Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A thousand fires coming to New York City?

When I was a kid, I read about David Wilkerson who took to Gospel to the gangs of New York. I even saw the movie "The Cross and the Switchblade" that was made about him. Many know about that, but most don't know what happened in his church just eight years ago.

In the fall of 2001, Pastor David Wilkerson, of Times Square Church in New York City, was warned by God that a calamity was coming. For six weeks they felt an intense burden and enormous heaviness. A critical need for intercession was so profound that Pastor Wilkerson canceled everything on the church calendar – mission's conferences, youth events and every guest speaker.

For six weeks, there wasn't a sermon. Instead, there was intercession for our nation with weeping and repentance. They knew something was coming and that something was bad. And that something was soon. So they prayed. And prayed … and prayed.

Then Wilkerson felt God telling him something that seemed rather bizarre. He felt God telling him to make sandwiches – lots of sandwiches. What were they for? Who would eat them? That part wasn't clear, but his church did what they believed God was telling them anyway.

And on the 10th of September they stayed up all night making hundreds and hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. By morning they had about 2,000 sandwiches. At 8:46 a.m. the first plane hit the World Trade Center and Times Square Church was ready to feed and minister to rescue workers and victims of our nation's worst attack.

Making sandwiches all night is a strange thing to do. If someone told me to stay up all night making sandwiches, I'd probably tell them they were crazy. But if David Wilkerson says he's heard something from God today, I think we'd be crazy not to listen.

He now says he feels the same thing he felt leading up to the attack by radical Islam. In an "URGENT MESSAGE" dated March 7, 2009, Wilkerson said:


For 10 years I have been warning about It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires – such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting – including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God's wrath. In Psalm 11 it is written:

… God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations.

The prophet Jeremiah pleaded with wicked Israel, "God is fashioning a calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh, turn back each of you from your evil way, and reform your ways and deeds. But they will say, It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart" (Jeremiah 18:11-12).

In Psalm 11:6, David warns, "Upon the wicked he will rain snares (coals of fire) … fire … burning wind … will be the portion of their cup." Why? David answered, "Because the Lord is righteous" (v. 7). This is a righteous judgment – just as in the judgments of Sodom and in Noah's generation.


First, I give you a practical word I received for my own direction. If possible lay in store a 30-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials. In major cities, grocery stores are emptied in an hour at the sign of an impending disaster.

… I will behold our Lord on his throne, with his eye of tender, loving kindness watching over every step I take – trusting that he will deliver his people even through floods, fires, calamities, tests, trials of all kinds.

Note: I do not know when these things will come to pass, but I know it is not far off. I have unburdened my soul to you. Do with the message as you choose.

Warren Buffett has said that our economy has "fallen off a cliff." With the election of the most pro-abortion president (and Congress) in history, there's no question that we deserve God's judgment.

Just yesterday, Barack Obama signed an executive order to use children for spare parts. So much for defending the "least of these," as he so often quoted during his campaign. Cannibalizing the weak to help the strong. And by the way, don't believe everything you hear in the news – Obama didn't say he was against cloning. He said he was against "reproductive" cloning. Killing a new life after cloning one is another matter entirely: the cowardice of Obama's "Brave New World."

The bottom line is that we are economically and morally bankrupt. And it's reported that Iran now has all they need to build nukes.

So, when the guy who made the 2,000 sandwiches on Sept. 10 warns us: "AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN,"I think we would do well to heed it. And follow the words Wilkerson quotes from the prophet Jeremiah and "turn back each of you from your evil way, and reform your ways and deeds."

Ps Victor J. Benjamin
Fountain of Grace Church

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant!

The coming evangelical collapse

An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.

By Michael Spencer

from the March 10, 2009 edition

Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

Why is this going to happen?

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

7. The money will dry up.

What will be left?

•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success – resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.

•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

•A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.

•The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.

•Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.

•Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.

•Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?

•Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before – a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.

Is all of this a bad thing?

Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?

Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.

Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.

The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.

Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.

Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.

Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.

The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.

Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."

We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.

We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.

I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?

• Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as "a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality." This essay is adapted from a series on his blog, InternetMonk.com

Our obedience can open the windows of heaven

What Every Pastor Needs to Know About Giving
Robert Morris Ministry Leadership - Finance

Five secrets that will—gasp!—have you unapologetically preaching on giving.

For many pastors, giving the annual "stewardship" message ranks up there with getting a root canal. Why the dread over dollars and biblical sense? Because many of us fear that people will misjudge our motives or accuse us of focusing more on money than ministry. We don't want to be clumped with those melodramatic televangelists always clambering for donations.

The truth is, none of us should apologize for preaching on giving. Think about it: We don't apologize when we preach on marriage. We don't apologize when we preach on faith, prayer, studying Scripture or any other spiritual discipline. We address these subjects because, as pastors, we have a desire to help people and a mandate from God to equip the saints. We preach these things because we believe people will have a more joyful and abundant life if they practice them.

It's the same with giving. Giving is not the key to financial prosperity, it's the key to an abundant life. Giving affects our hearts. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (NKJV). Our hearts follow our treasures—not the other way around. When you invest in a stock, you check the newspaper or Internet to see how it's doing. Since part of your treasure is there, so is part of your heart. Likewise, as a shepherd, if you want your sheep to have a heart for the kingdom, let them start investing in it!

Satan, of course, tries to prevent this and targets pastors with a dose of deception. You're preaching on giving because you want to build a bigger building, he tells us. You need to hire another staff member or fund another ministry, and you're just manipulating the people. To combat these lies, I've learned to address the enemy head-on in my money messages. I emphatically state to the congregation that I don't have an ulterior motive, and that I genuinely want to help them discover the joy and freedom I've found from having a selfish heart turned into a generous one. By being upfront and transparent, they can sense that my motive is pure.

They also know this because I live what I preach. God has blessed our church tremendously. By the end of our first year, we had paid off the $1.4 million for our first 14 acres—in cash. During the next three years, we made two multimillion-dollar expansions, again completely with cash. We've recently purchased 190 acres and are now master planning. God's grace has allowed us to do these things, but in the process I believe He's revealed to us five crucial truths that can destroy the lies of the enemy. As a pastor, you can be free from the stigma surrounding money and, in turn, spark an entirely new perspective on giving in your congregation.

1. Become a joyful giver.

My wife and I love to give. By God's grace we've been able to give away several vehicles and even a home to families who needed those things. When I preach on giving, it doesn't come across as a minister trying to raise funds for his projects. I share as a believer whose life has been completely changed by this revelation. I talk about God's blessing and provision in my life. Not just financial miracles, though they are included. I talk about God's blessings and rewards in my spiritual walk, about breakthroughs in my marriage and family.

Let's face it, many pastors don't preach on giving because they don't have any personal illustrations. I know some who don't tithe because they believe their tithes are their time. They feel they don't get paid adequately—and they don't! But where does blessing and provision come from? Your income is not set by a board but by God. And you determine the size of the instrument He uses to dish it out to you. "For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).

If these words are more condemning than liberating, understand that it's not too late. You can begin to relearn what true giving is. Study God's Word on the subject. Read some books on it. Talk to a friend who has victory in this area. Though most of us have seen God's supernatural provision at times in our lives, we can't expect to help others in this area if we remain in bondage. Press in to gain freedom. Trust God, step out in faith and begin to give for the pure joy of it.

2. Give to give.

Much of the current preaching on giving turns my stomach. At its core is this message: Give to get. How many times have you heard someone summon the checkbooks with a pre-offering misinterpretation of Luke 6:38: "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom"? When you back up a little in this chapter, you find Jesus saying, "Give to everyone who asks of you ..." (v. 30) and "Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return ..." (v. 35). Lend, hoping for nothing in return. That sounds a lot like giving!

Luke 6:38 is a verse about giving, not about getting. Yes, God loves and rewards a cheerful giver, but that's not our motive for giving. We should give because we want to see God's kingdom advance on the earth, because we want to truly help people—and not out of a selfish motive. The current "give to get" message appeals to the selfish nature of our old selves that we are told to "put off" (Eph. 4:22) and "reckon ... dead." (Rom. 6:11). God wants us to get the revelation of giving, not of getting. Luke 6:38 is the reward for giving, but it's not the motive. When you immerse it with the gospel message of denying ourselves, it is the reward for giving from our hearts.

3. Recognize the gift of giving.

Romans 12 clearly lists giving as one of the seven spiritual gifts mentioned. Isn't it possible, then, that one out of every seven believers has this gift? Yet how many of us know how to recognize this gift and develop it in people? Maybe the real question is, How many of us even recognize it as spiritual?

Despite knowing the Scriptures, we often view giving as a predominantly financial matter rather than an equally spiritual one. It's time to turn that around in your congregation. Can you spot those in your church who have the gift of giving? I don't know what anyone in our church gives, but I can spot the givers, because in the same way that I know about teaching, serving or leading, I know about giving.

It's amazing how we will train the teachers in our church, but we have no training for someone with the gift of giving. We help the leaders develop their leadership gifts, and we put the servants to work, but we don't seem to know much about this spiritual gift or have any resources to help these people. They need to know the gift God has given them is important and spiritual. And who is better able to help mature them in their gift than their pastor?

4. Put God first.

The most important part of the tithe is not that it's 10 percent of our income, but that it's the first 10 percent. God didn't tell Israel to conquer all of the promised land and then give Him one city. He told the people to give Him all of the silver and the gold from Jericho. Why? Because it was the first one, and the rest would be blessed if they gave the first one. God didn't tell Abraham to have 10 sons and then give Him one. He wanted the first one!

The reason God accepted Abel's offering and not Cain's was because Abel gave the firstborn, but Cain didn't give the firstfruits. Cain brought an offering in the process of time. God accepts only the first! It takes faith to give the first one, yet God said that if we would, He would bless the rest. In biblical times, if an animal was unclean, a clean one (a lamb) had to be sacrificed for it to be redeemed. Jesus was the firstborn clean Lamb of God, sacrificed for all of us born unclean so we could be redeemed.

This is what the tithe does. When we give our firstfruits to God, the rest of our fruits (money) are redeemed. Doesn't this bring tithing to life? Our congregations need to hear this revelation so they won't continue to see tithing as law. The truth is, tithing was a principle that was in Scripture hundreds of years before the law. It is simply the principle of putting God first in our lives. When every pastor catches this revelation and preaches on giving with sincerity and a burning passion from God to break the yoke of the enemy upon His sheep, we'll see the windows of heaven open over us. Not so we can drive nicer cars or wear nicer clothes, but so we can send missionaries, build churches, support pastors and preach the gospel to a hurting world.

5. Operate your church's finances according to biblical principles.

Every pastor's finances should be a model of biblical stewardship principles. We should live below our means, save and give generously to the kingdom. We've operated the finances at Gateway Church this way, and I believe God has blessed us accordingly. As a young church, we began giving 10 percent to missions and saving 10 percent. After a few years, we increased our missions giving to 15 percent. God has opened up the windows of heaven over us because we have put Him first in our finances.

As pastors, we can't preach on tithing and stewardship yet operate our personal funds and those of our churches by different standards. We must practice what we preach. We can no longer shy away from learning, living and teaching biblical principles of financial stewardship. God's Word is true! Remember, our obedience can open the windows of heaven.

Robert Morris is the senior pastor of Gateway Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and best-selling author of several books, including The Blessed Life. In only six years, his church has grown to more than 12,000 active members and has paid cash for several multimillion-dollar expansions.

High location allowances?

Expatriates prefer KL, George Town
Published: Wednesday March 11, 2009 MYT 5:00:00 PM

SINGAPORE: The Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown are among the top 10 locations in Asia where Europeans prefer to work and live in, according to a latest international location ratings survey.

Kuala Lumpur was ranked ninth and Georgetown 10th, after Singapore, Kobe, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Macau, Seoul and Taipei, said ECA International, an agency that develops and provides solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world, in its annual Location Ratings Survey.

The survey rates living standards in more than 400 locations globally, according to categories including climate, air quality, health services, housing and utilities, isolation, social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure, personal safety and political tensions.

Its overall ratings normally would be used by international human resources departments to establish allowances which compensate expatriate staff for the difficulties of adapting to living in their assignment location.

Both Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown were also ranked ninth in Asia for Asians to live in, the survey said, adding that in the world's rankings, they took 61st and 64th spots, respectively.

In that same global category, Singapore took first placing, followed by Kobe (3), Yokohama (4), Tokyo (6), Hong Kong (11), Taipei (56), Macau (56) and Bangkok (63).

"These rankings reveal a large gulf in the quality of living among Asian locations," said ECA International Regional Director Asia Lee Quane.

He said, while there were a handful of locations in Asia which offered Asian assignees a good standard of living, the majority of locations would be challenging in some shape or form and therefore, warranting high location allowances.

The survey also said Baghdad remained the least favourable location to live in, followed by Kabul, Karachi and Port-au-Prince.

"A lack of suitable facilities for expatriates, along with high personal security risk, makes these locations the least desirable," the survey said. - Bernama

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


11 March 2009

Dear Prayer Partners,

1. TQ for your prayers. I am leaving again to Klang Valley to teach in the Bible College there. I will be finishing the courses on Pre-marital Counseling and Ezra-Nehemiah (the 7th to 12th session, having finished the 1st to 6th session during the trip in Feb).

2. I will also be preaching in several churches during that time. Covet your prayers as I preach in different denominations (EFC, AG, Baptist, Independent). Pray that the HS will challenge them to obey and serve the Lord even during this time of economic downturn.

3. Pray for my physical health. I went for a health screening test last month and the doctors said that I was 10 kg over weight, based on my BMI. My blood pressure was above normal (170 plus! Suppose to be below 130) and in the dangerous level. And I was experiencing some chest pain for some time!

4. So now I have to watch my diet until I bring it back to normal. I have also enrolled in a weight loss management to fight/burn the stubborn fats around the vital organs. God willing, I hope to lose about 6-8 kg over the next 3 months.

4. Jessie went on this program last year and lost about 7-8 kg over a 3 months period. She is currently maintaing her ideal weight now. I will keep you posted about my battle with the bulge as a form of accountability.

5. Upon hearing about my situation, one of our goddaughters is “forcing” me to go for the threadmill test. She is going to tow me to the clinic so that we know how serious the problem is. She refused to let me wiggle out from this – so I am cornered!

6. Pray for me as after March’s teaching, I will be going to Kuching, Sarawak in April to teach and preach there. They have already lined up back to back meetings for me. Then I will have to rush back to Singapore to do part of my doctorate assignments due in mid-May.

7. Pray for me as the ministry grows and many doors of opportunities are being opened. I wished I had listened and obeyed the Lord more closely and fully. I should have developed and prepared more teaching materials in the past.

8. There are many requests to teach the pastors and churches but I am unable to accept all of them because I do not have enough time to prepare them. I trust that you will learn from my mistakes (and laziness!) – and do not miss the opportunity to bless the Body of Christ.

9. And even now I am still trying to learn Mandarin as the windows are being opened to minister to them. I believed the Lord had spoken to me 20 over years ago to learn faster so that I can preach in it. But unfortunately I have yet to do so – and thus miss the golden opportunity to strengthen that part of the Body.

10. In addition, pray that the Lord will continue to raise up more regular financial supporters. Some of our supporters are being affected with the downturn and ministry expenses have grown. But the Lord is always faithful.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Cor 4:8-9).

Monday, March 9, 2009

False assumptions about marriage

Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Marriage
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mitch Temple's book, The Marriage Turnaround: How Thinking Differently about Your Relationship Can Change Everything, (Moody Publishers, 2009).

Do you think your marriage should be making you happy? Are you trying to change your spouse? You may be carrying around a lot of marriage myths like these in your mind without even realizing it.

Our culture is full of commonly held false assumptions about marriage. If you believe them without examining them, they'll affect your marriage in ways that can be dangerous. But if you change your false beliefs about marriage to reflect biblical truth, you'll change your marriage for the better.

Here are some of the marriage myths you can overcome:

"The grass is greener on the other side of the fence." Although other men may seem better than your husband or other women may seem more appealing than your wife, everyone is human. Any other person you may choose to leave your marriage for will end up being just as flawed as your spouse. You're far better off using your time and energy to work on your existing marriage than leaving -- causing yourself and others deep pain the process -- only to see new problems spring up in a new relationship.

"Attitudes don't really count." Your attitudes determine your feelings and behaviors, so they actually affect your marriage profoundly. If you think negatively, you're likely to feel badly about your marriage and act in bad ways toward your spouse. But if you think positively, you'll often feel good about your marriage and choose good actions that will benefit your relationship. If your attitudes are on the right track, then the rest of your life -- including your marriage -- will be, too. So choose a hopeful attitude about your spouse and your marriage, every day. That will motivate you to make the positive choices that will improve your marriage.

"I need to change my spouse." No matter how much you'd like to change your spouse, you don't have the power to change another person. So instead of wasting your time and energy trying to change your spouse, ask God to help you understand, accept, and appreciate your spouse more. Get to know your spouse's unique personality better. When you're frustrated by one of your spouse's behaviors, pray about it and trust God -- the only One who can change your spouse -- to work in your spouse's life. If you want to change your marriage, focus on making changes in your own behavior, which will then change the dynamic of your relationship for the better and possibly inspire your spouse to change his or her own behavior.

Keep in mind that there are some aspects of your spouse that will remain the same, such as: gender, different communication styles, genetic influences, life history, and personality. Do all you can to show your mate that you accept him or her. Your unconditional love may motivate your spouse to change for the better (in ways that he or she can) at the right time and in the right ways.

"I didn't marry my soul mate." Marriage isn't a matter of finding the only person in the entire world you should marry or despairing that you've missed out if you haven't found that magical person. The truth is that you could have married any number of people and had your marriage would out just fine. Rather than worrying about finding a soul mate, focus on becoming one. Over time in your marriage, you and your spouse can become each other's soul mates by growing closer to God and each other.

An important part of building a soul mate relationship is simply showing up -- physically and emotionally -- no matter how hurt or hopeless you might happen to feel at a particular time. Also remember to keep your expectations of each other realistic. Your spouse is a real person who can't possibly measure up to a mythical idea of an ideal soul mate. Focus on your spouse as he or she actually is, and make up your mind to discover your soul mate -- and become one.

"My needs come first." You know you have a consumer attitude toward your marriage when you catch yourself thinking or saying things like,

* "What am I getting out of this marriage, anyway?"
* "I deserve better" or
* "What's in this for me?"

But the more you focus on getting your own needs met in your marriage, the less likely that is to happen because your attitude will undermine your relationship with your spouse and make him or her less likely to want to meet your needs.

Research has shown that the marriages that work best are those in which both spouses decide every day to make sacrifices for the good of the other. Ask God to help you overcome your selfish nature and develop a desire to serve your spouse daily. Pray for the compassion and empathy you need for your spouse. Be willing to help your mate whenever he or she needs it -- no matter how inconvenient it will be for you to help. Remember that, ultimately, it's God who meets your needs. Sometimes He just uses your spouse to do so. Whenever you're concerned that one of your needs isn't being met, pray about it and trust God to help you.

"Happiness is everything." There's simply no such thing as a happy pill you can take for your marriage. Sometimes you and your spouse will go through circumstances that make you feel happy, but sometimes you'll encounter challenges that will make you feel unhappy. Just as your circumstances will constantly change, so will your feelings. So decide to base your marriage decisions on something much more reliable than your feelings -- base them on timeless biblical truth. If you live by God's truths revealed in the Bible, you'll discover that right living -- doing the right thing, even when it doesn't make you happy -- will actually lead to more happiness in the long run because you'll be making decisions that protect you from lots of unnecessary pain.

So instead of spending your energy pursuing things that create happiness, direct your energy toward pursuing God above all else, and happiness will naturally come into your life. Rather than expecting your spouse to make you happy (which is futile), focus on serving your spouse, and enjoy the improvements that will bring to your marriage.

Be sure to forgive your spouse every time he or she hurts or offends you. Withholding forgiveness will prevent you from experiencing happiness in your life. Rely on God's help throughout the forgiveness process. When you decide to follow His call to forgive despite your negative feelings toward your spouse, God will give you His peace that you never could have experienced otherwise.

"It's okay to be rude -- we're married!" Although you may feel so comfortable around your spouse that you think anything goes in your relationship, being rude will only harm your marriage. Marriage doesn't give you a license to mistreat each other. Take your little annoying habits seriously because they may be big deal to your spouse. Ask God to help you stop whatever habits bother your spouse, from putting your feet on the furniture at home to making sarcastic comments about him or her in public.

Be patient while your spouse tries to change his or her own annoying habits. Recognize the significant effect that rude behavior in your marriage has not just on the two of you, but also on others in your lives, like your children. Do all you can to treat your spouse the way you would like your spouse to treat you.

"I shouldn't have to ask." Your spouse can't read your mind, so he or she doesn't automatically know what you need. If you need something from your spouse, you usually do have to ask for it -- and sometimes you have to ask several times until your spouse fully listens and understands.

Pray about your need first; then ask your spouse. Make suggestions instead of demands. Be flexible and don't push for a decision until he or she is ready.

When your spouse brings a request to you, don't get irritated or defensive. Instead, be thankful that your spouse cares enough to work on your relationship. Listen carefully, giving your spouse your full attention and refraining from making judgments or drawing conclusions until he or she is finished speaking. Seriously consider what your spouse is asking. Think and pray about it. Ask questions to clarify what your spouse needs. Remember that God calls you to put other's needs above your own.

"Conflict is bad." Conflict can be disruptive and scary, but like a good thunderstorm, it can clear the air. If you and your spouse use conflict constructively, it can help you each solve problems in your marriage and grow as people in the process. The key to effective conflict is learning when to engage and when to walk away.

Avoid destructive types of conflict, like criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling, and blaming. Use conflict to help clear contaminants out of your marriage and move you both in a positive direction. Follow these guidelines for fighting fair: Start the argument with a positive, respectful approach rather than with loud words, harsh statements, or judgmental accusations. Don't deny problems. Choose your battles, letting minor issues go. Schedule important discussions for the right times and places.

Avoid trying to do deal with issues during times of great stress or grief, and create an environment where you can be calm and not disturbed. Listen well. Don't use sex as a weapon in your arguments with your spouse. Never threaten divorce. Control your anger. Call a time out if either you or your spouse is becoming too angry, but be sure to come back later to discuss the issue again.

"A crisis means we're over." Every marriage experiences problems. Whenever you and your spouse encounter a crisis, it doesn't mean that your marriage is over. In fact, a crisis can actually strengthen your marriage if you trust God through it and learn from it. Pray for the help you need during a crisis. Commit to doing whatever it takes to work through the problem at hand.

Establish mutually agreed upon rules of interaction, such as no shouting or blaming. Cut off relationships with other people who have a negative influence on your marriage. Ask God to give you the discernment to know what to say and what not to say, when to speak, and how to say what you need to say.

"All pain in our marriage is bad." Pain is never pleasant to go through, but it can actually be a gift because it directs your attention to problems that need to be solved. When your spouse is in physical or emotional pain, never underestimate how much he or she may be struggling. Support your spouse without judging him or her; understand that your spouse won't be able to respond to you normally when in pain. Pray for your spouse. When you're in pain yourself, let your pain drive you to rely more closely on God and discover His grace.

"Marriage is just too hard." While marriage is definitely hard sometimes, it doesn't ever need to be too hard. Start making small, consistent investments in your marriage every day to make your marriage easier. You and your spouse can make deposits into each other's emotional bank accounts by doing or saying loving things for each other. Do what you can to cut down on the withdrawals you each make from each other's emotional bank accounts (ways you hurt each other).

Spend time doing simple activities together that you both enjoy, like walking or writing letters. Invest the time and energy necessary to keep romance alive in your marriage. Pray together and for each other often. Instead of relying on your own limited strength to maintain a close marriage, rely on God's unlimited power to guide and help you every day.

Adapted from The Marriage Turnaround: How Thinking Differently about Your Relationship Can Change Everything, copyright 2009 by Mitch Temple. Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill., www.moodypublishers.com.

Mitch Temple serves as the director over marriage programs at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He represents Focus at national events, seminars, media interviews, and radio programs. Mitch is a published author in various professional journals, and co-author of two marriage books. He served for 23 years as pulpit and counseling pastor, specializing in crisis, business, and marriage and family-related issues. He and his wife of more than 25 years have three children and live in Colorado.

Come over to Asia!

SYDNEY, Mar 09, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- With the falling Australian dollar, the cost of living has plummeted across the country, but the most expensive city in the world is now in Asia, a survey has found.

The Economist magazine's cost of living survey shows Australian cities have become cheaper due to the battered Australian dollar, with Sydney dropping from 17th to 35th on its index of most expensive cities in the past six months.

Since September, Melbourne has fallen 15 places from 24 to 39, Brisbane from 35 to 57, while Adelaide plummeted to 72 after being listed at 48 in the last survey.

Auckland fell almost 30 places, from 49 to 78, while Wellington dropped 25 spots from 55 to 80.

A stronger yen saw Tokyo rise to top of the magazine's list of most expensive cities, knocking off Oslo in Norway, which fell to number five.

Osaka in Japan was listed at number two, Paris third, while Copenhagen in Denmark was fourth.

Apart from taking the top two spots, Asia boasted four of the five cheapest cities - Karachi in Pakistan, Mumbai and New Delhi in India, and Kathmandu in Nepal.

"(Asia) plays host to countries with the most and the least expensive cost of living in the survey," The Economist said in a statement.

"Cities in Australia and New Zealand have seen dramatic falls of between 21 and 25 index points.

"Conversely a stronger yen now means that the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka have become the most expensive cities in our survey.

"Asia is home to many of the least expensive cities in the world, supplying five of the ten cheapest locations in the survey, four of which hail from the Indian subcontinent."

Come over to Asia!

SYDNEY, Mar 09, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- With the falling Australian dollar, the cost of living has plummeted across the country, but the most expensive city in the world is now in Asia, a survey has found.

The Economist magazine's cost of living survey shows Australian cities have become cheaper due to the battered Australian dollar, with Sydney dropping from 17th to 35th on its index of most expensive cities in the past six months.

Since September, Melbourne has fallen 15 places from 24 to 39, Brisbane from 35 to 57, while Adelaide plummeted to 72 after being listed at 48 in the last survey.

Auckland fell almost 30 places, from 49 to 78, while Wellington dropped 25 spots from 55 to 80.

A stronger yen saw Tokyo rise to top of the magazine's list of most expensive cities, knocking off Oslo in Norway, which fell to number five.

Osaka in Japan was listed at number two, Paris third, while Copenhagen in Denmark was fourth.

Apart from taking the top two spots, Asia boasted four of the five cheapest cities - Karachi in Pakistan, Mumbai and New Delhi in India, and Kathmandu in Nepal.

"(Asia) plays host to countries with the most and the least expensive cost of living in the survey," The Economist said in a statement.

"Cities in Australia and New Zealand have seen dramatic falls of between 21 and 25 index points.

"Conversely a stronger yen now means that the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka have become the most expensive cities in our survey.

"Asia is home to many of the least expensive cities in the world, supplying five of the ten cheapest locations in the survey, four of which hail from the Indian subcontinent."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Such manipulation can border on witchcraft

Apostles, Prophets, and the Ministry of the Saints
By The 700 Club

CBN.com – The Coming Saints

Dr. Bill Hamon believes that God is changing our perspective in the 21st century from seeing the church as a building with four walls to the Church as a people. "The Church is wherever the saints are. The people of God will do ministry and miracles as God directs in business places also."

"It takes the same Holy Spirit, the same anointing, the same blood for the full-time Christian worker as it does for the Christian businessman," he says. "We need to know how to pray and intercede. God will raise up a great company of saints in the marketplace to demonstrate the power of God in the Kingdom of God."

According to Hamon, founder of Christian International Ministries, Christians will move in government and in the marketplace like Daniel and Joseph, in key places at key times. "Christian businessmen will see this move as not another way to get rich, but as a way to demonstrate the Kingdom of God on earth. They will be salt and light."

He believes that some business people will have daily staff times to train their people in the principles of God. "God is getting ready to invade the earth. According to Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, the saints will take the Kingdom."

Great Move

Dr. Hamon says that within the last 50 years of the 20th century God has reset, re-positioned, and restored all of the five-fold ministries. "God uses each decade to clarify, magnify, and reposition the church in a place to fulfill the vision," he says.

* In the 50s, the church saw the restoration and rise to prominence of evangelists like Oral Roberts and T.L. Osborn.
* In the 60s, great churches arose led by pastors such as David Yonghi Cho. Once a church of 500 was considered large, but today churches of 5000 or more are not uncommon.
* In the 70s, the charismatic teacher renewal was led by people like Derek Prince, Kenneth Hagin, and Dennis Bennett. These were not Pentecostal expounders. There was no prophecy nor praying for the sick. They taught and people came by the thousands. Prior to this move of God the teacher was seen as someone only in a Bible college.
* In the 80s, the prophets were restored to the Body of Christ; men like Bill Hamon and Paul Cain. Many denominations had not recognized the prophets, saying they were not for this dispensation, that there was no need for them since we had the Bible.
* The 90s, saw the emergence of the apostles, or the apostolic ministry. This ministry includes leaders like Peter Wagner and John Eckhart. Most Pentecostals have questions about the apostles; evangelicals practically have no place for them at all. They had to be restored to the Body per Ephesians 4:11-13, "And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…."

"When all five ministries have come together, we will relate together and equip the saints," Hamon declares. "Then we will see the 'saints movement' and they can go forth and compel people to believe with supernatural signs."

Prophetic Prayer

"Prophetic prayer is praying with the mind of the Holy Spirit," Hamon says. When intercessors pray, sometimes they pick up and see things in the spirit. They are watchmen on the wall, and God will share things with them."

According to Hamon, once God shares His foreknowledge, the intercessor must use wisdom on how to share that. "If they must share it with the leadership, they should 'give it and forget it,' and move on to something else," Hamon says. "They should not try to influence or impact the pastor or leader more than they should. Trust God to work it out. It is possible to make warfare in prayer."

Hamon believes that the prophetic warrior gets into trouble when he tries to manipulate and control the reaction or obedience of others. Such manipulation can border on witchcraft. "They are not the conscience of the leader or the Holy Spirit. They are a vital part of the ministry if they stay in their proper place."

"An ear should stay an ear, an eye should stay an eye," Hamon says. "Do what you are called to do. All leaders need prayer. Prophetic prayer can be some of the most effective prayer there is," he says. "Just know the power and the pitfalls.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More of the Word!

4 March 2009

Dear Prayer Partners,

1. TQ for your prayers, encouragement, and support during the last 2 weeks of hectic teaching and ministry. In the first weekend, I was preaching in a Malay-language congregation, located in the heart of the shopping belt of Klang Valley. A number of them are working as feet reflexologists, masseuses, students, security guards, taxi drivers, and others.

2. The church is strategically reaching out to a lot of these tribal people working there and seek to disciple them in their walk with Jesus. Many of them do not have a strong foundation in the Word, and hence easily convert to other religion. Pray for the leaders who are committed to raising up spiritual leaders among them.

3. Then I was in Bible college (Mon – Thur) to teach 2 courses – Premarital Counseling [PMC] (7pm-10pm) and Ezra-Nehemiah (8am-12pm). One of the full-time pastoral students is from the aborigine (OA) tribe from the state of Perak.

4. Upon learning who her pastor-father is, I told her I was the interpreter for her parents’ wedding around 23-24 years ago! I knew her when she was just one two years old, and she is now 22 years – in Bible school to be trained as a pastor. How time flies!

5. Another of the student, was someone whom I was looking for and whom I had lost contact since 1989/90. He is in his 40s and has since become a lay pastor in his church. The Lord seems to be bringing the past back to me.

6. In between the break of the first and second week of classes, I went to another church to help in their church strategic planning. I was playing the role of a church consultant and leading the discussion with the 4 pastors about the direction and vision of their church.

7. On Sunday I preached in an Eng-Chinese service. One of the church leaders, was someone whom I had met once, 20 years ago when I was ministering in the universities. At that time, this leader was a student, and came for one of the house services where I was preaching.

8. This was unusual as he is Chinese, and the service was in Malay-language with majority tribal peoples. He said I had prayed for him and gave a prophetic word. Since then, we had not met until late last year. He has become a successful businessman and one of the individuals that I had been discipling, happen to be working for him. So he recommended me to the church pastor and invited me to preach in the church.

9. Just before the service started, while talking to the pastor, something she mentioned reminded me of one my fellow student in seminary days. I then realized that the pastor was the sister in law of my fellow seminarian in Spore whom I had not met for 8-9 years. The past is catching up on me!

10. Then it was back to teaching in Bible college. During the second week, I preached in the chapel services encouraging about 70 trainee pastors to fulfill their roles as discerning priests unto the Lord. I am also encouraged that there are a number of mainland Chinese studying there to equip themselves further for the ministry. They have been in ministry for a number of years and are here in Klang Valley to upgrade themselves. They are very vibrant in their prayer life, probably due to the years of persecution in China.

11. During the weekend, I took the opportunity to teach different college students and challenged them to get deeper into the Word of God. I wish I can do more with the uni students as most of them desire to know the Word but not enough people to teach them. Pray for me as I may have to re-strategize myself.

12. On Sunday morning, I preached in an African church in Klang Valley. This was the same one that I preached a few months ago when they just opened. They are about 6 months old now and have started to reach out to the local Malaysians – a few of them have accepted the Lord. Indeed God uses whoever that avail themselves to Him.

13. After that African service, I was off to preach in a Malay-language service in the afternoon. It’s the church first youth celebration service, though a good number of old people came to the service as well. Seeing the tribal people always stir something in me. They need a lot of grounding and commitment in the Word, if they are going to energetically serve the Lord.

14. There are so many needs and so little time. Pray that I may receive wisdom and have an effective ministry among the various groups. Pray for the Lord’s anointing.

May Jesus reign in our hearts, our families, and our nations! May He alone be worthy to receive all praise and honor!