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These Nightmarish Fire Ant Rafts Can Teach Us A Lot About Church Unity

antsI saw one of the scariest things on a news site the other day; a man in South Carolina, where a lot of flooding has occurred recently, noticed what he thought were patches of mud floating on the water only to realize they were bands of fire ants–thousands of them, holding on to each other to make a raft so the colony would survive and the queen and larvae would be protected.

Officials have warned people not to go near them and to be careful entering flooded buildings in case you come across these because, if you accidentally touch one, they will likely disband and cover you. And they bite and it hurts.

Hashtag things nightmares are made of.

This article reminded me of that verse in the Bible that talks about ants. You know the one:

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” -Proverbs 6:6-8

King Solomon teaches us a pretty important concept in these three verses. Ants have it together. They’re hard workers, they don’t procrastinate, they know what it’s going to take to survive and they get it done. They don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll be taken care of–well, unless someone or something ruins their colony. Even then, they’ve apparently got a plan.

So what does this have to do with church?

Several years ago, back at my home church, we went through a devastating split. It wasn’t because of any immorality or wrong doing on the ministry’s part; people just started listening to others who were downing our church in an attempt to build their own in the next town over (they tried it on me, too) and people’s egos and desires for titles and positions got the best of them. They didn’t leave peacefully either; offenses came, and they let everybody know about it–not publicly, but one-on-one, trying to take as many people as possible to the church across town. (If you belong to a church that bases its growth on encouraging saints from other churches to switch to your own instead of winning unsaved people to God–do yourself a favor and find a church that is pursuing the Great Commission–but that’s another post for another day).

We went from a thriving church that needed two Sunday morning services just to fit everyone in to a smaller church that, while going through a process of healing, continued to thrive and still thrives to this day.

How did we make it? We did what those thousands of fire ants did.

When the floods hit, the thousands of ants in those colonies linked their legs and mouths together to hold on to one another to create a raft. By linking together they are able to stay connected and floating in the storm. Furthermore, they are able to protect their leader–the queen–and the larvae–their babies and future generations.

Now, our church didn’t link up the same way the ants did (wouldn’t that be an awkward picture) but we definitely had to bind together in the days leading up to the split, the days during it, and in the aftermath. Just like those ants knew that their survival depended on their unity and teamwork, so did our church’s. Those of us fighting for the church knew we had two big jobs on our hands: one, we wanted to protect and support our pastor and his wife (just like the ants protected their queen–the leader of their group that would ensure the colony would be re-established after the storm passes) and two, we wanted to protect our spiritual babies–the people who couldn’t understand what was happening and who were at higher risk of leaving in the confusion that was sowed (just like the ant larvae).

And you know what? The people who stuck together made it. The church survived and began to grow again. But it doesn’t end there.

The USA Today article said that not only do the ant colonies do this in times of flooding, but also if the colony wants to “migrate long distances”. If they want to move into new territory they once again have to bind together.

What about your church? Are you guys looking to move forward and go into places you’ve never been before to reach the lost? You’ve got to bind together.

My church does outreach every month at two different retirement homes and at a community feed. People have come to church through these outreaches, people have been baptized, some have received the Holy Ghost. But truthfully, it’s not always easy to get people to come. They’re outreaches that require you to get out of your comfort zone. You might have people swear at you, you’ll be serving people who may not smell the best because they have no place to call home or money for hygiene products, you might be asked to do something you never though you could do (I learned this the hard way when no-talent-at-singing me got requested to lead songs at the retirement home last month–boy did I ever feel awkward!).

But you know what, it’s worth it every time we see a senior citizen at one of the homes lift their hands in worship, when they share prayer requests with us that show the deepest parts of their lives, when you see tears streaming down their faces. It’s worth it when we see those homeless people walk through the doors of our church and join us for service.Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s messy. But when the people of God bind together and migrate into these areas where people are desperate for God, great things happen.

What about your church? Does it have people who are ready to play the part of a fire ant? People who will bind together in unity for the protection of the church and for its growth? What about you? Go to the ant…consider its ways…and be wise.

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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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It Happened at a Crowns Concert

September 1st was the fifth time I had been to a Casting Crowns concert and while I had always been blessed by the music, I had yet to see God work in the way He did this time around.

I went onto Facebook to ask about purchasing tickets for the Crowns concert at the Evergreen State Fair up in Monroe, WA when a complete stranger sent me a private message and blessed my husband and I with free, 5th row tickets. I was excited over the generosity of this stranger but when we arrived at the concert area we almost forfeited our seats to go up to the “nosebleeds” for one reason: it was pouring rain and the good seats didn’t have a covering like the nosebleeds did.

Now, you have to understand that this wasn’t just your typical rain shower. No, this was hardcore, Seattle, torrential downpour. Fair employees were volunteering to dry our seats with paper towels, which, by the time the employee moved for the concert-goer to sit down, the seat was already wet again. Fortunately for my husband and I, we had our umbrella which offered some protection. Until the concert started, that is. At that point all umbrellas would be required to go down. We discussed moving but decided, “Nah, let’s just praise Him in the storm” (ha ha). We decided 5th row seats was worth getting soaked.

This was when the total God moment happened. One of the fair employees, a very sweet woman who we had chatted with several times before the concert, came over to dry off the seats of the people in front of us when a man across the aisle jokingly said, “Come on, God, what’s with the rain?” to which the employee responded, “Yeah, aren’t all of you guys supposed to be praying for Him to make this stop?” I guess it didn’t occur to me up until this point, but not all of the employees working this event were Christian. Based on this comment about us praying, I made the connection that this woman likely wasn’t.

Truthfully, in my mind I was praying for it to stop. I didn’t want to be soaked and cold even though I would’ve put up with it if necessary. All of a sudden a thought came to mind, though. God, if you made this rain stop it would be a great testimony to all of the non-Christians here. They would see what a powerful God You are! Lord, show this woman that You have the power to stop this rain. If she has any doubts, show her that You exist.

It kept raining harder and harder.

When 7:30 hit and the members of Casting Crowns started to come out on stage it was still raining and I thought we would just have to deal with it. Then Mark Hall (the lead singer of the band) stepped up to the microphone, everyone’s umbrellas came down, and just then, the rain stopped.

Not a single drop fell through that entire concert.

Okay, so big deal, it stopped raining.

It was a big deal. After the concert as we were walking away I heard that employee exclaiming to someone else, “Did you see that?! The rain! It stopped!”

It reminded me of two passages in scripture:

In I Kings 18, Elijah challenged the followers of Baal to prove who was the one true God. Was it Baal, or was it Jehovah? God proved Himself in this passage. The followers of Baal could not get their god to start fire to the sacrifice, but God–Jehovah–who would become Jesus in the flesh to die for the sins of the world, despite Elijah drenching the wood in water thus making fire “impossible”, proved Himself.

The other passage is Mark 4:37-41. Jesus and the disciples were in a boat when a massive storm hit. Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were panicking. They woke Him up and asked how in the world can He be sleeping at a time like this! Didn’t He care that they were all going to die in this storm? Jesus wasn’t concerned though. He simply got up and spoke to the storm. He said, “Peace, be still,” and the storm stopped.

The literal storm in Monroe, WA stopped in that very moment. At this precise time, God stepped in and proved Himself–He showed both the believers and non-believers that He controlled the wind and the rain. In the same way, He also spoke into my life (and countless others I’m sure) that He also calms the proverbial storms. The internal storms I was dealing with that night. The pain of rejection. The fear of loss and failure. The doubt of “God, don’t You care that I might perish?” Perhaps He spoke into whatever personal storms that employee was going through. The storms of the cancer survivors who all stood when Mark Hall gave tribute to them. The blind man and his wife who sat one row over from us. The people who sung on stage.

In that moment, at that concert on those little fairgrounds, God said, “Peace, be still.”

“I know the Peace Speaker, I know Him by name. I know the Peace Speaker, He controls the wind and the waves. And when He says “Peace, be still,” they have to obey. I know the Peace Speaker, yes, I know Him by name.”

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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31 Days of Prayer for Your Apostolic Pastor

31 Days of Prayer for Your Apostolic Pastor

The Apostolic pastor faces unique challenges. While he does enjoy the blessings of seeing people saved and helping them live fulfilling lives for God, he also struggles with seeing people backslide, with spiritual struggles in the church and community, and with standing strong doctrinally in a time where the majority Christian world would like us to believe that holiness and sound doctrine are no longer required. For this reason it is of utmost importance that we keep our pastors in our daily prayer times. You can use this 31-day prayer guide to help you as you pray for him. I encourage you to print this list and go through it each month, praying for the topic listed each day.

For a easier-to-read, printable version of this list, please click here: 31 Days of Praying for Your Apostolic Pastor (pdf)

In addition to the following daily prompts, please remember to pray for your pastor’s immediate needs as well.

 WEEK ONE: HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Day One: His Marriage

-Pray that God will strengthen his marriage and bless it

Day Two: His Wife

-Pray that God will bless her and meet her emotional and spiritual needs

Day Three: His Kids

-Pray that God will give them strength and a walk with Him of their own

Day Four: His relationship with his kids

-Pray that his ministerial life will not negatively impact his relationship with his children

Day Five: Friendship

-Pray that God will bless him with genuine friendships

Day Six: Strong Mentors

-Pray for faithful, godly mentors and elders in his life

Day Seven:  Protection from Loneliness

-Pray that God will protect him from loneliness

WEEK TWO: HIS SPIRITUAL LIFE

Day Eight: Spiritual Strength

-Pray that God will bless him in all areas of his spiritual life

Day Nine: Double Portion of the Holy Ghost

-Pray for God to give him an abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost and personal revival

Day Ten: Anointing

-Pray that God puts and keeps a strong anointing on his life

Day Eleven: Wisdom

-Pray that God gives him wisdom in all areas of his life

Day Twelve: Doctrinally Strong

-Pray that God helps him stay doctrinally strong both in his preaching and lifestyle

Day Thirteen: Resistance to Temptation

-Pray that God will help him be strong in all areas of temptation

Day Fourteen: Resistance to Backsliding

-Pray that God gives him strength to resist any attack that comes against his faith

WEEK THREE: HIS EMOTIONAL WELLBEING

Day Fifteen:  Emotional Strength

-Pray that God will meet his emotional needs

Day Sixteen: Protection from Burnout

-Pray that God will help him balance his life and protect him from burnout

Day Seventeen: Protection from Depression

-Pray that God will bless him with joy and protect him from depression

Day Eighteen: Protection from Discouragement

-Pray that God will help him to not be discouraged in his ministry

Day Nineteen: To Feel God’s Presence

-Pray that he feels God’s presence and is comforted by Him

Day Twenty: Peace

-Pray that he feels an overwhelming sense of peace in his life

Day Twenty-One: Rest

-Pray that he is able to get rest, both physically and mentally. Pray for continued renewal.

WEEK FOUR/FIVE: HIS MINISTRY & PHYSICAL NEEDS

Day Twenty-Two:  Support from the Church

-Pray for support from the saints in all areas: service, spiritually, financially, etc.

Day Twenty-Three: Love and Respect from the Church

-Pray he feels loved and respected by the members of the church

Day Twenty-Four: Priorities

-Pray that his walk with God and his family will always come before his ministry

Day Twenty-Five: Vision

-Pray that God will give him a clear vision for his life and his ministry

Day Twenty-Six: Passion

-Pray that God will give him a continued passion for his calling

Day Twenty-Seven: God’s Will

-Pray that God will make His will clear for your pastor’s life and his ministry

Day Twenty-Eight: Physical Strength

-Pray God gives him the physical strength needed to meet the demands of pastoralship

Day Twenty-Nine: Health

-Pray God blesses his health and that he would be free from negative health conditions

Day Thirty: Protection

-Pray God protects him from all evil and natural hurts/disasters/problems

Day Thirty-One: Financial Blessings

-Pray God abundantly blesses them financially

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Where is Your God when it Hurts? (Partial Testimony)

“With everything that’s happened to you in your life, I have to ask, have you not ever wondered that if your God is so good where was He when all these things happened?”

A man asked me this a few weeks ago after I shared a small portion of my testimony and as a spur of the moment response I did my best to explain to him the whole “we live in a fallen world where God has given us free will” answer. This response is true, but I don’t feel it is a complete answer for me.

You see, lately I have been working through some grief from a loss in my life and last week my pastor and his wife encouraged me to study the 30th through the 60th Psalm. Something I’ve read many times before but that really stood out to me this time was verse 42:3: “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?” King David himself had people ask him this very question and I don’t see him giving a theological explanation regarding it–he asks God for help with his sorrow, he remembers the good that God had done him, and offers praise to Him.

So to answer this question, I’ll tell you where God was when all these things happened:

-When my grandmother (who was raised in the church) decided she would no longer live in the Apostolic faith–nor would she tell anyone in the family about it so that her progeny wouldn’t either–God orchestrated a meeting between an aunt from the other side of my family and an Apostolic preacher she would eventually marry. This man would lead my family to the truth. As a result I would be born into the church and raised knowing God my entire life.

-When my parents (by birth) backslid, God allowed bad financial circumstances that would force us to move from our home in Las Vegas to a small town in Idaho where we would get back into church. Here I would meet the man whom I remember as my first pastor–a man who would years later have a very profound impact on my life.

-When I faced abuse as a child, I had a pastor and church family that showed me not only God’s love, but was the embodiment of that love. Despite trying, they could not help the situation; however, in every way possible they showed me how Jesus would never leave me and gave me a Bible that would be a stronghold for me in years to come. I also had a radio that I would listen to every moment possible, where at any time I could hear praises sung to God and know that there was a God in Heaven who loved me and Who was looking out for me.

-When I was made to do forced labor as a child, there were always people who would offer small gestures of kindness: one woman invited me into her home for tea and cookies, others would buy me drinks or food. Many paid for trinkets they never needed but gave anyway to help a girl in desperate need.

-When my family backslid again, we became homeless and had to move across the country to live with relatives–where we ended up in a town with yet another amazing Apostolic church. I would once again meet people who would deeply affect my life. One of those people was a woman named Sis. Susan–this woman would be the one who prayed with me til I received the Holy Ghost, who would become a mentor to me and an example of Christ who I would remember for years to come. Her husband and father-in-law, who was my pastor, would also be the ones to baptize me in the name of Jesus. I received the gift of salvation here.

-When my parents divorced and backslid yet again, I had the Bible with me that was given to me by a former Sunday School teacher. This Bible would be a constant reminder to me through all of it that Jesus would never leave my side. When I had no support this book became my connection to the One who would never fail me.

-When I was eleven years old and told that everything I believed growing up was wrong, God was patient with me and helped me see over the years what truth really is. He also was faithful to keep me until I was old enough to get back into church on my own.

-When I was thirteen and in the hospital literally dying from blood loss, the doctor said, “There is no possible explanation for why she is alive. It is impossible.” But God in all His sovereignty met me in that hospital room that night where I prayed, “God, I can’t die unsaved. If You will heal me, I will get back into church as soon as I’m old enough to go on my own.” He healed me of my bleeding disorder and today I am a blood donor which has given me the opportunity to share my story of God’s miraculous healing in my life.

-When I was in middle school and had no father in the home, God put a father-figure in my life. He would encourage me (as well as many other young people) to do well in school, get a good education and job, and better yourself. He and his wife are still in my life today.

-When I was in high school and struggled with suicidal thoughts and considered giving up completely, I was moved into a home just down the street from an Apostolic church. This would be the church where I dedicated my life back to God and fulfilled my promise from years earlier to get back in as soon as I could. He healed me from these thoughts and gave me reason to live.

-When family members disowned me for living for God, a pastor and his wife took me in and called me their own. I would find family, my beginnings in ministry, and all of the opportunities and blessings I have in life today from this point.

-When I was going through other losses in life, God brought me the man I would marry. I also received the blessing of attending his church and having a second church family. From here I was able to sit under another amazing man and woman of God who showed so much love to me, and since their retirement am blessed to sit under yet another wonderful pastoral couple.

So to this man, who only heard a small portion of my testimony (an even smaller part than I summed up in this post), the statements I highlighted in bold letters were what he heard. What he focused on was the negative things that happened to me and he didn’t understand why I felt that God was so good to me throughout my life. I think Mr. Rogers (you know, from the neighborhood) had an experience that can help explain it:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

This man who asked me, “if God is so good where was He when all this stuff happened,” saw the “disaster”. He didn’t see the helpers. He didn’t focus on the people or situations God would send to get me through. He didn’t focus on how God was there–oh, He was there–helping me make it through every situation. Because it is true, we live in a fallen world where God has given us each the free will to do as we please. And that free will sometimes results in sin that hurts ourselves and others. But through that, God provides help.

So God wasn’t deserting me in the hard times. He wasn’t turning a blind eye. He didn’t forsake me. He didn’t fail me. He stuck by my side. He gave me hope. He put people in my life–whether they were pastors, Sunday School teachers, father-figures, church people, radio artists, strangers who had compassion on a child–He always had someone there to help.

So where is God when it hurts? Right there next to you, hurting with you and also helping you through it.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” -John 14:18

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” -Hebrews 13:5c

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” -Psalm 27:10

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” -II Peter 3:9

“For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” -Psalm 31:22

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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When You’re Desperate to Find God (My Testimony Pt 1)

 

I made God a deal. “Okay, God,” I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka and shoot myself in the head.”

 

It was December 14, 2004. I was a junior in high school and, to all of my teachers and many of my friends at school I was just your average teenager. I had straight A’s, a small group of close friends and a larger group of just-hang-out-at-school friends. I was in the process of choosing a college and I worked a part time job. My life was as average looking as you could imagine. But nobody knew of how I lived when I was at home.

I grew up with a physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive father until I was 11. My oldest brother committed suicide when I was 15. My mother was single and tried the best she could, but I had the freedoms to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. She felt that I had been too sheltered as a kid and wanted me to have the chance to live it up.

I started drinking at 11. By the age of 12 I was spending days in pool halls, at 13 going to nightclubs and by 15 going to bars with my older siblings and cousins. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to do these things–I did them because many people in my life said that drinking was fun and would make me happy. I rarely found it fun and never found happiness from it so I assumed each time that I just hadn’t drunk enough. If only I drank a little more maybe next time I would get happy.

I poured myself into being that star student, the one with straight A’s and involved in everything, but at night I was drinking whatever I could get my hands on (which varied–sometimes I would have full bottles left by my older siblings, sometimes nothing). By 14 I drank not really to get drunk but just to numb myself of the loneliness I had found myself in. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so alone. I had a lot of friends and was involved in a lot at school and I had what every teen wanted (or so I thought)–freedom. But there was more missing.

I knew that I missed church, the people in church, and I missed God. It was such an important part of my life as a kid–it was where I always felt safe and protected–but now I was away from it. I was taken away from it at 11 and never found a way to get back. So what did I do? I started sitting in my room alone at night, reading the Bible, watching tv preachers and listening to Christian music on the radio. All while I drank my vodka.

So back to December 14, 2004. I had had enough of living the way I did. I was getting burned out from school and more and more depressed as time went on. I had been emailing a church on and off for two years and decided that on this night I was going to go visit. They weren’t having a service this night but they were doing their regular Tuesday night prayer meeting. I figured it would be a great way to visit. I could walk in with few people noticing, pray by myself, and if I hated it never go back. If I loved it I’d go to the service the next night.

So I psyched myself up and walked to the church down the road from my house. When I got there, though, all of the lights were off and no one was there. I was so mad at myself. I couldn’t believe I didn’t get the day right. Apparently if I went through all this to get to the church and it wasn’t even open then God must not want me there. So I turned around and left. Hot tears felt down my face but quickly froze on that icy winter night. (Turns out the night was right–people were just late because of the snow on the roads)

The next day I had a meltdown at school and called my mother to come pick me up. I just told her I had a bad day and really needed to come home. She came and got me and dropped me off at the house. A few hours later she left for work and I was alone.

I got back on my computer and re-read that church’s website regarding their service times. I so badly wanted to go back–I was so sick of life as I had known it. I also re-read the emails they had sent me.

I made God a deal. “Okay, God,’ I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka, and shoot myself in the head.”

I was so fed up with life and struggling so deeply with depression that if church didn’t work out this night–and I fully expected it not to–that i was going to kill myself. But I felt it only fair to give God one more chance (and deep down I really wanted Him to come through)–at least a chance to prove Himself. He got me through so much as a kid–why couldn’t He do it now?

I didn’t expect Him to do it, though.

I walked down to that church again. I put my door on the handle–felt like an eternity before I opened it. And when I stepped through that door I walked through to the next chapter of my life.

This night my life changed.

For the first time in more years than I could remember I walked home that night, not with tears but with a smile on my face. I sang all the way home… “Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider, His grace is sufficient for me…’

Sometimes people ask how can one service change me, It changed me because I realized that the emptiness inside of me was that I was missing what I grew up knowing–I was very lonely growing up but always had God to turn to. When I left church I felt like I lost Him.

The following Sunday, December 19, I was filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I wasn’t seeking the Holy Ghost. I merely walked up to the altar and started crying and telling God I needed Him to fix my life. One month later I was re-baptized in Jesus Name.

My life has never been the same since. God proved Himself faithful. When I wanted to die He stepped in and gave me reason to live. It was during that darkest moment of desperation that God stepped in, heard my prayer, and He saved me.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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When You Feel Like Quitting Church

Chances are if you are reading this you:

-Are thinking about quitting church
-Have thought about quitting church
-Know someone who may be thinking about leaving church

So what do you do? What do you say?

When I was eight years old I heard a sermon that marked the beginning of my life with God. I had been in church prior to this but there comes a point in every church kid’s life where he or she has to decide that they will be a Christian because THEY believe it and not just because their parents do.

This sermon was that moment. It was by the Rev. Robert Bayer and it was called “Resolution to Stand”

He preached about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being cast into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. He highlighted how when the heat was up, the pressure was on, and they stood alone the young men made a resolution to stand. They wouldn’t quit. They wouldn’t turn away from God. They knew He would save them. That He would deliver them. They refused to quit. They made a Resolution to Stand.

I encourage you to listen to these words tonight.

-If you feel like you are standing alone right now, make a Resolution to Stand.
-If the heat is on–things aren’t going how you expected them to and you are caught in a whirlwind of problems, make a Resolution to Stand.
-If you are coming up against massive amounts of pressure, make a Resolution to Stand.

“But you don’t understand. I’ve been offended. I’ve been hurt. My unsaved family is against me. My friends are leaving me. I don’t feel God. I’m not even sure I believe this.”

Keep in mind that the Bible says no temptation comes against you that isn’t common to man (I Corinthians 10:13). If you are struggling with something be sure others are as well. I will caps this so if there’s one thing you notice it is this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

And it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to need answers. It’s okay if people are against you. It doesn’t feel like it, but things will get better. Time DOES heal all wounds (if not completely as least a bit). Just make a Resolution to Stand.

Don’t give up. If you give up things can’t get better. It is only by hanging on that you will begin to see things change over time. It is only by holding on that you will see God work in your life. But if you walk away from God how can He work in your life? Make a Resolution to Stand.

 
 

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Q&A: Pentecostals (Apostolic)

A fun fact about WordPress is that in many cases it allows someone to see what search terms are used for someone to find your page. Reading through these I’ve learned that there are a lot of questions people have about Pentecostals (Apostolic). Here are some answers to those questions.

Side note: these are not sorted by topic so if you’re looking for a specific topic, on most computers using the search function ctrl+f will allow you to search the post. Also, there is a search bar to the right of this page but it will search all posts not just this one.

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“Things Pentecostals Can’t Do”

My answer to this is “nothing”. Here’s my reasoning. People look at Pentecostals and think that because many tend to live a certain way, whether it be in clothing, hairstyles, places they will or won’t go, etc., that we are required to do so. What you will find is that many Pentecostals live what we call a “holiness lifestyle”. We look at principles in the Bible and try to follow them best we can.

For example, the Bible talks about setting wicked things before your eyes. Because we don’t want to do this, many Pentecostals will not watch tv because there is a lot of profanity on there. By choosing not to watch it, we are taking a step to prevent putting anything wicked before us. That said, there is nothing that a Pentecostal “can’t do”. Our pastors do not scrutinize our lives. Our churches don’t have dress codes (I once had a friend who assumed you had to wear a dress to go to my church–this is not true! We want everyone to come to church regardless of how they dress!). Now, you will find that those who are in leadership in the church do follow the “holiness standards” of that church. The reason for this is because within each church there is general agreement on what the Bible teaches is holy and how we will live that out. The leaders will follow these standards because one, we actually agree with them, and two, we don’t want there to be confusion as to what we teach and why some in leadership don’t follow it.

All in all, we are not forced to live a certain lifestyle. If you meet a Pentecostal who lives a certain way it is because they want to. (Exceptions being maybe kids who live that way because their parents do or someone who has chosen to follow them regardless if they believe them–in which case, they would probably have their own reasoning as to why they do it).

 

“What does it mean to be Apostolic Pentecostal?”

To be Apostolic means that you believe the same things the Apostles taught (in other words, the Bible). We don’t have extraneous creeds, doctrinal statements or statements of faith. The Bible is truth and we do not pick and choose what we will follow. If the Bible says it that settles it. The Apostles taught baptism in Jesus’ name; we do the same. The Apostles taught repentance; we do the same. The Apostles taught that the infilling of the Holy Ghost is a distinct experience from believing in Jesus as Savior–and that speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of receiving the gift; we teach the same. They preached a holy lifestyle; we do the same. They preached that we should reach the lost; we do the same. If you want to know what Apostolics believe, just read the Bible!

To be Pentecostal means that you believe that the same experience the early church had on the day of Pentecost is real today. People still receive the Holy Ghost (as a separate and distinct experience–keep in the mind those in the upper room already believed in Jesus. They did not receive the Holy Ghost til later. The same with the church in Acts 19–see verse 2). It means you believe in the gifts of the spirit: the gift of tongues, of healing, of faith, etc.  Again, if you want to know what Pentecostals believe, just read the Bible!

 

“When is Pastor Appreciation Day?”

Not a question about Apostolic Pentecostals directly but I’ll answer. The 2nd Sunday in October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Day. The whole month of October is also considered Pastor Appreciation Month.

 

“What does the Apostolic church believe about women’s clothing?”

The Bible instructs us to dress modestly. I Timothy 2:9-10 and I Peter 3:3-4, Romans 12:1-2, Deuteronomy 22:5 are some verses on apparel.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answers to this question because “holiness standards” vary from church to church, the most common you’ll see is this.

Women will typically not wear clothes that are tight enough to show off private parts. We typically wear skirts that fall below the knee while standing and sitting so that while doing either someone can not look up your skirt. We also typically wear our sleeves below the elbow–depending on who you ask the reasoning might change, but I’ve always done so because if I lift my arms up and my sleeves are loose you wouldn’t be able to see up them to my underclothes. The elbow also, in my opinion, is like the knee of the arm. I prefer to keep my upper legs covered and prefer the same with my upper arms.

The Bible talks about not adorning yourself with gold, pearls, or costly array. For this cost most Apostolic women will not wear jewelry. Some will wear wedding bands because they feel it serves a purpose: showing others you are married. The same with watches.

Many Apostolic women also will not wear makeup. The reason we don’t is because typically in the Bible when it mentions having your face painted it’s talking about a harlot. Jeremiah 4:30, 2 Kings 9:30, for example. We also teach our girls that God has made them “fearfully and wonderfully” and that they don’t need to wear makeup to improve themselves.

Lastly, you will find that most Apostolic women wear skirts or dresses all the time. We do this because in Deuteronomy 22:5 it talks about men not wearing women’s apparel and women not wearing men’s apparel. We also do it for modesty reasons (wearing a skirt does not show off the body like pants do). Some will argue that pants are women’s apparel today. But think about it: if you go to a public bathroom and can’t read, how do you know the difference between the men’s and women’s room? The woman wears a skirt, the man pants.

Here’s a fun activity you can do to see if people truly associate pants with men and dresses with women. Ask a few people to do an experiment. Give them each a piece of paper and pen and tell them they have 20 seconds to draw two figures, a boy and a girl. There are no rules. They can be stick people, blob people, anything. Chances are, the boy figures will have short hair and be wearing pants. The girl will have long hair and be wearing a skirt. It is human nature to associate short hair and pants with men, and long hair and dresses with girls.

 

“Why do Apostolics think TV is wrong?”

In Psalm 101:3 David wrote that he would set no wicked thing before his eyes. We choose to do this as well. Because of this, we don’t watch TV because most of what is on TV these days is what the Bible labels as sin (profanity, nudity, swearing, violence, premarital sex, drinking, drugs, adultery, lying, stealing, cheating, etc). By not watching TV we are choosing to not be entertained by the things the Bible labels sin.

“But not everything on TV is bad”. You’re right, but as my former pastor would say, “You wouldn’t dig through the garbage to get a steak at the bottom of the trash can.”

As an additional note, because many will argue that the internet is worse: This is true. The setting no wicked thing before your eyes doesn’t just apply to TV. We also teach that we need to be careful of what we look at on the internet, what we read, what video games we play, etc. There is more control over the internet because you have to type in what you want to find. On TV it is a mixed bag…commercials, flipping through channels, etc. It is also advised in many churches to use a filter on your internet for extra protection against ads or unwanted sites in searches.

 

“What is the Holy Ghost?”

The Holy Ghost is God’s spirit that dwells in men. The Bible teaches that when we seek God and, according to Acts 2:38 repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus, God will give us the gift of the Holy Ghost. His spirit lives in us and gives us joy, helps up to live holy lives, etc.

Many mainstream churches preach that you are filled with the Holy Ghost the minute you believe in Jesus as Savior. This is not what the Bible teaches. The believers in Acts 2 received the Holy Ghost AFTER they believed in Jesus as Savior (it was also the first time the Holy Ghost was given to dwell in people). The believes in Acts 19 also had not received the Holy Ghost yet but had already believed. The Bible is very clear that receiving the Holy Ghost is a very distinct experience from when you started believing.

Here are some verses to read about the Holy Ghost: John 14:26, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6. Notice that something in common with these is that the sign that they had received the Holy Ghost was that they spoke in tongues. When you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost you will speak in tongues.

 

“Apostolic Pentecostal Women and Hair Curling Rules”

There aren’t any, though some Apostolic women won’t curl their hair because they feel it is vanity.

 

“Pentecostals are not saved”

All of the believers of the New Testament were Pentecostal (See question above–what do Pentecostals believe?). They were saved.

 

“Leaving the Pentecostal Church”

Please don’t. I made that mistake once and wish I could get those five years of my life back. It’s cliche but it’s true: My worst day with God is still better than my best day without Him.   Here is my story: https://beulahblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/why-i-left-the-apostolic-pentecostal-church/

 

“Lifestyle of Pentecostals”

We live like everyone else. We work jobs, go to school, have ups and downs, celebrate holidays. We do go to church, but that is not specific to Pentecostals–most Christians do. We do go on average 2-3 times a week, which is more than the typical non-denominational church. We strive to live a life of holiness (and you will see reasonings in other questions on here). Also, we are not forced to live any specific way. Many times I meet people who believe we are. We live this way because we choose to and we love it. I encourage you to check out an Apostolic Pentecostal church!

 

“Bad Things About the Apostolic Pentecostal Church”

Firstly, if you go looking for the bad you’ll find it. In any situation. That said, there is nothing wrong with the church specifically. You will always find hypocrites, always find people treating others wrong, etc, no matter where you are. Be it in any church, any job, any school, any organization. But don’t let one person doing wrong turn you away from many who are doing right.

 

“Why do Pentecostals try to get their other family members into church?”

The Bible is true and we try to live our lives according to it. The Bible is very clear on salvation and what God requires of His people. We also know from experience that living for God is a very rewarding life, full of joy and many wonderful things. We want our family members to experience the same blessings God has given us.

 

“Too Many Church Services – Pentecostal”

Most Pentecostals go to church 2-3 times a week. Once or twice on Sunday and usually one mid-week service, usually Wednesday or Thursday. Sometimes we will have “revivals” which is where we might do several special services on consecutive days. There are also many special events such as Youth Meetings, Conferences, Banquets, etc.

When you consider, if someone attends all three services of the week, and from arrival to leaving may be anywhere from 1.5-2 hours (a typical church service begins with 30 minutes of prayer before the service, about 20-30 minutes of music, about a 30-45 minute message, and a time of prayer after service known as the “altar call”–of course this varies greatly), we spend about 6 hours a week in church. In a week of 168 hours that’s not much. Most people spend more time watching tv.

Oh, and most Pentecostals you’ll meet will actually say they like being at church more than they already are. To us it is a special place, we have fun, we get encouraged, we find a connection with God and with others. I would encourage you to visit a church and experience it yourself!

 

“The First Church in Acts was Pentecostal”

This is correct. Their experience on the day of Pentecost is actually why we call ourselves Pentecostals.

 

“Change in People who Join Pentecost”

Becoming an Apostolic Pentecostal is truly a life changing experience. I’ve seen people firsthand get healed of illnesses (cancer, asthma, a baby with a hole in his heart, I was healed of a bleeding disorder). I’ve seen people firsthand get delivered from drugs, alcohol and smoking–in one night–with one prayer. Not with any 12 step program (not downing those programs if they help but God can deliver someone in one moment!). I’ve seen people delivered from depression, past experiences, and guilt. I know what it is like to feel like life is falling apart and then get one experience with God that changed my life so much that I left a service filled with joy. Left personal prayer time feeling like everything’s going to be okay. It’s wonderful and I pray you experience the same.

 

“Apostolic Pentecostal Beliefs Non-Biblical?”

Apostolic Pentecostals have no doctrinal statements, creeds, or statements of faith outside of the Bible. We only preach what is in the Bible and how that applies to our lives today. If you have a question about something the pastor preaches and where in the Bible it is, I encourage you to ask Him. He will be able to show you where what He preaches is in the Bible. The same goes for someone who may be giving you a Bible study. If you have a question ask!

 

“I feel like Apostolic Pentecostal is not me”

If you are currently in a church I encourage you to speak with your pastor. It is easy to get discouraged in today’s world but take heart! Jesus said He would help us overcome! If there is something specific about the faith that you don’t know why you believe it or don’t understand it, ask! The Bible has answers and your pastor, leaders and others in the church want to help you. If you don’t belong to a church, I encourage you to find one. You can Google answers but everyone will have a response as to why you should or shouldn’t be in church. The problem with that is that you are getting people’s personal opinions. The best opinion you can get is the Bible’s! If you need help finding a church in your area please message me and I would be more than happy to help you find one!

 

“I’m Apostolic. Where is Jesus?”

It sounds like you’re struggling! The Bible tells us that God will never leave us. It may be hard to feel God but be sure He is with You! I would encourage you to start looking up passages in the Bible about God’s faithfulness and since you said you are Apostolic I would also encourage you to speak with your pastor, pastor’s wife, or another trusted friend or leader. The best thing we can do in hard times is pray and surround ourselves with other believers. God will show Himself faithful!

 

“How many people go to a Pentecostal church?”

This question is hard to answer for two reasons: One, not all Pentecostal believe the same. I am Apostolic Pentecostal but you will also find that there are Trinitarian Pentecostals (Assemblies of God, for example). Also, not all Pentecostals belong to an organization. Some major Apostolic Pentecostal organizations are the UPCI, WPF, ALJC and PAW, but there are many people who follow the Apostolic Pentecostal doctrine because they’ve read it in the Bible and never had any connections to any organization. There are also many minor Pentecostal organizations. Because of this, there are no concrete numbers.

There is an article I found that speculates that more than 1 in 4 Christians claim to be Pentecostal of some sort: http://www.christianpost.com/news/more-than-1-in-4-christians-are-pentecostal-charismatic-65358/ . Also, a former professor of mine, Talmadge French, wrote a book that has an appendix at the end listing many Apostolic organizations around the world. It’s a great book to look in to! Here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Our-God-One-Talmadge-French/dp/1888251204

 

“When Apostolics Let You Down”

Get back up! No matter where you go to church, where you work, go to school or hang out with people there is always the chance that someone will let you down. It’s just because people are people. One thing my pastor has taught me well is looking at situations from another person’s point of view. It is one of the greatest gifts my pastor could’ve instilled into me. When people let me down I try to see their perspective and it helps me realize that it’s usually not intentional. I’ve been hurt by people in church but by the grace of God He helped me get back up again and realize that it’s not God’s fault! Keep pressing on! (And try to reconcile if possible!)

 

“What do Pentecostals believe about Apostles?”

I’ve always heard that there are two definitions of what an apostle is: One, someone who has the authority to write scripture, and Two, someone who has a calling to start churches. Pentecostals believe that the Apostles with the authority to write scripture ended with the New Testament. The Bible is the Word of God and nobody has any authority to add or take away from it–to do so would being against God (Revelation 22:19) .

As far as Apostles who are people with a calling to start churches, you will find many within the Apostolic Pentecostal Church. Some people have a gift to get churches started and then when they feel called to they will find a pastor for that church and move to another city to start another church. These are wonderful people used mightily of God.

 

“Pentecostalism: Why People Leave?”

Every person will have their own reason but the reasons I see most are that they get offended by somebody in the church or they get tired of living for God. Sometimes people won’t understand why they do things and just do them because others do. This is why we encourage people to study the Bible. We want everybody to know why they believe what they do–our foundation needs to be the Bible.

 

“Why People are Joining the Pentecostal Church”

God changes lives. People join because they’ve seen the power God has had on the lives of others and they want the same. They want to follow the Bible, they want to be saved, they want to experience joy and victory in their lives.

 

“When is the right time to leave the Apostolic church?”

After the pastor prays at the end of service and says “service dismissed” 🙂

Seriously, though, never. Like I mentioned in a response above, if you are questioning leaving the church it is likely that you are struggling with someone. I would encourage you to seek God in prayer, in the Bible, and speak with your man of God. The things that can seem so huge at times that make us want to give up are usually things that can be worked through. God has a victory for you and He wants to see you through! So does your pastor and church family!

I mentioned above how I left the church for a while once. I was miserable and missed God so much. I have found so much joy living for God and could never give him up now! Here is a blog post about why I left and why I came back: https://beulahblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/why-i-left-the-apostolic-pentecostal-church/

 

“Apostolic Pentecostal Outfit Ideas?”

Haha I’m guessing you’re looking for some ways to dress fashionably yet modestly. Pinterest has a lot of ideas! There are also some people who belong to Apostolic churches who have started clothing companies. Check them out! http://daintyjewells.com/ and http://www.jademackenzie.com/ There are many more and if you know of one I would be happy to list them if you’ll comment the link below.

 

“What can an eight year old say for Pastor Appreciation Day?”

I know this isn’t an Apostolic-related question but I love these questions because it means you are teaching your children to honor the ministry–which is a very biblical and Apostolic thing!

Encourage your child to tell what things they like best about their pastor. I once had all of the members of the church write one sentence on what they liked best about our pastor and put them all in a slideshow to Scott Krippayne’s “You Changed the World”. It turned out very nicely, lots of sentiment, encouragement, and some very candid responses! (Haha our pastor learned he “Was a G”)

 

“Questions about relationship with God – Pentecostal”

First and foremost I would ask your pastor any questions who have about your walk with God. Your pastor cares for you and wants to see you succeed in your walk with God! Secondly, if you don’t have a pastor but have a specific question I encourage you to post it in the comments below. We might be able to help you find an answer.

 

“Do Pentecostals deny the godhead?”

No. We believe there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4) who is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Colossians 2:9 says the fulness of the godhead dwells in Jesus. Just as you might be a father, a son, and a uncle but be one person, so is God. He is our Father in creation, the Son in redemption (Him coming to earth as a man to die for our sins) and the Holy Ghost in regeneration (in other words, He lives in us as the Holy Ghost). When the Bible refers to the “Son of God” it is referring to God in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16).

You see, in Bible times people were often given names based on their attributes. Jesus means ‘Jehovah has become our salvation’. When God became and man and died for us His name became Jesus. Isaiah even prophesied that the baby Jesus would be called the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). So when we talk about Jesus we are talking about God. God, Jesus, Holy Ghost, Healer, Protector, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, etc, are all names of the one same God.

Here is a different post I made a while back with some verses on the godhead: https://beulahblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/is-your-god-one-or-three/

 

“What does Beulah land mean in the Bible?”

Again, not a question about Apostolics directly, but it’s a Bible question.

Isaiah 62:4 says, “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”

“Who invented the Pentecostal church?”

God did. The very first church as recorded in Acts 2 was Pentecostal. Every other church started in the New Testament was also Pentecostal. The Pentecostal church went “underground”, you could say, over the years due to persecution, but it has always existed. In the United States there rose a popularity and revival with Pentecostal churches in the late 1800s and early 1900s with groups of people from different denominations who read the Bible and realized that not all churches were preaching what the Bible taught as far as oneness of God, Jesus name baptism and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.

 

“Has God already left the church?”

No, He is alive and active in the church! God is moving in people’s lives everyday and desires to do the same in yours!

 

“Boyfriend wants me to be Pentecostal”

Pentecostals live very rewarding lives and we experience so much of the greatness of God that we want to share it with everybody! Ask him to give you a Bible study or visit his church with him. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You will find that there is so much joy to experience with a life in God!

 

“What do Apostolic churches do when they leave for conferences?”

This question can be taken one of two ways. What happens at the church if most of the church goes to a conference? Services might be cancelled because the pastor and possibly any others in the church who preach might be gone as well. Sometimes the pastor will ask someone else to lead services so they can continue while he is gone.

If you’re asking what happens at conferences: It’s just like going to church somewhere else. If not within driving distance people book hotel rooms and services are likely to happen every night, sometimes twice a day. At camps they might hold different services and events throughout the day like sports games, barbecues and more. Typically conference services are formal and you will see people dressed up, much like they would Sunday Mornings at church though some will dress up even more depending on the event. Dressing up is not required though. We want everyone in church regardless of how you look or dress! Just come!

The services will be a lot like your home church only with more people. There will be prayer, worship and preaching. You’re also likely to see people very passionate about the services, with demonstrative worship (i.e. jumping, shouting, clapping, running aisles). There will also be a lot of ministers there who usually sit up on the platform and several of them might be asked to speak for moment before the speaker of the night gets up to preach. The altar call (prayer at the end of service) is likely to be packed as well. A lot of people will be there and it’s not uncommon for people to pray together even if they don’t know each other. You will meet a lot of new people and find new friends within several churches!

 

“What happens when you leave your Apostolic church?”

Apostolic churches are a lot like families. People tend to get very close with one another and develop many friendships. When someone leaves the church it is normal for many people to be sad. It feels like your best friend or brother or sister are moving away. That said, if you are moving because of a reason–getting married, entering full time ministry, or the like, people will be excited even though they will miss you!

If you are leaving because you decide you don’t want to live for God anymore we still miss you as much but there is a sadness that accompanies it. We don’t want to see you leave and there will be a lot of prayer for you. Some people might get upset but most will still desire to be friends once you leave. We want to see you get victory in Christ and continue to live for Him. We will love you no matter what but we will never stop praying for you til we see you living for God again. You mean a lot to us and we want to see you saved.

 

“What do Apostolic Pentecostals wear to church?”

Most of the time people dress up for church. Women will wear skirts or dresses and men typically wear slacks and a dress shirt or a suit and tie. That said, there is no dress code and everybody is welcome to come regardless of how they dress. If you don’t own a suit or a skirt don’t let that stop you from coming! You likely won’t be the only one not dressed that way and nobody will treat you any differently if you aren’t. (There was a guy in my former church who was a mechanic and he would come in his work clothes! Better he be there in work clothes than to miss church because he didn’t have time to go home and change!)

 

“How do you explain the sincerity of the UPCI?”

People who belong to the UPCI are genuine about living for God. Though you’ll always find people who aren’t trying their best or living hypocritical lifestyles, most are passionate about God and genuinely trying to live according to the Bible best they can.  This goes for people in the UPCI or any Apostolic church or organization.

 

“What if you have short hair and wear makeup in the Apostolic church?”

You will still be welcomed to come. We recognize that all people grow in God at different levels and people need time to work on the inside before the outside. Once someone recognizes what the Bible says about this, though, we encourage them to follow it.

Now, because most churches preach what the Bible says about women having long hair and men having short hair (1 Corinthians 11) and that the Bible does not encourage women to wear makeup (Jeremiah 4:30), you won’t typically see people on the platform ministering if they do these because we don’t want there to be confusion in the church as to what we believe and/or rebellion to the Word of God (if you see it in the Bible and don’t follow it, it is rebellion).

 

“What do you do when someone you love is in the Pentecostal church?”

Go to church with them!

 

“What is considered a worldly hairstyle to Apostolics?”

In 1 Corinthians 11 the Bible says men should have short hair (for it is a shame if they have long hair) and women should have long hair (it is a glory to her and a sign of submission to her authority). Verse 6 says it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven. Shorn means cut. So even trimming of the hair is against the Bible.

This is what the Bible says and what almost all Apostolic churches teach. Occasionally you might meet some Apostolics who feel that trendy hairstyles are a sign of conforming to the world and they will avoid those (like spiked hair, for example).

 

“How to get the Holy Ghost”

One must first recognize that receiving the Holy Ghost is an experience distinct from when someone first believes in Jesus as Savior. Also, you will read that in Acts 2:38 Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Verse 39 says “the promise is unto you and to your children and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God shall call.” The gift of the Holy Ghost is a promise.

If you are seeking the Holy Ghost you will want to spend time in prayer as it is in prayer that people are filled with it. Also, recognize that the one sign that followed all believers who received the Holy Ghost is that they spoke in tongues. God does not leave us doubting if we have it. We will know for sure because God will make us speak in tongues (it is not something we do ourselves or are taught–only God can cause you to do that).

If you are seeking, though it is possible to get the Holy Ghost anywhere, I would encourage you to get connected to an Apostolic church in your area and ask for a Bible study on the Holy Ghost.

 

“If I get saved in an Apostolic church am I really saved?”

If you are saved according to the plan of salvation in the Bible (repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues) and you live according to the Bible as best as possible, yes, you are saved. This is what the Bible teaches and it is the only and final authority. If you are doubting your salvation I encourage you to speak with your pastor.

 

“Do all Apostolics require you to wear dresses?”

No. Apostolic women wear dresses because we believe it is how God wants us to dress (see questions above for verses and reasons). That said, we are not forced to dress this way and because not everyone who goes to our churches is at the same level in their walk with God as everyone else, it is likely you will see some women in a service not wearing a dress. Everyone is welcome to come regardless of how they dress. Now, once you see the verses in the Bible about distinction of apparel and modesty, it is important that you follow convictions and the Bible. Always keeping in mind, too, that the outward appearance is not primary to inward holiness. Focus on getting your heart right with God first and He will bring you convictions about holiness.

 

“Apostolic Pentecostal Belief on Seeking God’s Will”

The Bible says if we seek God we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). If you are seeking God’s will it is imperative that you go to Him in prayer and then be willing to listen to the ways He speaks to His people. This is oftentimes found through the Bible, preaching, and your man of God but sometimes God works in other ways too. Be open to His voice.

 

“Why would someone not want to have Pentecostal experiences?”

I don’t know. God changed my life. As I mentioned above, I have seen and experienced people getting healed (even myself), delivered from addictions and depressions, I’ve seen people filled with joy and have their lives turned around. I wouldn’t change my experience with God for the world.

 

“Can an Apostolic woman be alone with a guy?”

Yes. There are no rules or standards against this. That said, you will meet people who will have a personal conviction not to. For example:

A dating couple might not be alone in a house to avoid temptation to fall into sin. They will mostly likely hang out in public places.

A married man or woman might choose to not be alone with another married man or woman to avoid any appearance of sinning (1 Thessalonians 5:22). They don’t want it to look like they are being unfaithful to their spouses or raise any doubts. It also prevents false accusations. If a man does not hang out with a woman alone there is no basis for him to be accused of inappropriate behavior, for example. Or vice verse, as happened to Joseph with Potiphar’s wife.

 

“What happened to the Apostolic Pentecostal church after the apostles?”

Many people falsely believe the Apostolic church died out until the late 1800s. This is incorrect. When I was in college I spent a large amount of time studying the history of the church and many documents can be found that speak of persecutions of people who were oneness (believing in one God instead of a triune God) and people who were persecuted for speaking in tongues, baptizing in Jesus name, etc. Many of these groups were underground because of persecution, but the church never died out. There was a resurgence in the late 1800s as people began to read the word and realize that what the mainstream churches of the day were preaching wasn’t full truth. They started studying the Bible and teaching what the apostles taught.

 

“What does God feel about you if you are not Apostolic?”

He loves you as much as He loves anyone else, Apostolic or not. But, He also desires that you experience the fulness of life in Him. He wants to fill you with His spirit and see you live according to His Word.

 

“What does the Bible say about being flashy / Why can Pentecostals wear big bows?”

This is a situation on church standards and personal convictions. The Bible teaches to dress modestly and not adorn yourself with gold, pearls, or costly array. Those who wear big bows or fancy clothes do not have convictions against this because it is not jewelry and they may have not spent a lot of money on it therefore it is not costly. On the other hand, some Apostolics have personal convictions against wearing flashy clothes or big hair bows because they believe it draws too much attention.

What it comes down to is that each church has it’s own set of “standards” that the pastor preaches. It is how he teaches we should follow the Word of God. Beyond that, if we have personal convictions stronger than that standard we are to follow them, but not force them upon others. As far as people who do wear costly apparel or gold or pearls or the like? Keep in mind that we are all in different places in our walk with God and it may be something they haven’t been taught yet or maybe they have and they just choose to not follow it. Don’t let one person in the church who may not follow standards affect your walk with God.

 

“Dating Someone from the Apostolic Pentecostal Church”

The Bible teaches that we should not be “unequally yoked” or rather, we should not marry people who do not share our faith. It causes a lot of problems and stresses in the marriage. Most Apostolics won’t date someone outside the faith because most date with the intent of finding someone they’d like to marry. If you are dating someone who is Apostolic and interested in learning more about it, I would encourage you to visit your boyfriend or girlfriend’s church and ask for a Bible study.

 

“Why do Apostolic Pentecostals believe their way of salvation is the correct way?”

We only teach what is in the Bible. The Bible is truth. If you’re not in an Apostolic church and/or your pastor preaches a salvation message different than what is in the Bible I would encourage to search the scriptures about salvation and get yourself into a church that preaches the whole Bible.

 

“I’ve grown up in the Apostolic church and I guess what I would like to know is what is my faith?”

I strongly encourage you to speak with your pastor. Having been raised in the church myself I know it is common for Apostolic kids to grow up living for God because it’s the only thing we’ve ever known. Somehow some of us never learned the why behind everything. Your pastor or youth leader would be great to show you where in the Bible our doctrine comes from. Everything we believe is in the Bible so if you have questions about salvation or standards ask! I don’t typically suggest searching Google because you can get a lot of mixed up answers from people not in church. If you are learning about doctrine from a source outside of your church and the Bible, make sure it is a trusted Apostolic leader otherwise you might get information that isn’t biblical.

 

“Pentecostal Guy Invited Me to a Party”

If it’s a church party go and have fun! You probably won’t find drinking, drugs, smoking, or worldly dancing there but you’ll still have fun!

If it’s a worldly party with those things at it, don’t go with him.

 

“Can older women in the Pentecostal Church date?”

Yes, as long as you are not in adultery as listed in the Bible, for example Matthew 19:9 and Romans 7:2. For the best biblical guidance on this ask your pastor. If you are single and never married there are no standards against older women dating that are common to Apostolic churches.

 

“Can a Pentecostal enter any church?”

Yes, but voice of experience says it can be an uncomfortable experience and it may feel lacking. Going from a church that celebrates the Holy Ghost and God’s goodness into one that doesn’t (for example, some baptist churches preach against speaking in tongues! Which is not good because it is the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost).

 

“What do you think about the Apostolic church?”

I love it and wouldn’t dream of belonging to any other church!

 

“How to be a great Apostolic Bible teacher”

Learn from your pastor. He will be your best mentor.

 

“Things Done at Pentecostal Church”

Here is a link to a “What to Expect” page for an Apostolic church. It lists what you can expect and where we find it in the Bible. http://www.auburnfpc.com/about/what-to-expect

 

“Facial hair in the Pentecostal Church”

The Bible does not specifically say anything for or against facial hair for the church. Many churches preach against it because it was a symbol of rebellion during the 60s and can be a point of contention and vanity. This varies from church to church though and some pastors may have different insight into it. If you belong to a local congregation I encourage you to ask your pastor his opinion on it.

 

“Do Pentecostals eat pork?”

Yes. Unless they are vegetarian. Or don’t want to.

 

“Is it bad if I don’t like being around Pentecostal people?”

It’s more so sad. Ask yourself why. Keep in mind that one or two Pentecostals do not make up the entire faith and that if you don’t particularly enjoy the company of some Apostolics doesn’t mean you don’t like being around any of them! Seek out other friendships in the church and I guarantee you’ll find some more pleasant to be around than others,

 

“If you’re Apostolic why can you feel God some days and not others?”

Emotions tend to rule us many times. The Bible says the heart is deceitful. God will not forsake you, we know that. Sometimes the feeling can be a result of stress, depression, unrepentant sin, or just a time of testing. Many strong men and women of God in the Bible went through periods where they couldn’t feel God. Keep living for Him, praying, doing what you need to do and trust Him that you will feel Him again. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel from your pastor and strength from your brothers and sisters at the church.

 

Have other questions? Ask them in the comments below!

(Debates and non-biblical matter of fact responses will NOT be approved. This is not a debate forum.)

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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