Will Kari and I See You in Mexico?

Apóstoles Globales Iglesias Locales
Apóstoles Globales Iglesias Locales

Kari and I will participate in a Prophetic Conference in Mexico City on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 25-27. We will also minister at various local churches following the conference.

The host pastor is a wonderful guy named Gustavo. We met Pastor Gustavo Villanueva and his wife for the first time in March, 2018. Without even knowing us personally, he trusted us to speak at his church based on reports he’d heard about us. He had a lot of a faith to invite us!

We went to his building and found an amazing and wonderful fellowship. So many young people! So much uplifting music! So much hospitality!

God has orchestrated Pastor Gustavo’s life and placed him in a position of influence in Mexico.

May God use the upcoming prophetic conference for purposes beyond the ordinary. I don’t know the contact details. If you want to be a part of this conference or visit Pastor Gustavo’s fellowship, contact me via the form below or on Whatsapp at 1 563 554 1401. I will try my best to get back with you with the place and time.

In the meantime, please pray that God will use and anoint us for His purposes on this trip to Mexico.

May God guide and bless you and yours.

Sincerely,

B Mark and Kari

“Get Yourself to Mongolia.”

Led by the Spirit
Led by the Spirit

God spoke to me, “Get yourself to Mongolia.”

Out of obedience I went!

When I got settled in a hotel I asked God to show me why He sent me there and I felt impressed that there was one person in particular God wanted me to meet.

I met her that day in a shop. Duure, a young, but very mature, 19 year old Christian girl.
My new friend, Duure.

I attended her church a couple of days later which turned out to be a Spirit-filled Presbyterian fellowship made up of such wonderful people. They greeted me warmly asking me to share a welcome and singing to me and inviting me back. The pastor told me that he was formerly a gangster and is now president, or such, over a pastors’ group of 400 pastors in Mongolia.  The associate pastor shared with me that he’s the youngest pastor in Mongolia.

At the church I met a man who has started several house churches in the countryside and he took Duure (the young girl) and me on a very, very long drive into the country to meet some of these dear people in home churches.

Later that week I taught a Bible study at a cell group led by Duure.

I was invited to visit a family who lived in a ger (yurt) and gave them a Mongolian bible and prayed with them all. I was asked to try on a traditional Mongolian dress, which I loved and purchased from the mother who continued to pour out gifts to me – salted, canned chives, dried milk chips, and silver earrings which she carefully inserted into my ears!

I was asked to join the home church pastor’s family for a birthday party for their boys, ages 17 & 19.

I expect to keep an ongoing relationships with these people.  God led me and I’m thankful.

My stay in Hong Kong was for my business but I did find a wonderful Spirit-filled church there and when one of the pastors came to chat with me, I asked what we should pray for? He said, “Pray for Hong Kong.”

Then I visited our youngest son, John, in Bangkok. He’s a captain in the United States Army and works for the Embassy there. I attended a ceremony with John honoring POW/MIAs and met so many people including the acting US ambassador to Thailand. John had taken a week off and we then explored southern Thailand together.

I asked John what I could do for Thailand and he said without skipping a beat. “Mom, Thailand needs missionaries!”

I encourage anyone who senses that God is directing them, “GO!” He will lead and guide and bring much fruit for His Kingdom.

5 Reasons to Join a Local Church

5 Reasons to Join Local Church
5 Reasons to Join Local Church

Can you name 5 reasons to join a local church? Some people are saying they don’t need to go to church. They say it’s a waste of time. Or they have other reasons: “I can’t find a good church,” “Too many hypocrites in church,” “I’m too busy,” “Sunday is my only day to rest.”

Joining a Local Church Demonstrates that Jesus Christ is Your Lord

At salvation, a new believer is automatically joined to the universal body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). When we allow Christ to become our Lord, we join a local church (a local expression of His body).

At conversion, we as infant believers have little knowledge of who Jesus really is. Few, if any, Christians know Jesus as Master (Lord) at justification. As time goes on, we become aware that Christ is sovereign, that He is trustworthy, that He is Healer, Lord, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and Soon-coming King. We are all learning more about Jesus as we grow.

Second Reason to Join a Local Church

The local church is God’s primary unit of spiritual warfare. The reason the Son of Man came was that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b). Every church that follows Jesus will battle the devil in one way or another.

No one goes to the war zone alone. If he faces the opposing army by himself, he is almost 100% certain to die. We need each other to be effective in spiritual conflict.

Psalm 148 speaks of spiritual warfare in both the public and private settings:

Let the high praises of God be in their throats. and a two-edged sword in their hands, inflicting vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, binding their king with chains and their dignitaries with iron shackles, carrying out the judgment decreed against them.

This is an honor for all His godly people. Hallelujah!

The believers dual weapons–high praises of God coupled with commands of faith–are powerful. We are seeing media giants exposed, pastors removed from pulpits, and politicians taken down.

There’s much more to do. Join a local church that has an intercessory fighting unit. Or better yet, lead one yourself.

Third Reason to Join a Local Church

Obedience. The Bible implores not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).

Verse 24 shows the purpose of this command: to show concern for one another and to promote love and good works.

Fourth Reason to Join a Local Church

Holy Communion and its benefits. True, one can take the “Lord’s Table” in a family or solitary setting, but do they? It’s much like the man who says, “I can worship God on the golf course.” That may be true, but does he?

Communion with Christ though the bread and wine brings benefits. Immediately following one of our regular communion meetings, a man blurted out with excitement, “I’m healed!” “From what?” I asked him. “From cancer,” he replied so all could hear.

Fifth Reason to Join a Local Church

The local church is not complete without you. Let’s look at the illustration in 1 Corinthians 12:14 Are you an eye to the body? Without you, the body is blind or at least sight-impaired.

Are you an ear to the body? Without you the body (the local church) is either deaf or hearing-impaired.

Are you a foot to the body? Without you, the local church is suffering some form of paralysis.

By not participating regularly, you are defrauding the other people in the church. Every member is important. To not join a church is to withhold your gift from the church. You are important and necessary.

By refusing to become faithful and active, you are frustrating God’s plan for both you and the church. God gave you the gifts primarily for other people, not for yourself. Without your regular participation, you may even endanger the other people in the church.

To illustrate, a minister in Africa invited me to come to his country and hold prophetic meetings. I was interested and began making plans to travel. Bernie, a member of our church got a “check in his spirit” about my plans. He advised me not to go. Fortunately, I cancelled my plans. I found out later that if I had gone, that trip would have caused me great grief. Bernie’s gift spared me!

I’m interested in your thoughts. What do you think of these 5 reasons to join a local church? What are other reasons? If you would, please send your ideas to me.

Review of C. Peter Wagner’s Discover Your Spiritual Gifts

C Peter Wagner

C Peter Wagner’s Discover Your Spiritual Gifts was published by Chosen Books in 2017.

Though short in stature, C Peter Wagner was a whale of a man and minister. His writings and life have left a monumental wake on current Christianity in America and around the globe.

I enjoyed the man and found his ministry heart-warming and enlarging. He was a genuine modern day apostle. Peter died in 2016.

He also had a delightful sense of humor.

In earlier years, I may not have dared to critique the works of such a noteworthy figure. Now I know even heroes need to be reviewed.

So here goes. . .

Pros

Significantly, Wagner is writing about spiritual gifts, a subject too often neglected and misunderstood. His fame, wisdom and understanding helps right the ship.

The short history of spiritual gifts in chapter one can be helpful to many.

Wagner emphasizes the fact that “spiritual gifts are for use within the context of the Body” and that “individual Christians disconnected from the Body are not as useful as they could be. Spiritual gifts are not for Lone Rangers.” He constantly emphasizes the Body of Christ, whether the nuclear body (the local church) or in the marketplace (the extended Body).  

Chapter 4, Pitfalls to Avoid, especially “Gift Projection,” is well worth digesting. This spoke to me and may help bring unity and confidence to church members.

Wagner is a true apostolic father, often considered “the Grandfather of the New Apostolic Reformation.” He sincerely labors to help members of the Body of Christ to discover their spiritual gifts. He designed his questionnaire to aid Christians to become everything that God wants them to be.

Cons

Wagner Minimizes the Importance of the Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Surprisingly, Wagner, does not mention the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (or Fullness or filling, or whatever people call it). If he mentions it at all in this book, I missed it. He simply assumes that believers receive one or more gifts at conversion. This assumption leaves many, perhaps most, believers unaware of receiving spiritual gifts.

Wagner teaches every believer receives spiritual gifts at the time of conversion. Is that true? He bases his theory on the references to spiritual gifts in Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4:10. In the New Testament era, all the churches emphasized the Fullness of the Holy Spirit. When there were some churches or individuals who were not yet baptized in the Holy Spirit, the apostles took action to get them filled (Acts 8:14-25). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is part and parcel of the Full Gospel (Acts 8:25).

The same scenario occurs in Acts 19:1-7 where Paul brought the novice believers up to speed by asking, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” “No, we have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit.”

The situation differs significantly today where there has been little or no teaching of the importance that converts open to and receive the Fullness of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues as was the practice in the early church.

Practically and experientially, most believers today become aware of the gifts when they receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. Tongues then become the gateway to the other Holy Spirit gifts.

I Have Trouble with His List of Gifts

With no Scriptural backing, Wagner lists voluntary poverty and martyrdom as spiritual gifts. Although each is mentioned in 1 Cor 13:3, neither are designated as a spiritual gifts.

He correctly includes celibacy (from 1 Cor 7:7) as a charismatic gift. However, on the basis of that verse, he would also have to include marriage as a spiritual gift. Does that mean that marriage is a charisma? Perhaps something deeper, something in the nature of God and creation, is at work here.

Is hospitality a charisma, as Peter Wagner claims from 1 Peter 4:9, or is it an attribute for all members of the Body of Christ to develop? Without a clear Bible designation, it seems most appropriate to name hospitality as an attribute for all Christians to work toward.

He also includes deliverance, which is the casting out of demons, as a spiritual gift. However, Mark 16:17 says deliverance will “accompany those who believe,” not limited to those who have a spiritual gift for it.

In Romans 5:16 salvation (justification, dikaiosune) is directly termed a charismatic gift. (This means even the most inflammatory anti-charismatic is actually a charismatic whether he knows it or not!) Wagner nowhere lists salvation itself as a spiritual gift.

What is a spiritual gift and what is not? Wagner leaves us with no clear understanding. On the basis of his writing might I suggest a few more spiritual gifts? What about fasting? What about suffering, is that a spiritual gift? What about investing for the sake of the Kingdom? Perhaps child-rearing? The suggestions could become limitless.

Conclusion

The book is useful, though not without fault. It has helped many understand their spiritual gifts and will continue to guide individuals and churches. C Peter Wagner’s Discover Your Spiritual Gifts was written by a wise and influential apostle. Worth reading as long as the essential requirement of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is emphasized.

Apostolic Traits from Paul Anderson

Apostolic Traits
Apostolic Traits

This succinct list of apostolic traits from Paul Anderson helps us focus on the service and qualifications of an apostle. The early church tested those who call themselves apostles . . . (Revelation 2:2).

Paul has not gone around calling himself an apostle. But I recognise him as such.

In a recent email, Paul suggested the following as apostolic traits. With His permission, I publish the list of apostolic traits from Paul Anderson. He noted that other traits, such as suffering, could be added.


  1. FRUIT TRANS-LOCALLY: pastors have fruit locally.
  2. FATHER: children in the faith. Paul said–many guardians, only one father. Mentoring.
  3. INFLUENCE: lives changed. Paul made strong point of this. You are my proof.
  4. AUTHORITY: Things happen when speaking. People recognize position and place.
  5. FLYING WITH TWO WINGS: character and charisma
  6. PASSING THE BATON: raising up and releasing. Not holding onto ministry.
  7. HUMILITY: Must be evident.

Paul Anderson is one of the most honest and humble men I know. And I have known him since about 1970 when we were students at Luther Theological Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota.

As students at Luther, I noted him as a cut above the average. He proved to be a genuine leader among men.

Although he does not parade his accomplishments or proclaim to everyone his apostolic calling, I can say it. Paul Anderson has demonstrated the attributes of an apostle for decades.

He served faithfully as Director of Lutheran Renewal Services, following in the steps of Larry Christiansen. Paul initiated the Masters Institute and he is the founding visionary behind the ARC, the Association of Renew Churches.

In addition, Paul has ministered world-wide, including Europe and Latin America.

Number five on the above list is “Flying with Two Wings: character and charisma.” That’s Paul Anderson. Together with his wife Karen and their family, they have modeled both godly character and genuine charisma for all to see.

Take another look at the list of apostolic traits. If anyone is still wondering “What is an apostle?” here’s your answer. If anyone is still wondering “Are there modern day apostles?”, Paul is your answer.

Before my book about apostles was published, Paul wrote a splendid endorsement. You can check out the book at www.ChurchesandApostles.com

Scandal–How Do You Respond?

Scandal–How Do You Respond?

Because of the number of exposures of Christian ministers, media figures, and political leaders, we are faced with the question “Scandal–How do you respond?”

For starters, I suggest five ways.

One, Recognise exposure as a sign of revival. Yes, it’s shameful and painful; but in the end, exposure shows God’s sovereignty. It shows that God is ruling from His throne. He is Judge-in-action and not giving sin a pass. So when sin is exposed, thank God!

Two, Personally examine yourself. Do I have secret sins? Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12.)

Three, Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. (1 Tim 5:19-20).

Four, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

Mat 18:16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.

Mat 18:17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Mat 18:18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Five, Forgive, but not forget. Some perpetrators, should never be allowed similar ministry even after restoration. For example, a child abuser should not be allowed to serve in the nursery again.

Scandal–how do your respond?

In light of the Todd Bentley alleged scandal, Chuck Porta is calling for the Spirit-filled church to take action. Specifically, he is calling the church to “repent of teachings and practices that are contrary to the ways of God.” He rightly proposes that the Bentley debacle must be a catalyst for church-wide self-examination.

Read Chuck’s article (with slight modifications) below:

Recent media disclosure concerning sexual allegations about Todd Bentley has created a firestorm of controversy. I believe in the sovereignty of God, so it is imperative we all see and hear deeper regarding the mess.

The modern Charismatic Movement has much to account for.  Decades of shallow, compromising ways have produced a current crop of unhealthy fruit. The signs have been pointing for years, but the major issues were not properly addressed and handled. Todd Bentley is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


However, many claiming to be Spirit filled Christians, both leaders and followers, have much to account for and repent of teachings and practices that are contrary to the ways of God. Todd Bentley did not happen in a vacuum; there have been enablers along the way that have assisted in bringing us to this current, embarrassing situation.


All those claiming to be a Spirit filled follower of Christ need to embrace a spirit of brokenness,  repentance, and intercession for the current state of affairs. Who will stand in the gap and cry out for full disclosure, for the Light of Heaven to penetrate all areas of gray and darkness in each of our hearts?


There is a major form of idolatry in the Spirit filled church. We must repent. Daniel 9 shows a Godly leader identifying with the sins of his people.


THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT HAS PROMOTED– 


Gifting above Godly character.
Embracing shadow accountability teams for troubled ministries that have not accomplished their goal of true restoration.
Idolizing public ministry and releasing ministers prematurely.
Chasing signs, wonders, miracles, gifting, at the expense of embracing and cultivating the fruit of the Spirit.
Pursuing human, ambitious, agendas and using the gifts to fulfill them.
Elevating personal subjective spiritual experiences to a place of dangerous authority.
Tolerating the leaven of Jezebel that has ruined leaders, churches, and movements.
Allowing false teachings regarding the true grace of God which end with either license to sin or a dangerous legalism that also destroys its victims.
Embracing dangerous end time doctrines that promote pride, vain ambition, and end up with many in a state of unbelief, and in some cases a falling away from the Lord.


I believe the above brief list shows a portion of the problem. What should be our response?


TRUE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY AND DISCIPLINE —-THE GREAT NEED AT THIS TIME


Let us ask for true apostolic ministry released in our midst. Acts 5 is a powerful demonstration of true apostolic discipline. The result is clear. 


The discipline is released by a broken apostle, who likely wept the whole time.
The discipline offered first mercy and chance to come clean and confess.
The discipline exposed hidden sin.
The discipline resulted in death for the unrepentant guilty.
The discipline released the Fear of the Lord to another level in the church.
The discipline released deeper levels of Kingdom power as Peter’s shadow released healing.
The move of God went to another level resulting in persecution, that keeps all close to the heart of God.


King David, after his debacle with Bathsheba, came under the discipline of Heaven.
The prophet exposed him and declared the word of the Lord. David repented, was forgiven, and remained King. But, the baby DIED, and trouble was in his family to the day he died.


We must know that God is merciful, kind, patient, and forgiving. He is also holy, just, and is King over His domain. He is looking for true ambassadors who will accurately reflect His heart and ways.


Let us all ask for a sweeping grace of repentance to impact our leaders, the followers, and every local church that wants to have an impact.


GOD HAVE MERCY ON ALL OF US.
LORD, RELEASE YOUR HOLY FEAR IN OUR MIDST. 


PAUL AND HIS AMAZING HEART


Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Cor 4:1-2).

Michael Brown has also weighed in on the topic Scandal–how do you respond?”

Note that both Porta and Brown call for apostolic action to deal with scandal. Brown does not say “apostle,” but uses the phrase “find a solid, mature leader willing to take up the cause.” His phrase might include prophet, apostle, or any of the five-fold ministry offices..

Again, let’s Take Heart. I join with one of the strong intercessors of our time, Ken Eichelberger, to pray regularly for God to expose evil and promote good. Together we thank our Sovereign God for mercifully bringing judgment to light now rather than waiting for the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:7ff).

The world is broken by sin; we hear God and follow Him so we can help fix things. Let’s join together and believe Him to send revival.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Are You Ready for a Prophetic Word?

Are you ready for a prophetic word? God is calling for some to step out in new ministry. Has God spoken to you earlier about serving Him? Has there been a long-time desire in your heart and mind to serve Him in greater ways?

As a teenager, did you sense God calling you to server Him? Make your calling sure.

Are you sensing “There’s gotta be more?” Are you wondering why your life is not more fulfilled?

Not all frustration is bad. Sometimes God uses it to move us forward.

Some of you have gifts and a calling that excited you in earlier times. Perhaps these desires have lain dormant for decades.

If that’s you, the Holy Spirit is saying, “Now is the time. There shall no longer be delay. It is not for your sake that I’m activating you; rather, it’s for others I’m stirring you and sending you.

“I’ve prepared you, I’ve matured you. You won’t mess up. Take confidence and move ahead. Revive the ancient calling.

“Take courage, yet follow Bible principles.”

Some of you will have grace to quit your jobs or retire.

Here are a couple of Bible principles for guidance.

1 Get confirmation if your switch involves major changes like quitting your job or making major investments. Your spouse needs to be in agreement.

Your peers and church leadership will be encouraging if your plans are really from the Lord.

All of this will flow naturally if you are genuinely part of a community of believers.

2 Start Small. Your first steps don’t have to be giant steps. Let them be baby steps if need be. (Remember the kid’s game “Mother, may I?”) But we all have to get started. If we fail to take the first step, we’ll never get there. Just get started.

Are you ready for this prophetic word? I hope so. There’s an urgency to obey God.

Oliver’s story is instructive. A Christian man, he always had a heart for young people. In fact, in his youth God called him to some sort of youth work. Though Oliver dabbled in youth service, he could never really accomplish anything. Decades passed.

Then he died.

What is God urging you to do? Help start a church? Serve in missionary work? Invest in a Christian organization? Serve full-time as a church volunteer?

Take yourself seriously–you may be God’s instrument or the answer to someone’s prayer.

Are you ready for this prophetic word? 

God is calling for some to step out in new service at this time. What may have lain dormant for decades is ripe for the Master’s use.

(Photo by Baliji-malliswan on Unsplash)

What is Apostle’s Primary Contribution to Local Church

The Apostle's Primary Contribution to Local Church
Apostle’s Primary
Contribution to Local Church

What is the Apostle’s Primary Contribution to a Local Church?

Fred Herzog’s concise and precise response is noteworthy. This veteran apostle really has a grasp on what an apostle can contribute to a local church. Fred has ministered at our church–the Church of the Living Water in Muscatine, Iowa–numerous times in past years.

He has been around a long time and has “seen it all.” His response is well worth far beyond the 43 seconds of this video interview.

Want to go deeper into the ministry of an apostle?

In fact, this interview would profit most elder’s meetings for most churches around the world.

Thanks Fred, for your insightful words.

Apóstoles Globales Iglesias Locales
Apóstoles Globales Iglesias Locales

My book Apostoles Globales Iglesias Locales is now available in Spanish on Amazon.com.mx. Thanks to Edgar Mendez of Queretaro and Adelmo Agostini of Saltillo for translation and formatting of this book.

One Mexican pastor said, “This book is really needed in Mexico,” so we went ahead and published it in Spanish. I’m trying to learn Spanish; however, I could not have done this project without the help of pastors Edgar and Adelmo. Thank you, men.

If any of you buy this book in either Spanish or English, please write a review. Thanks. We need Biblical views of apostles. The more reviews, the more the message will help pastors and churches and therefore the entire body of Christ.

Fred Herzog summarizes the apostle’s primary contribution to a local church succinctly in the video above. Show it to your church or church leaders.

Salvation by Annoyance–

 

Salvation by Annoyance–

An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into Heaven?”

The boy thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'”

 

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Question? Apostle? What Do You Mean?

Sonny Mizar Answers, What is an Apostle?

Question? Apostle? What do you mean? There’s a lot of confusion about the question “What is an apostle?” Sonny Mizar’s response is a good start to understand what an apostle does and how he fits into God’s plan for churches. Find out more about this Godly man on Facebook.

You may also want to check out his book Journey to Authenticity. This book has helped me understand and have patience with some of the young ministers I train.

Sonny could say much more about apostles. He’s worth listening to. In the meantime, let me add a few lines (and my own definition of an apostle) that will remove some misunderstandings about the use of the term “apostle” in the Bible.

Question? Apostle? Let’s Look More Closely

In a generic sense, an apostle is a “sent one” or “one sent on a mission.” The Greek word is apostolos. In a generic sense all Christians are “sent out on a mission.” In that sense we are all apostles!

In a technical sense the term refers to the person who functions in the five fold ministry or office of apostle. That’s the most common use of the term in the Bible by far. That’s the use of the term we are talking about here.

I’ve studied the Scriptures and worked with apostles for over fifty years. Here’s my definition:

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

I invite you to find C Peter Wagner’s thoughts on the subject or go directly to my book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches Related to Apostles in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now.

Maybe you have a good definition of your own. If so, post it in the comment section below.