Global Trends, Concerns and Challenges

From the Cathedral back to the House Church

Victor Choudhrie

Global Trends, Concerns u0026amp; Challenges

Yeshua Messiah came and changed religiosity to Relationships:

1. Change from Jewish Jehovah to Loving Father: He liberated Jewish Jehovah from the Holy of Holies in the temple and declared Him to be Father of all nations. John 4:21-24; John 20:17

2. Change of Venue: He destroyed the brick and mortar temple and shifted His residence back into the hearts and homes of the people. He changed the covenant written on the stone tablets and locked up in the Arch and rewrote it in the hearts and minds of the people. Now every place that we tread becomes the holy ground.  He appointed elders in “every city” to minister to the whole city. Matthew 24:1,2; Luke 19:9; Acts 7:48,49; Hebrew 10:16; Titus 1:5

3. Change of Priesthood: He disenfranchised the monopoly of Levitical priesthood and franchised “Priesthood of all believers” to be a light to the Gentiles. Every follower of Christ is now a Royal priest to the nations. In the Old animal blood Covenant, God spoke only to the priests and prophets who acted as “go betweens” but now with Yeshua’s blood Covenant, He speaks to us directly and so do we.  Both Jews and Gentiles need priests to mediate but not Christians. In the New Covenant we do not need a human priest (pastor) to mediate or pray for us as we now have a High Priest as our mediator with whom we can directly communicate boldly. Having a pastor as our priest violates our own priesthood and makes us lazy laity. Priests do not lead worship but the Body of Brethren (men and women) where every member of the Body functions as equal (1 Corinthians 12:25,27; 14:24-26; Romans 12:4; Ephesians 4:7; 1Peter 4:10,11). This is a non-negotiable principle of the New Covenant. Priesthood is not an office or a title but a function. 1Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:9,10; Exodus 19:5,6; Hebrew 4:6;14; 7:22-28

4. Change of Worship: The instruments of worship in the Old Testament were the sword, the fire and the sheep (Genesis 22:5-7). The instruments of worship in the New Testament are the double edged sword (the word of God- Hebrew 4:12;Ephesians 6:17); the fire (the Holy Spirit Acts 2:4; Luke 3:16) and the lost sheep (John 10:16). He redefined worship from offering four footed animals to offering two legged repentant Gentiles as spiritual sacrifice. Making abundant disciples became the primary form of worship to glorify God. Romans 15:16; John 15:8,16;
1Peter 2:5,6,9; Psalm 51:17

5. Change from Gathering to Scattering: He changed the temple-centric gatherings to scattering to the ends of the earth by pouring out His Spirit on all flesh to make disciples of all nations. The Ethiopian Eunuch, the Samaritan woman and Cornelius the Gentile could not meet God in the temple so He met them on the road, at the well and in their homes and declared their homes to be a house of prayer for all nations. Mark 11:17 Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:17,18

6. Change in Training for Titles: He shifted the formal academic training of religious leadership dominated by the scholarly Rabbi in Beth Midrash (House of Learning) to informal training in the real life situations, on the street, the market place and the homes and produced world changers. He brutally attacked the pyramidal hierarchical religious structure, refused titles like Rabbi or Master, washed the feet of His disciples and established a flat horizontal brotherhood of absolute equality. Long time formal training leads to non-biblical “office-based
leadership” with worldly power and authority, while calling and choosing is the work of the Holy Spirit and functions through empowerment to be His fruitful witnesses. Ministers are servants, not rulers. It has nothing to do with academics. Mark 10:37; Mat. 23:8; Luke 22:25,26; Eph.5:21; Acts 1:6-8; John 15:16

7. Change of Sabbath: He superseded the Sabbath and practiced, “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, offered incense (intercessory prayers) and repentant souls as pure offerings in heathen homes as the holy altar” Malachi 1:11.  This resulted in daily addition of new believers and multiplication of multiple generations of new disciples and planting of new churches every day. Acts 2:47; 6:1; 16:5

8. Change of Feasts: He changed the Bath of purification with water (repentance) for Jews in Jerusalem only into baptisms with water and fire (repentance and being born as new creation) for all nations everywhere. Instant baptism after repentance became the symbol of righteousness (constitution of the New Covenant).  

He changed the animal blood and body based Passover into His own blood and Body based Holy Communion. At that instant the Old Covenant for the Jewish nation became obsolete (Hebrew 8:13) and the New Covenant for all nations was ratified, signed and sealed with His own body and blood. The church is now the bread that must break and multiply. Anyone who takes the Holy Communion and does not go about proclaiming the gospel, takes it unworthily. Going back to the Sabbath, circumcision, tithe, professional priesthood, sacred buildings and the rituals is going back to Judaism, the works of the flesh. (1 Corinthians 11:24-29).  

He changed the Pentecost from the harvest of grains to the harvest souls with 3000
souls being baptized on day one. The movement engulfed the city and then spread to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

9. Change of Tithe: He emphasized restored relationship with our brother before making an offering at the altar (Matthew 5:25,26). He replaced the legal tithing into voluntary extravagant giving, not to the church but to be put at the apostles’ feet. He prioritized the honoring of father and mother above Korban (giving to the temple). Significantly tithing is not in the Ten Commandments but honoring mother and father is. In fact it is the first commandment with a promise. The Hebrew word kabad meaning ‘honor’ includes making rich or abounding in, while
the Greek word time’ meaning ‘honor’ actually means ‘money paid’. Biblical honoring is not eulogizing but financially supporting old parents, widows, orphans and of course double payment to servants of the Lord. (Mark 7:10-12; Exodus 20:12; 1Timothy 5:3; 17,18; Acts 28:10).

10. Economics: He radically changed the world economic paradigm by asking the rich to dispose of all their extra possessions, give it to the poor and follow him. In the kingdom economics there is no consumer culture of buying and selling for maximizing profit but only giving and receiving. There will be no Canaanites = Merchants. The disciples practiced it and so did Zacchaeus the tax collector and Yeshua declared that salvation has come to this house. He changed the financial dependence of the priests on the temple to volunteer system, “With these hands I have provided for my own needs and for those with me”. Matthew 19:21-24; Luke
6:38; 19:1-10; Acts 4:34-37; Zech 14:21; Revelation 18:11-19; Acts 20:34,35.

11. Change of Culture: He rejected Jewish exclusive culture and made it inclusive by eating and drinking Samaritan bread and water. He was called Galilean because He was from the Galilee of the Gentiles (Matthew 4:15). He went around systematically annihilating the caste, class, race and gender divide by declaringthat in Christ there is ne ither Jew nor Gentile, free or bond, male or female. He redefined murder as criticizing your brother and changed the hate paradigm of
tooth for tooth and life for life and replaced it with the culture of love your neighbour and your enemies. A Jew had to commit cultural suicide to become a Messianic Jew. (Galatians 3:28; Matthew 5:44)

12. Change from Religious Rituals to Kingdomization: He came not only preaching the kingdom of God but he lived it out in His daily life, and changed the stagnating hierarchical and oppressive structured religion into a dynamic, relational, experiential and replicating movement that would change the political, social and economic systems and transform waste cities and wilderness into the Kingdom of God as modelled in the Garden of Eden. The church is no longer just a Sunday worship center but an agent of catalytic change in the community which enforces
kingdom governance and values. Kingdom means a King+Domain where His Constitution operates. Our judgment no longer depends on our religiosity but on what we did for the hungry, thirsty, homeless stranger, naked, sick and the prisoners and by healing the broken-hearted, recovery of sight to the blind, liberating those in captivity and declaring good news of the return of Christ for judgment. Matthew 4:23; 25:31-46; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:33-38; Luke 4:18,19.
The Old Covenant was broken forever when the Jews sold Him for thirty pieces of silver and plowed it into a potter’s field. The symbolism is that when a baked earthen pot is broken, it can never be repaired again. (Zechariah 11:10-13; Matthew 26:15)

13. Change from Non-Reproducing Synagogue to Multiplying Simple Church: It required ten members to qualify as a Jewish synagogue. He reduced the size of the Bride to where two or three congregate to eat, meet, gossip the gospel and multiply, as the authentic church because the Groom is present. Matt. 18:18-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1Cor. 14:24-26.

14. He Set Goals for Us and made us Purpose Oriented: His heartbeat is to see all nations, tongues and tribes to be gathered before His throne to worship Him by discipling, baptizing, equipping and sending them out to the ends of the earth, “As the Father has sent me so I send you.” It is not a sit, soak and stagnate Sunday religion but an everyday ‘perform or perish’ commission and command. Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21.

The changes mentioned above are not optional extra add-ons. The New Covenant (NC) replaces the Old Covenant (OC). We cannot revert back to David for our noisy instrumental worship, or Solomon to justify church building or to Moses for the tithe, for which there is not a single verse to substantiate in the New Testament.  The NC makes the OC “obsolete” (Hebrew 8:6,7,13). Any deletion or addition is excess baggage and makes us a duplicate church full of hybrid Christians which fatally chokes kingdom expansion. The NC is the benchmark against which we must evaluate and measure the degree of hybridization in our church practices and then make the hard choice either to stay put and stagnate in the Old animal blood covenant or go about surgically removing the malignancy until we have returned to the Yeshua’s New blood covenant with its intended form and function.

Introduction: The longest lasting Revival in Church history took place during the Communist persecution in China from 1947 to late nineties. During this period the Christian population grew from one million to the present hundred + million without foreign missionaries, dollars, pastors, tele-evangelists, leaders, sacred buildings, Sunday worship service, guitars, Bibles or tithing. All these have sneaked back through the backdoor and have successfully killed the movement.

“The early churches were strong in faith and grew in numbers daily” (Acts 16:5).  There was both quality and quantity. But even in the first century, the seven churches of the Revelation of St. John were already lukewarm and corrupted. Then came Bishop Ignatius (Martyred AD 110) who ruled that the Bishop was to be treated on par with the Lord and that no baptisms or love feasts (Holy Communion) could be celebrated without the presence of the clergy, thus introducing the Reverend culture, killing the Body Ministry of 1 Corinthians 14:26 led by the Brethren (fraternity of men and women). This Episcopal decree resulted in 1% of the clergy dominating as legislators, administrators and worship leaders and dehumanized over 99% of believers as laymen. Then came the Roman Emperor Constantine (CE 272-337), a sun worshipping hybrid Christian who did a lot of good but also imposed the solar cross instead of the Menorah the lamp, as the sign of the church (Revelation 1:20). He built the first Cathedral, appointed
professional clergy, declared Sun-Day as a day of worship, appointed himself the virtual Pope, banned the house churches and herded all believers in the brick and mortar buildings and called it a church and corrupted the church for 1700 years.  However the authentic church survived in secret, often illegal house churches. Then came Martin Luther’s Reformation (AD 1545) who preached “Sola Scriptura and Priesthood of all Believers” but in practice further concretized church
structures and the Reverend culture by banning house churches. With the voices of the apostles and prophets suppressed, the modern church has firmly planted herself in Babylon and sucked in the tide of the world. She has gone into the ways of the flesh and everyone is doing his own thing. Judges 21:25

The church has however, undergone cataclysmic changes, especially in the last decade, as had not taken place in centuries. With 80-100 million followers in secret house churches in China; 100,000 house churches planted in India; one million evangelical Latin Catholics now worshipping in Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) and five million Americans in 30,000 house churches and several other countries reporting explosive growth, the return of the prodigal church back to the
house church is a full circle reversal to God’s intended original form and function.  It seems that the 2000 years of incubation period is over and suddenly the green shoots are sprouting everywhere in the spiritual landscape to welcome Christ the King.

Of course, some of these are only recycling institutional Christians (IC) from the pews to the sofa without further penetration, but in many countries they are changing the demographic profile. The house churches (also called simple church, organic church, biblical church, underground church, New Covenant church etc.) are scripting and dictating new rules and roles. It is not the location or the rituals but the Body life and replicatability that distinguishes her. The house churches are a living room revolution and thank God that like the first century Jerusalem house
church movement, they are mushrooming again. They are no longer a fad but a trend that is destined to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).

Vision: Our Lord had very clear vision: “For this reason I came into the world”, 1.To seek and to save that which is lost and to set the captives free (Luke 4:18;19:10); 2. To destroy the works of the Devil (1John 3:8); 3. To give abundant life (John 10:10) and; 4.To be a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Then he set his face like flint and without wavering marched to his death on the cross.

Sadly many Christians and many churches do not even have a vision document, but fortunately some Christians are now seeing the big picture and turning into global thinkers and implementers of God’s end-vision that all nations, tongues and tribes must be gathered before the throne of God to worship Him. There is a growing realization that the harvest is actually ready and we should be busy reaping the harvest and bringing in the sheaves and not just be spectators. (John
4:35; Luke 10:1,2; Psalm 126:5,6)

The precipitous fall in the number of major (100,000 or more) Unreached and Unengaged People Groups (UUPGs) from 639 worldwide and 345 List in South Asia to 170 or so in South Asia is a very encouraging sign (Matthew 24:14). But adopting and reaching UUPGs is not the end of the task as hundreds of millions remain Unreached and Unengaged with each major People Group (PG) requirin customized strategy to be discipled and mentored “until the fullness of the Gentiles
has come in” (Romans 11:25). Our God is God of covenants. He made covenant with Adam, Noah, Abraham and David and many others. While the New Testament model of house churches make a covenant to fulfill the Great Commission of going and making disciples of all nations, to the ends of the earth, the Constantinian church makes no such covenant and hence remains fruitless, directionless and therefore barren and worthless.

We are seeing early signs of traditional churches moving into house churches and the house churches moving into worksite, market place, board rooms, the parliament and eventually the United Nations. The biggest challenge for explosive growth and stunning multiplication is to infiltrate every secular job right where Christians work and earn their living. Fulfilling the Great Commission is not just a desirable option but is becoming a fundamental requirement to qualify as a Christian. The Christian-centric church is rapidly becoming Gentile-centric, to a dynamic multi-cultural, multi-language and multi-ethnic tapestry. “Completion thinking” is rapidly replacing status quo mindset.

Prayer: Proseuchomai meaning prayer, includes making a vow (covenant). Prayer is no longer a private shopping list but covenanting with Elohim to bring His kingdom here on planet earth. Believers are increasingly praying kingdom prayers (Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth), touching the very heart of God and transforming lives and nations (Ask me and I will give you nations for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. Ps. 2:8).
Prayers for healing and deliverance, for unreached people groups, finding the man of peace and planting churches is rearranging paradigms and shaking the nations.

AD 2000 Movement birthing prayer explosion for the unreached 10/40 Window countries, is resulting in Saturation Church planting Movement (SCPM) all over the world. The knee jerk effect of 9/11 trauma precipitated a massive prayer response which is creating a huge turbulence in the Arab/Muslim world. Prayer walking, all night prayer, nation-wide and even global prayer events are taking place. Coupled with individual and corporate fasting and putting on ashes and sack
cloth (repenting), is demolishing strongholds, shaking the very foundation of the kingdom of darkness, changing governments and rearranging religious landscapes.  All great church planting movements are preceded and bathed by great prayer movements. “Bless me” prayers are giving place to kingdom prayers, “Bless all the nations of the earth”.

The New Wineskins: The cerebrals (theologians) are taking the backburner (Institutional church). Movers and shakers are adopting cities, regions and nation (People Groups) and turning their world upside down. The little trickle from the pews to the living room sofas will soon become a mighty stream, unshackling millions out into the harvest field. The house church is not the destination but only a debriefing center and a transit camp for launching out into the enemy camp. The destination is not the brick and mortar holy building but possessing the land.

The very first wine of 3000 believers practiced four things 1. Apostolic teaching, 2.Fellowship (Household of God) 3. Breaking of bread 4. Intercessory prayer. This resulted in 1. Fear of the Lord on the people, 2. Signs and wonders, 3. Sharing of material blessings, 4. Going out to find the lost sheep, 5. Breaking bread from house to house, 6. People rejoicing, 7. And the result was, the Lord added to their numbers daily. Within a few days 5000 additional “men” (families) joined the church and soon it was a torrent of multitudes of disciples that could not be numbered. (Acts 2:42-47, 4:4; 6:2).

All these components are growth accelerators and produce maximum yield with minimum persecution as people come rejoicing. As the house churches become more and more like the New Testament model, daily addition becomes the benchmark. But daily addition is not the goal but producing an unstoppable movement beyond human control through rapid multiplication. We bring a bride not to grow in size but multiply hence focus on multiplication and not church
(Bride) growth. Acts 16:5

Leadership Ladder: There are three main levels of leadership operating now. The Top Leadership has apostolic vision, strategy, passion and the ability to clearly communicate and raise resources to fulfill that vision. The vision gets flawed when Kingdom building is replaced with personal empire building. The Second Level Leadership, the master trainers build up the infrastructure (foundation) by teaching, training and mentoring multiple generations of Timothies (2Timothy 2:2). The larger the apostolic infrastructure the greater the yield. The new believers, who form The Third Tier, are the real kingdom expanders. This is where the rubber meets the road. They have experienced healing and deliverance; and open closed doors and remove blindness through their testimonies, “where as I was blind but now I see”. It is a major folly to make them earn their maturity by sitting in your church. They must be nurtured on site and sent out as witnesses.  Remember the Samaritan woman. Remember He has rejected the wise, the noble and the mighty and blessed the weak, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers and the persecuted to be earth inheritors. Matthew 5:1-10; Acts 1:8; Hebrew 8:11; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

The cerebral Christians, like Paul’s synagoguians, play secondary role of maturing new believers in sound doctrines, as they do not have the competencies to disciple persons of another faith. The primary force for opening the frontiers are the new believers. Blind eyes and closed doors are opened by power preaching through signs and wonders and through witnessing in their own culture and context (Acts 26: 18; Romans 15:19). Academic theology is of little use in this phase.

In the second phase, “Scriptures are profitable for instruction, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and righteousness” (2Tim 3:6). Just like in Yeshua’s ministry, the healed leper, the seeing blind, the hearing deaf and the leaping lame, it is the brand new believers, the Insiders, who are the real kingdom expanders.  They are the ones who are re-painting the religious canvas of the nations through their powerful testimonies.

Pew warming or sofa squatting is not the destination. While the institutional church is busy writing its own tombstone and marching into oblivion, the God’s army marches on her knees advancing on mats and mud floors to the ends of the earth to take possession of her eternal inheritance (Acts 26:18).

The world is wicked place to live, not because what the Devil is doing but because Christians are not doing what they should be doing.

Mentoring Multiple Generations: This is going to be buzz thing in the coming days. Disciples who rapidly replicate multiple generations of disciples, (2Tim.2:2) thus maximizing potential of every believer into a champion disciple maker, baptizer and equipper, is the key to hyper-acceleration. Boxed in Pastors and Evangelists are being empowered and changing into itinerant Apostles, Prophets, anointed Teachers and shepherds of the fivefold ministry gifted equippers. New believers have a burden for reaching their own oikos (extended family and fraternity). These new believers are not interested in ministry of resurrection of the dead churches (revival and renewal). They are redefining the church as an assembly of passionate Royal Priests (1Peter 2:9) and zealously taking ownership of their kingdom (king + domain), adding to the statistics, changing religious demography, enforcing kingdom values and kingdom culture. (Luke 12:32)

Leadership is no longer knowledge (academic) based but Christ based. Transition of power from the clergy to “no bodies” is the greatest change that is taking place. God is increasingly choosing foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1Cor. 3:11; 1:27). Leadership is no longer congregation or pulpit bound but dynamic and people bound. The church is reinventing herself from inward centripetal force, “churching the unchurched”, to outward centrifugal force,
“unleashing Yeshua Messiah everywhere”. Baptisms have shifted from the church baptistery to pools, ponds, rivers and bathtubs. Remember Jesus was a baptizer and He commanded each one of us to be baptizers. (John 4:1,2; Mat. 3:11; 28: 19)

Kingdomization: Metamorphosis of merely worship-centered churches into catalytic agents of holistic community restoration. Not just religious centers but that which bring abundant life to the whole community. Yeshua did not come to plant brick and mortar churches. He came preaching the kingdom as well as living the kingdom in His daily life in the context of the community. Church planting is not our goal (Math. 16:18) but only a means for Kingdomization of the community and reconciling the whole creation (2Cor.5:17-20). The House church is not the
only way but the Body of Yeshua Messiah has many expressions. Kingdom culture includes love, joy, peace, justice and abundant life with social, political, economic, health, educational and ecological transformation.

Kingdomization includes redeeming the professions, so that the worksites, offices, businesses, the market place, the board rooms and the parliament become outward authentic expressions of the kingdom of God. Demolishing anti-Christ culture and planting Godly counter-culture in our secular jobs must become a passion or us.  Peter started his ministry in his boat, Cornelius in the army headquarter, Proconsul Sergius in the governor’s residence, the eunuch in the ministry of finance in Ethiopia, Pricilla and Aquila in their tent making workshop, Lydia while selling expensive purple clothes to the rich and powerful and Phoebe in Rome while conducting her multinational business. The real deal is to be fruitful, multiply, fill the industry, subdue it and have dominion over it, right where God has put us. Genesis 1:28

The congregation model is being replaced with community model. “Church culture” is being replaced by “Kingdom culture”. Accountability (authority) structures are being replaced by relational equations (spiritual fathers and mothers). The colonial model of appointed (salaried) leadership is changing to selfsupporting fruit bearing anointed leadership. People of other faiths do not respect paid preachers. Democratization (people’s will be done: government by the people, for the people and of the people) where everybody does his own thing, is being
replaced by Monarchy, where the kingdom laws (God’s will be done) of the King of kings operate through apostles and prophets. The kingdom is an ever expanding concept and we the must keep on expanding it until, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever” Revelation 11:15. This depends on intentional strategy of loving God, loving each other, loving our neighbour and praying for our persecutors. To achieve his objectives Yeshua bypassed the hierarchical religious structure and went straight to the people.

The Devil comes to steal and to kill and to destroy (John 10:10). The Devil is the Chief Editor of the media and the news papers which are his mouth piece, daily screaming about stealing, killing and destroying. The appalling Human Development Index (HDI) in terms of longevity, health care, education, and income in the third world is the direct result of the Dragon’s demonic stranglehold.  Where else but the house churches, to begin the change process? The real indicator of Kingdomization is the change in the headlines.

Training: Neurological sciences have come to validate the interactive house churches. Research shows that sermons/lectures and tuitions especially by authoritarian figures like pastors and professors create dependency and produce oxymorons, while interactive sessions produce creative challenges which develop problem solving dexterity. Toppers do not necessarily make the best problem solvers. Harvard and Yale give first preference to home schooling over institutional schooling. This is reflected in diminishing role of seminaries which offer extensive and expensive classroom based education (transfer of knowledge).  Years of interaction with Christians, by Christians, for Christians from Christian books written by Christians for Christians only creates a huge disconnect with the lost people of the world, the real object of the training. There is growing realization that seminaries train professional job seekers for the religious market
and not kingdom expanders. There is increasing role of interactive house gatherings as equipping hubs for hands on practitioners to mentor champion disciplers, baptizers and equippers to fulfill The Great Commission. The Jewish Beth Midrash or the house of learning also means house of interaction. Unlike our tame and boring seminaries, the Midrashas are called Pilpeliya (hot pepper)
because of the hot interaction (literally yelling) that takes place there. Yeshua interacted all day long in the synagogues, houses and conducted highly interactive, daily road shows. Orthodox Hindus and Muslims will not be seen dead or alive inside the colonial model of a traditional church. Very few come to Christ through intellectual discourses. The objective is not to catch stray fish here and there but to create a mass movement by incarnating Christ in their hearts and minds and redeeming their culture. Vast majority of them come through power manifestation such as healing and deliverance and increasing numbers, especially Muslims are coming through dreams, visions and direct revelation, just like Paul did. The birth of Yeshua Messiah and the church was marked by a burst of dreams, visions, and prophecies with angelic hosts joining in. It has all been replaced by a program based church led by professional event managers. The world does not need event managers but worksite ministers.

The Mismatch: There is a total mismatch between Yeshua’s dialogical style and
the way the modern church functions. Leaders are equippers rather than
sermonizers. Long term formal training prepares pulpit orators for the faithful,
while interactive house churches prepare fishers of men for those outside the fold.
Not the Sunday anointed sermon but continual contextualized discipling provides
connectivity with the people of other faiths and is the key to church reproduction
and multiplication. The content of the training material and teaching activities are
being filtered through the Great Commission grid and kingdom framework.
Producing bookish scholars, with the Great Commission buried under a pile of
books, is no longer the preferred destination but mentoring champion disciple
makers, baptizers and church planters. Shift from theological classes to the masses
should be the destination and not the pulpit.
Performance evaluation: is on the basis of soul winning skills (fruit bearing)
rather than oratory skills (John 15:5). Not academic qualifications but past
performance is being recognized as the best predictor of future accomplishment.
Yeshua, Peter, John and even Paul were “achievers” rather than orators. Quality of
worship, academic excellence, gadgetry, large crowds, big budget, churning out
large number of seminary graduates or impressive numbers of missionaries on the
field are no longer the benchmark but the number of diptisms, number of villages
and People Groups reached and effectiveness in changing the religious
demographic landscape. Not increasing your workforce but optimizing their
effectiveness is the way forward. The primary objective of teaching, training,
coaching and mentoring is for embedding the DNA of passion for the Great
Stability and sustainability are no longer the buzz words. Mobility, flexibility and
multiplicativity are the key indicators. God will not give you 100,000 souls in a
hurry unless you first make an apostolic covenant (to be blessing to all the nations)
and then build a credible apostolic infrastructure of competent “disciplers,
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baptizers, equippers and senders” who have the capacity to mature and multiply
multiple generations of disciplers to bring forth thirty, sixty, hundred and even
thousand fold fruit that remains (Isa. 60:22). The larger the apostolic net of “skilled
fishermen”, the bigger the catch.
Raise the Bar on Diptisms: History teaches us that charismatic leaders brought
thousands into the kingdom who then melted away into nothing for lack of follow
up teams. The delinquent church must delete divisive denominational practices;
stop speaking with forked tongue and start preaching and practicing networking so
that there are no holes in the fishing net. This will help the Body to catch large
number of fish. Yeshua baptized more than John (John 4:1). Peter opened his
account with 3000 dips on day one because he had a team of 120 Pentecostal
baptizers. We must raise the bar on the number of diptisms to catch up with the
birth rate of the nations (180K dips per day worldwide today to one million per
day) just to break even and plan even higher trajectory to catch up with the
backlog. Yeshua did not command us to go and get baptized but to be baptizers
(Matt. 28:19).
The end time formula that our Father has given to us, “the little one shall become
one thousand”. All you and all your disciples have to do is to diligently disciple
just one person into the kingdom every month and you will become one thousand
in ten months. If all the two billion Christians of the world were mobilized to do
this, then the remaining four billion people of the globe can be evangelized in just
two short months. More realistically if 90% Christians were considered
dysfunctional, the remaining 10% can still bring back Christ on earth in our own
life time. (Isaiah 60:22).
Money multiplication: Wealth is not silver, gold, money in the bank, stocks or
property. Wealth comes from an old English word “weal” (well being) and “th”
(condition), meaning “the condition of well being”. Economics comes from Greek
word oikonomia meaning “the management of household”. If our households are
managed biblically then we will not be subject to consumerism, market
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manipulation and meltdown orchestrated by god Mammon but the economy will be
kingdomized which means that there will be honesty, transparency, moral integrity
and equitable distribution of resources. It is time the church redefined the world
economic order and assured abundant life for all. Encounter with Yeshua resulted
in total transformation of Zacchaeus through redistribution of wealth. House
churches are the key for changing the economics of the world. (1Timothy, 3:3-5;
1John 1:2,4; John 10:10)
As it is, just 5% of the families own 90% wealth of the nations while we all work
for them. This is because they know how to make the money work for them. Even
though we are called to be the head and not the tail and lend to the nations,
Christians remain the tail because the church does not teach sound biblical
financial principles other than ad nauseum and ad infinitum teachings on tithing.
The church must realize that the whole world is the stakeholder to whom she is
accountable. God owns it all and we are called to be His wealth managers so that
there is equitable distribution to all. Millions entering the house churches are
ravaged by poverty and its devastating consequences. It is not the governments,
multinationals or the rich people who will change the financial profile of the world.
They are part of the problem and not the solution.
Through biblical principles of money multiplication, wealth management and job
creation, new believers are turning into entrepreneurs, which is giving them
abundant life and also making them rulers over 5/10 cities (Luke 19:11-27). “The
earth is mine and all the silver and gold is mine and all the cattle on the thousand
hills are mine; says the Lord. The heaven and the highest heaven belong to the
Lord but the earth He has given to us” (Haggai 2:8; Ecclesiastes 10:19; Psalm
115:16). Subduing the earth includes subduing wealth. The future house churches
will be economic powerhouses fueling spiritual, social, political, environmental
and economic revolution. Multiplication of disciples includes money
multiplication. The church must change from economic tail to economic head
(Deut. 28:12,13). Making money through ministry is out and making ministry
through money is in.
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Donor Agencies are increasingly leveraging outcome oriented ministries rather
than traditional ministries, which is rapidly expanding the kingdom. Short term
funding however leads to donor hopping by the mission leaders which takes their
prime time from the mission field. Asking zillions of questions (in the name of
reporting) after laying the gifts at the Apostle’s feet is not biblical. It is a sign of
controlling spirit and shows lack of trust. It also encourages funky leaders lusting
for Yankee dollars and leaves behind the real performers on the field. There is an
encouraging sign that there is greater openness among donors. They are
increasingly getting together, consulting each other and prioritizing ministries.
House churches function without external support. Transitioning from salaried
pastors to bi-vocational volunteer church planters is a very healthy trend. It is the
training of the leaders that needs the money. Finding alternative sources of funding
for training from the harvest field must be our priority.
Cultural Indigenization: There is a huge tension between Westernized
Christianity and the indigenous cultural expressions of ecclesia. There has been a
massive cultural invasion and colonization of the indigenous church from the west.
Modern Christianity is just another name for Western culture and needs to be
addressed just as Judaizers and circumcisers had to be dealt with in the New
Testament times. It is not necessary to be called “Christian” and go to church to
connect with God. Hindus and Muslim followers of Christ will be in heaven while
maintaining their cultural identity. Our goal must be to incarnate Yeshua Messiah
in the hearts of people within their own heart language and cultural context.
Reaching the unreached requires a completely different syntax than what is used
from the pulpit and in the Christian circles. Institutionalized Christianity
dismantles new believers’ cultural and socio-economic moorings. To precipitate
exponential growth among the Jews, Paul circumcised Timothy in broad day light
and instantly! “The churches were strengthened in faith and grew in numbers
daily” (Acts 16:1-5). For qualitative and quantitative growth circumcise (debug)
church vocabulary and redeem cultures in which they understand their spirituality,
morality and identity.
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Finding the “Hidden treasure” and making known the “Unknown God”, just as
Paul did in Athens, is being increasingly used as bridges to reach people of other
faiths. Paul did not take Christ to Athens; He was already there in their sacred
texts, poems, stories and culture. By all accounts Paul was a failure in Athens with
no miracles, no baptisms and no churches planted. But he had sown the seed and in
due course of time, Athens became the capital of eastern Christendom. Similarly
the present day pool of influential crypto believers will greatly swell until it goes
critical and explode.
Initially Yeshua taught his disciples to launch out into the deep and catch boat load
of small fish. Later he upgraded their skills to cast the net in the shallow waters
(He did not say launch out into the deep this time) and catch 153 great big fish
(Luke 5:4; John 21:6). Governor of Cyprus, treasurer of Ethiopia, Cornelius the
Centurion, Lydia a seller of purple and Phoebe a multinational business woman
were great influencers. It is time for the church to shift from fishing in muddy
waters of low caste untouchable high profile intellectuals, business people and
Dalits (crushed) and move to the next level of catching high caste priests, the big
fish, who are influencers of the society. The church does not need Western garb,
she needs fishing gear.
Theory and Practice; There is problem both with orthodoxy (theology which does
not focus on the apostolic agenda of fulfilling the Great Commission); as well as
with orthopraxis (church practices like the church building, the clergy, the Sunday
service, sermons, music, ritualized sacraments, tithing, hierarchy, programs, teleevangelism,
mega-churches, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday etc.). All these are
being recognized as institutionalized merchandization of faith and exploitation of
the gullible. The world cannot change until the “Laymen” suffering from
grasshopper syndrome, take their butts off the pews and recognize that they are
Kingfishers (Royal Priests) to their friends, neighbours, colleagues and clients in
their neighborhood, worksites and businesses.
Mercifully many are shifting into “best practices” of the New Testament pattern of
house churches such as becoming participatory, breaking bread from house to
house and celebrating Good Friday as the Day of Sacrifice, Easter as the
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Resurrection Day and Pentecost as a Day of Harvest of souls. (1Cor. 14:26; Acts
“Systematic” theological training for boxed in pastors is being replaced with
“menu based”, live, interactive, real time customized training, delivered on site, for
converting grasshoppers into kingfishers. The absolute minimum anyone with a
Christian label must do is to go out and make a small difference in the world s/he
lives in, as a fitting tribute to Christ. Four years of seminary training produces
pulpit focused orators while four days of church planting seminar is producing
apostles with a vision to reach the ends of the earth.
The New wine is gathering in new wineskins, which not only looks radically
different but behaves and functions differently. It is a foolish army general who
plans a prolonged war on a long term basis. Quick victory must be the objective.
Yeshua Messiah commanded us to reap the harvest now and not four months later
(John 4:35). Church is becoming more relational (household of God) and vertical
hierarchy is giving way to the horizontal. The House church is not just a shift of
venue from the pew to the sofa but is a nodal agency with an apostolic agenda for
replicating the Garden of Eden model all over the earth. Like the Hall of Tyrannus,
the house church is becoming the nodal point for trumpeting the gospel all over
and going global. We need to have minimum of organization and maximum of
organism (Acts 19:9,10).
The Women have played a key role in the spread of the gospel from the inception
of the church when Mary of Magdala, a reformed prostitute, carried the good news
of the resurrection of Yeshua to his disciples. Lydia, Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia an
apostle (Romans 16:7), Mary the mother of Mark, Apphia, Nympha and many
other women opened their homes which became discipling hubs. All the house
churches mentioned in the New Testament were led by women. The modern day
Pentecostal church of Azusa Street in 1906 was founded by a core group of
eighteen Afro-American women. Thanks to women that the
Pentecostal/Charismatic church is now the largest and the fastest growing church
with 500 million strong membership, even as gender benders continue to oppress
women based on distorted versions of Paul’s statements.
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Kitchen church continues to be the fastest growing church today. Non-literate and
non-theologically trained women are not lusting for upward migration to the pulpit
but downward to the lost people. They are fulfilling Rebecca’s blessing, “You will
bear tens of thousands of children who will possess the gates of the enemy.” (Gen.
24:60). Empowerment of women to go and make disciples, baptize, equip and send
has been the single most significant change that has changed this decade.
The Youth: There has been an alarming exodus of the youth from the traditional
church. They have tried many things including electronic music etc but it has not
really worked. Lucifer was choir leader of the heavenly music team. In our
interactive house churches, interestingly it is mostly the young people from other
communities who are becoming followers of Christ. Because of persecution, there
has been diminishing role of loud music of any kind. While the “qualified” but
culturally misfit youth (clad in jeans and T shirt) passing out of Bible schools look
for paid jobs, the “unqualified” rural house church product reaches out to his/her
oikos (friends, family and the community) without expecting monitory gains. The
time for professional Reverends is over as the volunteers take over.
In the meanwhile infant mortality rate, especially among the girl child has gone
down substantially. Millions are now going to schools while many more millions
are still grazing cattle. Some missions are doing a commendable job of introducing
Christ through literacy classes. This 4/14 Window GenNext is undergoing cultural
hybridization and more open to the gospel and ready to change. Reaching this
population segment is the biggest challenge of the decade. However, it would be a
folly to focus on youth in isolation. In the east, seminary trained youth are not
accepted as spiritual leaders by the village elders. Biblical model is inclusive and
involves the whole household.
Fatherlessness: Rapid urbanization in search of quick prosperity is destroying
fatherhood like nothing else (James 4:13,14). Almost 40% of children do not sleep
in their biological father’s home. Even where they live together, the children rarely
have any fellowship with the father, as he leaves early in the morning and comes
late and brings back work. Any free time is spent on the mobile phone, watching
TV or provoking children at the dinner table. Fifty years ago a child could
reasonably expect to spend his youth with family. No longer is this true as the
father has put his tent in Sodom of prosperity cult and worships Babylonian
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Mammon (James 4:13). The fatherless children suffer from rejection and naturally
drift into alcohol, drugs and sex to fulfill their craving for love. The house church
based on Deut. 6:1-14, (diligently teach your children while they are sitting, lying
or walking so that they may not go after other gods), is the Magna Carta for
restoring relationships in a dysfunctional family. A father has to be a priest to the
family first before he can be priest to the nations (1Timothy 3:5). Glitzy church
programs are not the answer but healing broken hearts and homes and wiping
every tear is the challenge. Children below the age of twelve years (Bar Mitzvah)
were not allowed in the temple but Yeshua Messiah reversed it by commanding,
“Let the little children come unto me”. It is time the church took the children’s
ministry more seriously than just sending them to Sunday school. Fathers need to
prepare their children so well that they can intelligently dialogue with elders just as
the boy Yeshua did. Matthew 19:14
E-Blasting: Internet is rapidly shrinking the world as a global village. Teaching,
prayer requests, information and host of other things can be blasted to the members
of the network in a jiffy. Christians are far behind Muslims who are already
planning e-Jihad (suitcase nuclear bombs which can be exploded though the
internet). Mean while a segment of the younger generation that literally lives in the
cyber space. To reach them we have to plant cyber churches.
Mobile cell phones are now ubiquitous. Bible and teaching materials can be loaded
as a very convenient learning tool. Instant short messages (SMS) can be sent to
inform or send instant prayer requests. Power point presentations and e-learning on
interactive digital platform is substantially reducing the learning span and
increasing the information highway. Even though the electronics can never replace
the one on one discipling, the church must seriously train techno-evangelists to
reach those who live in PC environment and cyberspace. “Virtual church” through
blogging, video-conferencing and Skype is already a reality. Muslims are already
running a very effective, round the clock user friendly interactive program on
“How to convert to Islam”. It is time to wage full scale “air war” through radio
and internet against the prince of the power of the air. Ephesians 2:2
While God is working to a plan and keeping His schedule, most churches lack
strategic visionaries and planners who bring direction and purpose and save the
church from fruitless programs. Flawed vision at the top is rampant and road to
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disaster. When Communism collapsed at the Berlin wall, the church was not ready.
Now that Islam is on the boil and Hinduism and Buddhism are in turbulence and
Mammon (money) worshippers are suffering meltdown, the church is the only
institution that is not ready. Naturally the radicalized and hawkish leadership is
filling the vacuum. Verbal bombing from the pulpit must give birth to action plan
otherwise it is just a noisy gong.
Internet is a fantastic tool for short-circuiting distances and conducting a live twoway
training global leadership in “sound doctrine, best practices, strategic
planning, management, innovation and entrepreneurship” even in turbulent
environment to those who are already in the ministry as well as those who are
holding secular jobs and wish to be involved in ministry, in the privacy of their
homes. Almost all the programs of the churches, such as Bible study classes,
prayer cells; women’s, youth and children’s programs working in isolation are
fruitless stuckages. They need to merge, so that all engines start firing
simultaneously to dethrone the kingdom of darkness and enthrone the kingdom of
light. Today the institutional church is the biggest stuckage in expansion of the
kingdom. Removing “stuckages” is the key to acceleration.
Orality: All great religions and cultures have been sustained through songs,
poems, drama and storytelling. Haggadah or “telling” was the most important
component of Jewish feasts where the elders told all the great things Hashem (The
Name) had done for them. A sermon however anointed is soon forgotten, but a
story is not only retained but replicated. Yeshua taught through parables and
without parables He taught nothing (Math. 13:34). If it worked for him then there
is no reason why it should not work for us. Four billion people of world belong to
the oral culture. The Bible is the story book of God. While the big churches are
busy marketing themselves and in the process mongrelizing brand Jesus into
merchandise, it is the simple story tellers who are turning the world upside down in
favor of Christ today.
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Research and Information: We depend both on revelation as well as and on
information (1Corinthians 14:6,15). Gone are the days of haphazard evangelism.
Mission agencies are now systematically researching Nations, Tongues and Tribes,
their geographical locations and cultures and so on and reaching them intentionally
and proactively. Spiritual mapping is helping us to locate and destroy strongholds
through intercession and prayer walking. Global tracker mapping significantly
increases velocity of movement in unreached areas because the strategy is based on
information. Monitoring tells us whether we are achieving our goals and
objectives but more importantly the task that remains to be done. Dynamic data
base helps in making strategic course correction.
Apostolic Gardens: God commanded humankind to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the
earth, subdue it and have dominion over it”. This is not just a biological command
but implied in it is the mandate to replicate the Garden of Eden model and fill the
earth until the whole earth becomes a Garden where God can come for a walk
during the cool of the day. This commandment has never been abrogated. We still
have to subdue the earth and impose God’s kingdom (King + dominion).
God is not looking forward to the earth getting filled with concrete church
buildings but breaking land curses and transforming wilderness into fruitful
gardens and reconciling the whole creation dripping with milk and honey. The
house church must ramp up “Green faith” with organic farming, water harvesting,
biodiversity, food grain banks, handicrafts, market linkages for local produce and
declare villages free of hunger, indebtedness, illiteracy and exploitation. All this
must be done strictly with locally available, affordable and acceptable resources
and community participation, ensuring abundant life for everyone. The most
enduring signs of peace, security and abundant life in the Scriptures, is a man
sitting under his vine tree drinking herbal tea made with healing leaves from the
tree of life with his neighbor (Zechariah 3:10; Revelation 22:3). The brick and
mortar concrete church is slowly but surely meandering into Apostolic Gardens
and having a picnic.
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Persecution is often the result of unbiblical methods. The noisy churches wake up
the sleeping wolf and hence subject to self inflicted persecution. The biblical
methods followed by the disciples, the new believers came rejoicing (Acts 2:46-
47). Often it is precipitated by conversion from the kingdom of darkness into
kingdom of light. It is inevitable as the Dragon does not like to lose its captives. It
will increase both in severity and frequency. Consequently Christianity will leap
frog in the predatory (persecution) environment. It will also go below the radar and
meet in micro-mini groups and multiply rapidly as it happened in China (Matt.
1`8:18-20). Non-predatory environment produces come, sit, soak and stagnate
churches. “Speaking” in unknown tongues is shifting to the next level with
“listening” to what the Spirit is saying and the Spirit is revealing to the church that
the Gentiles must become part of the Body and partakers of the eternal inheritance
(Ephesians 3:5,6). Inheritance is two dimensional: 1. Land and 2. People (Psalm
2:8; Genesis 15:18; Luke 12:32).
The mushrooming house church movement of the global south, mired in poverty
and persecution, is increasingly unleashing Christ everywhere with a holistic
paradigm. The church is becoming more organic and less institutional. Traditional
church castrates them into nonperformers while persecution mutates them and puts
them on the run and on the fast track. Persecution from within and without results
in exponential growth of the authentic inheritance oriented, land and people
possessing church.
Armageddon: The white races have reduced the procreative act to acrobatics and
a mere act of lust and are not being fruitful and multiplying. Their birthrate has
come down alarmingly (1.6) which cannot sustain their gene pool (absolute
minimum 2.5 per family to sustain a population). In the meanwhile Muslim’s
(M’s) are rapidly reproducing (Europe 38 million; USA 2.5 mil.). The terrorists
will not come from outside. They are being bred within. The World War III, the
mother of all wars, is not in the future. It has already begun.
To defuse this demographic time bomb, the white people not only need to be
obedient to God and become fruitful and multiply but they also must urgently learn
ways of turning the sword of Islam into plowshares and making the sons of
Ishmael, the followers of Isa al Masih. This is not difficult once you know “how
to”. All this is only possible in the context of house churches as the orthodox M’s
will not be found dead or alive in a traditional church. They must be diptized not
only to keep pace with their birthrate but a higher trajectory must be set to catch up
with the back log of 1.6 billion Ms. God is not shifting the 20th century church
forward but firing retro rockets backward to the first century model.
The Bible lands are on the boil as Arab Muslims in the lands of Abraham and
Esther, like Joseph and Daniel are seeing dreams and visions and coming to Christ
in numbers unprecedented. They can be matured only in secret underground, below
the radar house churches by culture specific trained leaders. The noisy Western
model is not only unsuitable for them but downright suicidal.
Allah has revealed ninety nine names to sons of men so that they may worship
Him, but the one name, the one hundredth name He has revealed it only to the
camel; and the camel, he is not talking (A Muslim Proverb).
Christians (the camels) need to tell them that the name of Isa al Masih is already in
their holy book Quran, 96 times.
Jews are the most persecuted people on earth. Ever since they said that let his
(Messiah’s) blood be upon us and our children, thing simply got worse. The
Romans, the governments, the Catholic Church including Martin Luther, the
Crusaders, and the British, Germans, French, Spaniards, Russians and just about
every European nation murdered them by the millions. Things will get worse and
Yeshua will not return until the Jews say, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of
the Lord” Math. 23:29. There are already about 100 Jewish house churches
worldwide, of which 10 are in Israel. This is alarm signal for us as the times of
Gentiles will soon be over and the second coming of Christ will become imminent.
We must complete the task before the ingathering of the Messianic Jews begins
(Matt. 21:24,28).
Europe, which contributed so significantly in terms of men, money and materials
for centuries for the expansion of the kingdom, is now under siege. It is living in
Post-church era and is a matter of great concern. To be a practicing Christian is
like becoming a second class citizen and an object of ridicule. The Bible is being
daily criminalized. The Dragon’s claws are daily tightening and at this rate soon
Christianity will be relegated to the back pages of history books. Something needs
to done and done urgently and house churches can be the only answer. But first we
must pray for men of peace who will take country-wise ownership of post-
Christian Europe.
Literature, tools and Transport: One decade ago there were hardly any books on
the House Church but today there is a plethora of well researched books and
training materials. However, all these books on discipling are useful only after the
blindness has been removed and the doors have been opened. There is hardly any
material available on how to remove blindness, demolish the gates of hell and open
closed doors. Appropriate tools, technology and literature are essential for
Motivating, Mobilizing, mentoring and Managing Momentum for a Mass
Movement (7M’s). Picture books, radio, VCD and other devices in their heart
language, are being developed for a largely non-literate clientele. Although many
donor agencies are shy of providing transport facilities, gone are the days of
barefoot evangelist with a shoulder bag; bicycles and Hero Honda motor cycles are
putting the gospel on the fast track to remote villages. Multiplication of mature
disciples depends very much on multiplication of necessary tools and transport.
Changing role of Cross-cultural missionary: On the 7th of February 09, Pope
Benedict proclaimed that the house churches are authentic churches as Saint Paul
sent greetings to them (1Cor. 16:19). All the functions of the church including
baptisms and the Eucharist can be served by the local leaders without the presence
of an outside priest. He further added that this is the way forward for the Catholic
Church in the third millennium. Cross cultural missionaries played a dominant role
in the past but now there is increasing realization that they are only a rocket that
launch the satellite into the space and must disengage. If they do not then the
satellite will malfunction. The very first thing God preached and practiced was
delegation, “Let them” subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Finally it does
not matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it catches the mice but
empowering the sons of the soil is the critical growth-driver. The time has come
for us to stop gagging and instead harness the fervour and synergy that is already in
the pews and the pulpit and release them to turn our nations to Christ so that all
tongues and tribes can eat, meet and gossip the gospel in their own heart language
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and be made worthy to stand boldly before His throne and worship Him.
Revelation 7:9,10
The Devil knows that his time is short and it is time that the church realized that
her time is also short and put her own house (church) in order. Revelation 12:12;
1Peter 4:7
We praise God that the come, sit, soak and stagnate Cathedral church, Made
in Rome by Constantine, is slowly but surely getting out of Alice in
blunderland and imploding like Humpty Dumpty in innumerable pieces and
shifting into motivating, mobilizing, managing, mentoring and maturing
believers in House churches for a for mass movement (M7).

Victor Choudhrie

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