Passover is a very special time for me as a Jewish believer in Jesus. It is special because I get to reenact the Exodus story and demonstrate visually through the Passover Seder how Jesus is indeed the Passover lamb. It is enriching for Christians and for Jews because the Jewish audience can see him as the Messiah while Gentiles can see him as more than just Savior, but also as Messiah and King. Read More
Not often do I have the privilege of participating in events that will be written in history books as monumental game-changing moments of history. Today was such a day.
My team of discipleship students arrived at the Circus Maximus in Rome hours before the opening band would step out on stage. The sweat oozing from our pores boiled under the intense Italian sun, but that did not stop the crowds from gathering. Already, hundreds of fully-garbed nuns, enthusiastic tourists with matching red hats, and patriotic Zambians all wearing homemade outfits in the colors of their flag, swarmed the premises. In a matter of hours, the empty plain of the Circus Maximus overflowed with colorful umbrellas and flags in the hands of 50,000 believers from over 120 countries!
Who are they and why had they come?
As worship escalated for the next three hours, one moment in particular caught my breath. The worship leader paused, inviting Holy Spirit to linger. Songs began erupting spontaneously throughout the crowds and fifty thousand voices lifted up their heavenly language as one. The sound, unlike anything I have ever heard, struck awe in my heart. The power of that moment electrified me. This must be a glimpse of heaven. I could not worship myself for gazing at the upturned faces around me, lifted in such reverence to Him. Crucifixes dangled from their necks, blinking in the sun. These were Catholics. You know, that one sect of Christianity that us evangelicals deny their salvation and speculate that their leader may be the anti-Christ. I’ve heard such statements from those who call themselves “the Church.” And it grieves me. Looking around, I felt at home here in the midst of Catholics who loved the Lord. But how had this happened? You see, God has been moving.
We ask for God to move but He already is.
Fifty years ago, the Holy Spirit began encountering those inside the Catholic Church on a widespread scale. Their hunger and thirst for more of the Lord sparked the Catholic Charismatic Movement that would continue until today. This year, Pope Francis, recognizing the significance of this movement within the church orchestrated a Jubilee celebration of these fifty years since the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He invited charismatic Catholics from all around the world to converge in Rome in the first week of June for a commemoration celebration. In announcing this Jubilee celebration, Pope Francis made two significant statements. The first declared his heart intent to have not only Catholics join, but for other denominations to participate as well. A call for unity. The second urged all Catholics to pray for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit, even as this celebration coincided with the first outpouring at Pentecost.
What does a movement in the Catholic Church have to do with us?
The Word promises that Yeshua will one day return for His Bride. As we see the signs of the times and recognize that this day is on the horizon, we also must recognize that He is not coming for a fragmented, and divisive Bride, but one who is united in her desire for Him. Today, we see many ugly divisions within the Bride of Christ and even animosity between one denomination and the next. Any direction you look, you can find negativity, back-biting, competition and criticism tearing apart His Bride and destroying any influence we might have had over our cities.But the Lord’s ultimate plan is to “unite all things in Him,” [Eph 1:10] and as that day approaches, I believe we will see—we must see—unity restored in the Church, between all those who call on His name. And it is the responsibility of the Church to humble herself to embrace that unity.
We can expect nothing less than for the God of the universe to respond.
Looking around at the upturned faces and mouths uttering the beautiful praise of our Savior, I understood this: these are my brothers and sisters. Their expression may look a little different. They may still wear their white collars, nun habits, and crucifixes, but we are family united in the Messiah. This truly was an historic moment for an evangelical missionary from a Messianic Jewish ministry to join my heart in worship with my Catholic brothers and sisters. Pope Francis has taken a stand for unity, urging his flock to cry out for the Holy Spirit, and asking other denominations to join in that cry. God is doing something unprecedented in this time to restore unity. Will we join in that call?
Scriptures say “… if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:19-20] We celebrate the one and two that do gather. But when we see 50,000 uniting with one voice to cry out for another outpouring of the Spirit, we can expect nothing less than for the God of the universe to respond! It is an unprecedented call from the Catholic corner. Let there be an unprecedented response! His Bride is coming together, heralding the soon return of the Lord. And He is eagerly waiting.
By: Alicia Grove
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I was recently sent by our pastor to the city of Puno, which sits high in the Andes on the shores of South America’s great Lake Titicaca. Unlike the Great Lake Superior that I know from Minnesota, this lake is the world’s highest navigable lake sitting at over 12,500 ft above sea level. The landscape is beautiful, the views are breath taking, and the church I went to serve is fantastic. I spent 4 days preaching, teaching, doing workshops and training key leadership teams for Maranatha Church. Read More
Did Jesus use blunt language when He confronted people about the truth of the Gospel? Sometimes, but many Christians seem to think that He did this as His standard operating procedure. Not only is that notion untrue, but it also belies the teachings of the apostles who represent Christ. The Lord only used blunt rhetoric with people for four specific reasons. Read More
For 25 years, the Lord has gripped our hearts for Southeastern Europe, and in 2013, He opened the doors for us to move to Zagreb Croatia.Two years ago, we founded a ministry, Intentional Strategies for Transformation or the IST Group, and our heart is to pioneer and resource redemptive transformation in Southeastern Europe. We do this through three pillars: First through prayer, second, through helping the poor and underutilized, and third, through developing next generation leaders. Read More
“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” A. B. Simpson
For the last year, as intercessory missionaries we have had the opportunity to pray in collaboration with and for different ministries. One of those is One Voice Student Missions (OVSM), an evangelistic ministry to high schools, based in Pasadena. When they have a student and faculty representative that partner with them, they can go on to public high school campuses and have gatherings to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They work together with local churches where they train and equip them how to adopt high schools and engage the students by having a bible club on campus. Read More
As documented in previous posts, there have been times when I have been insulted, mocked, even cursed as a result of my efforts to lovingly share the Gospel with people. I have been treated, in a word, shamefully. Many Christians, fearing such unpleasant encounters, avoid sharing the Gospel with people unless they are already acquaintances. Jesus also hates when His followers are verbally or otherwise abused, but not as much as He hates when the unredeemed go days, weeks or months without hearing the salvation message. Read More
“Here I Go Again” was a famous song by Whitesnake in the early 80’s. One of the famous lines from the the song was “like a drifter, I was born to walk alone”. While I have always personally enjoyed this song, I’m not quite sure it offers up the best advice. Of course, I’m pretty positive that was not their intention. The big hair bands of the late 70’s and 80’s gave us some power ballads to listen to and lifestyles to refrain from. The “good times are killing us” is a fitting theme to the lives lived by many of those bands. Read More
Being in a religious city our desire is to serve this city so people can meet with the living God. As a minority we need to build a trust. We have been doing it for last 7 years in the city of Krakow, Poland. Last Good Friday, we had the president of Krakow with his wife visiting our Good Friday event. It was an absolutely incredible time to see the highest authority of our city celebrating with us. After the service they were so impressed and moved. “This is how the church should look like” was the statement as we were saying good bye after the service.
Why did they come?
The President decided to come for the very first time for non catholic events only because we have built a trust for the last few years. In March 2016, the city of Krakow announced a beginning of programs for Senior Citizens of Krakow. We have applied and have started one. Now we have over 200 senior citizen active and still we have new people coming . The program is one of the best in the city. The church has got incredible positive feedback. The vice president of Krakow is so impressed that he is pointing at us as example for others.
This centre helped us to get more favor in the city. The local counselor has become one of our friends who is connecting us with other key leaders in the city. Because of this program, every few weeks we have meetings with local authorities regarding the future of our district and our city. We talk and plan what we can change in the future in many aspects of city life. We call our building “Heart of the city”. We pray that right here we will give vision and pulse for city life.
Our seniors participate in many events we run as a church. They call this place Home. We have realised the seniors are very open to talk about faith and other aspects of life. We show them our love and care. We are not preaching at them. we are showing them what the Kingdom of God is. Some of the seniors kept us distant at first. Now they see that we have done and this has opened relational doors.
Our story got higher to the president of the city.
Transforming the city starts when we serve the city.
Zbigniew and Magda Marzec
Church For the City Kraków, Poland
If you would like to make a financial contribution to the Marzec family, Click Here.
For over 10 years Vital Seed Ministries has trained, counseled and invested in Kingdom-centered businesses on nearly every inhabited continent. Australia you’re next! As I write this we have a team departing for our third mission to Cuba and our Bethlehem Project, which trains Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, is ready to launch another new business. The Bethlehem Project, in addition to identifying and training leaders in Bethlehem, also organizes collaborative projects that give creatives and business owners in the US an opportunity to partner with Palestinians. Read More