Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV): Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is it OK to be Gay and Christian?

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 10:42 AM EDT
J. Lee Grady Newsletters - Fire In My Bones

Charismatic pastor Jim Swilley’s announcement that he is gay opened the door wider for a subtle delusion. Don’t believe it.

Many people were shell-shocked last week when Atlanta pastor Jim Swilley stood in front of his congregation, Church in the Now in Conyers, Ga., and announced that he is gay. The 52-year-old minister was abruptly removed from his position in the International Communion of Charismatic Churches—a network in which he served as an overseer. Some of Swilley’s members left his church, others stayed, and countless others are now scratching their heads.

We Americans are lost in a moral fog. Two major Protestant denominations (the Episcopal Church USA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) have voted to ordain gay clergy. Meanwhile, gayness is celebrated in our media, and anyone who refuses to bow to this idol is painted as intolerant and homophobic.

“The sins we avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone and speak the truth in love.”

Christians who still believe homosexuality is incompatible with biblical faith feel painted into a corner. If we defend Christian morality, and even if we speak with compassion to those who may struggle with same-sex attraction, we are accused of hate speech or branded as judgmental. So we tiptoe through the minefield of political correctness—and keep our mouths shut.

Sorry, but timidity on this issue is not acceptable. The sins we avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone and speak the truth in love. Here are four truths that should factor into any discussion on this topic:

1. Everyone is born with issues. King David wrote: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB). David acknowledged that he had an inborn sin nature. This is true for all of us!

Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that some people are born homosexuals and therefore they have no hope of altering their orientation. But this is a lame argument since we all are born with a propensity toward certain sins. This is the human condition: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Just because you are born with an inclination toward adultery, alcoholism, shoplifting or pride doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.

2. Christ offers forgiveness and sexual healing. The more strident voices in the gay community hate when Christians speak about homosexuals being healed or reformed. They insist that if you are gay, you must stay that way. They choose to ignore the fact that thousands of people have left homosexuality after coming to faith in Christ.

My friend Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, came out of the gay lifestyle many years ago and now has a great marriage with his wife, Leslie, plus two beautiful children. The ministry he leads has helped countless people—including many Christian “strugglers”—find emotional freedom. Some of them experienced same-sex feelings from childhood; others developed these feelings because they were sexually molested or because of dysfunction in their families.

Whatever the cause of sexual brokenness, the gospel has always provided the solution. It was true for people in the Corinthian church, to whom Paul wrote: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, emphasis added).

3. Discipleship requires self-denial. In his announcement to his church last week, Jim Swilley said he decided to come out as gay because he was tired of pretending. I’ve talked with others who told me they felt they were being “dishonest” by ignoring their gay feelings. They said they felt free when they accepted “who they really are” and got involved in gay relationships.

For a Christian, that’s a cop out. The essence of our walk with Christ involves denial. Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). Jesus was not asking us to pretend we don’t have problems—He calls us to bring all of those problems into His light through repentance. But the Holy Spirit gives us the power to deny sinful desires. That quality of self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 6:22-23).

4. Homosexuality is not a protected category of sin. Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that if you are gay, then it’s fine to go out and have all the sex you want. They ignore biblical commandments against homosexuality (usually by saying that Old Testament law doesn’t apply today); meanwhile they advocate gay marriage even though most gay men are rarely monogamous. The message is clear: If you have same-sex desires, just go ahead and indulge because that’s how you were created.

This is what the Bible calls licentiousness—which means “lacking legal or moral restraints, especially sexual restraints; disregarding rules.” Actually, the Bible lumps homosexuality in with every other form of sexual sin—and says God will punish those who engage in it. After Paul warns about every form of immorality, he says: “So, he who rejects [these rules] is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:8).

Regardless of how loudly the world trumpets its hedonistic agenda—and no matter how many backslidden preachers dance to the tune—God has the final say on this matter.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady His most recent book is The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale (Chosen). For more information about Exodus International, go to exodusinternational.org.

Read more: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/fire-in-my-bones/29512-is-it-ok-to-be-gay-and-christian#readmore#ixzz14HCVvG9Y

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 32 (Wednesday 8 September) - Waking Up The GIANTS!

One can almost imagine the fear in Satan as he thinks of the Church's unmeasured potentials. "Let the Church sleep! If she wakes up, she will SHAKE the world!" so the saying goes. Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today? There is more evidence of religious sensation before our eyes than evidence of spiritual regeneration and supernatural phenomenon! Not many Christians today can forget the fact that the devil goes about as a roaring lion, but we seem to have lost sight of the fact that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has defeated the "roaring lion" and therefore, every anointed Samson or Gideon or church can have victory over the "lion of hell". Though wicked men are doing wicked things, God's promise to us is that "the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). (Leonard Ravenhill)
Reflection: Isa 52:1-12. Seek God to remove every 'cobweb', dust that has dulled your spirit. Shake loose every self denial, delusion and deception. Ask Him to cleanse and awaken your spirit man.

Prayer Points
■ Implore Him to awaken the Body of Christ to her true spiritual state with deep conviction and repentance to come forth. Renounce and repent of our complacency, self sufficiency, self indulgence, compromise, carnality, etc.

■ Restoring passion and hunger to spend time with Him and His Word in the Body of Christ. Believers to be enlightened to His hope and calling to be His salt and light.

■ Prayer Cells springing forth in all realms of influence, reaching out and establishing strong discipleship in schools, colleges, housing estates, marketplace, etc.

■ Decree an open highway and ask God to raise up His standard over our Church and nation to thwart the plans of the evil one so that His GIANTS will ARISE and SHINE in the days of His power! Declare our GOD REIGNS over Malaysia

What do You Say to This?

Church plans Quran-burning event
July 30, 2010 | By Lauren Russell, CNN

In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

Muslims and many other Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.

The church launched a YouTube channel to disseminate its messages.

"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?" Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.

"No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the monthlong fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.

"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said in the statement.

Dove's Facebook page, set up for the September event, has more than 1,600 fans.

"Eternal fire is the only destination the Quran can lead people to, so we want to put the Quran in it's [sic] place -- the fire!" the page says.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 31 (Tuesday 7 September) - 4/14 Window

There's an urgent global appeal to consider the strategic importance and potential of the 1.2 billion children and youths in the 4/14 Window (children aged from 4 years to 14 years). As a national church, we need to open our hearts and minds to the idea of reaching and raising up a new generation from within this vast group - a generation that can experience personal transformation and can be mobilised as agents for transformation throughout the world. The vision and hope is to maximise their transformational impact while they are young, and to mobilise them for continuous impact for the rest of their lives. It is imperative that we see children and young people as a crucial, strategic force, capable of transforming the nation and the world. May our hearts be opened to embrace this 4/14 Window and release this generation into the full potential God has for them. (Luis Bush)

Reflection: Lam 2:19, Matt 18:14. Urgently ask the Lord to move our hearts to see this generation through His eyes and pray for them. Ask the Lord how else you can avail yourself to build this group?

Prayer Points
■ Ask God to release a revelation of His heart upon His church, to shake us, break us, and change us with what He sees, feels and hears in regards to children.

■ Raising workers, Sunday School teachers who understand the needs, nature and potential of this emerging generation to disciple and equip them to transform their schools, community and nation.

■ Thank the Lord for the national children prayer movement. Pray that in each local church, God will raise up prayer leaders who are equipped to teach and empower children and youths to pray.

■ God to protect and preserve this generation and their destiny, to mould them to be His prophetic generation with radical commitment and excellence in character to be His future leaders to shape the destiny of nations

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 30 (Monday 6 September) - Unity and Diversity

They would meet for Bible study once a week, studying the Word of God and singing hymns, united through the Holy Spirit in one faith and under one Lord. When they came across difficult passages in their studies that divide their respective denominations, they would maintain love, patience and care for one another. Yet come Sunday, their differences will be marked in their Catholic, charismatic, Brethren, Anglican, Methodist churches. Some raise hands and speak in tongues, while others sing hymns and ladies cover their heads in reverence. Nevertheless these brothers and sisters believe that "There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:5). Seeking unity in the things that unite them, they concentrate on the Word, prayer and in evangelism, the transformation of the nation believing in the promise that one day "the Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name." Zech 14 : 9

Reflection: Eph 4:3-5, Ps 133. Thank the Lord for the unique calling and strength in all denominations. How awesome when different parts of the body with all generations come together in unity! The enemy shudders!

Prayer Points
■ Ask the Lord to forgive us of our pride and arrogance; to seek to celebrate each other's giftings and doctrinal distinctives.

■ Churches will promote activities, conferences that will unite the various denominations in prayer, worship, the Word, evangelism among all the generations, young and old. A spirit of unity and cooperation in sharing and releasing resources with common vision towards transformation of society, community and nation.

■ One united VOICE, with clear purpose to face the authorities on issues that are affecting the Body of Christ.

■ Bless all denomination heads and pray for one united prayer movement to come forth

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 29 (Sunday 5 September) - Youths in Sabah & Sarawak

The authorities have made great concerted effort to actively target the younger generation in Islamising the native people, the 'Bumiputeras' of East Malaysia. The Islamic religious authorities have focused their activities on longhouses by for example, setting up hostels or "asrama" where the warden and staff are Muslims who deliberately influence the students living there towards Islamic values and way of life.

This has caused deep concern as the majority of the Christian population in Malaysia are from Sabah and Sarawak. The urgency is to bring awareness of the strategies used against our younger generation and to educate our youths on the basic foundation of their faith so that they are steadfast and always abounding in the ways of the Lord.

Reflection: Col 2:6-12. To 'continue to live in Him' – what does this mean to you? Is this the reality in your walk with the Lord?

Prayer Points
■ Thank the Lord for preserving Sabah and Sarawak. Continue to ask the Lord to protect our youths in these states from all schemes to influence and indoctrinate them with wrong values.

■ Indigenous pastors and leaders in the rural areas to be empowered, awakened and alerted on the schemes of the enemy. They will be vigilant to warn, disciple and strengthen the youths. For strong discipleship and mentoring in the interior churches.

■ Releasing of finances and resources to establish Bible schools, training centres, Christian schools and kindergartens so that the younger generation's faith will be preserved and strengthened.

■ Raising up more pastors and leaders to empower churches in the interior. More youths will heed the call of God to be church planters; evangelists, pastors and teachers.

■ Greater partnership and united effort between the Peninsular and East Malaysian churches to formulate mission strategies that will reach the lost