Understanding the Jerusalem Council

What was the purpose of the Jerusalem Council at the commencing of the Early Church? In short, it allowed for the discussion and addressing of the Jewish and Gentile cultural divide that proved a hindrance to kingdom advancement. It’s important for us to consider carefully what was at stake. 

The Gospel message was gaining traction, yet the Church was now confronting a moment of crisis. The decisions taken would determine whether this movement would be taken to the next level. Is there a message for us at Cornerstone and the Church at large?  

These thoughts are fresh in my mind in reflecting upon the Kingdom Wealth Conference of this past week. There’s so much to digest as a result of these meetings. The parallels between the Jerusalem Council and the modern Church are strikingly real. We’ve enjoyed God’s blessing and favour, but clearly the call is to come higher in God. What does this mean and how do we go about getting there?

There was much discussion concerning the characteristics of marketplace ministers and the work of the Church. The topic of “Kings and Priests” were often heard as well. As the meetings progressed, I began to see similar Jewish/Gentile differences in our understanding of the above topics. I also began to sense a fresh appreciation for what God is doing in all spheres of ministry and I was not alone.

One of the featured speakers who moves in very high circles of influence discovered an ability to receive Words of Knowledge and names of people as he prayed. This was new to him and as a result was more inclined to continue praying for people. It was not uncommon to hear of new platforms and opportunities being opened up for those who already function in high levels of effective ministry. These are leaders who either know or who’ve helped US presidents, presidents of other nations, the Pope and heads of the biggest Fortune 500 companies. It’d be easy to dismiss the conference as being simply a wealth conference for similarly minded high-flyers of business. Such sentiments would miss the mark.
The Jewish/Gentile divide of the early Church exists in its modern-day variant. I personally feel this past week has gone a long way in helping to bridge that gap. It has to be bridged if we’re all to fulfill our God-given mandate. There’s a kingdom mindset that must be appropriated and understood at all levels. It’s not solely meant for those already functioning in that arena.

It’s difficult to put into words, but there was a dynamic at work throughout the three days of meetings. It was the bringing together of kings and priests in a way I’ve not observed before. The danger is seeing the king and priest as mutually exclusive. Can you see the implications of such a scenario, especially in light of the issues surrounding the Jerusalem Council? It’s no exaggeration to state that we’re in a defining moment. So then, how best can we bridge the gap between the Church and marketplace or the king and priest mentality?

There was a recognisable display of humility these past few days which I feel helps put all of these into proper perspective. Men and women of known stature (kings) shared openly and freely from their experiences in true love and compassion as priests. This had a profound effect upon the delegates.

At a personal level there was a recognised need for humility to deal with areas of hidden pride that only serves to hinder growth to the next level.  I know many others felt the same way. It’s important that we recognise and appropriate the visitations of the Lord when they occur (Luke 19:44). This will require an ability to intentionally reflect and digest what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to Cornerstone and to each of us as individuals.

The immediate implications of the Jerusalem Council were the establishment and eventual formation of the Philippian Church (Acts 16). Paul learned to adjust to the move of the Spirit as he heard the Macedonian Call (Acts 16:9). What about us; is there an ability to have our agendas and paradigms changed? This clearly was the case when the saints gathered at Jerusalem. This momentous event accelerated the Church to greater heights. It’s time we hear and respond to what the Spirit is saying unto the Church; to reign as true kings and priests. The day and hour demands it! 

Pastor Tim O’Connell

Faithfulness Redefined

I overheard a conversation between two friends in a church and it went something like this – “He’s a very faithful man. He comes to church every weekend and has been a Christian for a long time.” That set me thinking about the word “faithful” and its true meaning, as I recalled what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

This parable began with the master, prior to his long trip, giving some talents (money) to his servants, each according to their own ability. It ended with the master returning and asking each of them to give an account for the talents entrusted to them. The servant who had received five talents went and traded (invested) with them, and made another five talents. Likewise, the servant who had received two talents gained two read more…

Progression

Recently during my devotions, I felt the Holy Spirit drop the word “progression” into my heart and immediately that word was like a zip file that began to unpack itself within me. I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you.

Progression is not just about moving forward. It’s also moving upward. When you combine these two actions together of moving forward and upward, you get the picture of someone climbing up a mountain. Psalm 24:3-5 (NLT) comes to mind: “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Saviour.”

Everything that we do for the read more…

A Glorious Camp Meeting

One of the great highlights of our church calendar is definitely our Annual Family Camp. It’s probably the one event that I look forward to more than any other. It’s when the Ekklesia – the called out ones (church), gather as a family, as one, and it’s always glorious. But in all the years that we’ve had our church camps, this year’s camp will arguably go down as one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s not a matter of comparison, but we’re certainly growing from glory to glory and at each new level of glory, it’s greater than the previous one. The Lord certainly did something very glorious in our hearts.

Church camp is a time of reset. It’s as though God presses a reset button and brings things into alignment. Like a chiropractor setting read more…

Are You Ready For An Encounter?

Cornerstone will be having its annual church camp this week at the KSL Resort in Johor Bahru. The theme for the camp is “Face-to- Face”. I suspect many of you are like me in needing to experience a fresh encounter with the Lord. Are you preparing for it, are you desperate and in need of a fresh touch?

The theme verses feature the fruits of Jacob’s determined anguish as he engages God at Penuel (Gen 28:30). I want to zero in on the preceding two verses: Gen 32:26-27 “And he said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaketh.’ And he said, ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ And he said unto him, ‘What is thy name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’”

There are two things to note in the above verses. First, Jacob recognises the significance of this encounter; he’s read more…

A Collection of Friends (an excerpt by Roy H. Williams)

When Jimmy visited Stanway to play cricket, he was the guest of Herbert and Cynthia Asquith (Herbert was the son of the British Prime Minister and Cynthia would later become a famous author of ghost stories). In return for their kindness to him and his cricketing buddies over the years, Jimmy built a pavilion on the cricket grounds of Stanway, where it has been in use for nearly 100 years. Who, exactly, were these cricketing buddies of Jimmy?

They called themselves the Allah Akbarries under the mistaken belief that “Allah akbar” meant “Heaven help us” in Arabic. This was an odd mistake to make, considering that these men were known for their words. The Allah Akbarries included:

Rudyard Kipling – The Jungle Book
Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes
P.G. Wodehouse – read more…

God is Good

The song “God Is Good All The Time” by Don Moen can become just a cliché. But we need more than clichés to carry us through the storms of life. Why is it so important to know that God is good? Because what you believe about God will ultimately determine your destiny! Psalm 34:8 is a well-known psalm that will help us get a grip on the goodness of God. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

1. Taste is an Experience
Firstly, taste is an experience. We’ve to experience that God is good. It’s experience or encounter that shapes our belief system. Romans 2:4 states it plainly, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.” Repentance or “metanoia” in Greek, means the changing of one’s mind. When people experience God’s goodness, they change their read more…

What’s Up For Grabs

There should always be things in our lives that are non-negotiable. These are things for which we’re willing to suffer pain for, make sacrifices towards, face humiliation, and endure failures. It’s important to have these non-negotiables, for without them, we become people without passion. By virtue of the word “passion” itself, it speaks of suffering that draws its comparison and inspiration from the sufferings of Christ upon the Cross. Likewise, we need to have a set of non-negotiables that root us and infuse us with purpose and passion.

Conversely, we also need to know what are our negotiables. For without negotiables, we become difficult, unbending, dogmatic, obstinate, and stuck in our own ways. When we make the unimportant the “thing”, we risk shifting our lives into some small tributary that really doesn’t matter in the long run. read more…

Kingdom Invasion Conference, Pretoria

A team of us have just returned from Pretoria, South Africa where Pastor Yang and Pastor Nicky Raiborde were the main speakers for their Kingdom Invasion Conference. What an amazing time it was! The 3-day meetings were well-attended by over 600 people, including pastors and missionaries. It’s the first time a conference like this was held in the church we were ministering at and I believe God did something lasting and precious.

There was a genuine hunger and humility in the people which attracted the Presence of God. The atmosphere was charged with expectation and anticipation for God to move in their hearts and circumstances. They were desperate for more of God and had a willingness to yield to Him. God has given Cornerstone the “Breaker’s Anointing” – where eternity breaks through into the natural realm. Throughout read more…

Coincidence? May Not

I just came back from Pakistan, where a small team of us had spent a week there to launch Kingdom Invasion in Islamabad. From 19–21 October this year, we’re bringing Kingdom Invasion to Pakistan as part of our City2City Project to impact the nations. We’ll be renting a major convention center in the capital of Pakistan that can seat 4,000 people and we’re bringing together pastors and leaders from around the whole nation for this event. Imagine the impact when 4,000 pastors gather together over three days! From what I understand from the local leaders, this is only the fourth time that they’re having a national pastors’ event in Islamabad.

What I found amazing was a string of “coincidences” that marked the launch of the event. It was exactly 10 years ago when I first went to read more…

Jumping into the Harvest

Last weekend, a count from all our weekend services recorded a total of 305 salvation/re-dedications. It was an amazing harvest weekend and we rejoice for every person who responded and said YES to Jesus.

Over the past few weeks, during our staff meetings, it’s not uncommon to hear of the wonderful exploits of the staff as they reach out daily to people around them, in GRAB cabs, restaurants, while walking along the streets, etc. And the common refrain is – “people are just so open to the Gospel!”

To illustrate this, I was in a cab a week ago and I asked the driver, a man in his late 50’s, how life was and how was his business? In the next 10 minutes, he shared with me his entire life story; how he was facing issues read more…

72 Hours

This weekend, we celebrate three of the greatest events that happened in the history of mankind, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all within 72 hours. We’re reminded again of what we get to celebrate. We celebrate our freedom from sin, our position as sons and daughters of the Most High, and our soon coming translation to glory. In 72 hours, the Father, through the sacrifice of His Son, accomplished what 1,500 years of the law couldn’t.

One of the great misfortunes of society today, and more so in the West, is to have been more influenced by Greek thought and culture than Hebrew thought. This can be demonstrated in many aspects of life, including politics, architecture, leisure, sport – you name it. One of the things that the Greeks believed was that the body read more…

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