“What I want in a Micro/Simple Church” #2

9025 The Sea Change is happening, do you see it? Are you hungry for it? Or resisting the new flow? What? I don’t want people coming in messing up MY house! Oh follower of Jesus, how great your persecution. Only exceeded by your great love for God and people. Last article ended with a prayer for being REAL. Gideon’s 300 will be revealed. Elijah’s 7,000 will be revealed. Disciples of John the Baptist will be revealed. And the fake will be revealed too.

Micro/Simple church is happening and growing! I downloaded 6 books on the subject just yesterday! I slightly changed my title here to include the word “simple” because that is an important part of what I am looking for, not only in our own fellowship, but in any other I may connect with, a getting back to the simplicity of Christ.

Today I will talk about the “Leader”. I have very definite qualities I’m interested in. But first I’d like to note a side thought that just occurred to me today. As Corona Virus seems to be rising again, and many churches are still tossed to and fro as to whether to regather, or not; it occurred to me how most chose to go down the “virtual” road rather than simply break into small home groups for a time.

Our group has been basically unaffected by this virus. Small groups still work. If someone thinks they might be exposed, they simply stay home. Small groups are much more accountable to each other. It’s very easy when everyone knows each other so well. But most churches have chosen a virtual experience rather than close family. What does this say of us? Are we the faith people, or fear people? Are we the self-sacrificing people, or selfish people? Are we true family, or simply another theater as many of us have been saying. When push came to shove, the church resorted to flat screens and video, as they hid in their holes! Any good lawyer could prove a lot with such strong evidence.

I doubt most big churches could even get enough qualified leaders who would meet “God’s standard” to lead a group, because we don’t raise true disciples anymore. I wonder if there would even be enough people to volunteer their homes, if the godly leaders could be found?

So…the church chose to remain the one-man-show. Put the Pastor on TV and we will all set at home and watch the man of God give us our itching ear message as we have become accustomed to. This is the level of our discipleship? Yes…it is…sad to say.

Okay, I won’t ride that horse any further, for now. This is supposed to be about Micro Church Leaders, and actually…it does relate to previous statements in a big way. Just how would “leaders” be chosen? Don’t they have to have “the call” on their life? Don’t they need a Bible degree from a college? How can you expect ordinary lay people to do the work of Pastors?

In Simple Church the answer is simple. Yes, they do need to be “called and gifted” of God, and many of them are! We simply don’t recognize them and put them into action as the Early Church did! When people know each other well enough, as in also having been in their homes and see how they really live, and know their heart, it becomes OBVIOUS who are the ones called of God to be a Bell Sheep. Those whom God has hung a bell around their neck to lead a group in following the Shepherd! That bell becomes obvious to one and all.

But we have complicated everything. Our potential Bell Sheep do not feel worthy because they see the superstar Pastor, they see him preaching the big messages and looking very “successful”, and they disqualify themself. Who am I? (They think.) Unless they have superstar potential, they drop out! But do we forget, scripture is very plain, God doesn’t usually use the superstars? Not many mighty are chosen? Remember all that? Your Pastor living in his mansion and driving expensive cars, eating at fine restaurants? Who has he become? Who does he think he is? Will you follow King Saul and end up dead, like the armor bearer? Or will you follow a David, even though living in caves, and end up bringing the power of God back into the family!

So now you have virtual services. And the superstar is still center stage, even though most of you have never even been in his home for a meal. My past experience was, the bigger the church, the less likely I would ever be invited into the Pastor’s home. Perhaps today’s Christians see nothing odd about that, but the Early Church would have, and for very good reasons we no longer understand.

Hhmmm, this message on “Leaders/ Bell Sheep” has expanded into more than I expected. This is going to require a 2nd part. I still say Jonathon should have taken his armor bearer and joined David. Or at least his armor bearer should have had the good sense to. Do we hear the voice of God, or not? Are we Spirit led, or man led? You stay with King Saul, over David? How have we been so brainwashed?

IN the Early Church, the church Jesus began and the Apostles built, they chose Pastors/Bishops from within their groups. It was that simple. They all knew each other well. Certain “men”, yes… I said “men”, were nominated because of the obvious faithful lifestyle they lived and the talent for teaching and leading they had. If there was an obvious flaw, someone would know. It would be made known. And finally a choice would be made. It was that simple. Simple Church. 

Many of us have not gone to Bible college, but we have sat under teachers and preachers for 40 + years! We have read and studied our Bible, and other multitudes of books by other teachers for many many years! And we have experience! We have assisted Pastors in many ways for many years! What can a Bible college degree add? It does not disqualify you, but neither does it qualify you! We have turned church into a big system of programs, and people into the products revolving over and over again through the doors! It’s complicated, tiring, and shallow! Yes, it is entertaining. We have very talented people, but entertainment is not meant to be church! It’s meant to be up close, personal, and REAL.

So… with these thoughts in mind…I left the church “system” to find Bell Sheep who lead in this way, with these qualities and vision… > to be continued.

9021 Getting back to basics. A Sea Change.

Early Church for the Last Days.

“What I want in a Micro/House Church” #1

5883 What am I looking for in a Micro Church, a House Church, that I cannot find in our modern big church system? I want to explore that personal question in this series. It is the Sunday morning after 4th of July as I find myself in a quiet place and God moves me with these thoughts.

Yesterday was anything but quiet. Our house became a family festival with 4 grand kids, 3 of our own adult-kids and their spouses, my wife and I (the grandparents), and all the food and activities that were planned, including a slip and slide, obstacle course, and pinata full of candy to bust. We were mostly outside and it was hot, but we had a breeze and shade tree, and then a downpour rain eventually came as we were trying to bust the pinata with a plastic bat. It was not working. The rain kept pouring. Grandpa fetched his wood Samurai training sword. That worked. Candy scattered everywhere. Children dove in for the treasure. We were all soaked. LOL. Great fun and much chaos.

But now “the quiet”. I’m by my French Doors that look out into my bird sanctuary, and I hear singing. The house is empty. Just me and 2 dogs. My coffee is good. Bitter as usual. Waking me up and got me pondering. What kind of Micro Church am I looking for? Why do I think the House Church vision is a better way? What can the House Church do different, better?

I intend to approach this in 3 parts. 1.) The Leader/ Elder. 2.) The People/ Fellowship. 3.) The Vision/ Goals/ Description/ Format. (This will include a few personal peeves of mine concerning what I believe to be certain errors in our modern church ways. Important practices of the early church that we have changed.)

I’m writing this series in hopes that others in Indianapolis Indiana have started Micro Churches. Our Fellowship is still very small and I would be interested in connecting with other groups “if” we were of a similar vision. I would even consider joining such a group. But I’m not interested in big church cell groups. I’ve tried them before. It just isn’t the same thing. It still lacks what I’m looking for, the vision in me.

So…starting next article we will describe what I’m looking for in the “Leader” of such a group. Then we will look at “the People”, and then “the Vision/ Practice” of said group. Until then, ponder for yourself what you think a House Church should be, and how it should function.  Or if you think House Churches are not a good idea, then why did it work so well in powerful Rome? And why is it working so well in other countries today, many of whom have much more difficult circumstances than we do. I invite you to have an open mind to the coming articles and consider them as a real possibility.

Finally, if you are a Micro Church somewhere around Indianapolis Indiana, or you are someone looking for one, and you are willing to meet and talk, please leave a comment and we can arrange a meeting place. I very much enjoy fellowship and conversation around this subject.   We live in a day where we have a lot of communication and pass a lot of information, but we’re losing the simple pleasures of conversation.

I believe Micro Church/ House Church is here to stay. It may be the new wine skin with the new wine God is pouring out for these last days. The big churches don’t want to hear it, and yet look what has been forced upon them in the COVID. Is God forcing their hand? Trying to get their attention?

Our small Fellowship has been able to continue as we always have during this pandemic. We have watched the big churches struggle, stress, and scramble as they provide their “virtual” church services. Our Fellowship is still very up close and personal. But some people don’t want up close. And those people should definitely reexamine their Christianity to see if they are real. Real family is personal, and we all NEED it! For our own pleasure and good. Think about it.

A Prayer > “Father, make us REAL. In the name of your Son, Jesus, first born from the dead, I ask for an outpouring of “REAL” in your people today. Let us come out from the FAKE, and let us be REAL. Let us not be what we see so much of in the world, and it disgusts us. Let us not be what we are so disgusted by in others. By the power of your Holy Spirit make us TRUE, for that is the only way we can be so, is by your power alone. In Jesus name I ask these things, Amen.” (Be blessed and Highly favored, everyone; but don’t be spiritually unprepared.)

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“Changing Hearts” #1

Na8rinz How did Jesus do it? How did the early church do it? That’s what I want to know, and it seems others are having that same hunger for knowledge. While in the midst of this modern church system, some are growing ever more hungry for what Jesus DID.

In this series I hope to share thoughts and insights about where this hunger has taken us, because I believe it is essential to the real changing of hearts. First I spent several months searching my own heart and studying church history up to 300 A.D. when Constantine begins affecting everything. I eventually came to zero in on what I call the “Missing 200 Years”, because most Christians have so little knowledge of them. A time period that should be of utmost importance to us, and yet we know next to nothing? Why? How? How has our professional clergy failed us so? Have they become like politicians, with a personal agenda to hide?

So…the first thing that impacted me about what Jesus and the early church DID, was the simplicity of it all. I had a great hunger for this simplicity.

The last modern church I attended actually had name-tag machines we were strongly recommended to always sign in on, get your tag, and wear it, please. I don’t need to go into details of the many ways church has become a complex system of programs and events which feels more like a machine, than a family. Nuff said on that.

As I began feeling led of the Spirit to start a “Fellowship”, the first thing I did was “simplify”. What are the basics of following Jesus? I call it “Simple Church”. I call it “Church Everywhere”. I have various names for it, but we keep it SIMPLE, FREE, OPEN-HANDED, and we ask mainly one thing > Come to “FELLOWSHIP”.

My rule is very simple. As long as you are here to “fellowship”, then you are most welcome. If you begin to sow “discord”, then you need to leave until you have a desire to return in “fellowship”, at which point you will be most welcome again.

So…having spoken of SIMPLICITY and true FELLOWSHIP… I’d like to give 3 scriptural points  I like to focus on. These are main ingredients of our teaching, and I believe the pathway to the POWER of Changing Hearts.

#1> FELLOWSHIP : “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

#2 > Our Dilemma : SIN > “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16-17)

#3 > God’s Power – Holy Spirit > “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me…” (Acts 1: 8a)

I believe we’ve got to get back to the “supernatural” power of #3. It is the dynamos that enables the born-again priesthood of God to deal with the responsibilities of #1 and #2. This Kingdom of Priest God has called is supernaturally powered, or it does not work. It is not by our own works that we have been saved, or save anyone else. We REST in God’s work. We live in the 7th Day. (L7D). By faith. And God grows us from the inside out, changing our hearts, and giving us the power to draw others to Him, so they can be transformed too. We change the world through the transformation spoken of in Romans 12:1-2. The priesthood involves living sacrifices who transform the world one person at a time. And a bonus to that is…if the world is truly transformed…you won’t have to worry about how they vote… and we will have better candidates to vote for. America will be transformed too, in a godly way, because perfect love does not sin.

Each of the above items need to be discussed in greater detail and likely to be future episodes.

I named our Fellowship: “Fellowship of the White Path”, because Jesus walked the red path of His own blood, so we could walk the white path of His own righteousness. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name sake.

I think this is a good start to understanding our Fellowship, and where God has led me in the changing of hearts. If anyone in Indianapolis area would like to meet and talk, that can be arranged. Simply leave your request in the comments and we will choose a place.

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Teepee Blip #6

20200614_191813 This is the view out my teepee door as the 3rd night nears. God has spoke so much to me today. There have been no blips because I have been so busy reading and making notes. It happened this way…I have a small radio I left on all night, for some odd reason. I woke this morning to the sound of a preacher on the radio because it’s Sunday. He happened to mention a book he has been reading, concerning the Early church. I checked it out on Amazon and ended up downloading that book and another!

This was not planned. I suddenly had two new books that I have been absorbing as much as possible! We mount up with the wings of the eagle. We catch a current of the Holy Spirit and He takes us to green pastures! Still waters! Paths of righteousness! Even the shadow of death, but we have no fear, only PEACE. I have a mighty Shepherd. I benefit from “HIS” power.

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I broke the fast last night at 50 hours, symbolic of Pentecost and the year of Jubilee. It was around 9 p.m. So I enjoyed a light breakfast outside today, in sunshine, as I dove into my two new books, and I have been content all day.

I’m not ready to leave. I will take my time tomorrow. Perhaps I will go home? Perhaps not? Lucky thing my wife is understanding in these matters. I’m a blessed man.

God has spoken much in these past 3 days of POWER. I don’t know if you’ve caught that. But it’s not our power. It’s us “tapping into” God’s POWER, and we get to be the donkey it rides in on. That POWER can dwell in us. We can be vessels carrying that POWER. The same Spirit, the same POWER that raised Christ from the dead dwelling in us! But how does that POWER empower us? Because the parable of the ten virgins plainly shows that it is possible to believe in the coming of the Lord, but not have the POWER. You lost it somewhere, while you were sleeping. Having a “form” of godliness, yet we have denied the POWER.

In these past 3 days we spoke of John the Baptist, and the POWER (Holy Spirit) in him even in his mothers womb! And that POWER enabled him to “turn hearts”! We spoke of Elijah, who confronted the Baals, and Jezebel! What would Elijah do in a modern church today? We spoke of how he heard the whispers of God, and turned hearts. We’ve spoke of Gideon and his 300. First Gideon tore down the Baals! Then he and his 300 defeated the 135,000 Midianites in the POWER of the hand of God! And we ask, where is the POWER? Right where it has always been, in the Holy Spirit! Be ye filled with the Holt Spirit. Be filled with spiritual dynamite! Embrace the desert you need.

Yes, God has the desert you need. But will you go there? People turn down God’s invitations. They only want a little of God. Why would anyone in their right mind go to a desert with God?

My mind is not very earthly right now. I’ve sailed way out at sea. I’m not anxious to leave this place. I may stay up late. I may send more teepee blips. Once I leave here it ends.

God has the “discomfort zone” you need to be filled with His POWER. But we usually resist the hard places, don’t we. This POWER, it’s not as the world thinks of power. What does it look like? It looks like Jesus. It looks like John the Baptist, Elijah, Gideon, Enoch. It looks like Peter, James, and John. It looks like Stephen. Barnabas. Paul. It looks like the Early church! But it don’t look much like the church of today. Think about it. 

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SIMPLICITY

Greater Light

What does greater light have to fear from lesser light? Nothing. We always seek the greater light. And I did not know how much confusion there has been concerning the “timing” of the Lord’s Passover meal just before his being taken to die. But per my previous article, I had a great conversation with a close friend the other day, and he quoted some scripture which caused me to look deeper into that particular area.

My concern has always been the changes to the way the meal is now performed in what I call a short-form Lord’s Supper, that is not even really a supper, and is a reflection of what church has become. This is still my main point, but after 3 hours of intense study, I now see that Jesus actually did resurrect on Sunday! Wow! That is very interesting, because I could not see how he could have the Passover Meal Friday evening, like all the Priest of Jerusalem, if he was in the grave? I found this very perplexing. (My friend wasn’t sure about this either. Not the details thereof.) And if he did not have the Passover Meal, then what is the Lord’s Supper? Therefore it seemed logical the 3 day clock must have started ticking after Friday. Hhhhmmmm. But Jesus did an interesting thing.

Even though all the Priest of Jerusalem would be having the Passover meal Friday evening, which would cross over into Saturday, the 15th day of Nissan, however; according to the Jewish time system, it actually became Passover day the evening of Thursday! Their time clock runs from sunset to sunset! So Jesus jumped ahead of  them and had his Supper at the very beginning of the Passover day. So technically speaking, he fulfilled the prophecy and also stayed on a time schedule in which he was dying for our sins at the same time the High Priest was slaying the Passover lamb! So he had his Passover meal and fulfilled the Passover Lamb all in the same day! Maybe this was the reason he did it this way, or…

I guess, for some reason, this was the way Galileans did the Passover anyway, according to the MacArthur study Bible, and so he was being true to the area he came from. But this very important point, which has caused confusion at times, does put our Lord on schedule for a Sunday resurrection! 60 years of going to church and I’ve never been taught this? A point in which some atheist use to try and discredit the Bible? I could not have defended the Bible on this point before the 3 hours I just spent digging it out.

So…with the new light I have received, my Matrix is affected. I must rethink certain things. And if the new light calls for change, then I must change or be dishonest. I have also tried to make corrections in any previous articles. So now I have some other questions and possible interesting points.

1.) This seems to indicate that when the High Priest went to the Holy of Holies to put the blood of the lamb on the Mercy Seat, he should have come face to face with a veil torn in two from top to bottom! This would have been the same High Priest who judged Jesus in the early wee hours of that same day! Surely this had to be quite a shock! And how did he continue on in the face of such knowledge? How could he not fall to his face in realization of what was going on? I would have been shaking in my boots and peeing my robes! But the Jewish faith went on in its’ same practice in spite of all these things? Wow. Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

2.) In John 18:28 we read, His (Jesus) accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. (So we can plainly see these Priest had not had the Passover meal yet, but Jesus and his disciples already had. Interesting.) So it is easy to see how this could be a very confusing point. There are other scriptures also, that without understanding this one point, would seem to say Jesus had to be crucified on Saturday. But not if you understand the difference of timing in what he did, and what the priest of Jerusalem did.

3.) So what do we do with the quote from Justin Martyr? Who stated Jesus was crucified on Saturday and rose on Sunday? He seems to be half right. Was it a simple writing error? Was he confused by the timing of the Lord’s Supper also? I must admit I am still puzzled by how such a good man wrote such a confusing statement. Was this a common belief at that time? I may never know, but it is more proof of the confusion that has existed.

4.) One more area of interest to me. How does this better understanding affect if we have any “sun worship” going on in our church today? Because, since Jesus really did rise on Sunday, then of course it is not sun worship on our part to celebrate, except the emphasis is still to be on his death more than resurrection. I know this is a sticking point with me, but the sun worship was all about resurrection, and our early church fathers did believe you had to endure to the end before you actually possessed your resurrection from Christ. In other words, they did not believe we were once saved always saved. So if we are careless in this emphasis, and we make Easter/ Ishtar more about resurrection than death, do we slip into a form of sun worship? Good question. I still think both the Easter Bunny and Santa should be kept at home, not church, and only with very proper teachings from parents as to what is true.

Also, the Jewish Passover goes into 7 days of unleavened bread after the Passover meal. This symbolizes getting the sin out of our life. So if we do our short-form Lord’s Supper on Sunday, and also celebrate his resurrection, then there is no 7 days of symbolism to make us think about our sin. Does the average church have an Easter message about sin, or resurrection? You may say “both”. But the Unleavened Bread was about sin, not both, and what I’ve seen is everyone is so busy celebrating the resurrection, (and who can blame us), but do we embrace that cross and our need of a greater sanctification? Is this nothing to worry about? Is our emphasis off? Does not the short-form Passover Meal itself, on the wrong day, seem to give us our answer, as we cram everything into one day?

Another point of possible confusion is the fact that the Sabbath actually was on Saturday. (A point our Seven Day Adventist churches like to point out as very important.) So that being the case, Jesus body was resting in the grave on the day of rest. This seems to be accurate to what we would expect. Things are fitting now. And so Jesus rises on Sunday, but this in itself sets up an “easy to mix with sun worship situation”. I guess that’s just the circumstances we are stuck with. This does not give the Constantine church permission to take part in Winter Solstice, (Christmas), and all sun worshiping activities, and yet we did. Ezekiel 8 reveals what judgement this brought on God’s people in the days of Ezekiel. And we watch the Constantine church slowly slide into such horrible darkness. And what of us today?

Okay…I’m so glad a good friend caused me to look deeper into a point I was questioning. Even though the Passover Meal generally was performed on Friday evening in Jerusalem, THAT’S NOT WHAT JESUS DID! (Not that day at least.) And we are famous at this site for asking what “DID” Jesus do? Not so much what WOULD Jesus do? We now have greater light in this area, and I’m so glad. We now have greater accuracy to the questions we are asking, and we will continue seeking greater light any time God gives such opportunity. That’s just what we do here.

Don’t be afraid to be wrong. We do our best not to be, but unless we do nothing, we always have a chance to be wrong when were stepping out there. Such questions need to be asked. I can now defend the Bible better because I now understand what Jesus actually DID. We need to step out there. There are still many questions needing answered. We still have a very money oriented modern church that needs considerable money to function. This causes compromises in many ways. Sun worship was a prosperity worship. Jesus sent his 70 out with practically nothing! And he gave us “Table” more than “Temple”.

I was greatly surprised at a very small verse of scripture in Exodus, just a very few words, like 12, that takes having a table with God back to Moses, Mount Sinai, and his 70 Elders!

Exodus 24:9 > “Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders of Israel climbed up the mountain.” Verse 10a > “There they saw the God of Israel. …” Verse 11> “And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!”  (NLT version) 

(Amplified version) > “…but they saw (the manifestation of the presence of) God, and ate and drank.”

Wow…it amazes me that Jesus knocks at the door desiring to sup with us. So again we ask, what is the proper table setting for God? This should be of interest to every true child of God. Adam failed to keep the garden. Are we doing any better? Do we have a proper table? Iron sharpens iron.

P.S.> After setting for a while pondering my new mental picture, I drew up a couple of “time lines” showing the difference between what Jesus and the early church seemed to do, and what we do today. As I stared at these two different Easter experiences, I found it to be very interesting. This I plan to share next article, and very soon.

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