Hebrews: Session 08

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Hebrews: Session 08







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Hebrews: Session 07

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Hebrews: Session 07







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Hebrews: Session 05

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Hebrews: Session 05







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Sis. Melder teaches in this fifth lesson in our iGrow Hebrews track!

Hebrews: Session 04

Monday, November 23rd, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Hebrews: Session 04







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Bro. Bruce Melder covers chapter four of Hebrews in our iGrow 2020 series on Hebrews.

Discovering My Mission

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Discovering My Mission







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Pastor Josh Linton teaches us about discovering our mission and purpose in serving Christ.

Hebrews: Session 03

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Hebrews: Session 03







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Join Sis. Melder as she teaches on Hebrews chapter 3 and Christ being shown to be a more worthy High Priest than Moses.

Christian Living: Separated from the World

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Christian Living: Separated from the World







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Our iGrow series in the Christian Living track with a lesson taught by Pastor Nave on what it means to be Separated from the World and Christ’s desire for the Church to be so.

Christian Living: Temple of God

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Christian Living: Temple of God







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Listen in on Sis. Jessica Hartzold’s lesson on Christian Living & the Temple of God

iGrow – Hebrews Session 02

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
iGrow – Hebrews Session 02







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Join Sis. Jill Melder as she dives into the book of Hebrews in this study sure to strengthen your walk with Christ.

iGrow 2020 – King Me: Saul

Sunday, November 1st, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
iGrow 2020 – King Me: Saul







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Sis. Jessica Hartzold leads us through the life of King Saul and how we can apply it to our own lives.

iGrow 2020 – Hebrews Session 01

Saturday, October 31st, 2020
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
iGrow 2020 – Hebrews Session 01







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Part of our ongoing iGrow Series – this is the first session of twelve lessons on the book of Hebrews. Join Bro. & Sis. Melder as they bring their wisdom and insight with the help of the Holy Spirit into this fantastic book, and how we can apply it to our lives today.

The Gospel of John: Part II

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The Gospel of John: Part II







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As we continue on in our journey of the book of John, we see John doesn’t provide accounts of Jesus in chronological order, but depicts snapshots of His life. His accounts leave us to put the pieces together and to draw out the meaning behind them.

Jesus’ First Miracle

John describes Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1–11, Jesus turning water into wine. This miracle is different than any other miracle Jesus would ever perform in His ministry. Most miracles—demonstrating God’s power—renewed parts of fallen creation: blindness, lameness, etc. But, no one was dying, sick, or in danger in this particular setting. It was just a wedding, and they were in need of wine.

Culturally, wedding celebrations were several days (or a week) long, and the host would provide for his guests per the law of hospitality. It was considered a great shame and dishonor to run out of anything. It was a large concern (of embarrassment mostly) that they would run out of wine.

Jesus used the 6 stone jars of water typically used for ceremonial washing for His miracle. This was water people would use to “cleanse” themselves just walking through the streets. The stone water pots weren’t a place to store any liquid one would consume—it was unclean. But, this didn’t matter to Jesus—He used it anyway.

Through this miracle, Jesus showed He will use whatever He wants to do His will. Jesus revealed how He would enact His ministry on earth—through interaction with people; fulfilling the needs of those around Him. And, it was from this miracle, His disciples believed and determined to follow Him.

Jesus’ Intolerance for Fake Worship

John describes an account when Jesus enters the Temple during the Passover celebration, and chases out the moneychangers and all who bought and sold in the Temple (John 2:13–17). The Passover was the largest, annual celebration of the Jewish people, which lasted 1 week long. It was necessary on the Passover day for all men (over the age of 19) to go to the Temple with a sacrifice and worship the Lord.

During this celebration, the Jews would remove all leaven from their homes symbolizing removal of sin—a type of spiritual cleansing. Jesus realized it wasn’t just the homes that needed to be cleaned up, but also the church and the church system.

Jews had set up booths in the outer court of the Gentiles to convert money for people to pay the temple tax as well as to purchase a sacrifice. The Gentiles couldn’t worship effectively in this outer court because it was so full of merchants. People had become too distracted by greed—selling sacrifices for a very high price—and forgot why they were at the house of God.

Man had turned praise into a profit—manipulating the visit to the Temple as a benefit for them instead of doing something for God. Jesus doesn’t like it when we turn church into something that’s all about us, and when we get lazy with our worship.

We should realize we serve a God who is worthy of all or our sacrifice and praise. He’s given us an opportunity and privilege to come into His presence and worship Him. Our worship every day is about the King of kings and Lord of lords. Because of everything He’s done for us, our worship should cost us something! King David understood that He couldn’t offer anything to God that he didn’t work for (II Samuel 24:24). Our worship should expend us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Instead of reaching out to the Gentiles to know the true God, the Jews were more concerned with filling up this the outer court with “fake” stuff. They weren’t letting their light shine because they had lost their fever for worship and service to God. But, Jesus has a zeal for the house of God (Psalms 69:9)—He got upset when people were misusing it.

Today, we should contemplate if church is routine or real for us. Our experience with God should be a supernatural interaction—not just an event or a moment in time. We should seek out God in His sanctuary (Psalm 77:13) and desire to dwell with Him all the days of our life (Psalms 27:4).

When we have zeal in worshipping and serving the Lord, God notices and reacts. When He finds a willing vessel, He will pour more anointing into us than we could ever imagine. Our passion and willingness to serve God will impact others, and we—as Jesus did—will draw followers. We will teach people to love and serve God.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 15, 2016

A Lame Excuse for a Bible Study

Thursday, August 18th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
A Lame Excuse for a Bible Study







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Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering (Acts 3:1–11, KJV).

The story of the lame man is a familiar one in Scripture—familiar to us today and familiar to the people during this time in history. We know about this man who laid daily at the gate of the temple, who received a miracle in his life one day. However, beyond the miracle, there are four key elements we can learn from this story.

An Unknown Change

When the lame man arose that morning, he didn’t know what laid in store for him that day. He had the same expectation as every other day—going to lay at the gate of the temple, unchanged. We should be different from the lame man and change our way of thinking that every day will be the same as before. We need to have a spirit of expectation that God will do something in our life; that He will meet a need! God is a very present help in a time of trouble (Psalms 46:1). If God’s power transformed this man’s life at the temple gate, the same good work can happen in our lives today (Philippians 1:6).

God Can Do Anything Through Anybody

It doesn’t matter who we are—God can do a work through us. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11)! He used Jonah to lead the city of Nineveh to repentance, Moses to lead the Nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, and so much more through others throughout Scripture. All He needs is a willing vessel and an obedient heart. We are more than conquers to overcome any situation (Romans 8:37) and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Having Faith to Pray

Trusting in God requires an activation of our faith—to believe and to speak things that are not as though they are (Romans 4:17). We don’t always need to have the end result to have the faith to pray about it! Peter stepped forward and lifted the man up from his resting place before he received confirmation that he was healed. All we need is the faith of a grain of mustard seed, and we can see any mountain removed from our life (Matthew 17:20).

People Will Talk

We cannot allow the opinions and negative attitudes of others around us to dictate how we live and view what God is doing in our lives. God’s ways and thoughts are always higher than our own (Isaiah 55:9); we need to eliminate distractions out of our life that will keep us from understanding and following God’s will. We need to have a passion to live for God, to trust Him, and to do what He speaks into our life regardless of what others around us day and do. If we stay connected to Him, and allow His Spirit to move in us, His Spirit will quicken us (Romans 8:11) to do a good work. If we believe, signs and wonders are sure to follow (Mark 16:17–18).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 17, 2016 with Guest Speaker Brother Casey Pollard

Can I Get Some Service Please: Part II

Thursday, August 11th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Can I Get Some Service Please: Part II







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Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6–8, KJV).

Last week, we learned how Jesus had the power to become more than what He was, but instead He chose to become less—He became a servant. If we are to be a servant in God’s kingdom we need to follow Jesus’ example, have the right motives, and allow servanthood to be a part of our everyday walk with the Lord.

Two Ways to Serve in God’s Kingdom

There are two ways to serve in God’s kingdom: 1) exercise our gifts and 2) filling gaps. Working for God may be in using our talents, abilities, and passions, but it also may be about filling in the gaps because work just needs to be done!

Exercise Our Gifts

God has placed abilities in each of our lives to fulfill a work in His kingdom. These abilities can come in the form of Spiritual Gifts, and other ways the Lord chooses to gift us. Once we identify our gifts, there are three places God wants us to use our gifts.

Three Places God Wants Us to Use Our Gifts

God wants everyone to use their gifts in an ongoing ministry. This is a ministry we have in the church that we work in on a regular basis. But, there is other work to be done within the church, so we should use our gifts to help with short-term projects. We might find ourselves lending our hand to VBS, Food Bank, or other areas we don’t normally spend a majority of our time. Lastly, we need to help in spontaneous situations. Our giftings come to help us help with the day-by-day work, making our ministry a lifestyle we live instead of a role to play, or a position to fill.

Spiritual Gifts

Understanding how we are gifted will help us become more effective in God’s kingdom. If we don’t understand our giftings, we can get frustrated with working in a ministry where we’re not gifted. Everyone will always have a primary place to serve and a secondary place to serve. The secondary places we serve are ways we help fill gaps in the church with our giftings.

Ministry is determined by several factors (I Corinthians 12:4–7), but God has put something in each of us to benefit His kingdom. We should exercise the SHAPE of our ministry.

SHAPE

S—Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts are not natural talents, or something we develop. But, God will develop certain gifts in us through the Holy Spirit inside of us—it’s supernatural workings in our life! Everyone is blessed with a particular Spiritual Gift that God has ordained (I Corinthians 12:7), and we might operate in one or more of the Spiritual Gifts listed in Scripture.

H—Heart

We have gifts in our life that are tied to passions God has instilled in our hearts. We can determine what we love to do or have a passion to do, and fulfill that ministry in God’s kingdom (Revelation 17:17). We could have a burden for orphans, young children, missions, etc. God will help us find ways to work in a ministry that helps us express this passion.

A—Abilities

God has also blessed each of us with the ability to do something. God can anoint us with the wisdom and/or skill to be able to do something in His kingdom that no one else knows how to do (Exodus 31:5–5). Our abilities can also be vocational skills that we can use to help the kingdom.

P—Personality

Our personality will map over into the different places of service in God’s kingdom. An introvert will not be outgoing and may not be best suited for a ministry in church greeting or a ministry that’s in the public eye of the church. But, God knows our spirit (I Corinthians 2:11) and will help us find the best fit in ministry that matches our temperament.

E—Experiences

We should examine our experiences and see how we’ve been shaped for ministry. We should look at our spiritual experiences. If we’re a babe in Christ, we may not be ready to work in a Sunday School ministry (Hebrews 5:12–14), but if we’re more seasoned, we can teach others God’s Word. We should look at our painful experiences. The trials and tribulations we’ve experienced in life will help us help others (II Corinthians 1:4). We should look at our educational experiences and hold fast to what we’ve learned (Proverbs 4:13). Lastly, we should look at overall ministry experiences. The roles we’ve played, placed we’ve worked, and jobs we’ve had in the church will help us. What we’re doing now for God’s kingdom may be shaping us for a ministry in the future.

God uses all of these factors to SHAPE us to serve. Our SHAPE will help us exercise our gifts but also to fill gaps in God’s kingdom. We must remember that service is not always about finding a way to always work in our giftings—we must also fill gaps. If God reveals a work to us, it’s most likely because God has given us the ability to meet it. Let Christ’s mind be in us today (Philippians 2:5). Let’s follow after His footsteps and serve!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 10, 2016

Can I Get Some Service Please: Part I

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Can I Get Some Service Please: Part I







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Due to societal norms, recent generations have been trained to develop a self-focused and self-serving attitude. Most have the mentality of “put myself first and others later.” But, if we are going to be effective in these last days, we need to change our mindset and seek to understand and apply true service in God’s kingdom.

Importance of Service

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6–8, KJV).

Our service in the kingdom is a large part of our walk with God—it’s just as important as our worship, prayer, fasting, giving, etc. A wise man once said: God did not save us to sit; He saved us to serve. We cannot say that we are like Jesus if we cannot point to some place in our life where we put ourselves aside and serve His kingdom.

How Service Happens

Service in the kingdom can come in many forms: administration, work and labor, communication, helping, caring, hospitality, leadership, giving, craftsmanship, intercession, etc. But, all of these modes of service map to one thing—people! God’s kingdom is all about serving Him and serving other people.

Frustration in Ministry

If we are working for God’s kingdom it’s going to cost us our time and energy. If we don’t do it with the right motives, we’ll get burn out. People get frustrated in ministry because:

  • There is always more demand than there is supply
  • Ministry goes unappreciated
  • It is the only work that takes from all 3 aspects of your being—body, soul, and spirit

Ministry is going to take our all, but God has never put us into something that He hasn’t given us the strength or ability to do. In reality, all frustration in ministry stems from a lack of true knowledge about what service really means.

What is Service?

Service Only Happens When We Don’t Care What We Get Out of It

Many of us enter into service with pre-conceived notions and expectations about the ministry. We want to see a certain number of participants, events organized a certain way, etc. If we don’t see or get our desired outcome from service, we don’t want to continue the work. We need to stay the course and keep serving regardless of our expectations.

Service Only Happens Because of Who We Really Serve

Many people don’t want to serve because of people; if people didn’t exist, they’d be the first ones to sign up to serve! But, we have to look past people and realize it’s not others we’re serving—it’s the Lord. When we realize that everything we’re doing is for the Lord, we’ll have a better understanding of true service. God holds us accountable for what we do, and will hold other’s accountable for what they receive.

Service is About Becoming Less and Not More

The world wants us to grow bigger and better, but God teaches us to become smaller and less—this is His definition of success and service. John the Baptist taught people to decrease so God can increase (John 3:30). Everything we do is to give God glory—people should see Jesus and not us when we serve!

We also shouldn’t compare ourselves to others in the ministry who are serving. What does it matter if our brothers and sisters have a larger role in the kingdom? What is it to us if they are doing less work? Jesus mitigated many of these issues with His disciples (Mark 9:35; John 21:21–23), admonishing them to become the least in the kingdom.

The true beauty of servanthood in the kingdom is to serve where God puts us. We should never develop pride and become “puffed up” about who we think we are in the kingdom, and how our work is more important (Proverbs 16:18). It’s all the Lord’s work, and it’s His kingdom!

Service is About Submission

We need to prioritize our service under another person, church, ministry, etc. Our mission should never go before another person. Scripture tells us to submit ourselves to one another (Ephesians 5:21)!

Jesus gave the greatest example of submission when He washed the disciple’s feet (John 13:6–8). He taught that service is all about meeting the basic needs and starting out at the bottom. When we serve with submission, and do it for God’s glory, all carnality will be put aside—just like prayer and fasting. It’s hard to be carnal when we’re washing someone else’s feet.

Service is About Serving One Another the Way Jesus Served

Jesus told His disciples as He washed their feet, they needed to do the same (John 13:12–14). If Jesus was great enough to serve the disciples, we need to be great enough to serve others.

Jesus didn’t serve others for any recognition—He did it out of love. Our human nature is to desire to receive accolades and affirmation when we do a “good job” in our service. But, instead of seeking man’s approval, we need to look for the Lord’s approval (Matthew 25:21).

Service is About Consistency

When Jesus hung on the cross for our sins, He had the power to step down. But, Jesus decided to stay on the cross and be the ultimate sacrifice for everyone—past, present, and future. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to serve with consistency and not give up or throw in the towel. We need to keep going and faint not in our service for the kingdom (Galatians 6:9). We need to use the towel to wipe the sweat from our faces and keep serving!

Service is About Ownership

When we take ownership of service in God’s kingdom, the outcome will be different. There were servants mentioned in the Bible who “addicted” themselves to the ministry (I Corinthians 16:15). The word addicted means tassó in the Greek, which means to assign, arrange, or determine. These servants of the Lord assigned themselves to the ministry, and poured themselves into it.

Paul event noted that He was so invested in service that he would gladly be spent and exhausted for the kingdom (II Corinthians 12:15). When we take our service personally, we will give it our all for the Lord.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 27, 2016

The Qualities of a Purpose-Driven Life

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The Qualities of a Purpose-Driven Life







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If there wasn’t a God in heaven, we all wouldn’t have a purpose in life. God has a distinct plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and we need to know Him and seek Him to fulfill a purposeful life here on earth.

Developed for Purpose

While we know God has a plan for each of us, we may be very eager to jump-start into fulfilling our purpose in life. However, God needs to develop qualities/characteristics in us so we can properly fulfil our (His) purpose. All throughout Scripture, we can see examples of people who had to develop qualities to fulfill their purpose in life.

David wouldn’t have been the king that he was, if he didn’t spend some time in the pastures as a shepherd over a flock. It was in the fields he learned how to lead, protect, and work (I Samuel 17:36)! Joseph wouldn’t have been put in second command of all of Egypt if he hadn’t been in positions for God to give him dreams and visions.

Qualities for Purpose

While God will take some time to develop the necessary skills in each of us to help us fulfill our purpose, there are specific qualities we must develop as well. And, if we do them, we will never fall (II Peter 1:10):

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (II Peter 1:5–7, KJV).

Faith is the foundation of the qualities we must have to pursue and fulfil God’s purpose in our life. If we don’t have faith, we won’t trust God to develop us and we won’t follow His plan and fulfill our (His) purpose.

We need to add virtue to our faith in God. Virtue is our moral excellence—knowing and doing what is right in our day-to-day life. We are to seek and do those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8).

After virtue, we are to seek knowledge (general intelligence and understanding). King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, admonished his sons to seek after knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If we seek the Lord, He will provide the knowledge we need (Proverbs 2:6).

Self-control is another important quality to have in every area of our life. We must live a life filled with moderation and also sacrifice. We have a difficult time doing this in our human nature, but God helps to keep us in check and in submission to Him.

Additionally, after self-control, we are to add patience. This is the most difficult because as humans we don’t like to wait, and we don’t understand when things happen to us outside of our own expectations. But, God tells us the trying of our faith (diverse temptations) help to work patience in our life (James 1:2–3). Dealing with the world and the day-to-day circumstances all help develop the right qualities in our life to help us fulfil our true purpose.

Godliness is another key quality we must develop in our life. We’re told to be holy like God because He is holy (I Peter 1:16). If we do not seek after and practice holiness in our life, we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). God has provided great examples of people who have followed after godliness in Scripture, and we should imitate them as they imitated Christ (I Corinthians 11:1).

Finally, we must conquer brotherly love and charity. We must extend love and affection (prefer) our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:10), but then we must extend love to the stranger on the street. If we don’t have love for others, we cannot fulfill our purpose (I Corinthians 13:1).

Power to Achieve Purpose

If we remove any these qualities from our life, we cannot fulfill God’s purpose. But, how can we ensure that we don’t miss the mark? God will provide us with His divine power (II Peter 1:3–4). He promised we would receive power after the Holy Ghost comes upon us (Acts 1:8), and He is still pouring out His Spirit today. If we don’t have the Holy Ghost working in our life, we are missing the key ingredient that will help us achieve our purpose—we can’t live like God without it.

Knowing Our Purpose

If we follow after the qualities of a purpose-driven life, as identified in Scripture, it won’t take us long to figure out what our purpose is in life. If we are trying to live like Jesus, we will find His purpose is our purpose. We are to go everywhere and unto everyone and share the Gospel (Mark 16:15). We cannot do this effectively without foundational qualities in our spiritual reservoir. And, once we seek Him and preach the Gospel , we’re on our way to fulfilling our purpose in Him.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 06, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce

Prayer

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Prayer







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Communicating with God

Since the time when Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden, mankind has struggled to keep a one-on-one relationship with God. Before sin, God walked with Adam in the cool of the day and spoke to man with an audible voice (Genesis 3:8–9).

After the fall of man, God spoke to His people a majority of the time through elected vessels. However, some individuals found they could speak with God themselves (e.g., Abraham, Moses, and Samuel). When individuals spoke to God, they had supernatural results. The manner in which these individuals spoke to God was through prayer.

We can accomplish much in a constant prayer life with the Lord. He has told us if we humble ourselves, pray, and turn from our wicked ways, He will answer our prayers (II Chronicles 7:14). God promised He would maintain a divine relationship with His people if they followed these simple directions—to pray. However, when we forsake the Lord and neglect our prayer life, we will not experience the promises of God (II Chronicles 7:19–22). God’s promises are conditional and based on our relationship with Him.

Why Should We Pray?

Prayer helps us maintain our one-on-one relationship with God. If we don’t pray enough, we can lose out on God’s blessings. We pray because we need His power, healing, salvation, and everything else. Because we need God’s blessings to make it through each day, our prayer life needs to be a day-by-day activity. Scripture admonishes us to ask, seek, and knock, and when we do, we shall receive what we’re looking for in God (Matthew 7:7).

How Should We Pray?

Many people approach their prayer life as a way to fill time and recite empty saying. We’re told in Scripture not to pray with vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). We should not want to waste our time in prayer, but to make contact with God and feel His presence.

We’re given many examples in Scripture of how to pray, and we can find an example known as “the Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9–13. This was not meant for us to repeat, but to follow its order:

  • Open with praise and thanksgiving to God and for what He’s done in our life and others’
  • Pray for God’s will to happen on earth and in every situation
  • Pray for God’s blessings and provision on our life and for others’
  • Ask for forgiveness and ensure our forgiveness of others
  • Pray God keeps us from the enemy, gives us strength, and arms us with weapons to fight
  • Close with praise to God for what He will do

James also tells us the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). We are to confess our shortcomings to those who are strong in the Lord (spiritual leadership) and bind together in prayer with them to overcome our obstacles. If we follow after righteousness, our prayers will be powerful and will accomplish much in God’s kingdom.

When Should We Pray?

There is never a time that’s inappropriate to pray. Scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). Don’t ever stop praying! We are to keep our minds focused on the Lord at all times. No matter what we’re doing, we can pray for God to give us strength to make it through, lead us to complete the right actions, have the right spirit/attitude, order our steps, etc.

What Should We Expect When We Pray?

When we pray, we should expect God to answer! Sometimes God’s answer will be yes, no, or wait. Whatever His answer, we should know it’s God’s will, and the outcome will happen according to His timing.

We should also be careful to pray in accordance with God’s will. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for the cup to pass from Him, but He ended His prayer with, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39, KJV). Even if our flesh wants something to happen, we must always pray for God’s will. We need to follow the example Jesus set for us.

Pray Today

Today is an opportunity for each of us to commune with the Lord in prayer. It’s time to realize what prayer is all about, what it can accomplish in God’s kingdom, and what it will do for us in our relationship with the Lord.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 29, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Bishop Nave

The End Times: Part VI

Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part VI







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Last week, our study of the Book of Revelation and the End Times overviewed what will happen to the church after the rapture—our physical appearance/capabilities and our judgment before Jesus Christ. This week, we will talk about the 2 beasts John sees in the last days, the abomination of desolation, and battle of Armageddon.

First Beast—The Antichrist

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority (Revelation 13:1–2, KJV).

John describes the first beast in Revelation 13. The first beast is referencing the Antichrist as well as the government he will create. From this figurative language/imagery, we can discern the Antichrist will have power and authority, and will gather 10 nations together, leading to a one-world government.

The animal descriptions represents the nations that will be brought together under this governmental structure. Many theologians have tried to identify these nations, but regardless of the nation, we know these future nations will be under one rule of the Antichrist.

The Antichrist will lead people to worship Satan and will delude people into thinking they are not in a time of God’s wrath (Revelation 13:3–4). For the first half of tribulation, the Antichrist will be consolidating his power into a one-world government, but during the last half, he will be exercising his power. It is during this time, he will “make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7–10).

Second Beast—The False Prophet

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed (Revelation 13:11–12, KJV).

After the first beast (Antichrist) creates a one-world power, the false prophet will rise to create a religious system. He will be able to demonstrate supernatural powers and perpetuate the agenda of idol worship (Revelation 13:13–14). Continual miracles will be performed during this time to try to “explain away” the wrath of God (Revelation 13:15). Whether by economic drive or supernatural workings, people will be convinced to worship the devil.

It is this figure who will cause all to receive a mark in their right hand or their forehead. All who buy and sell will need to have this mark (Revelation 13:16–18). We don’t know what this mark is today, but we do know technology will play a huge part in bringing this to fruition.

Abomination of Desolation

During the first 3.5 years of the tribulation, the Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews. After gaining their trust, he will set up the abomination of desolation in the temple; he will defy the temple the Jews use to worship God (Daniel 9:27). Jesus even warns us that we will see the abomination in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)—all that has been prophesied will happen.

However, during the second 3.5 years, the Antichrist will set himself up and the one-world government to destroy God’s chosen people. The one-world system will persecute the Jews (Revelation 17:4–6). Once the system has fulfilled its goal in global Satan-worship, the system will be destroyed (Revelation 17:17–18).

Battle of Armageddon

Revelation 18 marks events leading up to the battle of Armageddon. The world’s epicenter of economic activity and power will be torn down (Revelation 18:1–4), and such destruction will culmination in the last battle—the Antichrist, economic system, false prophet, religious system, etc. will all be destroyed.

Demonic spirits will gather all to the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon), a place strategically placed between mountain ranges, which will be the best place to fight Israel (Revelation 16:13–14). When the world comes against Israel, Jesus will return to the earth (Acts 1:11) and fight for His chosen Nation (Revelation 19:11–13). He will come back to the earth with His armies (Revelation 19:14, Jude 1:14)—with 10,000s of His saints!

The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire and the rest will be slain with the sword (Revelation 19:20–21). The church needs to be ready for the rapture because in this last battle we need to fight with God, not against Him.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 08, 2016

The End Times: Part V

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part V







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Last week, our study of the Book of Revelation and the End Times revealed theories identifying the 2 witnesses in Revelation, their characteristics, and purpose. We also uncovered the symbolism of the woman and child—pointing to Israel (the church) and Jesus Christ—and ended with a discussion of the Marriage Supper. This week, we will continue our study on what we will experience after the rapture as well as the Judgment Seat of Christ.

How We Will Be After the Rapture

We learned last week the church will engage in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7), which will be an experience unlike anything else on this earth. However, there is much question as to what will happen to each individual after the rapture occurs. Scripture gives us varying clues.

Changed

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (I Corinthians 15:51–53, KJV).

Not everyone will be asleep (dead) during the rapture, but everyone will be changed. Scripture tells us this change will happen quickly, and we will be changed to something immortal.

Like Jesus

John gives further insight into our future state:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (I John 3:2, KJV).

John may be writing from the context of how He knew and recognized Jesus when He was alive during His 33.5 years on the earth, and/or during the 40 days after his resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:3). John saw Jesus “show” Himself to the disciples after the resurrection (John 20:19, 21:1), which theologians indicates a supernatural manifestation. On several accounts, Jesus appears in the middle of a room without entering through natural means.

Jesus was also a very tangible being; He encouraged Thomas to touch Him (John 20:27). Additionally, Scripture notes when Jesus had risen from the dead, He dined with His disciples (John 21:12–15; Acts 10:40–41).

Our immortal body will not have constraints of this life, but will be “glorified.” We don’t know if eating and drinking will be required nourishment, or if it will be something we will partake in only for fellowship purposes. And, we don’t know if we’ll be able to manifest ourselves in places like Jesus did to His disciples. All we know is we will be like Him—the rest is yet to be determined!

Judgment Seat of Christ

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not referring to the final judgment (White Throne Judgment). This is an event in itself where all caught away (raptured) believers will be held accountable for what they did or did not do in the kingdom (Revelation 14:13). Paul states:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences (II Corinthians 5:10–11, KJV).

Before we come to Christ, it’s about what He can do for us: salvation through baptism and remission of sins. But, after we’ve followed the plan of salvation (repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost), we are to work hard to minister unto others about the judgment of God and how to escape His wrath.

The Judgment Seat of Christ will be to determine our responsibilities and rewards in Christ’s new kingdom in the Millennial reign (a time period where there will be a new heaven and new earth). We will be judged on our priorities, if we were faithful stewards of treasures God put in our hands, if we sought His kingdom, if we loved others, if our goal was to be like Him, if we put His kingdom before our own life, etc.

Scripture tells us every man’s work will be put through the fire and judged (I Corinthians 3:10–15). If our works in life were only wood, hay, and stubble, we’ll have made heaven, but our reward won’t be as great as those who build their foundation on solid materials.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 01, 2016

The End Times: Part IV

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The End Times: Part IV







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Last week, our End Times study covered the opening of the 7 seals, blowing of the 7 trumpets, and pouring out of the 7 vials. This week, we will discuss the 2 witnesses, the “woman,” and what will happen to the church.

Two Witnesses

Time on the Earth

After the rapture of the church, and during the tribulatory period, there will be 2 witnesses on the earth. They will preach and prophesy to the world for 3.5 years (Revelation 11:3) and have supernatural abilities—power to breathe fire and conquer their enemies (Revelation 11:5), as well as control over the elements and the ability to smite people with plagues (Revelation 11:6).

After the witnesses finish their testimony, the beast (antichrist) will kill them (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem and everyone around the world will see them lying in the streets for 3.5 days (Revelation 11:8–9). Due to the technological era we live in, the media will most likely cover the event and broadcast it to the entire world.

Unfortunately, the world will rejoice over the death of these two witnesses and in their joy will send gifts to each other—the world may declare a national holiday (Revelation 11:10). But, after 3.5 days, the Lord will breathe life into them (Revelation 11:11) and will call them up to Heaven (Revelation 11:12).

Identifying the Witnesses

There are many schools of thought as to who the 2 witness could be. Some scholars believe the 2 witnesses are Moses and Elijah, as these were the 2 individuals Jesus spoke to on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2). Others claim the 2 witnesses are Enoch and Elijah as neither individual actually died (Hebrews 9:27). Enoch was “taken” because he walked so closely with God (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind (II Kings 2:11).

There are many other theories of who these could be; however, it’s important to note the witnesses will have power and there will be witnesses of their own resurrection (Revelation 11:11).

The Woman

Theologians speculate as to who the woman is mentioned in Revelation 12:1–7. Some believe this is the story of the Nation of Israel’s history from beginning to end. Similar typology of the sun, moon, and stars was used in reference to Joseph’s dream (Israel/Jacob’s son) (Genesis 37:9). However, in this setting of Scripture, much of the alliteration points back to God’s chosen covenant people—the Jewish nation.

On the whole, the woman is referring to the Nation of Israel and the man child referring to Jesus Christ. We can see history unfold as we read about the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7). Satan and his angels are cast out and they are left on the earth to torment the woman (Israel) and her child (Jesus) (Revelation 12:13). We are closing on the time when Satan and his demons have reign over the earth and evil being rampant in society.

The Church

Scripture tells us the church will be taken up to meet Jesus in the air (I Thessalonians 4:15–17)—this is known as the rapture. Those who are already dead who lived for Christ will rise first and then believers who are alive and remain on the earth will be “caught up.” It’s important to note, the rapture or “catching away” of the saints is not the second coming of Christ. Jesus doesn’t come down to the earth when He calls His church home—we will meet Him in the clouds (I Thessalonians 4:17). The second coming of Christ will be discussed in a future study.

After the rapture of the church, there will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). This event will occur somewhere during the time of man’s wrath upon the earth (during the tribulatory period).

Those who have endured this life, kept the faith, and made themselves ready will participate in the Marriage Supper (Revelation 19:9). Scholars believe Jesus’s words in Mark 14:24–25 were in reference to the Marriage Supper—Jesus would drink the fruit of the vine with His disciples in the kingdom of God. However, during this time God’s people will praise Him in Heaven and will rejoice with Him. It will be the best moment with the Lord we’ve ever experienced as believers.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 25, 2016