Features

‘THE PENTECOSTAL BAPTIST’!

(June 1, 2017) Stuart Reynolds shares a revelation…

From the presumed monopoly by denominations to the limits of our clever labelling, the Holy Spirit has been hijacked and sabotaged!

The sharp-sighted evangelist Vance Havner described the result of this misunderstanding, mishandling and misapplication: ‘Satan has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy Spirit…that we may miss the true in our fear of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never go up the tree!’

We need to let the Holy Spirit be himself, and that we may become and do all we were intended to.

May I introduce you to ‘The Pentecostal Baptist’ – someone the Bible records having these Holy Spirit credentials: ‘Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.’  And in that place many believed in Jesus’ (John 10:41-42, NIV).

1) An inviting clarification
We believe in ‘full salvation.’ The reality of God in the gospel of Christ is radical – God’s book teaches it…truly knowing Jesus Christ demands it…the presence of the Holy Spirit enables it. (more…)

PENTECOSTAL PETER

(June 1, 2017) Brian Bell shares a meaningful meditation on the apostle Peter…

When you consider the experiences of Peter’s life from the day Jesus called Peter to follow him, then those experiences – which include presumptuous behaviour and speech rebuke by Jesus, and his denial of the Lord – they would not have pointed to him being the carrier of the powerful Acts 2 Day of Pentecost message for which he is best known.

Personally I draw great encouragement from Peter, for I know I am – at least – as imperfect as Peter, yet the Lord is prepared to use even me!

So, while it is true that aspects of Peter’s life before Pentecost may be less than impressive, it did not prevent the Lord from recommissioning and enabling Peter through the Holy Spirit – what an encouragement is that for every Christian!

Peter – an encouragement for every follower
Luke who penned the book of Acts makes specific reference to Peter’s ‘Pentecost’ message and writes of several of his ministry experiences that flowed on from that day. And while we don’t read of a repetition of the ‘Pentecost day’ experience, we can however see how the Lord clearly led Peter and he became an outstanding preacher, a leader with a pastoral heart in the early church. It is very clear that Peter was a changed follower of Jesus from that day! (more…)

‘MAN IN WHITE’ APPEARED IN VISION, BRINGING HEALING TO A MUSLIM

(May 15, 2017) GodReports’ Mark Ellis reports a great testimony

Nabil* and his family were refugees and had recently settled in a small apartment that happened to be near a Christian named Greg. Nabil found work at the lowest rung of the income ladder, as a manual labourer.

One day Nabil suffered a severe ankle injury that kept him off the job. Greg began visiting Nabil’s apartment regularly to help him rehabilitate, according to a report by Frontiers.

After months of therapy and rest, Nabil’s ankle was still so swollen that he could only take a few tentative steps across the apartment. It seemed it would take several more months before he would be pain-free and able to return to his demanding physical work.

Mysterious man in white
But one day Greg called Nabil and was surprised by an urgency in Nabil’s voice. ‘Greg, I need to see you immediately! Come over now and bring your Bible.’ (more…)

WAKEUP CALL TO RESPONSIBILITY

(May 2, 2017) Charles Schwab shares from his heart…

Last month the bad news from Singapore travelled quickly over the internethttp://www.charismanews.com/world/64407-megachurch-pastor-kong-hee-heads-to-prison.

In brief, a pastor and four of his church co-workers began gaol sentences on April 21 for illegal financial activities, following on from being convicted in 2015.  A fifth co-worker, who also received a jail sentence, is awaiting a Court of Appeals decision before his sentence will commence.

I’m referring to media reports of Kong Hee, who was the pastor of a megachurch in Singapore – City Harvest Church. Hee and five of his leaders were sentenced to imprisonment for the illegal misuse of around 50 million Singapore dollars. Their revised sentencing is for about half the time originally specified as a consequence of an appeals process.

A wakeup call
I must state that there was no joy in hearing that report – Kong Hee, the other leaders and the shaken City Harvest Church in Singapore need the prayers of caring people. (more…)

THE TEST OF TRUTH

(April 8, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings Easter challenge …

Last month as I listened to BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show my interest was piqued by one of Chris Evans’ guests – Israeli historian Dr Yuval Noah Harari, talking about his book, Sapiens.

Harari contends that Homo sapiens (‘the only extant human species’) rule the world as the dominant species because of our unique ability to believe in things which exists only in the imagination: nations, money, human rights, and, of course, religion. Evans concluded the interview by asking Harari what is the most important piece of advice he could give for the future well-being of the human race.

His response? That our paramount need is to do our best to differentiate between what is fiction and reality:  ‘Humans find it very difficult to know what is real and what is just a fictional story in their own minds, and this causes a lot of disasters, wars and problems… The best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering. A nation cannot suffer, it cannot feel pain, it cannot feel fear, it has no consciousness. Even if it loses a war, the soldier suffers, the civilians suffer, but the nation cannot suffer. Similarly, a corporation cannot suffer, the pound sterling, when it loses its value, it doesn’t suffer. All these things, they’re fictions…’

I immediately said to my wife, Helen, ‘He has just defeated his own argument!’ If it be so – ‘the best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering,’ then the greatest undisputed statement of truth in the whole universe, never mind in human history, must the person of God in his only Son Jesus Christ, of whom the Bible says is ‘The Suffering Servant.’ (more…)

LIVING IN FAITH

(April 6, 2017) Tim Edwards brings another timely kingdom word…

When we hear from God to move ahead in something new and we obey, we take a step forward and we become more conscious of our personal growth and development in the Lord.

And guess what?

At that exact time we can be assured that many of us will start to face trials and tests in our lives. Why? Because it is often at times of growth in our lives that we find ourselves being stretched!

Anyone in that category right now?
As we stretch and grow – which is ultimately fantastic by the way – and as we are tested and find ourselves in new and strange situations we need to know what is holding us together; what is sitting in our foundations. We need to look more closely at what is happening in our heads and hearts and ask ourselves what we believe and what exactly we hold to be true. (more…)

ARE YOU A PROCRASTINATORS CLUB MEMBER?


(March 8, 2017) Carol Round challenges…

Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you”’ (Matthew 25:11-12 NIV).

Did you know there’s a Procrastinators Club?
They’ve never met because they keep postponing their meeting. We can laugh about putting things off. Some procrastinate because the project is daunting or boring. Others find better things to do.

There are, of course, those who have procrastinated so long the pile of tasks grows into a mountain they’re afraid to tackle.

People procrastinate for different reasons. Psychologist Joseph Ferrari, PhD identifies three basic types of procrastinators: (more…)

MARTYRS BY PROXY?

(March 8, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings another timely challenge …

A pig and a hen were walking down the road when they saw a poster advertising the forthcoming Harvest Supper. It reported that bacon and eggs would be served. The hen said to the pig, ‘How nice it is that we can help the church.’

The pig replied to the hen, ‘It’s all very well for you – you’ll be making a contribution, but I’ll be making a sacrifice!’

It was Alexander MacLaren who wrote: ‘Martyrs by proxy, who have such strong convictions that they think it somebody else’s duty to run the risk for them, are by no means unknown.’

A location considered
We rightly pray much for the ‘Persecuted Church’ – often feeling small and inadequate alongside them because of what they are living out and proving in the midst of oppression and we’re not. (more…)

A TIME OF DROUGHT

Harold Harvey 2016(February 17, 2017) Harold Harvey encourages keeping a good relationship with God and avoid (or overcome) spiritual droughts…

I remember learning in primary school Dorothy McKellar’s poem about Australia. The first verse goes –

‘I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.’

Australians are familiar with droughts and the hardships that go with it
There is little or no water to quench the thirst of livestock, pastures become sparse and stock are hand-fed, the hay stocks are soon used up and livestock are sold off cheaply to the slaughter houses rather than allowing them to die.  Many of the stock do die of thirst and starvation while farmers have the unenviable task of shooting the starving creatures that are already dying an agonising death because there is no food for them.  (more…)

WELL-INTENTIONED DRAGONS – THE CHURCH’S REAL BEAUTIES AND BEASTS

stuasrt-reynolds(February 17, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings a timely warning and challenge to newly appointed shepherds of the flock …

The 2017 version of Disney’s popular romantic fantasy Beauty and the Beast is released next month. But – hey churches, and newly appointed pastors, are you aware of a beauty and beast in your church, maybe even more than one? They’re real, not a fantasy or so romantic, in many a church!

We train pastors to look after the people in the church – absolutely right! – but when are churches ever trained in how to look after their pastors, to help guard them, especially from dangers within their very own congregation?

The apostle John expressed a concern in his third letter about something that still occurs in some churches today, one that newly appointed pastors must be aware of!

‘Diotrephes, who loves being in charge, denigrates my counsel. If I come to you, you can be sure I’ll hold him to account for spreading vicious rumours about us. As if that weren’t bad enough, he not only refuses hospitality to travelling Christians but tries to stop others from welcoming them. Worse yet, instead of inviting them in he throws them out’ (3 John 1: 9-10 Message).

Diotrephes types today
Churches, and especially newly appointed pastors, need to be aware that there are Diotrephes types – well-intentioned dragons in their midst! (more…)