Taking the Word to the World

Archive for June, 2012

Characteristics of Teachable Christians

  • Are humble.
  • Are open for correction.
  • Add value to themselves and others.
  • Are success-oriented.
  • Are willing to improve.
  • Realize they are not perfect.
  • Recognize when something is missing (and will not be satisfied until they find it).
  • Look at what they have and where they are coming from. If what they have is true, and what is to be added is more truth, they do not throw away the foundation. They add to it.
  • Hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Back-tracking to the First Day

The first day of the twentieth century marked the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement. That evening Agnes Ozman received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. A few days later, Charles Parham, his wife, and twelve of his students received their personal Pentecost. Parham had been leading a small group of students into a study of the Acts of Apostles. They started out studying Acts, but ended up living it. The doctrine of the first church was restored as a step was made toward the Book of Acts.

Throughout the last century, the Pentecostal movement has exploded. Never has a group grown more rapidly than the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. As we wade ankle-deep into the twenty-first century, God’s army continues to sweep across the globe undaunted by worldliness and modernistic thinking, still burning with the fire ignited at Pentecost. I applaud the Pentecostal movement of the past and look forward to greater things from God and His church. I’m glad to be part!

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photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC via photo pin cc

A Barrier and a Reminder

In 1900 a hurricane ravaged Galveston Island. Only one old bridge connected the island to the mainland. It served as the evacuation route for thousands. The coming hurricane was spotted, and advance warning was given. There were no visible signs of the storm so the residents of the island decided to do nothing. Six thousand people were killed when the storm hit, and Galveston was destroyed. “Today a strong concrete sea wall stands as a barrier against such disaster, but also as a reminder that a century ago, thousands of people heard a message of warning and chose not to respond.” (Adapted from A Man After God’s Heart by Luis Palau.)

Faith in Jesus and obedience to His commands is the only way to heaven. Obedience leads us upward to heaven. Disobedience leads us downward to hell.

There is no other way to heaven besides Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and we should obey His teachings. He alone provides eternal life.

Man would prefer to choose his own path to heaven. Many try to do that, but it leads to a dead-end street.  There are no options. Jesus Christ is the only way.

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

The fly that refuses to heed advice follows the corpse to the grave.
(African Proverb)

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photo credit: Ben124. via photo pin cc

Two Percent Makes a Difference

The local church walked in to visit the family doctor for a spiritual check-up. The doctor said, “There is good news and bad news. Which would you like to hear first?”

The local church responded, “Let’s get the bad news over first.”

The bad news:

Historically the trend has been for a church denomination to drift or move away from their foundational doctrines over time. Just a two percent decline in church health causes a steady, slow, sure decline.

John Trent, author of Heart Shift, and a professional counselor, tells of a plane trip where he sat beside a NASA petroleum engineer. He took advantage of the opportunity to ask the missile scientist, “How many degrees can a space rocket be off before it becomes a huge problem? Could it be two degrees off?”

The man pulled out his calculator and started punching in numbers. “To be two degrees off from when you blast off, and taking into consideration the time and distance traveled, you’ll miss not only your point of orbital entry, but you’ll miss the moon by 11,121 miles.”

Trent goes on to say, “Just be two degrees off from the right heart attitude, add in enough time and distance, and an entire church can end up miles from God’s heart.”

John Wesley once said, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist…But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having a form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”

The Charisma magazine (October 1993) quoted the Assemblies of God general superintendent as saying, “We might be Pentecostal in doctrine but we’re not Pentecostal in experience.”

“Too many people,” George Wood said (in the same meeting), “are leaving our churches unchanged, unmoved, unsaved, unfilled, unsanctified and unmotivated to turn their heart and will over to God completely. We need a holy fire which sets aside business as usual in the church until Jesus comes.”

Timothy Beougher and Alvin Reid in Evangelism for a Changing World cautioned, “When adenomination’s theology changes, that change almost always begins in the seminaries that train its leaders.” It is paramount that we as Bible school educators take special note of what was just stated. Many colleges started out with the objective of teaching God’s Word but have strayed far from that. God forbid that this ever happens in our apostolic Bible schools.

Just a two degree shift in doctrine and convictions can cause change for the worse, pulling the church away from God.

The local church was devastated, “Well, that is gloomy news! I think I would like the good news!”

The good news:

A two degree shift toward correct doctrine and appropriate convictions can bring a church closer to God. Trent adds, “Even small shifts in a positive direction could move a person from ruin to renewal.”

Yes, churches drift. Churches die. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A two percent positive shift in church health has amazing, salvaging, eternal impact.

H. B. London, Jr. and Neil Wiseman in The Shepherd’s Covenant for Pastors said, “One social scientist recently expressed…the quality of a whole culture can be changed if just two percent of the population has a new vision of what needs to be done and starts doing it.”

I want to be part of that two percent, firmly focused on God’s Word, living it daily, and proclaiming the whole gospel to the whole world. A small percentage can make a large difference. We can reverse trends. We can upsurge church health.

Two percent makes the difference.

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