Tagged in: Great Commission

Missions trip change people!

I believe one of the biggest problems that we have in American Christianity is fixable: require all leaders to do mission trips yearly. I know you might think I am out of my mind but if every sunday school teacher, deacon and pastor did a mission trip every summer; the overall health of the church would improve.

I asked a friend of mine that works at the General Council of the Assemblies of God’s headquarters recently how many pastors have done a mission trip in 2015. He told me that he does not have the statistics but his educational guess would be about 15%. That means more than 8 out 10 are not serious about the Great Commission.

I have found that the most healthy churches are led by leaders who regularly head out of the country to do ministry in a different language and culture. I have seen more pastors transformed on the fields of a crusade than I can count. The Great Commission doesn’t just change the lives around you; it changes you too. 

Mission Trips are life altering

I remember when I was on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I met a pastor who told me point blank that he did not believe in mission trips. He only believed in local community. There are alot of pastors like this, they just do not admit it. He believed that we should just focus on helping people in our town or city. People in Souel should reach the people in Souel. The people in Kansas City should reach the people in Kansas City.

I gave him a challenge: go on a mission trip with me to Mozambique where I would be speaking at bush crusade meetings around Pemba with Heidi Baker. I told him he would be more changed by Africa than Africa would be changed by him. He did not believe me and he was not interested in getting his theology completely wrecked by truth.

A week goes by and he calls me asking if he could still go. As God would have it, a man he knew in his church had heard about my offer and he paid for the pastor to go with us to Africa. The pastor was out of excuses and he was being set up by the Holy Spirit to have his theology get “a fixin.”

As the days went by, I could see the change happening. He started to weep over the condition of humanity and see the heart of God for people. His ideas on the local church was slowly being destroyed and replaced with a vision for the global Bride of Christ. He understood that why the Bride is crying Come in Revelation 22 finally.

The greatest joy from the trip was not the thousand new converts but seeing this pastor completely changed by the heart of God. I knew when the pastors was transformed; the church will be changed soon.

A Missional Church is the only biblical Church

I am not quite sure how a church can say they are biblical and not be completely focused on the mission of God. We worship the Father that wishes that none would perish. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. The Holy Spirit is here to convict the world of sin and lead men to the Cross. The whole trinity is focused on the mission of ripping people of hell.

It is very hard for me to believe that the Church is not to be less committed to the same mission at hand than the trinity. Soul winning is not a yearly event or something we have for the camp meeting with Dr. Big Name from Headquarters USA. The problem is we think evangelism is an event; not a lifestyle. That is wrong.

When we fail to be missional, we fail at the very foundational level of the faith. Nothing is more important that being the salt of the earth and the light of the world around us. Everything else is secondary.

“The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible” — Ralph Winter

Why mission trips don’t happen

The reason reason is we do not care about people going to hell. The money is there. We will waste all type of money on things for the church that does not matter. We will go to silly “advances and retreats”, spending hundreds on them as well. We will throw down the visa to go to a Kansas City Chiefs game with the men at the church. Money is the not the problem; desire is.

We will send fifty bucks to make food for the pot luck dinner every month for the community time. That is over $600 a year wasted on something that will not yield one soul into the Kingdom of God. For just a little more, a mission trip to Mexico to change life is very possible.

At the end of the day, we have to just admit the reason we do little in the way of missions is that we just do not care about people going to hell.

Why I left YWAM (but I still love them)

A question that I get alot is why I left YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and why I am not working with them currently. I still love Jesus. I still love missions. I still love evangelism. I do not tie my passion for the harvest to YWAM. That is part of the problem, actually.

Too many people get tied up in what “group” they are part of and have more loyalty to it than they do to Christ. When you find your identity in being a YWAMer, Assemblies of God, Church of God or Baptist; you have believed the lie and become part of the evil we know in the western church. It is lie that tells us to rally to men and not the Holy Spirit. The “being planted” deception is run deep in American Christianity.

YWAM is great and I love the heart of Loren Cunningham. However, I believe that Loren does not know, or does not really think it is that serious, how bad some things have become on mission bases in America and parts of Asia Pacific. I can not speak for bases that are in places that I have not visited.

The issues that I see is organizational, theological, and missiology.

YWAM has witchcraft at work

I know some will disagree with using the term but I believe anytime that you use faith as a form of control; that is spiritual witchcraft. Jesus came to set people free; not to bind them as slaves to groups and leaders in the name of “christian service.” Any time that a person feels a need to serve, they have lost their passion to live like the Freedom giver, Jesus Christ.

The pressures placed on young people to serve is unrealistic and it has a major problem: YWAM didn’t start that way. If there is one thing that Loren Cunningham is known for, it would be writing Is that really you, God? The core of YWAM is hearing from the Holy Spirit; not blind obedience to a leader. What ends up happening is YWAM mission bases become little more than mini-kingdoms build by smart men; not the hands of the Holy Spirit.

I was raised to put complete confidence in only hearing from the Holy Spirit for myself. If a leader asked me to do something because it would help grow the YWAM base; the answer is simply no. If I haven’t heard from the Holy Spirit, I do not care what some leader wants. I am not going to do under any condition. I am about being the Kingdom of God. I am interested in building YWAM. Sorry.

The constant pressure to put the organization over the leading of the Holy Spirit is the biggest reason that I left YWAM and will not be part of the movement until something radically changes. It is sad but I really do not think it will change in my lifetime, either.

The spiritual witchcraft is very deep and it runs across the network of mission bases in alot more ways that people realize.

What about Moral Government?

The term Moral Government of God is actually known as Open Theism. As much as I hate radical Calvinism; I also am sickened by radical Arminianism and that is what Open Thiesm is.

For those who do not know what Open Theism is and why it is so dangerous; it is basically a belief that God does not know the future but can only “guess” based on historical trend. Prophetic ministry is just divine guessing. I completely and wholeheartly reject it as outright heresy for many reasons.

To be fair, many within YWAM even strongly question this teaching as well as Kingdom Now theology. I know one leader who was ready to leave YWAM and take his base with him. It is mainly alive in the mission bases in North America from what I understand.

I am as strong of a Arminianist as you find but God is very much a prophetic God and He knows what the score is. Revelation is not a guess but it is a book about the prophetic vision of the people of God.

The reality is we are not God’s plan; we are part of God’s plan. The mission of God is use us but the emphasis must be on the central point of the gospel: the savior Jesus Christ. When we think we are the hero of the story; we have lost the whole point.

I am open to differences in thought about theological stuff. I am Pentecostal and I have Baptist friends.

DTS is bad missiology

If you are not part of YWAM or know much about them, they really believe in what is called Discipleship Training School. If you believe that Matthew 28:19 should take importance over the five other Great Commission passages; you still have a problem. Discipleship should be done in the context of the church. YWAM is a not a church but a missionary group.

The problem become when people replace the great commission with DTS. Many YWAM make doing a DTS, a money maker for YWAM, into the gospel. It is sad but when the emphasis is on a program and not the blood of Jesus; that is idolatry. It is simple as that.

I could never bring myself to promote the program when I was with YWAM. Most people do not need to do a DTS; it is not a replacement to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What people need is a Acts 2 Pentecostal experience more than some programs full of men teaching people what they think God said about Himself. The Holy Spirit alone will form young believers into mighty men and women!

I still love YWAM!

I left on good terms (for the most part). I still have many friends in YWAM and have worked with them in crusades in Africa as well as spoke in their school of missions before. I am against them but these issues are too big for me to sign on the dotted line and say I am with committed to Youth With A Mission.

In the end, we make better friends than family.

TL Osborn: Grandfather of Evangelism

T.L. Osborn was one of the most humble men I know and one of the most anointed I know. He had been all over the world and led more people to Christ than anyone in history but you would not know it chatting with him at a coffeehouse in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was just that humble.

The man is known as the grandfather of mass evangelism for a reason though. He lived for the gospel. He believe the soul winning was the chief calling of every believer. He is right too. We might not like the fact that we are to preach the gospel but that does not change the great commission. Preach the gospel and you must use words!

The purpose of a spirit filled life is to demonstrate the supernatural power of our living God so that the unsaved multitudes will abandon their dead gods to call upon the name of The Lord and be delivered. (T.L. Osborn) 

I remember the last time I saw him before he checked out for his heavenly reward. He was decicidating the new ministry center on Memorial in Tulsa. (The famous old one was part of the new highway project). I was struggling with doing a conference in Congo at the time. I have every reason to go but I also had every reason to not to go. He talked to me and with a smile on his face, “If you do not go, who will? They need the gospel.”  It was the tipping point for me to go to Congo.

TL Osborn was a man of faith & action

We all know that without works, our faith is dead but most of us still have a life void of any real works for the Lord. We do not do the great commission. We do not feed the hungry. We do not see visit those who are locked in their homes or in prisons. We know we should but we don’t.

Brother Osborn was always the sweet, loving, and compassionate guy that would kick up in the backside to remind us what the Bible told us about the gospel. I am not sure I have seen a person with a better grip on the issue on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in my life. He had some serious revelation and it was all scriptural based.

He is the man you could not help but love. He has passion for the things of the Spirit, cared about people and have a devotion to the New Testament. He is everything a man of God should be.

He lived with a deep concern that we have preached faith, destroyed hope and ignore love in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. We pushed faith so much because lost hope if they did not see their naming did not become claiming.

The hallmark of TL Osborn was his commitment to preaching the compassion of Jesus, not the fire of hell. He did not have a problem with people preaching hell, fire, and brimstone but he focused on compassion as his niche of the gospel.

Every time I met him, I walked away with a deeper love for people, a deeper commitment to the great commission, and a deeper understanding of soteriology. That was the TL Osborn that I knew.

He understood the Pentecostal mission

There is only one purpose of pentecost; that is to effectively evangelize lost souls. (TL Osborn)

Those words would give us the heartbeat of Pentecostal ministries from Azusa Street and even since. The problem is many of the Spirit-filled ministries today are worried about everything but actually doing the Great Commission. Pentecost was always about reaching the lost at any cost.  He has a deep conviction that signs and wonders must confirm the gospel. The good news is Jesus had the same view on the subject.

The message was always at the core of anything that he did: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not try and make it creative. He believed the gospel presented just as it was powerful. He led more people to the cross that any man in history, including Billy Graham, in the process as well.

It was the simplicity of the gospel that was his hallmark. He did not live like most of the faith preachers of his era. He put as much money as he could in the gospel work around the nation. Until his day, his publication were made very cheap (and you could tell) so he could give away books to people in Africa.

TL Osborn changed the world

I had the privilege of standing next to him in Manila, Philippines when he came with Mike Francen for a gospel crusade in 2000. I was a young, big, buff guy that told to run “security” for him. I was more interested in impartation than security to be honest. After all, I though the angels were provided a hedge of protection pretty well myself.

The time I spend with him in the Philippines was a great time and it really changed some of my focus in life. It was not until years later that I was freed up to just do evangelism but one of the prophetic moments that made that happen was the four days I worked security for TL Osborn.

The people that he touched are many and I am happy to say I am in that company. I have many friends that also was touched over the years by him. He carried a mantle for evangelism that few have. That mantle has yet to be picked up. I wonder if the burden is too much for one man to bear.

I believe we need a movement of crusade evangelists that will answer the call to preach the gospel from the stadiums of the world and reach the lost at any cost. Men (and women) who will stand up and declare the saving, healing, delivering and touching power of the Holy Spirit to a world that is broken and downcast.

What is the Biblical Church?

Alot of people have different ideas on what the Church really is. Most have a view that is much too American in its expression. They still see the Church as a building focused concept or they think the emerging house church movement is the answer. Neither really fit the bill for biblical expression of the Church.

Ecclesiology is the study of the Church but what exactly does it include? I believe we could conclude that the Church is two expressions (at least). It is the Bride of Christ and it is the Army of the Lord.

See Dr. Jay Taylor (Assemblies of God Theology Seminary) handouts on Ecclesiology

Two words for the Church are ekklesia and kyriakos . It means quite literally, to called out or summoned and belonging to the Lord Jesus.

Here is the Strong’s says about Ekklesia,

ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

As I said, it is about belonging to Jesus (Bride of Christ) and being called out and summoned for His Kingdom (Army of the Lord).

Bride of Christ

The Church is the Bride of Christ

One of the least understood identities of the believer is the Bride of Christ. I rarely hear teaching on this. I find it very odd given the last mention of the saints in the Bible is calling us the Bride.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17) 

When we see ourselves as the Bride, it changes everything. Brides do not work for acceptance; they are accepted because they are loved. My father never stood up and told my mother that is a “to do” list for accepted as his bride. How much more true would that be for our Heavenly Father?

As John Arnott loves to say, “Lovers will always outlast workers.” As believers we should identify ourselves as lovers of Jesus, not as slaves, or “christian workers.” We do not work for God, we are co-labors and that means we are joined hand in hand with the Lord doing His mission to the lost and dying world. A deep understanding being a co-labor changes everything.

One thing that amazes me as I have traveled the world is how few people actually even know where to find the Song of Songs in their bible. Even fewer have read it, understand it and can apply it. I have heard many pastors try and make it about a marriage between two people. The Song of Songs is a prophetic picture of the Bride of Christ and the Bridegroom Jesus.

Songs of Songs 2:10 is an invitation be part with Jesus and walk in Pentecostal authority rooted in the intimacy we have with the Bridegroom.

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Songs 2:10) 

Army of the Lord

The Church is the Army of the Lord

Alot of people confuse this with teaching out of the Latter Rain revival, and one of the things we reject, known as Joel’s Army. The Army of the Lord is very biblical but Joel 2 is not the place to find it. The bible talks about the people of the Lord being an army. David, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea, Jesus and Paul all talk about it.

I remember growing up in the Assemblies of God and we would sing in Children’s church a song called the Lord’s Army. As I remember it, ” I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, I may never fly o’er the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” The concept is deeply rooted in scripture and Pentecostal tradition.

We are not an Army with M-16 rifles, grenades and tanks. We are an army that will give our lives (martyr) for the mission we have been called to do. Our marching orders are simple, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation… these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:15,17-18) 

Body of Christ

Isn’t the Church the Body of Christ?

Many want to place such a strong emphasis on the conception of koinonia, or collection of a community. I wonder if we are rightly understanding what Paul was saying when he did use that word. One of the easiest ways to misunderstand biblical text is to spiritualize what was first century Jewish culture.

Relationships should be the by-product of people on a common journey and mission to be the Bride of Christ and the Army of the Lord. They should happen naturally and not become an emphasis of theology from America’s pulpit. When we force it, the relationships are normally not organic, not spiritual, and does not last the test of time. The purpose of the Church is to transform the world around us, not having better homes and gardens.

As I travel, I see churches that put relational ministry ahead of the Great Commission quickly die out, lose membership, and end up being little more than a Alcoholics Anonymous with Jesus thrown into the subject matter.

Jesus was pretty serious about the ten virgins. What you do not give away, you lose yourself. If you are not growing with new souls in the Bride of Christ; you are have lost focus. No Army can last and do great exploits for the Lord without recruitment. All armies must be build up!

What is the Church to you?


Why Missions is failing

Jesus gave us no less than six texts about what our orders were forward. They are found in Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:49, John 14 and Acts 1:7-8.

What is in comments with the text and what is the main message he has? In all by Matthew, the message is about healing the sick, raising the dead, casting the devils and preaching the gospel. Only Matthew missed the boat somehow. Continue reading…

People Skills in Missions

Today’s lesson living as a Christian cross culturally is about people skills and why they are at enemy with the anointing. Did I really say that? Yes!

The anointing is God’s calling on your life. You have been marked is what the bible calls it. When you are marked, it is like the FBI is following you. You can’t get rid of them….even if you try.

The anointing will break the yoke of bondage, call sinners to repentance, do signs and wonders, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. The anointing will make a way for you. It does every time. It has for me.

Anointed for People Skills

Here is the problem. Most ministries do not success because they are carry a strong anointing. They are successful because they have strong people skills.

In the spiritual realm, this is called a political spirit. To be blunt, having the ability to “win friends and influence people” does not mean you are anointed to heal the sick and raise the dead.

Joel Osteen is a guy alot of people like to pick on. He has mastered the political spirit of using people skills in ministry to a tee. He used people skills and the “law of attraction” to gather a huge following.

Am I saying that Joel has no anointing? Not at all. Am I saying he used people skills to get where he is, at least in part. Yes I am.

I also believe he is just receiving a harvest that his dad sown but that is a different discussion.

People Skills make or break missionaries

Having the people to move in a political spirit and built a gathering of people who not only love you but like you is critical in missions. I am not talking about locals here, either.

No missionary will remain on the field unless they are self-supporting (as I am), is the son of Bill Gates, or has people skills. I am mainly in the first group.

If you are in the last group, no matter how much you dislike it; you have to have a element of people skills to make it in ministry. I found out the hard way.

What REALLY is the Great Commission?

Have you ever thought about the Great Commission? What exactly is it and why do people have different takes on it? Part of the reason is the bible itself seems to have a different take on it as well.

Great Commission is about miracles

Around here, we tend to use the text from Mark to define the great commission. We believe that you are to heal the sick, cast out devils and speak in tongues as in the context of world evangelism.

I have no bones about it: I believe in power evangelism. You might not but I do. Simple as that.

What about Matthew’s Great Commission?

Matthew seems to have wimped out when he wrote the Great Commission but did he really? It is also about power evangelism when you really read the text completely through.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

What I want to grab here is the words “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” What did Jesus commanded them to do?

Well, let’s take a look at Matthew 10:-7-8 and see their Great Commission, shall we?

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a]drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give…

As we can see, even Matthew that wimped out on the power message(By the way, he is only one to not directly address it), he did reference it indirectly.

Matthew’s idea of the Great Commission is to teach the people to obey the command to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils.

Matthew’s text is not as Cessationist as some people over at the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church was to tell us.

I know, I know,  Hank Hanegraaff would burn me at the stake for saying this. Let him try. I know where i am going.

What is the Great Commission to you?