Your church is shut down – due to virus. Now what?

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Photo by Jesse Yelin from Pexels

What do you do when your church is shut down due to the Corona virus or persecution?

The systems may crash, but…

There is actually new opportunity! I see the church shifting in beautiful ways…

***This link below was originally posted in Feb 2018.

Notice the title of the post?

Since the Corona Virus, this has become even more valuable to use in BEing the Church… (and you can EASILY do this interactively via phone or video chat during quarantine as I have been doing with my fellowship groups.)

This is Contagious but in a GREAT way!

A Pastor’s Confession

Because of Jesus ... I Am FreeThis is my confession.

I’m sorry… To all the people who I once pastored in an institutional church… I am sorry that I didn’t know then what I know now. My church and Bible school experience did not adequately prepare me to walk you to complete freedom in Jesus’ name. Nor did I disciple you how to do what I’m going to share below…

Today, if you read the Gospels and the book of Acts over and over, you most likely will notice that what happened in the Bible, does not happen in the lives of many church goers.

Back in 2016, when I rested from formal pastoral ministry, I began to ask God why the vast difference between what I read in the Bible and what I had experienced so far. I began to ask Him to show me more of who He is… out of the box. (Dangerous prayer. :D) He began to take me on adventures…

Today, my life looks so much different… When I pray, people are healed of cancer,  kidney disease, arthritis, or set free from oppression, from hearing multiple voices, from depression, anxiety, etc… often in a few minutes. 

Why? I pray differently than I was taught. I pray as Jesus did. I join with Jesus in what He is doing.

Miraculous things only happen when His followers step out in faith. I began to worry less about God’s reputation if I prayed and He didn’t come through in the way I prayed. I figured He could handle His own reputation. 😉

This was my past week….

Today, I ran again into the woman I prayed for this year who was healed of cancer. She threw her arms around me with the biggest smile. When I first met her walking on my street, she was discouraged and diagnosed with cancer. Jesus strongly spoke to me to command the cancer to leave her body. It did. We now have interesting conversations about Jesus.

Today, I walked past the house where my 6 year old neighbour was healed of juvenile arthritis after I taught her siblings age 8, 4 and 2 how to command her illness to go in Jesus’ name. The next day she woke up with no pain and now is involved in gymnastics!

One night this week, I prayed with a woman with multiple personality disorder. I led her through praying forgiveness over abusers. She was back to speaking in one personality. She heard Jesus say –  “It is finished!” 

Another night, a woman was delivered from Hindu worship 3,000 years in her family line. She felt anger, hopelessness, and voices laughing at her. She went through repentance of generational worshiping specific Hindu gods, practicing blood sacrifices. She coughed things out. Stuff went 3,000 years back in her bloodline and then she had a vision of Jesus with His arms reaching out and He said the house is clean! We prayed Holy Spirit to fill her and she was overcome with laughter and deep joy! She lingered with Jesus in His glory. She was powerfully transformed!

Another night, I prayed for a woman with chest and shoulder pain. As we prayed, Jesus took her to her childhood at age 3 when anger and bitterness first entered because of her parents’ actions. I led her in forgiving her parents and all the pain was gone! 

Another night, I led a woman through healing of panic attacks. We let Jesus take us to the root issue …all coming from a lie that the enemy told her years ago in a certain situation, that she was not safe. We dealt with that lie at the cross, and Jesus transformed the painful memory. Now, when she thinks of the memory, it’s minuscule and instead she has visioned Jesus there with His arms shielding her. Her panic attacks are now gone.

When I began to cut out relying on merely my familiar church tradition a few years ago, I began to truly grow in my level of faith. Since walking in doing what Jesus did in the Bible, and what He invites me to do, I am discovering what it really means to follow Jesus.

Please forgive me. If I only knew then, what I know and do now… you may be unstuck today.

I invite you to re-read the Gospels and the Book of Acts with fresh eyes, without your glasses of church tradition.

It is a beautiful thing to follow Jesus, not merely believe in His teachings. He walked in the supernatural and then called His followers to do the same. He didn’t command them to walk any different. Jesus didn’t ask us to teach information and that’s it. It’s one thing to believe in Jesus, it’s another to follow Him.

These days, I have the honour of meeting with people who are reaching out and asking for me to lead them through healing and freedom and to disciple them in what I have been learning and doing. They are on fire and hungry for more! Many are prayer walking around churches and neighbourhoods to also join the fire! Will you?! It’s truly amazing! 😀

A few responses below…

“I will not accept the apology because it is not needed, not to me. You did not stop leading and inviting me into deeper relationship with Christ when you left traditional pastoral ministry. I am sorry that this is an accurate representation of the state of my and so many churches and of my own faith experience. I know it isn’t right and yet I dont know how to get out of it. I was struck again by the need we have to see Jesus in action during (Bible Study) this week where we studied Acts and Peter could NOT keep quiet about the things which they had seen Jesus do. I feel like a person who understands Jesus but does not believe in him (not fully it would seem) because believing in something means you go beyond knowing to acting on that knowledge. If I believe that God can save an eternal soul, a physical body should be nothing to him and yet I do not trust enough to pray aloud for that healing because I have not seen it. Thank you that you DO pray this way and that you keep inviting me to see it more for myself… this semester has been hard as my soul cries for THAT Jesus and my time is instead devoted to knowing a Jesus constrained to paper. Please do not apologize but continue to pray – and to act – that I can make the leap of faith to belief that shows in my life, my time, my choices, and my actions if trust in him.”

And another…

“Thanks for sharing your walk with the Lord wherever He leads you and what He is doing in and through you. I’m glad you have found the freedom Christ offers and are sharing it with others. I have never felt lead astray or that you were not meeting any expectation. I have been encouraged by your leadership and enriched by our friendship. Your humble servant attitude is evident and I love that you are allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you and use you to reach out and be God’s hands and feet. Blessings my sweet sister in Christ!” 

And another on a similar journey…

“Makes me think of a vision one lady shared with me- The Lord was leading her down a long hallway of people sitting along the walls and she wanted to stop and help every one! She could see each of their needs clearly! But the Lord said… ‘Don’t!! Don’t even touch a door knob that I don’t specifically instruct you to touch.’ As she neared the end of the hallway she looked back down the hall to see many many behind tending to those she was asked to pass by.  Possibly they are someone else’s assignment!!? Bless your heart … that you would want to make all things right…”

I am blessed by these initial responses. God is stirring! I have released the burden to Jesus – our Ultimate Burden Bearer…

May each of you reading this… listen to His voice and follow Him on sweet adventures He has all planned for you… even it takes you ‘out of the box’! 😀

Persuasive Words of Men?

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If your faith is based on the persuasive words of men, your faith will not go deep. 
When life difficulty comes, your faith will fall.
 But, if your faith is based on the power of Holy Spirit, 
the kingdom of God in your life will be unshakable.

Jesus didn’t merely share information, nor motivational speaking. Jesus always brought the power of His kingdom. He is relational, not informational. Jesus does not rely on the persuasive words of men to reveal Himself to the world. Instead, He invites us to declare and show the world who He is. Yes, there is power in Jesus’ words. But, He calls us to live out His words and demonstrate His power.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2

First, be with Jesus.
Hear His voice.
What He invites you to do, go and do.
Not by your own strength, but in His.
AND, do it according to His timing.
Show the world, Jesus is very real and alive. 🙂 Like this…

Just over a month ago, I led 3 neighbour kids to pray for their sister with juvenile arthritis… well, this past weekend I ran into the mom and kids. Mom said that the next day, her 6 year old daughter had no pain!! They went for an MRI and it’s completely gone!! Jesus is our healer!

We had her siblings all put their hand on her ankle and we prayed for Jesus to heal. Beautiful. Absolutely precious.

She said she saw Jesus as we were praying – and everything was filled with a flood of light.

Again, she is 6, and now enjoying being a 6 year old including being in gymnastics!
Her siblings are 8, 4, and 2! 😄💗🎉

Another amazing thing happened this past weekend in my city… 2 pastors from 2 different churches confessed to their congregations that the way they have been doing church is all off. That followers of Jesus are ALL called to be pastors and should be going out as Jesus taught, not bringing people to church programs and relying on a human to feed them, but rather Holy Spirit to teach and lead them out. Wow! Sounds like a great shift is going to happen in institutional churches in our city!

Pastor, How Do You Define Yourself?

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Many years ago I connected with Ed Underwood (and I have referenced his resources before on this blog). He recently wrote this post… (which is addressed to pastors but is for ALL OF US in ministry….)

Pastor, the Shocking Contrast Between Legalism and Grace.

We can choose to define ourselves as pastors by what we’re doing or not doing to please or displease legalists.

Or we can choose to focus on our personal resources and giftedness in Christ obtained only by grace.

Carrying around a to-do and a to-not-to-do list that self-proclaimed church hall monitors think you should maintain enough is exhausting.

Still, many of us seem afraid to launch out into what the legalists warn us is the wilderness of grace.

But, if we consult the New Testament we’ll see that there is a shocking contrast between grace and legalism.

Read Ed’s full post here… 🙂

How to End Things :(

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I always thought you had to be FOREVER faithful to people, programs, and institutions to the very end. (One of my key values is loyalty and integrity.) Sadly, I learned the hard way some things and relationships must come to an end. Ouch. Sigh. After years of investing in some thing and someone, if there is no fruit, one must seek the Lord on what to do. Sometimes, He calls us to release.

We are called to be faithful to Jesus first and foremost.

“Endings are necessary, but the truth is that we often do not do them well. Although we need them for good results to happen and for bad situations to be resolved, the reality is that most of us humans often avoid them or botch them.

• We hang on too long when we should end something now.
• We do not know if an ending is actually necessary, or if “it” or “he/she” is fixable.
• We are afraid of the unknown.
• We are afraid of hurting someone.
• We are afraid of letting go and the sadness associated with an ending.
• We do not possess the skills to execute the ending.
• We do not even know the right words to use.
• We have had too many and too painful endings in our personal history, so we avoid another one.
• When they are forced upon us, we do not know how to process them, and we swing or flounder.
• We do not learn from them, so we repeat the same mistakes over and over.”

– Dr. Henry Cloud

A few years ago, I read Henry’s book on “Necessary Endings”. It set me free from some slavery to unhealthy situations, after two attempted mediations.

If this sounds like your situation, you may want to read his book too…

The Fastest Growing Church

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This will challenge your every thought on:

“WHAT and WHO is a church..?”

Interestingly, I learned about this film on September 11… You will soon learn why…

“The fastest growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth,” according to “Sheep Among Wolves,” the outstanding two-hour documentary about the revival that has taken place inside Iran. “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.”

A quote from the film:

“Anytime God goes against a religious spirit, He uses women and puts them in the centre of the room.”

The stories of these women are incredible.

I am apart of a Ministers Association who supports house churches and disciple making movements. The documentary I reference (you can watch it below) explains what I am apart of, but of course on a much different scale in Canada. These women in the film are incredible heroes and makes the abuse I have walked through in North American as a female leader, nothing in comparison.

You will want to watch this on a large screen without interruptions.
Viewer discretion.
So incredibly powerful and worth it…

Learn more about: Disciple Making Movements.

You can read another full article about the film here…

 

We are Tired of Listening to Men

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“Mr Moody, there must be more prayer. The speaking here is excellent but there is too much of it in proportion to prayer. We do not have time to pray. We get tired when going to meetings, listening to men. We must have more time to speak to God and to listen to Him.” – Andrew Murray to D.L. Moody (founder of Moody Bible Institute)

I just came across this quote above written in a book on prayer in 1915.

I love seeing this shift over and over with more people hungry to hear God and less what others say about God or on behalf of God. This is why I love teaching people how to hear God’s voice.

People ask me, “What do you think? What should I do?”

My reply?

Let’s ask Jesus.

After we pray together listening to God, we always test it…

Does it line up with Scripture?

Does it line up with the fruit of Holy Spirit? (If I did what He told me, would it produce love, joy, peace…)

More of Him.

Less of me!

(There is a time for a sermon, but when a sermon is your main course meal and only meal, you lack knowing how to go to God to be fed. You miss out on a direct relationship with God and you have put your pastor in His place. Oops. That is idolatry.)

Jesus wants to be in fellowship with us and that is one reason He gives us His Holy Spirit—so we would never have to be alone. One of the things Jesus promised us is that the Holy Spirit would speak to us, so that we could maintain our intimate relationship with Him. (1 John 14:16-21).

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 (NIV)

God’s Design for the Church? – Not Lecture Style.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Last night, in my backyard with a bunch of friends sitting in a circle, my husband and I enjoyed discussing with a new friend and traveling evangelist (who has been excellent at equipping others) …some of the things around church. Our friend shared how the Greeks were the ones who introduced the lecture sermon, whereas in the Jewish synagogue, people were sitting around in the circle and anyone could enter in and read Scripture. Like a Discovery Bible study! Anyone could read the Scriptures in the synagogue. (Perhaps, this is why Jesus could read and teach in the synagogue as a carpenter?)

So basically, the way that we often do institutional church is not God’s original way of teaching. Lectures came in and moved things in a different focus. (Notice how with a lecture, the focus is usually on the human teacher?)

When you read Paul’s letters to the churches, there’s instructions on how to gather together. It’s much more community-driven than listening to one talking head at the front of the room. Each person is invited to contribute in different ways.

The way the rabbis taught was with exploration questions (like I do as a Life Coach in my coaching circles) or like how Jesus asked questions, and with apprenticeship (modelling/mentoring). I love coaching small groups and inviting people to meet together and interact. We learn from each other’s stories. (One of my gifts is networking. I love introducing people to each other. My friends tease me about this.)

The synagogue had different scriptures they were given to read at specific times. (Think for a second – how often is the Word actually read in church? Often, sadly, the sermon is merely a motivational message, or someone talking about what the Bible says and sadly often taken out of context.) When I gather people around the Word, I have us all go around reading aloud portions of Scripture. Faith comes by hearing the Word.

God’s people told their children the stories of their ancestors. (Testimonies! We rarely hear stories in an institutional church because we are afraid someone might take more than 3 minutes). The Bible says the enemy will be defeated by the Jesus’ blood and testimonies – stories of God at work! (See Revelation 12:11). Often, when I gather with people, I ask them – since we last met, what are they thankful for? Out comes stories of God’s provision and healing!

The Jews also had festivals (gatherings to celebrate together and eat together). Eating together is enjoying food while facing each other and visiting! As a family, in our house church, I also have deeply loved taking communion at our dining room table facing each other – in community. We have relationship with each other. We look in each other’s eyes as we reflect what Jesus has done for us. So often, when we take communion in church services, it’s as we sit side by side without any interaction with each other and there’s no celebration.

Our discussion last night reminded me of the book that I once read on Pagan Christianity where the author looks at the ways we do church. Most things we do in churches today did not originate from Jesus, but sadly from the world. As a result, so much of the DNA of what Jesus intended for His family has been lost. Today, you will find ads on how to market the growth of your church. Yikes. Jesus never did it that way. We have more to unlearn. (In fact, Jesus’ message – which always included powerful miracles – turned MANY people away!)

After last night, my husband went and did some more research on the Jewish synagogue. It was all in small groups sharing together in community. Basically, it sounds more and more like what Holy Spirit has been leading my family and I to do weekly in our house several times a week with various groups who come in, and when we go into other people’s homes like a true Disciple Making Movement does. (It’s learning to shift culture within our mindsets of GOING to church and getting back to BEING the church!)

I currently have 3 more people interested in doing a Discovery Bible Study (besides my core group)… so I need to plan now to go into their homes and coach them for 2-4 weeks and then turn them lose listening to Holy Spirit… I have a group (4 of us) that I have been meeting with for 2.5 years and they wanted to add more people. I said, “No. Go and start new groups!” 😀 One woman has started about 2 groups in about a month!!

Our little core group is made up of long time believers raised in institutional churches. Together, we have been unlearning together in order to re-learn how to let Holy Spirit teach rather than follow a video curriculum… and then sadly do nothing about what we are learning. :0 lol… we have been having to break the temptation like crazy to add more people to the group… rather, we want to multiply!

Would you like to learn more about how to release Holy Spirit into homes in order to bring freedom to families, neighbourhoods, cities, and beyond…?

Are you in a typical institutional church and hungry for more disciplemaking? Roy Moran does a great job of teaching churches how to do this in a hybrid style in order to get back to Holy Spirit being our Teacher.

 

 

How Lies Control Us

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Image source: JeffVanderstelt.com

What I have noticed in walking with my Life Coaching clients…

If you know the truth but don’t live it out, this is living a lie.
Believing lies, makes liars of ourselves and makes it possible for greater deception to ensnare us more deeply.
When we believe lies, we are more easily frightened and anxious and worried. When we believe lies, we are more easily hurt, wounded, and resentful. When we do not believe truth, we believe we are more important than others, and resort to controlling other people.
When we believe lies, we insist on being right and making others wrong. We do not listen to others properly. We hear only what we want to hear. We use sarcasm and cynicism to respond to other people.
When we believe lies, we dominate people. We control others. We believe God has given us people to help us succeed. We use and discard people for our own benefit.
Sometimes God gives us relationships and partnerships for different seasons, but when we live in lies, we dominate people rather than relate to them.
When we live in lies, we go along with people and circumstances even though we hate what is happening and we fail to confront abusive leaders in love.
When we believe lies, we find our identity in being a victim.
When we believe lies, we blame others.
When we believe lies, we delete, distort, and generalize as a way of life.
When we believe lies, we justify our own bad behavior by the negative behavior of others. Reacting to people’s behavior, instead of responding to God’s nature, means that we do not live out what is true of Jesus.
Believing lies is expensive. It costs us deeply, it damages our relationships, our relationship with God, and our own identity.
This is what I see daily when people come to my office for help. When they walk through truth in our sessions, I see re-birth!
Just recently, a client said she felt like she went to the spa! She said her head was so much brighter!! Together, we asked Jesus what lies she had been believing around a specific memory. Along came a huge list! When she stood back and looked at the list, she saw how it had paralyzed her for years. In prayer, we did an exchange of lies for truth from God’s Word about her identity.
Yes, God’s truth sets us free!
(Helpful resource: I recommend reading: “Manifesting Your Spirit” by G Cooke)

Church? Spectators vs Participants

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Dear Church,

Are you a spectator or a participant in building God’s kingdom?

Years of sitting in traditional church has not prepared us to be the church in the manner described in the New Testament.

We have been taught to come.

To sit.

To watch and listen to what others have prepared.

(Someone described it as “sit, soak and sour”.)

This is Spectator Church. And it is no way to train believers to be priests.

By contrast, the churches described in the Bible engaged in Participatory Church. This kind of church requires preparation on the part of all of it’s members.

This is new.

We haven’t been taught how to do this.

Therefore, some retraining is in order.

Read: John White’s article –  How to Prepare for Simple Church

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