Monday, January 30, 2006

Prayer Request

Dear friends,

The Lord has stirred my heart. I am cancelling my courses as of today and will not be attending university any longer. The Lord Jesus has called my life into full time ministry, to the preaching of the Word and to prayer. I feel incredibly burdened by the condition of things, in the Church and in the world, and I feel now the time is short. Your prayers for me will be utterly appreciated and encouraging. There is so much work to be done, I'm not sure exactly where to begin, but I know the Lord is leading me and His will shall be done. I remember a Scripture that was laid on my heart a few years ago: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39)

Lord willing, my time will be spent in preaching the Word, as much as possible, even daily on the streets as the weather permits. I will still spend a considerable amount of time using this website as a means to speak and keep people updated. I hope to do some travelling as the Lord permits, to different churches, or campuses spreading the Bible message, and also will be giving myself to prayer. All help would be happily accepted. On Thursday nights there is a prayer meeting which is now only three people, but I want to see it grow and see people praying for our city and for revival. Contact me about it if you desire to come to pray.

In all these things we are more than conquerors! God bless you brothers and sisters, and may the name of Jesus Christ be magnified in and through us! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

For Jesus Christ my Lord,

Further Labor at the Tannery

Jan. 28, 2006 - What a blessing it was to preach again at the Tannery, this time had with me two other young men. The work of the Lord was powerful and effective and many people were reached with the message of the gospel! Mostly everyone who came to hear approached with a foul and mocking attitude, but left sobered and agreeing with the Scriptures.

One man shared his heart about drugs and his experience with devils, and I was able to speak to him about repentance and turning his life around, after this the man accepted the Word with earnestness.

Another young man, boasting in his sin, afterwards agreed in his wrongdoing and showed his desire to reform his life.

Two other boys on their bicycles, stopped by for what they thought to be a brief encounter but stayed well into the hour, later leaving with a new soberness towards their own souls.

Talked with the crowd about faith, being the "substance of things not seen." Faith in Christ being the hope of salvation. Many people listened, particularly one man who received the Word to heart.

Discovering a terrible amount of homosexuality amongst these young people. Was able to talk to a young man who was under the impression that he was a female. He didn't know the Bible condemned such behavior. Another young girl, who said she was a Christian, later admitted to bisexuality. May the Lord set free the chords of bondage.

The weather in New Brunswick at this time of the year should be dreadful, however, due to the strange warm climates we've been sporadically experiencing, I've taken advantage of it, preaching as much as possible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hardness of Heart

The sin of our day and age is not external, such as drunkeness, wantoness and other forms of immorality, for these are but symptoms of a far graver transgression. Our sin is hardness of heart: a completely fallow and unproductive ground where the seed of God's Word cannot grow. And do not think that I am just referring to the world and the people who live in darkness (yes, it includes them), but this disease has found its way into the Church, where now much is barren, and most everywhere you look is dry and sterile.

The parable of the sower and the seed is not solely applicable to the saving Word in the heart of sinners. Jesus simply states, "The seed is the Word of God." (Luke 8:11) Therefore all that is sown requires good soil to grow, whether that be the simple truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ unto salvation or the numerous applications by which the Church must function. For it is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) We cannot live without our hearts being continually good soil.

If farmers neglected their fields mankind would starve to death! Likewise, if people neglect their hearts, they will starve to death in the spirit! The Word of God falling on a hard heart will have little to no effect. So boast not in how much you read or know the Word, but examine your heart and see if you are able to receive the Word and produce a crop with what is sown.

I believe this is one of the greatest grievances of God's Spirit. We have no shortage of Bibles and no shortage of Bible preaching. We all know the verses; we've heard the same Scriptures over and over and over again. The real question is: Are we changed by them? Do we allow the seed to grow within us, or is it continually choked by the weeds, and extinguished by the hardened rocks, or eaten up by the birds? Have we the roots to endure the time consuming process of drinking in the water and feeding on the sun, until we produce a crop that demonstrates the power and glory of God in our lives?

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)

It is not the time to be deceived. The world is in such a condition that they are crying out for a true demonstration of God's love and power. The world is lost, truly lost in a fog, and there is no lighthouse for them to turn to. Come Church! Let God's Word shine in you!

To the unbelieving: "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Hebrews 4:7) Believe the good news and be set free from condemnation.

To the Church: "Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD." (Hosea 10:12) Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, that we may bear fruit for a starving world.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Reverend Ed

Every weekday morning (Monday-Friday) you can tune in to hear Reverend Ed Wickens give a short 3 minute message at 8:30am on CJRI.FM 94.7. Reverend Ed is our neighbor and is turning 89 years old this month! Though 89, Ed is probably the most able-bodied senior I have ever seen, who still tunes pianos, builds furniture, and daily delivers spiritual insight from the Bible on the radio! This brother is precious.

You don't want to miss what this wise man has to share (and I never call someone wise lightly). Those who live in Fredericton, tune in to CJRI.FM 94.7 and be blessed.

Monday, January 16, 2006

An Account of My First Laborings at the Tannery

I took the opportunity last Friday evening to go preach at one of the most notorious places in Fredericton: the Tannery. God graciously blessed the time spend there and many people were reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt it a good idea to record what happened:

Jan. 13, 2006 - Feeling compelled to preach the day before, I determined to go preaching on the street after class the next day. Left the university at 2:00. Had already felt called to make the Tannery a new mission, so that's where I headed.
By 2:30 I had chosen my place, at the entrance to the Tannery where people would normally flow into the square. There was only a man shovelling snow near me and a few young people across the street talking amongst themselves. In a matter of minutes a crowd of 20 or more people were gathered and listening to what the Bible had to say.

Almost immediately I received hostility from the man shovelling. He boldly claimed himself an Anglican, but when he heard me professing that Jesus Christ alone was the sole basis of salvation, he began hollering and accusing, saying: "I'm an Anglican, but just because someone believes something different doesn't mean that it's wrong!" His manner of shovelling became increasingly more forceful to the point I even thought he might hit me with it. Occasionally he would shriek out in a high pitched voice, much like a demon from hell (I have heard this noise before by people while preaching other times).

In the first group that came over was a very supportive Christian youth, though he later admitted that he was not living for Christ. The conversation excited him and he was soon talking to those around him. He desired to keep in contact and left greatly encouraged.

Another young man, feeling convicted came up close and said, "I'll give my life to God when I'm 60 or 70 years old." Proceeded to tell him about the parable of the foolish builder. I said Jesus called this man a fool. He listened very soberly as I explained the dangers of waiting, nodding his head and saying: "That's true. That's true." This fellow and a few others were working across the street and by this time their boss was outside shouting at them to get back to work, for they had overstepped their break. After much prodding by the boss the group reluctantly left.

Noticed at this point people up and down the street listening in. Would occasionally look at them on my left, but they would shrink back behind some bars so I couldn't see them. This happened most every time I looked, and they remained there more than an hour, perhaps even the entire time I preached, which, I found out later was two and a half hours.
There was also a constant group of listeners leaning up against a brick wall to my right who stayed the entire time and grew in number.

A group of about seven men walked down the sidewalk and proceeded through the gate. I questioned them about their salvation and six of them scoffed and kept right on through, but one stayed and heard what I had to say. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). He listened at length, but then went through the gate, but I later saw him back and listening again.

Now about this time more people were coming over, a group of obvious gothic and homosexual persons. One man came right over and asked if lying with another man was a sin. Leviticus 18:22 - "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." Immediately he objected by saying the Bible tells us not to do this and that, and he pointed out some minor cleansing rituals and eating laws. I reasoned with him, showing that he was "straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel" (Matthew 23:24). After talking with him for a short time about this he yielded and asked some other questions about the Bible. This man continued to come back and talk the remainder of the time. He was obviously convicted about his lifestyle, yet he put off any reform as far as I know.

There was at this time a lady across the street who was laughing at what was happening. I shouted: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7). And God graciously allowed this text to be the topic of discussion for the next while.

Now there was a new group listening to the Word, this one proved quite passionate about what was being said. There was a young girl, maybe 16, under the influence of cocaine (for she readily admitted it), and amongst the group there were also crack dealers who brought with them a disgustingly arrogant attitude. There was much to be said, and the conversation led in many directions. One young man in particular opened up his heart about life and his belief in God. He was an ex-Catholic and obviously hungry for truth. I perceived quite firmly that the Lord wanted to use him to preach the gospel, and I told him directly. We had fruitful conversation: he was clear on the issues of forgiveness and repentance, but his life was not a God-fearing one. Urged him to repent and "seek first the Lord's Kingdom and His righteousness", and he left very edified and with much to think about.

Here is a wonderful point to write: This whole time there was a young man, over twenty years old, who was listening intentely to all that was being said. He listened for over an hour, then suddenely he exclaimed, "Oh! What time is it, I have to be going!" He checked his watch and then said, "Oh, I've still got twenty-five minutes left." And he stayed the entire time! He inquired about his salvation and when he had to go I gave him a Gospel of John to read, which he took thankfully.

It would take much time to write about everything else that happened, and all the other people I was able to talk with. I will briefly add one more thing of interest, and say that I believe the Lord supernaturally hid us from the police, for during the time with the groups about me, two police cars passed by but not once did I see them even glance over and look at us, and I believe if they had they would have certainly come over and who knows if the work would have been ended then.

After much imploring that I leave rather than get myself beaten by an unruly mob, I packed up and left at about 4:30.

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" - Romans 10:14

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Principles of Faith Healing

I don't normally write about things like this, but I feel it is necessary because there is a lot of confusion today regrading the topic of faith healing and miracles. I thank the Lord that I have had a fair amount of experience in faith healing, having prayed for many people and seen them miraculously healed; I give glory to Jesus in all this. I say this not to boast, but to at least lay down a foundation from where I am coming from with this. I pray and hope that if you read anything on the subject of faith healing throughout your whole life, this would be the one that would stick, and that this would clear up any confusion surrounding this topic, causing more people to step out in faith and believe God for divine healings.

First of all, I'm going to explain the fundamental components of praying for a sick person. There are two:

1. The Name of Jesus
2. Faith in that Name

Don't let anybody fool you into thinking that there is more to it than this. In Acts 3:16 we find Peter and John give this answer to the bewildered crowd:

"By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see."

1. The Name of Jesus
This shouldn't be difficult to understand. When we ask the Father for anything we always ask for it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the gospel of John alone, Jesus tells his disciples over and over again to ask the Father for anything in His name and it shall be given:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." - John 14:12-14

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." - John 15:16

"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." - John 16:23-24

Simply put: Christ is our mediator between us and the Father. The Father responds to the name of His Son so that He may be glorified through His Son. I don't need to go any further in to this.

2. Faith in that Name
Now this is the critical part, but is not complicated. At the outset, I'll say that this issue of faith is the cause of much misunderstanding and discouragement, but this is uncalled for. Many times, in talking of praying for a person, we hear people say: "Just have faith." Or if a person is prayed for and nothing happens, the answer is: "Not enough faith." Before we can conclude anything from this, we need to understand WHAT we are having faith in. Here are some common mistakes:

-Have faith that the person can get well
-Have faith that our prayers are heard
-Have faith that God will heal
-and others like these...

These are what I call 'faith diverters'. This is not where we are suppose to put our faith! We know God can make the sick person well, and we know that God listens to our prayers, we know that God can heal and do anything (move mountains if He wanted to, etc...). We know all this.

Here is the secret to faith healing: Our faith must lie in the fact that there is power in the Name of Jesus Christ. We can pray for someone all day and all night, knowing that God CAN heal them... the problem is we need faith that at the Name of Jesus God WILL heal them.

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:9-11

Hallelujah! Even writing this my eyes are moved to tears! Oh, the Name of Jesus! Read the book of Acts and see how much the Name of Jesus is said... there is such power in that Name, we must lay hold of it!

How I could write on about this, but I'm going to leave it here with the two basic principles of praying for the sick (or any miracle at that). What I'll do now is answer some frequently asked questions about the faith healing subject that I hear all the time:

Q: Does you heart condition have anything to do with failed prayer?
A: Yes, the Bible says one of the reasons we do not receive what we ask for is because we ask falsely, wanting to "consume it upon our lusts", or to build our own reputation and pride (James 4:3). The Bible also says in 1 John 3:22: "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." It is the effective prayer of a righteous man that is answered.

Q: Where does God's will come into the picture of faith healing?
A: This is a very common expression: "Lord, if it is your will", or, "I guess it wasn't the Lord's will." I want to say first of all that I believe these expressions are used as security, safety and excuses because of lack of faith. I have often found that people who say these things have very little faith, thus they need to say them. Men of faith will not speak like this but believe God for all things. Smith Wigglesworth said: "Fear looks, faith jumps."
However, there are indeed times when a person is not healed regardless of faith, but I have always found that the Lord will always inform you either before or after of the reason or cause of it. Unless otherwise informed, there is no excuse to tell the Lord it was not His will.

Q: What would be a reason or cause for the Lord not to heal someone, regardless of faith and pure motives?
A: I believe there are only two reasons why the Lord would not heal someone:
-First, it is His will for the person to go on in the illness, to benefit and protect either the person or others (but as I have said, this will always be confirmed)
-And second, the Lord is testing your faith: seeing whether you will believe on the Word or deny due to circumstances. This test, I have found, is usually tested when you first begin to pray for healings. Rees Howells referred to this process as 'giving the Lord the first-fruits'. After failing at the beginning and then prevailing through it, the Lord sees your faith and the second, third and onward supplications are blessed.

Q: Do you have to have the gift of healing in order to pray for the sick?
A: No. The Bible says in Mark 16:17: "And these signs shall follow them that believe..." Notice here the only requisite is to believe, or have faith. The gift of healing is referring to someone who is called to this specific ministry, the same as a teacher or preacher, even though we are all exhorted to encourage one another through the Word.

Q: My faith is so small. How do I increase my faith?
A: The best way to increase your faith is to read the Bible and believe what it says: "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) The Bible also says to " yourself up in your most holy faith..." (Jude 1:20). There are many ways you can do this:
-interestingly, immediately following this in Jude 20 it says to pray in the Holy Ghost. This means either praying as led by the Spirit or specifically praying in tongues.
-separate yourself from this world. The world feeds on unbelief, and the more closely knit to the world you are, the less faith you will have. Sanctification always leads to great power!
-seek men and women of God who have faith. There is nothing worse than to be around Christians who do not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
-spend time with Jesus so that it can be said of you and your faith: "...They took note they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)
-someone once said: "You don't pray to maintain your Christian life... you maintain your Christian life to pray."

If anyone has any questions please write them in a comment and I will do my best to give a Biblically sound answer from the Word and my own experiences. I want to open this post up to all so that we may remove all confusion from this subject in our minds. May this be a blessing and a help to someone!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Dividing Sword

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12

God's Word is not just a book. It's a sword.

Look now to the words of Jesus: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) Think not that I come to send peace! Could you imagine preaching this from the pulpit today, in our tolerant and peace-seeking society? How many sermons have you heard that tells you otherwise? What does Jesus mean by this?

God's Word divides. And rightfully so, for this is it's very purpose. No one uses a sword to patch a body back together, rather, a sword swung delivers sever results. A two-edged sword will double your effect. God's Word cuts through soul and spirit, joint and marrow, leaving everything bare.

I submit that if there were no Bible there would be no denominations. In fact, if it is unity you seek, and at any cost, I would suggest discarding the Bible, for it will only serve to divide and hinder your best endeavors. Should denominations concern us? No. Paul says to the Corinthians: "For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)

Let us apply this story of Solomon: Two women come before King Solomon claiming the same right to own a little male child. Both accuse the other of fraudulence. Solomon orders the child to be cut asunder and one half given to each woman. By this the true mother is revealed, exposing the indifferent woman to be a deceiver. (1 Kings 3:16-28)

I find this fascinating in light of what Paul has stated to those in Corinth and in light of Hebrews 4:12 above. We have two passages of Scripture, both stating that the dividing sword of God's Word reveals the intentions of the heart, exposing falsehood and verifying genuiness. A powerful weapon indeed! God's Word is given to us by God's wisdom, just as we find it said verse 28: "And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice."

Jesus came to bring a sword. Even as a baby it was spoken over Him that Jesus would yield this dividing sword: "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." If even Mary would not escape this sword that reveals the thoughts of the heart, do we think that we shall escape it?

When the Lord returns He will come with the two-edged sword in His mouth and divide the sheep from the goats. It is by the Word that the fate of all mankind will be decided. It is time for the people of truth to wield the sword and begin dividing before dividing comes upon us, "for the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." It is time to brandish the sword of the Spirit against all things, dividing what is clean and what is unclean, what is true and what is false, what is of Christ and what is of the devil. We must no longer use denominations as an excuse for the poor condition of the Church. The poor condition of the Church is because of the backslidden conditions of our hearts towards Jesus and His Word. It's time for the Church to awake and be "sanctified (separated) by the truth. Thy Word is truth." (John 17:17)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Philadelphia House

What's that you say? Can it be true?

Yes, it is true! Meetings are now taking place! By the leading of the Lord, the Brayley family has finally completed the addition onto the house and now the doors are ready to be open. "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." (Isaiah 54:2)

When? -Fridays at 7:30 pm
Where? - At the Brayley house (Need directions? Click on Smith Wigglesworth to contact us!)
What? - Brothers and sisters in Christ worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth, studying seriously what God is speaking through His Word, being baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit, loving God and one another, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!
Who? - For any believer who calls on the Name of the Lord

Come and magnify Him with us!

"And knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
- Romans 13:11-14