Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Andre Smit, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." - Matthew 16:24-25

    I once found myself in a bit of hot water when the Pastor asked me if I could end the service with prayer. Among others, the one thing I prayed for was that the Church in the "West" would be subjected to persecution and tribulation. After the service I had a few brothers who were a little hot under the collar because I had prayed for this, and I share this with you today to hear your input.

    In the "free" world we have, as Christians, become very complacent. There is so much that we take for granted. I actually wrote an essay on this titled "A religion of comfort". In a nutshell, many Christians in the "west" are happy to be "Christians" as long as the ride is smooth all the way. We love being comfortable and we love convenience. I have seen this many times. The slightest inconvenience so easily manipulates our decision making. As an example: you wake up on Sunday and get ready for the service. When you get to the car the tyre is flat. How many people do you suppose would change the flat and still go to service? How many would use this as an excuse not to go? We have things too easy in the west. We take for granted that we are able to attend sunday service. We even take the Bible for granted.

    One of the first things I noticed when I started reading the Bible is how the early Church and Apostles were persecuted. Stoned, hung, decapitated, crucified. In spite of this punishment, the Church grew and if you had to go through history, you will find that Christianity prospers when they are under persecution. The Word says to love and bless our enemies, and I believe that this is the reason so many come to salvation; it is when they witness first hand the persecution of Christians and then see those same Christians respond with love and with kindness. Is it any wonder then that the countries with the biggest Christian converts (in percentage) are countries where Christians are severely persecuted? Nepal (Hindu), China (Communist), UAE (Muslim), Saudi Arabia (Muslim), Qatar (Muslim), Oman (Muslim), Yemen (Muslim), Mongolia (Buddhist), Cambodia (Buddhist), Bahrain (Muslim).

    In the "West" where we are "free" to live out our faith, our numbers are dwindling. In Countries where owning a Bible can get you executed, the faith is growing in numbers. Just something to think about...
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  2. Amen!!
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  3. #3 bobinfaith, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
    Hello Andre;

    I like how you put guts into your thread and agree. We partner with a church in North West India. Their church is centered, surrounded by many, many other anti-christ religions. They persecute the Pastor, born and raised in this city, a colleague of mine, accusing his flock for converting their "other god believers" to Christianity. Yet despite the persecution - death threats against Pastor, his wife, church family and government interference, being a very poor church, yet have grown to incredible numbers daily to follow Christ and getting baptized. Pastor is always sending us photos of their baptisms. The turnouts are overwhelming!

    Acts 2:40-41, 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

    Sadly, here in the Bay Area the scripture for many Christians does not sink in. Truth is, the numbers are dwindling. Yet they have jobs, the ease of technology, new cars, able to get airplane tickets, hotel reservations and vacations. Many times I won't hear a "thank you, Lord" when they return, only how their nice camera took great pictures. They have nothing left to give back to God. I'm not talking money, but the lack of zeal to get back into the heart of worship!

    Christianity in the west has become a revolving door only when it becomes convenient to worship God. This is the reason why many Pastors have quit. Not just the SF Bay Area but throughout the United States and no doubt across the West.

    However, as Christians, lamenting about this is not going to bring resolve. We can point out the constructive part of our Christianity but we also have to pray to search our hearts, then for revival of the lackadaisical believer.

    Lets also keep balance and not eliminate many believers in the Christian west who are faithful, long suffering, selfless, humble with an attitude of humility, because of their zeal to serve Christ, by serving others, telling our stories and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    As far as the brothers who were hot under the collar over your prayer. Let the world beware. We need to open our eyes and ears and take God seriously, NOW. He's not fooling around.

    God bless you, Andre, thank you for opening your thread.

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  4. How can we as pastors change this?
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  5. Ya know there are a lot of factors to consider here. Way to many to just say oh let so and so suffer persecution and tribulation....

    I for one dont agree that this type of prayer lines up with Scripture. And I mean no disrespect to you Andre. Just because it happened to the Apostles, does not mean it should happen to us. Each believer if they are taught to truly fight the good fight of faith and all it entails... is going through attacks from the enemy daily.... so where is your mention of those people?

    Focusing on only the outward persecution of believers is in error. Yes, many are dying for their faith or belief in Christ... but where are the notices (stories) and encouragement for those who are dying to their fleshly desires daily, and living fully by faith? And where are the pastors that are teaching their flock what those fleshly desires are? And how to live fully by faith?

    Where are the people and pastors who are teaching their flock to truly follow the Bible and ways of God instead of all the religious nonsense that has been engrafted into the church doctrine for century's... those traditions that make the Word of God of none effect?

    How many people believe that certain parts of the Word are not for today? How many are just wanting a tickle my ears sermon so that they can just live any old way they choose? Where are the pastors that go against the world's ways And preach repentance of sin instead of love And acceptance? (And no this does not say that praying tribulation upon people is a good idea or Biblical).

    For God teaches by His Word (2 Timothy 3:16)...not by sending tribulation or sickness or calamity upon someone. He desires and trusts that once we understand how much He loves us, and the truth of His Word That we will willingly submit our lives and desires to Him and His ways. Jesus never prayed for persecution or tribulation upon His people... He said that the Father desires obedience and not sacrifice.

    These people need the truth... the whole truth of the Word. They need to know and be taught that staying in the Word when the enemy has attacked them with sickness is truth, they need to be taught what it means to be a true believer.... that there is true Biblical prosperity in every area of their life for those whom decide to follow God in all their ways. (Ps 112)

    What we are seeing now is the result of generations of people being taught wrong, and now refuse to accept truth as right teaching, because of all of the religious head hunters (sent by the enemy, because of their hardened hearts) who are lying on the ones who are preaching the truth.

    So in all honesty... if a person is preaching the truth of the uncompromised Word of God... there is persecution by the world and the rest of the church. But It's not seen as that because to many people focus on the flesh and outward persecution, all the people "dying" as martyrs. How do dead people get the message of the cross to others? It's a false sense of humility if that's all we think of as persecution and tribulation (Colossians 2: 18-23)

    Which poses another issue... how many people think they are called to minister to others and believe that they have to suffer physically and be in lack or discomfort, in order to do so. That is another lie of the enemy, that missionaries and people have swallowed for way to long. If a person is sick and run down, they cannot get the Word out... it's a lie from the enemy and no one wants to expose it.

    That's what people should be doing... exposing the lies of the enemy and be out doing the masters business, so that many people will turn and follow Christ. Pastors are gifts to the church, but there are a lot of denominations who have put restrictions on the pastors and the church, because the attitude of their heart is not right, it's all about the numbers and money for their own pockets, not money to minister and bring others to Christ. There has to be a balance. People being taught to be givers and receivers. For God desires to fully take care of all their needs. Pastors are to be equipping their members for going out and doing what God has called them to do.... and they should be appreciated and treated like God wanted the priests taken care of in the old testament.

    The power of the Word is not being preached in many churches, and because many are preaching in the flesh... they are preaching deadness instead of life.... the Spirit quickens and is life, and will bring those to Himself if He is allowed to flow. But we have to learn what He desires and what repels Him.

    Andre Smit, bobinfaith and Fish Catcher Jim says Amen and like this.
  6. It's not the prayer FOR persecution, but a by product OF faithful living. If you follow God unwaveringly, you will suffer persecution.

    2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV)
    Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. ​

    The lack of persecution leads to the fact that the church isn't where it should be, and that is the prayer. Indeed, the west is very comfortable, going through the ritual motions of Sunday morning, Sunday night, Tuesday soul-winning, Wednesday teaching, Friday prayer... rinse and repeat. The Holy Spirit doesn't want rituals, He wants responses to His prompting, which will cause society to react in repentance or hatred. That's how I read it.
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  7. Dear Cturtle;

    You ask a great question and thank you for your encouraging post.

    This has been going on for centuries. In my experience I get up at 4am and in my time with God go into prayer for all Pastors. Every time a Pastor I know steps down, I immediately reach out to them as a brother in Christ. These are some of the reasons Pastors don't change;

    1. They thought it was their calling to Shepherd people but confess this is not for them. They didn't realize this wore them down to the point of withdrawing from teaching, preaching, and training. They never developed a relationship with their flock so the human life and faith problems was too much and led them to quit.

    2. They didn't feel accountable to anyone and developed their personal doctrine and opinions sprinkled in the Bible thus compromising the discipleship of a Christian's growth.

    3. They spent too much time sweeping the church and washing the windows instead of teaching about a believer's relationship and growth with Christ.

    My personal prayer is incessant with Jesus, and my Bible study time is constantly seeking to hear what God is saying to me. My wife is my wife but don't want to burden her with church challenges. Its not fair to her. I meet daily and weekly with other Pastors who are also my friends, as we mentor and hold each other accountable. I spend time with my teachers at seminary who are also my friends.

    I visit in pairs with my entire church family week after week. We go through our share of trials of faith, obedience and sin, personality conflicts, family relationships that break down. But constant prayer, Bible study, inviting other non-believers or Christians seeking a new church, and especially transparent communication has helped us follow what the Bible teaches us in resolving conflict, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. When we get past these storms it strengthens our relationships as a body. We will celebrate our 6th anniversary on September 4th and our developing relationships makes our fellowship sweeter.

    Then when I have a few moments to have fun, I can spend time at Christian Forum Site and learn what my church family teaches and shares here. In other words, I don't spend time reading contentious posts, just enjoying good pure fellowship and testimonies.

    Lets not limit God.

    We're still going to have our mistakes, repent, learn and grow up in our faith walk and worship in church. It is what it is but this is where our relationship with God, living the way Jesus lived and following His teachings will help our pastors, who have been truly called to pastoral ministry, to teach us, preach us, train us and most of all love and serve.

    God bless you, Cturtle.
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  8. I am not by any means praying that we should all suffer persecution. The point I am and was trying to make is as Bob also stated, that we have everything to be grateful for. We are blessed in the sense that we have incomes. We are free to attend Church services whenever we feel like it. We are free to get together to worship or to study the Bible. We are free to own the Bible! I hate to see people suffer, so the last thing I would wish or pray for is for people to suffer in any way, it just saddens me to see that we who have everything at our disposal are so complacent. We who should be shouting out His praises for everything He has blessed us with sit in a service and we pray for it to be over because we have other things to do. I know that there are many Christians in the "west" who are passionate about their faith and who are living it out and touching the lives of others. I know there are many Pastors in the "west" who preach the truth and who are persecuted in a different kind of way. It just saddens me to see that we who have all these blessings take them for granted while others literally risk their lives just to read the Word of God. I pray for all the Churches. I pray that God will awaken all of us. I pray that the Church will once again be as it was when people looked at it and asked: who are those people that love each other and care for each other and look after each other and pray for each other. I pray that the Church will fulfill the vision that Jesus had for us and that is that we would love one another as He loves us. I do believe however that for us to reach such a point we will need to change our mindset and not hold so dear all our comforts. How many of those filling our pews, including all of us, would sell everything we had, give it to the poor and follow Jesus? For many of these converts living under these circumstances, Jesus is absolutely all that they have. Who do you think is more blessed?

    I truly do enjoy reading all the threads and learning from the different perspectives and points of view. Through the responses I can feel the love of and for Christ flowing through the words and thoughts and I just want to thank each and everyone for their input and for their wisdom. May God bless you all.
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  9. When I was visiting new church's trying to see where I belong I noticed there are a great deal of preachers who are not preaching the bible in it's entire truth. None of the church's I visited really touched upon repentance, conviction, etc. I heard a lot of "God is going to bless you" messages. A lot of preachers were also using all this visual aid, and in my opinion, it was a distraction. The messages were lacking and it was more about the presentation. I am not slamming any of these preachers. Their churches were full.
    What I am saying is that those churches were not for me. They seem to lack a lot of substance and I need a much deeper relationship, growth, and far more substance. I like preachers who preach as teachers / theologian style. They break it down scripture by scripture and you get a more true revelation. Again, this is what I was seeing and what I personally want in a church.

    I did find a church just like what I want. My new pastor preachers line by line out of the scriptures and it can take months to a year to get through one book in the bible. But when you leave a service it's as if you were there in that bible time and you have a clear understanding. I love it.
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  10. Greetings,
    In all honesty how long did you attend these churches?
    I mean it is easy to walk into a church and hear a message or a few and make a judgment call on that.

    However were they teaching from an ongoing message?
    Some of our Pastors messages go for weeks before they change topics.

    Sometimes what we want and what God Wants are two different things.

    Our main Pastor is a Blessed Gift From God to us but a few years ago you could not pay me to sit under his teachings.

    See I listened to what God was saying and began to listen. This Pastor in which I would have walked by time after time has through the Grace of God brought more changes in my life then I ever would have thought.

    As scripture says.....Proverbs 3:5-6
    5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
    and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him,
    and he shall direct thy paths.

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  11. I visited each church several times. I stayed in one church as a visitor for over a year. I am a very loyal person. I will stay until I know I do not belong there. I will know in my spirit. There is no doubt God directed me to where I am today. I have joined this church and I know in my spirit it's home for me.

    The church I was originally a member of years ago that governed over my sons christian school was not an interest to me in any way at first. I did not want to be apart of that church. I started visiting it and before long the pastor and his family became my best friends. The original pastor who left to become a missionary in India became my friend and a blessing. I never wanted to be at this church because I was so sure I did not like this original pastor. I visited for a year before I joined. One day I heard in my spirit it was time and I did. I stayed there until the church split. I completely understand what you are saying.
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