I remember being shy as a teenager. I mean really shy. I was outgoing and funny, and usually the loudest person in the room. However when it came to “making a move” I would get petrified. I would break out in cold sweats; it was a horrible sight to behold.
I went on a lot of dates, had sex and messed around with girls (before I knew it as sin) yet held onto the title that I never asked a girl out on a date or made a first move. In the moments of searching for companionship (dates) when the well was dry, there was porn. I had a plethora of girlfriends who in my mind pursued me. Being so paralyzing shy this was a great escape for me. When I became a follower of Christ, porn was even more of a convenience. “At least I wasn’t having sex anymore, or messing around” was my common excuse.
The problem was it was all a lie. I found comfort for a moment. Yet I found nothing satisfying. The momentary comfort of my heart was at the expense of the discomfort of my soul. It began to make sense to me why Jesus said “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully, has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
Categorically it blows my mind that this is in the gospel of Matthew right after the beatitudes. He gives out all of these blessings, then immediately puts the focus on major heart matters. The sin is not in the act viewing porn, or masturbation. We forget the sin, is a heart matter. A soul matter. We look so many times to “comfort” our souls, or our hearts with so many things that are not of God. Yet we forget that God is the greatest comforter we would ever have.
David wrote “May your unfailing love be my comfort”. Just because you may be shy, or struggle with feelings of loneliness. Remember momentary comfort is not comfort. Where porn may feel as if it’s comforting a desire, God comforts the soul.
By Jimmy Smuda of XXX Church
Well, well, well..., here we are again... at the end of another year... called 2010. It is that time again. Sounds like a rap song huh? Anyway, time to reflect on the highlights and pitfalls of this year.
Overall it has been a wonderful one. A year where God would close doorways and open up new ones. As you may or may not know, Mr. Bilson became the unwilling victim of corporate downsizing. Yes it is true! In the midst of a global economic downturn, yours truly was laid off from about a decade of involvement at PMC. It was memorable, emotional but also inevitable. Now all that is left are the memories. The doorway was finally shut here but as many believers have shared with Mr. Bilson in the past, it means that God is opening a new doorway. The doorway to a Sabbath or also a sabbatical. It was long awaited and well earned one. Now, Mr. Bilson is known for being a bit of a workaholic and can sometimes bite off more than he can chew. But after much prayer and meditation, it seemed God had finally called him to unwind, relax and take a breather, a hiatus or sorts. Normally, Mr. Bilson is a bit stubborn towards being put to rest until he started to see and reap the benefits.
So here we go to review 2010 and see those benefits. We'll begin with a word on Sabbath.During the year, Mr. Bilson would awaken to taking on a Sabbath/Sabbatical which meant time in worship and hearing the word. There were many memorable preachers. Some key ones are John MacArthur and his many sermons about his favorite saint Paul. Mr. Bilson was more intrigued about his comments on running the Church and the organization of Deacons in it. A must listen... Also his Q and A sessions were also quite stimulating.Not also was MacArthur a key preacher but there was also David Jeremiah and Joel Houston.
David Jeremiah gave awesome sermons describing how America put the world into a economic down turn and how it all could fit into Biblical prophecy. What was noteworthy was his comments on how America was not mentioned in Biblical prophecy. He quoted his earlier book that it may be because most of the nation may have already been raptured up to heaven in the last days but now wanted to entertain the possibility that the nation may turn in itself in a moral meltdown in response to harsh economic times. Quite fascinating!
The other preacher worth mention was Joel Houston. He talked about having momentum in our walk with God and how some people lose it. They may have met some major disappointments in life and come to a place where they stop taking leaps of faith and become stagnant not wanting to be a leader who can make the hard decisions. What a warning we all should heed!Joel is a preacher from a Church also known for its worship. Mr. Bilson is speaking of Joel Houston, who is the pastor at the famous Hillsong Church in Sydney Australia. If you don't already know, it is a world famous Church that is known for it's powerful worship music that has circled the globe. Mr. Bilson's favorite song was, "Forever Reign" which was one of the beautiful songs that he frequently played in the mornings when he'd wake up! It is still a killer tune.... or should I say life giving one!
Other great songs of the year came from another awesome band called Anberlin. There are a couple of believers in that one and their new song, "Impossible" was one that anyone can identify with. It expressed the pain of having broken relationships and not being able to figure it out. Who could not identify with that one? But to my friends in Anberlin remember He, "...heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)
And who can forget the powerful songs by Al Gordon and Paul Bolouche. Al wrote, "Glory" and Paul wrote, "Our God Saves" and "Hossana" which were songs anointed by the powerful presence of God when sung and Mr. B's old and new Church, CLA. It was the Church Mr. B belonged to long before he ever heard of PMC and to comeback after 10 years was nothing short of a breath of fresh air. The revival is still on and the presence of God so powerful after being in the desert for toooo long. CLA welcomed Mr. B with open arms! God bless them! But also God bless the gift of those worship leaders for leading Mr. B into the powerful presence of the Almighty.2010 was also a year where Mr. Bilson experienced incredible blessing and answered prayer through CLA.
For years Mr. B was praying for his brother, A-Bomb to experience the powerful presence of God and to have a deeper hunger for the Word. About ten years later at CLA, he'd finally see his prayers come true. A-Bomb would wake up and get ready quickly on those Sunday morn's to rush to CLA and soak more of His presence and Word. He started craving it. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing years of prayer answered. It just proves true that when disciples, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. " ( Matthew 7:7-8)
Oh, and who can forget the trip to India? Did I mention that one? Mr. B and his Pops when back to the motherland to catch up with old family members. It was one word: HOT! No really! There was a heat wave of +50 C and it didn't change at nighttime. Mr. B found himself becoming almost senial to the point of laughing and talking to himself... it shocked his aunties. But the hightlights was seeing the place where Mr. B Pop's grew up, the school he attended, meeting distant family relatives and drinking hot Chai in the hot weather. Most memorable. And who can forget the house boat cruise overlooking K.P Yohannan land. It was short of breathtaking.
There was also the swing over to Dubai to enjoy the company of family again and see the sights. The dune bashing was most exquisite and the fine dining. The Burj Khailifa, the tallest building in the world, was not open at the time but no worries, we'll catch up to it next time.There was also more answered prayer. Mr. Bilson remembers the frequent prayers made out at the Millennium amphitheater to bring an evangelistic event there. It finally came true in 2010 where his favorite preacher's son and a favorite band would eventually come. Franklin Graham brought his friends from Skillet to lead in a mayjor youth rally leading nearly 1000 youngsters back to Christ. Most memorable it was! Thank you Jesus! You always hear the cry of our hearts!
O, and what else was there? Oh! The trip to the interior. We had some fun meeting up a former youth pastor from England who showed us the beauty of interior B.C. We hung out at the different beaches, floated down a river on inner tubes and ate to our hearts content. They were so hospitable and kind. They were true followers of Jesus. It was a refreshing weekend.And finally, to top it all off! ISRAEL and JORDAN. Dreams came true as God allowed Mr. Bilson to fullfill some dreams of going to the promised land with some fellow saints. More will be posted on that in the near future. In the meantime, here are a bunch of photoes!
Well, thanks again for journeying with Mr. Bilson on his escapades... But before we leave we want you to think about... What is next? What is in store for 2011?We'll see you in the New Year!
This question is not often asked.
When it is asked, the answer is usually framed in technical economic terms - forgetting that economc results come from a complex interaction between policies, technology, money, and indeed social and personal values and efforts.
For a deeper exploration of these issues, I recommned, Dr Vishal Mangalwadi's THE BOOK THAT MADE YOUR WORLD (to be published by Thomas Nelson in April 2011).
Dr Mangalwadi explores whether the modern world has a soul, and why the sun is setting on the West.
You can preorder your copy at www.RevelationMovement.com
- By Joseph Mattera
- Published 02/8/2011
There has been much confusion regarding the difference between apostolic and prophetic function.
Regarding these two functions, when we examine the Scriptures we find only a slight difference regarding ability in executive leadership roles, the main difference being the actual ministerial expression of leadership ability.
Many view prophetic ministers as folks who merely float from one place to the next as itinerant ministers who give “words of the Lord” to individuals and organizations, but have little or no ability to lead large, effective organizations. This definition is not sufficient in light of biblical teaching and models. Ministers who function like this may very well be “exhorters” who have a prophetic edge rather than functioning in the office of New Testament prophet.
When using the Old Testament as our guide, we find that many of the men called prophets were serving in roles that most today would consider apostolic. Men like the patriarch Abraham, Moses, and Samuel would certainly be called apostolic leaders if they were functioning in the same capacity in this day and age. Why they were called prophets and not apostles is the main subject of this brief essay.
Perhaps, one could say, the reason is because Old Testament prophets were the equivalent of New Testament apostles with no real difference in function or calling. Furthermore, when we read Ephesians 2:20 which says the church has been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, we could say the word “prophets” in this passage is not referring to New Testament apostle/prophet teams but only to Old Testament prophets since the New Covenant was based upon the prophetic writings that were handed down (a position I agree with).
That being said, if we find no real separation between apostles and prophets, then why separate apostolic and prophetic ministerial functions as we see in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11?
As we examine the Scriptures, perhaps the real reason for this New Testament separation does not lie in the governmental nature and ability of New Testament prophets but lies in the fact that, in the Old Testament, prophets were mainly called to minister in a single geographic location because God was building a theocratic model-nation in Israel.
Even Acts 13:1-2 teaches that the great first-century church in Antioch was led by prophets. There was no mention of apostles in that church. This shatters the false assumption that present-day prophetic leaders cannot lead huge organizations or networks.
Since the resurrection of Christ and His command to take the gospel to every nation, we now have powerful leaders with anointings to go into uncharted enemy territories (where Christ has not been named or where there is no real kingdom witness), outside of the bounds of their local congregations, to set up beachhead ekklesias as salt and light to establish God’s dominion in every territory.
This view goes along with the nature of the title “apostle” which literally means “a sent one.” This term was taken from the Roman army, which called generals whom they sent to set up beachheads in enemy territory “apostles.”
So, even though prophets were sent (Isaiah 6:6-9) they were mainly stationary in regards to their national focus. Apostles were deployed as God’s generals to establish His kingdom witness in new nations and arenas of life.
If my above opining is true, then many people whom we today call apostolic are really New Testament prophetic leaders, and many of those we call prophets are merely exhorters who have a mature gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:3 teaches on the nature of this gift of prophecy), and there are really far less apostolic leaders among the ranks of those who give themselves the title “apostle”!
To expound a bit more: What seems to be the main difference between apostolic and prophetic leaders in regards to their actual ministry mode and delivery? From experience it seems that when apostolic leaders engage in problem solving, teaching, or strategizing they tend to speak more out of principle--out of the accumulation of their vast experience. In contrast, prophetic leaders engaging in the same kind of problem solving have a different mode of delivery based on a more spontaneous, prophetic utterance. The difference is minute.
The point is, both can be involved in laying the foundation and the building of a local church or network of churches and establishing organizations. This is why they should both work in tandem to establish a kingdom witness on the earth.
While prophets may tend to speak into an entity that is already established, and apostles tend to be the initial leaders in establishing entities, both are needed and necessary--the apostle for breaking and establishing new ground, biblical purpose, and order in enemy territory, and prophets for bringing fire, passion, and a continual sense of urgency into the faith communities of those entities established by apostles.
In saying this, I realize it would be a huge mistake to imply that apostolic leaders are not prophetic! On the contrary, apostolic leaders must be extremely prophetic because, when being sent to lay a foundation and establish a beachhead for God in enemy territory, they must receive a word from God in regards to the timing, the geographic location, and the strategic spiritual warfare needed in order to be successful in their missions. Those functioning apostolically must have an acute sense of the leading of the Lord at all times. Hence, apostolic leaders have profound prophetic ability. It is simply that the primary focus of their ministries is on the managing, developing, and administration of leadership and the establishment of church government, whereas prophetic leaders have as their primary focus the renewal and continued movement towards hitting the mark in regards to corporate purpose and power.
In conclusion: Based on the realities presented above, perhaps there are really more apostolic and prophetic leaders working together than we think. Moreover, maybe it is not just those we deem apostles, but also true prophetic leaders who tend to shy away from some of the more extravagant, showy, shallow, itinerant prophetic ministers out there today. This is because true New Testament prophets are so principle-centered they cannot relate to those who exhort, make prophetic proclamations, and then leave with little or no accountability or oversight. True New Testament prophetic leaders are builders, not just blessers and, as such, maybe there is not really such a great present-day divide between apostolic and prophetic leaders.
Finally, I have seen many apostolic leaders working very closely with prophetic leaders in ways they cannot avoid: many apostolic leaders are married to prophetic spouses!
Dr. Joseph Mattera
Few decades ago in India, a majority of Indians were illiterate. Only a few who had the ability to read and write would control and manipulate others. In one of the villages in the South, there lived a rich zamindar (landlord) who was able to read and write English and Tamil. He used to receive letters and would reply them. Many in that village and neighbouring village would come to him for reading their mails (from relatives, government etc) and also replying to them. The man became old and died.
Unfortunately, his children were not interested in any of his ‘literary’ activities. They gathered all his files, letters, and books and threw them away. In that village, there were two young boys, who had learnt to read and write saw that rubbish as treasure of wealth. They quietly shifted the whole to their house and started reading them carefully. As they read, they could access information about the estate, disputes between some big farmers in the nearby villages, information about unethical behaviours of rich and influential men in the villages, immoral and extra-marital affairs. They thought it was enough for them to black mail and exploit the hapless illiterate victims and become rich. Gradually, they leaked information, gained control of situation and started gathering wealth. However, it did not last long as they were hacked to death by one of the aggrieved villager.
A similar story is enacted again in a sophisticated way in the modern times. The media provides daily dose of Wiki leaks, its interpretation and its imaginary impact. For the media, it is sensational and hot selling. Overnight, Julian Assange an Australian journalist and an Internet activist becomes a global celebrity. Like the two village young men, he wanted to use the unethically gained knowledge for his personal profit.
For the past five years or so, he was providing a variety of information for the global Internet audience. Later on, he started leaking cables of diplomats sent to White House. When he challenged the might of ‘Goliath’ America, Assange became the ‘David’ the hero for Postmodern youngsters who lack role models and heroes. Attacking institutions, questioning authorities, and challenging establishment are their favourite pastime of the Digital Generation. Julian Assange’s modus operandi, intention or motives is a suspect but not questioned by the gullible sensation hungry audience.
Status of Gossips
Wiki leaks of the cables are transcript of conversations or exchange of information among diplomats, military officials and politicians. Conversations would be generally casual and ‘off record’. For sure, ‘un-diplomatic’ and ‘un-parliamentary’ words would have been used. Most of the conversations among the ruling class around the world is filled with arrogance, pride, and filthy vocabulary. If these words are taken at its face value, there could be only chaos.
Private Domain to Public Domain
Conversations within a group have to be in the exclusively private domain and should not be revealed or exposed in the public domain. Such conversations could be decision making process within a group, that cannot be questioned by an outsider. However, conversation between two parties in the process of contract or agreement or treaty or negotiations could be brought to public domain with the consent of both parties. Freedom of press does not mean that all private conversations could be made public. How can intimate conversations within a family or a couple be questioned unless there is abuse? Will freedom of press demand exposure of even the thinking process of people?
Intention of Julian Assange
It is not clear what the intention of Assange was. Knowledge has to be used with a purpose of building up nations, bring out peace among nations and progress for the global community. If the knowledge could not be put into profitable use, that knowledge could be left to die a natural death. Unfortunately, Assange used his access to knowledge for creating confusion, chaos, diplomatic turmoil, and bitter taste.
Nevertheless, Assange used the information he gained to boost and massage his already inflated ego, gain popularity among the Internet users and anti-establishment activists from around the world. No wonder, he has attained celebrity status without any positive contribution in any sphere. It is unfortunate that media made him hero; politicians started picking up phrases, bits and pieces to assault their opponents and numerous Internet users started blogging endlessly.
The information that is being leaked was gained unethically. Assange’s technological knowledge was misused rather abused. It is an act of espionage. Technically speaking, spying an enemy nation is considered patriotic act. However, this spying is not for the sake of mother land, but with selfish motives.
Activism in Internet, Citizen Journalism and investigative journalism are good to discover the truth. However, this freedom cannot be misused for personal gain or to black mail people or create confusion and unrest among people and nations but justice and peace. Unfortunately, the effect of Wiki Leaks has created bad blood among nations. Freedom has to be tempered with responsibility. Unfettered freedom is a myth, as freedom is always limited by parameters.
Who Would Gain?
A million dollar question is who is gaining out of this whole episode? Who are the beneficiaries? Is Julian Assange is just a tool in their hands? Or he is self-proclaimed celebrity of cyber world? Wiki leaks have become wicked leaks with malicious intention against the whole world.
Dr. J.N. Manokaran