House Churches Are They Legit?

House Churches Are They Legit?

House Churches Are They Legit?

 

 

 

 

Do House Churches Work?

 Could they be an alternative structure to traditional churches?

Things happened at houses in the early church:

  • Pentecost started in a house. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.       Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1,2).
  • The early church grew—in homes, with larger gatherings at the temple: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). “Day after day in the temple courts and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news…” (Acts 5:42).
  • The Spirit fell on Gentiles in a house gathering (Acts 10:25).
  • The Philippian church was likely birthed in Lydia’s house (Acts 16:15; 16:40). Priscilla and Aquila had a church in their house (Ro.16:5; I Cor.16:19). Others had house churches: Nympha (Col.4:15), Archippus (Philemon 2).
  • Paul met with people in homes. His strategy began in the synagogue and moved to homes when a critical mass believed. In his farewell to the Ephesians elders, he said that he taught “publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).

House Churches Have Some Advantages:

Low cost. Just pay the mortgage.

Fellowship. The sharing of lives in a home atmosphere.

Evangelism. More natural to invite someone to a home.

Discipleship. The structure of the house church makes application of truth a more lively potential, where the fellowship hopefully creates interdependence.

Leadership. There’s a shortage of seminary-trained pastors. House churches look for a mature leader, an elder in the faith. They can also answer to the clergy-laity gap.

New Testament model. Church buildings multiplied when Christianity became a state-recognized religion. Under persecution in the first two centuries, the house church model flourished.

History. The success of house churches in places like China and Africa is compelling. Revival and awakening have often been accompanied by a house church movement. Think Wesleyans, Moravians and Mennonites.

House Churches Have Some Liabilities:

  1. We’ve only known the traditional model.       House churches seem cultic to some.       Are they legit?
  2. The transfer from program-based church to a relational-based will take us through withdrawal. Programs may need to be replaced by stronger family ties.
  3. House churches could be another fad, the latest answer to pressing needs.
  4. Conventional churches have an endurance factor that house churches do not have.

How Might Some Transition to House Churches if Convinced this Could be Positive?

  1. Think about underlying values. Are they worth going after? What are they?
  2. Consider the questions involved: Must it be either-or? Could we take some values from the house church model and apply them to the traditional model? Would we do a house church alongside a traditional church? Could we try it as an evangelistic tool for our neighborhoods? How could oversight be given to house churches to guard against heresy?

The success of the house church movement has brought it into the limelight. It is gathering momentum, and the wind of the Spirit is blowing. We would do well at least to understand it. Could be quite a homecoming!

Paul Anderson is an author, pastor, teacher, and highly regarded apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. AS the former Director of Lutheran Renewal Services, he has shepherded thousands into the Spirit-led life. He and his wife Karen are blessed with six children and reside in Roseville, Minnesota. Latch onto his Godly wisdom at PastorPaulAnderson.com

Expansion 2015 Conference

Expansion 2015

Expansion 2015

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

We’re excited to announce our new Leadership Conference, called EXPANSION 2015! Instead of using our church as the venue as we have in the past, we’re going on the road for EXPANSION 2015. These will be powerful 2-day conferences filled with concentrated teaching sessions, worship and prayer—all toward the goal of enlarging Christ’s Kingdom through the ministry of your local church. And we’re stepping out in faith to do something we’ve always dreamed of—the conference will be absolutely FREE of charge for every attendee (except for a $20 registration fee)! On top of that, those attending will receive a copy of my new book STORM along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s new worship project, plus other helpful items.

Our special musical guests at EXPANSION 2015 will be the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers, who will serve also as worship leaders. EXPANSION 2015 is for every Christian pastor and their spouse, associate pastors, worship leaders and other church leadership. We are praying that this Conference will result in an explosion of effective evangelism/growth beyond what we can ask or think.

Pastors Tim Dilena, Michael Durso and others will join me as we look forward to ministering God’s Word to you. Our entire pastoral staff will be present to serve you in every way possible.

Sincerely,

Pastor Jim Cymbala

Dates and information for the Chicago and Baton Rouge, LA venues can be found at http://www.brooklyntabernacle.org/expansion2015

In the early 1970s Pastor Cymbala took over the leadership of the small, struggling Brooklyn Tabernacle in downtown Brooklyn. Today Pastor Cymbala oversees a congregation of several thousand people. The Lord has blessed Pastor Cymbala and Carol with three children and six grandchildren, including the most recent addition, little Levi, who was adopted from Ethiopia. A more complete account of the early years of The Brooklyn Tabernacle is included in Pastor Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. Other books written by Pastor Cymbala include Fresh Faith; Fresh Power; Breakthrough Prayer; The Life God Blesses; The Church God Blesses; and The Promise of God’s Power.

 

Don’t Be Chicken

Don't be Chicken

Don’t be Chicken

Don’t be Chicken. ​It is the ​DOERS that ​Just ​​DO IT​ ​

There are many sick people that ​need ​to hear ​that ​Jesus came to heal them. Jesus healed people outside the walls of the synagogue. Jesus​ said, ​”The works that I do shall ye also.​” ​It is important that we just simply ​DO IT.  People ask me​, “Do you feel something before you ​pray for people?” ​My reply is just ​simply: ​DO IT! Sometimes a person​ is very ​intimidated to pray for a stranger, but again​ ​we just do it.​  Don’t be chicken. ​It is the ​DOERS that ​just ​​DO IT.​ ​
 
 

People in Great Need Need ​DOERS! ​

Recently I was at SAM’s Club loading my car with purchased items and took notice of a lady in a wheel chair. I started the conversations by talking about the weather​.​ After talking about the weather​,​ I ask​ed​ the lady ​about her health.  She ​responded joyfully​, explaining her situation. I prayed for her to be healed. She ask​ed​ for my phone number and I gave it to her. When I reached my home​,​ the​ ​phone rang and it was this lady tell​ing​ me that she was no longer in the wheel chair because Jesus healed her​!!!  ​People in great need need ​DOERS! ​

 

​So Don’t be Chicken, Take Steps of Faith  

Don’t be afraid of people’s faces, start casual conversations and turn it to sharing about the Lord.  Pray for the sick as you meet them.  Ask Jesus to touch them in every level and every need in their life.  People are just astonished that you would pray out loud for them right then and there!  Let’s use every opportunity to share Christ.  How can they hear unless someone tells them?  
Bobby Martz , evangelist, ministers primarily in the Philippines, Africa, South America and the United States. Together with his wife Rhonda, they have started several churches in remote areas of the Philippines. Miracles and healing are a salient part of Bobby’s ministry. He can be reached at http://hourofharvest.org/ 

Don’t Be Afraid of Faces

Chicken Evangelism--Don't Be Afraid of Faces

Chicken Evangelism–Don’t Be Afraid of Faces

 Don’t be afraid of faces.

Chicken evangelism​?​ 

Don’t be afraid of faces.

​Wh​at are you talking about? 

No​,​ we are not ​talking ​about sharing the ​G​ospel with chickens.

There are times in our lives when we need to take action ​even ​when it seems scary or ​challenges us to ​do something we have not done before.​ We feel “chicken”. ​Perhaps you ​have ​not share​d​​ Jesus with others or ​have only ​shared occasionally​.​

Perhaps I can encourage you by telling you my first experience with chicken evangelism.

I was a new convert to Christ. ​At the time, ​I was in the ​N​av​y in San Di​e​go, ​California​​. I was sharing Christ along with other Jesus followers. We were on the street handing out ​​Gospel tracts when a very large and mean looking man ​came​ walking toward me.

The ​L​ord told me to talk to this man and invite him to​ church. I said​,​​ “Lord, He is is bigger and very mean looking.​”​ I thought​ that​ if I talked to him,​ he’d beat me up and it would be my last day to be alive. ​But somehow the Lord empowered me. I mustered up strength​,​ and ​put ​on the best look that I could​. Fearfully​ approach​ing​ the man​, I invited him to go to church with me that evening​. ​The man’s total countenance changed! The hardness became softness, the angry look became a happy look! ​The man became very excited and came with me to church ​that very night ​and got saved. He was so happy that he wanted to sing and play a guitar​ right there at church that night!​.

 

Let me encourage you not to be afraid of faces.

​If y​ou are wondering what to say​, just ​begin the chicken evangelism by simply​ starting to talk about easy topics. ​ I still do this. People are at ​​different ​stages in their lives​ and have different interests​.​ The Lord helps us to be sensitive to what they might be interested in so we can have “conversation starters”​, such as ​starting to talk about ​sports.

 

Sometimes, ​I wear ​a​n NFL hat or MBA jacket to​ make sports talk with strangers​. ​Then​ ​I ​lead​ the conversation into ​a ​Jesus talk. ​Or w​hen ​my wife and I​ take walks​,​ we meet people working in the yards and flower beds. ​Then ​we engage in yard and and garden talk​,​ ​and lead​ ​into ​talking about the Lord Jesus.​  When we ​share ​w​hat Jesus ​has ​brought into our lives and w​hat He has done ​personally ​for ​us, no one can argue that experience. ​

Bobby Martz , evangelist, ministers primarily in the Philippines, Africa, South America and the United States. Together with his wife Rhonda, they have started several churches in remote areas of the Philippines. Miracles and healing are a salient part of Bobby’s ministry. He can be reached at http://hourofharvest.org/ 

He Did That for Us?

Kari Anderson

Kari Anderson

He Did That for Us?

 

Recently, while waiting in a shuttle bus from downtown Los Angeles to the LA airport I asked a young man, a fellow passenger,”Have you given your heart to Jesus?”  He politely told me he was from China and didn’t know much about those things.

I then proceeded to tell him about Jesus.  How He was God’s son  and came from heaven as a baby and how God had sent Him to earth to help us.  “Because”, I reminded the young man, “we all do things that are wrong.”

He affirmed.  “Yes, we all do wrong things.”

I explained how Jesus died on a cross to pay for all of our sins so we can be forgiven of them and totally cleansed from all wrong doing!

The young man looked at me very intently and said emphatically, “He did that for us?”

This truth seemed to be a tremendous relief for this young man who was very hungry for righteousness. I went on to explain that Jesus rose again and is alive today and with us always.

At this the young man said, “So, He’s right here with us now?”

“Yes.” I replied. “He’s right here now with us in this shuttle bus and we can ask Him for help anytime.”

“How do you do that?” the young man asked. “Do you mean if I need help making a decision, He can help me know what to do?”

“Yes”, I explained, “you can talk to Him anytime and not even out loud and ask for His help.”

At that point other passengers started entering the bus and it was difficult to continue on with the conversation but I asked him if he’d like me to send him some literature that could further help him understand.

He said, “No, that’s okay.  I can look up more information about Jesus on the internet.”

That was one precious moment with a young Chinese man and a great privilege to be the first one to explain to him about Jesus and His power of forgiveness.

Kari Anderson, my wonderful wife, reflects Christ Jesus. Known as  one who “hears God and does what He says,” Kari has traveled in obedience to His will on several continents. A “prophetic forerunner,” she has instigated mission work in Turkey, above the Arctic Circle, in the Middle East, and in the United States. Kari can be reached at her website www.karipearls.com –Publisher’s note

Evangelism Stories — Carl Bittner

Evangelism Stories

Evangelism Stories

Editor’s note: Personal evangelism stories are both rare and encouraging. Carl Bittner is a former high school classmate of mine. We played basketball and baseball together. We happily reconnected at a class reunion where I was pleased to learn Carl received the Holy Spirit and is an avid witness for Christ.  His two dramatic evangelism stories were included in a recent letter. Both show the eternal importance of personal witnessing.
Hi Mark,

    Here is one of my little evangelism stories:

    For many years I was involved in teaching and training people to do personal evangelism.  We saw first hand often the
    power of the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives.  I remember one year when we had already started a semester of classes
    when a woman showed up for class the fourth week.  She was determined that she be allowed to take the class even though
    we told her that it was already the fourth week and we usually didn’t allow anyone to start that late.  She told us, “I believe the
    Holy Spirit wants me to take the class now.  I can do it.  I can catch up.”  She did and finished right along with everyone else.
    Shortly after the class ended her mother got sick and ended up in the hospital and was dying.  This lady now with the ability to
    share the gospel, told her mother the way to salvation through Jesus.  The mother accepted Jesus as her Savior and died shortly
    thereafter.

    Here is another of my evangelism stories

    The first evening of the beginning of a personal evangelism training class three of us were conversing at the door of our
    classroom when a woman came in and asked if we were there for the dance class.  We said no and told her where it was
    being held and then asked her how she was doing.  With complete open honesty she said, “Not very well.  I’ve got cancer.”
    Over the course of the following year two of us kept in contact with her and ministered to her.  We learned that she went
    to church regularly but had never accepted Jesus as her Savior.  We asked if she would like to know Jesus personally as her Savior.
    She said yes and we led her in a confession of faith in Jesus.  Not many months later she died in comfort knowing she would be
    in heaven.
    And there you have them, Mark.  Two of my favorite evangelism stories of salvation.
    Keep well.  The Lord bless you.
    Carl
Do you have an evangelism story to tell? Put it here to encourage someone else.

Chicken Evangelism! James’ Story

chicken evangelism experiences

chicken evangelism experiences

Chicken Evangelism! Here’s another example of how it works.

James’ story, below, is not unique; rather, it shows the power of the seed of God planted within man’s spirit, even if he is rebellious. It also shows the power of prayer and the love of God toward us all.

I met James only one time and that was only for a few precious minutes together. We met at a mall at Christmas time in about 2010.

My wife was wrapping presents at a store in the Muscatine Mall. While waiting for her to finish her shift, I sat down in an empty chair beside another waiting man.

I introduced myself and began a conversation with James. He was in his twenties and dressed in sweat clothes, if I remember correctly. We talked about sports to pass the time.

Since I’m passionate about Christ, I asked him, without much delay, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” (I knew I needed to ask within the first minutes of the conversation; if I delayed, I would “chicken out.”)

James responded to my “chicken evangelism” question rather dejectedly, “No, I haven’t. But my wife has.” (Did he think his wife’s Christianity would rescue him?)

“That’s good for her,” I returned, “and I have some really good news for you, too. Jesus Christ loves you. He died for your sins … and He rose again from the dead! He has a free gift for you that’s called “Salvation!” It’s not because we are good or bad;  it’s just a wonderful gift.

James listened quietly and didn’t say much. I asked, “Does this make sense to you?”

“Yes,” he finally said.

“Do you understand what I’m saying about salvation: that it’s a free gift because Jesus paid the price for our sins?”

Again, “Yes.”

The conversation flowed naturally; nothing dramatic, but very real.

My new acquaintance was sitting right beside me; just two guys talking in the mall. I continued, “Since this makes sense to you, is there any reason why you would not want to accept Christ Jesus into your life right now?”

It was all very matter-of-fact. After prompting, James bowed his head and prayed. I didn’t hear his words, but after a while he lifted his head and said, “I did it.”

He seemed happier than he was a few minutes before, but nothing very emotional. As we talked, he explained that his wife attended an Assembly of God church. I strongly encouraged him to go with her to church.

I have never seen James since that life-changing moment at the mall, but I’ve never forgotten him. Neither has God.

This week I said hello to a woman I recognized at the HyVee Restaurant. She introduced me to her daughter who was with her. The daughter turned out to be James’ wife! They enthusiastically started telling me about James. He has become a genuine disciple of the Lord Jesus, attending church every week. He is faithful as a husband and father, serving God whole-heartedly. He had enrolled in a “Road to Emmaus” course that had been instrumental in bringing him along.

His wife literally beamed as she reported her husband’s commitment and said, “James has never forgotten you!”

Without a doubt, other influences helped James on the road to discipleship. But one thing I know for certain: James prayed to receive Christ and now he is a follower of Jesus. Praise God!

Have you tried bringing up Christ with a stranger … before you chicken out? How wonderful is Chicken Evangelism! James’ story verifies that we are “born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable . . .” (I Peter 1:23). You can reach people for Christ through Chicken Evangelism. The reward is LIFE for all who believe! We can do it because the seed of Christ is in us!

If you have led anyone to salvation through Christ recently, tell your story in the comment box or by contacting me directly. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People

Please Tell Me Personal Evangelism is Not Dead

Please Tell Me “Personal Evangelism is Not Dead”

Please Tell Me Personal Evangelism is Not Dead

 

 

Please tell me, “Personal evangelism is not dead!” Better yet, please show me personal evangelism is not dead.

I need some encouragement in this matter. After starting this blog I have requested numerous readers to send their stories of how they have witnessed or won someone to Christ. One minister, Fred Herzog of Northfield, Minnesota has sent a report of how he won his barber to Christ. He’s the only one so far.

Of course, others may be sharing the Gospel regularly and I am simply not aware of their witness. This matter of personal evangelism neither starts nor ends with me. However, my son and I are publishers and reporters of personal evangelism stories. We find people are being saved through sermons and meetings, but how about personal evangelism? Jesus said, “I have called you to reap.” (John 4:38) That the Gospel is proclaimed from the pulpits of the land is wonderful, yet I repeat my plea: Would you please show me personal evangelism is not dead.

Yes, to live the Gospel and be an example is necessary, but who is able to make the Gospel clear with no words and only an exemplary  life?

As I put my ear to the ground, I hear discussion about the topic; I find most Christians believe in soul-winning. But can you show me it’s happening in your neighborhood, your factory, your school, or your office?

We all need encouragement in the PE (Personal Evangelism) department. On a recent plane ride I conversed with a seatmate named Todd. After some chit-chat I asked him, “Have your received Christ Jesus into your life?” Todd smiled and effervesced, “Yes, I sure have!” He went on to tell his life story, how “When I was young and foolish I dove into the wrong end of a swimming pool and broke my neck.”

His story didn’t end in despair. Todd related how his faith became certain and real as he lay paralyzed for months in a rehab ward. He began to focus his faith on his immovable arm. After about three months one finger twitched. He kept focusing his faith and today he can jog, run, swim, and leads a normal life.

This particularly encouraged me because my feet are impaired as a result of cancer and I’m believing every day for full recovery.

I witnessed to Todd and he in turn inspired me. So often this is the case.

Please join me in leading the way to restore personal witnessing in the church. Together let’s show the church and the world “personal evangelism is not dead!” We can do it! Click here to discover how to overcome fear.

Who among us has shared their faith recently? Tell the world your story in the comment box. It will encourage us all.

Respect Brings New Beginning

 

Publisher’s note: I have known Bill and Darlene for about 20 years. God has gotten hold of their hearts and lives in such a way that they are the “real deal.” Darlene sent the following praise report this past week.

 

Bill spoke at the Grand Forks County Correctional (jail) last night. He got back to the home we are staying in so late, I thought they might have decided to keep him. :-))

Forty eight inmates attended the two sessions and 40 of those men stood to give to give their lives to Christ.  Bill did something unusual last night.  When each group came in and were seated, Bill stood up, walked over to them and said “I don’t care what you have done, where you have been or why you are in here, I just want you to know I respect you as a man and I will treat you with that respect.  Thank you for coming out to listen to my story.  One man looked at Bill and said, “no one has shown respect to me in my lifetime.” Bill replied back “well, then this can be a new beginning for you.”

We are grateful for your prayers,

Bill and Darlene

Bill, son of a Florida police detective, had a rebellious attitude which led to his premature discharge from the Air Force. His continued antisocial behavior led to a life of crime, drugs, and repeated imprisonment. With his body suffering from the ill effects of alcohol, drugs, and a rebellious lifestyle, he was dramatically changed by Jesus Christ in 1972.

After his dramatic transformation, Bill engaged in street ministry where he saw many lives radically changed. He began working with young people, and shared his story in high schools and universities throughout the world.

His message of hope and the ability to make a fresh start through God’s grace has affected many.

Darlene has been walking with the Lord since she was eight years old. She has been active in the leadership of a Bible Study for the past 15 years. She is also a favorite speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she delights both young and old alike.

Bill and Darlene reside in Tampa, Florida. They have 5 children and eight grandchildren, and minister internationally.

Respect Brings New Beginning

Respect Brings New Beginning