Saturday, October 25, 2014

DESIRE DETERMINES DESTINY by Claude Houde

I am the pastor of New Life Church on the South Shore of Montreal in Canada. We began our church with a handful of people in a tiny room in a building we rented from a school board. Today, over 3500 people come to church every week, something that has never happened in Quebec. Less than two percent of the population is evangelical. The typical evangelical church in our nation has been in existence for over fifty years, with an average attendance of less than eighty people.

How can we explain this unusual harvest? Why have we been blessed with over twenty consecutive years of growth in one of the most hostile and secular environments in North America? We don’t hold evangelistic outreaches and we don’t try the latest “cutting edge” methods and strategies of the modern church growth gurus. We have been through one building program after the other; we hold multiple services on Sunday; and we grow more and more exponentially year after year. Why? Simply because men and women of all ages and from every possible ethnic and social background are experiencing the transforming power of faith with a resolution. Hundreds are baptized every year as they stand and tell stories of grace, courage and redemption—miraculous, beautiful stories that are totally inexplicable apart from “an act of God!” They invite their friends, neighbors, family, colleagues from the workplace or college friends to “taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). And God multiplies the church.

In modern, secular, and cynical French Quebec, as all around the world, faith with a resolution is lighting fires of revival and changing lives. Thousands of “Daniels” are experiencing breakthroughs and deliverances that are irrefutable. There is no “star system,” no weird mysteries, polished professionalism, nor any gimmicks. There are only modern “Daniels,” men and women who live every day in the light and liberty, power and possibilities of faith with a resolution. They understand that desire determines destiny and although this is impossible for men, with God all things are possible.

__________
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Friday, October 24, 2014

JESUS IS COMING WITH A SHOUT!

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

In Greek, the word “shout” means to incite by word, to awaken, excite, spur to action. The voice of the archangel will be heard by all overcomers. “He is at the door! Come, beloved! He whom you love has come to take you away.” This is no discreet coming, quietly done in a corner. No! Jesus is coming with trumpet blasting, with hosts of angels, with a shout, with a cry of the archangel. The dead in Christ will arise first to meet Him in the air. They will embrace Him first. Do you think they will be silent? With new bodies? Eternally redeemed and at long last home with Jesus? Beloved, there will be thunderous rejoicing! And while they are rejoicing, He will send His angels into all the world and gather His children. What a welcome that will be.

But here is the meaning of His coming, distilled in a few words: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). How foolish it is to argue whether we will be living on earth or in some heaven. Heaven will be wherever Jesus is. Some are so determined we will never leave this earth, that Jesus will come down to us and set up a world kingdom. All I want is this: “So shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Do you desire to ever be with the Lord? Did you know that it is also His desire to be with you? “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory” (John 17:24). Leave the times and seasons in the Father’s hands and live every day of your life as if Christ were coming within the hour. But remember, until He comes there is much work to be done.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

HIS COMING WILL BE A GREAT CELEBRATION

For us who make up the bride, there must be no fear when He appears. “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13).

Never forget that He will not surprise those who expect Him, who are “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Those who are looking and expecting His coming are “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). They are not sitting in front of the TV, wrapped up in selfish dreams and foolish ambitions! They are busy adorning themselves as a bride-in-waiting, occupying until He comes. That day will not “overtake” those who are prepared. He will not come as a thief in the night to the expectant!

It will also be the Lord’s day of gladness because He is anxious to be with His bride: “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me” (Song of Solomon 7:10). We forget about His excitement, His joy, His expectancy. Yes, He yearns for His bride! He rejoiced after the disciples returned from casting out devils (see Luke 10:17-22). He is man glorified, partaking of all our feelings, and full of joyful anticipation of having His bride, of claiming her, and of drawing her to Himself!

He has promised to show Himself to those looking for His coming. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). This time He does not come to atone for sin, but to reveal His glory to His bride. That manifestation has already begun as He is showing forth His power and glory to His holy remnant. They will be caught up in its magnetic pull. He is no trickster; rather, He is wooing, cleansing, calling, and drawing us closer.