1. Do you have clean water?

The next time you uncap a bottle of water or grab a drink from the tap, remember that one in eight people in the world (that’s 884 million people) lack access to clean water supplies. Millions of women around the world spend several hours a day collecting water. When you take a five-minute shower, you use more water than a typical person in a developing country uses in a whole day.

2. Do you have a bathroom?

About 40 percent of the world’s population (2.6 billion people) do not have toilets. Lack of sanitation facilities spreads disease and is a major reason why more than 2 million people die annually of diarrhea.

3. How’s your electricity?

The power in your house might be interrupted briefly three times a year because of storms, but 1.6 billion people—a· quarter of humanity—live without any electricity. As a result of unreliable infrastructure, at least 2 billion people on earth don’t have any light at night.

4. Do you have a roof over your head?

One billion people live in slums. That’s almost one-sixth of the world’s population. Of this total, 640 million children live without adequate shelter; they live in cardboard boxes, tin-roofed shacks, one-room mud huts or filthy, crowded tenements. It’s been estimated that 1.4 billion people will live in slums by 2020. In Canada and the U.S combined there are between 2.3 to 2.5 million people that are classified as homeless.

5. Is there food on your table?

In Canada and particularly in the U.S. we are battling an obesity epidemic. Yet according to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are chronically undernourished, and almost 28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.

6.Do you have a stove?

In developing countries, some 2.5 billion people use wood, charcoal or animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 80 percent of the population depends on these crude, traditional means for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China. The really sad part: indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of 5.

7. Do you have regular income?

You may have had to take a pay cut during the recession, but keep in mind that at least 80 percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. The world’s average income is about $7,000 a year. Still, only about 19 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with per capita incomes at least this high.

8. Did you go to school?

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. Enrollment data shows that about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005 (and 57 percent of them were girls).

9. Are you generally healthy?

People from Canada and the U.S.A. face illness like people in other nations – and more than 13 million people from Canada and the U.S.A are battling cancer in any given year, but many of us have access to health care. In the developing world, more than 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized. An estimated 40 million people in developing countries are living with HIV/AIDS. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities, mostly in Africa.

10. Are you free to worship God?

More than 400 Christians die for their faith every day around the world, and most of these believers suffer in Islamic countries—although the top hot spot for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors International, is the atheist regime of North Korea.

The true secret to freedom from the fear of poverty is faithfulness to God’s work. That’s what brings abundant prosperity that will never cease, for “A faithful man shall abound with blessings” (Proverbs 28:20).

And the Lord promised that as you obey Him, He will give you the wealth of the wicked: “The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Proverbs 13:22).

He has so many wonderful things to pour out on you as you obey Him: “For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy” (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

True riches are God’s gift to you as you obey Him.

Obedience includes giving toward the Gospel, and your harvest blessing will be in direct proportion to the seed you plant: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). God is very clear that those who aren’t faithful with what He has placed in their hands will not be blessed: “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11).

Sow your seed today for souls. Romans 10:13 declares, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Precious souls cannot believe unless they hear the Gospel. And the Gospel cannot be heard unless someone is sent. Will you send me with your prayers and precious seed? Will you answer that call with me today? Will you give and keep giving so we can reach the lost before it is too late?

Today, obey the Lord as He directs you. Sow into His work and prove yourself faithful to Him. Then you will place yourself legally in line to receive the wealth of the sinner!

God is doing mighty things! This is your time to prosper and secure your financial future!

Seven Reasons why you may not be Prospering

  1. Are you being faithful with tithes?
  2. Are you taking care of the house of the Lord?
  3. Have you been faithful to fulfill your vows?
  4. Are you being a good manager what you already have?
  5. Are you neglecting the Word of God in your life?
  6. Are you failing to pursue the dream, goal, strategy, or the vision, that God has given you?
  7. Negligence is the devil working through you.

Seven Ways to Prosper

  1. The Lord must be with you. (ie. born again)
  2. Know God’s ways and how He operates.
  3. You must renew your mind and thoughts.
  4. Begin to release words out of your mouth to establish prosperity.
  5. Meditate on the Word.
  6. Begin the process of seed time and harvest.
  7. Stay consistent and committed to that which you have started.

Many think Halloween comes from North America, but it is a Celtic pagan festival from Britain and north- west Europe, dating from at least 500 BC. The Celts worshipped many gods & goddesses, encouraged by a secret priestly society known as the Druids. They engaged in occult arts, especially nature worship, and gave supernatural qualities to oak and mistletoe trees. Even the Celtic kings feared the Druids. When a king became too old to lead in a battle, the Druids would sacrifice him, cutting him up while still alive and using his organs for divination.

The Celts had at least 400 gods, and one of them, “Samhain,” their god of Death, was worshipped on October 31st, the last day of the northern autumn, their New Year’s Eve. They believed that on this night, the Lord of Death gathered the souls of the evil dead who had been condemned to enter the bod- ies of animals and then decided what animal form they would take for the following year. The souls of the good dead were also believed to be reincarnated as humans. They even falsely thought that the punishment of the evil dead could be lightened by sacrifices, prayers, and gifts to the Lord of Death. And on this night, Samhain allowed the spirits of those who had died during the previous year to return for a few hours to associate with their families.

Druid priests wore long black robes and carried a hollowed-out turnip or pumpkin with the face of their “Familiar” – a demon – carved into it with a small candle inside for light. The lamp was often fuelled by fat from a previous human sacrifice. These lanterns were known as Jack-O-Lanterns, allegedly named after a miser trapped between heaven and hell and rejected by both. The Druids would go house to house demanding special foods. If supplied obediently, they would leave for the next home; but if not, the household was cursed with trouble. Often a hex sign would be slashed into the door with the threat of the death of the oldest child within a year. That’s the original “Trick or Treat!”

Some homes weren’t asked for food – instead, they required a young virgin girl. As midnight approached, these young girls were sexually abused and then ritually sacrificed to appease this evil god of death. The Druids danced and screamed, drunk and demonized, to invoke Satan’s help with their magic, witch- craft, sorcery and divination. The bodies of those sacrificed were thrown into the bone fires – now called bonfires.

As the centuries passed, the Romans conquered much of Europe. The Druids declined in number and power, allowing the ordinary people to pick up the practices of Samhain and more. Many things were done to invoke “good luck” – trying to find favour with the evil spirits many believed controlled their lives.

By the 8th century, the Christian church (now more political than spiritual) attempted to overlay many pagan festivals and holidays with a “Christian” veneer. To counter Samhain, the Pope decreed November 1st as “All Saints Day” to honour the Christian dead, particularly those martyred for their faith during the earlier Roman persecutions. This attempted substitution didn’t work.

Other elements of Halloween: Witch on a broomstick – The Dark Ages saw a revival of witchcraft and paganism. Mediums (often thought of as witches) were employed to convince the nature spirits to allow a good harvest of crops such as grain. These mediums, usually women, would ride their broomsticks naked and leap around the growing crops as part of their fertility ritual. The height they jumped was al- leged to become the height of the crop. This leaping on a broom was often confused with Astral Travel when witches went out to spy on others or cause mayhem.

A familiar or evil spirit often inhabited the Black Cat. The Raven had a similar reputation.

The use of Masks arises from the idea that it was best to hide one’s identity from the visiting souls of the dead by wearing costumes as a disguise. There may also be a connection with the use of masks in many other pagan festivals, which change the wearer’s personality and allow communication with the spirit world.

This form of ‘celebration’ is not unique to the Celts. The Hindus have their night of Holi, the Indians have their Feast of the Dead (every 12 years), and in Mexico, the Day of the Dead begins on November 2nd and lasts for several days.

Halloween was brought to North America by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine during the 1800s. Promoted by pagans of various kinds, along with commercial interests, Halloween has gripped once God-honouring nations with its occultic tentacles.

Police reports for crime are higher in October than in any other month here in North America. Children are kidnapped and sacrificed on altars, black cats are tortured and beaten to death, and witches and warlocks “celebrate” on a scale imaginable in our society today. Unfortunately, most people in this world do not know what is happening. An old expression says that “the greatest tragedy of human life is to now know what you don’t know.” People are deceived about the true meaning of Halloween, and they don’t know that they are deceived.

Halloween and similar subjects desensitize us to evil; it isn’t reasonable to expect rewards on demand; the benefits of acting out modern versions of old pagan rituals are questionable. Instead of scaring little kids, we should be telling children good things about being active in our society and helping other people, like food banks and charities and telling their children about the Christmas story instead of desensitizing them to evil pagan festivals.

Therefore, why are we celebrating this?

Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu’s story – he saw Buddha in hell.

Back From the Dead
By Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu

The Remarkable Testimony of a Buddhist monk in Myanmar (Burma) who came back to life a changed man!

Introduction
The story that follows is simply a translation of a taped testimony from a man with a life-changing story. It is not an interview or a biography, but simply the words from the man himself. Different people react in different ways when they hear this story. Some are inspired, some skeptical, a few will mock and ridicule, while some others have even been filled with rage and anger, convinced these words are the ravings of a mad man or an elaborate deception. Some Christians have opposed the story simply be- cause the radical and miraculous events described herein do not fit their feeble image of an Almighty God.

My Early Years:
Hello! My name is Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu. I am from the country of Myanmar. I would like to share with you my testimony of what happened to me, but first I would like to give some brief background in- formation from my life growing up. I was born in 1958 in the town of Bogale, on the Irrawaddy Delta area of southern Myanmar [formerly Burma]. My parents, who were devout Buddhists like most people in Myanmar, named me Thitpin [which means ‘tree’ in English]. Our lives were very simple where I grew up. At the age of 13 I left school and started working on a fishing boat. We caught fish and sometimes also shrimp from the numerous rivers and streams in the Irrawaddy area. At the age of 16 I became the leader of the boat. At this time I lived in Upper Mainmahlagyon Island [Mainmahlagyon means ‘Beautiful Woman Island’ in English], just north of Bogale where I was born. This place is about 100 miles south- west of Yangon [Rangoon], our nation’s capital city.

One day, when I was 17, we caught a large number of fish in our nets. Because of the many fish, a large crocodile was attracted to us. It followed our boat and tried to attack us. We were terrified so we frantically rowed our boats toward the riverbank as fast as we could. The crocodile followed us and smashed our boat with its tail. Although no one died in this incident, the attack greatly affected my life. I no longer wanted to fish. Our small boat sank because of the crocodile attack. We had to go home to our village that night on a passenger boat. Not long after, my father’s employers transferred my father to Yangon City [formerly spelt Rangoon]. At the age of 18 I was sent to a Buddhist monastery to be a novice monk. Most parents in Myanmar try to send their son into a Buddhist monastery, at least for a time, as it is considered a great honor to have a son serve in this way. We have been observing this custom for many hundreds of years.

A Zealous Disciple of Buddha:
When I turned 19 years and 3 months old (in 1977), I became a normal monk. The senior monk at my monastery gave me a new Buddhist name, which is the custom in our country. I was now called U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya. When we become a monk we no longer use the name given to us at birth by our parents. The name of the monastery I lived at is called Mandalay Kyaikasan Kyaing. The senior monk’s name was called U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [U Zadila is his title]. He was the most famous Buddhist monk in all of Myanmar at the time. Everyone knew who he was. He was widely honored by the people and respected as a great teacher. I say he “was” because in 1983 he suddenly died when he was in- volved in a fatal car accident. His death shocked everyone. At the time I had been a monk for six years.

I tried hard to be the best monk I could and to follow all the precepts of Buddhism. At one stage I moved to a cemetery where I lived and meditated continually. Some monks who really want to know the truths of Buddha do things like I did. Some move deep into the forests where they live a life of self-denial and poverty. I sought to deny my selfish thoughts and desires, to escape from sickness and suffering and to break free from the cycle of this world. At the cemetery I was not afraid of ghosts. I tried to attain such inner peace and self-realization that even when a mosquito landed on my arm I would let it bite me in- stead of brushing it off!

For years I strived to be the best monk I could and not to harm any living being. I studied the holy Bud- dhist teachings just like all my forefathers had done before me. My life proceeded as a monk until I got very, very sick. I was in Mandalay at the time and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The doc- tors did some tests on me and told me I had both Yellow Fever and malaria at the same time! After about one month in the hospital I was getting worse. The doctors told me there was no chance for me to recover and discharged me to make arrangements to die. This is a brief description of my past. I would now like to tell you some of the remarkable things that happened to me after this time…

A Vision that Changed My Life Forever;
After I was discharged from the hospital I went back to the monastery where other monks cared for me. I grew weaker and weaker and was lapsing into unconsciousness. I learned later that I actually died for three days. My body decayed and stunk of death, and my heart stopped beating. My body was prepared for cremation and was put through traditional Buddhist purification rites.

Although I faded away in my body I remember my mind and spirit were fully alert. I was in a very, very powerful storm. A tremendous wind flattened the whole landscape until there were no trees or anything else standing, just a flat plain. I walked very fast along this plain for some time. There were no other people anywhere, I was all alone. After some time I crossed a river. On the other side of the river I saw a terrible, terrible lake of fire. In Buddhism we do not have a concept of a place like this. At first I was confused and didn’t know it was hell until I saw Yama, the king of hell [Yama is the name ascribed to the King of Hell in numerous cultures throughout Asia]. His face looked like the face of a lion, his body was like a lion, but his legs were like a naga [serpent spirit]. He had a number of horns on his head. His face was very fierce, and I was extremely afraid. Trembling, I asked him his name. He replied, “I am the king of hell, the Destroyer.”

The terrible, terrible lake of fire;
The king of hell told me to look into the lake of fire. I looked and I saw the saffron colored robes that Buddhist monks wear in Myanmar. I looked closer and saw the shaven head of a man. When I looked at the man’s face I saw it was U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [the famous monk who had died in a car accident in 1983]. I asked the king of hell why my former leader was confined to this lake of torment. I said, “Why is he in this lake of fire? He was a very good teacher. He even had a teaching tape called ‘Are You a Man or a Dog?’ which had helped thousands of people understand that their worth as humans is far greater than the animals.” The king of hell replied, “Yes, he was a good teacher but he did not be- lieve in Jesus Christ. That’s why he is in hell.” (footnote 10.)

I was told to look at another person who was in the fire. I saw a man with very long hair wrapped on the left hand side of his head. He was also wearing a robe. I asked the king of hell, “Who is this man?” He replied, “This is the one you worship: Gautama [Buddha].” I was very disturbed to see Gautama in hell. I protested, “Gautama had good ethnics and good moral character, why is he suffering in this lake of fire?” The king of hell answered me, “It doesn’t matter how good he was. He is in this place because he did not believe in the Eternal God.”

I then saw another man who looked like he was wearing a soldier’s uniform. He had a large wound on his chest. I asked, “Who is this man?” The king of hell said, “This is Aung San, the revolutionary leader of Myanmar.” I was told, “Aung San is here because he persecuted and killed Christians, but mostly be- cause he didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.” In Myanmar the people have a common saying, “Soldiers never die, they live on.” I was told that the legions of hell have a saying “Soldiers never die, but they go to hell forever.”

I looked and saw another man in the lake of fire. He was a very tall man and he was dressed in military armor. He was also holding a sword and a shield. This man had a wound on his forehead. This man was taller than any person I have ever seen. He was six times the length between a man’s elbow and the tips of his fingers when he stretches his arm out straight, plus one span of a man’s fingers when he spreads out his hand. The king of hell said, “This man’s name is Goliath. He is in hell because he blas- phemed the Eternal God and His servant David.” I was confused because I didn’t know who either Go- liath or David were. The king of hell said, “Goliath is recorded in the Christian Bible. You don’t know him now, but when you become a Christian you will know who he is.” (footnote 1.)

I was then taken to a place where I saw both rich and poor people preparing to eat their evening meals. I asked, “Who cooked the food for these people?” The king of hell replied, “The poor have to prepare their own food, but the rich people get others to cook for them.” When the food had been prepared for the rich people they sat down to eat. As soon as they started a thick smoke came up. The rich people ate as fast as they could to ease their consciences. They were struggling to breath because of the smoke. They had to eat fast because they were fearful of losing their money. Their money is their god. Another king of hell then came to me. I also saw a being whose job is to stoke the fires beneath the lake of fire, to keep it hot. This being asked me, “Are you going into the lake of fire too?” I replied, “No! I am only here to observe!” The appearance of this creature stoking the fire was very terrifying. He had ten horns on his head and a spear in his hand that had seven sharp blades coming from the end. (footnote 2.)

The creature told me, “You are right. You came here just to observe. I cannot find your name here.” He said, “You must now go back the way you came.” He pointed me toward the desolate plain that I had first walked along before I came to the lake of fire.

The Road of Decision;
I walked a long time, until I was bleeding. I was hot and in great pain. Finally, after walking for about three hours I came to a wide road. I walked along this road for some time until I came to a fork. One road, going off to the left, was wide. A smaller road went off to the right hand side. There was a signpost at the fork saying that the road to the left was for those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The smaller road to the right was for believers in Jesus. (footnote 3.) I was interested to see where the larger road led so I started down it. There were two men walking about 300 yards ahead of me. I tried to catch up with them so I could walk with them but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t catch them up, so I turned around and went back to the fork in the road. I continued to watch these two men as they walked down the road away from me. When they reached the end of the road they were suddenly stabbed. These two men cried out in great pain! I also cried out when I saw what happened to them! I realized the bigger road ended in great danger for those who traveled down it. (footnote 4.)

Looking into Heaven
I started walking down the believers’ road instead. After traveling for about one hour the surface of the road turned to pure gold. It was so pure that when I looked down I could see my own reflection perfectly. (footnote 5.) I then saw a man standing in front of me. He was wearing a white robe. (footnote 6.) I also heard beautiful singing. Oh, it was so beautiful and pure! It was much better and more meaningful than

the worship we have in churches here on the earth. The man in the white robe asked me to walk with him. I asked him, “What is your name?” but he did not answer. After I asked his name six times the man answered, “I am the one who holds the key to heaven.

Heaven is a very, very beautiful place. You cannot go there now but if you follow Jesus Christ you can go there after your life has finished on the earth.” The man’s name was Peter. (footnote 7.) Peter then asked me to sit down and he showed me a place to the north. Peter said, “Look to the north and see God create man.” I saw the Eternal God from a distance. God spoke to an angel, “Let us make man.” The angel pleaded with God and said, “Please don’t make man. He will do wrong and will grieve you.” [In Burmese literally: “He will make you lose face.”]. But God created a man named anyway. God blew on the man and the man came to life. He gave him the name “Adam”. (footnote 8.) [Note: Buddhists do not believe in the Creation of the world or of man, so this experience had a significant impact on the monk].

Sent Back with a New Name;
Then Peter said, “Now get up and go back to where you came from. Speak to the people who worship Buddha and who worship idols. Tell them they must go to hell if they don’t change. Those who build temples and idols will also have to go to hell. Those who give offerings to the monks to earn merit for themselves with go to hell. All those who pray to the monks and call them ‘Pra’ [respectful title for monks] will go to hell. Those who chant and ‘give life’ to idols will go to hell. All those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ will go to hell.” (footnote 9 & 10.)

Peter told me to go back to the earth and testify about the things I had seen. He also said, “You must speak in your new name. From now on you are to be called Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu [“Paul who Came Back to Life.”]. I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to go to heaven. Angels opened a book. First they looked for my childhood name (Thitpin) in the book, but they could not find it. They then looked for the name I had been given when he entered the Buddhist monk hood (U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya) but it wasn’t written in the book either. Then Peter said, “Your name is not written here, you must return and testify about Jesus to the Buddhist people.”

I walked back along the gold road. Again I heard beautiful singing, the kind of which I have never heard before or since. Peter walked with me until the time I returned to the earth. He showed me a ladder that reached down from the heaven to the sky. The ladder didn’t reach to the earth, but stopped in mid-air. On the ladder I saw many angels, some going up to heaven and some going down the ladder. They were very busy. I asked Peter, “Who are they?” Peter answered, “They are messengers of God. They are reporting to heaven the names of all those who believe in Jesus Christ and the names of those who don’t believe.” Peter then told me it was time to go back.

It is a Ghost?
The next thing I was aware of was the sound of weeping. I heard my own mother cry out, “My son, why did you leave us now?” I also heard many other people weeping. I realized I was lying in a box. I started to move. My mother and father started shouting, “He is alive! He is alive!” Other people who were farther away did not believe my parents. I then placed my hands on the sides of the box and sat upright. Many people were struck with terror. They cried out, “It is a ghost!” and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them.

Those who remained were speechless and trembling. I noticed I was sitting in smelly liquid and body fluids, enough to fill about three and a half cups. This was liquid that had come out of my stomach and my insides while my body was lying in the coffin. This is why people knew I had indeed been dead. Inside the coffin there was a type of plastic sheet fixed to the wood. This sheet is placed there to retain

a corpse’s liquids, because many dead bodies release much fluid like mine did. I learned later that I was just moments away from being cremated in the flames. In Myanmar people are placed in a coffin, the lid is then nailed shut, and the whole coffin is burned. When I came back to life my mother and father were being allowed to look at my body for the very last time. Moments later the lid of my coffin would have been nailed shut and I would have been cremated!

I immediately started to explain the things I had seen and heard. People were astonished. I told them about the men I had seen in the lake of fire, and told them that only the Christians know the truth, that our forefathers and us have been deceived for thousands of years! I told them everything we believe is a lie. The people were astonished because they knew what kind of a monk I had been and how zealous I had been for the teachings of Buddha.

In Myanmar when a person dies their name and age is written on the side of the coffin. When a monk dies, the monk’s name, age and the number of years he has served as a monk are written on the side of the coffin. I had already been recorded as dead but as you can see, now I am alive!

Epilogue
Since ‘Paul who came back to life’ experienced the above story he has remained a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Burmese pastors have told us that he had led hundreds of other monks to faith in Christ. His testimony is obviously very uncompromising. Because of that, his message has offended many people who cannot accept there is only one Way to Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. (footnote 10.)

Despite great opposition, his experiences were so real to him that he has not wavered. After many years in the Buddhist monk hood, as a strict follower of Buddhist teachings, he immediately proclaimed the Gospel of Christ following his resurrection and exhorted other monks to forsake all false gods and follow Jesus Christ with all their hearts. Before the time of his sickness and death he had no exposure to Chris- tianity at all. Everything he learned during those three days in the grave was new to his mind.

In a bid to get his message out to as many people as possible, this modern-day Lazarus began distrib- uting audio and video cassette tapes with his story on them. The police and Buddhist authorities in Myanmar have done their utmost to gather these tapes up and destroy them. The testimony you have just read has been translated from one of those cassette tapes. We are told it is now quite dangerous for citizens of Myanmar to be in possession of these tapes.

His fearless testimony has landed him in prison at least once, where the authorities failed in their bid to silence him. Upon his release he continued to testify of the things he saw and heard. His current where- abouts are uncertain. One Burmese informant told us he is prison and may have been killed, while an- other informant was told he is now released from prison and is continuing his ministry.

Footnotes
[1] The true account of David and Goliath is recorded in the Christians’ holy book, the Holy Bible, in 1 Samuel chapter 17. read on
[2] Revelation chapter 12, vs 3. read on
[3] Matthew chapter 25, vs 31-46. read on
[4] Matthew chapter 7, vs 13-14. read on
[5] Revelation 21, vs 21. read on
[6] See Revelation 3:5, 3:18, 4:4, 7:9, 7:14, 19:8, 19:14. read on
[7] Matthew 16:18-19. read on
[8] Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 5:1-2. read on
[9] Revelation 20:14-15, 21:8. read on
[10] John 14:6. read on

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By Faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death: and was not found, because YAHUVEH had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased YAHUVEH. Hebrews 11:5

When we have believed in and participated in such events as Christmas for decades, it is hard to investigate the real foundations of such a celebration – it’s like questioning your nation’s sovereignty, the patriotism of it’s citizens, or even your own parentage. It’s even regarded in some quarters as close to heresy to question “Christmas.” On deeper inves- tigation, I’ve come to realize that Christmas has become a sociological celebration that goes far beyond it’s supposed “Christian” foundations, especially when it is based largely on a combination of both commerce and paganism. To help folk consider the truth of the event we call “Christmas,” I’ve chosen to break the issues down into twelve major points. This will assist genuine Christians to make appropriate decisions and changes.

1. Isn’t it Time to Stop Lying about Fairy Stories?

Most parents try to train their children to be truthful. Parents who are Christians should definitely be doing this, and living the example as best they can. So why do so many par- ents lie to their children about Santa, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy, for example? I wonder how many of those children give up on Jesus when they discover their parents lied about these fairy stories and they guess that Jesus is just another myth? It’s time for all Christian parents to stop lying about these fairy stories and instead train their children to stand up and defend why Jesus is true, and why they reject the lies such as Santa. One day your children will also stand before God for the rewards and punishments at the end of time. How will you feel if their rejection of Jesus was caused by your lies about fairy stories such as Santa and the Easter bunny?

2. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

Christmas has become “a road-show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God-sub- stitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year,” according to syndicated columnist Cal Thomas (who often writes from a Christian perspective). He goes on to write, “Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in Victoria’s Secret window? … No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot.” The reason Christmas has survived and grown into such a popular holiday – being observed by 96 percent of Amer- icans and almost all nations, even atheistic ones – is because of economic factors. (Jeffery Sheler, “In Search of Christmas,” U.S. News and WorldReport, Dec. 23, 1996, p. 56). Originally envisioned as a way to ease converts’ transition from heathen worship to Chris- tianity, in more recent years the holiday’s observance has been driven by economic forces. The Encyclopedia Britannica observes that the traditional Christian holidays have “undergone a process of striking desacralization and – especially Christmas – commer- cialization. The Christological foundation of Christmas was replaced by the myth of Santa Claus.” (15th edition, Macropodia, Vol. 4, p. 499, “Christianity”)

3. Christmas is never mentioned in the Bible.

Most people never think about this, including many whose names are on church rolls. The books of the New Testament cover over thirty years, then another sixty years of the early church, following the death and resurrection of person we usually call Jesus. (His real name is Yeshua – He was born a Hebrew.) The Bible does give quite a few details about the birth of Jesus, including the angelic appearance to Miriam (you know her as Mary), and then Joseph; the birth in the stable/tabernacle; and the heavenly choir’s per- formance for the shepherds in the fields. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God expects us to.

4. Jesus wasn’t born in December, either the 25th or any other day.

December weather around Israel is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in their right mind would keep their flocks outside at that time of year. So the Luke account of the shepherds out in the fields watching their flocks has to be another time of year. The evidence shown elsewhere is that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, in September of 3BC. Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his human parents were from there and required to attend their original hometown for the census the Romans were forcing everyone to participate in. Since the Romans were highly efficient administrators, it would make no sense to conduct a census with all the travel requirements in the middle of winter with difficult weather and road conditions. Noncompliance would have also been penalized.

5. The Christmas holiday is mainly a recycled pagan holiday.

You can find that in every encyclopedia. Consider what are the associations with holly and mistletoe, Yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit and hat, with sleighs and flying reindeer. None of these have anything to do with Israel! None are mentioned in the Bible. These are northern-European items commercialized by US Americans and then exported everywhere. December 25th is the alleged birthday of Mithras, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts. The Roman Empire had many strange gods and cults, including Mithras. Their emperor Aurelian established 25th December as the festival of ‘Dies Invicti Solis’, the Day of the Invincible Sun. Thus Mithras became the preferred pagan deity of Rome. It was in the name of this pagan god that Constantine won the battle that brought him into the position of emperor. Two years after winning that battle he even minted coins with Mithras in the reverse side. If Constantine ever did become a Christian, it was much later in life,”and he wasn’t “baptized” until just before his death. Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion because so many people were join- ing this rapidly growing faith, and he wanted to be the head of everything. He so changed the Christian faith that it became unrecognizable, putting Christian gatherings (previously only in homes) into the largely vacant pagan temples, and establishing himself as the Pontifax Maximus – a title previously used for the supreme priest of Mithraism. Virtually all the customs associated with Christmas are recycled pagan festivals honouring other pagan gods. “Santa Claus” is a US American corruption of the Dutch form “San Nicolaas,” a figure brought to the US by the early Dutch colonists, (Encyclopedia Britan- nica, 11th edition, Vol. 19, p. 649, “Nicholas, St.”). This name, in turn, stems from St. Nicholas, bishop of the city of Myra in southern Asia Minor, a Catholic saint honoured by the Greeks and the Latins on December 6. How, we might ask, did a bishop from the sunny Mediterranean coast of Turkey come to be associated with a red-suited man who lives at the north pole and rides in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer? Knowing what we have already learned about the ancient pre-Christian origins of Christmas, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Santa Claus is nothing but a figure recycled from ancient beliefs tied in with pagan midwinter festivals. The trappings associated with Santa Claus – his fur-trimmed clothing, sleigh and reindeer – reveal his origin from the cold climates of the far North. Some sources trace him to the ancient Northern European gods Woden and Thor, from which the days of the week Wednesday (Woden’s day) and Thursday (Thor’s day) get their designations, (Earl and Alice Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, 1997, pp. 56-64). Others trace him even farther back in time to the Roman god Saturn (honoured at the winter Saturnalia festival) and the Greek god Silenus (Walsh, pp. 70-71). What about other common customs and symbols associated with Christmas? Where did they originate? “On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites … Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian,” (Encyclopedia Bri- tannica, 15th edition, Micropedia, Vol. 2, p. 903, “Christmas”).

The foundation of the USA economy is consumer spending. November – December is the busiest time of the year. If the US President banned Christmas, their economy would fail and pull the rest of the world down with them. Therefore, the foundation of “Christmas” is not Jesus Christ, it is spending money….

6. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him

If Christmas were supposed to be a day to worship and celebrate God, it would be a good idea to check the Bible out on how we should do that. Note in Deuteronomy 12:30- 32, where God instructs: “Do not inquire after their gods, saying ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way… Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it (as in do, not watch); You shall not add to it nor take away from it.” For those who think we can ignore that because it’s in the Old Testament, check 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1, “What fellowship has righteous- ness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial (the devil)? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God… Therefore “come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you”. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting ho- liness in the fear of God.”

In no uncertain terms, Paul the apostle told the believers they had to leave behind their past pagan practices, including their methods of worship. Now they were required to wor- ship the True God in spirit and in truth, according that the forms prescribed by God Him- self, (John 4:24).

7. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men and demons, and isn’t found in the Bible, the question should be honestly addressed, “Does God ho- nour or accept such worship?” I believe Jesus provided the answer about substituting human traditions and practices for God’s divine truth in Mark 7:6-9. “Well did Isaiah proph- esy of you hypocrites … ‘in vain they worship Me, teaching doctrines the commandments of men’ …All too well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your tra- ditions.” I find it interesting that during the 17th century, Christmas was outlawed in Eng- land and some parts of the US colonies because of it’s unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have either forgotten or never knew. “On June 3, 1647, Parliament established punishments for observing Christmas and certain other hol- idays. This policy was reaffirmed in 1652,” (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 20). The Pilgrims in Massachusetts made a point of working on Christ- mas as on any other day. Even colonial America considered Christmas more of a raucous revelry than a religious occasion: “So tarnished, in fact, was its reputation in colonial US that celebrating Christmas was banned in Puritan New England, where the noted minister Cotton Mather described yuletide merrymaking as ‘an affront unto the grace of God,’” (Jeffery Sheler, “In Search of Christmas,” U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 23, 1996, p. 56).

8. You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in!

Some people these days are declaring we should put ‘Christ back into Christmas.’ But since He was never part of it from the beginning, that sounds like a nice sentiment, but it is only a misguided effort trying to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than doing what the Bible actually teaches. To say it again: You can’t put Christ back into some- thing He was never in!

9. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus’s birthday, but it tells us clearly to commemorate His death.

For followers of the Jesus of the Bible, the most significant event was clearly His death, not His birth. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was be- trayed took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of Me.” Jesus repeated the same for the Passover cup, the cup of Redemption, “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes…” (Check also Matthew 26:18-19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:8-13, 15). Jesus expects His true followers to commemorate His death, not His birth, by observing the Passover, of which The Lord’s Supper or Communion is a small part.

10. Christmas obscures God’s real plan for humans.

The Passover (see Exodus 12) was symbolic of the future role and sacrifice of Jesus. His sacrificial death on our behalf was to spare us from eternal death. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul addressed Him as “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” John the Baptist said similar in John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Again, Peter stated that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God’s gift of eternal life. (See John 3:14-17; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22) In contrast, Christmas teaches none of this, so it obscures the real purpose of Jesus coming, and also of His return the second time. The message of Jesus Christ and the apostles – “the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14-15) – was soon lost. The Christmas celebration shifted Christianity’s focus away from Christ’s promised return to His birth. “Blessed, happy, fortunate (to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound, who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the Feasts: they walk, O Lord, in the light and favour of Your Countenance.” Psalm 89:15 AMP Scrip- ture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, accord- ing to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Feasts should be studied for all the richness of understanding and revelation God wants us to learn. After all, they are part of the Scrip- ture given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know of a single Christian denomination that rejects the authority of Scripture (although Roman Catholics regard it as only equal in authority with church tradition; and the liberals across many older denominations have little real faith except in their own intellect and they only quote the bits of Scripture they approve of). It must also be recorded that the Feasts are shadows of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1-2) and they point to Jesus/Yeshua who is the sub- stance. He also is the fulfilment of the Feasts, in the plan of redemption. “It’s not the Ju- daizing of the church because Judaizing was a heresy. The Judaizing taught that a Gentile had to convert and become a Jew to be saved. That is NOT what is happening today,” wrote Dr. Robert Heidler. (The Messianic Church Arising!, page 75) To miss the valuable revelations found within the Feasts, when these are clearly commanded by God for all time, can only be described as selective obedience. In this vital case, ignorance is not bliss, but actually becomes sinful.

11. Pleasing God by celebrating the Holy Days that Jesus and the apostles did.

All through the Bible, God gives choices, to do things His way, or our own. There are con- sequences, of course. Jesus never taught His followers to adopt pagan practices in their worship. With His disciples, they kept God’s holy days. They kept Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and they observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament church commenced on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), and they kept observing that (Acts 20:16). They also kept the Day of Atonement (Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2,10). Actually, there were six feasts and only one fast! But Christmas is missing from the Bible. The feasts God told His people to observe (to do, not to watch) have all got vital lessons about Jesus, what He has done, what He is doing now, and what He will yet do as He carries out God’s plans for mankind.

12. The Real Deity of Christmas.

In the wider world, even beyond so-called “Christian” nations, Christmas is celebrated. Not only in commercial advertising, but in shopping malls and even in many church gath- erings, the real centre of attention is Santa Claus, not Jesus. It would be fair to describe Santa Claus as the deity of Christmas, as he gets more space, attention, (one might even call it worship) than everything else put together. If the attention on Santa isn’t idolatry, it must be getting perilously close to it! So, do you want to continue with the tired old pa- ganism and crass commercialism of Christmas, or do you want to obey the Living God? Above, I’ve given twelve reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe Christmas, instead of the Feasts of the Lord?

I think the greatest thing that I have discovered about myself, the church and my fellow Christians, is that we don’t know who and what we are in Christ Jesus and what we are capable of doing. Putting it another way, we are like poorly trained soliders going to war who can’t shoot and if we can, don’t bother too. One of the best and most influential books I have ever read was Kenneth Hagin’s “The Authority of the Believer.”

It was the Roman’s who gave the early church believers their “name;” Christians, or “little Christ’s” When we are born again, we are filled with power to do the SAME works that Jesus did. (and He said we would do even greater works then He did; done anything like that lately? Why not?) cast out demons, heal the sick, perform miracles, speak in tongues, and interpret them; give prophesy etc. etc. The problem is, many many Christians either don’t know that, or don’t believe it, or don’t do it! We are seated at the right hand of the Father; we are healed, sanctified, blest, anointed, praised and prosperous. Instead, Christians are failing at “authority” and caught up in the Babylonian system of fiances and the spirit of mammon just like the rest of the world. Christians are just as much in debt as the unsaved are, yet the bible tells us to be the “head and not the tail.” Why is this???

How can you fire a gun at the enemy with no bullets? How do you stop the devil and all his works, without the ammunition? We have the power to step on scorpions, (ie. the devil) Why are so many Christians afraid of him, when “in the Name of Jesus” we have all power and authority? With respect to my blog, why is it that the unsaved have the money and not the Christians? Mostly because the Christians don’t believe and don’t know how to get money and manage it. I would say that 90% of what I have learned about biblical economics I did not learn from sitting in a pew. Why? Because the churches don’t know it and/or the pastors are afraid to teach it. Many believers are still living under a spirit of poverty which is Greek thinking, brought into the church by Constantine in 300 B.C. Very few churches acknowledge the businessman and market place ministries (read this: 10 Reasons Business Leaders Reject Their Local Churches).

The church needs to start teaching to it’s body, who we are, what we are, what money is for, how to get it and manage it. How to heal the sick, cast out demons, give prophecy. – the works! In other words, the church needs to teach the “authority of the believer.” We are to be so blest and letting our light and success shine so much that the unsaved run to us and say, “What do you have? How did you get that? How can I get it too?” Our reply of course is, “Well, let me tell you about my friend; his name is Jesus!”

Our blessing, is the “hook” for the unsaved. How do we “hook them” if we ourselves are not blest?

Let us be the light and salt of the world… 🙂

1. You can’t afford to tithe.

You can’t afford not to! The tithe is not yours and certainly not yours to negotiate. Not only is it God’s but it is Holy. Under the old law Levitical system the Jews (and Christians) paid their tithes as a tax to the temples. However, since Jesus paid our sin/debt on the cross, we tithe as an offering of gratitude. It amazes me that people will give 15% to a waitress but not 10% to God.

2. Properity is the same as money and having money is wrong.

It is the LOVE of money that is wrong. Money has no character (it is simply ink on paper) but takes on the character of the person using it. It can be used for sin or blessing. Financial blessing is only one part of God’s plan for abundance. Loving families, fulfilling relationships, good health, and a life filled with purpose is all part of the package from John 10:10.

3. God wants you poor.

What could you do if you had more money? Give it away and help more people. If the Pastor from your church wanted you to write a cheque for $10,000. to buy bibles for a third world country, could you do it? If not, why not? Simply, because you don’t have enough money. What if you had more? We are to be so rich that we can constantly bless others and build the Kingdom which is what money is for. (Deut 8:18)

4. All the church wants is your money.

No, God is not in the business of taking money from you, He is the business is getting it to you! How? Through His economic system, not the worlds. The world system is based upon work and seeing how much one can get. God’s system is based upon giving to be a blessing so that He can return it to you so that you can repeat the cycle. He is looking for people that He can trust and who are givers. Can you keep some of it? Yes! God wants you blest! However, what he is really looking for is to see if you have covetousness attitude towards money and possessions or if your heart is filled with the joy of giving to others?

As an entrepreneur for over thirty years I am well aware of the fact that the businessman is looking for a return on everything he does; whether it be a return on time, labour, resources or money. That is just the way a businessman thinks; it is the way God made him.

As I look at the billions of dollars that well meaning governments and charities have given in foreign aid to third world countries, I can’t help but see that so much of it has been wasted and the rest has not accomplished too much as the problems are still there. What kind of a return is that? No wonder some people are tired of the endless demands for funds from charities. What people want is results; a return on their investment.

A few years ago, Bill Bright the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ developed what is now known as the Seven Cultural Mountains of influence in society. (government, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, family, and business). God gave Adam dominion over the entire plant which included these seven mountains. The church has been charged with the responsibility of having dominion over these Seven Cultural Mountains. However, it has failed miserably. Consequently we now have a lost culture and the Kingdom of God cannot be advanced. How did this happen? The Christian church is guilty of three things which contributed to the loss of power and influence resulting in the degradation of society:

  1. Disobedience (Deuteronomy chapter 8 and Chapter 18 – idols)
  2. The church teaches salvation but does not keep teach Kingdom authority and dominion
  3. The church has historically had a biblical view of work and ministry, but no longer. Only 19% of Christians hold a biblical view of the world.

Along with the degradation of society has come the inability of the church and the world to solve world problems like famine, sickness, disease, war, crime, etc. Billions of people suffer daily from a lack of adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, employment, and sanitation. Yet, the world is some areas like North America and Europe remain enormously wealthy.

Of the Seven Cultural Mountains in society, it is business that influences all the rest because this is where the money is, and money is the engine or fuel for everything else. The church has still not come to terms with the fact that money is not evil, wrong or a sign of greed. The bible says that people will never listen to a poor man but only to a rich man because the rich man has influence; a poor man does not.

Who has the money and wealth of the world? Three goups: governments, who get theirs by stealing it in the form of taxes, criminals, terroristist, and war-mongers; and the businessman. Of the three it is only the businessman that has the ability to solve problems. Give a problem to an entrepreneur and he will solve it. That creates wealth and Christian dominated wealth is what solves the world’s problems.

Ephesians chapter two says that the church is to be built upon the foundations of apostles and prophets. However, such is not usually the case; churches are established and built by pastors. Although pastors are needed and very anointed, they are not skilled at the visionary process of building a church; not unlike a business. (Jesus said that He was about His Father’s “business”; He did not say “ministry.”)

Pastors have a gifting of looking after people, not necessarily solving their problems which is what the apostle does. Consequently, pastor founded churches tend to be “mercy-driven” as apposed to “Kingdom-driven.” A Kingdom based and driven church, by that of an apostle, can influence the businessman who inturn influences the Business Cultural Mountain, which in turn influences, changes, and dominates the other six Cultural Mountains for the purpose of building the Kingdom of God. As long as churches are headed by pastors with mercy-driven agendas, they will be “feeding a man for day.” The next day, the man needs to be feed again. The apostles will with the businessman teach the man how to feed himself. That is what a micro-loan can do.

So how do we as business people receive a return on our investment, take our influence and solve the worlds problems by making money and then plowing it into people and countries in need? The best opportunity that I have seen is “micro-loans.” Millions of people in third world countries live in a world of subsistence living. Each day is a struggle and a challenge to find food, water, cooking fuel, a job etc. yet, if they had a small helping hand, they could easily overcome this and be on their way to self-sufficiency and a start to personal wealth. A micro-loan can be and often is, that small helping hand that changes peoples lives forever.

Perhaps the best example of the success of micro-loans is found in an organization called “Kiva” (kiva.org). How does it work? Simple. Business people lend a small amount of money, even as low as $100. The money is lent to a third party who then starts a business. How do you start a business with only $100? Not in a first world nation, but in a third world nation, a hundred dollars can buy a sewing machine for example and start a single mother on her way to making a living and providing for her family. A hundred dollars can buy a popcorn machine and start a man on his way to entrepreneurship. After a few months, the loan is paid back and the money is reused for another loan. A micro-loan is literally the “gift that keeps on giving.” What is the default rate? Only about 10%. I don’t know of a better rate of return than this idea!

Micro-loans combined with businessmen that are willing to instruct people in the basics of business can literally change a nation by advancing its people from subsistence living to personal growth, development, eventually lifting them out of systemic poverty.

A number of years ago I was taking a course taught by my personal mentor Dr. C. Peter Wagner. Peter made a comment about the term “fivefold ministry”. He says the term has a tendency to make people that don’t have one of the five Gifts feel like a second-class Christian. I full heartedly agreed.

It is interesting how the church seems to go through different cycles and patterns. The last 15 years we have always heard this term the “fivefold ministry”. What if you don’t have any of those five gifts? Does that mean you can never go in the ministry? Does that mean if you don’t have one of the five you are not a full-fledged Christian? The term or expression “five fold ministry” is not in the Bible. Yes it does mention the five gifts in a row but it never refers to them as a “ministry”. I sat down with my college dean one day and expressed my opinion and he fully agreed. However, he said that you could classify the different gifts under the five separate headings. I proceeded to take out a piece of paper and wrote down the headings as we together determined the classifications.

Personally, my strongest gift is the Gift of Administration. In my capacity as an administrator, what am I really doing? I’m helping others to get them, or businesses, or ministries organized and running more efficiently. In a sense, I’m helping them which makes me a pastor. Therefore the Gift of Administration falls under the classification of Pastor.

What does an evangelist need? Healing and miracles to prove to the unsaved the power of God so that he can evangelize them into the Kingdom. Therefore people that have Gifts of Faith or Healing or Miracles follow under the category of evangelist.

Below is the list that my bible college dean and I constructed. I showed Peter Wagner and although he did not disagree with it, he did not see the relevance. It took me a while to figure out where he was going with his line of thought, but eventually I saw his point.

Peter is a teacher of “new wineskins” not “old wineskins”. In his opinion the “fivefold ministry” is an “old wineskin” much like ordination is in his opinion. He believes the new wineskin is all spiritual gifts working in unison and instead of ordination “commissioning” is the new wineskin (remember, Jesus never went to bible school or was ordained, but was commissioned by His Father).

After praying about this I came to conclusion that Peter was absolutely right. In spite of my attempts to make myself and others feel better about not being second-class Christians because we don’t fall under the fivefold ministry category, what I was really doing was floundering around in an old wineskin. However as Peter has said, there is not necessarily anything wrong with an old wineskin. Further he has stated that there will always be people that will hang on to the traditional ways of doing things which is in that wineskin. Personally I’m not one that wants to be in the old wineskin (neither does Peter); I like following the new wineskin. However I am cognizant of the fact that others will stay in the old wineskin.

That being the case, this classification does serve its purpose.

The Five Main Gifts

Apostle Prophet Evangelist Teacher Pastor
Apostle Prophet Evangelist Teacher Pastor
Leadership Discernment Faith Wisdom Administration
Giving Exhortation Miracles Knowledge Hospitatlity
Celibacy Intercessor Healing Mercy Service & Help
  Tongues  & Interpretations Missionary   Worship
    Deliverance   Poverty (voluntary)

Have you not completed a spiritual Gifts Test? You can find them on Google, but I think Peter Wagners is the best.