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:

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“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 )

My Radical Family is a Threat to Society

This morning I was reminded that I come from a history of people who were a threat to society… 🙂 Radicals.

“The Anabaptists’ reform efforts were a threat to their society, because they claimed Christianity was to be lived out in small communities in accordance with the explicit teaching of Scripture. Similarly, the first-century Christians were a threat to their society because they claimed that there was a more important kingdom than that of the Roman Empire: the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Both Christian movements spread because of the way people maintained their faith in Christ and love for others, even in the face of persecution.”

At what cost do we follow Jesus even when our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ persecute us?

Read the full article here with an interesting video discussion…

My Changing Mind on Church: Learning to Fly

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My mind has been changing about church. After 10 years of pastoral ministry, I was wrecked, but in a good way…

The mother bird pushes it’s young out of the nest to learn to fly…
I think I didn’t want to leave the nest…

Though I received several job offers over the years, and plenty of invitations to speak throughout the conference across provinces, and mentor other pastors and entire church elder boards, I felt deeply loyal to the church that was my home for 5 years before I first became a pastor. It was the church that had adopted me, called me, and equipped me. I loved my teams of volunteers spread throughout the church in multiple areas.

Church, as I’ve always known it, had been a safe place… until it no longer became safe for me… It became dangerous for my health to use my spiritual gifts and exercise my love of disciple making, and engage my heart for prayer… I received more ‘persecution’ inside the church than outside.

At times, when I took one step outside the four walls of the church… BANG! I found myself discipling double digits and baptizing people left and right…

I found myself in a paradigm shifting…

While on a time of rest from pastoring 10 years within a formal church leadership, I was further stopped in my tracks while reading these two books below. These books saved me from utter despair. They gave me hope for the church!

Have we been like Jesus’ parents who left him behind and continued traveling ahead without him?! (Honestly, I always scoffed at that story. What kind of parents of the Messiah were they?!) But, are we that far off as spiritual leaders? Have we completely left Jesus behind in our journey?

Are you confused by the church as you’ve known it?

Are you hungry for more when you read the book of Acts?

Read these two books below which are pdfs you can download into your reader (provided generously by the authors for free). And then share your thoughts…!

Read with caution.

You may have many questions along the way.
Keep reading to the end of each.

You may never be the same… 

Confession:

I feel like Martin Luther approaching the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailing a piece of paper to it with 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.

“Lord, have mercy on us… Help us to seek your will while choosing to love, as you call us to love…”

I think the modern day prophets are right, we are in a NEW reformation…

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Jesus Has Left the Building
 by Paul Vieira
Read this book first.

If you have been so thirsty and hungry within your church, your heart will cry out like one finding a living spring of water with a fresh loaf of bread! It will take time to chew on each chapter. Don’t read more than a chapter a day or it will go completely over your head.

Book Quote: “God is calling His people to consider their ways and to make sure they are directly connected to Him. These are serious times, not to be taken lightly, or to go on with “business as usual.”

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Houses that Change the World
 by Wolfgang Simpson
Second book to read.

A friend of mine shared this book with me who once lived in a country that intentionally persecuted Christians. She and her family were forced to be the church in the manner the book describes. Today, her heart often longs for that kind of pressure once again in order for church community to be so intentional. The author gives 3 possible ways to stop going to church and start BEING the church once again.

Book excerpt:

“Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings. Before they where called Christians, followers of Christ have been called ”The Way”. One of the reasons was, that they have literally found ”the way to live.” The nature of Church is not reflected in a constant series of religious meetings lead by professional clergy in holy rooms specially reserved to experience Jesus, but in the prophetic way followers of Christ live their everyday life in spiritual extended families as a vivid answer to the questions society faces, at the place where it counts most: in their homes.

Time to change the system. In aligning itself to the religious patterns of the day, the historic Orthodox Church after Constantine in the 4th century AD adopted a religious system which was in essence Old Testament, complete with priests, altar, a Christian temple (cathedral), frankincense and a Jewish, synagogue-style worship pattern. The Roman Catholic Church went on to canonize the system. Luther did reform the content of the gospel, but left the outer forms of ”church” remarkably untouched; the Free-Churches freed the system from the State, the Baptists then baptized it, the Quakers dry-cleaned it, the Salvation Army put it into a uniform, the Pentecostals anointed it and the Charismatics renewed it, but until today nobody has really changed the superstructure. It is about time to do just that.”

Could God be pushing us out of the nest, in order to fly in the freedom Christ died for us to know and live out – within His body and church community?

What could God be calling us as His people today?

I welcome your thoughts but AFTER you’ve read the books. 🙂 (At least the first one!) I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m just in listening mode to the voice of God and learning all that I can…