Posts made in February, 2015


UrgentWHAT I THINK MAY BE COMING

Dear Friend,
I feel an URGENCY to write these words to you.

Around 4 years ago, I sent a message to family and friends and contacts, as I began feeling then that things in America and in the world were about to CHANGE. Perhaps even big changes coming in ECONOMICS, WAR and maybe even GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS. Greater PERSECUTION and NEED in America and around the world in a more widespread way. I feel that urgency just as strong now if not more.

I’M NOT A DOOMSDAY GUY. I don’t like to be negative. I PREFER INSPIRATION….AS CHRISTIANS, OUR MESSAGE IS GOOD NEWS. But we stand on and proclaim Good News in the context of the realities around us, not with our proverbial heads in the sand.

At that point 4 years ago, after thinking and praying about how to deal with what I was feeling, I began to HEAR things like this:

Respected pastor and author Chuck Swindoll had warned his congregation from the pulpit that SOMETHING IS COMING. They were stopping new building projects and focusing on preparing themselves to be a place people can come to for help.

Then, at a leadership conference I attended, Jack Hayford, respected pastor, author and leader got up after praise and worship and said this essentially, “Hold these songs in your heart because a TIME IS COMING when we will need them. Things are going to change with governments, economics, convenience with media and other things, and there will be great need. There is no need to fear, and it’s not for us to know the times, but THE CHURCH MUST GET READY FOR IT.”

Now…four years later, and the realities are even more grave.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, Billy Graham’s son, warned yesterday that “A STORM IS COMING TO THE WEST,” referencing ISIS and Islamic terrorism. (2/16/15)

John Paul Jackson, respected church leader, has warned of the “PERFECT STORM” COMING that will affect many aspects of society.

I’ve heard MANY similar statements that I could list from many respected people in both secular realms and in the Church world.

With these and many other confirmations of what I have felt strongly in my heart, I felt a need to share again what I was thinking with people I am connected to.

I BELIEVE A “STORM” MAY VERY WELL BE COMING: ISIS AND TERRORISM MIXED WITH RUSSIA’S INTENT ON EXPANSION. GROWING ANTI-SEMITISM, CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN THE WORLD AND APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH. DISEASE, NATURAL DISASTERS AND ECONOMIC TROUBLE, IF NOT COLLAPSE….IN THE COMING YEARS, IF NOT THIS VERY YEAR, I THINK THESE THINGS, AND MAYBE OTHERS, WILL CAUSE US TO SEE INCREASED TROUBLE AND PERSECUTION.

Again, I don’t like sending this and I risk some things by sending it, but there is MUCH Biblical precedent for NAMING AND FACING the reality among us, for looking evil and hard times in the face and preparing: Joseph, Elijah and Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus and the Early Church did, to name a few. I’m convinced we need to prepare. In naming these things and while preparing, our message and our refuge is Wonderful News.

I would love to hear your thoughts. My thoughts about the Church’s response have centered around longing for the Church to be prepared and aware, if, as I believe, the Holy Spirit is communicating things like this to His Church. But I also feel passionately that the Church must LEAD, not just react, through whatever the present or the future hold. And leaders have to look on the horizon. Great courage will be required of us, keeping the Gospel central, returning to the book of Acts, a Church unified and holy, sacrificially loving and prayerful, bold and humble.

Regarding preparation these thoughts are based on what I said 4 years ago, with a couple of additions. I’ve said many of these things the last 4 or 5 years on the TV show that EG produced, the radio spots, speaking in churches, the internet and individual conversations. But I feel I have to keep saying them. My conscience won’t let me not say them.

Here are my thoughts on preparation, rooted in the Gospel and the book of Acts 2 and 4 in its descriptions of the Church. I believe God will use the times that are coming, and us if we allow Him to, to be part of one of the great revivals the world has ever seen.

1. THE GOSPEL – “REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST” – The Acts Church broke bread continually. This was not just about fellowship. This was Communion and keeping the Gospel continually in front of them and central to their everyday lives. (2 Timothy 2:8, Acts 2 and 4) It was about remembering Christ and Who God forever is in the midst of the temporal things around them.

2. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE – I believe in the days to come, it will be paramount to remember who we are as a nation, our true history and heritage. It will be important to remember who we are as individuals in Christ, including knowing our own calling and purpose in Him. Finally and most important, it will be paramount to remember who we are as the children of God…our rest, and protection in Him, our place, our authority and our future as His children.

3. CONNECT with one another regularly. Real, sharing and open relationships and community will be crucial. The Acts Church met together daily. In the Lord’s economy, 1 can put a thousand to flight. 2 can put ten thousand to flight. This will be a crucial concept in the days to come. (Deuteronomy 32:29-31; Acts 2 and 4)

4. UNITY will be important. Putting aside such minor issues, forgiving quickly and working and living together in unity as His Body. (John 17, Psalm 133, Acts 2 and 4 “they were of one mind”)

5. PRAY for wisdom and boldness, for the miracles of God to be displayed in the midst of it so that people may know Him. Pray as you’re led. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out harvest workers. The Acts Church prayed continually. (Acts 2 and 4)

6. LOVE SACRIFICIALLY in a time when there would seem to be every reason to hate or to withhold generosity. The Acts Church gave so sacrificially that no one among them was in need. (Acts 2 and 4)

7. SPEAK THE TRUTH BOLDLY – The early Church prayed for boldness. Then, they boldly proclaimed the truth. Boldly stand and proclaim the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word and the truth of the realities in the world with love in a time when “justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.”(Isaiah 59:14) (Jeremiah, Acts 2 and 4).

8. DEAL WITH IT – Repentance is a gift. If there is sin or unforgiveness in our lives, let’s deal with it and watch God heal and restore and revive. (Acts 3:19, Acts 2 and 4)

9. PREPARE PRACTICALLY – Getting out of debt and avoiding debt. Emergency food storage. Not just for our family, but as a Church, so that we can give and help if need be. Water filtration. Generators/Solar powered generator. Just ideas. Joseph prepared Egypt when times were good for the famine to come. (Genesis 37-50)

I hope I’m wrong, Even if I’m not wrong, I don’t know the times and I don’t know the scope. But Encounter Generation will be thinking and talking through how we can prepare to be a strength to people if things do get hard.

I think things are changing…and it probably won’t just be “over there somewhere,” like Vietnam or the Gulf Wars. THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR FEAR, BUT FOR COURAGE, FOR PREPARATION AND FOR RESTING IN WHO HE IS AND WHO HE WANTS TO BE IN AND THROUGH US BOTH NOW AND IF HARD TIMES COME. In Christ, we will walk through triumphantly and He will show Himself the great victorious Hero that He is and has already shown Himself to be as our eternal King and Savior. We have the privilege to carry His Kingdom in the midst of kingdoms of this world. As Christians, we share in and carry a Kingdom that is unshakable in the midst of kingdoms that will be shaken. What a privilege.

Know that I am human. I only ask that you consider these things prayerfully, as I did 4 or 5 years ago when I sent a similar message.

To Him be glory through all of it, the good times…and if need be, even in our suffering.

Would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think?

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Logo Left ColumnFEBRUARY UPDATE 2015

DEAR FRIEND,
Below is the February update for the ministry, including an update on my health, news from the Philippines church plant and how God can turn even cancer upside down to show us His grace. I hope you have had a good 2015 so far. Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me.

Kids Shot

Going Away Party
KINGDOM STORY – JESUS BUILDS HIS CHURCH
The last letter I sent came from the Philippines, sharing about our Sidewalk Sunday School Christmas Party and how the kids and families were so blessed by it. I also shared about the baptisms and church Christmas party.

After I learned I had cancer and before I left for the states in mid-January, I told Joseph (the man I asked to pastor the church) that I would like to do a going-away party at church the last Sunday I would be there and use it as an evangelism outreach. I told him that I felt this cancer was a spiritual attack from the enemy and that it would be good to turn it back on him (or counter-attack) by using it for the Kingdom.

Joseph liked the idea, so we informed the church. It was an emotion-filled week, dealing with the many things that had to be done before leaving for a while and seeing so many people before departing.

We had been seeing the high 30s in church attendance in the short two months since the church had launched, and Joseph spread the word to those who had been attending about the “David-going-away-evangelism-outreach.”

Well, I arrived on Sunday morning and our little church space was packed with 73 people there for worship. A young lady named Faith who had been attending since the church launched led worship that day. It was her first time doing it there, and she did such a beautiful job. There was such a presence of God in the room as she and a full worship band led us all in praise and worship.

I preached that morning with Joseph interpreting, just to make sure everyone got the message clearly in their language. I preached the Gospel with everything in me, exhorting everyone to remember the Gospel, to guard the Gospel, to be committed to the Gospel even in hard times and to carry the Gospel to those who do not know Him.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” – 2 Timothy 2:8

At least 7 of the attendees received Jesus Christ that day, and the going-away party felt like a celebration…not a sad occasion. I prayed for Joseph and for the church. And if that was not enough, it turns out Faith, the new worship leader, is also an accountant. So God had sent Joseph someone to help him with keeping the church financial books organized and accountable.

Joseph and the church prayed for me as well, and though my relationship with the church will continue on, it felt like I completely gave up the steering wheel that day. (As if I ever had it. I think God drove this car from the beginning!) The keys were completely in the hands of a great pastor and capable leaders surrounding Him.

God gave me such a gift that day, as I got to see how HE had put so many pieces into place in such a short amount of time. I felt like I had been a spectator to a miracle.

I was overwhelmed as I reflected that day on what has happened. From the ashes of a dream that seemed burned to the ground in August when my team fell apart, God had raised a brand new church. The new church launched in November with 30-plus people, and in two months, God had already put leaders and helpers in place and had filled the room up with more than 70 attendees and with several new people receiving Him as Savior and Lord.

I honestly had the concern about whether or not that 70-plus attendees and fruit from that day would continue. I thought, “Perhaps it was just because of the evangelism outreach and a special occasion.” But Joseph said they still had over 70 people in church just a Sunday or two ago—more than 3 weeks after my departure! They have continued the work with a fruitful Valentine’s Day outreach and Joseph has instituted fresh and big vision for the church.

Amazing grace.

I’m so grateful for you. You stood by me and the vision God had given us, both in your prayers and in your partnership, when I first left to go to Asia and even when things fell apart and I was all alone in that city. And we got to watch Jesus build His Church. I hope you have felt as much a part of it in these updates as you are. And I’m so grateful for the miracles we got to see God do together.

MY HEALTH
As soon as I returned home I had surgery to remove my thyroid, and just this week, I finished radiation treatment as the cancer had spread some and they felt they could get it all with a radioactive iodine treatment. I went for a scan today, and if it reveals a successful treatment, I hope to be cancer free. I’m pretty sick right now with no thyroid, but hopefully by next week, I will start the replacement medicine for that and begin to regain my strength in the coming few weeks. Thank you again for your ongoing prayers and support. Lord willing, I’ll update you again in March as I regain strength and health and look to the rest of this year.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

– David Gilliam

www.encountergeneration.com

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