Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation

It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation
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It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 09:05 AM EDT J. Lee Grady Newsletters - Fire In My Bones


In honor of Reformation Day, here are some complaints I’m nailing on the Wittenberg door.
Long before there was an Occupy Wall Street, Martin Luther staged the most important protest in history. He was upset because Roman Catholic officials were promising people forgiveness or early escape from purgatory in exchange for money. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed a long list of complaints on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Luther’s famous 95 theses were translated from Latin into German and spread abroad. Like a medieval Jeremiah, Luther dared to ask questions that had never been asked, and he challenged a pope who was supposedly infallible. Through this brave monk, the Holy Spirit sparked the Protestant Reformation and restored the doctrine of grace to a church that had become corrupt, religious, dysfunctional, political and spiritually dead.
“I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called ‘Spirit-filled’ church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have ‘indulgences’—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles.”
I am no Luther, but I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets.
In honor of Reformation Day, I’m offering my own list of needed reforms in our movement. And since I can’t hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I’ll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere.
1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.
2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.
3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
6. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to ministers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.
7. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.
8. Expose the creeps. Churches should start doing background checks on traveling ministers. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.
9. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull chicken feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.
10. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit.
11. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride.
12. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ, and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.
13. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.
14. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.
15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He expounds on these topics in his 2010 book The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale (Chosen).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saying Good bye

This is our home away from home when
we are in Ukraine.....Nehemiah Guest House
The service is superb, the staff is wonderful
and it always makes us sad to leave.

Wayne and Sherry with Tanya.
Tanya and her husband Vasiko are precious
friends who head up the ministry at Nehemiah
Ukraine. We have known Tanya for 11 years and
Vasiko for about 6. They make a great team.

We spent a day in Budapest on our way
home to rest. The city is beautiful and we took
a walking tour to see the area around our hotel.
The buildings are lovely and very old and there
are statues everywhere of those who lived there
and made a difference. The Danube River flows
through the middle of the city and divides it. One
side is Buda and the other Pest. That is where you get
the name.

I could not resist taking a picture of this
charming phone booth.

This is a square with a Roman flavor. The statues
are breathtaking and full of detail of charioteers
and others on horse back. It must be a memorial
of some sort, but it was not written in English and
we did not have a tour guide. The square was surrounded
by museums.

This is a sampling of the gorgeous old homes in
the city. They speak for themselves and one
can only imagine what the past residents were like.

We are always sad to leave our friends in Ukraine because they are very dear to us and we sense God's call on us to be there and strengthen families. This trip was no different. We were very busy with ministry each day and sense that there will be good fruit from our time in Ukraine.

The DVD's are almost totally completed. They were able to print 33 of sessions 1 and 2 and willl be finished soon. Thanks to Valodya and those who worked so hard on this project.

Thank you to all who prayed for us and who gave financially to make this trip possible. When we go, you go.
As much as we enjoy going, we love coming home even more to our family and our church. There is something about understanding the language and culture and eating familiar food. :>))))) Thanks Pastor Bill and Edie for the wonderful job you did taking care of CCF while we have been gone. You are a continued blessing and strength to us.

Grace and Peace
PW and Sherry
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Church Picnic Ukranian Style

Traditional Sack Races

A special Ukranian soup cooked from scratch
over an open fire with all fresh ingredients.
It was delicious.

Two sisters who are Pastors wives
Elizabeth from Uzghorod
Angela from Chop with her new baby.

Sherry in a contest to see who can peel a potato, chop an onion and a
pepper in small pieces and slice a loaf of bread the quickest. I won the first round and
then in the final run, I had to make a sandwich for PW and he had to eat
it. My competitors husband chewed faster so she won the contest and the
ribbon. It was great fun.

Two little kids who thought it was fun to
walk in a tent. They rolled it all over the place.

Dads enjoying their little ones

A friendly game of soccer between the men

A few songs before the message

PW preaching a short message on relationships.
He was very funny and everyone was laughing.
The congregation had been encouraged to invite
unsaved friends and there were quite a few in
attendance. He ended the message by presenting
the gospel and telling them what true love was in
the form of the cross. Note the megaphone the translator
is holding. She has a soft voice so they brought this
for her to use while translating.

PW and I with Natalie and Nikola
We ended our day by having dinner with
them at a local pizza shop.

Two more days and we will be home. We are so homesick at this stage and look forward to seeing our family and church family.
We want to thank Pastor Bill and Edie for holding down the fort and going above and beyond the call of duty this time in ministry to our church family. What you do does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. You are the best.

Blessings to you all as you worship tomorrow.
PW and Sherry

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