Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perfected Forever

Hebrews 10: 12 - 14

12. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

13. from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

14. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Come, Now Is The Time To Worship

Too Much Thinking Goin' On....Let's Get On With It!

I have gone over some of the blogging of Simple Church aka House Church here.

I am throwing up a few points that seem to go along with my thinking of late but yet the word follower is jumping out and unnerving me. I prefer the word believer. I get the whole "I have decided to follow Jesus" idea but the emphasis seems wrong to me. This is not a new struggle for me. I love meeting together with fellow believers in many different settings and sometimes wonder if we are too easily willing to conform to a box be it one thing or another. Lately, an on-line community for me can "feel" like the following definition of church....also a group of three who met at my place last Sunday night can also feel like it as well. Is the definition all that important? Everyone is trying to move us to a certain type of thinking. I am just wanting, desiring, fervently attempting to be in relationship first with Jesus/Father/Spirit and then be in relationship with others in many different ways always changing and evolving according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is a much pondered and sometimes tough way to "do church", so I choose not to.....just to "be". Where He is, I am there. Big or little in numbers and sometimes that is just me and an internet community....I am learning to be obedient to His prompting. This has been a long and wearying process for me. I will gather with His Church in many different ways. I think that is ok with Him. It is my heart He sees. He knows it better than I know it myself. I also know that there has to be action of some kind (missional if you will) to demonstrate, to share the Gospel and I don't think that is by handing out tracts....or by just paying lip service...not for me anyway. Living His Life and committing time, money and whatever resources I have personally as He leads and not just talking about it. He wants us to give to others what He has given to us. Ultimately it is His. This life is not about what I can get....I have already received more than I ever deserved when He graced me with Himself. Now He wants to grace others through me. It is all part of what I think He has called me to. I am still working out the details with Him. This is all subject to change because He does tend to let me know when I am way off base. I have been listening and observing and seeing the inconsistencies and wondrousness of gatherings of believers of all shapes and sizes. So read the excerpts of the blog is a starting point for thinking about living Life abundantly. It is not the final word on anything. I know of only One Who can give that.

"Let’s start with a basic New Testament definition of church. The Greek word for “church” is “ekklesia” which simply refers to those who were "called out" for an assembly or meeting. It was a *non-religious(*my emphasis) word. It just referred to a group of people. In this case, the group of people who were followers of Jesus.

It really is and must be that simple!

Robert Fitts provides some additional information at DAWN ministries:

Jesus used a common word when he said, "I will build my church." It was not a religious word. It simply meant a called out group, or crowd, or fellowship, or assembly. So we can use the word church when it communicates what we are saying, but we can also use the word fellowship, or gathering, or brethren, or saints, or disciples. It simply means a group of people.

Church is simply a collective group of followers.

Consider this definition of church:

A loose-knit network of Jesus followers who gather together to encourage each other in their spiritual life and who go out, moved by the Holy Spirit, sharing and demonstrating the Gospel.

Loose-knit. Not formal membership, just a love-commitment to God and each other.

Jesus followers. The basic requirement for membership in the church.

Who gather together. Gathering to build one another up and to worship.

Who go out. The purpose of believers… to GO with the message.

Moved by the Holy Spirit. The one and only LEADER of the church.

Sharing and demonstrating the gospel. The reason that the church GOES."

My reworked definition would be "An ever evolving group of believers who gather together to encourage each other in their spiritual life and who go out and Live and share the Life given to them to the unbelieving and desperately hurting world(whether they know this or not), (in so many and diversified and wonderfully inventive ways, lead by the Holy Spirit." It is a starting point for me. I know it will change....I know what He means. I am open for His changes.

Dinner and gathering at my place on Sunday evening....Come as you are....bring a contribution (that would be a food offering bucket) or not. He has allowed me the opportunity to bless you with the simplest of things .... a meal together in His Name. Let us join and share together in His goodness and Life. I can wait no longer. He has moved me off my duff.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hear Us From Heaven

Reigning in Life

NASB Romans 5:17

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

The Message Romans 5: 15-17

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Simple Prayer

Oh how I pray this!

Lord, You have called me to this way of life, and You must empower it. Help me to be a loving instrument expressing Your quality of life today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Courageous Church - Shaun King

I found a new friend...Shaun King

A great article....up for some interesting thoughts from a new found brother in Christ? He has some great posts. Check him out.

From Shaun King's Blog: Shaun in the City: On Courage and Corn Pops

Banning Women from Ministry is Sin: Why Mark Driscoll is Wrong, Eugene Cho is Right, and Rob Bell is Somewhere in the Middle

The man who....

The man who knows his sins is greater than one who raises a dead man by his prayer. He who sighs and grieves within himself for an hour is greater than one who teaches the entire universe. He who follows Christ, alone and contrite, is greater than one who enjoys the favor of crowds in the churches.

Isaac the Syrian

Monday, January 19, 2009

"My" ministry

If you can explain what God is doing in your ministry, then God is not really in it.

Warren Wiersbe

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If only.....nothing like the Love of God


There is Love

Where are all the husbands and wives?

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one (Mark 10:7-8).

From a devotion (again) by the saint that speaks to me so clearly right now....Ray Stedman. Always an encouragement and cause for introspection but never to be taken as a reason for guilt or unacceptance. I love how he says it is a process.....not immediate....always anything instructed in His Word is worth mediation and revelation. I know I sadly missed the mark.

But what our Lord makes clear is that this relationship is the highest relationship possible in life (my emphasis, not Life as I know it anyway). It takes priority over all others. Closer even than the tie of blood is that of marriage, in the mind and heart of God. It is a closer relationship than with any children who follow. People are to become husbands and wives before they become fathers and mothers. This indicates a priority of relationship. A man is closer to his wife, and a wife to her husband, than they will ever be to their children. Though we may not feel that way, nevertheless, it is the truth.

What, then, is the purpose in marriage? It is to become one. This is what marriages are for. Two people who are disparate, distinct, and different individuals, with different personalities, different gifts, blending their lives together so that through the process of the years they become one flesh--that is what marriage is. It is not something that happens instantaneously when you get married. The wedding service does not make you one. The first act of sex after marriage does not make you one. It begins the process, but it does not finish it. It takes the whole marriage to accomplish this. Marriage is the process of two people becoming one.

Therefore man and woman are not to live together as roommates. Marriage is not going your separate ways and having your separate careers and merely sharing a house and a bed together. Nor are they to split up over every problem or difficulty that arises between them; they are to work them out. They are not to separate; they are to choose to be together, to spend the rest of their lives together, in order that they might merge their lives together. Therefore they stop being rivals and start to become partners. A successful marriage, therefore, is not one without problems; it is one where the problems are being worked out, where the husband and wife do not split but stick together, face up to their problems, discover the hardness of heart that is there, and learn how God can soften it. In other words, it is a process, not a single production. It is a pilgrimage, not a six weeks' performance. It is intended to be a public portrayal, not a private predicament. It is a lifelong contract, not a renegotiable franchise, as many presume today.

Thank You for these plain and clear words that help me understand what is involved when we choose a wife or husband and what Your purpose is in it. Help me to walk in these ways.

Monday, January 12, 2009

For Alvin, who knew?

Well, I just had to add this one in case Alvin hadn't seen it. You are loved!

Fun with a violin

Not the most "appropriate" song in the world....but I like her energy and she is having fun....and who knew the violin could be so

Rites and wrongs....

This post ties in very well with Joel's study of last night....from a favourite of mine....Ray Stedman's devotional based on his teaching.

He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men" (Mark 7:6-7).

Those are insightful words. With our Lord's keen perceptiveness, He plunges right to the heart of the issue, When the Pharisees ask Him. "Why do your disciples not observe the traditions?" He points out to them, first of all, the effect that the observance of tradition has upon our lives. It produces hypocrites. "You hypocrites," He says. I am sometimes amazed as I read through the gospels at the bluntness of Jesus' language! In fact, Matthew's account tells us that the disciples said to Him afterward, "Do you realize that you offended those Pharisees?"

But notice what He is doing here. He is pointing out the result of traditional "worship." And He utilizes the word of the prophet Isaiah to show us what it is like. According to Isaiah, there is that which consists of right words but wrong attitudes. Everything outward is right, but inwardly the mind and heart are wrong. That, Jesus says, is hypocrisy--to look as if you are doing something religious and worshipful and God-related, but inside to have an entirely different attitude.

A few years ago, many of us were puzzled and offended when young people would say to us, in one way or another, "We don't want to come to church because churches are filled with hypocrites." Some of us could not understand what they meant. We knew there might be some churches that were filled with hypocrites, but not ours! We had honest difficulty with this. We could not see where there was any hypocrisy in a thoroughly Bible-centered, evangelical church such as ours. But what they were saying was this: "You use great words--wonderful words--but you don't really mean them. You talk about love, but you don't love. You talk about forgiveness, but you don't forgive. You talk about acceptance, but you don't accept." And they were right.

That is what tradition can do to us. It externalizes religion, makes it outward instead of inward. As long as we are fulfilling the prescribed outward form, we think we are acceptable before God. That is the terrible danger of tradition. This particular form that Isaiah mentions here--right words and wrong attitudes-is widespread among Christians. We all suffer from it at times, and we ought to recognize it and admit it. And it has resulted in what is probably the most deadly danger to the evangelistic message of the church--the self-righteousness of Christians--thinking that because we do things in the "right" way, and say the "right" words, and believe the "right" doctrines, we are thus pleasing to God.

Father, I confess the many, many times I have done the outward things with the inward heart far removed. Thank You that You know me, and You have already made provision for my forgiveness. Teach me to worship You in spirit and in truth.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Testify to Love - Wynona

Love without limitations.....I am still a mess in the process!

John 13:34 - A new Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 15:12 - This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:17 - These things I command you, that ye love one another.

Does that mean everyone?....everyone? The stinky guy who crosses my path periodically? That women who is so incredibly annoying? Those teens on the street corner cussing up a blue storm (sometimes at me). Wow....that is so difficult (in my own strength, I think impossible). So I just can't talk about it. I must pray for this to manifest itself in my Life. I want to see it as fruit in my Life. If I don't exhibit it, is it Him? Love? I want to be that conduit of His Life, His Love which is Him. No guilt.....just Him. Let me Love unconditionally, freely from the bonds which hold me back from allowing Him to move in and through me at His will. Too easy, says you....I say it might be the hardest thing I have ever been asked to allow Him to do.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Realities of God

From the devotional based on Stedman's teaching.

Mark 5:21-6:6
What is this all saying--this entire account of the healing of the woman, the raising of Jairus's daughter, and the reception given him by the people of Nazareth? It is saying to us today, "Lift up your eyes and look beyond the visible to the realities of God. Live in the full dimensions of life, as God intended life to be." Life can never be explained entirely in terms of the natural. We are left impoverished and despairing if all we have to depend on is our natural resources, natural power. But God is rich in grace, rich in power, rich in inward strength and sympathy, and His cry to us is, "No longer be unbelieving, but believe and have faith that I am at work, and I will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams."

Nazereth could only look with limited vision to Jesus whom they had known as a man....and did not see Him for who He truly was.

"They took refuge in that final resort of all weak and small minds--they ridiculed Him. They took offense at Him and began to discount all He had done."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Doesn't Get Better Than Third Day

Third Day - Christmas Offerings DVD - "Who is This King of Glory" is such a powerful worship song with Mac doing what he does so wonderfully and acknowledging not only his faithful following but his Lord and Saviour in a prayer that comes deep from within his heart, but alas not available on YouTube yet. This version will bless you as well.

Friday, January 02, 2009

I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin

Close your eyes......

When the Holy Spirit comes on you...

From Ray Stedman's teaching. Gotta love the last paragraph!

"Do not think of this as something remote from us. All these things that happened to Jesus can happen and, indeed, must happen to us. That is the whole thrust of this teaching. He was taking our place; therefore, what happened to Him must happen to us. That is why Jesus, standing with His disciples after the resurrection, said to them, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you" (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God must come upon us.

This is not so that we can perform dramatic acts, but, rather, so that we can have a new quality of life that is beautiful and resistless, yet quiet and gentle. Notice the symbol of the kind of power that is given here—it is a dove. Athletic teams sometimes use birds as emblems, signs of their power and ability. We have the Falcons and the Eagles—even the Ducks. But did you ever hear of a team called the Doves? No team would ever use a dove as a symbol of its power. A dove is a gentle, non-threatening bird, one that does not fight back and yet is irresistible.

This is the power that Jesus is describing—the power of love, of course—love that can be beaten and battered down and put to death and yet can rise again, until it wins the day—that amazing love Jesus released. The greatest force in the world today, without a doubt, is love. And yet it is the kind of power that does not threaten or break apart or destroy; it gathers and heals. It is rejected, turned aside, and beaten down; yet it rises again and again. So the dove is an apt symbol of the new life our Lord came to teach."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The One Thing - Paul Colman

A Prayer for 2009

"I do not pray for happiness or any earthly thing.
I do not ask to understand the way you lead me;
But this I ask—teach me to do the thing that pleases You.
I want to know Your guiding voice,
To walk with you each day.

Heavenly Father,
Make me swift to hear and ready to obey;
And thus the year I now begin
A happy year will be,

If I am seeking just to do
The thing that pleases You."