Thursday, 30 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Now it is going to a place and being open to what the Holy Spirit is doing -incubating-building in that place...and unique to that place. You are midwives.
In the 80s God spoke to me regarding future ministry using the example of Joseph,Mary's husband.. I shared it with a pastor of a young church in High Wycombe. Jesus said there are some who are born eunuchs, some who become eunuchs and some who make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.
One of the things this means is that you become those who care for the building of God's family...but there's nothing in it for you. No lineage. No personal seed. Like Joseph , you have all the negatives of taking "the shame " of the Kingdom (at least in the world's view) as your own. Joseph took the shame of wedding an unmarried mother. But although later on, he had children by Mary....he had no part in engendering the conception of Jesus. He just had to look on, cover, and support Mary.To his own hurt.
SO IT IS when we are pastors. The relationship God has with each believer is personal and private. Many denominations have practised the very opposite of this pattern...stating you have to go through a priest or minister before you can get anywhere near God. When God's true servants are to be like Joseph, taking the shame,bearing the burdens, seeing the Kingdom built, without a single plus point for themselves...other than knowing they have been honorable to do what God has given them to do.
SO IT IS when we go to other lands in these days to be a part of what God is raising up there. We can teach principles. We can help lead people into the Presence of God...
But all this Network stuff with brand Names and quirky ways of doing things which may be natural in one country...but totally unsuitable in another nation....all this isn't on anymore.Sorry to upset all the youngsters presently in ministry training who can't wait to get out there and build there own little empires!!The Kingdom of God actually only has One Name. And He is a Person. Rather tentatively then I just share this email from last week. The writers probably would not like this. But it illustrates this new "syn" way of doing things. Where the Body builds of itself...and we are there to encourage, input, or simply look on and watch.
Thank you again for praying ....... on a general note first........
It is becoming more and more clear that the "season" is changing in Spain. Since our early excursions into Burgos in the mid 80's, things have distinctly changed, and the freedom of the Spirit and maturity of the churches is more and more evident. Maybe 25, or so, years is a reasonable span of time over which to assess real transition. Our last two trips out - to Seville and Navalcarnero (Madrid) have been really encouraging and in evidence of this.
In the Seville report, sent last week, we testified to the Lord moving in healing and in Madrid it was in salvation and healing. On the Saturday night, the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully over the church and there was a release a of refreshing and of joy - in the midst of His moving two people came to salvation. On the Sunday morning the joy increased and a number of folk responded to words of knowledge for healing - one lady testifying to being healed straight away.
The public teaching and ministry focused on receiving forgiveness (and a release of shame) and an emphasis on forgiving ourselves for past sins etc. It was wonderful to see a lot of people setting themselves free in this way, with many tears and much joy. (This aspect of people using their Spiritual authority to release themselves is a powerful revelation - both amongst our home church and as we travel - it is a key.)
Over many years, it has been a "dream" to see the Lord healing / delivering / saving just by exposure to His wonderful love and presence. It is now, twenty years on, that we see this is beginning. Over the past twelve months, now, in numerous situations He has moved in this way. It is with the minimum of human intervention - our part is to make time / space / and opportunity for His Spirit - for us, worship has always been a key to this .... it is sovereignly the Lord and no one can "own" it!
Thank you for praying - the leaders team meeting of one of the other Madrid churches on Friday afternoon was calm and we were able to face some difficult issues together. It is ongoing business, so there is need for prayer to continue. On the wider level in the Buenas Noticias network there is a noticeable release in the ministry of women - in fact, at the national conference next weekend there is a female speaker from their own ranks for the first time.
We are hugely grateful to Jose, whose participation in the flow of the Spirit and times of tireless translation were really amazing.
Somewhere in all of this, we are learning more and more about time and process in the unfolding of a vision...... we still await the fullness of the promise ....... but are pressing in for it ......
This is our last trip outside UK until after the "Crowned with Glory" Conference (it will be to Santander at the end of May)
So there is a sense in which God has ordained it in such a way...in fact He has bound Himself to working with us . He could work outside us.But he has, just by the nature of things, He has called us to co-operate with Him and to work with Him.
...and when we work together ....something happens
God can do His part...you know we can't make the plant grow...but we can plant it, we can water it and we can put it in a row...dig out the weeds...but God alone can make this beautiful plant come out of a seed, something we cannot do...so it's that co-operation between the two. Then one day I was reading through Acts Chapter 4 because we were fasting and praying earlier in the year.
I wanted to look at the sort of prayers the people in the early church prayed...I don't know if you've ever looked at that prayer there when they're gathered together. Remember they'd just been thrown in prison because they were preaching in Jesus Name. And they were released and warned not to preach in Jesus name again.And then the saints were gathered together and they began to pray. And it's a very interesting prayer because two thirds of it is telling God stuff that he already knows. "Your servant Jesus did this, then Pilate did this,..."
and you think,"Well God already knows this stuff, why are you going through it? Maybe to remind yourself.But then they prayed the heart of the prayer in couple of lines.And what they pray is:
Lord, Give us boldness to preach in Your name and follow Your Word with signs following.
So what you have is this strange thing going on. The disciples are a little bit scared. You know it isn't long after when James has his head off for being a believer.It was a dangerous occupation to proclaim the Word of God. They'd been chucked in jail, and at the time they did not know they were going to be let out...then they were released and they were kind of scared about csarrying on in obedience to Jesus command. But then they went on to pray something which shows me they understood something.
They say Lord Give us Boldness to do what We've got to Do. And You do what You have to do.
They don't pray Lord you do what we're supposed to do. Because they knew they had been commissioned to actually proclaim the Word.They'd been commissioned to lay hands on the sick. That was their commission.But they were scared and they needed boldness to do it.So what they ask for is boldness to help them do their part. And then they say ofcourse,accompany it with signs following.
And so you have this picture of the early Church who understood it was a synergy, a working together between man and God that brought the work on the Earth.And it has never changed. It really has never changed.
And the whole revival where God fills the whole Earth with His glory comes about where somehow we work in harness and in synergy with heaven and with the Father and we do our part and He does His part and we do our part and he does His part...and it gets kind of exciting that way because we think..."Wow...it works this stuff!!!"
One of the things that happens with the Holy Spirit it says "You will become My witnesses!" Which was their part.It was no good for them to get into a little holy huddle and pray and say Oh God You do it...go out and get them Lord, speak to them...
No that is not God's part. His part is to run before and open people's hearts. But it was the responsibility of the Church to declare. And ofcourse we've been a little bit kind of miffed because sometimes when we've declared it hasn't happened. Sometimes when we've got a little bold, we've ended up feeling as though we've been let down. And you know one of my own convictions is that in this current overflow from heaven....is that we've seen outpourings before...but this outpouring is an outpouring of fire(Florida still ongoing at this point)which is kind of the mark of it.And fire is never to destroy us , fire is to burn up the rubbish in us, to purify us... because Jesus said "You'll receive a baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.." So there is that process which we have to go through of burning up the rubbish in us. But secondly there will come upon us...you know if you watch Todd Bentley(whatever you want to do with him)he is bold.He is in your face and bold and challenging the Media, the Press, everybody."come and see this is authentic..Miracles are happening. The blind can now see. The deaf can now hear....And you know, you of yourself cannot be like that.
It's not a personality thing.It is some work of the Holy Spirit in us that kind of overtakes us and we start to be full of the Holy Spirit in situations where we take on this boldness and we make the declaration about what Jesus has done for us ...about His love for us and all those things, and we lay hands on the sick....and somehow we are taken over for a while and we are not too conscious with how we are going to look, what happens if it doesn't work.It doesn't seem to bother us, we become something like people that have an adrelain rush in the Spirit and we are like a rugby player who damages himself...but doesn't realise until after the game and he's in the the shower, that in fact he has cut himself.because while he is on the pitch he has still got the adrenalin running.
And it's a little bit like that in the Spirit for us and it seems to me that what God is going to visit the church with is a kind of Holy Boldness.To actually declare that which needs to be declared.Because the people that don't hear it will not actually have a chance to believe.
God's part was to prepare the heart of Lydia to receive what Paul brought. Paul's part was to preach to her.It says in Colossians...Pray that we may have open doors to preach the gospel...and ofcourse it is not open doors, physical doors, it is men's hearts, which need to be open.
So the Church in Acts are praying for the ability to declare clearly with boldness about all that had taken place."Let us know when to do it.Let us get on and do our part and You open the doors, You perform the miracles,You build Your kingdom...but we're going to work in synergy together.
Just like Jesus and the Father...they were in perfect synergy.And the Father would say something and Jesus was representing Him on earth and He would say something, or he'd see the Father doing something and he would do it on Earth. It was almost that through what Jesus said that the Father was able to do what he did.And through what jesus did, the father was then able to do what He did.
And so....not many of us will be called to preach in great big football stadiums. i'm sure that will take place, and there will be these wonderful miracle meetings...all over the world and all over britain as God takes on the powers of darkness.But there will not actually be many of us who will be doing that. Some may. But it won't be very many.
But what will happen that in your life...in your region of operation...in those who God has given you to affect...you will become bold. And you will operate in your arena. it may be 5 people in your supermarket.... or 10 people at your place of work.And you're going to start to do what you are meant to do.Partly because you are going to start to get bold and get working with Him. And when you start to do what you're meant to do.Then God will start to do what He's meant to do. And before you know it, your communities will catch on fire and you will have your moment in those shopping malls and in those places where you go to.
I was down at the local builders yard the other week hetting some timbers . this young girl who serves at the counter with all the guys. I knew she hadn't been well. I knew she had been in hospital. i just said, "How are you". She said,"Well actually it's not too good."She said they've operated on one cyst and had to remove the ovary."She said"They think it may have spread to the other ovary. I'm just about to get married and I really don't want it."
Then this kind of boldness came upon me and I said "Listen love, you need to let me..pray for you in Jesus name." And she said"Yes...please!" you can imagine we are in a builder's yard and there are a number of colleagues there who know me fairly well!! But at this moment everyone's attention is on this conversation in the office. Also there are customers who are thinking, "What on earth is going on here?"
And i said"I don't want to embarrass you...so I'll go and tie my load of wood on...then come back in and maybe by then there will be less people around." Well it's a Saturday morning and the place is fuller than ever when we get back in there.But this girl is all bright -eyed behind the counter...thinking " well when's it gonna happen then?" Then this other fellow who I have witnessed to...sees the crowd and says..."I'll take care of the cutomers, you go round the back and pray for her."
So she didn't need a second asking and we went into this little office with aa kind of open door there, laid my hands on her...just...took authority over the sickness or something. Didn't take long. isaid"Well god bless you love." And she returned to her work. This has only just happened a week ago,so I haven't heard of the result yet. But listen, that was my arena.That was the place where I had to do what I had to do.
Now for all of you, this anointing that's coming will bring a boldness on you.That will cause you to do that sort of thing. it's the Holy Spirit that does it...but we have to do our part.If I can just emphasize that. It's not as though God's going to do it all. The last words of Jesus were that we go out and preach and teach concerning forgiveness and the Kingdom of God, to make disciples of the nations...healing the sick etc that's our part and God Himself will accompany us as we do. And we do actually need that visitation from heaven to be able to make that declaration.
KEY OF DAVID CONFERENCE 2009
'CROWNED WITH GLORY Thursday May 14th - Saturday May 16th.Our 2009 conference will be held from 7pm Thursday evening May 14th to late Saturday afternoon May 16th. Booking leaflets are available now from the church office - contact details at bottom of this linkpage. Speakers this year will be Peter Jackson from Toronto and Peter Stott.
Monday, 27 April 2009
Grace Roots: Synchroblog Idea - Your Performance-Based Acceptance Story#c5836724451564547770#c5836724451564547770#c5836724451564547770#c5836724451564547770
Saturday, 25 April 2009
And if this be so, it really is no accident that the findings of Norman Grubb and Page Prewitt as to how we work as humans- tripartite beings- body soul spirit- and the consequences of the Fall in genesis 3...it really is no accident that these things are now coming out of the closet, to be discovered by Christians in all the world...affecting how we do life, how we do relationships, how we do church, how we move deep in the Power of the Spirit...and how we kick the devil off the face of God's Earth.
So right in the middle of this series of posts, I am watching TV with Ben. "Britain's Got Talent" which he loves and I secretly like quite a lot...but Christine hates. On come this odd street dance troupe. 3 groups of brothers and various friends. They are called Diversity. All ages. All types of lifestyle...school, college ,work. One in I.T. The main choreography by someone studying Physics at Uni. Apart from their love of dance, they all have nothing in common. Some are tiny. Some really tall.
And I'm thinking Body of Christ. In all the Earth. Absolutely nothing in common apart from a mad love for our Saviour. All being galvanised into an amazing creative troupe to baffle , dazzle,surprise,shock and stun the world.
Three years ago I got this at one of our Conferences in Havant. And it fits in with the synergy message of this series as well as the acceleration theme of the Air Flight Picture of 1978 as well as the 2 winds prophecy which Peter read again in the Lift Up Your Heads O ye Gates message.
The Harlem Globetrotters 19th March 2006-03-19
From now on the Kingdom will be built more in the style of the Harlem Globetrotters.
This simple concept has the most extreme ramifications. Here’s how it works.
The Harlem Globetrotters would break into amazing routines (basketball) several times during a normal match. They would baffle the other team ,baffle the audience and to an extent even themselves , passing the ball at stunning speed, trickshots …even giving the ball to the other side which was so shocking and disturbing that the other team would lose the plot, lose the ball again while the Globetrotters snatch another basket.
God trusts His Son in us by the Holy Spirit, but outside of that He trusts us not one iota. He knows the devil too. He is not building the Church by an overall schedule.
He is building the Church simultaneously, in all continents at once, by that which each one in the Holy Spirit supplies. You may only know one tiny bit, but put your Holy Spirit led quirky, oddball act of obedience alongside millions of others, and you can see the speed and awesome baffling character of the Church.
The Devil has no idea what to do about it. Secular man hardly realises it is happening.
Leadership can facilitate this…but that’s about all. I don’t know what God’s going to do next, neither do you …whether leader, helper, teacher, carer, young or old spiritually, young or old naturally. The spotlight (or the ball) will suddenly be on you.
You will do something amazing. You of yourself can’t do it. But you hear it in your Spirit, act, and then stop and the ball is somewhere else, it’s someone else’s turn.
This morning we heard about the grace or redemptive gifts of Romans 12. And yes we
may predominate to one or other type….but as a slight corrective to that, I felt God say, even that may not mean so much any more. Any one of us may be called momentarily to practically anything. So the most baffled may be ourselves.
For example Moses had many sheep skills, but not too many piling up water in a heap skills….but what he had was meekness…ie God says I think I’ll have this and we’re just dumb enough to say “ OK “ and speak out “ We’re going to have this!!!” and suddenly we find we have water piling skills.
Related to this is the Acceleration Vision of 1978
Acceleration Vision August 1978
The background to this is probably too long…but concerns a testimony of a first ministry trip in France. It didn’t begin that way but the moment I arrived it turned into one. On the first morning my host’s wife was healed of epilepsy and it sort of went on from there.
Because of all we’d been involved with I was too late to go by train to the Dales Bible week, so we had to believe for a flight from Normandy. At the last moment someone cancelled and managed to get a flight. The vision/ experience/ inundation was in this context.
We were on the runway in this small 20 seater plane. And it was like this. The plane was sat there. Nothing appeared to be going on . Then the pilot checked all the dials, all the systems. It was an age. Then the engine props roared. Still nothing. We just sat there. Then……………the pilot releases the brakes……..and well you know the rest
we flew. Many know all about this. Except the Holy Spirit then spoke. With full force. The Church is about to go into a new level. Well since then I’ve learned about the third Level but more of that another time.
The Church would spend a long time appearing to do nothing. But every system would be checked. (Obviously this has to be understood spiritually. It does not mean manmade stuff). We are about to move at great speed. It is vital that things are in order, tight and shipshape. Then there would be a lot of energy, spiritual noise, then suddenly the brakes would be released .
This is ofcourse very similar to the 2 wind prophecy given through Derek Prince in the late eighties.
Friday, 24 April 2009
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Psalm of Ascents - Ps122 verse3: Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together . KJV.
Fifteen Steps Out by Bob Mumford -1969
The new Jerusalem is being built now.And of what is it being built? Living Stones. You and me. A pile of stones does not make a building.A minister asked me to come and see his church.He had 1200 members,he said. So I went.But I didn't see a church.I saw 1200 stones. I said,"Beautiful stones, when are you going to start building?"
He said,"What do you mean?" I said,"The stones have to be chipped,fitted and builded."
He said," You should meet Sister Smith, she is very spiritual." I said, "She is? Who is she spiritual with?"
Paul Noble referred recently in Prophetic Voice to God telling him that this was a year when there would be a synergy in teachings and revelation across the Body of Christ.
I referred last year to how the Body of Christ is built by each person supplying. That the whole Holy Spirit realm once we enter the Holy place is built by the Holy Spirit working through each believer's gift. Ern Baxter describes the 1 Corinthians pattern as "everyone hatha"...so everyone hath a gift for the upbuilding one of another. And by some miraculous means God weaves these contributions together week by week in a meeting into a glorious whole. So each week we practice ....totteringly...to walk the 3rd level walk...of Christ as Me...initially in meetings...then as we grow stronger and more confident...we export this walk to the highways and byways of daily living.
So far so good.
The Fall left us corporately in tatters. We took on the nature of our father the devil...who is pretty disjointed and dysfunctional himself. We only related to others in as far as they could scratch our back. The nature of the devil's family is disjointed, split into schisms...Paul calls it "party spirit"....and in our early Christian life we import that into the church. So we say "I am of Apollos, I am of Paul. I am of Rob Rufus. I am of Benny Hinn." Paul says when we are mature we know all the people are there for all of us!!!! But by then our spirit has expanded to be able to take "some" of Mark Driscoll, with loads of Rob Rufus. With a topping of gazillions of historic saints too.
The Devil, like the Family that bears his resemblance, the Mafia, rules by fear. And rules from the top of a pyramid. Which ofcourse is where he likes to refer to himself as No.1.
While young in the Lord, and without the severe breakings which smash this out of our system, we import the same pyramids into the churches we are in. Who me? But I am so nice. Yes Me.
The third level is all about the Mystery of Syn. God's life miraculously synchronises all of us into a seamless whole. Somehow he takes all our backgrounds , cultures and nationalities and ages, and works us into a Body, a Temple prepared out in the quarries...then without a sound, fitted together first in meetings, then in our localities....then as the pattern catches on...the glory will link up like loads of rain puddles finding each other and joining into one mass of water. But that's for another post on the subject of piano tuning and harmonisation. (A Little clue there!)
After the last post, you would have thought I'd got all the stuff out of my system! But no, as I was tuning, I really sensed I should press home on this.
I was saying that many super anointed ministries, who have served God faithfully for years...are kind of operating in a 2nd level pattern. A talking heads operation!. God Channel is filled with it.
Morris Cerullo tries to bring in diversity by getting 10-20 of the most anointed current speakers to help bring teaching in a short sharp intense training session called "School of Ministry".
The issue is this! It's artificial! It's not organic. And the world can smell a rat!
Local churches are organic. They are real! Real life lived out for the better or worse!!
Trouble is...they haven't a clue about the 3rd level. So doing stuff as churches usually resorts to puppet shows. Singing choruses in the streets. Whipping together a few girls who like contemporary dance....oh we know all the tricks don't we!!!
So that doesn't work either...well not in a proper New testament sense.
Ministries of God at the moment, apart from Jerry Savelle, Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, hardly ever relate together. They can be super anointed on a platform together. But they don't actually like each other. Not for every day purposes.
Believe me I am talking out of reality. Few of you have lived 24/7 for 6 years in a Christian Community....and 10 or more years in a less committed structural lifestyle. So right now, you can just shutup and say ...on this matter at least...yes Chris!
So franchising out 2nd level ministries that haven't the first clue about
living together extensively
of praying each other free
of bearing with one another as the yuk surfaces, the hurts hurt,
and seeing each other through
hmmm... do you see why I take a lot of what is out there with a big pinch of salt!
Especially "warehouse churches".
Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, I just pray that that precious church in Hong Kong does not become just another "warehouse church". Lord she is so precious in your eyes. if there is anything in Rob of the Pyramid builder still left in him...deal with that man...so the precious, precious truths on grace lead to more Holy Spirit power in the whole church...and to a life lived that means Hong Kong never have to smell a rat! But are saved in glorious "knit together quantities!" Amen.
Monday, 20 April 2009
A Third-Level Approach to Ministry IV - Frank Viola's Blog - and my take on "America The Beautiful Franchise Corp."
Last month, I was in a two-day meeting in Chicago that drew various Christian leaders from around the country. Skye Jethani was present at this meeting, and it was the first time we met in person.
Skye attended with some other folks on the Christianity Today staff, Marshall Shelley and Kevin Miller. I’ve been reading Shelley and Miller for years, as I’ve been a devoted reader of CT since I was in my early 20s (I, of course, am only 29 now, but that’s beside the point).
Meeting these men in person was a neat experience. Shelley and Miller were delightful, and as can be imagined, they were both incredibly sharp and insightful.
I was also impressed by Skye. And I’m not *only* speaking of his fantastic hair cut — which is striking in its own right (may his tribe increase!). But what he brought to the table in our meetings resonated very strongly with my own heart.
On the last day of the event, Skye handed me his new book, The Divine Commodity.
Two things stood out immediately. First, the cover - it’s absolutely gorgeous. Hardback with a killer design imprinted instead of on a paper sleeve (I never liked those sleeves).
Second, the endorsements. When influential authors like Greg Boyd, Alan Hirsch, and Brian McLaren all endorse the same book, you’d be very wise to take notice of it. And you’d be wiser to secure a copy and read it.
I began reading the book on the plane on my way back home.
Before I plunge in here, people who know me can testify to the following. 1) I’m not easily impressed. In fact, I’m the guy who airs on the side of being monumentally UNimpressed by most things in the Christian world today. 2) I’m not inclined to be complimentary unless I feel it’s deserved. You won’t find me pouring butter all over anyone (the exception being Mr. Lobster).
I’ll leave it to the other bloggers to write a blow-by-blow review of the book. Instead, I’d like to make a few observations on how the terrain looks from my hill, a few personal reactions, and then my question to Skye.
1. The writing style. It’s excellent. Skye’s book scores well above average here. It’s well written, clear, and holds the attention of the reader. That latter part is not easy to do with someone like me. I’ll shamelessly admit that I move into ADHD mode whenever a book is in my hands. It takes A LOT for a book to grab me … and even more for it to keep me.
2. The subject. Hugely important and so little talked about. I’ve been saying it for years: The church of Jesus Christ is dying for a lack of creativity and imagination. We Christians, as a whole, are the most unimaginative people on the planet. The creativity and imagination of Divinity is resident within us, but it’s rarely expressed as a whole. I believe there’s a hidden obvious reason for this (which I’ll discuss in a minute), but in short, it’s a problem of huge proportions. Especially since our God is the most creative Person in the universe.
3. The point. Skye does a great job unfolding the problem and identifying some of the nuances surrounding it. He makes great use of quotations by other authors, and uses van Gogh as a template for each chapter. You will learn a lot of things you didn’t know before reading this book, and it will provoke you to think.
4. The rating. I give it 5 stars, and I hope that both of my blog readers will go out and purchase a copy of the book. You can get it from any Christian bookstore or from Amazon.com. I suspect that Amazon has the best prices (click on the book cover).
Beyond enjoying the book, I want to state what I believe to be one of the greatest obstacles and hindrances to unleashing the creativity and imagination resident in the Body of Christ today.
It’s the perfunctory way that most of us do church. The 500-year old Sunday morning Protestant order of worship has been set in concrete for the last five decades and most Protestant and evangelical churches simply will not change it.
To my mind, this is one of the most uncreative and unimaginative things that’s been invented by the minds of mortal men. I realize that some pastors may think they’ve broken with it by substituting pews with chairs, having the worship team sing 5 songs instead of 10, trimming down the sermon from 50 minutes to 20 minutes, having coffee before the service starts, not using bulletins, etc. etc.
But let’s be honest. These are minor tweaks. The fact is, this ritual renders most of God’s people passive for the entire event. (And God’s people call it “going to church.”) The ritual is more akin to a spectator sport than anything else. Yes, you can worship God and sing songs in your pew or chair, but beyond that, there’s little to no participation. The creativity of the Body is quite limited as a result.
I live in a world where God’s people gather for church meetings that have endless variety in them. Open participation is present in these gatherings. It’s the norm, not the exception. And the kinds of meetings to express Jesus Christ are endless. There’s no static ritual that the churches are stuck in. The variety is as vast as the unsearchable riches of our Lord Himself. Further, the creativity of God’s people is constantly encouraged and watered. And the results are exciting, dramatic, and often unpredictable.
I’ve discovered that to the average church going Christian, what I’ve just said above has no points of contact with their experience. They can’t even imagine meetings like this. (That’s the confession of many whom I’ve talked with by the way.)
The reason: They’ve been given only one experience of “church,” and it’s the only grid through which to understand the meetings of God’s people. That, or a Bible study or prayer meeting. And those are fairly typical as well.
Of course, there’s a price to pay for having the kind of rich, open-participatory church meetings I’ve described. It requires that every member put their hands to the plow and prepare spiritually for their gatherings and take responsibility to express their portion of Christ in them.
Attending a typical church service with the 500-year old order of worship in place is far easier and much more convenient. Nothing is required except showing up. The show will go on nonetheless.
I realize that many people enjoy the Sunday order of worship. And that’s fine. But we’re talking about *hindrances* to the creativity and imagination of the church of Jesus Christ. And we shouldn’t be afraid to face this one question head on:
“Is it POSSIBLE that the way we typically do church has hindered the creativity of God’s people to think outside the box?” Is that possible?
Last month, I was speaking at George Fox Seminary and I made the following statement: “I think we should take the Sunday morning order of worship out behind the barn and shoot it.”
To my surprise, the audience began to applaud.
Point: There’s restlessness in the Body of Christ today. There’s a certain boredom that a significant number of Christians are experiencing with the typical way church is done today. And lack of imagination and creativity = boredom. And there’s nothing boring about Jesus Christ when He’s being expressed in His fullness by His people. He’s anything but boring.
That said, I believe Skye’s book will help to show us the problems in our lack of creativity, and it will help us to begin to explore new and fresh ways to be church in this generation. And hopefully, to take the risks of thinking outside the box and doing church differently than it’s been done over the last 500 years.
Not to put too fine a point on it: The church of Jesus Christ is the most glorious woman on the planet. Right or wrong, I see her in the main today hiding her glory under a bushel. Her spiritual instincts, which includes her creativity, have been largely deadened. As a result, she has been veiled to most of us.
If we can entertain the possibility that there just may be a better way to unleash the native creativity in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, then I believe the Lord will be able to gain more for Himself and His eternal purpose. And He will be able to express His glory through His much loved Bride in multi-splendid ways. Or to quote Paul, “that the multi-splendored wisdom of God (which is Christ Himself) might be made known through the church …”
Note those last three words … “through the church.” "
Which is my way of saying that this is a kind of non-post, and that instead of cutting and pasting as per usual I actually want you to visit the pages that I have been laying eggs in.
Firstly, I wanted to try and encourage Ursula along the line of my recent posts, trying to explain what a hard job "visual" people have in our left-brain culture.
This is a link to her superb walk-in experience in heaven and my comment. It is a key to understanding Ursula, the revelation of grace, and to how tomorrow's church is a bit different to today's.
This is a link to a comment I dared to place on "the Dave and Dale Garratt site"
but I want you to read the entire post because it is so in line with some of the stuff I've been writing and the reference to Madame Guyon lately. This also needs to be read in the context of Ursula's latest blog on her reply to Jesus asking her how much she wanted....
Thursday, 16 April 2009
There's a reason for the name; TheBigChurchDayOut doesn't just describe the host of passionate worship leaders, excellent bands and the fun all will be having on May 24th this Spring. It also does a pretty good job of describing the make-up of all those people who are going to be turning up too. Young and old, urban and rural,and every other branch of the family besides... we'll all be there; the Church celebrating together the faith that's bigger than any one of us.
So the TheBigChurchDayOut will be something special. Sure it will be a great festival alternative; with one of the last ever UK appearances from Delirious as well as Michael W Smith, Israel Houghton
Cathy Burton, and The Kings Chamber Orchestra. And the location - the beautiful country home of Wiston House in West Sussex - the perfect backdrop for a perfect family day out.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
I wrote to Julie on Facebook about Kelanie Gloeckler and what an inspiration her CD "Bending to Hear" has been. (Jamie sent me a copy for Christmas)Then I was pretty forthright about the 80s Hosanna Series as a comparison. I've been thinking about that all day. Did I mean what I said? And I've come to the conclusion I did.
Many of the 80s songs still live on today. They were inspired. But what happened was we loved the songs...singing the songs...more than connecting with our Jesus. This can be compared to self-gratification instead of love-making. The object of our love is to be Jesus. The Living One. Praise is to connect us to this Living One. No matter what He may want to say or do with us or through us. Praise that stays in the foyer....enjoying praise because it feels good....ultimately leads nowhere.
When we go through into the chamber where Jesus is. When we hear Him. Then when we act by faith and obedience on His words....we grow. To be more precise we grow into Him.
The third Level is all about Union. This is the bit that gets tough for those who think Christianity is not about union. Who try and make out the first two levels are all there is...or worse still that the first two levels are the same as the third level.
Jesus did not spring it on His disciples in the Upper Room. Bill Johnson reminded us here in the UK at Maidenhead that Jesus first presented this when He said the words
Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood then you will not have life within yourselves. And a ton left that day saying "This is a hard saying".
Then in the Upper Room John records in Chapters 13-17 a discourse made up more or less totally of 3rd level material. About Union. Union between the Father,the Son,the Holy Spirit, and you...and me. Of moving us from disciples...and servants....to friends.
Whether we all call it the 3rd level or not.....some call it maturity...some other expressions. But I am going to give you 3 examples of how ministries are changing. I am saying 3rd level ministries are proliferating. They are everywhere. These are people God Himself is raising up.
(The Bride,The Church)....is Christ in another form, for she was taken out of Him...Frank Viola From Eternity To Here Chapter 5, A Close-Up of the Second Eve.
I did not come to camp outside and view you through a haze,I've got to look into Your eyes in the Holy Place.....I did not come to bow down and give in to fear of man.....the blaze in Your gaze is drawing me into You, I'm being chased by the very One that I pursue.
Your searching eyes are desiring those who dare to move closer.Relationship,"Come up here...."We'll wrestle You 'til You bless us,We are not letting go now,The broken ones move in power...
I wanna worship until You are satisfied. Selected passages from many of the songs on Kelanie Gloeckler's CD "Bending To Hear"
Jesus speaking to Mack ..."Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example for you to copy. Being My follower is not "trying to be like Jesus" it means for your independence to be killed.I came to give you life,real life,My life.We will come and live our life inside of you, so that you may begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears,and touch with our hands and think like we do.But we will never force that union on you. If you want to do your thing,have at it. Time is on our side." from Chapter 10 Wade in the Water - in The Shack by William P Young.
In a later post I may go into this "Going Up In Secret "theme. People are deluded by the fact that the 3rd Level is not "thrust upon them"....and everything else in life bar marriage...just about...is. School. Manners.Life skills. Social skills. Taxes.
But the 3rd level seems to operate by stealth. Until suddenly, the curtain is pulled back and people gasp..."Where did Corrie ten Boom come from? i thought she was one of those pitiable concentration camp victims." "Where did Mother Theresa come from? I thought she was a feeble nun in a Romanian convent!" " Where did that Nazareth carpenter learn all those things...and those signs and wonders!!"
The first commandment is a commandment...but have you noticed God is not standing over you with a hammer to make you fulfil
loving Him with all your heart and mind and soul and will and strength...
Yet if you happen to...He leads you into a wonderful 3rd level world
where the things you speak happen
where the dreams in your heart spring into being
where all your friends are amazed or angered....
but the thing is...you went up in secret.....they did not even know it was possible to do so...they had their eyes fixed only on what somebody was forcing them to learn, think, act......You heard Your beloved's voice say,"Come Up".
Thursday, 9 April 2009
The Door - Extract from Early Harvest CD2 by A.Christopher Welch copyright AC Welch 1990 administered by No Name Ltd. Compressed sound for internet use.
Frank Viola From Eternity To Here -
THE HIDDEN ROMANCE OF THE BIBLE
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know.
—Ephesians 1:18 NASB
Before the beginning, she was there.She is the most elegant woman in the universe. She is as ancient as God. She existed before angels. Her origins reach further back than antiquity itself. Yet she is forever young.
The word stunning fails to adequately describe her.
She is as beautiful as the face of God. She is beyond captivating. She is hypnotic and magnetic.
Most of us have never imagined the glory that she carries. Just a glimpse of her matchless beauty could win your heart and possess your being. She is incurably attractive.
This woman defines liberty; she embodies freedom. And she was made for love.
She stands at the very heartbeat of God's eternal purpose.
She is His highest passion. His holy obsession, even.
She is thepurpose of the very creation wherein you and I stand. And your Lord is out-of-His-head in love with her.
Yet despite her beauty, she has been utterly neglected. She has been forgotten. And with rare exception, she has been veiled to most of us. Herein lies my motive in writing the first section of this book: to give her center stage.
God's Ultimate Passion
From the beginning, God has had a secret.
Before time, the Almighty shrouded His high and holy purpose in a mystery.
And He hid it in His Son.
For ages, no one knew what that purpose was. It was deeply hidden in God. It was a secret—the secret of the ages (Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:4-5, 9).
Adam walked with God, yet he didn't know the mystery.
Abraham was the friend of God, yet he didn't know the mystery.
Moses was the prophet of God, yet he didn't know the mystery.
Neither did David, Isaiah, nor Jeremiah.
The mystery was not only veiled to mortals, it was hidden from angels as well. Gabriel and Michael didn't know it. Neither did Lucifer, nor his demonic hosts (1 Cor. 2:7-8; Eph. 3:9-10).
Why did God keep His purpose a secret for so long? Presumably because He didn't want His purpose to be thwarted prematurely.
God's purpose embodies His dream,
His very heartbeat.
So He kept it veiled until the time became full.
Old Testament authors first proclaimed the sacred mystery in stories, types, pictures, and shadows. But although kings, prophets, and sages proclaimed it,they did not understand it.Then one day it happened.God pulled back the curtain and
revealed the secret.
He chose a man named Paul of Tarsus to unveil it to the world (Col. 1:25-29; Eph. 3:1-11). In Paul's letters, especially Ephesians and Colossians, the apostle speaks of this mystery with great fervor. He virtually exhausts human language to convey its incomparable depths and unfathomable heights. Paul, along with other apostles and prophets of Century One, were "stewards of the divine mystery" (1 Cor. 4:1; Col. 1:25-26; Eph. 3:2-9).
On the day that God lifted the curtain and let the secret out, His enemy froze with terror.
Satan never saw, dreamed, nor thought that such a thing could be possible.
Although God revealed His mystery in the first century, it remains a secret to many Christians today. The Holy Spirit must open the eyes of His people in every generation for them to grasp it.
In this way, the great prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:17-23 is still being answered.
The divine mystery has everything to do with the woman I spoke of earlier.
This amazing lady fills the pages of Holy Scripture.
She shows up
at the very beginning of the Bible;
she appears all throughout the middle;
and she's there at the very end.
The Scriptures give us in exalted view of this woman along with her immaculate Husband.
Each book of the Bible pulsates with her fragrance.
The Eternal Drama
In Genesis 1 and 2, the Bible opens up with a woman and a man.
(Chris Welch/Mark Stibbe insert)Jesus ministry began in a wedding
In Revelation 21 and 22, the Bible closes with a woman and a man.
The Bible opens up with a wedding, and it ends with a wedding.
It opens with a marriage, and it ends with a marriage.
It opens with a boy and a girl and it ends with a boy and a girl.
Your Bible is essentially a love story
In fact it is the greatest love story of all time.
It is the classic romantic tale. Those who know me well can tell you that I'm a huge fan of love stories. My favorite movies are romantic films. These films have the power to evoke strong emotion, even pulling tears from the eyes of their viewers. Yet the most powerful love story that any human has ever crafted pales in comparison to the epic romance that runs throughout your Bible.
Please pay attention to this next sentence:
Every love story that the minds of mortal men and women construct, every love story that has made its appearance in the pages of human history—whether fiction or nonfiction—is
but a reflection,
a pale image,
a faint portrait,
a scrambled version of the sacred romance of the ages.
God has authored the most incredible love story ever written. It is a story that has set the standard for all romantic literature to follow. Every great saga follows the story line of the hidden romance contained in Scripture. But none can trump it.
You and I were born into such a romance, the romance of the ages.
The heavenly romance that I've been speaking about begins in Genesis 2. Let us now revisit day seven of God's creation and watch the drama unfold.............
Folks...this is just the first chapter:From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola published by David C Cook at http://www.davidccook.com/ ISBN 978-1-4347-6870-4. Now available.
It is 3 stories in one"The first is the story of a God who is an ageless romantic,driven by one consuming pursuit.The second is about a God who has sought since eternity to have a resting place,a habitation,a home. And the third reveals a God from another realm who visits planet earth to establish a heavenly colony that will give Him visible expression." Frank Viola-Introduction-From Eternity To Here.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
"Never conform to those who connive and contrive in cunning craftiness in counterfeit religious authority to produce the result to which their selfish agendas aspire, for this is a form of witchcraft that will confuse and tire my people with false fire and enslave them to the liar. But seek My face, position your hearts in humility and let my true nature of goodness, righteousness, purity, the integrity of my holiness and my perfect love capture your hearts. Let my motives motivate you, My desires desire you and show kindness to you, to heal you of all pain, to soothe away all rejection by My absolute acceptance.
Come surrender and yield all of yourself to me for you cannnot make your hearts pure and holy, but you can open your hearts and present your hearts to me, you can expose your hearts to the radiance of my glory, you can find in Me depths of pure kindness and you can position youself toward My Presence and I will make your hearts pure and holy. Do not take matters into your own hands, do not defend yourself or fight for your vindication. I am your council for defense. I am your perfect High Priest. I am your justifier and defender and no evil can successfully stand against you. Trust me, come further into My glory, further than you have ever been before, there are realms and realities of revelation that I am about to open to you and am opening to you. I have allowed you to come through the periphereal fence that the cherubims guarded and protected my people from going into the glory before their time, before they were ready through the New Covenant.
But in June 2007, I lifted that fence and My cherubims allowed you to come into that glory. You came in just but a few millimeters of a measure and now in this time since then I've allowed you to progress in the measure of a few feet or a few meters, but now suddenly I am advancing you in the measure of millimeters or feet but of miles and kilometers, a step at a time into My greater glory, into My presence. My Presence will be so strong that it will soften your hearts and take out of you all forms of doubt and bitterness. I will cause you to desire My way beyond human recognition and the praises of men. I am in these days giving My people such opportunity to have pure hearts and those who prioritize My manifest presence as precious beyond all else, I will drop down upon them mantles - I do not say mantle, but I say mantles, mantles of My glory - of My miraculous, of my enabling - for I can trust the stewardship of these unprecendented mantles of My glory only to those who are pure in heart, who are willing to suffer persecution without becoming bitter or cynical, because they find their safety and their hiding place and their protection and their identity in My manifest presence alone."
Sunday, 5 April 2009
They describe what I call Covenant Love meals. You know the sort Jesus had just before His death...and then subsequently on the road to Emmaus at which the two disciples experienced that glowing warmness ...no burning feeling they had...and they knew it just had to be Jesus!!
These and the times we now experience, are mini fulfilments of the Feast of Tabernacles/the Feast of Booths. It's the reality of the Body of Christ lived!!!
I am believing that all our Sunday meetings are going to become more and more like this. Again, how can I be so confident? Because that is what is happening in Havant. Christine said the Key of David meeting was awesome. It was Jesus Himself coming with a fresh revelation of His Grace.
In the afternoon Peter and Helen were describing some of the practical mechanics behind running these meetings. The history is that they felt to explore as a worship group and a few others, how you ascend the hill of the Lord. They wanted a safe place to learn and to make mistakes, away from the main congregation. It was here they learned about pressing in through the second level of principalities and powers, until a breakthrough occurs and they know something of a manifestation of the glory of God. Its like the 3rd heaven breaking through into earth realm.
These became monthly meetings open for outsiders to come. But then Florida happened and ever since, our Sunday meetings have been becoming more and more like the Key of David meetings. Not quite on the same level...but today , which I actually got to, was very precious.
We have to be free to learn these things...without resorting back to the familiar...the comfort zone...the tried and tested...the boring.Peter and Mariette are exporting our findings usually with teams from our church into Spain and USA and wherever they feel God calling.
Back to Jamie's excerpt.If you've not seen it read this!
But here is what I want to somehow attempt to express: We heard marvelous truths taught during the conference. We knew God was choreographing events because many of the subjects our small group discussed privately would be touched on later by either Steve or Paul. Incredible! And Steve and Paul pushed into the deeper truths of what it means to have Christ formed in you. This was no milk for babies or for the easily offended. This was meat for those who know that CHRIST IN US should eventually be CHRIST AS US! YES!!!!But still...it wasn't those moments of confirmation that were the miracle of our week-end.Nope, as gooood as they were.It was sitting at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sitting in the bar or standing around waiting to start. Just talking. Just sharing our hearts. Just being the Church.And questioning everything we've ever been taught about what we, the ekklesia, should look like.Questioning manmade structures be they buildings or set programs. Questioning giving and being missional. Questioning and challenging and trusting the Christ in each one of us to show us truth.And that was the miracle. Seeing and being Christ to each other! Being the Body of Christ.Without a pastor, a building, a sermon, an offering, a structured agenda, or any hierarchy. Just the Body trusting the Head to keep us and grow us. We ministered to each other!! THAT IS A BIG GOD THING!!What if the reason the modern church is in crisis is because the modern church is too afraid to trust God and just step out in relational fellowship??? What if we REALLY CAN trust Christ to be our Head and the Holy Spirit to lead us into all Truth through each other???What if??I for one was forever changed. And I'm not going back.