Manifest Sons of God which Paul Cain did try and promote as “Joel’s Army.” There is nothing in scripture that supports this in any way, shape of form.

These and other parts of the Latter Rain theology did impact Paul Cain directly and indirectly.

 

Why revival is coming to the poor

I believe that revival is coming to the poor, the homeless, the broken of America. There is something pure about them: they are real. I believe that God is going to pour through the poor as a rebuke to the well off as well.

 

Social Justice and the Gospel

Social Justice means many things in the United States. Most of it comes down to politics. However, outside of America and the larger Western World, the context of social justice or social concern charges greatly.

I am a conservice politically and seem Marxism in the modern America view of social justice. However, I have recently had that view challenged by reading Pentecostals and the poor by Dr. Ivan Satyavrata.

What would a theologian from India have to tell us that would be different than the things we head on Fox News or the 700 Club? Then, I realized he is the pastor of the 4,000 strong Buntain Memorial Church in Kolkata and serves on the board of directors for Teen Challenge in India.

The question of contextual ministry matters. He would have in understanding of how the gospel connects with the social concerns of the people. In his culture, it is not social justice vs the gospel but social concerns empower the gospel.

To be clear that a bowl of rice is never a substitute for the Holy Spirit. Giving someone food or medical care without telling them of the Savior is still humanism. It must be a tool, not the purpose or it loses its purpose.

Understanding Social justice globally

For many decades, the connection of social concern and the gospel was not two different matters. Azusa Street Mission was known for its works of compassion, for example. The same is true of the earlier Bethel Healing Home in Topeka (1901). However, in recent years the issue has become more of a political one than theological one.

This is the main things that Ivan Satyavrata seeks to remind us in Pentecostal and the Poor.

The extraordinary success of the Pentecostal movement is largely due to its outreach to those on the periphery of society. (p.38)

The message of redemption to the poor found in the gospel is hope for eternity and hope for the present. Many have no choice but to trust the Holy Spirit for their daily bread (and about everything else).

Historically, we have been better at the work of compassion than we have to discussing it but in recent years, we have developed great theological works about it while our actions became less and less. While we wanted to be moved with compassion, we did not want to attached to anything that was close to a “social gospel.”

Outside of the Western context, especially the United States, social concern and the Pentecostal message that Jesus saves, heals and delivers is natural and inseparable. They are more passionate about caring for the broken man than they were having great theological discourse. This remains the case in the developing world that Quest for Souls does most of its work.

The explosion of the Pentecostal movement around the world is directly in relationship with its’ application of compassion for the poor of the nation they work among. Social engagement is the gasoline on the fire of the gospel being preached. There is no dismissing this.

Working out social concern practically

When I was in living in the Philippines as a missionary, it was critical to get people to come for a work of evangelism to give them a meal. It is just standard in many outreaches, especially in the squatters. Many missionaries did not like the model but in most cases, without feeding the people; they would not come.

There is a place that personal philosophy and missiology does not matter and only what will actually reach the lost takes importance. This was the case in the Philippines. Personally, I struggled that a plate of Chicken Abodo made the people come, not the fire of God’s presence.

There was something powerful learned that I did not know in bible college: full stomach becomes open hearts. This is not true in all contexts but this is true in the Filipino understanding. (In Japan, offering food would be offensive.)

Pentecostal and the Poor is a monograph published by Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Philippines. You can find it on Amazon in the United States.

 

Why evangelism matters today!

In 1996, Pentecostal theologian Stanley Horton said the following about the need for evangelism in our generation,

The good news gives meaning to life today. We can still affect the world for Christ. We can still expect the Pentecostal outpourings and thousands saved and added to the Church, as is actually happening in many parts of the world even now.

These words are even more true today than they were over 20 years ago. Death has quieted the voice of Brother Horton but the words live on. The heart of the matter is that we do not have much time and the Lord could come for the blood bought Church at any moment.

The time is short!

The main reason that we evangelize is there is little time left before the rapture of the saints. While there are many people who have different ideas of just how much time there is, most hold that it is very limited. Even if the Lord tarries, we know that life is but a vapor and there is no promise of tomorrow.

10 Megachurches that did not compromise Pentecost (mostly)

Pentecostals are known for megachurches. Of the top 10 largest churches in America, 7 of them are Pentecostal (or Charismatic). This is not saying anything about the largest church in the world that is also Pentecostal. There are a dozen countries that have less people that that one church does.

For the sake of this article, the questions that have to answered are as followed:

  • Do they value the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do they value praying in tongues?
  • Do they pray for the sick regularly?
  • Do they reach their community for the cause of Christ?

The list of churches that have exploded without compromise are in no order. Here they are 🙂

James River (Assembly of God)

When I was in bible college, I attended James River Assembly. They had just moved to the location in Ozark and they were quite a bit smaller those days.

Pentecostals of Alexandria

Family Worship Center

Sheffield Family Life Center

North Cleveland Church of God

Church of His Presence

Community Family Church

Times Square Church

First Assembly, Fort Myers

Angeles Temple

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