What is Ideal Church/Apostle Relationship?

How do you find the ideal church/apostle relationship? Fred Herzog smiles and then addresses the question in this 104 second video.

I was a student at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis in the early 1970’s when Fred started New Testament Church. I remember the day in his home when we gathered together to discuss a name for the fellowship. Fred listened to all who suggested various names and then, with mutual consent, chose “New Testament Church.”

Let’s listen to Fred’s thoughts as he discusses “How would you describe an ideal church and apostle relationship?”

Fred has thought about questions like this one over most of his life. Worth listening to? You bet!

I didn’t know much about apostles–or about a lot of other things!–when I first met Fred. And if you want some background about apostles, come to What is an Apostle?

In the 50 years or so since those days, I’ve learned significant insights regarding ideal church/apostle relationships.

Here’s a biggie: It’s better to speak of real church/apostle relationships than an ideal church/apostle relationship. Why? Because, of the latter, there aren’t any! It’s like in a good and Godly marriage, we still have to work things out.

For an in-depth study of how churches related to apostles in the New Testament Era, grab a copy of my book about apostles. It tells how each and every church in the New Testament related to Paul or one of the other apostles. You might be surprised at how real–how human–the getting alongs were.

2 Wow-Worthy “Takehomes” for You from Don Miller

What’s the Most Important Job of a Leader?

Ok, what’s your answer? Stop . . . What’s your answer? I admit I gave a lame answer. But Donald Miller has really set my mind to thinking. In fact, Ethan, who works with me in ministry, and I are honing our focus in order to minister more effectively.

This short video will likely challenge you as it did me.

https://www.businessmadesimple.com/video/the-most-important-job-of-a-leader/

How to Write a Killer Tagline

Much related to the first video, “How to Write a Killer Tagline” continues to exercise my mind. In fact, I sometimes wake up in the night and mull over the quest for an effective, true and memorable one-liner to help our church people focus.

I’m applying this video to the church even though it was planned for business. To my mind, Don Miller is like an apostle to churches from the business world. He certainly challenges me to make my message clear.

Is this video worth 2:38 minutes of your life? Watch and see.
https://www.businessmadesimple.com/video/this-type-of-tagline-makes-you-money/

What’s the tagline for your church? For your ministry?

Apostles make us think and take risks. (Things in short supply in some churches these days.) I’m not saying Miller is an apostle, not at all, but he is challenging his hearers to communicate clearly. And that’s something apostles do.

What Can We Do to Change Government and Culture?

Michael and Terri Piper, apostolic church leaders in Brazil, tell how God brought churches together to change a nation.

I interviewed the Pipers at a camp in Mexico in March, 2019. Here’s hope and a challenge for any nation in the world. Thanks to Erik Martinez for recording the interview.

Is there a need for apostles today?

Is there a need for apostles to bring churches together?

Spirit of God Comes to You at Communion

Spirit of Christ Indwells Communion Elements
Spirit of Christ Indwells Communion Elements

I intend to show from the Scriptures that the Spirit of Christ indwells the communion elements.

As a background, let’s examine briefly the Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran concepts of the Eucharist. I use the terms Communion, Eucharist, Lord’s Table and Lord’s Supper interchangeably.

The Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran Interpretation of Communion

Catholic theology teaches that in each mass Christ is crucified afresh. However, chapters 7-9 of the book of Hebrews state seven times that Christ died once and for all. Catholics also need to reconsider the basic doctrine of transubstantiation (the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining).

At the same time, it seems to me Catholics—especially charismatic Catholics—experience healings and deliverances in Eucharistic services far more frequently than Pentecostals and Evangelicals.

The Reformed tradition teaches that the bread and juice (or wine) merely represent the true body and blood of Christ. This is clearly a Western, rationalistic understanding of communion. It fails to grasp the Biblical, Hebraic and Mid-Eastern mindset. Compared to other communion concepts the representative view of communion lacks the power portrayed in Scripture. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11:30 we see many church people got sick or even died as a result of improper communion. Consequently, Luther was right to reject it.

One aspect of the reformed view that could be seen as positive is this: it is easily grasped by the Western mindset.

Martin Luther viewed the Lord’s Supper as the “Real Presence” of Christ, and denied both the Catholic and Zwinglian theologies. He saw the elements as “vehicles” to bring the “Real Presence” of Christ to the participant.

The Lutheran view realizes at least some of the power of the Biblical concept of Communion. However, it does not explain the “how” or the “why” that the “Real Presence” is in the communion. Ask any Lutheran to explain communion and you will most likely find bewilderment. I spent years in the Lutheran Church and never, not even once, found a clear explanation of Communion.

Proposed Pentecostal Understanding of Holy Communion

Spirits Inhabit People and Other Living Beings

In the Bible, there exist numerous times when spirits, either good or bad, attached themselves to people. Saul, David, the Gadarene demoniac, the twelve disciples of Acts 2 are examples. At least once, demons came upon a herd of hogs, which caused the pigs to rush into the sea and drown.

Spirits Inhabit Physical Objects

That spirits inhabit people and physical objects should never be doubted by students of the Bible or astute observers of modern life.

Let me offer two clear examples.

First, the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 5:1-12). The power of the Spirit in the Ark of God proved superior to the power in the Philistine god Dagon. Further, wherever the Ark went among the Philistines, it caused tumors and confusion.

Second, the false prophet gives breath (Gr: pneuma or spirit) to the image [statue] of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev 13:15).  

Look closely at the photo above. You may see what you missed earlier

Photo by Josh Marshall on Unsplash

If you practice deliverance ministry, you have undoubtedly uncovered spirits attached to objects or houses. I have personally cast out spirits from houses and seen not only the house, but also the people living in the house, set free.

How many times have naive people kept a little Buddhist statue on the shelf in their home only to find out it was bringing depression and confusion into their life? Remove the statue and the depression leaves.

Beware! Looks Innocuous but May Cause Harm
Beware! Looks Innocuous but May Cause Harm

I have cast many spirits out of many different people. When the spirits go, depression, sickness, confusion, deception also go. (Obviously, not every symptom can be traced to a spirit. Spirits don’t cause every symptom. There are other causes as well. Let me make that clear.)

The Biblical Basis for the Spirit of Christ Indwelling the Communion Elements of Bread and Wine (or Juice).

A Pentecostal Theology of the Eucharist

From the Garden of Eden onward there exists a connection between food and acts of God. When Eve and Adam bit the apple (or peach, or fig?), humanity was forever changed. God sent a spiritual curse or punishment on Satan, Eve, Adam, the ground, and the entire human race (Gen 3:14-19).

God has always had a significant interest in our food and how it relates to Him.

In fact, the Old Covenant was ratified with food and drink . . . . they saw God, and they ate and drank (Ex 24:11b). What an astounding point of contact with the seventy elders of Israel!

At the first Passover meal, God judged the gods of Egypt. Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD (Ex 12:12). The Egyptian gods were false gods, yet powerful enough to control much of Egyptian society.

The Passover Meal (and the Lord’s Table that fulfills it) has untold power for those who eat in faith. The Passover Meal took place just hours before the Exodus from Egypt. Can you imagine the condition of the Israeli people? They were slaves, harassed and whipped by merciless slave masters. Without a doubt, many were sick, weak, or injured. They were laden with the diseases of Egypt. But when they ate the Passover Lamb, remarkable things happened. Psalm 105:37 relates the memorable results of eating the Passover Lamb!

Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribe there was not one who stumbled (NASV). There was not one feeble person among their tribes. (KJV). (Excerpted from my book Answer for Cancer: 9 Keys).

In the New Testament we find even common everyday food became sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer (1 Tim 4:5). In other words, the food was changed, altered, made holy, because of God’s word and prayer. How much more, the communion elements!

1 Corinthians 10:16-21 specifically addresses the issue of whether or not spirits indwell food. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

This passage specifically refers to the Lord’s Table of the New Testament church. The cup (of wine or juice) and the loaf of bread had to be blessed [with some sort of thanksgiving or ritual]. Then it became a sharing in the bloody sacrificial death of Christ. The Greek word used is koinonia, which means a sharing, participation, or fellowship in something.

When we partake of the food, we partake of the God who gave the food. For the pagans, there was a demon spirit in the food. Paul said, I do not want you to become sharers in demons (1 Cor 10:20). In contrast, for the Christian communion, there is the Spirit of Christ with the food.

Some reviewers swallow hard (pun intended!) at the thought that either demons or the Spirit of Christ can attach to the food we eat. More than one has pointed to 1 Corinthians 8:4 we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, thereby denying the possibility that spirits inhabit foods.

But read on. In the very next verse Paul acknowledges that there are so called gods whether in heaven or on earth; in fact, there are many gods and many lords (1 Cor 8:5).

How could this become any clearer? When the pagans ate food sacrificed to the idol gods, they took into their bodies the demonic spirits of those gods.

When believers imbibe the bread and drink, we take into our bodies the Spirit of Christ that indwells the elements.

Communion a Point of Contact with God

In His great mercy and grace, God has selected many connection points with His children. Some are one-time events. In contrast, communion is an ongoing event until Christ returns.

The most common point of connection is the church service. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst (Matt 18:20). Other points of connection in Scripture are the Ark of the Covenant, the cloud, handkerchiefs and aprons, hands laid upon a person, Jesus’ robe, tithes and offerings, anointing with oil, even the bones of Elisha and the bronze serpent.

Why is a point of contact with God so important? Because it’s a specific time and place where God interacts with a person or group. A point of contact is a God-ordained time and place where God has chosen to supernaturally act. That’s why there are healings and other supernatural acts at the Lord’s Table.

Dangers of the Pentecostal Theology of Communion (That the Spirit of Christ Indwells the Bread and Juice)

While a Pentecostal understanding of the Eucharist holds the promise of the release of greater connection and power with God, it also poses dangers. I mention two.

The greatest danger is turning the Eucharist or the elements into an idol. This happened with the bronze serpent. Originally, God directed Moses to make the bronze serpent as a remedy for the snake bites (Numbers 21:9). All who gazed at the serpent in faith, God healed. As the years progressed, however, the bronze serpent became an idol and finally had to be destroyed (2 Kings 18:4).

An associated danger with all theologies of communion, not only with the approach that I’m proposing, is that of coming to the altar with wrong attitudes. This includes coming with lack of forgiveness, without love toward people, and without faith to connect with God.

I have written briefly showing instances from Scripture and life where spirits, both good and evil, attach themselves to people and objects. I applied this to the Lord’s Table.

Now I ask for your thoughts. Are you and your church people experiencing the power and presence of Christ in communion? We have always found a little, but only a little, of the magnificence of Christ that He deserves in communion. That is until recently. As I have begun to explore and teach a Pentecostal communion, our church is beginning to come alive at the Lord’s Table due to the Spirit of Christ inhabiting the elements.

Several ministers have reviewed this article. I especially thank Edgar Mendez of Queretaro and Edgar Olvera from Mexico City for their extensive input and corrections. Nevertheless, the contents remain my own and I am solely responsible for the concepts.

May God bless and promote you. Again, please share your thoughts with me. I value your input.

God Answers Prayer for Leaders in Iowa

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Publisher’s note: God Answers Prayer in Iowa. Yes! We are encouraged to keep crying out to God in heaven. He is faithful. At the Church of the Living Water in Muscatine, Iowa we take seriously God’s mandate to begin each meeting with prayer for our government. Not only us; we sense a groundswell of faith rising across our state. To God be the glory.

Not every court gets away with rewriting the law!

God Answers Prayer in Iowa

In Iowa, legislators had one final message for the state’s Supreme Court before they closed out the 2019 session: leave the lawmaking to us. Two months after all seven justices put taxpayers on the hook for gender reassignment surgery, the state House and Senate had the last word — “No.”

It took a rare working weekend to close out Iowa’s biggest business, but leaders finally put a bow on one of the most expensive bills of the year: the $2 billion health budget. The hours leading up the vote were frantic ones, but conservatives managed to beat the clock with two provisions that infuriated liberal extremists.

God answers Prayer by Cutting Planned Parenthood Funds

For starters, Republicans took an ax to a good chunk of Planned Parenthood’s funding. With one quick move, state leaders decided that abortion providers shouldn’t be eligible for the state’s sex-ed funding. Our friends at The Family Leader agreed, insisting it was time to give the $260,000 to groups that steered kids in the right direction. “As we suggested to the legislators, that could have a conflict of interest. Their customers are pregnant girls. They make money off of abortion…”

The other move, the one that seems to be generating the most attention, is the very public rebuke of the court’s transgender ruling in early March. Two months ago, the justices decided — unanimously — that Iowa couldn’t refuse two people’s gender reassignment surgeries under Medicaid. As far as the court was concerned, the state’s Civil Rights Act mandates that taxpayers fork over money for the controversial procedures. Hours before the session drew to a close, Senator Mark Costello (R) added language to roll back the ruling, restoring the Iowa code “to the way it was for years before the lawsuit.” After all, he argued, these surgeries are “not a proper use of state monies.”

The two chambers agreed — amending the bill and sending it straight to Governor Kim Reynolds’s (R) desk. Despite the pressure from outside groups, Reynolds didn’t blink. She signed the bill into law to the cheers of pro-lifers and conservatives everywhere. Liberals, meanwhile, were incensed — especially because the governor had the power to strike the provisions and refused. “We are deeply disappointed [in] Gov. Reynolds…” said the director of one of the state’s LGBT activist groups. “She could have line-item vetoed the cruel and outdated language that enshrines discrimination in Iowa law without disrupting HHS services but chose not to. In doing so, she’s tarnished Iowa’s reputation as a state that stands for fairness and equality.”

God Answers Prayer Using The Family Leader

Hardly, The Family Leader’s Drew Zahn fired back. “Taxpayers should not be compelled to fund potentially harmful procedures that seek treatment options outside of God’s design.” The governor’s office insisted that all she was doing was bringing back the status quo. “This narrow provision simply clarifies that Iowa’s Civil Rights Act does not require taxpayer dollars to pay for sex reassignment and other similar surgeries. This returns us to what had been the state’s position for years,” spokesman Pat Garrett said.

Based on the media’s hysteria, you’d think that the governor had banned transgender surgery altogether! She didn’t. All she’s done is drawn the line at taxpayer funding. And contrary to what these activists would have you believe, that may be the most compassionate response of all. There’s absolutely no proof that this “treatment” makes anyone happier.

Suicide Rate for Transgenders is 19 Times the Normal

Even after having the surgery they seek, the suicide rate of people who identify as transgender is 19 times higher than the general population in places like Sweden. No wonder experts like Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic, who specializes in this kind of surgery, are starting to warn about the repercussions of steering patients into this kind of life-altering decision.

Over the last five years, Dr. Djordjevic says he’s been overwhelmed by the number of people who’ve approached him about reversing their procedure. The surgery that they thought would bring them the satisfaction they were looking for only plunged them into deeper despair. A growing number of them, he tells Canada’s National Post, were miserable. More and more people have made appointments to undo a procedure that’s not only excruciatingly painful — but expensive. “They came from countries all over the Western world, Britain included, united by an acute sense of regret.” They told him about “crippling levels of depression” with intense suicidal thoughts. “It can be a real disaster to hear these stories,” he says. “And yet,” the doctor points out, “they are not being heard.”

What people need more than anything is the help that too many states want to deny them: the advice and comfort of a qualified therapist. LGBT activists want you to believe that the humane response is encouraging and affirming these feelings. But affirming dangerous and destructive ideas is not compassion. Real compassion is helping people find their way to freedom and fulfillment that comes from knowing the truth, especially when they don’t want to hear the truth.

How Would You Define Apostle?

Howard Jackson here defines “apostle” in a generic sense in this first 54 second video.

Now to a more specific use of the word “Apostle” in the New Testament. . .

In this 36 second video Howard Jackson focuses on the calling of a Christian minister in the specific sense of the New Testament apostolic calling. There’s a whole lot more info at Churches and Apostles.

Let the Fear of God Fall on the Land

Let the Fear of God Fall on the Land

The ongoing exposures of sexual harassment in America and the world are signs of revival. The exposure of church leaders who compromise and fail to repent are a sure sign of God’s judgment. Judgment is part of revival. Judgment begins with the church and continues with all segments of society.

Let’s thank God that the Hollywood icons Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are exposed. Let’s thank God for focusing the light on pastors, senators and others in the church and government. Three megachurch pastors in the Chicago area have recently been forced to resign. The Charlie Rose firing by CBS and Matt Lauer firing by NBC (both months ago) appear to be righteous judgments that help to cleanse the nation and the nation’s airways.

Why is this happening? David Brooks, New York Times columnist and NPR commentator claims political reasons underlie the sudden outcry against harassment against women.

Think again. The sudden morality awareness stems from the prayers of the church. 2 Chronicles 7:14, the enduring watchword of the church is activated and is producing heaven-intended results. Since at least 2017 our sovereign and faithful God is fulfilling His response to those prayers.

In 2012 God spoke to me, “Prepare My people for judgment.”

Are you calling for revival? Join the movement. Let’s become history-makers. Let the fear of God fall on our land!

The expose’ of sin is none other than God’s timely and loving answer to prayer. The prayers of the church are bringing a fear of God on the land.

What about Mercy for Leaders?

Mercy triumphs over judgment. Mercy is God’s first response and is the first response of people like Him. We need to pray for the gift of repentance for leaders (and anyone else) who violates God’s heart and pleasure. If, however, any leader continues in sin and fails to listen to God’s warnings, prayers for divine removal are fitting and Biblical.

Jesus spoke strong words of judgment to the Pharisees and scribes, who were the political and religious leaders of the Jewish nation: Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers (Matthew 23:32). Jesus is warning, “If you continue adding to the sins of your father, you will bring on yourselves divine judgement. ”

Evil leaders are leading their followers into sin. I personally pray for some officials that God remove them if they refuse to repent. “Repentance or removal,” is my plea. The sooner they are removed, the less judgment will fall on them. Is that not God’s mercy?

Fear of God? What Should We Do Now?

Look to ourselves, lest we too be tempted. God is ruthless and jealous. Don’t think any of us can escape if we knowingly harbor sin of any kind.

Let’s keep clamoring on the doors of heaven. A mistake I’ve made in the past is to stop too soon. No more. We cannot stop praying when we see the answers begin to arrive. Better, when answers start pouring in, that’s the signal to pour fuel on the fire. Now is prime time to increase passion and prayer, not diminish either.

Are you calling for revival? Are you calling for the fear of God to fall on our land? I am. Let’s be like Elijah: go ruthlessly for the root cause. There’s much more work to be done.


Featured Photo by Kat Love on Unsplash

Second Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

Difference Between Evangelists and Apostles?

What is the Difference Between an Evangelist and an Apostle?

Steve Fatow offers a clear distinction. Learn about chicken evangelism here.

Learn more about modern day apostles here.

Steve Fatow: How Does an Apostle Differ from an Evangelist?
Steve Fatow: How Does an Apostle Differ from an Evangelist?

What Are the Signs of an Apostle?

What are the Signs of an Apostle?

Fred Herzog answers the question many are asking today. Amid confusion and controversy, this veteran apostle responds with an answer that may surprise many.

Want to discover more about apostles?

Three Impressions of Kenya (Parts 2 and 3)

Part 1 appeared last week and can be viewed here. The title was The Taxi Driver and the Bishop: the Monumental Importance of the Church. It’s an eye-opener and worth reading in a day some people don’t think church is relevant.

What We Need is the Holy Spirit

The Quest for the Holy Spirit —


My Second Major Impression

Just before we left Murang’a, we met an Anglican Bishop, the Venerable P. M. Kariuki. The bishop felt badly he was dressed in civilian clothes instead of his clerical collar and garments. He drove a 30 or 40-year-old Toyota pickup. Nothing memorable there, but his words I may never forget.

Kari asked him pointedly, “Do you speak in tongues?” His answer was clear and to the point. “No, that is what we are missing. What we need in Kenya is the Holy Spirit.”

His words beckon us back to Kenya.

God is moving in Kenya. What the established churches are seeking, the newer Pentecostal-type churches are supplying. The Spirit–filled churches are the revivalists and reformers.

The photo above is by Tim Easley on Unsplash


My Third Major Impression


The Need for Unity among Believers

At a pastor’s prayer meeting, Peter the leader said, “Our greatest need is not money. We have great resources in Kenya. What we need is unity.” They are believing God for a neutral place where believers from every Christian denomination can spend hours or days or weeks in prayer and fasting much like the Korean model of Prayer Mountain.

Need for Unity among Believers

The photo above shows the hands of Pastor Isaac, some church leaders of the Full Gospel Church of Marang’a and my wife’s (Kari’s) hands. (I wasn’t praying–I was snapping the photo.)

The need for unity is great. We experienced the Psalm 133 blessing of unity with Pastor Isaac and other churches in Kenya. Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in
unity. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion.

Kari and I travelled to the border of (and slightly beyond) Murang’a County to meet with three Catholic priests. What a blessed time! After a tour of the grounds and buildings, we chatted over lunch. Father Kevin, Father Michael and Father Edwin shared their vision of developing parts of their10 acres of church property into agricultural use. They have begun by hiring unemployed workers to prepare the ground and plant garden seeds. Each day the priests pray with the workers, not only providing jobs but also offering spiritual direction.

As Kari and I lunched and prayed with the priests, the Holy Spirit manifestly attended, sealing our oneness in Christ.

Lazarus, come forth! shouted Jesus to the dead man. In the same way the church needs the apostolic ministry to come out of the tombs and come alive. A chief function of an apostle is to bring unity.

Apostles claim new ground for the kingdom by opening new concepts for the church. Jesus words Beloved, let us love one another are having a hard time travelling across denominational lines. Apostles can and must bridge gaps between genuine believers. Praise God for all who are fulfilling this ministry.

Let me issue a clarion call for those who have this ministry. Apostles, come forth! The need for unity is great and awaits your ministry.

Upon return, Pastor Morris marveled and explained. “What you did was historic! This may be the first time in Kenya that Protestants and Catholics have prayed together! I doubt that those priests had ever prayed with Protestants before. This is historic for Kenya!”

Whether historic or not, I don’t know. What I do know is this: Jesus prayed that they may all be one . . . that the world may believe that You sent Me (John17:21).