“I was wondering if you are Apostolic Pentecostal?”, I asked the Pastor that had answered the church phone. My heart sank as he answered, “No.”
I had spotted a sign on a garage door in the little town my mother lives in, advertising the fact that a Spanish Pentecostal church met in that home. I was hoping for a contact for my mother, so; though the sign said they were Pentecostal, I wanted to confirm their beliefs before pursuing the lead any further.
The voice on the other end of the phone quickly asked who I was. I simply answered that I was from out of town visiting my elderly mother and had noticed their church sign and was wondering if they preached Acts 2:38. The gentleman had a thick hispanic accent and now said something to me that made me think he hadn’t understood my question, so I rephrased it. I asked, “When your congregants receive the Holy Ghost, do they speak with other tongues as the Holy Ghost gives the utterance?” He answered, “Yes”. I thought that was promising, so I asked, “Then are they baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of their sins?” He paused for a moment, then responded with a slightly disappointed tone, “No. It is in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost.” I politely thanked him for the information and hung up.
I was disappointed too. Even though it was a Spanish work, I would have been very happy to find an Apostolic work starting up in my mother’s little town. I was frustrated as I thought of their congregants receiving the Holy Ghost, but then not taking on the Name of Jesus in baptism. As I thought of it, I could not help but visualize the breech birth of a baby. Those precious folk were receiving the Holy Ghost, so they had part of the born-again experience, they were born again of the Spirit, but, since they did not take on the Name of Jesus in baptism, they were not born again of the water. Like the breech baby, they were only born part way and without intervention, they will die that way. It’s like those that get baptized in Jesus Name, but never pray through to the in-filling of the Holy Ghost, born again of the water, but not of the Spirit…breech babies who die in childbirth because they have obeyed only part of Jesus’s command to be born again.
This brought another even more horrific visual to my mind, and that was of a late-term, partial birth abortion. I thought, “How can pastors pray their saints through to the Holy Ghost and then baptise them without calling on the Name of Jesus?” If they were praying for that same person’s healing, they would pray for healing in, “Jesus Name”. If they were in danger, they would cry out, “Jesus, save them!” They even bless their food in Jesus Name, but somehow they get stubborn when it comes to baptism and repeat the titles of the manifestations of our God but refuse to say His Name!
All of this was weeks ago, but God brought it to my remembrance this morning. His silent words were, “My people have ceased to ponder what is soon to come. They are not stirred or even troubled at what is to come.” He went on to say, “My children everywhere will soon experience need. This will cause a stirring and seeking. Those that are prepared and waiting for this final outpouring will rejoice when it comes. Those that are not prepared will not welcome it and may even resent the intrusion and work that will accompany it. Some will rejoice and care for the babies I send and some will do selective abortion. They will welcome those that can profit them and are self-sufficient but those that require an investment of time and resources will be culled from the flock. They will not be welcomed or encouraged. They will be aborted, some will be aborted even as they are being birthed.”
Yes, until persecution or hardship or calamity is at our own doors, we prefer life to be, “as usual”. Status quo is much more pleasant and comforting than thinking about the chaos we have all been hearing is coming like a freight train our way. I like to simply enjoy life too, but I cannot pretend I don’t know what is coming. We all shout the victory when “revival” is preached, but the revival coming our way is going to come like a tidal wave. Those churches that are prepared and have a plan will rejoice, but those that aren’t prepared will be overwhelmed and may or may not welcome it with open arms. My God had one last thing to say about this final outpouring. He said, “I will raise up another people of my Name in those cities where my churches do not want growth.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want some stones crying out in my place. Don’t wait for the tsunami to roll up over the horizon to have a plan. Have a simple Bible study available that even teens can give. Teach your foundational people how to baptise and let them practice. Teach and encourage your established people to work the altar. Make sure you have something in place to record visitor information. What if you have to feed people because of a calamity? Have a plan because this freight train is coming fast!
John 3: 1-21
1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven,even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.