This past year, I had the joy of walking with a woman coming out of the New Age movement. In fact, she had once been a New Age teacher. We started with Scriptures in our sessions and took our time before we began asking Jesus questions. Her heart now was so beautifully hungry and thirsty for Truth instead of where the other road had led her to. What Jesus did for her was beautiful. She was set free!
On the other extreme, around the same time, I also walked with a woman so hard on rules from a very religious church tradition and who had very little openness to Holy Spirit. Yet, Jesus led us through healing to remove those blocks and she too experienced some incredible freedom!
We are to worship God in BOTH SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.
“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24 NLT
If we worship God without Spirit, we become legalistic, religious Pharisees.
If we worship with spirit and NO Truth, we go down the road of the New Age.
See both extremes??
Here are some things to remember with Biblical interpretation:
1. The Holy Spirit bears witness within when you hear the truth – The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, will cause a witness within your heart when you hear truth (Jn. 15:26,27)
2. The Holy Spirit guides you into truth – The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, guides you into all the truth, disclosing things of the Father to you (Jn. 16:13-15).
If you have and keep God’s commandments, you love God, and are loved by God, and God will abide with you and disclose Himself to you through the working of the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you all things (Jn. 14:21,23,26).
3. You will only see what you can handle – God will only reveal to you what you are able to bear. There is more to say to you, but He will wait until you can bear it (Jn. 16:12).
4. You cannot interpret the Bible on your own – Know that apart from Jesus you can do nothing, which includes interpreting the Bible correctly (Jn. 15:5).
5. Pray for God to open your heart – Pray that God opens your heart to respond to Him, and the hearts of those to whom you preach to respond to your preaching (Acts 16:14).
Excerpt above from the short ebook by Mark Virkler…
Am I Being Deceived? (You can click to view a free pdf version below the book.)
If you are stuck in one of these extremes, (religious bondage or spiritual deception), perhaps I can help. Learn more here.
What Are We Trying to Revive in the Church?
What are we trying to revive when it comes to the Church?
“I was at a prayer meeting for revival in England. For three hours, people prayed for God to do something. Then suddenly, a young teenage boy stood up and gave a prophecy. I shall never forget it. In a penetrating voice, this shy boy— I found out later that he was quite retiring, not the sort who would get up, raise his voice and correct his elders — just got up and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will not revive what I never built,’” and he sat down.
It transformed the entire prayer meeting; it came with such authority in the Spirit.
That word came ringing through. We realised we were really asking God to revive what we had built.
God was telling us that he would not revive what he never built and I cannot help but believe that while the Church is deliberately disobeying the commandments of the Lord, and has compromised in so many areas, there is no reason why he should answer prayers to revive it.
That is my problem.
The state of our nation is due to the state of the Church and we must take responsibility for what is happening around us. We are to be the salt and light but we need to acknowledge that we have not lived up to this ideal, and that we have compromised on the Word of God in so many ways already that it is almost impudence to ask the Lord to revive us.”
COMPLETING LUTHER’S REFORMATION – David Pawson
Jesus Longs for His Church to Come Alive
I loved reading a book over the weekend written by a pastor who was told he needed to leave his institutional church in order to protect his health. Today, he leads a movement that has reached multiple countries.
Below is a quote from his wife excerpted from his book:
“The Revolution is happening – it’s happening all over the world.
We are in a Reformation.
Acknowledge it or not.
Be a part of it or not.
Jesus longs for his church to come alive, to become a living, breathing organism. He longs for us to be in a real, live, intimate relationship with Him, regardless of others – and then in real, live relationship with our families – earthly and spiritual.
And, He’s begging us to come alive, be who we are as individuals, alive and free in Him, telling the world who and what He has done for us…
The enemy accepts that Christianity is in the world… but if he can just contain us, keep us from contaminating others, there’s little to worry about. If he can contain us in buildings, then the world will not know the truth and few will be set free. But what I saw in Kenya, I also see in America and other parts of the world.
The virus is leaking.
The Reformation of the 21st Century, led by the Holy Spirit, is taking Christianity out of containers into the open spaces of the neighborhoods and nations of the world.”
(Brooks & Roger Thoman. Simple/House Church Revolution (Kindle Locations 137-141). Download and read for free at: https://www.simplechurchrevolution.com)
He writes on his website:
“In time, we began to see that this ‘paradigm shift’ (from institutional church to disciple making movement) was preparing us to train leaders in the multiplication of disciples, simple churches, and leaders. …we saw tremendous fruit as disciples could quickly reproduce disciples and churches…
God used a dark season of our life to birth new purposes that were far above and beyond anything we might have dreamed on our own!”
(Learn more at: https://appleseedministry.com/about )
From Religion to Relationship :)
From religion to relationship. Yes, yes, yes…
This was the journey of Saul of Tarsus to become the Apostle Paul. It took a paradigm shift, a transformation of mind to heart. Jesus got his attention, blinded him for days and then gave him new eyes to see! Jesus showed him that it wasn’t about rules, but about relationship!
I read this recently…
“If you believe the wrong thing, it will take away the power of the right thing. For example, if you’re legalistic and think that you have to earn your way to God, the importance of grace diminishes. I think of how before Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor operated in pure legalism. When the scales fell off his eyes, his religious mindset was not just broken, but God created a new nature in him. In this new nature, Saul turned Paul was not only freed from the religious pressure nagging him in his inner thoughts, but also his mind was renewed.” (Shawn Bolz, God Secrets.)
Legalism prevents us from intimately knowing the Father in the greatest relationship we could ever have.
Legalism also keeps us from loving others, and stuck in just knowing about others and easily slipping into judgement.
Does learning the truth about others always set one free? Maybe not. I can think of learning a few things that did not bring me peace.
BUT, seeing God’s Truth about others is another thing…
Seeing how God loves someone stuck in legalism/religion, whatever… (and instead seeing HIS Truth available to them), helps to set me free to love them as God loves them, and pray for them.
I’m still learning this.
Yes… there IS the call to wipe the dust off our feet when our gift of peace is not received… When peaceful relationship is not welcomed, keep walking… Freedom is elsewhere. Submitting to religion (or someone’s legalism) is not freedom. I don’t want to be Saul of Tarsus or friends with that guy! I want to journey with Paul and see God do mighty things!! God’s kingdom is about freedom!
Where am I trapped in my thinking?
What do you want to set me free from?
Who do you want to set me free from?
(Friendship is related to the word ‘freedom’. If you are trapped, constantly torn apart, that is not a friendship, that is abusive. One of the hardest things to do is walk away from someone you love who has continued to abuse you, manipulate you, control you… Tough love is no longer enabling someone’s pattern of abuse, legalism, religion, etc. Loving them is showing them that behaviour is not okay.)
God, what promise do you have for me?
What gift do you have for me?
Enjoy a 2-way relationship with Father God who made a way through His son Jesus.
Read and Meditate on His Word.
Ask Him questions.
Listen and Write.
Pray it all back to Him!
Christianity is not a religion (earning our way to God’s love), it’s a relationship (He is love and extends His love to us through His son Jesus who opened the doorway).
Intentional Meals Together?
“Cook at home and enjoy family meals.”
I read these words recently in the newly updated food guide…
Thanks to a young friend recently visiting from Germany, who inspired us, I have been encouraged to ALSO include EVERY family member in the making of suppers, no matter the initial headaches, and turn them into a s..l..o..w.. going culinary social event from start to finish.
Food prep, feast, clean up…
I realize that though our Canadian family is one of the few (it seems) who aren’t running off to a million events after downing a quick fast food supper meal, I realized we still were not eating slow enough… like Europeans seem to do…
These folks across the ocean seemingly take 2-3 ours of everything together – food prep together, eat together, drink together, visit together… and often then games together.
I like this.
Intentional togetherness feasting.
I’m thinking too of the early house churches where the communion dinner was a full intimate meal and not like now in many places with little cups and little wafers done assembly line like and quickly with no interaction with others.
So, I’ve been re-inspired to swim upstream in my culture…
Make meals together.
Bonus delight: invite a friend or two, or a family or two on the whole process! Adopt others into your family for dinner.
Forget the too many cooks in the kitchen theory.
(Yikes, did I just say that?)
Let’s make it work.
I wonder too…
Could we have less anxiety and depression in our country if we did this more…?
(Wow, all that prompted from the newly updated food guide…)
8 ways Canada’s new food guide will change how you feed your kids…
Are You Confusing Christ With Christians?
Many of us have been hurt by those who call themselves Christians. I have. In fact, I’ve been hurt the most by Christians and yet I still choose to follow Christ. Some would say I’m nuts or duped. Ten years ago I myself just about walked away from Christ and then I just about killed myself because I wrongly thought that if Christian leaders hurt me, then God must not love me. But, instead I dug in the Word of God to get an answer and learned something that was always there, but I didn’t quite understand it before.
There’s no secret – we Christians are a bunch of liars, cheaters, thieves, complainers, and sometimes even murderers- much like the rest of the world. The difference is we must recognize that we are sinners and then we must choose to recognize that we need Christ who paid the price for us to get out of our ‘ditches’ of life. No, we’re never going to be perfect this side of heaven. When we mess up, we’re called to give each other grace- like Jesus has given us grace. This isn’t a license to sin but it’s an understanding that we need a Saviour and no amount of self-help will solve our problem of sin. We are also called to turn away from our ditches and recognize our wrong and get in the car that God should be driving- not us.
If you’ve been hurt by Christians, I encourage you to put your eyes on Christ and learn more about Him and stop only looking at everyone else. You and I need to let Him drive the car.
It may be a lot like driving on the road and keeping your eyes on the horizon rather than the ditch. If you look at the ditch, you’ll end up in the ditch, but if you keep your eyes ahead, you’ll keep going towards the goal – which is drawing closer to God. One day we’ll get to see Him face to face as the Bible promises. And all that is now blurry will be made clear. I long for that day and I will not let another person bump me off the journey.
Sometimes this requires getting alone with God for a long time, and away from those who call themselves Christians and yet have hurt us. I get that. I have had close friends who even did an experiment in taking a year off of gathering with fellow believers in an organized church- to see if that made any difference. They had become disillusioned in their church and needed to refocus. Sadly, it did make a difference. They grew closer to Christ when they dug in the Word and in prayer together and served together apart from the larger gathering. Ouch. That’s when you know that a church has taken it’s eyes off of Christ.
Now my friends are back with a larger community, who has recently gotten a new pastor and who is leading them in the right direction. We all need effective leaders in order to be led in the right direction. Without a gentle shepherd, a loving and visionary leader, we die.
For my friends, they are now stronger in God and allowing God to work through them, in order to make an impact on their fellow believers. They recognize Who they follow- God and not their fellow believers who can often trip them up- (even church leaders) because all are sinners. My friends know they are called to focus on the horizon and help people OUT of the ditch. Complaining about those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help. Following those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help either. We need to focus on the horizon.
Don’t confuse Christ with Christians because that will only turn you off. No Christian person is worthy of being worshiped and idolized. We all are sinners – even pastors and news articles have testified to this.
Read this article in RELEVANT Magazine – An Open Letter to Anne Rice (who recently walked away from Christianity because of Christians).