Too Essential

Many have inflated opinions of their worth and importance to society (and even to the church). Such thoughts are usually always tremendously exaggerated!

Megalomaniacs stink.    

They are NOT the savior of the world: they are NOT Jesus Christ!

It is a sin to regard oneself as ESSENTIAL.  That is really … TOO essential!

True, we all want to lead USEFUL lives!  We all want to make a positive impact on our community… and beyond!  

Yet, few, if any of life’s roles, are absolutely essential to “THE MISSION”.

Elijah thought himself to be uniquely essential … to fulfill the God-given mission of defeating the hundreds of false priests of Baal.   God quickly set the record straight when He announced that He had 7,000 prophets spiritually armed and ready to step forward in case of Elijah’s failure!  Now that is humbling!  There were 6,999 just as “good” as he was!  

What is really important is not being essential… we all really need to be RELEVANT!  

Relevant means: closely connected to; available to be used fittingly; bearing to the matter; appropriate; fully qualified and “at attention” available (my personal take on the word). 

In other words: prepared and ready and qualified and willing and actionable … SHOULD THE MASTER DECIDE to activate my calling/talent in regards to the mission at hand! 

Isaiah said it this way: “Here am I, send me”… but the CHOICE of sending, or not, was GOD’S and not Isaiah’s personal inflated opinion of being “ESSENTIAL”!  

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield wrote in his excellent book “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” that he trained for years to pilot the Russian Soyuz rocket. Yet,  NEVER ONE TIME did he command a flight of that rocket!  He was at peace with this because he knew he was ALWAYS READY, ALWAYS PREPARED… he was qualified and ready to step in, if ever needed! 

Peter was chosen to preach the Upper Room Conference message at Pentecost.  Yet, there were another 11 disciples also qualified to preach the same message!  

Relevance is a state of spirit… not an self-centered attitude of megalomaniacal importance!

Seek not to be essential… rather strive to be relevant: always ready to step up to the challenge… then, when called on… do the job with prepared excellence!  

“In due season we shall reap…” (Galatians 6:9) 

Brad Lambeth

BATS (from Hell)

Bats (from Hell)

I was brushing my teeth this on last morning of the year when Nara’s screams interrupted my automated routine.  By the tone and intensity I knew something was terribly wrong.  I dropped my brush and rushed into the bedroom without wiping my mouth.

Her shriek became silent as her eyes and fingers pointed to a black something on the carpet… A BAT!   It was that very bat, flying a few seconds earlier, that landed on her foot while she was asleep!

While I know the bat was unmoving because of Nara’s powerful kick (one of wife’s dangerous weapons, smiles), it is a mystery how such a nauseating animal got into our room!?!  With closed windows and behind locked doors, in our home we always felt quite safe from Brazilian creatures.

What a way to end 2013, a year full of ups and downs!

Although chiropterologists claim that bats are for the most part ‘good’ for eco-systems, my wife would be hard pressed to agree… and that goes for me too.

Bats are usually associated with evil lore and conjure demonic evilness.  Perhaps the negative spin given to bats is resultant of their physical appearance (slimy), their love for darkness (thus invisible) and dangerousness (rabid).

The devil, sometimes depicted nowadays as a bat, coincidentally has the same types of eerie characteristics… along with the added fact: he never hesitates to invade the most inter chambers of our lives, should such a cracked door be found.

The devil’s workings are always slimy, very difficult to firmly handle.  Yes, I suppose “slippery” could be a good way of describing his “going to and fro in the earth…” (Job 1:7), but “slimy” (like the path of a snail), is the REAL telltale trademark of his doings.  When you see the trail of slim across the paths of your life, beware!  Be warned! … The slithering serpent – “which is the devil” (Rev. 20:2) – is not far away!

Lesson: Divine (prayerful) awareness is a KEY factor in all spiritual warfare!

Darkness is the devil’s habitat (bats too)… From obscure, dark, corners of life is where unexpected attacks come from.  Wicked deeds and deals are cut in deserted regions of the spirit world, places where bat-like imps reside.  Like Job, we are all subject to anonymous, unidentifiable attacks launched by “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12).  But do not despair:

Lesson: God is LIGHT (I John 1:5).  So, REBUKE the demonic darkness tightening around you and PROCLAIM/CREATE an aura of True Light.  Bats HATE light!  Nocturnal Devils do too, especially when the Brightness comes from Jesus!

Regretfully, even as devils flee (defeated!) from the Name, much like bats, they cease not to continually spew rabid contamination all around, indiscriminately.   It is a known fact that bat droppings are highly toxic and remain deadly even after the critters are long gone.  The same applies to spiritual warfare waged against dark demons: the toxic waste they left behind often causes unexpected casualties among friends and even bystanders.  Sad, yet true.

Lesson: spiritual warfare requires EVERYONE even remotely connected to the battle to be on high alert.  After all, distant secondary parties often take offense with the smallest issue that, under normal circumstances, would be totally insignificant.  Warn EVERYONE in your circle to maintain broad prayer cover against the “wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11): It can take a long time to decontaminate devil droppings.

In reality, I am warning you that devils often operate on multiple levels AT THE SAME TIME.  It is not uncommon to witness two battles, one INSIDE THE OTHER: often there is more than meets the eye on this low dimension of the spirit world.

John “Brad” Lambeth

Afterword: Nara and I carefully cornered the bat and captured it using gloves, a large can and a solid lid.  Are there other bats hidden somewhere in the house?  Hopefully not… yet, I suspect we can expect more and more demons from hell before this war ends at Rapture time.


Lambeth Bat


What Do YOU See?


I am a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Maybe that is because we missionaries depend on pictures to show supporters what is being done with their offerings and support.

To this missionary, however, pictures have another special usefulness: they allow a bird’s eye view of what is going on in the many Apostolic congregations spread across the eight Brazilian states where we have outreach endeavors.  Perhaps that explains why we supplied most of our preachers with a digital camera: we follow their ministry through the eyes of their photographs.  I receive dozens of photos, almost on a daily basis… I look at each one, searching for telltale signs of progress, or… problems.  Was the building full? Who was sitting on the platform? Was the welcoming usher at the front door?  Pictures can reveal answers to all of the above and much more.

While most of the photos are mundane to the eyes of most causal viewers (Have you ever tried to interpret an x-ray?), very frequently a special picture “catches” my eye because of its creativity or, better yet, because of the story behind the pixels.  Such unique photographs are the ones I use to send out to our supporters and prayer partners around the globe.

Almost every week of 2013 I sent out a unique picture (or pictures) of “missionary unusualness”.  Each image arrives with a caption; and, often (upon your request), I send out a follow-up email explaining the snapshot in greater detail.  The name of the series is “What do you see?”

The importance of these pictures cannot be understated!  Since I refuse to use “old” photos (the images are sometimes a mere few hours old), your prayers on their behalf will have instant spiritual “action” and real-time results because you focused on that current picture story.

Hopefully you have been receiving these weekly pictorials.  Better yet, I pray you have shared them with other friends and acquaintances: everyone needs a touching story to energize their vision and hope!  If you or your friends are NOT on my mailing list, I would LOVE to have you all join in by writing me at jblambeth@gmail.com

So, having said all of that, I close this year’s series with two pictures that arrived this week from the Brazilian state of Bahia.  They are of very poor quality (which adds all the more to their authenticity).  Yet, they immortalize what real missionary work is all about.

These pictures excite me and let me know that something APOSTOLIC is happening RIGHT NOW somewhere inside this vast country of Brazil!  I (nor you) may not be aware of the event, but I am humbled to know that neither the GOSPEL nor the PREACHER sleeps in peace while there is yet a Brazilian town without a TRUE witness!  While I do not know where the town is located, I do know that the preacher’s name is Pastor Renilton.  A precious man.  He deserves your intense prayers as he preaches on dusty, dark streets of some village somewhere inside Brazil.

John “Brad” Lambeth

Missionary and Strategist

Apostolic Churches of Brazil

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Designing Tee Shirts

Designing Tee Shirts

I am convinced that missionary work is NOT a one-man thing; rather, a multilevel, collective endeavor on EVERYONE’S part. Regretfully, few see it my way!

You see, although the missionary is a highly trained and focused servant-apostle submitted to God’s purpose on behalf of lost souls, he/she alone does not have enough hours nor the multiple skills needed to press beyond the tipping point into spontaneous growth and nationwide revival. True missionary success requires a team effort!

I know all of this goes against our nostalgic mindset of those “good old pioneer days” when everything was so much easier and soul-winning was a one-on-one “thing”. With the acceleration of time (Mt. 24:22/Rev. 12:12), however, and with the Church at the edge of night (Mt. 20:6-9), we must speed up accordingly… and to arise to the challenge by means of uniting apostolic qualifications if our vision is to win many souls before the Rapture.

Yes, as a missionary I have learned how to work all sectors of the outreach spectrum. From bricklayer, to photographer, to radio evangelist, to coordinator, to traveling troubleshooter, to fund raiser. Over the years I have successfully done it all.

Nowadays, however, missionary work requires all of the above and so much more… simultaneously!

To use a current project as an example, let’s return once again to the wonderful revival the Lord has given the Apostolic Churches of Brazil inside Brazil’s violent prisons. Number-wise, there is a good-sized Apostolic congregation surviving behind those bars… and growing! Praise the Lord!

However, for the project to continue expanding, we need to join up with more “partners” committed to help us solve the many facets connected with the prison ministries. You see, all of this is new to us… surely we have untapped experience among our many missionary friends and supporters. For example, we face:

a) Identification challenges – We quickly found out that it is not enough to distribute apostolic clothing to the new converts inside the jails. Since there is a shortage of just about everything behind those walls, especially food, often, when hunger is greater than the chill factor, prisoners will exchange clothing for food. Yet, these new (sincere!) converts truly want to distinguish themselves from the rest of the inmates. They WANT a way to silently testify that they are DIFFERENT!

b) Tee Shirts – Based on apostolic identification principles, we feel that a uniquely styled long sleeved tee shirt would answer to that need. Having a stock of these special tee shirts, they could be distributed to each and every new prison convert… with the added benefit that tee shirts would/could be used for both men and women inmates.

c) Logo designer – The big problem, however, we do not have a logo creator to design and lay out the tee shirt! Be assured, once a catchy, sharp logo is drawn up and detailed out, it would impact not only the born-again inmates, but also the rest of the prison population by creating an apostolic tribe (hopefully, one day, even an apostolic nation) behind prison bars! Believe me, color schematics, design sizes and panoramic placement is beyond missionary expertise!

d) Special project financiers – Even what may seem to be a simple project such as prison tee shirts requires an investment beyond the usual missionary budget. Why? Well, we are not referring to a mere 50 tee shirts (the approximate number of prisons baptized these last few months); we also need to fabricate and stock a sufficient amount to use across 2014, in various sizes! Plus, if well designed, these tee shirts could be used as fundraisers both inside Brazil and stateside also! The missionary has the vision, but he/she does not always have the financing for what is on the other side of the curtain of revival! P.S.: emboldened by a previous article I wrote about a recent prison baptismal service, we have already received several pledges toward to the tee shirt project. If you are interested in joining them… write me!

e) Bibles – We also desperately need Portuguese Bibles for each prison convert (and other hungry souls). Because Brazilian laws prevent us from importing Bibles and since Portuguese is an uncommon language, we are forced to purchase bibles inside Brazil at a much higher cost. After all, what good is it to give a tee shirt without a Bible? We need, as you can tell, creative entrepreneurs to help us think outside the box as we grapple with these challenges. Don’t forget, the missionary cannot be stateside and on the field at the same time! We need help!

f) Experienced “temporary” missionaries – I am sure that among the apostolic ranks, stateside, there are those that are experienced prison outreach workers. How about sharing two weeks of your life to help us do a better job with this new project? Oh well, I was just daydreaming aloud… sorry

This article is a somewhat longer than the usual as I attempt to expand the vision about what missionary work is all about. Things have certainly changed these last few years and we all must adjust… especially in regards to missionary work. Please help us… we want to be better missionaries. And that is only possible with your help. Thank you!

John “Brad” Lambeth

Lead Missionary

Apostolic Churches of Brazil.

Black is out, Red is in!

Some more, others less, but we are all in some manner influenced by clothing fashions, especially colors.  Some years the “hot” color is yellow, and then lime-green takes us all by surprise.  Across our lifetime we will all live through many of these cycles…

Interestingly enough, inside Brazilian prisons, where the Apostolic Churches of Brazil have a thriving ministry, the big color is BLACK.  Not because it is fashionable, but rather because BLACK is reserved exclusively for prison guards.  No one else – inmates nor visitors – are allowed the slightest trace of the color black all because, inside the prisons, BLACK represents chains, handcuffs, guns and POWER.

So, behind those thick bars the ongoing struggle is for control of BLACK.  Although the inmates cannot wear that color, they obsessively dream of release …and a payback return to the dark powers that BLACK embodies.

Meanwhile, several times a week a small brigade of incredibly brave apostolic men and women march into the damp recesses of each BLACK prison monster wearing a new color: RED, also known as the  BLOOD OF JESUS!

Every visit by the apostolic brigade into the black prison monster is a battle: the surprise strip search to get in, the heckling of perverts inside the walls, the oppressive spiritual fear prevalent on every face, unnerves all but the bravest saints.  Once inside “hell”, the real battle begins!  Divided by colors, battle lines are formed:

On the far edge are those dressed in “black”.  True, no prisoner can wear black… but in their heart they do… and always will.  They are almost unreachable!  Yet sprinkled among the waves of a black sea of hardened souls there are others, thankfully.  Such were some of us: desperately seeking to exchange a “spotted garment” (Jude 1:23) for something better – a garment colored with hope, salvation and praise (Isaiah 61:3).  It is thrilling to watch the apostolic brigade reach out for those tearful eyed souls that stretch their stained hands to grasp Gospel HOPE and MERCY!

This last week I witnessed this prison yard battle and tasted for myself the sweet taste of RED victory as I watched three female inmates change heart colors, from black to RED as they were baptized in Jesus Name!

Originally there were to be six female inmates baptized… but the other three, fearful, perhaps, of gang repercussions, hid themselves among the black hearts. Fear in action is sad to watch.

As the service was winding down, suddenly an inmate stepped out of the dark shadows and declared “I want to be baptized!”.  Then another one and finally a third came forward.  In the end, to the astonishment of god-less guards and the deadening silence of the black hearted, three more were baptized!

We have no pictures of this unique afternoon: regretfully, in spite of court orders, our single camera was confiscated by the guards (So, I include pictures of first female inmates baptized in Jesus Name).

Before signing off, I would like to present a special project:  I would like to give a RED (long-sleeved) tee-shirt to every inmate that has been baptized in the prisons where there is an Apostolic Church behind bars.  Better yet, I would like to print those tee-shirts with a catchy phrase in Portuguese giving Apostolic identity and BOLDNESS to each Jesus Name inmate (both male and female) as the revival continues burning RED-hot.

Better yet, I would also LOVE to give a Bible with each tee-shirt.

I do not have cost estimates yet (we would need to make about 100-150 tee-shirts in varied sizes), but if you are interested, please write me at jblambeth@gmail.com

John Bradley Lambeth

Lead Missionary

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One + One + Twenty

To use the direct language of a copywriter I declare… Brazil is on Fire (Revival Time!).  I have no other way of describing the reports we are receiving from the many regions where the Apostolic Churches of Brazil are planting churches! 

Yet, in the mind of many readers, revival comes across in a very vague way (Souls? Renewal? Neither? Both and more?).  So, to help you understand how I see revival, let’s do some simple arithmetic: 

ONE HAITIAN MAN – We were blessed this last Sunday with our first breakthrough in the growing community of Haitian immigrants.  He introduced himself as Ceide, traditional catholic that left his island on a journey to Brazil in search of any job to support his poor mother back at home.  Missionary John-John met him wandering the streets of Porto Alegre and invited him to his first Pentecostal (Apostolic!) service.  Ceide, few semesters away from a university degree, fluent in five languages, he quickly grasped the Bible concept of One God (Jesus!).  After his baptism he streaked around the pews and then took a diving slide to grab the altar in a thrilling show of praise and thankfulness! 

ONE TRINITY PASTOR – All Brazilian Apostolic lay-ministers are expected to open and maintain preaching points as a basic outreach tool.  Brother Clovis from the Apostolic Caxias do Sul Church is no different: he is fully committed to The Cause.  So much so that Clovis never even blinked when, unexpectedly, a trinity pastor walked into his meeting hall just as worship service was beginning.  What caused “pastor” Francisco to choose an Apostolic Church over his own regular church engagement for that night?  We may never know… however, we do know that the Spirit of God was moving in a unique way as the small congregation sang and shouted “Amen!” to the anointed message that Brother Clovis preached that night.  And, for the first time, “pastor” Francisco was truly challenged in his soul about about One God, Jesus Name baptism!  After church, “pastor” Francisco declared “I must know more about Jesus Name baptism!”  Evidently his yearning for Truth was answered: He (too) was baptized this last Sunday night at the HQ Campus!

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