All churches have been closed since March here in Victoria, Australia. Seven months now and not a whimper from one church leader. Pathetic.
Yesterday we went to a park and sat outside and had church. There were 20 of us. We spaced out in household groups. I’ll admit not many of us were wearing masks.
We worshipped amongst the trees , my husband and I dedicated a baby and we read the Word.
And then someone called the police.
“Who’s the leader here?” they said as they walked over, fully armed. My husband said we were. I showed them my Bible and said that we are having church.
“It’s illegal” she said “you’re having a mass gathering”.
I asked if I could speak to her aside. She reluctantly agreed and I explained to them both that amongst our group there has been two attempted suicides in the last fortnight.
“It’s no excuse for breaking the law” she said.
“I will have to fine each of you $5000 . I have to, we no longer have discretion”.
Before you judge me as being irresponsible and for not obeying the government, just try to imagine yourself in Melbourne . Please try to imagine being in lockdown since March. Stage 4 lockdown since July. Not allowed to leave our homes 22 hours a day, not allowed to see anyone except one person outside and, up till recently, only if you’re walking. Not allowed to leave a 5km radius of our home. Now we are allowed to actually sit in a park with no more than 5 people total and from a maximum of two households. Masks are mandatory at all times. Most workplaces are closed still. Kids have been out of school for months. Suicides are at an all time high for boys under 18.
And churches are shut.
Peope in other states of Australia cannot even grasp what we have been going through down here and I don’t blame them for that. Nobody should have to live like this. There have been moments where I felt I would lose my mind…But for the grace of God…
Many people have though. A couple who owned a beauty business which has been shut for many months, dropped their two kids off at their grandparents and then went and took their own lives.
And yet we count daily covid cases like they’re the only thing that matters now. For the last three weeks our daily covid cases have been 10-15.
So judge me if you like, tell me I’m being irresponsible but I honestly couldn’t care less. We have been smuggling people in to our home for months. We have been running an underground church. We have cast out demons, we have lead people to Christ and we have baptized people. This week we will be baptizing another in our bathtub.
Tell me, can this Anti- Christ government stop Gods work and Gods kingdom? No.
For those who have told me I should submit to government, I want to ask you, what side would you have been on when the Nazis were in power?
The police didn’t end up fining us $5000 each, thank You Lord, they let us off with a warning after all. Even ended up thanking us for the work we are doing. “Just find a way to do it legally,” they said. That is something I cannot figure out.
Our churches will not be open for months and months here.
We still have an 8pm curfew. We have not been allowed out for more than one hour of exercise a day for 5 weeks. We have not been allowed to see our elderly parents for 8 weeks. Today we had 113 new cases. 113.
I was going to write my own blog about what’s going on here in Melbourne but this one says it all. We are now under an oppressive police state. We are to carry permits in our car to go to work, that’s if you still can work. Many workplaces are now shutdown by the government. We have not been legally allowed to see our friends and family AT ALL for months. Mother’s Day was banned. Church is non existent since March. Food shortages are expected to begin next week as a Abbatoirs and food distribution centers are shutdown. Please pray for us, it is very hard.
Two nights ago I waited on the Lord and asked Him to speak to me . He told me “don’t look back, like Lots wife”
I live in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. While the rest of my country has quashed covid-19, here in Melbourne it is running amok amongst the community and the aged care facilities. We are suffering under the weight of heavy restrictions that are costing jobs, hope and lives. What they don’t advertise is the number of suicides as a consequence of our second lockdown in a few months. Today our state government will be announcing stage 4 restrictions. I don’t know what that will mean for our jobs, my kids education etc. But I know my God and I know He is faithful. I trust Him and I praise Him anyway.
Why Melbourne? Why are we facing such a heavy judgement. Of all states in Australia Victoria is the most wicked. We are the only state where late term abortion has been legal for many years, where there is a safe injecting room, where Christian Religious Ed has been outlawed in public schools, where it is now legal to change your gender on your birth certificate with no surgery required. This is allowed even up to once per year! The only state where medical marijuana is legalized, euthanasia became legal one year ago….the list goes on. God has to judge, our wickedness is heaped up to the heavens and there is an outcry against our state.
As the Body of Christ He is trying to get our attention. He is separating us from every thing in this world that we cling to, rely on, trust in. As we see His judgment upon our own city unfold before our eyes we must listen to Him and let go of everything of the world and cling only to Him. He is our only hope now, our refuge , our strength in times of trouble. We must not “look back”, long for, the things of the world that have for so long captured our hearts .
“With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
About three weeks ago I had a dream that a couple of people were coming to our house for prayer. But when I opened the front door a stream of people came in and kept coming…and coming. All different races of people. I wondered how they knew to come. They said
“We knew you’d be open!”
Our lounge was packed with people and I lifted up my hands and said “No social distancing here!”
The dream ended.
During the lockdown we had been doing a Bible study every morning and two others had been joining us via Messenger. So we just thought now we are “allowed” to have two people come to our house we will just invite them on a Sunday morning to continue this bible study, but now in person.
That was three weeks ago and every week more and more people have come on a Sunday. We have such a blessed time of worship, bible study, prayer and eat lunch together. Yesterday was beautiful. We had guys join us from a Christian halfway house, where they take in men who have come out of jail or rehab and give them a place to live and a job.
The Lord spoke to us about House of Saul versus House of David and the outcasts going to David in the cave at Adullum….
On Friday I said to the Lord “What is going on?” This home-Church thing seems to be taking off at our place FAST, like it’s almost out of our control.
we have literally just opened the doors and people have come.
He gave me this scripture in our family bible study and confirmed It the next day as I was reading the book “Anointed for Burial”
”Go and join this chariot” Acts 8:29
As my friend Tim Shey has said , I think we just need to follow the cloud at the moment guys.
Be willing to do things differently because suddenly all our plans have been interrupted. Like the old thing is dead now. We’ve got to just follow the Lord.
And as my other friend (and spiritual father) Bill Randles has said – the church needs to meet in flesh and blood.
Paul was under house-arrest in Rome for two years. Chained to a prison guard, he couldn’t leave his own home.
“The Rise of A.I.” acrylic and gouache
During his home-imprisonment he asked the Church to pray for him :
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak” Ephesians 6:19, 20 (emphasis mine)
Paul couldn’t go to church, he couldn’t street-preach, he couldn’t go to Synagogue. Paul was physically restricted as soon as he arrived in Rome, and that’s how he stayed for two whole years. But in it, in this very situation Paul was asking for prayer to be able to speak forth the gospel boldly.
Do we think Paul’s situation caught God by surprise? Do we think He did not know that Paul’s arrival in Rome would be under hard circumstances? That His man would not be free to move about as previously? No – it was in to this very situation that God brought Paul, and thus the gospel, to Rome.
At that time Rome was becoming the centre of the world’s wealth. The art, the artists, the architects were moving there as it became recognised as the world’s most cosmopolitan city. This place was of diverse culture, containing many different beliefs and ideas. In some ways it was advanced, as in the case of women’s rights. It was to this worldly city that God chose to send His man, chained and bound to one small house.
God’s strategy to evangelise a whole city was through a man bound to his own home.
Paul may have been restricted, but never is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restricted!
Never will it be restrained.
God still used Paul, even chained to a prison-guard, unable to leave his own home. One man, in one house, but in that one house God brought revival to Rome.
“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23
Do we think this Covid-19 pandemic has caught God by surprise? Do we think He had no idea all the churches would be shutdown and outlawed? Of course He knew. And it is into this very situation that He has called us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, no matter if our church buildings are shut. The gospel will go forth.
The gates of hell will never prevail against His Church! It’s time to recognise that this is how God has chosen to use us for this season. God’s plans are not being stymied by the enemy, God is still Sovereign and from the Throne He has decreed that right now this is how His church will go forth.
Without high-tech sound systems, church buildings and programs, once again from the simplicity of our homes! Prayer with our families, Bible studies online, prayer in the closet. Could this be God’s plan…?
We have the internet, social media, telephones. We can walk around our neighbourhoods, dropping leaflets in letterboxes. We have many ways we can answer God’s call from our homes:
““Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Who will join me in saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30,31
My husband was on a business trip in the
USA when the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a Pandemic.
Things had already started to become strange up until that point but on that day everything turned and people went crazy here in Australia.
Just like that, toilet paper, pasta, hand sanitizer was stripped from the shelves and by the time I got there I couldn’t find any. I remember the anxiety as I walked into the shops to find bare shelves, three children to look after and my husband far away.
The burden of responsibility to look after my family lay heavily on my shoulders. At heart I am a homemaker, and when I couldn’t get the basics for my family it struck me much more forcibly than anything else. I wasn’t afraid of the actual virus, I still am not. But those bare shelves brought some fear up in me I never expected.
The Lord was so very kind to me. He began to wake me up every night in the middle of the night, in fact He is still doing it to this day. I would get up and go into my prayer closet.
just me and Him.
I would cry, sometimes just sob at His feet. It wasn’t just about the toilet paper. I felt something had shifted in the spiritual realm. I felt everything was different now. And boy did I want my husband home.
I’ve always been a pray-er but those times with the Lord at night became my lifeline, literally. Without them I would not have coped. He gave me the strength to meet each day. He taught me to trust Him in a way I never have before and He turned my mourning in to dancing.
I would go in with a heavy and burdened heart. And I would come out of my prayer closet rejoicing.
Truly in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. Really .
The joy that Christ gave me in those times became my strength for the day ahead.
Now we are in lockdown here in Australia, have been for two weeks. All the churches are shut, even the small ones. We are not allowed to meet in groups of more than 2, apart from our own household.
What do we do in such a situation? How do we get through with faith intact, with hope and peace?
It’s only in the Lords presence – and I can testify to it.
Every night He, in His grace, wakes me up still. It’s the only time I am alone now with a husband working from home and 3 kids locked out of school.
”where else would I go but to the Lord”
He is our strength, He is our hope and deliverer. Our shield and the horn of our salvation. Trust in Him, He never fails.
Bless you my brothers and sisters in this difficult season.
It is the feast of Purim today. Purim is from the book of Esther.
In the book of Esther, Haman (the enemy of Gods people) made gallows to hang Mordecai, but because of Esther’s intercession, he was hanged on his own gallows. So we see the plans of the enemy were the cause of his own downfall.
So now,as the people of God, as we rise up in intercession, the plans the enemy tries to use against us will be the cause of his ultimate defeat! Hallelujah to the Lamb!
”So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai…” Esther 7:10
Ultimately this is a picture that points to Christ. For where else is it so powerfully displayed that the means the enemy, Satan, tried to use to destroy the Son of God at the cross, was the place of his ultimate defeat, and of Christ’s complete victory over the powers of darkness?
We have nothing to fear brothers and sisters, even from the Coronavirus, for the Lord knows the way , even if we don’t. And as we stay close to Him we are safe and in the place of victory.
Izzy’s “non-mainstream Christianity” is the new line the media is taking in their reporting of this whole fiasco.
When I first read about it I didn’t believe it. I just thought that it was another way the media was attacking him for his faith. But having looked into it myself and going by his own words in his own tweets, which I will share, it looks like it may be true.
This is disturbing to me, for two main reasons:
I was brought up in a Oneness Pentecostal cult and so I know the false doctrine that pervades this system of false theology and
I have supported him thus far, what should I do now?
My Upbringing in a Cult
I have hesitated to share my upbringing in a cult for the sake of my parents. I love and respect them as parents, grandparents and Christians and so I don’t want to bring any dishonour to them. So before I begin my brief discourse here, I will say that although they brought me up in the Revival Centres International cult, they left when I was in my 20’s and then they were absolutely instrumental in getting me out of the cult. When I was still indoctrinated with the false teachings they would give me sermons to listen to by Bill Randles, David Wilkerson and Paris Reidhead. In fact it was by listening to “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, which my mum had given me, that I was convicted of sin and turned to the true Christ. So I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and I honour them for that.
So back to Oneness Pentecostalism… I was taught and fully believed :
that there was no such thing as the Trinity, or Godhead, that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit was an impersonal force and not a person.
that you must speak in tongues to be saved,
Acts 2:38 was the go-to scripture that we preached, it was the 3-step formula for how to be saved
that once you spoke in tongues you could not sin ever again because there is no more forgiveness for sin after that cut-off point,
that the devil was also an impersonal force of evil, not a person, or he was just “the world system”,
that there was no heaven nor hell,
Adam and Eve were not the first people on earth, they were the first farmers,
British Israelism was true
That we were the only ones really saved etc etc
I remember clearly the head Pastor, Lloyd Longfield, specifically saying “Jesus is not deity”. (After I left RCI I prayed and do hope that he may have repented of everything before he died.)
I spoke in tongues when I was 9 years old and so from that moment on I believed I could never sin again, because “there remained no more sacrifice for sin”. Can you imagine the uncertainty, the bondage, the guilt that was provoked by this doctrine? I remember as a teenager, and even into my 20’s trying to work out whether I had done such and such a sin before or after I was 9 years old, so was I forgiven? Was I saved? Salvation was a tenuous thing that you could lose at any moment. We viewed God as an exacting tyrant looking for any little thing we’d done just so He could wipe our name out of the Book of Life. The pastors would say there was no way of knowing if you’re forgiven, so “just do your best”.
So then a religion of works would kick in… have I done enough to expiate my earlier sins? Will God forgive me now? Legalism was rife. There were rules for everything. People were encouraged to “dob” others in when they broke a rule otherwise “their sin would be on your head”. I remember the fear of that. I dobbed in a fellow teenager for using magic mushrooms because I was terrified his blood would be on my hands.
But all PRAISE TO JESUS, who is God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14) for leading me out of false doctrine by His Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Godhead, (John 14:15-17) and revealing that “it is by grace I have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works…” Ephesians 2:8-9. I thank my loving, Heavenly Father that He is not a tyrant but a good God who is ever so faithful to keep me and love me just as I am. I am ever so grateful for the BLOOD of Jesus that even when I do sin it continually cleanses me and that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just and forgives me. (1 John 1)
So back to Izzy’s beliefs…
Izzy Folau’s church is called the True Church of Jesus Christ. I have no idea whether they believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or not, or any of the other things I used to believe, but they are Trinity-deniers as Izzy’s own tweets show:
This goes against orthodox Christianity as well as the Word of God. (See 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14; Matthew 28:19)
He does also seem very focussed on Acts 2:38 as a 3-step formula which rings alarm bells for me coming out of that false theology:
So What To Do Now With this Knowledge?
I cannot support Izzy’s false doctrine, because it is a denial of the true Christ of the Bible. I cannot and do not agree with him or his church in what they believe or teach. I have written to him in love on his Twitter account to inform him of his erroneous beliefs and how I cannot support them, especially since I have come out of similar beliefs myself.
However I still do support his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. I still believe he should not have lost his livelihood because he quoted a scripture. I still believe the scripture he quoted, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is right and he had a right to quote it. The fact is that many non-Christians will not understand the difference in orthodox or non-orthodox theology and so I still believe he should fight this as a champion for freedom of speech and Christianity in this country.
It’s not perfect but I guess it’s along the lines of what the late, great Francis Schaeffer said about “co-belligerence”:
“An ally is a person who is a born-again Christian with whom I can go a long way down the road . . . A co-belligerent is a person who may not have any sufficient basis for taking the right position but takes the right position on a single issue. And I can join with him without any danger as long as I realize that he is not an ally and all we’re talking about is a single issue.”
I pray for Izzy that he will see the truth and repent of his erroneous beliefs, just as I had to do.
You can’t adopt the Church Growth model and remain faithful to the truth of the gospel.
You can’t be “seeker sensitive” and fear God at the same time.
Seeker Sensitive Movement:
no talking about divisive, uncomfortable topics such as hell, sin, judgement, the blood, the cross or repentance;
20 minute sermons on relevant topics such as Self, motivational talks or psychology;
facilities, facilities, facilities
Even though one of the founders of the movement, Bill Hybels, has since repented of his part in creating this model, it has infiltrated and influenced the church across the Western world. Many younger people have no other experience of church but this hyper-loud, blacked out, motivational system.
We need to decide: who do we serve? God or mammon? Who do we seek to please ? Christ or man? Who do we follow? Jesus Himself or some dude with a business model.
The man in the street can see it, but sadly Christians can’t. The man in the street (ie Twitter) is asking why Hillsong charges $379 per ticket for their conference. With over 20,000 people in attendance this week millions of dollars has been raised. When there is that much money and power changing hands over a period of a few days it is necessary to question, critique and judge whether this movement is godly or Biblical.
We are told to “judge righteous judgement “ by Christ. Does this movement stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God? At the Hillsong conference did they preach the gospel? Was sin addressed? Were thousands of people told the truth about heaven and hell?
And how does it compare to revivals of the past? (Did the Welsh revival charge an exorbitant ticket price to gain entrance?)
“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5
I’m over it. I just want Christ. I want the truth of the gospel: the bloody, gory, self-sacrificial truth of someone having to die for sinners on a cross. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I just want to see Him glorified. He who is ascended to the right hand of the Father, the One who is coming back and whom will rule the earth. I want to hear about Him, not a church, a system or self.
Friends, the gospel works. The old rugged cross, death to self, Christ and Him crucified: this is what saves people, regenerates people, transforms people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen prostitutes come to Christ, people saved out of the occult, out of drugs. Not through some self-help motivational psycho-babble but through the truth of the shed blood of a Saviour who came from heaven to earth to save sinners!
It’s time now to make a stand for the truth for which Christ died. We are at a significant point in the history of humankind, whereby we need to decide whom we really serve: man or God?
I don’t know about you but this is what I want to hear one day when I stand before the judgment seat of Christ,
”Well done, good and faithful servant; you werefaithful over a few things,I will make you ruler over many things. Enter intothe joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21
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