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When Is A Church No Longer A Church?

Greetings,
“God sets the lonely in families….”  Psalm 68: 6
“..for we are members of His Body.”  Ephesians 5: 30
“…for the sake of His Body, which is the church.”  Colossians 1: 24
Today’s blog post is going to be very short.  The Lord gave me these words one night and then told me not to add or subtract anything.  So here it is…..
The church becomes an institution instead of the living Body of Christ when it runs like a business instead of a family, when some members are elevated with titles, offices or positions, when someone starts making money by “serving” it, and when it desires tax exempt status from the state.  The Institutional “church” system is wrong and perhaps at times even evil.  When one follows traditions instead of the Spirit’s leading things go all to hell very quickly.
Love and….
Kirk Out !

Totally Unconditional

Greetings,
“……  God is love……”  1 John 4: 16
The last several days in my heart and mind I have been pondering some wonderful mysteries.  I have come to several conclusions and I thought I would share them here with you today.
“….  God is love….” that is an undeniable fact, and His love is also unconditional. He loves everyone at all times and nothing we can say or do can change that.  At our very best or very worst He continues to love us no matter what we have ever done, or what we can ever do.  His love is constant and unchanging.
I was pondering His great love and then it hit me….not only is God’s love unconditional, but because of His love and great character God’s grace must be unconditional too.  The best definition I have ever found for grace is…unmerited favor.  Grace cannot be earned, it is something freely given to us by our Lord.  Just take a moment and think about it?  Unconditional grace; that is a total game changer.  In fact grace of this magnitude totally obliterates karma. Jesus fully bought and paid for everyone of us on the cross.  His total sacrifice means our complete freedom in Him for eternity.
Still hanging with me?  The rabbit hole goes even deeper.  I will now close with one life changing statement.  Because of who God is…His mercy is totally unconditional too!  I am coming to understand these things and it is completely rocking my world.  Unconditional love, unconditional grace and unconditional mercy….truly walking in HIM means we will practice these things in our daily lives, towards ALL people and all the time.  If the true Church would rise up and grasp these simple concepts the whole world around us would be transformed.  The early Church in the book of Acts turned the world upside down by walking in Love, Grace and Mercy.  Now is our time to do the same.
Love and……
Kirk Out !
P.s.  Seems to me that much of the modern traditional “Church” system gets it almost totally wrong where it comes to distributing God’s love, grace and mercy.  Most of these “churches” seem to measure and dole out love, grace and mercy like they have an extremely limited supply on hand.  Plus they only give to people that meet their predetermined conditions and qualifications for care and aid.  When according to God they need to give unconditionally of HIS bountiful unlimited supply.

Finding Your Family

Greetings,

“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”  Psalm 68: 5-6

Please notice God does not set the lonely in “church”, “church” buildings, growth groups, cell groups, home groups, special programs or singles ministries.  What God does do is set them in families within the Body of Christ.  The true Church is a family and it functions as one and not as a business, corporation or 501c3.

In this family all those who follow Christ are God’s children and are also sisters and brothers in Christ.  We are all related supernaturally by the blood of Jesus and should love, honor, serve and accept one another even more so than natural siblings do.  I am talking about being an extremely close knit family that shares everything with one another.  We should share our hopes, dreams, fears, successes and failures with each other.  As siblings we should give one another deep love, support and care beyond what the world can imagine.

Jesus said the following about this deep and meaningful love:

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are mine, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

In God’s family we must love one another as Jesus has loved us.  Jesus held nothing back and His love was so great that He even gave His life to save those He loved.  I consider myself very fortunate to have experienced this Holy Love with many sisters and brothers over the years.  Once you have tasted this love and the depth of relationship that accompanies it; you will find it impossible to settle for anything less.  If you have not yet encountered this type of love and relationship please do not lose heart or give up.  Press forward in Jesus and you will find others who embrace this love and are willing to share it with you.

 Stop looking for it in the religious institutions and traditions of men.  For it is rarely to be found there.  You are not seeking a place to belong to, but rather a people to be part of.  O’ lonely one, follow your heart and I guarantee you will find your family.  Even now they are praying and waiting to embrace you.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

Even Paul Needed The Body For Correction And Accountability

Greetings,

“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.  There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.  Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.  Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.  But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ”Your blood be on your own heads!  I am clear of my responsibility.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.  Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.  Acts 18:1-8

I believe I see something in this passage.  Something that can be easily missed in everyday reading, but I still see it now.  What I see is the body of Christ reaching out and giving accountability and encouragement to Paul.

Before Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth Paul was going to the synagogue and REASONING with the Jews and Greeks trying to PERSUADE them and it seems like he was not getting very good results.  However, as soon as Silas and Timothy show up Paul completely changes his message and method away from human reasoning and persuasion to EXCLUSIVELY PREACHING and TESTIFYING that Jesus was the Christ.  I contend that it is quite possible that Silas and Timothy corrected Paul and brought about this change in his ministry in Corinth.

I know I may be reaching here, but when I have shared this with others in the body over the years it has been for the most part well received.  One thing for sure is that something changed when Silas and Timothy came to Corinth.  I also know that human reasoning and persuasion never bring the type of results that preaching and testifying in The Spirit do.  Here we see Paul changing his message and method and right away he gets a response.  Sure the initial response is opposition and abuse, but shortly thereafter Paul moves his ministry to a home and then many Corinthians believed and were baptized.

There is a huge difference between using our heads and using our hearts.  Knowledge puffs up and can often stand in the way of real Spirit led sharing.  I know this because I have been there and I have gladly received correction from the body many times.  Paul was human just as we are and he made mistakes just like we do.  When we gather with other believers for free & open fellowship perhaps the main question we ask ourselves when we are about to share is…..Is it me, or is it God?  Quite frankly the only way to find out is to go ahead and share and allow the Body to judge our offerings.  (1 Corinthians 14)  Many are afraid to share because they might be wrong, but in our fear there is so much pride and in our pride so much fear.  The only way to work through this with one another is to be honest and allow those we have come to love and trust to judge our sharing.  So I say when you think you have something to share… GO FOR IT!  Because we can all share in turn and allow the Spirit to work among and in us.  It takes the whole body functioning as it should to determine what His message is on any given day.  Me?  I want encouragement and accountability.  When we all share, the message is beautiful and bears fruit.  So please share away and allow the Body to determine what is excellent and of The Spirit.

Love and ….

Kirk Out !

How Will They Know?

Greetings,

Jesus said:  “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13: 34-35

At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is faith expressing itself through love.  God is LOVE and LOVE is THE answer!  According to Jesus the only way that people will know that we are following Him is by the love we show for each other.  They will never know we are His by our “church” attendance, biblical knowledge, tithing, prosperity, sound doctrine, good looks, or public speaking ability.  The one and only true mark of a sincere believer in Christ is LOVE.

Love is more powerful than any other attribute we may practice or possess.  Our highest calling is to love others just as Jesus did.  Jesus loved others unconditionally and so should we.  Jesus loved so much that He laid down His life for everyone. If we are truly to follow His great example, we will do no less.  

Sharing His truth in love is rarely easy.  It costs us dearly to extend this manner of love to others.  Loving others places us in a vulnerable state every time we reach out beyond our personal comfort zone.  The big question is are we really willing to risk sacrificing our health, wellbeing and safety in order to love those who need love the most?  Christ’s love will take you to the bad part of town where danger lurks around every corner.  This love will take you to visit the deathly ill and notoriously dangerous.  This love will enable you to forgive sin and hug your accuser.  Finally, this love with set you and others free.  Love is the reason why I chose to work among addicts and the mentally ill.  Sure it was dangerous at times, but it was worth it to be able to share real sincere love, care and concern with those brought to a place in life where they felt totally unlovable.  I know no other way to say it or to live it.  Truly the only safe place on earth is the location where we are fully enveloped in His Love.  Wherever you encounter and share this type of love…drink of it deeply my friends.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

The Absolute Number One Priority Of The Church?

Greetings,

“…. And now I will show you the most excellent way.  13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”              First Corinthians 13

Last week when I was driving home from Janet’s place I was flipping through radio stations and landed on a John MacArthur program.  He is a famous preacher and he and the announcer were discussing the “absolute number one priority of the Church”.  Their claim was that the “teaching and preaching of the Word Of God” took total preeminence over anything else that the Church ever does.  As they were discussing this topic I felt very grieved in the Spirit and my heart was greatly saddened.

In that moment three things struck me pretty hard as to why what they asserted was such a lie from the enemy.  Since that moment I have prayed and sincerely pondered the magnitude of their complete lie and this is what was revealed to me.

Number one….  They perpetuated the myth that the bible is “the Word of God”.  The bible is a great book and I believe it to be God inspired and extremely beneficial to the life of every follower of Christ.  However, the bible NEVER, EVER claims to be “The Word of God.”  In fact the bible clearly states that Jesus is The Word of God and not a mere book about God and HIs will and ways.

Number two….  To elevate the “teaching and preaching” of the book to the very first priority of the Church places the Clergy ( Pastors, Preachers and Teachers) on the highest possible pedestal; totally re-enforcing that there is a human hierarchy and spiritual caste system in the Church.  It destroys the concept of true unity among all believers and the fact that we are ALL equal peer siblings in the Church.  And in a very real way it it affirms that those who deliver the message in Church are equal to or greater than even Jesus.  Think about it?  If their job is delivering the utmost important thing it by default makes them, and not Christ, the most important person in the Church.  Yikes!  No, make that major Yikes!  We in the simple, organic, home church crowd try to avoid this problem altogether by having free flowing conversations rather than sermons and monologue. 

Number three….  The flat out truth in love is that neither preaching, teaching or the bible are God’s priority.  Because LOVE and LOVE alone is the greatest and most excellent way.  The number one call of the Church is to LOVE God and LOVE one another and one another includes the “least of these” whoever they may be.  In the end only three things remain…FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE, but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.  Giving ANYONE ANYTHING LESS THAN LOVE falls WAY short of God’s plan for us.  We are to always walk in LOVE and to LOVE is THE Greatest command that The Lord has ever given us and ever will.  Yes, I am very passionate about this and I often fall short of loving others as I should; but that does not negate this message.  If the Church at large fails at love is it really HIS Church to begin with?  THE ONE thing we utterly need to get right is loving others.  I need to end now and get on my face before Jesus.  For I cannot escape the conviction this has brought to my heart and mind.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Alone With God

Greetings,

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  Mark 1: 35

This is just one example of the many times that Jesus withdrew from the crowds in order to spend some time alone communicating with the Father.  Time alone with the Father is very important.  We all need to spend time with Father in order to relax and recharge our Spiritual batteries so that we can face life head on and energized to face whatever challenges may lay ahead for us.  I cannot possibly emphasize this point enough.  It is an utter NEED to step back away from life and spend time alone with God.

These past few weeks I did exactly that and while I spent time with God HE met me exactly where I was Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.  As I allowed Him to touch me in my most inward being HE blessed me with revelation knowledge that I severely needed to address the difficult problems I was facing in life.  Where I was bound up, HE set me free!  Where I was struggling HE gave me insight and strength. Where I was lost and seeking HE provided the Light necessary to lead me into total freedom.  In short HE led me away from busyness, crowds and concern; and into total peace and tranquility in Him.   Where I was overwhelmed HE took the heavy load from off my shoulders and granted me full and complete rest.

We all NEED precious quiet time with The Lord.  Far too often we allow the cares of life and the world around us to overburden us and weigh us down.  All the while HE is right there calling us to spend some time alone with Him.  Just because we are busy, it does not mean we are being productive.  We all NEED to relax, unplug and cozy up to the One who gives us life.  Every time we do so, He guarantees that we will be blessed and encouraged.  Think you don’t have time for such a thing?  Think again and please take every opportunity to withdraw and just BE with Him. Time spent with Him is time well spent.  Please yield to the Spirit in this and every other matter?

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Wow two blog posts in a row about taking much needed Selahs in our daily life.  It really is all about BEING in Christ, instead of DOING even Godly things.  I feel Jesus is trying to teach us something very important.  Will we respond and surrender, or just keep pressing forward without the rest HE says we desperately need?

 

 

 

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