Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Iraq Oil

The politicians in Iraq are trying to agree on a constitution. The stumbling block seems to be the ownership of oil revenue. Some want the oil to be controlled by the regions and others want it controlled by the central government.

The really important question is not being addressed at all. Why should the oil be owned by the state?

Politicians always take a short term view, so they are likely to waste the oil resource.

When the Israelites entered the promised land, Moses divided the land between tribes and families. This gave them a fresh start with a productive asset.

A parallel approach for a new start in Iraq might be to give each Iraqi a share in the companies that control the oil. This would give the Iraqi people a reliable source of income, collateral for starting a business and a real stake in the destiny of their new nation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What have We Become?

In the previous two elections, each of the major parties claimed to be a responsible economic manager and stood on a platform official rectitude. In this election, they are falling over themselves to give handouts to the voters. These bribes will harm our nation. The Bible says,

A wicked man accepts a bribe ... (Proverbs 17:23).

In taking this approach to the election, our politicians are trying to make us wicked. They are encouraging people to vote on the basis of what is in it for themselves. People are looking up tax calculators to find out which party will put the most money in their pockets.

By offering bribes, the politicians are causing people to vote selfishly. Very little thought is being given to what is good for the nation. The most important issues are being ignored.

We cannot expect good government, if we are voting for the party that will pay us the biggest bribe.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cheap Salvation

Leading up to our election, all the political parties are offering us packages that will save us from all our troubles.

Jesus provided real salvation. He also paid the price when he died on the cross.

Politicians offer salvation, but then make us pay for it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Israel and the Gaza Strip

The Israeli government has forced Jewish settlers to leave the Gaza strip. Some Christians are upset about this withdrawal, because the believe that God gave the land to Israel. The problem is that the promise of the land was conditional on obedience. While promising to bless Israel, God also warned that if they failed to obey him, they would be removed from the land.

You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God. Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other (Deut 28:62-64).
God did not give the land in perpetuity. He warned that if they rejected him, they would be scattered among the nations. This warning was fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed and the people scattered throughout the earth. Given that God scattered them, they cannot claim title to the land until God gives it back to them. His word promises that he will do this after he has poured his Spirit on Israel. He has not yet poured out his spirit on Israel, so they do not
yet have a right to the land.

Nation of Israel does not have a divine right to the land (as many people claim). The land was given to Israel on condition of obedience. The Jews lost their land in AD 70, because they rejected Christ. Until they acknowledge Jesus (Matt 23:38,39; Luke 21:24), they do not have God's blessing on their ownership of the land. At present, Israel's right to the land depends on a United Nations decision and a successful defence of the land. This title is as legitimate as that of many other nations, but it is not a divine right. Israel will only have a divine right to the land when it fulfils the covenant by coming to faith in Christ (Deut 30:1-5).

For a more detailed study of this topic see the parable of the
Three Sons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Big One Twelve - Real Salvation

Narrow Obstacle
The modern world looks to the state for salvation. The state is expected to eliminate every problem (effect of sin). The government should do something about it is our catch cry.

Many Christians have more faith in the state than in God. We offer the world forgiveness for sin, but for salvation from the effects of sin, we point to the state.

Real Solution
Jesus death, resurrection and ascension accomplished perfect salvation. The Kingdom of God can deal with the consequences of sin better than the state. Deacons are the best solution to poverty. The gift of healing is the best solution to sickness. To see revival, we will need to offer a broad salvation that deals with all the consequences of sin, including poverty and sickness.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Big One One One (11) - Gospel of the Kingdom

God will not bless a narrow vision. Christians have focussed their energies on the church, but have retreated from the world, allowing Satan to control what is not his.God is not interested in revival in a ghetto. He sent Jesus to destroy sin and Satan, so his church could establish the Kingdom of God. We will not experience his blessing if we are unwilling to complete this task.

Kingdom Solution
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, so we should do the same. The Kingdom of God is the solution to all the problems of the world.

God has given the church responsibility for establishing his Kingdom. When we get serious about this task, we will begin to experience his blessing. The gospel of the Kingdom is the key to revival and victory.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Tenth Big One - No Excuses

Attitude Obstacle
Most Christians believe that the world will get worse and worse until Jesus returns. When the world deteriorates, they take it as a sign that Jesus is coming soon.

Christians should not be pessimistic about the future.
People who believe in defeat are easy to cheat and beat.

Simple Solution
God’s people need a better grasp of his plan. He is in control and is working out his purposes. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross and is shaking the nations, so his church can establish the Kingdom. The kingdom of man is rotting from the inside and is ready to fall. We can share in Jesus victory, if we understand his plan for winning.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Big One Nine - Send out the Best

Pedestal Obstacle
Jesus never said to get people to come; he always said the church should go to people in need.
We will not go, so we do not grow.

As a leader is surrounded by more and more Christians, their ministry is diffused. They are put on a higher pedestal from where it is easier to fall.People with big ministries are being called apostles, but the word “apostle” means “sent”. A person cannot be called an apostle until they are sent out.

Apostolic Solution
Multiplication is more effective than addition. The best people should be sent out as apostles to establish new churches. Just as Jesus left his home in heaven and dwelt among us, apostles should go and live among the people where the spirit is moving.

Apostles will start with the end in mind. They will identify a person of peace or influence and start a new church in their home. The person of peace will be trained up to be an elder, when the apostles are sent out again to plant another church.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Eighth Big One - Healing Evangelism

Painful Obstacle
The modern church struggles with evangelism methods that do not work. Our approach is a church meeting consisting of worship, sermon and an altar call. We use clever gimmicks to attract people, because people of the world are not comfortable going into a church.

Healing Solution
Jesus and the apostles had a very effective method of evangelism. They would go to where the Spirit was moving and pray for a sick person or cast out a demon. When a crowd gathered to see what had happened, they would preach the gospel. The evidence of God’s love and power would be standing beside them, so their gospel was hard to resist.

Maybe we should wait till we have power from on high needed for healing evangelism, rather than rushing on without it.

If we cannot heal the sick, why should people believe that our gospel is true?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Seventh Big One - Power Pairs

Isolated Obstacle
Most men are ineffective in ministry, because they serve God on their own. When Peter got out of the boat alone, he sunk in the water. When he worked with John, they healed a lame man and challenged the Jewish authorities. Jesus sent his disciples out “two by two” to preach the gospel. We go alone and often fail alone.

Related Solution
Pairs of men should serve the Lord together. Two men who trust each other will achieve more together, than they can separately. They will stir each other along and gain confidence to try things that they would not normally do. Jesus promised that when two men work together in his name, he will be there with them in a special way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Big One 6 - Effective Discipling

Obvious Obstacle
Most new Christians are not discipled and only a few are released into a ministry. God will not entrust us with more new Christians until we can care for those he has already given us.

Most Christians who emerge in a ministry have had to teach themselves. They have to start from scratch, so they do not reach their full potential. We need every Christian functioning fully in their calling and ministry, if we are to be victorious.

Obvious Solution
Every new Christians should be discipled by a more mature Christian. The most important thing will be to learn how to hear God speak. Disciples can then learn from him themselves, with an elder watching from the distance.

Every Christian should be released into a ministry. Elders will replicate their ministries in those they disciple. If elders have a variety of gifts, a variety of ministries will emerge among their disciples.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Big One Five - Balanced Leadership

Very Obstinate Obstacle
One professional leader cannot be Jesus. Only a body of people can contain the fullness of the Spirit. The modern pastor/leader does not exist in the scriptures. Dependence on professional leaders and hierarchy has paralysed his body.

Missing ministries weaken a church. Without an evangelist, it will not grow. Without a prophet, it will lack vision and holiness. Without several pastors, new Christians will not grow.

Absolutely Essential Solution
A church should be led by a balanced team of elders, including:

  • a prophet to ask the tough questions, expand vision and encourage holiness
  • an evangelist with a passion for the lost and a gifting for sharing the gospel
  • several pastor-teachers to help new Christians grow, to watch over the flock and build unity
  • an apostle to bring enthusiasm and push ahead to break new ground.

Politicians and Lies

Why do politicians and lies go together

I presume the reason is that politicians are concerned about their image.

In the last few weeks in New Zealand, several politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have appeared to lie to protect their image.

If a ruler listens to lies,
all his officials become
wicked. (Psalm 29:12)

A politician who will lie to protect their image is dangerous.

Fourth Big One - Spiritual Protection

Obstinate Obstacles
Most Christians do not really understand spiritual protection, so the enemy has been able to pick us off one by one. Too many are standing alone, with others.

The shield of faith cannot cover our backs, so full protection comes through being in relationship with other Christians.

Essential Solution
Resistance in unity with other Christians is the key to dealing with an evil attack. We all need friends to challenge us, elders to warn us if we don not listen. We need friends to stand with against evil and elders who can really do spiritual battle for us.

Real soldiers do not go into battle without proper protection in place.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Big One Three - Be Filled with the Spirit

Obstinate Obstacle
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is good, but not enough. An experience several years ago does not ensure that I am moving in the Spirit now. We are not doing all that Jesus promised we would do, so we must be well short of the fullness of the Spirit.

Essential Solution
The Holy Spirit loves to flow out of our midst into the world and touch the lives of those in need. If we do not go with him, he will go without us. The Holy Spirit can only flow out, if he is flowing in every day. He should be our best friend who goes everywhere that we go.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Big One Two - One Another Stuff

Obstinate Obstacle
Love is the essential ingredient that unites a Church. Jesus commanded us to love one another, as he loves us, so that the world would see him through us. Our selfishness and lack of love has often grieved the Spirit and limited our witness. When people of the world look at the church. many see disunity, not love.

Essential Solution
Love means doing the One Another Stuff.

  • Carry each other's burdens
  • Forgive one another
  • Submit to one another
  • Live in peace with each other
  • Be kind to each other
  • Encourage one another daily
  • Offer hospitality to one another
  • Serve each other
  • Pray for each other
  • and many more.

Loving God is easy, the real challenge is loving those alongside me us in the body in a practical way.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Big One No One (No 1) - Real Relationships

Obstinate Obstacle
Shallow relationships are an obstacle to revival. The Holy Spirit prefers to work in a group of people that is bound together by love, but the church is dislocated and disjointed. Meeting for an hour on a Sunday does not develop strong relationships. The body will have to be joined together again, before revival life can flow through it

Essential Solution
Going to church will not produce a revival. We must build real fellowship based on strong relationships with other Christians, so the Holy Spirit can move powerfully in the body. God will not force us together, so we must choose to relate to other Christians. We might need to live closer together, so we can meet more often, support each other strongly and
be the church where we live.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Twelve Big Ones

That is enough of politics for a while. Over the next few days I am going to write about obstacles to revival.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many Christians believed that God would send revival to the Church. However, despite passionate prayer and immense effort nothing happened. Now many believe that God did not speak, and have become discouraged about the future of the church. I believe that the problem is not with God, but with us. At least twelve big blockages have prevented the Holy Spirit from moving freely. We must change these, before we will see revival.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Would Jesus Change?

A friend asked, “What aspects of our lives are shaped by the world, rather than the gospel?” Here is my answer.


  • Serving our status
  • Maintaining our comfort
  • Selfishness

Individualism and Independence

  • High fences around houses
  • Unknown neighbours
  • A room for every family member
  • Solving out own problems

Working hard at Working

  • Most of our lives spent working
  • Often at work we do not like
  • Often doing things that are not part of our calling

Faith in the State Divine

  • Trusting the state to solve every problem
  • “The government should do something about it”, we say
  • Giving the state authority to decide right and wrong
  • Allowing the state to take half of all that we earn

Toleration of trash

  • Inability to discern evil
  • Evil is called good and good is called evil
  • Silence as the beast emerges
  • Acceptance of marginal advertising

Doctors first, God second

  • Faith in drugs
  • Reliance on remedies
  • Salvation by surgeons

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


We will never understand Eph 4, if we try to make the ascension ministries fit round modern church structures. The problem is that the modern pastor-leader role just does not exist in the New Testament. Apart from real sheep shepherds and Jesus the Chief shepherd, the Greek word shepherd is only used as a noun once in the New Testament. That is in Eph 4:11, and there it is used to describe a gift, not an office.

The word pastor is used as a verb in Acts 20:17,27 and 1 Pet 5:1,2. In both these cases, elders are told to shepherd (verb) the flock that is in their care. We do not have a verb for shepherd in English, so it is usually translated with the verb “to be” plus the noun shepherd/pastor. This translation is misleading, because it makes sound like an office. “Tend” or “look after” would be a better translation. These two passages both say that shepherding is something that elders should do. The use of a verb rather than a noun suggests that Peter and Paul are telling elders what to do, rather than giving them a name. Therefore, pastor is not a higher-level ministry, but a responsibility given to elders.

Shepherds watch over their sheep, so "tending" includes "watching". Therefore, it is interesting that these two passages also give elders a role in exercising “oversight” (watching over). Titus 1:6,7; Phil 1:1 and 1 Tim 3:1,2 also imply that overseer is another title that was used for elders. We confuse situation by transliterating the Greek word episkopos as bishop. Actually it is just a word meaning “watch over”, which is a task that elders are commanded to do by Peter and Paul.

Monday, August 08, 2005

When Rulers love Bribes

The prophet Isaiah said:

Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves;
they all love bribes and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow's case does not come before them.

Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
"Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies.
I will turn my hand against you;
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.
I will restore your judges as in days of old,
your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City." (Is 1:23-26)

Politicians who indulge in bribes are living dangerously,
and put their nation at risk.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Election Bribery

As our election draws near, the major political parites are resorting to bribery. One major party is offering taxcuts for everyone. The other is offering free loans to students and benefits to most families.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
but one who is greedy for
bribes tears it down.
(Prov 29:4)
Rulers who indulge in bribery tear down a nation.

Accepting a bribe is a serious sin. Paying bribes with money that is not your own must be even worse. What are these people doing to our nation?

Proverbs 17:23 says that the wicked man accepts a bribe. By offering bribes our politicians are trying to make us wicked.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Suburban Prostitution

A Christchurch law limiting brothels to a narrowly defined central city block has been quashed by the High Court. This raises some interesting issues about the authority of the state.

Prostitution is a sin and not a crime. This means that the civil government does not have authority to ban or punish prostitution

Civil government has authority to punish violence and kidnapping. It should get involved when young women are forced into prostitution.

The civil government does not have authority to stop a person from conducting a business in their home. It can only intervene if the business commits a crime.


Jesus dined with sinners and prostitutes (Luke 36-38).

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:10-13)

If prostitutes move into the suburbs, it will be easier for Christians to follow Jesus example and invite them round for Sunday lunch.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pro-Family %&(#!!!!

As the breakdown of the family becomes a serious problem in many Western nations, political parties are starting to advocate pro-family policies.

A pro-family government is actually anti-family.
A truly pro-family government is anti-government.