Posts categorized Conferences
The sustainability of our new heartedness and fresh startedness is crucial to the successful Christian life.
Consider the sustainability of the king salmon in the Kenai river.
King Salmon are the Kenai and Kasilof River’s most treasured species. Not only are they the largest species in each of these watersheds, they’re the largest of their kind in the entire world! Because these fish are genetically unique, relatively rare, so important to our community, and extremely special, we put their sustainability at the top of our priority list. https://akfishology.com/king-salmon-policy/
The examples of non-sustainable new heart and fresh start adventures are too numerous to count.
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my love.
- For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…2 Timothy 4:10
- But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally. (On Christian Doctrine,27-28, Augustine)
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my desires.
- 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my receptivity to God and His word.
- 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Mark 4:15-19
The Apostle Paul asks you and me a pointed and penetrating question.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7
As Paul was concerned about the sustainability of the new heart and new start of the Galatians, he we mindful of himself.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27
God’s word is very clear, sustainability of my new heartedness and fresh startedness adventure is doable, likely and to be expected.
- 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20
- 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11
In the experience of two women, Naomi and Ruth, God reveals your four most crucial sustainability decisions.
A short version of the narrative is:
- There is a famine in Bethlehem.
- Elimelech moves cross culturally to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons.
- Elimelech suddenly dies. Naomi is now a widow.
- Their sons have married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
- Suddenly, both sons died too. Naomi is a widow who is childless. Orpah and Ruth are now widows.
- Naomi decides to move back to Bethlehem and encourages Orpah and Ruth to enjoy their Moabite lives.
- Orpah agrees.
- Ruth disagrees and reveals to us the four most crucial decisions every human being makes.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
||My Crucial Decision
|For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.
||With which persons will I journey and stay?
|Your people shall be my people
||Who will be my people?
|and your God (shall be) my God
||Who will be my God?
|May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.
||Will I fully commit to these decisions?
With which persons will I journey and stay?
- The wise selection of my spouse and closest friends is crucial.
- 24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
- As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1
Who will be my people?
- The wise selection of my primary group or tribe or cohort is crucial.
- 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:25
- 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
- What would Daniel have been without Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
Who will be my God?
- The wise selection of God, as revealed in the Bible, is crucial.
- 14 “Now therefore fear the Lordand serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
Will I fully commit to these decisions?
- Have I developed the wisdom to courageously and loyally serve these three decisions?
- 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
- “And when Naomi saw that she was determined……”
Knowing the importance of assisting South Central Alaskan children to resiliently navigate the recent 7.0 earthquake and the multiple hundreds of aftershocks, I have invited Sandra Robinson, Ph.D., to make several presentations to all interested parents, teachers, educators, volunteers, and church leaders.
Caring for our children, especially those with developmental disabilities, is a highly urgent matter. Due to the urgent need we are not as perfectly organized as we would like to be, but we are ready for three sessions of timely, practical and encouraging training and interaction with Dr. Robinson. Her introduction presented below is super impressive and comforting.
Dr. Robinson will make her presentation three times on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday evening December 9, 2018.
Saturday, December 8 (No childcare)
- Registration – 12:30 PM
- First Opportunity – 1:00-4:00 PM
- Second Opportunity -5:30-8:30 PM
Sunday, December 9 (Childcare provided)
- Registration – 5:30 PM
- Third Opportunity- 6:00-9:00 PM
Dr. Sandy Robinson has over 34 years of experience in public education. She has taught grades 5-12. She has also been a site administrator and the Director of Special Education in two different districts.
Dr. Sandy has taught teacher preparation courses at California State University, Riverside. She has trained educators, administrators, and parents in the areas of positive behavior techniques, teaching and learning strategies, inclusion techniques, crisis intervention, and Special Education Law. She is an Inclusion Specialist. She brings her extensive experience in the field of special education to faith communities.
Dr. Sandy has been the Regional Director of Champions Club, an international ministry for students and adults with special needs and their families. She is currently the Training Coordinator and Inclusion Specialist for Champions Clubs. In 2012, with the support of Pastor Craig Johnson and Covina Assembly of God Church, she developed and launched the first Champions Club outside of Lakewood Church.
In 2014, Dr. Sandy and Mr. Craig Johnson wrote the first full scale curriculum for Champions (individuals with special needs). The curriculum encourages families to come to know God, love Him, and to share His love with others. In 2017, they released a family devotional that provides families access to the curriculum. It is her desire to assist churches, of all denominations, to successfully include exceptional individuals and their families in all aspects of church life.
She has been married to her best friend for 29 years. God has blessed them with two amazing daughters who love and serve God, and two pugs named Littleman and Charlie.
The Washing of Regeneration and the Renewal of the Holy Spirit
- Tom Lawrence, Georgia District Council Secretary-Treasurer
- Sensed the spirit of prophecy
- The only words he could think of were, “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”
- So, not having anything else – in faith – he started with that.
- Then it dawned on him. The next line was, “Could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.”
- Since he had started he went with it.
- At the end, with embarrassment, he said, “But the Lord CAN repair and restore what no man can do.”
My selected texts for today’s Regenerate conversation is Titus 3:4-6
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
This text is one of only two Bible passages directly using the word, regeneration, both of which would do all of us good to experience again and again.
First is the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit in the human spirit and soul.
My guess is everyone here remembers a time in your life when you presented your entire life:
- body, soul and spirit,
- past, present and future,
- In sickness and in health.
And for the first time you experienced the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Glory to God for that great day of regeneration and renewal.
Notice, Paul did not say, “having been washed in regeneration.” This is not a one and done washing of regeneration. Paul says, “By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
Yes, this regeneration and renewal are true of our past experiences AND are to be powerfully present in our lives and ministries today.
Jerusalem, the city of our God, beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, finds herself, in Lamentations 1:1-2, in need of a Divine update upon her regeneration and renewal.
How lonely sits the city
that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become,
she who was great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces
has become a slave.
2 She weeps bitterly in the night,
with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
she has none to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
they have become her enemies.
In 1 Kings 19:4, the mighty prophet of God, Elijah, needs a fresh washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
David, in Psalm 51:11-12, begging for a regeneration and renewal cries out, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Surely Paul was thinking of the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit when he proclaimed of himself, “Oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24
Undoubtedly Peter longed for another washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit after he “went out and wept bitterly?” Luke 22:62
I know what it is to join Peter in going outside and weeping bitterly in hopes of a fresh washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3 declares a fresh washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit as we:
- Enter our prayer closets daily seeking to hear God’s heart and message
- Walk with our members through the valley of the shadow of death.
- Enter the pain of humanity on a daily basis.
- Enter the pain of our own, at times, sinful humanity.
- Carry the heavy weight of leadership and vision and calling,
- Bear the burdens of ministerial family life
- So excited about all that God is saying and doing but know that without Him we can do nothing. Success is an extremely heavy load.
There is a washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit that is fresh and new for us tonight!
- The goodness and loving kindness of God
- Not by works of righteousness, but according to his own mercy.
- Washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
- Whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
I long for the Holy Spirit to give to you and me our own unique version of D. L. Moody’s experience.
“He began to cry out with increasing urgency and to pray for a baptism of fire, a baptism in the Holy Spirit. He wanted a fresh in filling of the Holy Spirit on his life. His prayers got increasingly desperate.”
Four months of struggle ensued during which time the Great Chicago Fire reduced the city to ashes. His spiritual anguish was transferred to New York where one day he was walking down one of its prominent streets when the fire of the Holy Spirit fell on him.
He immediately turned into a house of a friend who instantly wanted to offer him refreshment. But he asked for a room where he could be alone. There he encountered the glory of the Lord.
Later he wrote, “Ah, what a day! I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name – Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years- I can only say God revealed himself to me and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.
The washing of regeneration and the refreshing of the Holy Spirit hit me in a matter of seconds.
Tom Lawrence, the Georgia District Secretary Treasurer, a bit embarrassed by his Humpty Dumpty prophecy is trying to wrap up his day at church.
- After the service a mother came to him. Her young daughter, around 6 years of age, was with her in the service.
- This little girl was suffering from a serious heart problem and her favorite character just so happened to be Humpty Dumpty.
- The little girl’s and the mother’s faith was quickened by the prophetic word given in the service, and the little girl was completely healed that night of her heart ailment.
- Later, Pastor Lawrence discovered that two other persons that same night had been healed of serious heart problems.
- Thus, Tom Lawrence’s prophetic word proved true – “The Lord CAN repair and restore what no man can do.”
Today, God will pour out on us richly, the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Following are my message notes for The Regeneration: Jesus and Glory. I presented this message to the Western Ontario District Regenerate Conference.
The Eye Doctor said to me, “I have good news. You have 20/20 vision.” “Why can’t I see anything, if I have 20/20 vision?”
Regeneration (παλινγενεσίᾳ) is recorded twice in the New Testament.
We talked about Paul’s use of regeneration as a regeneration of the soul and spirit of a person. Titus 3:4-6
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
The first use of regeneration (παλινγενεσίᾳ) is by Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:28.
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This is the regeneration not just of the soul and spirit of the person, but a regeneration of the entire kosmos: the regeneration of the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the galaxies, the entire universe.
Sin placed man in need of regeneration and also the universe.
This regeneration of the universe is promised by Jesus.
- The return of Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17
- The resurrection from the dead.
- The judgement seat where the books shall be opened.
- Transformation of the universe itself. Acts 3:21 at the time of the restitution of all things.
Notice our text states that in this process, Jesus will sit in the throne of his glory.
when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory
Historical prophecy is moving toward Jesus and glory.
Let’s pick up the historical trail of God’s glory:
- God’s Glory on the Tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35
34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
2. God’s Glory on Solomon’s Temple. II Chronicles 7: 1-3
Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
3. God’s Glory on Jesus. John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
4. God’s Glory on the newly redefined temple, which is the fully devout follower of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 3:16
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Some may say, “That glory stuff is Old Testament material. We are in New Testament times.”
In response to Old Testament and New Testament glory, Paul writes 2 Corinthians 3:7 through 4:18
- Since the ministry that brought death and was engraved on stone came with glory, should not the current ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? Vs. 7, 8
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
2. Since the ministry that condemns is glorious, should not the ministry that brings righteousness have more glory? Vs. 9
For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
- The glory of the New Covenant is so spectacular that the glory of the Old Covenant isn’t considered glory in comparison.
Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. Vs. 10
- The glory of the Old Covenant was temporary. The glory of the New Covenant is permanent and greater.
For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Vs. 11
Jesus made it very clear. The upcoming regeneration of the entire Kosmos is directly related to “when the son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory.”
Paul makes it a personal challenge for you and the congregations we serve today.
Will we live and breathe and have our being in the greater glory of God? Vs. 18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[e] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
We unveil our faces. Throw away the masks and pretenses.
We behold the glory of the Lord.
We are transformed (Regenerated) into the image of Christ.
And the regeneration continues to grow in glory from one degree of glory to another.
I asked the eye doctor, “If I have 20/20 vision, why can’t I see anything?”
“Oh, that’s easy. Vision and sight are different. They aren’t the same thing.”
The Seraphim in Isaiah’s hearing declare, “The whole earth is full of his glory.”
Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of
hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
We have vision for God’s glory, but have we waited with Moses and said, “If I don’t see your glory and if your glory doesn’t go with me from here, I won’t leave this place?
Awaken The Wonder Ministry Facilitators
Pastor Erickson’s ministry is “Awaken the Wonder as seen in Revelation 3:2-3, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”
Pastor Martin’s ministry will feature “Awaken the Wonder as seen in Church History.”
Dr. Castleberry’s ministry is “Awaken the Wonder as seen in the Book of Acts.”
Sunday, January 14 6 PM
Joe Castleberry 20 Minutes
Larry Martin 40 Minutes
Monday, January 15
9:30 – 10:30 Larry Martin
10:45 – 11:45 Joe Castleberry
Pastor’s Lunch Joe Castleberry
6:00 – 6:45 Scott Erickson
7:00 Larry Martin
Tuesday, January 16
9:30 – 10:30 Joe Castleberry
10:45 – 11:45 Larry Martin
Pastor’s Lunch Scott Erickson
6:00 – 6:45 Larry Martin
7:00 Joe Castleberry
Wednesday, January 17
9:30 – 10:30 Scott Erickson
10:45 – 11:45 Larry Martin
Pastor’s Lunch Larry Martin
6:00 – 6:45 Joe Castleberry
7:00 Scott Erickson
Following are the message notes for Peace with God and Peace of God. This message is written for Pastor Alan Humphries’ Destiny Conference at Soldotna Church of God.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
From my perspective, the Apostle Paul’s emphasis in Romans 3:21-25 is upon faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
Vs. 22 The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
Vs. 24, 25 through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…to be received by faith.
You and I are justified, made righteous, considered just, by a believing faith relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our 2017 Destiny Conference Theme, “Justified” is a call to live a life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul further states, in Romans 5:1, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Justification is always connected to faith in Jesus Christ. Wisely so, because without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6
Faith that doesn’t please God.
- Dead faith James 2:26
- No faith Mark 4:40
- Little faith Matthew 6:30
- Faith that drifts 1 Timothy 6:21
- Weak faith Romans 14:1
- Lacking faith 1 Thessalonians 3:10
- Failing faith Luke 22:32
Faith that pleases God.
- Great faith Matthew 8:10
- Saving faith Luke 5:20, 7:50
- Healing faith Luke 8:48
- Precious faith 2 Peter 1:1
- Increasing faith Luke 17:5
- Being full of faith Acts 6:8
- Footsteps of faith Romans 4:12
- Walking faith 2 Corinthians 5:7
- Living faith Hebrews 10:38
- Word of faith Romans 10:8
- Family of faith Galatians 6:10
- Joy in faith Philippians 1:25
- Established faith Colossians 1:23
- Firm faith Colossians 2:5
- Working faith 1 Thessalonians 1:3
- Patient faith James 1:3
- Encouraging faith 1 Thessalonians 3:7
- Growing faith 2 Thessalonians 1:3
- Sincere faith 2 Timothy 1:5
- Fighting faith 1 Timothy 6:12
- Kept faith 2 Timothy 4:7
- Sound faith Titus 1:13
- Assuring faith Hebrews 10:22
- Professed faith Hebrews 10:23
- Praying faith James 5:15
- Tried faith 1 Peter 1:7
- Victorious faith 1 John 5:4
- Overcoming faith 1 John 5:5
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b]into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
My battle against God is ended by faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:14
This faith in Jesus Christ produces life’s most amazing and delightful experience, peace with God.
Peace with God
- We now stand in grace. Romans 5:2
- We now rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2
- We now rejoice in our sufferings. Romans 5:3
Peace with God leads to the peace of God!
- John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
The Disunited States Before the Kingdom
Pastor Joe Fuiten, January 18, 2016
This conference is about the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Pastor Kent has asked me to teach on the book of Daniel. In particular I want to teach on Kingdoms. At first glance it might not seem like the Holy Spirit in the believer and the kingdoms of Daniel are related. But in fact, Jesus explicitly connected the two. When asked if the prophesied Kingdom was going to come to Israel in his day Jesus diverted that question into a discussion about the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Essentially, the timing of the kingdom became a discussion about the means of the believer.
Daniel’s prophecy about kingdoms is very important. If you figure it out and apply it to the rest of the Scripture you have a framework for understanding history, prophecy, current events, and many of our Christian responsibilities and duties.
Daniel is a prophetic book. It tells what will take place in the future as well as what has happened in the past. It also tells us what God thinks about world events. For example, God’s telling of the story is organized around kingdoms. Starting around 600 BC God says there will be four main kingdoms with the fourth kingdom fragmenting into various states. In those states the people would not remain united. They would become disunited states.
Nebuchadnezzar saw a statue with a head of gold, arms and best of silver, waist and hips of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay.
Daniel said Nebuchadnezzar was the head of Gold. Interestingly, Marduk, chief god of Babylon, was called the god of gold. Babylon used gold extensively. The ancient historian, Herodotus, 90 years after this, commented that even walls and buildings were overlaid with gold. The stone that came from the mountain also would have meant a lot to Nebuchadnezzar. Another name for Marduk was “The Great Mountain.” They believed their gods came from the sacred mountain of the earth. They called it “The mountain of the Lands.” In this the modern Tibetan religion is very similar. This much of the interpretation is certain because it is within the Scripture itself. The latter three kingdoms belong to the realm of interpretation.
The second, inferior kingdom, symbolized by the arms and chest of silver, we believe represented the Medo-Persian Empire. The two arms were good representations of this empire for they were really two distinct groups of people who united in 550 BC and conquered Babylon in 539 BC. Silver, might indicate money because they were masters of extracting money from their subjects.
The third kingdom we think was Greece, represented by the belly and thighs of bronze. The Greeks replaced the Persians in 331 BC. This was the kingdom of Alexander the Great. When Alexander died, his kingdom was divided among his four generals. Only two of these divisions were important, the Ptolemaic and Selecuid, or Syrian and Egyptian. It might be significant that this Greek empire is first the trunk of the body, but continues into two thighs. As one other interesting footnote, the Greeks highly developed the use of bronze and used it in their war implements. Even their armor was bronze. Their soldiers were called “brazen coated
We believe the fourth empire or kingdom was that of Rome. It is represented by the two legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay. Rome conquered the Greeks in 146 BC. It is interesting that two legs represent Rome because one of Rome’s chief characteristics was its division into two parts. Their empire was divided administratively in 395 when the sons of Theodosius I each took half of the Empire. Rome became the capital of the West while Constantinople, the home and capital of the Emperor Constantine and his successors, was the capital of the East.
In the early church there was a consensus that the fourth kingdom was that of the Romans. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote in the last half of the fourth century when the Empire was officially Christian. Indeed, he preached in a church built by the emperor Constantine himself and founded by the emperor’s mother, Helena. For him, the gospel kingdom had conquered the fourth kingdom. The following statement is from Cyril with footnotes on two other fathers who held the same opinion: . . . The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall surpass all kingdoms7. And that this kingdom was that of the Romans, has been the tradition of the Church’s interpreters. For as the first kingdom which became renowned was that of the Assyrians, and the second, that of the Medes and Persians together, and after these, that of the Macedonians was the third, so the fourth kingdom now is that of the Romans. 
What is apparent is that the rock cut without human hands was that of God’s kingdom in the person of Jesus Christ. But was that his first coming or his second?
Irenaeus took the view that since the coming of Jesus was without the aid of Joseph, then this was the stone cut without hands. He wanted to emphasize the supernatural birth of Jesus and he wanted to show the Old Testament predictions of it. So for him, the emphasis on the birth of Jesus should feature what God has done rather than the human dimension. So he drew upon the picture of Daniel’s stone cut without human hands. Even though Irenaeus was well respected in the early church, his oblique reference did not lead others to think differently about the stone.
The other early writers understood that Irenaeus was employing Daniel’s description as a secondary description rather than a primary meaning. So in 350 AD, they were still looking for the rock cut without hands, the kingdom of Jesus that was yet to come. Cyril of Jerusalem saw that a kingdom was to come. It could not be the Roman kingdom, since that was a human institution, and the expected kingdom was to be without human hands.
I make this point because there are those who say that the first coming of Jesus was the fulfillment of that fifth kingdom. But the first coming of Jesus did not obliterate the kingdoms of this world. That is reserved for the Second Coming. Revelation 11:15 set that moment after the seventh trumpet. “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
So the four kingdoms were the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman. The Roman Empire, which lasted until 1453, would ultimately fragment right down to the present day.
Here is the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as given by Daniel. 39 “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron — for iron breaks and smashes everything — and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands — a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”
The first thing to note is that God will set up a kingdom. What is a kingdom? It is simply a country with a king. It is not defined by its boundaries or its people but by its king. The most important person in a kingdom is the king. Without the king there is no kingdom.
The very nature of a kingdom with its king is that the king is sovereign. The four kingdoms revealed to Nebuchadnezzar revolved around the authority of the monarch. Nebuchadnezzar had so much authority that even the wildlife was subject to him. Obedience toward the king was the first and foremost feature.
In another message I want to highlight the Great Commission where Jesus told his disciples to teach the nations to obey everything he commanded. In another message I will highlight the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the means Jesus gave for that Kingdom.
I would like to show a video from our recent trip to the Middle East. It is all shot inside Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The ambient noise is high and it was not done in the quality that Terry Burge would have done but it will give you a little feeling of some of these ideas.
Years ago there was a singer named Bob Dylan. As he was coming to terms with some of these ideas he wrote a song, “Gotta serve somebody.” It captured the idea of a kingdom. “You may be an ambassador to England or France; You may like to gamble, you might like to dance; You may be the heavyweight champion of the world; You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls; But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed; You’re gonna have to serve somebody; Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord; But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
As the authority of the king is gradually lost, the people “will not remain united.” That is, they will not be united in their obedience to the king. They will want to serve themselves rather than the king.
You could write the history of the world following the theme of checking the power of the monarch. In the fourth kingdom, the power of the Emperor is checked by the rise of essentially nation-states with their own kings. With the English Revolution, the power of those lessor kings was checked by the rise of legislatures or Parliament. In the American system, the power of legislatures was checked by the power of the courts. By means of the courts, the individual can check all other powers under the guise of liberty or freedom. As that system develops the people are no longer united under the king’s authority but the individual becomes a law unto himself.
When Daniel gave the description of the last throws of the fourth kingdom it was “so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.” The last gasp of a dying system looks like the “disunited states.” Would-be kings always try to get everybody to “come together.” But in the end it only means they want you to do what they want to do. Funny, John Lennon wrote “Come together” as a campaign theme song for Timothy Leary, the old LSD guy, when he wanted to run for Governor of California. “We just got to be free…” (to do our LSD! Would be my tag line on his song.)
As the spirit of the age infiltrates and gathers in the church, the church increasingly looks like the world. The King gradually loses his authority. Churches become “independent.” That is, they are not accountable to anyone. They just do what they please. In time, the Bible itself gets redefined. Things the Bible called sins are given full inclusion. They might claim that the Spirit is revealing new things, unlike those uncomfortable old things in the Bible. But it is just the spirit of this world and this age. It is really just another sign the King is coming soon and his Kingdom will come with him. People not united under the king is the sign of the end.
When Jesus was talking about this kingdom he taught us to pray that the kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven. That is, Jesus himself would be king over the earth and govern by his laws and rules.
Our moment of personal salvation is certainly related to asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins. But that is really only the beginning. We should pray that Jesus would be the Lord of all the kingdoms of our heart. We voluntarily crown him King of our life. He is the king, I am the subject.
If his kingdom has come to my life, then I read the Bible. I read it on its own terms to learn what it has to tell me. I don’t try to make the Bible agree with what I think because I am not the king. I try to agree with what it says.
When I get up in the morning, I remember who I am. I am a subject of the king reporting for duty. So I say, “Jesus, what are you up to today? I want to be a part of whatever you are doing.” Throughout the day I listen for his voice and look for openings and opportunities he may be bringing across my path. I want to do the good works that he is laying out before me to do.
Inevitably, there is going to be a conflict. “We just got to be free.” We feel this great need to do what we want to do, to make ourselves happy by doing what pleases us. But Jesus showed us the way there too. In the Garden, when every fiber of his being would have preferred the easier way he prayed, “Not my will but thine be done.”
Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., “Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XV,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers; vol. 7 (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995) 108. With the text quoted there were also footnotes cited. These are included here for reference: 7Dan. vii. 23: (R.V.) shall be diverse from all the kingdoms. 8Irenæus (V. 26) identifies the fourth kingdom with “the empire which now rules.” Hippolytus, de Antichristo, § 25: “A fourth beast dreadful and terrible: it had iron teeth and claws of brass. And who are these but the Romans?”
Spiritual People Empowered for the Kingdom
Pastor Joe Fuiten, January 17, 2016, 21 degrees
In this message I want to show the beginnings and subsequent work of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of Jesus. Having shown that, I then want to show that Jesus expected his same pattern to be that of the disciples as well. Finally I want to show that the Early Church had the same expectation and pattern, the very pattern that we should be following today.
First, Luke clearly tied the baptism and anointing of Jesus with the beginning of his ministry and not at some other time. Luke 3:21-23 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” NIV
Just to eliminate confusion, Matthew tells us that Jesus had come up out of the water before the Spirit descended upon him. Here Luke told us that Jesus was praying.
Then Luke shows us the beginning of his ministry activity which is in the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”
Later in that same chapter he shows Jesus working in the power of the Spirit. Luke 4:14-19 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” NIV
Luke also wrote Acts which is the beginning of the ministry after Jesus. He was very clear in showing the parallels between the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and the beginning of the ministry of his disciples. Here is how Luke begins part two of his story of Jesus: (Acts 1:1-5) “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” I was struck by the phrase “after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit…” and wondered what it meant.
Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. In each book he emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit first in the life of Jesus and then in the followers of Jesus. Here, the Holy Spirit has something to do with the words of Jesus. At the end of verse 2 the Western text adds “And ordered to proclaim the gospel.” That is, Jesus was speaking through the Holy Spirit to the apostles who would take the Gospel to the whole world.
The reason Jesus is going to baptize the believers with the Holy Spirit is so they could be an empowered witness. This is made clear in verse “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus is going to do more than command people to do a particular thing. He is going to be the example of it. So when Jesus speaks, he does so through the Holy Spirit. It seems that it is important to Luke to emphasize the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus. Luke’s characteristic phrase is “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit…” Jesus received the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the banks of the Jordan in the same way that the disciples will receive it in Acts 2.
One of the church fathers, Arnobius, even goes so far as to compare the tongues miracle of Acts 2 with what Jesus did. In Book 1, Section 46, Arnobius was speaking of all the incredible things that Jesus did. He mentions his miracles of every type. Then he says, “Was He one of us, who, when He uttered a single word, was thought by nations far removed from one another and of different speech to be using well-known sounds, and the peculiar language of each.” Arnobius says when Jesus spoke a word, it was thought by the listeners from other nations to be in their own language. This is precisely the miracle that happened on the day of Pentecost as the disciples spoke in tongues. Whether we can prove Jesus spoke in tongues even with the testimony of Arnobius is doubtful. But there is no doubt Arnobius was drawing a parallel.
You can see a parallel role for the Holy Spirit in the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of his disciples. Jesus received power when the Holy Spirit came upon him and went in the power of the Spirit around Galilee. In Acts 1:8 he wants his disciples to operate in the same way. Jesus experienced it. He wants his disciples to do the same. It was also what the Early Church prayed for.
“The Divine Liturgy of James, the Holy Apostle and Brother of the Lord,” which Neale says is earlier than AD 200,” makes the same connection. Three times in the liturgy there is a prayer for the gifts of the Spirit. In the third prayer, which comes as part of the lengthy communion, the liturgist prays for the Holy Spirit who is described as the one, “that descended in the form of a dove on our Lord Jesus Christ at the river Jordan, and abode on Him; that descended on Thy apostles in the form of tongues of fire in the upper room of the holy and glorious Zion on the day of Pentecost; this Thine all-holy Spirit, send down, O Lord, upon us, and upon these offered holy gifts.”
Today we are asking God to empower your mission whatever it might be. Everyone has a mission because God gave us all something to do. He intends to supply the power and the ability. We tend to focus on our inability and often give up before we start. God wants us to focus on the assignment and upon the power supplied by the one who assigns it to us. This is why we pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We want the same thing for our lives.
Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. © 1985 by Broadman Press.
 Luke 4:1.
 Arnobius, “The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen,” Book 1, #46, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., eds., (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson), Vol. 6. page 425.
 General Introduction to the History of the Holy Eastern Church, p. 319, cited on p. 553, Vol 7 Ante-Nicene Fathers.
When we consider, “What in the world is going on in the world?” our prophetic attention is directed to the book of Daniel. Daniel’s vision of four kingdoms indicates that we are living during the fourth and final kingdom.
Are there any signs in Alaska that support the hypothesis that we are living in the fourth kingdom of Daniel? Dr. Joe Fuiten suggests there are at least two evidences seen today in Alaska.
Alaskan Signs of the Kingdom of God
Pastor Joe Fuiten, January 17, 2016, 27 degrees
I am not sure if you know it or not but there is something special about Alaska, particularly in this era of time. In my messages throughout the week I want to focus on the Kingdom of God beginning with two special things about Alaska that fit into God’s plan for the Kingdom and the end times.
Alaska has captured the imagination, certainly of America but also of the world. If you have been watching television the last few years you notice that everything about Alaska is being talking about. There was Gold Rush Alaska that garnered record ratings. There is Deadliest Catch and innumerable programs about fishing and hunting. There are programs about the trains and pilots. My cousin is a bush pilot here. The first winter as he built in the wilderness he didn’t even have a front door on his cabin. People watch with fascination programs about homesteading in Alaska including now Alaskan Bush people. I like to watch building Alaska, House shopping in Alaska and all kinds of programs about the animal life and the utter remoteness. What the programs share in common is more than the natural beauty but also the feeling that this is the last frontier. This may not be the end of the world but you can pretty much see it from here. On one of our many trips to the Middle East, Angie Peterkin and her husband were part of one of those Alaskan delegations with Pastor Kent. I remember being in Turkey when the guide found out Angie was a member of the Yupik tribe. Suddenly the Greeks and Romans were old news. We not only had people from Alaska we had somebody from the ends of the earth.
Yet into this rugged land the Gospel is being preached. Even in the remotest corners with the smallest populations efforts are being made to take the Gospel. Every time the Gospel in preached in this land Bible prophecy is being fulfilled. This is fulfilling the words of Jesus himself.
Matt 24:12-14 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. NIV
A couple of things to observe here. First, Jesus had in mind that the Gospel would be preached in the whole world. He said in Matthew 28:19-20 “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I know that your church has planted a church on every continent of the world. You are doing that because Jesus said to do that. There is a particular irony that a church in Alaska is planting churches on every continent. The Gospel is supposed to go to the ends of the earth but it is now coming from the ends of the earth to the ends of the earth.
Secondly, the preaching of the Gospel to the ends of the earth is a sign in and of itself. In the Matthew 28 passage Jesus linked the preaching of the Gospel to the end of the age. That is, he would be with those doing this work right up to the end of the age.
In the Matthew 24 passage it is very explicit. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. In the second and third centuries you have comments among the church fathers who felt they had reached the whole world. But we know there was far more to the world than they knew. They were doing their best but there was a whole lot more out there.
The second Alaskan sign of the Kingdom of God is found in its diversity. Alaska has a very diverse population. According to the 2010 US Census, Alaska is 3.6% black and 5.4% Asian. There are 1% Pacific Islanders including Samoans and Hawaiians. Alaskan Natives are 14.8% including Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures. The largest ancestry groups are 18.3% German, 11.0% Irish, 8.5% English, 6.5% Norwegian, 3.8% French and so on down a long list.
I am very appreciative of the art of this church. It is very Alaskan and very Kingdom. When I see the art of the church I see Alaska. In an increasingly uncivilized world I respect the message because it is a kingdom message. Art speaks. I remember as a 12 year old going with my cousin to the Seattle World’s Fair. In the art hall I saw a piece titled, “El Sacko Grande.” It was nothing but a burlap bag glued to a big board. Although the word probably had not been invented yet I am pretty sure I thought it was freakin’ stupid. But the art here in positive in that it represents so much of the diversity of Alaska and the church.
Why is this diversity important and how is it a kingdom sign? We are talking this week about the Kingdom and the direction in which this whole Gospel enterprise is headed. In the book of Revelation we have the end game. (Rev 7:9-10) “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
In an earlier chapter the means of that great moment was outlined. (Rev 5:6-10) “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
I want you to notice that the final kingdom looks a lot like the art in this church. It looks forward to where God wants this world to go. The secular world sees diversity and wants to take the people back—back to their old gods and old ways. But God wants to take the people forward—forward to their place in the final kingdom. Revelation 11:15 describes the future. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
The kingdom which is coming looks a lot like Alaska. And as we bow before the cross and confess our sins and receive Christ we enter into that eternal kingdom. We don’t lose our old racial, national, or ethnic identity. We take on the identity of the future—the Kingdom of God.