The Way We Do Church – a Book Review

I am writing this short article, especially to those of you who are leaders and pastors in your church. To anyone else that wants to check it out, I believe it would be extremely helpful. I am in the process of reading a book by Frank Viola and George Barna entitled Pagan Christianity published by BarnaBooks, an imprint of Tyndale House.

The book deals with the tradition that has entered the modern church over the centuries that can harm and suffocate the Holy Spirit’s work in our midst. I will be the first to mention this book probably isn’t for everybody. I believe God will have to prepare you to read and accept its message. It goes against almost everything we have been taught in our churches. I am not speaking of the doctrine, but the way the church is run, and the traditions of men that have seeped in.

The main tenet of the book is that our church service is based upon pagan roots rather than the model of the New Testament church as found in the book of Acts and the Epistles. As I said, this book is not for everyone, but if you want to be challenged in your Christian growth and you are not afraid to test your comfort zone, I believe many of the thoughts in this book would revolutionize your church services.

The table of contents reads – 1. The Church Building; 2. The Order of Service; 3. The Sermon; 4. The Pastor; 5. Sunday Morning Costumes; 6. Ministers of Music; 7. Tithing and Clergy Salaries; 8. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; 9. Christian Education; 10. Reapproaching the New Testament; 11. A Second Look at the Savior.

Much of what we do in our churches today has no Biblical basis whatsoever and Barna and Viola bring this to light. I must say I do not agree with everything that the authors mention, but for the most part, I believe applying some of the Biblical principles shared in this book just might cause some churches to experience revival. I’m praying my church does.

If you choose to take this journey, I’d be interested to know what you think.

Leave a comment or email me. I’ll be waiting.

The Greatness of God

Recently I was involved in a trying spiritual battle. I would like to share more details about the battle itself, but it hits close to home and is difficult to write about. Still, I must give God glory for His workings among men. He is God and beside Him, there is no other.

Truly, God is the only God and to see the power of God on display amidst the darkness is such a contrast. He and He alone is deserving of my worship, my praise, my life. To see Him bring great spiritual victories is to see Him at His best. What He does best is to bring victory. He is God and beside Him, there is no other.

The hosts of hell tremble at His very Name. They flee from His very presence. This allows me to stand in the presence of God alone. Oh, the peace that comes from walking hand in hand with my Savior. The comfort He brings is otherwordly. The power He wields is supernatural. He is God and beside Him, there is no other.

Daniel referred to Him as the God of Heaven. I refer to Him simply as my God. He owns me, not by force, but by choice -my choice. I’m His child. He is my Father. He has proven Himself over and over again. There’s no question as to the reality of His existence or His personal interest in my life. He’s not just the man upstairs or a higher power. He is God and beside Him, there is no other.

I praise Him for His faithfulness to me, for His individual attention to me, and for His love for me. I will praise His name forevermore. While so many choose today to reject Christ, I will claim Him for my own. He has taken up residence within me and guides and directs my steps. He is God and beside Him, there is no other.

Praise His Holy Name–the beautiful Name of Jesus.

Let’s Start a Prayer Revolution

“…But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:9b)

All over America there are pockets of pray-ers popping up, Be it individuals, groups. or entire churches, God is calling His people to pray. Still, for the most part, the call has fallen on deaf ears. America may be religious, but she is still lost. America may be filled with churches, but not the Saviour. Many claim the name of Christian, but have not the slightest idea what it means to be a Christian.

After an exhausting day at church yesterday, I finally crawled into bed about 10:00pm – and lay for hours tossing and turning, pleading with God silently for our nation. Did He hear? Absolutely! I cannot get the thought of a Prayer Revolution out of my mind.

If you see our country as being okay, you need to try a new pair of glasses. We are far from the God who has blessed us for some 200 years. We have mocked him by our church formalities. Yes, we have blasphemed the God of Heaven in attempting to do the work without the Holy Spirit, and we came up dry What did we expect?.

The focus has become programs, pomp, and personalities. Christ has long ago been ushered out the front door where He remains knocking, pleading for entrance. We have forbidden it. There is a a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I can not stay. Perhaps I’m not speaking about your church, but then again maybe I am.

Stop for just a minute – just one minute, and think about the condition of America – really think. Is Christ really preeminent in your church? Certainly He is not in the American church in general. But it really does not have to be that way! Let’s start a prayer revolution. This I know. If we do not willingly bend the knee before God, He will bring us to our knees, but then it will be too late.

Would it really hurt you to immerse yourself in prayer for the glory of God to return. I mean immerse. Allow me to vent. I am so sick of so called prayer meetings where the pastor has a 30 minute Bible study and a five minute prayer time at the end of the service. Wonder why the church is weak? You know the answer. Very few people cry out to God anymore insisting on His promises to be fulfilled. Very few people take the time to enter into a deep prayer life with the One who saved them. Very few care. I am hoping you are different. Let’s start a prayer revolution.

In my county there are about eight Gospel preaching churches. If one of those churches caught the fire of the Holy Spirit and another one 15 miles down the road caught fire, something very powerful would begin to happen. The Holy Spirit would take those sparks and blow them into a flame bigger than either of the two, covering more area than either one could alone. Imagine if God got a hold of all eight churches. Imagine if this took place in many counties in many states – the winds of revival would be blowing hurricane force.

America will continue to suffer unless a change is made. Unless a change is made your loved ones may burn in hell. Your neighbors will still reject Christ. Homosexuality, pro-choice and evolution will still be taught to your children and grandchildren. Someone has to do something. It might as well be you!

You have got to plead with God, not just pray. You have got to lay hold of the promises God has given you. You have got to resist the devil. You have got to get serious. Beg God to work in your life. Beg Him to do something only He can do. Only He can change the face of things to come against this country.

The fact that your loved ones may burn in hell, the fact that your neighbors may still reject Christ, the fact that your children and grandchildren will continue to be taught dangerous and damaging lies is not the reason to cry out for revival. There is only one reason – God Himself. The pure glory of God is the only reason to plead with Him. His glory is the only reason to hold Him to His promises. God is God and that is all we need to know. He deserves His rightful place among us. He will have it, if we give it to Him.

Determine right now to throw out the ten minute quiet time that eases the conscience. Dive into prayer for an hour or more at a time, perhaps several times a day. Let God be real and transform your life.

There is a burning fire in my bones. I am weary of forbearing. Be a spark. Get others involved. Get your church involved. I am only one person with one story to a few people, but together we can multiply the effort and start a prayer revolution. Watch and marvel at what God is going to do.

The Error of Islam

Jesus, who is Truth, tells us that the Spirit of Truth will lead us into Truth and the Truth will make us free. We are also told in I John 4:1-3 that we are to test the spirits due to false prophets and the spirit of antichrist being present in the world. We must apply this principle to the religion of Islam. You’ve no doubt heard that Islam is a religion of peace despite violence by the extremists. Is this true? We must test the spirits to see. Before continuing, let me say that this is not a hate article toward Muslims. Jesus died for the Muslims as much as anyone else. However, the false teaching of the Islamic faith must be exposed. Before we get into actual Islamic teaching, let us look at some differences between Islam and what the Bible calls Truth, Jesus Christ.

John 2:11 tells us, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory….” This verse gives us the fact that the Messiah performed miracles and that the purpose was to manifest His glory. Remember that the Messiah is a world-wide Messiah, not just the Jewish Messiah. I could be wrong, but I see nowhere in Islamic literature that Mohammad performed any miracles. He is not the Messiah. Jesus Christ is.

Luke 1:26, 27 gives this account. ” And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” It was necessary for the Messiah to be virgin born to avoid the curse of sin. Mohammad was not virgin born, nor did he claim to be.

Hebrews 4:15 gives us this information about the Messiah. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The Messiah must be sinless. We will look at the sinful lifestyle of Mohammad shortly.

The Messiah saves. As a matter of fact, He is the only One that can–Acts 4:12, “Neither is salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Islam is based on a system of guidance from Allah where faith and action, belief and practice meet.

Hebrews 1:1, 2 tells us that the Messiah is God’s Final Word. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,…” Muslims look to many prophets including Mohammad while minimizing Jesus.

When Christians show violence they contradict themselves. Matthew 5:44 plainly tells us that we are to love our enemies. When Muslims show violence they are acting according to their faith. Let me say again that Muslims are not the enemy and we are commanded to love them. The enemy is Islam–the teaching.

It may be that many Muslims are not aware of their own teaching, just as many Christians have not studied their Scriptures to know the Truth. Nevertheless, these are the facts.

About Mohammad: “I have been ordered to fight with the people until they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.'”–Al-Bukhari Vol 4:196

Mohammad was a confirmed warrior. 67 out of the 68 wars of Mohammad were offensive raids. He raided, massacred, and looted civilians without warning.

Mohammad was engaged to a six-year-old girl, but chose to wait to marry her until she reached the age of nine. Up to this time Mohammad was only able to attract a few followers. It was at this point that he supposedly received from Allah the doctrine of Jihad. His followers were now given divine orders to attack those who opposed them. This became a very popular doctrine. It was taught that the only sure way to go to paradise was to die in Jihad. This is not just extremist teaching, but is meant for all those that practice Islam.

About the Koran: These verses taken from the Koran have been paraphrased, but the facts still remain.1. Fighting is obligatory for you…–2:216
2. “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.:–8:39
3. Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Those who submit will be well treated well. Those who don’t submit will be killed.–9:5, 6
4. Fight against Christians and Jews “until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.”–9:29
5. Islam must prevail, by force if necessary, over all other religions.–9:33
6. Fight the disbelievers and hypocrites. Be harsh with them. They are going to Hell anyway.–9:73
7. Believers (Muslims) must fight for Allah. They must kill and be killed, and are bound to do so…but Allah will reward them.–9:111
8. Fight disbelievers who are near you, and let them see the harshness in you.–9:111
9. “When you clash with the infidels in battle, smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them…when you (subdue) them, (make them) captives…you are commanded by Allah to continue…Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam.”–47:4

The Hadith
1. Ishaq 587 “We will fight until you turn to Islam,…We have mutilated every opponent. We have driven them violently before us at the command of Allah and Islam. we will fight until our religion is established. And we will plunder them, for they suffer disgrace.”
2. “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.”–Bukhari Vol. 9, No. 57 p. 45
3. “In the last days…some…will…abandon Islam…wherever you meet them, kill them, for he who kills them shall get a reward on the Day of Resurrection.”–Bukhari, 4.808: Ali ibon Abu Talib.

My dear Christian brother or sister, know the truth. it will make you free.

This Invitation is for You!

The old preaching shed at TGAF

There can be no doubt the crown is slipping from America’s brow, and the only thing that will stop it is a miraculous visit from God. With that in mind, we at Lifegate Baptist Church continue to cry out to God on behalf of our land. This September 9th and 10th, the church is hosting The Great American Fast XII at the Lamar Lighthouse Camp (Route 64) in Lamar, PA.

We invite you and your church to join us on Friday September 9th at 6:00-9:00 pm. Saturday September 10th we begin at 9:00 am and continue to 6:00 pm with a break fast meal prepared by the ladies of Lifegate. Overnight dorm style accommodations are provided at no cost. Fasting is preferred but not necessary.

Evangelist Tom Palmer will lead us through many times of prayer as we seek the face of God. Evangelist Brit Emel will challenge us with hot revival preaching. America desperately needs you. Please come and join us for a weekend of crying out to God for our beloved America.. Please RSVP by September 5, 2022.

For the Glory of the Lord,

Pastor Bill Kovacic
Lifegate Baptist Church
tgaf2011@gmail.com

TGAF Interview with Lori Colbo

The old preaching shed at the Lamar Lighthouse Camp has since been replaced with a beautiful, modern structure.

Bill: Lori, thanks so much for joining us this week. Before we
begin, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

Lori: Thanks, Bill. I live in the Pacific Northwest where the
beautiful Puget Sound bay wends its way through western
Washington and the Majestic Mt. Rainier fills up the sky on
sunny days. I have four adult sons and 12 grandchildren and
several more that are step siblings or half siblings. I’ll take as
many as I can get. They are my greatest joy. I have been born
again since 1979 and I treasure His grace and mercy and love
His word to guide my life. What a privilege to share Him with
others and serve and fellowship in His church.

Bill: That’s great! Lori, I’ve been doing a study lately on the
Laodicean church of Revelation 3 and the likenesses with the
21st-century American church, especially verse 20 where Jesus
is outside the door of the church knocking to be allowed in.
What do you think is necessary for the door to be opened here
again in America?

Lori: They were lukewarm, indifferent to ministry and their
relationship to God, which so repulsed God that He threatened
to vomit them out of His mouth if they did not repent. In some
versions, the words spit and spew are used for vomit.
Regardless, God said He would reject them forcefully with
revulsion. That’s heavy. The reason this church was lukewarm
was because they were wealthy and felt they had no need for
God. They lived in a prosperous city of trade and commerce.
Also, they were pressured by Rome to cooperate by being
involved in the Imperial cult which worshiped the Emporer. If they didn’t, they would lose their wealth by persecution. That was more important to them so they became apathetic to the Lord and His work.
America is the most powerful, wealthy, and free country on
earth, but our power is waning rapidly, daily, because of gross
pride and defiance toward God thus more incompetent and
treacherous leaders.
The American Church has the freedom to worship without
persecution and the wealth to make things happen on a grand
scale. But these grand cool churches start seeking more money
for more bells and whistles, so they can be cooler and grander
and more popular. Then it becomes all about the people or
church doing these things. That’s not a blanket statement of
course, but it’s pervasive. It has opened the door for many
churches to twist or ignore the Scriptures and do their own
thing. They start making Jesus cooler, therefore that false Jesus
and churches have more fans. There are a lot of preacher
followers,, Christian music followers, false doctrine followers,
and Christ kind of gets demoted, dismissed, or exchanged for a
newer model. We are spoiled and have misplaced focus.
Tragically, thousands of people think they are saved but are not
because they’ve fallen for the cool cultural Jesus and churches.
And yet, Jesus is still here, knocking at the door. It’s simple, we
repent and once again be devoted to God. If the Church is
going to avoid being spewed out of the Lord’s mouth, it needs to
be purified.

Bill: Let’s switch gears a bit. I suppose if we are to consider a
corporate revival, we must begin with the individual. When it

comes to an individual’s walk with Christ, what do think is most
necessary for personal revival?

Lori: To know, understand and worship the biblical Jesus and
to rightly divide the word of Truth. We can’t compromise. We
need to put Jesus on the throne, and no one else before Him.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The first
commandment. Personally, we should devote ourselves to God
and walk in truth and purity, and obedience. This applies to
each Christian, but also the Church at large. We need to go to
churches that are biblically sound and put Jesus first.

Bill: We focus a lot here at TGAF on a movement of God upon
a church, a town, even the nation. That would be ideal, but what
are some practical steps an individual believer could take when
seeking revival?

Lori: Get back into the Word and prayer, and church. Too many
Christians don’t read the bible, they don’t study it and church
attendance has sadly dropped considerably. It’s easier for
people to watch online in their jammies and hot coffee. I have
seen people post photos of their computer screens (watching
church) and seen through their slippered feet. It’s obvious they
are in their recliners rather than a pew. This started with COVID
but the churches have been open for quite a while. The Church
needs each one of us to function, using our gifts. We need the
unity of the Church, the fellowship. We grow together and spur
one another on. To worship together is so special. When we
skip live church (for ease and leisure) it’s easy to compromise
and put spiritual things second. I would add consistent daily

prayer. The Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling
together. Imagine what is going to happen if this trend continues
to grow. There will be empty sanctuaries and no ministry. Be a
part of the church by serving as well as attending.

Bill: Do you have any advice for those who may be struggling
spiritually at this time?

Lori: Humble yourselves and draw near to God. It’s hard
because motivation has stalled and their yearning for God has
waned. David said, “As the Deer pants for the water brook, so
pants my soul after thee” (Psalm 42:1). We need to pant and
yearn for God. Yearning and panting are desperate calls for
fulfillment and refreshment. You’ll die if you don’t get it. If it’s not
in you, then ask God for the desire. Want to want to and pray
accordingly. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. I
need revival too, on a daily basis. But I am always seeking for
God to help me grow in obedience and to forgive me for my
pride. I don’t have it all together and am as desperate as
everyone else. It seems to me that the older I get in my
Christian walk, the more aware I am of my sin and hate that it’s
there. But I practice 1 John 1:9 (confessing my sin when I’m
aware of it) and stand on His promise that He is faithful and just
to forgive me (and us) and cleanse me from all
unrighteousness. His mercies are new every morning and we
need them every morning because Satan is still walking to and
fro seeking whom he may devour. He still roams in my life. We
have to put on and keep on the armor of God.

Bill: Lori, there is a sign on the Niagra River just above Niagra
Falls which says, “Point of No Return.” Once someone passes

that warning sign, they will no doubt be carried over the Falls.
God has sent us many warnings. This is purely speculative, but
do you think America has slipped past the point of no return? Is
there still hope?

Lori: That’s a tough question, Bill. We are no doubt in the last
days and every day more hell breaks loose as the bible tells us
it will. The labor pains are growing stronger and getting closer
together. Christians are now busier fighting in the political
boxing ring than following and seeking after God, generally
speaking. As citizens, it’s extremely important that we advocate
for change in our nation, to vote and speak out and influence for
change, to run for office, but as God leads in His way. It’s
biblical. Joseph and Daniel were influencers in national change
even in foreign lands. There were other kings and leaders who
made reforms and influenced the people and Israel to turn back
to God. But we are more so citizens of heaven, so we need to
realize our central purpose is to trust God and spread the
gospel. A new president and elected officials, no matter how
good they are will not change a sinful nation or draw our
neighbors to God. It is often said we cannot legislate the human
heart to love God. We might obey any new and good laws
because we have to, but laws don’t change the heart. We will
get corrupt again without changed hearts. We must tell the
world about Jesus and live the example.
In the bible, there was always a remnant and there is a remnant
of caring devoted, faithful Christians today. With Christ, there is
always hope, but all great empires come to an end because of
sin and pride. America is going to flame out because of its pride

and ever-growing debased behavior. My personal opinion is
that if the Church and our nation don’t repent, America is going
to fall. But at least if the Church is revived, whatever happens to
our nation, the Kingdom of God will continue to grow.

Bill: Well, Lori, I want to thank you for your thoughts and
wisdom. Thank you as well for being willing to share them with
us. As we wrap things up, are there any last thoughts you’d like
to leave with our readers?

Lori: Let’s repent, turn back to God. Seek first the kingdom of
God, spread the gospel, and be pure.

Bill: Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to
discuss these things with us today. I appreciate you and your
ministry and will be praying for you.

Lori: Thank you, Bill. I am praying along with you.

The Great American Fast XII

October, 2010 – I was sitting in the adult Sunday School class listening to the teacher. He mentioned something about the National Day of Prayer. I don’t remember the details, but it started a string of ideas in my head. “We have a National Day of Prayer, but America needs a National day of fasting.” Thus, The Great American Fast was born.

On January 1, 2011, the official TGAF website made its appearance on the web. The Fast was scheduled for Sunday, July 3, a short 6-hour fast from 12:00-6:00 pm. Other churches stopped by Lifegate to join in the Fast. That first year, we were treated to preaching by Evangelist Michael Adams (now Pastor Michael Adams), Missionary to Kiribati Sam Snyder, and Pastor Ken Codner from Grace Baptist Church. It was a great Sunday!

Through the next year, the Fast had grown to include members from 28 states, and strangely, 17 countries. Sadly but thankfully, foreign nations seemed to have more desire to pray for America than we Americans.

Over the years, we have seen people come and go, but the Fast remains strong. The Great American Fast website has morphed into kneesforthenations.org , and the Fast has lengthened to a 24-hour fast. The principal meeting place is the Lamar Lighthouse Camp in Lamar, PA, and this year we will begin on Friday, September 9th at 6:00 pm and continue through Saturday, September 10th at 6 pm.

Free housing is available for the weekend and there will be a free break fast meal at 6:00 pm Saturday night. We’d love to have you come and join us. If you can’t make it to Lamar, PA, please take the time and join us in prayer during the weekend, and let’s lift our voices to the Lord for America from America and around the world.

In the Beginning . . .God

After four long years of research and writing, I have finally finished the rough draft of my book, In the Beginning . . . God: A Focused Study in Genesis 1-11. I want to share part of the first chapter with you. Be looking for the book to be completed before September 1, only a few weeks away.

The best place to begin is in the beginning. It is no coincidence the book of Genesis is placed first in the canon of Holy Scripture for it tells of the beginning of all things. It is the foundational book of the entire Bible and without a proper understanding of this book, much would be lost.

The story of the earth and her people, their purpose, and their destiny is summed up in the book of beginnings we call Genesis. It is God’s story for all mankind. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 3:4, “…yea, let God be true, but every man a liar . . . . “

Man has tried to discount the writings of this book through any means possible, through attacks on its historicity, through attacks on its scientific accuracy, through discrediting archeological discoveries and more. Still, God’s Word remains – and it remains true.

To admit the accuracy of this book demands we are creatures responsible to our Creator, the Living God. To dismiss the truth of Genesis is is to dismiss our responsibility to God. We may dismiss that responsibility, but God does not remove it. We will all stand before Him and give an account of our lives.

There seems to be a high-interest today in discovering our ancestry. My father was this. My mother was that. So, what does that make me? I take a DNA test. It shows me my father was more than this, my mother, more than that. I’m of the Heinz 57 variety.

This information is nice to know, I suppose, but what about our spiritual DNA – DNA that speaks of our purpose in life. DNA that shapes us for all eternity. DNA that works out our very destiny. Luke mentions in Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

God purchased His church with His own blood. That blood runs deep. His blood runs as deep as Genesis 1:1, for, in the beginning, God already had a plan to redeem His fallen creation. The question ultimately becomes, do you have God’s blood running through your spiritual veins? It’s nice to know where I’ve been, but it is much more important to know where I am and where I am going.

The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which we must build. The original Greek word for foundation, θεμέλιος (themelios), means something put down, that is, a substructure (of a building, etc.)

The purpose of a foundation is two-fold. 1.) to hold up the main structure, and 2.) to hold together the structure above it. If a foundation is properly laid first, it increases the amount of abuse a structure can take and remain safe for the people and objects inside. Jesus Christ is that Foundation.

Paul again says in II Timothy 2:11, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure . . . .” We are completely safe when we are resting on the Foundation. When our lives are built upon the Foundation we will strive for, and accomplish great things for God.

To fully understand our spiritual ancestry, we must follow the DNA back to the beginning. The veins run deep and the foundation is sure, but it has its beginning in the book of Genesis.

The title of the book, Genesis, would appear to be a transliteration from the Greek word γένεσις, meaning “Origin”; The first book of the Hebrew Tanakh, בְּרֵאשִׁית (Bərēšīṯ) literally means “In [the] beginning”.

Genesis is a book of beginnings and firsts. We see the beginning of creation, the beginning of the human race, the beginning of sin. We find within its chapters the first lie, the first murder, the first hint of a redeemer.

This wonderful book was humanly written by God’s man, Moses, as were Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The time was about 1445 B.C. We are told in I Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”

We know that the fourth year of Solomon’s reign was about 966 B.C. 480 years before that would give us the date of approximately 1445 B.C. The book of Judges adds some more information concerning the date. Judges 11:26 asks the question, “While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?”

The book of Judges was written sometime between 1045-1000 B.C. Adding the 300 years to the time of the writing of Judges gets us close to 1445. While no one can know the exact date, and biblical scholars differ from time to time, we can assume it was during this time period (1300-1445 B.C.) that Moses wrote the tremendous book of Genesis.

God is consistent with Himself. He tells us in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not; . . .” The writer of Hebrews underscores the fact by telling us that, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

What we need to see is that this book of Genesis has as much purpose, meaning, and practicality today as it did 3,500 years ago.

Moses writes in Genesis 1:5, “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” We see that light was created on the first day. We’ll take a deeper look at that later, but for this to take place, other events necessarily had to take place first.

It is in the first verse of the first chapter of the first book that we find these initial events. After all, Genesis is the book of beginnings, of firsts. There is no better place to start than in the beginning.

When teaching the book of Genesis to a class, I often remind the students that to be in the beginning, one must be before the beginning. If one is late for class, he is not present in the beginning of class. To be in the beginning of anything, you must be before the beginning.

And so it is with creation. The phrase, In the beginning, indicates at least two things. First, someone or something previously existed. As Christians, we understand that God existed before the beginning of creation. We are told in Isaiah 57:15, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, . . .”I am certainly not advocating that God is a creature from outer space, an alien. That simply isn’t the case, but we must recognize the fact that God is from another dimension – a dimension we know little about. It’s called eternity.

Eternity has neither a starting point nor an end. Time does not exist in eternity. There is no beginning. That is a very hard concept for us to grasp as creatures of time. Nevertheless, there is a dimension where time does not exist, and that dimension is eternity.

Secondly, “In the beginning” is a reference to time. “In the beginning [of time] God created . . . ”

What exactly is time? According to The Free Dictionary time is “A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession on from the past through the present to the future.”

It takes roughly ten minutes to travel to the grocery store from my house. As I leave point A going in the direction of point B, I am traveling through space, approximately six miles. I am also traveling through time, a period of about ten minutes.

Space and time are a continuum that seemingly goes on without end. For God to create all that He had in mind, He first had to create time.

In the beginning, God was before time, and He created time. Although an atheist, even the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking says, “All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning.” (http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html)1

In the beginning God created the heaven . . .” After the creation of time, It was necessary for God to first create a location in which to place His creation – the heaven.

The word heaven is plural in the original Hebrew language. It is the same Hebrew word translated heavens in Psalm 19:1. There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. The first heaven is that of the birds and clouds. We read about this in Daniel 4:12 and Matthew 6:28. It is the sky where airplanes fly, and from where rain falls.

The second heaven is where God planted the sun, moon, and stars – outer space. This is referred to in Psalm 19:1;

The third heaven is God’s throne. It is mentioned in II Corinthians 12:2 and Revelation 21:1, 2. I have heard that scientists have discovered an empty place in space void of stars, constellations, and galaxies several billion miles past the north star. Although I have not been able to verify this, it does fit the biblical description of the third heaven, the place where God dwells.

So what is space? It is “The infinite extension of the three-dimensional region in which all matter exists; The expanse in which the solar system, stars, and galaxies exists; the universe” (thefreedictionary.com)2

Please note that even though God created the heaven, the expanse we call space, it was not until the fourth day of creation that He filled it.

Next, God created the earth – matter. At this time, the earth was basically a ball of water. Dry land did not appear until day three of the creation model.

So what is matter? Once again, we turn to thefreedictionary.com. Matter is defined as “That which occupies space and has mass; physical substance.” (thefreedictionary.com)3

It is interesting to consider the Apostle John’s statement in I John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”

“From the beginning” can be translated before the beginning. He goes on to say that his eyes have seen and his hands have handled. He is describing matter – a physical manifestation of the Lord. That physical manifestation is located in space.

Jesus has entered our dimension to identify with man and to offer His life, a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He, who was before time, entered time and space and took on a physical body for the purpose of calling His lost creation back to Himself.

The Possibilities of Prayer

What is prayer for you? Is it something that you fall back on when times get tough? Is it something you go to when there is a need and you don’t know how to fix it? Prayer is something far more. Prayer is, in its deepest sense, communication with the God of the universe.

Recently, I was made aware of a verse that I’ve read many times and have even preached. The intellectual awareness was there, but the profound meaning was missing. Consider this – “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” – Ephesians 3:20.

Someone gave me a paper with the verse written slightly different. It appeared in pyramid form.


                                                                 ASK
                                                         ALL that we ask
                                               All that we ask or THINK
                                           ABOVE
all that we ask or think
                                ABUNDANTLY above all that we ask or think
                         EXCEEDING abundantly above all that we ask or think
                  ABLE to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Depending which word you choose to accent, the meaning is different and is also multiplied by the pyramid.

God knows my heart, and I’m truly seeking revival for my own life, my family, my church, my community, my country. Our church has been praying for several years for a genuine movement of the Holy Spirit in our town. Not only does this verse speak of our great God, but it is also a promise to be claimed. Prayer is one thing. Claiming what God has already said and making it part of one’s own life is quite another. We have prayed the prayer, but today I claim revival for my church and town. It’s as good as done.

I believe it was E. M. Bounds who said, “Nothing exists beyond the possibilities of prayer, that exists within the will of God.” Is it God’s will for HIs church to be revived? Absolutely! Does He wish to save the sinner? Most definitely! Can He? He “…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think….” We can ask exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think because He is able.

We can’t begin to realize all that God could do or wants to do. For Him, it’s a small thing to send His Spirit with power on a town. It’s a small thing for Him to bring conviction to this country. He turned the hearts of the nation of Israel back to Him and God can certainly do the same thing for the USA.

Let’s allow God to work His work. Don’t hold anything back from Him, but give yourself wholeheartedly to Him. He wants to accomplish in and through you so much more than you could possibly imagine.