A People for Crisis Time

-Becoming a Prophetic People

crisis-time-01

 Revelation 7:13-17

New International Version (NIV)

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’  nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’     ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

Jesus Christ, the First and Last,
The Living One and Lord of all
Holds power transcendent and so vast
It either appalls or enthrals.
For God, right now, is preparing an army
Of conquerors with exceptional worth,
They are the ones who will rule in Eternity
Having served their apprenticeship here on earth.
Overcomers, through the blood of the Lamb,
Ruling with Jesus in his heavenly program
Called to suffering, like the Suffering One,
Called to renounce all other claims,
Called to show the authority of the Son,
Called to mission to proclaim his Name.
This high and noble and dignified calling
Beyond all other claims, enthralling!
It’s the Church, Christ’s Body, his precious people
Who constitute this company, anointed and free.
“Who are these?”, the Elder asks John the apostle,
As they see and assess a vast dynasty,
The angel himself answers with bold clarity,
A people who are destined for co-regency!
Those who gain triumph in tribulation,
Those who are cleansed by the blood of Jesus,
Those who alone can give true veneration
To Jesus the One who is Matchless.
The overcomers by means of their victories
Share Jesus’ authority as his beneficiaries
Are we his people for this crisis hour?
Do we discern his sovereign plan?
Are we living under Holy Ghost power?
Are we transcending our culture’s life-span?
Let’s be his end-times people of power!
May we arise with a new anointing
So that in zeal and holiness this hour
We prepare for the Day of his appointing

A Man Who Knows God – A Tribute to Paul E. Grant

 The apostle Paul famously says,

I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
 (Philippians 3:10-11)

Do you know anyone who is like the apostle Paul, whose life exhibits the passion and character as one who truly knows God?

 I think I know one. In fact, his name is also Paul. Here is my reflection on this wonderful man of God. 

On 26th June, 2012, Reverend Paul E Grant passed away and entered into God’s presence. He was 86.

(left) Paul E Grant

“Paul was a critical thinker, with a heart for God, His mission and His people.”

by Siu Fung Wu
My first interaction with Pastor Paul took place when I was doing an external study on the Book of Acts. He was the principal and lecturer of a Bible College in Queensland through which I did my studies. I listened to Paul’s (recorded) lectures, and it was a treat. He opened my eyes to the mission of God in the pages of Acts. Paul talked about the cross-cultural God who led His people to proclaim the Gospel through signs and wonders so that Jesus’ name might be heard across the Roman Empire. Paul and his wife Dulcie were missionaries in Vanuatu for 13 years, dedicated their lives to the work of God. He taught me that I should read the Bible through God’s heart of mission. This is my first memory of Pastor Paul, the missionary.

In 1994 Paul came to Melbourne to teach a one-week intensive course on culture and cross-cultural communication. My wife and I jumped at the opportunity to attend. We invited Paul and Dulcie over for lunch and we had a good chat. What impressed me most was their interest in our (Chinese) culture. Indeed, they showed interest in us. They exhibited the heart of God, who loves every person and is interested in every culture in the world.

We kept in touch with Paul and Dulcie over the years. Dulcie was amazing, for she replied to every letter we sent her. Paul would write as well, with gems of wisdom. They walked with us when we decided that I should leave my career to become a minister. Later when we were struggling to start a family, they prayed for us faithfully and regularly wrote to us to encourage us. They were our pastors.

When our son was born, Paul and Dulcie happened to be in Melbourne – which was, of course, in fact a divine appointment. Dulcie sewed a special cross-stitch for us. Pastor Paul and Dulcie came and prayed for us at the hospital. What an honour it was to have them pray for our son!

In recent years we only correspond with them once or twice a year. During those years Paul wrote plenty of poems about God, the God whom he had served all his life. As mentioned, Paul was a missionary to Vanuatu. At the age of 59, he went to Fuller Seminary to complete an MA in missiology. He came back to Australia and became the principal of a Bible college, one that had a definite major focus on mission and the Scripture. In fact, if my memory serves me right, they even had modules on women in ministry and holistic mission (mission that includes serving the poor). Paul was a critical thinker, with a heart for God, His mission and His people.

Not only was Paul a critical thinker, he was also a sharp observer of contemporary culture. Over 10 years ago I had a long conversation with him when he was in Melbourne. We talked about the postmodern generation, and I wondered how we could define it. He said that postmodernity would best be described, not defined. I think it was insightful, and indeed quite amazing for someone who was over 70 to have that discernment about a generation that was much younger than he.

I had quite a few phone conversations with Paul in the months before his passing. We shared our concerns about certain developments in contemporary churches today as well as the downward trend of Biblical literacy. We talked about the cost of discipleship and the need to be faithful followers of Jesus. Even though he was in his 80s, his heart to serve God was still strong and his love for him continued to grow. He had no fear of death and looked forward to meeting Jesus face to face.

One week before his passing, Paul’s son, Ian, rang and told me the news that Paul was critically ill. Ian, a pastor himself, said that if Paul passed away, people would be flying in from all over the world for the funeral. Ian said to me that all that his Dad wanted from us was that we would honour God and that Christ would be at the centre of our lives. Although I am only one of the multitudes of people whose lives have been blessed by him, Pastor Paul’s desire for us to honour God and to be Christocentric has a profound impact on me.

I know that Paul’s heart was indeed that I would honour God all my life, and that Christ would always be at the centre of my heart and desire. I think that was why Paul and I (and Dulcie and my wife) kept in touch all those years. I want to honour God and I want Jesus to be at the centre of my life. Maybe it was because there was something very special in Paul that God had put him in my journey. I think that very special thing was the fact that Paul knew his God. He was more than a missionary, a thinker, a pastor or an observer of culture. He was someone who knew his God intimately and wanted nothing else but him. He was a man who had been faithful to God’s call all his life.

Thank you, Lord, for Pastor Paul, who was such a good example of your love and power in people’s lives. Amen.

Original Source: sightmagazine.com.au | 19th July, 2012 by Siu Fung Wu

God Will Always Have His Way

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould but let God remould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity”  (Romans 12:2 J.B. Phillips)

We know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good  (Romans 8:28 J.B. Phillips)

“God will always have his way”.
It’s a statement so very easy to say,
Especially shortly after the day
Fulfilled, with little delay

I wonder of Joseph said it
When he was there in the pit,
Or during those years in Egypt
Aware of having God’s credit?

I think it was a growing theme
When Joseph interpreted a dream,
When he began to plan and scheme
And when he ruled supreme

Providence, promise and predestination
In a miracle of integration,
Showed God’s favour towards the nation
Of Egypt, and later, Israel’s formation

Humans may rule, God overrules,
In every culture’s ways and schedules
He uses an earthly way as a tool
Making it serve his heavenly module

In all things God is working for our good,
All the way from babyhood,
In all livelihood, adulthood and nationhood,
A truth that Joseph understood

The whole of cosmos is God’s territory
A kind of divine laboratory,
His purpose is always revelatory
His promises, an infallible authenticity

I have learned to find my rest
In what God says is for my best,
So in his will I shall invest,
God’s way for me, his prized bequest

Paul E. Grant | December 2010

Genesis 50:20

There at The Cross

You carried the weights of billions
When you died there at the cross,
For the consequences of rebellion
In Eden; immense, unmeasured loss

A price beyond human resources
When you died there at the cross,
You faced down Satan’s ravages
In a conflict so horrendous

An awesome Divine intervention
When you died there at the cross,
In obedience to the Father’s direction,
The price for both humans and cosmos

You had left a home of sinlessness
When you died there at the cross,
To secure absolute righteousness,
To live in a world of dross

Victory over self and sin is now
Mine through his death on the cross,
He has fulfilled his magnificent vow
To do God’s will in a world of loss

Your death, O Christ, paid the price
When you died there at the cross,
For through that mysterious sacrifice
I am clothed with salvation’s kudos

This kudos is more than superficial
It’s a state of inner wholeness,
His cross alone gives me the credential
Of being accepted and righteous

Thank you Jesus for making the purchase
Then giving me an amazing status,
Thank you for love so enormous and generous
All through that work when you died on the cross

Galatians 6:14.  “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

 Paul E. Grant | December 2010

A Pentecostal’s Yearning

Habakkuk saw his world in a whirl
Prior to Babylon’s invasion,
Israel choosing to go its own way
Would soon face deportation

God would use godless nations
To bring about his will,
Both in the world and among his people
He remained Sovereign still

Twin issues were before him,
Power and idolatry of nations
The backsliding of his people;
He would address both notions

Like Habakkuk I too tend to despair
As I view both the world and the church,
Idolatry and sin seem to prevail
Has God left his world in the lurch?

God planned to restore his people
To truly be his witness
To a world described in Romans one and two,
A people called to holiness

And so today, as I view the landscape
Of the church’s way of living
In our Western world and elsewhere,
It’s a scene that is disturbing

I address a notable group of God’s people,
The tribes of Pentecostalism,
For one hundred years a powerful force
In the mission of evangelism

At the start, a flashpoint of revival,
A resurgence of God’s Spirit,
Signs and wonders and holiness
Full Gospel with no limits

Christ the Saviour, the Centrepiece,
His Headship and empowering,
Worship to him, not to the church
And passion for the lost and dying

Worldliness denied and renounced,
Gifts of the Spirit functioning,
Services defined by spontaneity
With audiences contributing

We cannot return to past days
Nor hold to traditional ways,
We ought not initiate replays
We need to repent and obey

 To bend in penitence and contrition,
To confess that we have died
To all our cultural idolatries,
To yield to the Crucified

A passion that will burn like fire [1]Amy Carmichael
Aspirations soaring higher,
Intercession, not mere desire,
Servant leadership to inspire

A church confronting the powers
And worldviews of post-modernity
With Holy Spirit dynamic
Overthrowing their authority

Recovering “first love” devotion,
Embracing self crucifixion,
Abandoning this world’s notions,
Giving priority to Gospel mission

A restoration of biblical purity,
Standards and ethics, maturity,
A commitment to God’s priority
To the world’s unsaved humanity

Yes, there are more than four billion souls
Needing to hear of Jesus,
If Pentecostal power is God’s way
We need it in its fullness

So this Pentecostal’s yearning
Is for the ageless Gospel message,
To be seen disrupting the church
And confronting all human knowledge

There is no other hope for this lost world
Jesus’ return is near,
May we submit and be restored
Learning to live in godly fear

Paul E. Grant | August 2009

References

1 Amy Carmichael