Enjoyed Floyd, Va Gathering

We had a great time last weekend in Floyd, Va. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we prayed, and enjoyed His presence among us. I am witnessing a continual change taking place in my life, as well as, the kingdom community of believers. Everything taking place is all part of a greater picture than any of us can comprehend. The desire to know Jesus becomes your sole purpose. Nothing else really matters. As long as you are together with Him life is worth living.

Our discussion surrounded the centrality of Christ and it was such a breath of fresh air to be with other like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. We overcame religious teachings that divide and experienced the Holy Spirit working in us. I look forward getting together these coming months with others who are also looking to the author and finisher of our faith.

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Love Beyond Measure

How do you think it makes our Father feel when His children do not learn to love one another? There is a time to quit using our reasoning to justify our position. We are all former broken vessels. We are forgiven, cleansed and redeemed by the blood of the lamb. If we truly believe those He has placed before us are also His children how far should we go to keep the unity of the Spirit?

We are His body, His flesh, His blood, His inheritance, His to do with as He pleases. Do we dare do any less than humble ourselves to one another for His purpose? He gave us His Spirit to do all things and even greater things than He did!

I am ready to go as far as a brother or sister will allow me. Many of you may say we have tried and failed. I say you have failed but He does not fail. He is the God of yes and no. Not maybe, sometimes or when I feel like it. Dare to believe and trust Him. If you have been hurt, learn to speak the truth of your heart in love to one another and be empowered to overcome any issue with His love.

WHY I DON’T CALL MYSELF A CHRISTIAN ANYMORE

Why would anyone who professes Jesus Christ not want to identify them self as a Christian? One would think the religion of Christianity and believing in Jesus is synonymous. There was a time in my life I also believed you found Jesus through the Christian church. Unfortunately, the Christianity I am witnessing today does not look anything like the person of Jesus. In fact, I cannot find much evidence it ever did.

Before we go any further I want to be clear about the purpose of the article. It is not to debate whether or not to call someone a Christian, nor am I attempting to say that one way is better than another. Others who call me a Christian does not offend me. I am honored to be identified as a follower of Jesus Christ. My reason for choosing not to call myself a Christian is I no longer believe the religion of Christianity represents Jesus Christ. There is no religious organization Jesus established or sanctioned. For centuries the religious systems have proclaimed they have been called to be the voice of God to the people. In truth the priesthood belongs to every believer born into His Kingdom. The church has never been and never will be in the hands of men.

Over the years I have seen many, many things wrong with organized churches, read tons of books and articles, as well as, listened to countless sermons justifying doctrinal positions. We could spend countless hours discussing all the good and bad things of the Christian religion although I find this generally leads to little more than a battle of opinions of our own beliefs. I know because I have done this more times than I can count. It has very little to do about which church you attend or the doctrine you decide to believe. It has everything to do with hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, surrendering your life to the Lord Jesus and walking into His Kingdom.

At one point in my life I was deeply entrenched in the Pentecostal doctrine. During those years I actively participated in church activities and became a leader among the congregation. So why did I leave? I was led by the Spirit of God to follow Him. It was time in my journey to learn more about surrendering my life to His will. Does this mean those still in churches are all wrong? This type of thinking is one of the greatest reasons we have division. Wherever I have been led by our Father is a blessing. I count my time in churches as another part of my journey to be who I am in Christ. To this day I keep relationships with brothers and sisters that attend churches. It is not about who is right. It is about walking out your own faith in Him. Jesus did not come to create another religion. He came to show us a new way of life. I love Him as my God, my Savior, my Father, and my King. He is my ALL in ALL. Leaving my past behind I am finding a newness of life that leads me into His love. This kind of love is not self seeking and strives to love one another as He loves us.

My journey began in 1958 in Portsmouth, Ohio. I was born into this world with loving parents. In my household I was taught to believe in Jesus Christ. When my father was a young man he went to a Methodist church. My mother was from an Apostolic Pentecostal family. As for me, being the youngest sibling of four children all I knew were memories in the Pentecostal church. I was in and out of church during my teen age years and preferred playing sports over going to church. As I grew older and experienced church life I witnessed the victories and the struggles my parents faced as they walked out their own faith in Christ. Being a teenager at the time, all I saw were so many rules to follow. I tried to figure all of them out but could never understand how this made us closer to God. I was also having a difficult time believing others who saw things differently than us were wrong. I distinctly remember a very important conversation I had with my father one day. I asked him why we attended the Pentecostal church. He answered, “This is the closet thing to the truth I have found.” I said, ” The closest thing?” He responded,”Yes.” I was so glad to hear him speak honestly to me. This was a father and son moment I always kept with me. I had the opportunity to work with my father and be a part of his life. More than anything I saw his love for others. He was my example of loving others and I am honored to call him my father. I believe if he were living today he would be honored having a son that is following Jesus and doing his best to love others.

It was during these same teen age years I experienced the power of God. I was lost from within and had no direction about my future. When I was sixteen years old my mother did all she could to convince me to go to church camp. Looking back it was good for me to see things in a different perspective. During one service I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me and I walked up to the front of the tabernacle. I bowed my knees and deep within me I was overcome by the Holy Spirit. From that point on I knew He was not just a story in a book but a living God that desired to dwell in me. This had a major impact upon my life and I was never the same. Over the next few years I spent most of my time running away from Him. All I could see is what I wanted. By His mercy He came to me again in such a powerful way. This time I was singing “Blessed Assurance” with the congregation on a Sunday morning. Looking back at both instances He revealed Himself when I was at the end of myself and willing to surrender to His ways. Each time was not when I was doing the right thing but when my life was an absolute mess. Did these experiences change everything in an instant? No, I still dealt with the same issues but now it was not just me trying to do it by myself. He sought me and desired to be in my life. There was a change inside of me I could not explain. More than anything I knew He loved me and I was trying to love Him. So I am thankful for my parents, my upbringing and the grace bestowed upon me. Was it a church that saved me? Even though I was in a church building it was not the building or the doctrine. It was others who loved the Lord opening their hearts to receive Him. There has never been an end to His presence in me. Throughout my lifetime I could tell you story after story of experiences that changed me.

Walking out my own faith over many years I find myself seeing life much differently than I did in my younger days. As I have learned to trust Jesus I have no confidence in my ability to accomplish His will. I rely on His Spirit to lead and guide me. It is not my way anymore. I live to please Him and am honored to be wherever life takes me. I trust Him more than I trust myself.

I know when He comes to you by the power of His Spirit you will never be the same. Wherever I go my interest is recognizing a common bond of the Holy Spirit regardless of a person’s upbringing or beliefs. Relating to others who also seek Him is such a joy. I have learned the work of the Holy Spirit is not bound by our theology. He operates like the wind and you don’t know where He comes from and where He is going. No longer am I looking to find the ways of Jesus through a lens of Christianity. I have found Him in the hearts of so many in all walks of life. He is far more than any religion.

I agree with Mahatma Gandhi when he famously said, “God has no religion”. He also said, I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike Christ.” Finally, he concluded that, “If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian.”

Do you see Him as your “All in All”? No matter where you are He desires to lead you and knows exactly what you need. Trust Him with all your heart! He loves us all.

Cultural Revolution Part 2

I posted an article a little over two years ago entitled “Cultural Revolution” as it pertains to the Kingdom of God. Little did I know it was the beginning of walking this out in my own life.
It was August of 2013, my company just signed a new five year contract. Things seemed settled for me until retirement although I did not consider the job very rewarding. I was making a good salary and I just needed a little patience to get through another five years. To my surprise, within just a few weeks, I received a phone call. I was being laid off. My peers and several managers expected me to return in another position. No sooner did a window of opportunity for another position open, it suddenly closed. Thinking things would eventually work out, I took the opportunity of being off work and traveled the next five months to gatherings in different states. This was so rewarding to me as I received confirmation and instruction of the things I would soon be stepping into. Even though things were going great, I still needed an income before retirement.

Coming back home, seeking His will, I became frustrated as I was having no success finding another job in my field of expertise. One morning I was reminded of a request I made in prayer several years earlier. I asked to leave my workplace when I was fifty-five years old and go into business. Both these things happened but neither in the way I expected. Here I was, about a month away from fifty-five when I was laid off and by January of 2014 contemplating going into business. I purchased a property management franchise and was led to locate the business in Virginia. It has been one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced and one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced. It is more than just a business. It is working toward the things of the Kingdom.

For several years I heard many talking about the Kingdom and witnessed little change in the lives of those who said they believed in this Kingdom message. It seemed most of the meetings were more about the hurt and woundedness many experienced from failed relationships; and listening to brothers and sisters tell about their disappointment with the church and everything wrong with it. I realized it was important for the healing of these matters before we could ever get to speaking about the Kingdom. So I attended many gatherings for several years and always felt there was much more. In the meantime, another two years passed and I gained a greater clarity of this cultural revolution.

After hearing these words “cultural revolution” almost daily, I continued to ask for the understanding. I began asking for the definition. The word cultural, describes the habits, beliefs, and traditions of a particular group of people. Revolution has several definitions but in this context we are defining it as a sudden, radical, or complete change. The understanding I received of the phrase, “cultural revolution” is:

A willingness to make a sudden, radical, and complete change in your habits, beliefs and traditions.

In looking back I finally saw He led me into this kind of life. For many years I walked in a culture that prevented me from knowing Jesus in ways I never imagined. There comes a time in everyone’s life to step beyond the traditions, habits and beliefs we trust and step out to discover all of Jesus. I can offer no formula that will bring you into this discovery. I do know we find more of Jesus when we give up seeking our own desires. Transitioning from a culture of religion into a culture of the Kingdom will challenge your identity. Rather than justify what you do, how you believe and why you have the right to make these choices, you find yourself giving up anything and everything to know Jesus. This freed me from judging my past to learning from my error. Now I embrace all my life and am very thankful for it. I do not consider my past experiences, the churches I attended, the people I met and the doctrines I learned were a failure. These are my life experiences that make me who I am today. I realized my successes and failures were not the most important thing. It was my willingness to do my best for Him. For years I had confessed Jesus Christ and believed in Him. Even though I desired to walk in obedience, I always fought within myself, never really giving all of me to Him. I was always thinking of a better way or sometimes an easier way. I quit searching for a better way because I finally surrendered to the perfect way of Jesus.

How do we step into this cultural revolution? It begins with an awakening about Jesus. Sources say there are 2.4 billion Christians that believe Jesus is the Son of God and Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Looking at Christianity today, does this religion reveal Jesus Christ? It has never been religion that revealed Jesus. By His Spirit is how you know Him. Stepping into the cultural revolution of the Kingdom is not about religion. It is about the person of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no religion, organization or man that can lead you to Jesus. The Kingdom is not and never has been a religion. Jesus never endorsed any religion or approved of anyone establishing organizations. I am not talking about religion. I am talking about the life of Christ dwelling in us, bringing about the Kingdom of God. The Scripture clearly shows us our God will use anyone or anything to reveal Himself. As I write this I hope we realize however he reveals Himself to us it is by His Spirit we know Him.

Why do we step into this cultural revolution that discovers more of Jesus? This is our purpose. It is why we were created. All of humanity seeks to love and be loved. Discovering the Jesus that wants to walk with us will change our whole world. The Kingdom of God is the “Christ in you” we receive when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. This is who we seek. To be full of His Spirit and walk out a life acceptable to Him. The only thing limiting us from walking in the Kingdom of God is us. Wherever you fellowship, whether it is in a church, a house, or any other place, you come together to follow the leading of the Lord. If it takes you to a different place of worship, a new job, or different brothers and sisters, so be it. If you leave, do it in peace and with a right heart of love. If you stay, encourage, comfort and care for one another. Just be where you are called to be. We are all growing and learning to walk in the fullness of our destiny.

Contrary to many teachings, the church is not sick and failing or in need of unity. She is whole and exactly on time. The church that Jesus is building has never stopped growing, maturing and walking into her destiny. She may have been deceived, persecuted, and suffered for centuries but this does not stop the words of Jesus. If anything, the trials have made us stronger. Jesus continues to build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. She will and has overcome the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. The true church is alive, walking in His Holy Spirit. The common denominator is the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in His body. This has never changed and the church continues to be built. Nothing will separate us from the love of God. We are called to do His will in our lives and each of us is given a measure of faith to accomplish our task.

The matter before us lies in our ability to know Jesus as the fullness of who He is. May we all continue to hear, see and do as the Holy Spirit directs us and fall in love with Him more and more every day.

Martin Luther King Jr., Holiday Thoughts

One famous quote of Martin Luther King Jr., is “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I could not agree more with the quote. I would like to apply this to the kingdom of God. Martin Luther King, Jr., was driven to remove laws that kept our country separated from racial discrimination and Jesus was driven to fulfill the law that separated His children from access into the kingdom of God.
Our inheritance as God’s children entitles us to an entrance into the kingdom of God. No longer are we separated by race, nationality or languages. Regardless of the labels we have applied and our interpretation of the Scripture we are granted access through the door, which is Christ Jesus!  In my lifetime I have been blessed to witness the church that Jesus is building continue to move forward. She has left behind denominational labels such as Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist and Catholic. She walked through the non-denominational churches. In maturity, she sees herself as a person rather than a building and a book. Now she is being awakened by a call from Her Bridegroom. He hid her in a religion until the time she could only see Jesus, her Bridegroom. Now just as MartIn Luther King, Jr., dreamed of the the day when we would be judged by our character, we are being judged by our love for Him. We desire the Christ in us to take us beyond our religion into the perfect law of liberty. This is where the church, His bride, is walking today.

Enjoying Kingdom Life

We had a great time Friday morning as the brothers gathered for breakfast. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we prayed, and we enjoyed Father’s presence among us. I am witnessing a continual change taking place in my life, as well as, the kingdom community of believers. Everything taking place is all part of a greater picture than any of us can comprehend. The more we trust Father the less we need to know. I would compare it to falling in love with that special someone. When this happens nothing else matters. The whole world could collapse and you really would not notice. All you think about is being together.

I get excited when I see the brothers loving their wives, the fathers being with their children and a family learning to live life through the good and bad. The more we know Jesus the more we love Him. This love can only be expressed through loving His body, as well as, His creation.

This may sound strange to some but try this for a season. Lay down your Bibles, stop praying and begin talking to Father about your day and enjoy His answers. Get a little distance from your religious ways and work on living the Word instead of reading it. Trust the Holy Spirit more than your own thoughts. Enjoy the living, breathing body of Christ called your brothers and sisters.

When you walk away from “your ministry” you get to enjoy more of the benefits of the kingdom.
In the kingdom there is only one ministry and everyone participates. So enjoy life with one another and honor God. Quit trying to turn everything into a religious ceremony and make it a love feast! Gifts flow, we worship, we praise, we deliver, we celebrate Christ and give Him the glory. What a great time!

Cultural Revolution

A few months ago I was given a word from our Father. The word was “cultural revolution” and I have been getting a major download of what this really means to me and those I share life with. There is a separation that must take place for His body to step into fullness. We cannot continue to look back at the things we have left. So many I meet are much like Lot’s wife. They cannot accept God’s judgement of the harlot. Rather than moving into a relational kingdom mentality they spend all their time trying to rescue others. A kingdom culture we walk in will remove us further from traditions and lifestyle that kept us in bondage. The bondage I am referring to is the disloyalty, dishonor, woundedness, hurt, false teachings, part truths and such like. I am not condemning others that cannot see nor would I pass judgement upon others as having no hope. I do pray everyone experiences the grace bestowed upon each of us in this present hour but we must trust the season they are walking in for Father’s purpose. We were once those who were struggling. The difference is we recognize Babylon and hear the call:

Rev.18:4 (KJV) “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

If we attempt to go back and save others it is contradictory to Father’s will.
He builds His church and as His children, we do as He commands. Please understand this revolution is not between some who attend a church and some who do not. Buildings and gatherings have nothing to do with the cultural revolution. We are here to change the culture by living out life in His kingdom. His kingdom is within us and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God.

The greatest struggle I see with many brothers and sisters is getting the denominational doctrines, traditions, thoughts and ideas purged out of them. They recognize the error and see the way to Jesus. Now they must learn His truth and not the truth of a harlot that deceived us for a season. We repent from our way of thinking and living to put on Christ. This is the cultural change we must walk out. It is a revolution within us that wars against all of our instincts to believe our way is acceptable.

John 14:6 (KJV) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Presently the relationships in His body are being formed so “life” can be manifest. We have seen the WAY and we are walking into His TRUTH. I am excited to see the LIFE of Jesus being fulfilled in us, the body of Christ!

May we all walk in newness of life!