Evangelistic Prayer: How to Pray for Unsaved People

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

Evangelistic Prayer: The Real Secret to Praying for Unsaved People

There are seven Scriptures in the New Testament that explicitly link prayer to evangelism. Six of the seven call for Christians to open their mouths, rather than for unbelievers to open their hearts. Examine these six and find the Bible secret to praying for the unsaved.

First Evangelistic Prayer Matthew 9: 37-38

Jesus notices so many needy people; compassion for them rises in Him. He then puts his finger squarely on the problem–many people are ready to receive salvation, but few workers. His solution: Pray for workers.

Second Evangelistic Prayer Luke 10:2

On a separate occasion from Matthew 9, Jesus offers the same command. “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Does He ever specifically ask people to pray for the lost? Strangely, no. His solution is invariably the same: Pray for believers to go to work in the “harvest.”

Third Evangelistic Prayer Ephesians 6:19-20

Paul asks prayer for himself for four specific areas:
• That he would open his mouth
• That utterance, words (Greek: logos, from lego, which means “to speak”) be given to him
• Boldness to make the gospel known (twice requested)
• That he would speak as he ought
Five times his request centers on speaking out.

Fourth Evangelistic Prayer  Colossians 4:3-4

Paul asks the church in Colossae to pray for Timothy and him so they
• Will have an open door for their message
• May speak out “the mystery of Christ”
• Will speak clearly as they ought

Fifth Evangelistic Prayer 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Again Paul feels the need and cries out for prayers for Silvanus, Timothy and himself. His request–that the word of God which they speak would spread rapidly. They also wanted prayer that the way they spoke and the words they said would be respected, honored and received.

Sixth Evangelistic Prayer Acts 4:29-31

This incident in Acts 4 rests in the context of evangelism and prayer for the salvation of people opposed to Christ Jesus. After threats and harassment, Peter and John (and apparently other disciples) prayed aloud. Sandwiched between “take note of their threats” and “extend Your hand to heal” is this gem, “Grant that Your bondservants may speak Your word with all confidence” (Greek—parousia=boldness). This example of the New Testament Church in action clearly reveals the key to effective prayer for the lost.

I mentioned seven Scritpures linking prayer with evangelism. What is the seventh? Go to Romans 10:1 where Paul testifies that he is praying for the salvation of the Jews.

Is it wrong to pray for the unsaved by name? God forbid!–to pull a line from Paul. There are many general promises such as, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Also, I Timothy 2:1-4 edges toward prayer for the lost, but does not make a specific connection. (Note: Some translations, based on weak manuscript evidence or imagination, place Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 in the future tense which makes it seem like He’s praying for the lost.)

Following these six Scriptures focuses a new and brighter light on evangelism.  Amazingly, the Bible way of prayer for the unsaved is largely unheralded and untried. Yet it is one of the keys that has made Chicken Evangelism so effective.

Summary and Conclusion

Each of the six Scriptures above linking prayer and evangelism emphasize prayer for the church to speak boldly and work in the “harvest”. Not one calls for prayer for the unsaved. Could this be a weak or missing link in our evangelism efforts? Are your evangelistic prayers based on the Bible way of praying?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.  What’s your experience with evangelistic prayer? Have you tried the real secret for praying for the lost?  What results are you getting?

Disciple a Stranger through Chicken Evangelism

 

Disciple a Stranger Through Chicken Evangelism

Disciple a Stranger Through Chicken Evangelism

Disciple a Stranger? Is it Possible?

Yes, if we do what Jesus did! Here’s how I initiated some discipleship encouragement with a stranger today. (We all know this is merely one step along the way, not the complete job of bringing anyone to maturity in Christ. But it is a step in the process and something to be welcomed.)

I went to the hardware store to buy some heating ducts. I flagged down a store employee to help locate the proper connections. He turned out to be a great helper, fitting the pieces together for me. I commended him and then asked, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” Roger paused, then quietly stated, “Yes, and no. I did receive Him some years ago, but . . . .”

He hesitated. I have talked to so many men who are unsure of their relationship, if any, with Christ. He didn’t know what to say. So I said, “You just need some encouragement.”

That got him started, and I must say, once started, he didn’t want to stop. Roger began pouring out his heart, one event after another. He told of three traumas in his life, one of which was beating cancer. I listened. He kept talking. His wife died about ten years ago and she had been his spiritual leader. Now he was on his own and it wasn’t going all that well spiritually.

I Came to Buy Ducts

When I entered the store I had no idea that I would disciple a stranger. But here I was, listening, listening, listening. As everyone knows, listening is an integral part of the discipleship process. In front of me was a seventy-six year old man happily telling me, a complete stranger, about some of the deepest events of his life.

No other customers came around so I was thankful. (When I witness with employees I try to be very mindful of a workers time and respectful of his employer who’s paying him.)

We were experiencing warm fellowship, mutually enjoyable. I shared some of my life, how I was diagnosed with cancer. I asked “How did you beat cancer?” and he told me that part of his story.

In the end I asked, “Do you read your Bible?” Roger admitted, “No. . .but I pray every day.” That encouraged me. I suggested, “My name is Mark. Start with the gospel of Mark and read something every day.” “I will,” he promised. Then he began confessing Christ and his faith. Rather excitedly, Roger announced, “God brought me through three crises. I know He’s looking out for me.”

Did I enjoy this time to disciple a stranger? You bet! To disciple a stranger is satisfying. I was able to meet his need and encourage him on his way. And that’s how Jesus did it too. The Law of First Encounter is an eye-opener. Check it out.

My conversation with Roger ended when he stretched out his hand and stated, “I enjoyed talking with you.” Of course, the gesture was mutual.

How Does Anyone Disciple a Stranger?

This all started when I stuck my neck out and asked my favorite Chicken Evangelism question: Have you received Jesus Christ into your life? (Chicken Evangelism means we bring up God before we chicken out.)  Sometimes a man or woman is ready to receive the Savior on the spot. Sometimes other scenarios develop, but invariably, the Chicken Evangelism question opens up doors to build a friendship and lead a person deeper into relationship with Christ.

Apostles Come Forth!

 

Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles come forth!

Here is an excerpt from my book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches and Apostles Related in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now. You can buy the book at Churches and Apostles.

Apostles come forth! “Unbind him and let him go” (John 11:44).

Just as Jesus raised the dead man Lazarus in the first century, God is calling apostles to rise up and come forward in the twenty-first century. The apostolic ministry has lain dead or dormant for so long that many devout Christians don’t believe apostles exist today.

This writer echoes Christ’s clarion call, “Apostles come forth!” Local Churches Global Apostles aims to underscore the Biblical basis for modern-day apostles and to “unbind them and let them go.” Too many churches–and too many men of apostolic calling–have been bound by unbiblical concepts which have hindered constructive church and apostle relationships and prohibited congenial working together.

In Section Two of the book, case studies of each church in the New Testament lay the groundwork  for understanding Biblical varieties and concepts of church and apostle relationships. The information in Section Three may “unbind” churches and apostles and offer greater freedom to work together in mutually beneficial ways.

Jerry Daley, gifted apostle and church planter, brings some current issues into focus.

The question, in my opinion, is how churches [and] pastors should take advantage of apostolic ministries. I’m not thinking of the authority side at all but rather the need for apostolic initiative, leadership, risk taking [and] faith to break out of boxes and move into new ways of reaching this generation. Most senior pastors are attempting to accomplish apostolic results and feel the pressure, [the] expectation, [to do so] without receiving the kind of help they need. Again, I’m not talking about authority.

These are my observations. Few senior pastors have mentors or coaches whereas [some men] have both who meet with [them] almost weekly.”

Apostles come forth!

The modern day apostolic movement began in the 1940’s . . .

B Mark Anderson Author PhotoThis eye-opening book may become a life-changer to some.

Marks of Apostleship

One of the marks of apostleship--open new territory for the Kingdom of God

One of the marks of apostleship–open new territory for the Kingdom of God

 

 

 

 

 

What are the Marks of Apostleship?

How can we tell a true apostle from the counterfeit? Good question. A conference recently convened to hash out these questions. No definitive answers emerged, so let’s go to the New Testament to find direction.

 Marks of Apostleship Summarized

Marks of apostleship are summarized  in this definition:  An apostle is a Godly Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.

For another look at the marks of apostleship, click here.

The Bible teaches by both precept and example. I’m focusing on examples in this article–sometimes we concentrate on text alone and forget about examples.

Men Who Demonstrated Marks of Apostleship in the Bible

Check these examples of men who opened new territory, either spiritually or geographically. Pioneering a work in virgin territory characterized the Biblical men who bore the marks of apostleship. This aspect of true apostleship seems often overlooked by those trying to understand apostolic ministry today.

Andrew “found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ and ‘he brought him to Jesus.’” (John 1:41, 42) Andrew opened new gospel territory within his own family. Both of these guys eventually became disciples and apostles of Christ.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Philip overcame Nathaniel’s original objection by inviting him to “Come and see” Jesus. Jesus’ words of revelation about Nathaniel’s nature sufficed to make a believer out of him. Both he and Philip later became apostles of Jesus.

When it comes to opening new territory, Barnabas shines as the example par excellence. Often overlooked as he traveled in the shadow of St. Paul, Barnabas actually recruited Paul and served as his mentor. Paul basically followed in the patterns Barnabas worked out.

Multiple examples of Barnabas’ leadership emerge as we investigate the pages of the New Testament. At Antioch he laid foundations into the first missionary church.  He established multiple leadership in the local church there(Acts 13:1). He set a pattern of churches helping churches as he carried relief money from Antioch to  Jerusalem.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14).

The best known example of any apostle who opened new territory is, of course, Paul. God used this man to evangelize much of the Middle East including modern day western Turkey, Greece, and Kosovo. Paul’s greatest legacy, however, lay in theology, even more than in the geographical expansion of Christianity. Paul did not originate the gospel of grace but he developed it more than any other New Testament writer. Without Paul and the letter to Romans and Galatians, our understanding of the gospel would be truncated and shallow.

Timothy and Silas worked with Paul to open up new gospel territory and expand the Kingdom of God.

Titus is not listed as an apostle, yet his work in Crete signifies he was doing the work of an apostle by laying foundations in the church there. He exhibited the marks of apostleship even though he is not named as an apostle anywhere in the pages of the New Testament.

The apostle James was the epitome of a New Testament pastor. He is the first and only example of a local church pastor in the Bible and is forever God’s stalwart pattern for what a pastor is and does.

Peter and John traveled on a mission to Samaria. There they ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a group of believers who were lacking this experience. By imparting the Holy Spirit they became examples of apostles who solved major problems in a local church.

In all the examples of apostles where we have adequate information, the apostle opened up new spiritual or geographical areas for God.

Contemporary Men who Demonstrate the Marks of Apostleship by Opening New Territory

Some modern day examples of men who exhibit the marks of apostleship include Earl Kellum. This apostle pioneered over two hundred churches in Mexico. He also was either the first or one of the first to drop gospel portions from airplanes over remote villages in order to evangelize the people. I once flew with Air Mail from God Mission and dropped gospels of John over a village near Cuatla, Mexico. (I say once flew because the plane crashed after a few passes over the town. I survived, but  the plane was put out of commission.)

Paul Anderson, former Director of International Lutheran Renewal Services in St. Paul, Minnesota saw needs and met them. Among other enterprises he originated the Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC) and began the Master’s Institute (MI), an innovative seminary for training ministers.

Just because a person pioneers a work or starts a program does not by itself indicate he or she is an apostle. All Christians need to open new territory and expand the kingdom of God in some way. Apostles are leaders of expansion. Wherever we find a true apostle we find a pioneer. There’s more to the apostolic calling than pioeering new works. To learn more about this God-appointed ministry, go to What is an apostle?

 

 

Barnabas the Super Apostle

Barnabas opened up new territory for the gospel

Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul

 

Barnabas

The apostle Barnabas opened up new territory for God. One of the key characteristics of an apostle in the Bible is the ability to expand the gospel into new areas, either spiritually of geographically.

 

How Do You Define Apostle?

Perhaps we need to come to a clear definition of apostle. What is an apostle?

An apostle is a Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.” This is how I define apostle.

Does Barnabas fit this description of apostles? Most definitely. Let’s examine some Scriptures to discover and identify the various ways St Barnabas opened up fresh territory for God, both spiritually and geographically. (By the say, we often use the term “St Paul.” Why not St Barnabas as well?)

Barnabas Pioneered New Spiritual and Geographical Territory for God

Barnabas was the pioneer apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:22). He laid foundations in the fledgling church, foundations that became patterns for churches throughout the New Testament era and continuing to the present day.

Jesus recruited disciples. In the same way Barnabas recruited Paul (Acts 9:27). He served as catalyst and coordinator of Paul’s early ministry. In fact, Paul’s ministry “took off” after Barnabas connected with him. If there had been no Barnabas, there may have been no Paul. He was Paul’s leader and became instrumental in his success.

Friends nicknamed him “Son of Encouragement.”  He carried relief money from Antioch to the Jerusalem church. Continuing this pioneer legacy, many modern day churches have established a “Barnabas Fund” to help needy people (Acts 11:29ff).

He established multiple leadership in the local church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). apparently this was a new vision for church leadership. We certainly don’t find evidence of it in Jerusalem where James was predominant. Christ, the Head of the church uses this concept in New Testament type churches today.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14). Paul participated in and later followed this example.

This man was a tremendous leader and deserves far more credit as a leader and apostle than he generally receives. Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul! Even that relationship didn’t last long.

Want to discover surprises about apostles in the New Testament? Local Churches Global Apostles is an eye-opener. You can pick up a discounted copy on Amazon.

 

 

 

The God of Jacob Mystifies

 

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

 

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold (Psalm 46:10).

I am intrigued by the God of Jacob. Just Who is this God of Jacob? How is He different from the God of Moses or the God of David? Of course, He is the same One True God, but there must be some variation.  The mystery of the God of Jacob fascinates me.

God Loved Jacob

To unravel the mystery of the God of Jacob, let’s focus first on the fact that God loved Jacob (Psalm 47:4; Mal 1:2; Rom 9:13). Repeated three times in Scripture, we find an emphatic statement: God really loved Jacob!

But Jacob was a rat! His name means “heel-grabber,” “trickster,” or “supplanter.” He stole, yes stole his brother’s birthright and gained the coveted blessing of the first-born by fraud, lying, and deceit. He was not a nice fellow to be around.

Still, God loved Jacob! That’s the alluring part of the mystery. This always give me hope. If God can love a guy like Jacob, He can love you and me!

God Showed Jacob Favor

Further, God’s love for Jacob was no hidden love affair. God showed special favor on this cheater time after time and in remarkable ways.

The God of Jacob chose the little fellow in the womb to be stronger than his brother and to be lord and leader of his brother. This title shows God as the God of Sovereign Election. God elected Jacob and He has elected to bless us as well. His sovereign choice is to bless His people.

The God of Jacob did not discipline Jacob when we think He should have. Jacob tricked his father, stole his brother’s birthright, and got away with it. Then God blessed him! It doesn’t seem right. How could this be? What does this show about the God of Jacob?

(Hint: God’s choice not to discipline Jacob at this time shows His nature. He is both patient and resolute. Seven years would pass before God would feed Jacob some of his own medicine. Through a phony marriage, the Lord chose to severely discipline and train Jacob the deceiver through an even greater deceiver, his father-in-law, Laban.

God appeared to the fugitive runaway as he fled Esau’s threats. God promised inheritance, blessings on the world (!), prosperity, and protection. He conferred the blessing of Abraham on this scoundrel. Wow! When we mess up, “The God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:10). Count on it! We too are in the covenant line of Abraham.

The God of Jacob gave him Rachel, a wife he genuinely loved.

He blessed him with many children.

The God of Jacob greatly increased his sheep business and made him exceedingly prosperous (Gen 30:43).

The God of Jacob directed him with personal dreams. Can we expect Him to do the same for us?

God protected him by giving Jacob’s adversary a dream. In the dream God  told his adversary to “shut up” about Jacob and “Don’t tell him anything bad” (Gen 31:24).

The God of Jacob wrestled with him, but chose not to prevail!

The God of Jacob let him see His face without taking his life (Gen 32:30).

God graciously changed Jacob’s name and nature from a taker to a giver.

The God of Jacob gave him favor with his former enemy Esau.

God went with him wherever he went (Gen 35:3).

The list could continue as God gave Jacob a long and blessed life preserving him from famine and allowing him to see his grandchildren.

The Significance of the God of Jacob for us

What the God of Jacob did for this man He will do also for us. We too, as people of faith, are in the covenant of Abraham. We can expect the God of Jacob to bless us even when we blow it! What he did for Jacob, He will do for us. Who He was to Jacob, He is for us!

At the end of his life, perhaps just hours before he died, Jacob  coined the phrase “the Mighty One of Jacob” under the inspiration of the Spirit. The  Bible emphasizes this title by using it about fourteen times. God had appeared to him as El-Shaddai (the Mighty One). Now Jacob claims the name for himself. How personal, how significant!

We can do the same. I’ve been thinking about the God of Jacob and how He favored this man. I am claiming the use of this title for myself.  I am beginning to call the God of Jacob “the Mighty One of . . . Mark!

Can you put in your own name? The God of Jacob has become “the Mighty One of _______________!

False Apostles and True–What’s the Difference?

 

 

False apostles

False apostles

With the advent of modern day apostles and prophets, many are asking “What is a true apostle?” and “What are the signs of false apostles?” “How can we tell the difference?”

I have worked with apostles for over fifty years. I’ve seen the bona fides, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve also seen some wannabes whose claims of apostleship are questionable or fallacious.

As an aid to identify true apostles, let’s examine four types of false apostles.

False Apostles Pressure Donors

If any minister tries to pressure a person to give him money, stay a hundred yards away. Overt or subtle pressure to give money signals greed and is a sure sign of rottenness at the core. One veteran missionary told me, “Don’t give to any minister unless you personally know him or know someone who does know and approve him. It’s just too easy to exaggerate from the mission field when there is no one there to hold him accountable.”

Of course, it’s legitimate to request funds or take offerings. The pressure is the problem.

How a minister handles money reveals a lot about himself. Jesus noted, He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much (Luke 16:10).

Improper use of money is a flag flying high to reveal to churches and prospective donors the hidden nature of false apostles.

False Apostles Lack Christ-like Character

If any man fails to honor his marriage vows or he sinks into immorality, it’s time to jump ship. Character, not just charisma, is a sign of true apostleship.

But let’s be gracious in this matter of character. Just because a person makes some minor mistakes does not mean he is a fraud. We are speaking of repeated mistakes without repentance. We are speaking of conscious decisions that are contrary to Scripture.

False Apostles Preach False Doctrine

Paul identifies those who preach a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you (Gal 1:8) as worthy of being cursed.

False Apostles Exhibit Self-Serving Leadership

If any man claims to serve as an apostle, yet “lords it over” or dominates those he works with, watch out. All ministers are called to get underneath as servants to build up, not to dominate or tear down. Spiritual dictators dominate; true apostles build others up.

Self-serving leadership is an example of a character deficiency. It’s so egregious, however, that I have given it a separate category in order to highlight the problem. I have seen a man with a genuine apostolic calling ridicule and abase fellow pastors and turn them into virtual slaves. By so doing he has disqualified himself as a genuine apostle.

We’ve seen gifted men betray their apostolic calling by failing in one or more of these areas.

It’s imperative to remember while considering true and false apostles that gifts alone do not make ministers either true or false apostles. A calling from God of itself does not determine which are true or false apostles. Miracles and supernatural works of power do not determine either true or false apostles. Character alone does not determine true or false apostles. Doctrine by itself does not show who are true or false apostles. It is the combination of all the above we are looking for to determine who are true and who are false apostles.

Among false apostles and prophets in Scripture, Balaam stands out. He’s mentioned by name 61 times in the New American Standard Bible, three times in the New Testaments.

Then God came to Balaam and said . . . (Num 22:9)  Surprisingly, God appeared to Balaam. False apostles can hear God speak.

God met Balaam” (Num 23:4) God even meets with false apostles!

When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD . . . (Num 24:1) Balaam was perceptive; he could see what pleased and displeased God. Some false apostles have great gifts and perception; that does not mean they are true apostles.

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. (Num 24:2) Yes, the Holy Spirit can anoint even false apostles and prophets.

The following verses show Balaam was financially corrupt.  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (2 Pet 2:15)

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam . . . (Jude 1:11)

False apostles often mix true doctrine with false teachings. Balaam counseled Midian to seduce Israelite men into sexual immorality. His seduction worked. False apostles can eventually get carried away into immorality.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. (Rev 2:14)

Even though Balaam gave true prophecies and God spoke glorious oracles through him, he was corrupt. He was financially corrupt, demonstrated self-serving character, and taught false doctrine.

Local Churches Global Apostles is my research-based book that answers many questions about true and false apostles. Get it from Amazon.

“See the Lord”? Required to be a True Apostle?

 

See the Lord

Must a Man See the Lord to be a True Apostle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must Someone “See the Lord” in order to be a True Apostle?

This “requirement” has long been held as necessary to be an apostle. But in the light of the modern day New Apostolic Revolution, let’s revisit the question:  Must Someone “See the Lord” in order to be a True Apostle?

No, I don’t Think so. Here’s Why.

First of all, many of the 25 apostles mentioned in the Bible did not see the Lord in the flesh. Timothy, Titus, and Apollos were not in Judea or Galilee during Jesus’ ministry. Certainly, these men and other apostles named in the Bible could not see the Lord Jesus in the flesh as the original twelve saw Him.

Timothy was probably not even born by the time Christ was crucified. Paul connected with the young Timothy in Galatia (a part of modern day Turkey) about 51 AD and Christ was crucified in Jerusalem around 30 AD. That’s a span of about 21 years; it’s generally accepted that Timothy was a very young man when he began with Paul. Realistically, due to age and geography, there is no way Timothy could see the Lord.

Does “see the Lord in the Spirit” qualify? Paul first encountered Jesus on the Damascus Roadway. The three reports of this encounter state Christ’s “appearance” was a blinding light coupled with Jesus’ voice. Paul testifies that he did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision [emphasis added] (Acts 26:19).  Does a vision meet the standard that some require to “see the Lord” in order to be a true apostle?

If so, many could quality as modern day apostles because many men and women see the Lord in vision form.

What about the Other Appearances of Christ to Paul?

Could any of Christ’s other appearances qualify as to a time where he could say, “I see the Lord?” Christ appeared to Paul in various forms four recorded times in the Scriptures.

First, in the vision on the Damascus Road which we just examined. Next, at his first visit to Jerusalem shortly after his conversion. During this experience, Paul was “in a trance” (Acts 22:17) and did not see the Lord in the flesh.  The third appearance occurred in Corinth when the Lord spoke to Paul in the night “by a vision” (Acts 18:9-10). Christ’s last recorded appearance to Paul occurred in Jerusalem when “the Lord stood by his side” (Acts 23:11), but this took place about 59 AD or approximately eight years following the writing of I Corinthians 9:1 where Paul claims to have “seen the Lord.” Therefore, this last appearance could not be what Paul was referring to as a time where he could say, “I see the Lord.”

What does the Scripture say?

“Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (I Cor 9:1). Here Paul asks a question. It is not a statement of who is an apostle and who is not. Can a question be turned into a qualification? Certainly, to “see the Lord” can add credibility to life. But to use a question to make a definite requirement that one must see the Lord in order to be an authentic apostle is not solid exegesis.

My Conclusions

Others may disagree, and Jesus will straighten us all out when we get to heaven, but here are my conclusions.

First, one questionable verse in the Bible can not and should not be used to determine the doctrine or definition of apostleship. It’s neither hermeneutically nor exegetically sound. Go to What is an apostle? to examine the definition of a true apostle.

Second, Paul himself states Christ’s appearance to him on the Damascus Road was a vision. If a vision qualifies, the basis for apostleship is rather low. In the days of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, many–even children, will prophecy and see visions (Acts 2:17).

Third, about half the apostles mentioned in Scripture could not have seen the Lord Jesus in the flesh. They are named apostles, yet did not see the lord; therefore the “requirement” which some maintain is necessary to be a true apostle is no requirement at all. Rather, Paul’s use of the phrase “see the Lord” is a rhetorical question meant to bolster his standing in the eyes of his hearers.

I have written a report many find fascinating. It’s entitled “How Many Apostles are Mentioned in the NT–Twelve or Twenty-five?” Get your copy by signing up on the sidebar for weekly goodies in your inbox every Wednesday morning.

If you’re really wanting to go into depth, here’s an eye-opening book about apostles. Check out Local Churches Global Apostles.

In this book you will find more info about ancient and modern day apostles and the Biblical patterns for church and apostle relations. Included are case studies of every church in the New Testament. Many ministers have written positive endorsements. Here are a couple.

This is a book written by a seasoned, wise, surrendered follower and minister of Christ.  It not only broadens our understanding and appreciation of apostolic ministry, it presents a powerful encouragement to grow and develop current and future apostolic ministers who will serve and relate to the church in ways that help care for and build Her His way.   Ben Goodman, Lewiston Idaho


A remarkable and refreshing view of New Testament apostles and their relationships with churches of their time.  A valuable resource book.

Ivan Sagal
Church planter, missionary and intercessor

I also recommend the book by C. Peter Wagner entitled Spheres of  Authority which is sold on Amazon.com.

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B Mark Anderson, My Hero, My Dad

B Mark Anderson

B Mark Anderson, M. Div

 

“B Mark Anderson, My Hero, My Dad” is a guest post submitted by John Erik Anderson. John Erik Anderson is an officer in the U.S. Army and a veteran of the Afghan war.

 

For as long as I can remember, my family has had the Thanksgiving tradition that each of us dress up as a mysterious character to act out while we sit down for our evening feast.

 

A lot of thought goes into to the characters we choose, ranging from historical or fictitious figures to the purely abstract. One memorable year comes to mind when my mother portrayed Agatha Christie’s Hercules Periot, while my sister Sarah played Lt. Col. George Custer, dressed as a cavalry officer with a music stand. She had to explain the prop as her “last stand” before we finally guessed who she was.

Who I’m Most Thankful for: My Father, B Mark Anderson

But this year when I come home after three years of serving in Germany and Afghanistan, choosing my character is easy. I’m going to be the man I’m most thankful for: My father, B Mark Anderson of Muscatine.

B Mark Anderson: No Stranger to Near-Death Experiences

Over his 70 plus years of vibrant life, Dad has been no stranger to near-death experiences and truly embodies the meaning of the word “survivor.” This is why when he told me last October that he was diagnosed with a severe form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph tissue), that he was going to fight to survive just like every other time in his life.

With a biography that reads like a character out of a Wes Anderson film, by the age of two my dad had survived hernia surgery, a severe fall from a barn, and was nearly trampled to death by a loose team of horses. As a senior in high school, he contracted blood poisoning and still has the scars to prove it. As a track star at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., he survived a serious bout of Typhoid fever that nearly killed him.

While working on bridge construction over the turbulent Clackamas River in northwestern Oregon, he was nearly drowned by summer rapids. After college, Dad volunteered as a missionary in Mexico where he miraculously walked away unscathed from a violent plane crash.

Upon moving to Muscatine and having seven children with my mom Kari, calamity still followed him. The infamous floods of 1993 very nearly destroyed our home that he had built near the Mississippi, and was forced to move. A few years later a violent tornado ripped through our farm and damaged much of the house.

B Mark Anderson Fights Cancer

Then in October 2012 he was diagnosed with cancer, yet never once gave up his will to fight and survive. Despite this crippling illness, my dad is a man that takes every breath of fresh air from God as a gift, and makes the most of it. He remains as active as he can, speaking and writing whenever possible and even publishing his own book on early Christian churches and apostles. (Grab a copy of Local Churches Global Apostles. It’s an inspirational read and tells you (almost) everything you ever wanted to know about churches and apostles–both early Christian and modern day.)

B Mark Anderson, My Hero and My Dad, Never Buckles

When so many others choose to give up, my dad stays in the fight. Be it blood poisoning, a natural disaster, plane crash, or even the painful destruction of cancer, Dad has stood firm. Never buckling, never taking the easy road, and never forgetting those less fortunate.

Despite the terrible ravages of chemical therapy that twists one beyond recognition, nothing will ever change my vision of Dad as a fighter, tall and lanky with sharp eyes and perfect silvery hair out chopping firewood in the rain.

He will always be my hero, and for that I am thankful. Learn more about my Dad–go to Who is this B Mark Anderson anyway?

This guest post first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

What’s an Apostle? Jim McCracken Interview

What is an Apostle?

What is an Apostle? B Mark Anderson Interviews Jim McCracken

What’s an apostle?

What’a an Apostle? Jim McCracken is a Modern Day Example

Since there is so much confusion about the subject, I decided to interview Jim McCracken, leader of True Bridge–a Family of Churches. Jim is recognized by many as a true modern day apostle.

I have known Jim since he was a senior in high school. At that time he impressed me with his knowledge, his maturity, his sincere dedication to Christ, and his leadership ability. He was and is remarkable fellow.

Today Jim shows the qualities of a genuine apostle. He is a soft-spoken,  gentle man yet clear and uncompromising in this convictions. He is thoughtful and considers his words before he speaks. Jim is a peacemaker, yet ready to lead with a strong hand when needed. Obviously, he’s an excellent leader for the True Bridge family of churches.

Jim and his wife Mary live in the Minneapolis area.

Why Ask “What is an Apostle?

To participate in the full blessings of God we need to be clear about what is an apostle. Apostles open up new vistas for believers. They can release a person into new ministry, and they act as catalysts and funnels for Christ and His works. The apostle Paul chose to continue living in order to bring “progress and joy in the faith” to people (Phil 1:25).

Some honest seekers are still wondering if there can by such a thing as an apostle in the twenty-first century. The question, “What is an apostle? is a sincere quest for these folks. Some have been taught that all apostles died with Peter and Paul. Others see no need for apostles today.  Yet this is one of the 5 fold ministry gifts given by Christ after He ascended into heaven.

What is an Apostle? A Definition

“An apostle is a Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.”

What is an apostle?

You can learn more by going to www.churchesandapostles.com and grabbing a copy of my book.  See what others are saying about Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches Related to Apostles in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now.

Local Churches Global Apostles

Local Churches Global Apostles

“Anderson connects with leaders everywhere by taking us from his personal hurt in a critical relationship to a focused and thorough search of the N.T. Good things are afoot. Anderson has put an important piece of the puzzle on the table for us. Easy to access.”

“Anderson has served the kingdom well by his remarkably thorough examination of the biblical data regarding churches and apostles.” — Jerry Daley. (Daley is a church planter who many recognize as a modern-day apostle.)

To keep abreast of some of the fascinating developments regarding apostles and “chicken evangelism” subscribe to BMarkAnderson.com. You will receive goodies in your inbox every Wednesday morning at 7 AM.