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Do You Have A Relationship With God Or Are You Just Dating?

Greetings,

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”   2 Corinthians 13: 14

Wow!  The grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Spirit; It is extremely important to have all three of these at work in your life.  I think that most followers of Jesus know somewhat about grace and love, but just how many of us really have fellowship with the Holy Spirit?

“Fellowship” implies a deep intimate love relationship and I think that many Christians fall way short where it comes to this bond with the Holy Spirit.  Most Christians cling tightly to their bibles, but tend to know very little about relating in the Spirit.  Most spend more time reading and studying the book, than they do praying and spending close and intimate time with the Holy Spirit.  This is sad because it is the Holy Spirit that really makes the bible come alive to us.  In fact unless the Spirit breathes on us and opens our hearts and minds to the ancient text….the bible can be dead and useless.  The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life!

All this brings me to this crucial question…..Do you have a relationship with God or are you just dating?  Seriously?  Do you walk continuously with God or do you just visit Him several times a week?  Daily, moment by moment, surrender, fellowship and interaction with the Spirit is the only true way to really know and serve Him.  ”….because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.”  Romans 8: 14

This is why it is so crucial to be Spirit led and not bible led.  Unless you allow the Spirit to guide you in the use of the scriptures…the time you spend in them will be for naught.  It is impossible to have a relationship with a book, even the best book.  However, when we read as led by the Holy Spirit the words will come alive to us and are totally excellent and profitable.

So I strongly encourage everyone to develop their partnership, fellowship, relationship and intimacy with the Holy Spirit.  Because in Him we have the mind of Christ available to us at all times and He will lead us into ALL truth.  He actually improves our time in the bible.  May we all surrender fully to Him and allow Him to fill us to the full measure of Christ overflowing.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

Why Choose One Over A Multitude?

Greetings,

“Wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors.”  Proverbs 11: 14

Wisdom, or an understanding of God’s will and knowledge of what is true, is vital in the life of a follower of Jesus.  Being able to know and apply wisdom in our daily choices and circumstances is an absolute need in this life.  We need to know God and His will intimately if we are ever to grow up into what the Lord desires us to be.

To be wise it takes the input and advice of many.  However, most of the time in the traditional/institutional “church” we are expected to be taught and guided by one man called The Pastor.  This my friends is not healthy or biblical.  Yet, Sunday after Sunday the MANY sit passive in the pews, while the ONE teaches and preaches without interruption.

The fact is that we will never grow up in Jesus until the entire body is allowed to share and interact every time the church gathers.  When everyone shares the body grows up into the Head and there is true unity.  In Christ the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as EACH PART does its work.  It is only then that we all become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4)

The church was never intended to be a one man, or even few man, show. It takes the entire body of Christ working together in unity to become what He desires us all to be.  Every member of the body is vitally important and needs to be given the opportunity to share their portion whenever the body gathers.  True disciples are made when they are given the chance to hear wisdom flow forth through a multitude of counselors and then allowed to share their part of the picture also for all to hear and consider.

So if you want wisdom..break free from the control of the One man system and seek out true fellowship with others who know how to operate as a fully functioning body.  When the church gathers it should be a wide open discussion with everyone participating for the mutual benefit of all involved.  So what will it be for you?  Sit down, shut up and listen to the Pastor; or sit down, open up and have a great conversation?

Love and….

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Update on Janet’s mother….cancer is growing fast, hospice has begun, she has less than six weeks to live according to the Dr.  Please continue in prayer for her and her family?

The Yoke’s On Me

Greetings,

Jesus said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30

This is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture.  Here Jesus calls anyone who is struggling to simply come to Him and then find rest.  This message is so comforting because we all struggle at times and desperately need to find a place of comfort and rest so that we can just recharge and face another day of challenges.

However, the way Jesus wants us to find this rest is very unique.  In fact it is a total contradiction.  In order to find the rest that Jesus wants us to have He invites us to take His yoke upon us.  In the world yokes are meant for oxen or other beasts of burden, so that they can be controlled better while carrying very heavy loads.  Yet the yoke Jesus suggests for us is one that is not burdensome at all, in fact it is easy and light.

Jesus wants us yoked with Him so that we can learn directly from Him how to better navigate the path He sets before us in this life.  Yokes are usually made for two animals so that they can pull in tandem, side by side.  Here I believe Jesus is suggesting to us that we should allow His Spirit to be yoked with us.  This makes perfect sense because The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, is literally “The One called alongside us”.  Why would we ever go it alone in this life when God has fully provided a better way for us.  A way to do it with HIM, instead of all on our own.

Jesus clearly wants us in His yoke so that we can learn directly from Him.  However, far too many of us are yoked with something or someone else altogether.  Yoke with the church and it will fail you. Yoke with a Pastor and they will fail you.  Even yoke with the bible and it will fail you.  Jesus and His Spirit are the only ones who really fit into the yoke with you.  So if you want to learn directly from The One who is gentle and humble in heart, Jesus Himself, then step right up and take His yoke upon you.  This is THE way Jesus wants us to learn.  Sermons get you no where.  The bible only gets you part way.  Same goes for commentaries or other written works of men.  Sure secondary revelation can help at times, but there is nothing like direct teaching and revelation from The One called right alongside us.

Why read a book when you can actually experience Truth in Love?  Why settle for a postcard when you can actually take the trip for yourself?  We all have plenty of questions, but ONLY HE has answers.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

P.s. Please be praying for Janet’s Mom, Ann?  She found out yesterday that she has inoperable cancer.  She loves and follows Jesus, but the whole family needs prayer right now.  Hospice care will start soon.

Autumn Rains 2014 Update

Greetings,

Joel 2:23-26 (New International Version)

23 “Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.”

On October 24th 2013,  Catherine S. left the following comment on my blog “Fear No More”

“How wonderful to hear of Christ’s miracle in your life! As I read your post, I thought of Joel 2:23-26, and especially where the Lord says His people will be repaid “for the years the locusts have eaten.” I not only believe that God will continue in His faithfulness to heal you, but that the passage in Joel is a word for you.”

As I sit here one year later updating this blog post there are literally tears of gratitude and joy streaming down my cheeks again onto my very damp shirt.  His presence in my life is utterly undeniable and I am so very, very grateful.  This was my second straight October without a single PTSD episode in 15 years.  In fact I have been PTSD episode free for over 14 months now.  This freedom from flashbacks of brutal rapes and childhood sexual abuse is truly a miracle in my life and I praise Jesus for the peace that now floods my soul and mind.  I still have the occasional mild flashback, but they no longer cause me great distress and that is saying a lot; because in the last 15 years I have had nearly 50 psychiatric hospitalizations and several serious suicide attempts.

The Lord sent His autumn rains to cleanse and purify all of my fall memories.  I was four years old the first time I was molested and raped in a pile of autumn leaves and until last year the beautiful fall foliage brought to my mind only excessive fear and terror. Today I am not afraid and can actually enjoy all the colors that this season brings.  Historically my Novembers have been as challenging and difficult as my Octobers, but with all of this positive Spiritual momentum I feel like, with the help of Jesus, I can face any obstacles that the next month may bring.

The locusts have indeed eaten a good portion of my last 15 years of life.  Although in the last 3.5 years I have made significant progress in dealing with my childhood issues.  I now feel that every area of my life is in the process of complete restoration.  However, by my ex-wife’s choosing..our marriage is one thing that will not be restored.  I understand her choice and I am glad to report that we are getting along well now and that our relationship as ex’s is about as good as it can be at this point. Every other area of my life is going amazingly well.   Relationships with my children and friends are completely healed and GOD has placed the most wonderful and beautiful woman in my life.  Janet truly loves Jesus and me, and it sure looks like she is “The One”.  Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically I have never felt better in all my 52 years.

Jesus has always been with me from my earliest childhood memories, (HE was there holding and comforting me during the abuse) but now there is an intimacy and a closeness that has been lacking in recent years due to the flashbacks.  The relationship I now share with Jesus is more than worth having to go through 15 years of hell to obtain.  As I draw closer and closer to Him, He does not retreat, but presses even closer to me than I could ever imagine or explain with mere words. This relationship leads me to connect with others in the Body of Christ even deeper than ever before.  Our times of fellowship together encourage us to press more and more into the fullness of His Truth in Love.  His mercy and grace carried me for 15 years and now all I want to do is carry His love, truth, mercy and grace to others who desperately need the touch of Christ in their lives  Thank you for that word Catherine.  It found roots in my heart and encouraged me greatly.  I know that the prayers of many have been sent out for me over the years and I appreciate every single one of them.  With the help of Jesus and His dear saints I can now stand upright and I am ready to be poured out for the sake of others now.  If Jesus could rescue and deliver me I know He can do it for you too.  Don’t give up!  Sometimes it takes awhile (even 15 years), but you just might be His very next miracle.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

The Only Hill To Live And Die On

Greetings,
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”  Romans 15: 5-7
Unity, or oneness in Christ, is something extremely vital to the entire Church.  Unity is not something we can manufacture in our flesh.  It is a great gift, something that we are granted by our Lord.  We just need to recognize and accept it, and then choose to walk in it daily.
The fact is that we, the Church, are already one in Spirit.  Our oneness is something the Lord has already provided for us. Problem is that many in the “Church” actively choose to divide rather than come together as one.  The word denomination means to divide and there are many divisions and denominations in the “church” world today.  Most divide over matters of doctrine or teaching.  This is a very sad thing indeed, because if we could just agree together about who Jesus is and what He accomplished, we should be able to work through any other differences or obstacles with relative ease.
We are supposed to accept each other as Christ accepted us.  When we fully accept one another there is unity in Spirit.  We all need to remember that when Christ accepted us we were all lost, unclean, sinners, without hope or direction.  Our attitudes were often hostile to the truth.  We thought that we were unworthy, undesirable and unlovable.  In spite of all of this Christ loved and accepted us just as we were with all of our blemishes.  Even though our behavior was much less than Christ-like He still loved us and looked past our shortcomings.  The big question is are we willing to do the same for all others that the Lord brings to our lives?  Will we look past their apparent sins and shortcomings?  Or will we instead sit in judgement and deny people equal access to the cross and His Body?
There is no true unity without total acceptance of those who seek Him and also those who are already found in Him, regardless of what their sins and shortcomings may be.  As followers of Jesus we are to hold the door of acceptance and fellowship wide open to those who seek and love Him.  God is all about relationship and we should be too.  I feel that relationship with Jesus and one another is the one and ONLY hill where we should plant our flag and be willing to live and die.  The quest for purity of doctrine should NEVER be that hill.  The “Church” tried that in times past and the result was only death and destruction in the great Inquisition.  I do believe that we can be iron sharpening iron even when we may disagree on doctrine or practice, but we should always approach one another with faith, hope and love.  Let us not be as some others majoring on the minors and neglecting the truth in love.  Love, acceptance and forgiveness are where unity is found and that is exactly where God commands His blessing.  I will not divide from others on the sole basis of doctrine.  Remember there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  So always seek to unite instead of divide!
Love and …..
Kirk Out !

Going Toe To Toe For The Gospel

Greetings,

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5: 11-12

Three people contacted me last night and two of them shared those exact verses with me, and the other person encouraged me in a very similar manner.  All these friends knew was that the Holy Spirit prompted them to call and encourage me.  They had no idea about my current circumstances.  All I can say is that according to those verses I am in the process of being very greatly blessed the last few days.

In the last 48 hours in an online forum about house churches Two legalistic men have attacked and denounced me falling just short of calling me a false teacher.  All this is because we have different understanding about some key issues in the Church.  They say I have a low view of scripture because I refuse to elevate the written word to a place equal to or greater than Jesus Himself, because I feel that is idolatry.  They say scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  While I believe that only Jesus is THE final authority in all matters PERIOD.  They also vehemently disagree with me when I say the Church needs to be Spirit led rather than bible led.  We also part ways concerning the role of hierarchy in the Church.  They believe in and support the need for a human hierarchy to rule over the Church based on gifting, gender and biblical knowledge.  While I say we are all equal sibling peers in the Church under only the rule of Christ alone.  They see the need for human rulers with great authority, but I see the need for true servants with equal authority in Christ.  Finally I support the full equality of women in the Body of Christ in regards to all giftings and practice and they promote patriarchy where only males can ever lead and teach.  Yes, there are very dysfunctional house churches out there that differ very little from most traditional “churches”.

Some would say to me that an online forum is no big deal and that I should just leave to avoid further conflict with these two men.  Problem is that I have been called and equipped by Jesus to contend for the faith in situations just like this.  I also am not the only one speaking for the ways of Christ rather than men there.  Jim W. a dear brother in Christ had stood back to back with me fending off the assault of the enemy via these two very persuasive, highly intellectual men.  Jim and I feel that we need to take a stand against the very traditional/Institutional teaching of these two men who tend to dominate the discussion at this forum of more than 550 people.  There simply needs to be light in the midst of this darkness.  So that those who visit there sincerely seeking a better more relational way to Church can find it there in this location.  It would be Christlike to just present differing views and opinions concerning difficult beliefs and doctrines there, but these two men continually go for the jugular and place their feet on the neck of those with differing views.  Demanding compliance to their understanding of such doctrines and scripture.  It would be great if someone would step in to help moderate the discussions there, but these guys help administrate this forum so there is not much help or balance in sight.  Brothers in Christ should be able to work through differences such as ours, but they are all but saying Jim and I aren’t even real Christians because of our views and lack of having the bible as our only standard.  However, the deeper I go in Christ it seems that I become too radical for even the radicals.

Me?  I accept anyone who loves Jesus and calls Him their Lord.  If they follow Him in the big picture I am certain that any other details can be worked out over time and fellowship.  If we agree on who Jesus is we should be able to walk together and figure the rest out in His good time.  God hates divisions and to divide over doctrine before giving our sibling relationships a real chance to grow and mature is a HUGE mistake in my humble opinion.

The traditional “church” has many doctrinal obstacles in the way of true fellowship and life in Him.  The same should not be true in totally open and free, organic, Spirit led and relational fellowship.  Jesus never made me take a test about doctrine or scriptural knowledge in order to enter into a relationship with Him.  He called me His friend and then began to teach me via the Spirit all I needed to know about life in Him and the Church.  Cutting people off over doctrinal disputes is like aborting a baby before it grows to full term and is born.  It takes time with Him to learn and grow into the disciples He intends us to be, but if we walk with Him and one another long enough we will all eventually grow up to where we can be fully birthed into His amazing truth and love.  I don’t consider myself to be fully there yet, but I hope to be in the future.  I would surely appreciate your prayers for Jim and I.  Fighting the doctrine police is surely a difficult adventure.  Jesus said we should be defined by our love for one another and not by our doctrines.  I say a tree is known by its fruit.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Today Claudia’s family asked me to help them put together a memorial service for her.  They continue to ask sincere questions about Jesus.  Several are very close to inviting Him into their lives. Please pray for them and the memorial?

From Death Into Life Eternal

Greetings,

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”  2 Timothy 4: 2

“…….  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  “Where, O death is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15: 54-57

Thursday night just after 8 pm. I found the nice older lady who lives in the apartment below me cold and dead in her chair.  Her 20 something daughter came and got me when no one would answer her Mother’s door.  I helped her daughter break in through the bedroom window, but we were too late to help.

Claudia was a kind and generous soul.  She was my downstairs neighbor for over three years.  Until just recently we did not have a lot of conversations, but starting about a month ago we seemed to always check our mailboxes at the same time.  We normally did little more than exchange pleasantries, but 2 weeks ago I helped carry her groceries in from her car.  This led to her asking me if I wanted a glass of fresh lemonade and that led to our very first lengthy conversation.

We must have talked for about a half hour and then she asked me to help her exchange her oxygen tanks.  Claudia suffered from emphysema and I was glad to help.  She knew I was a follower of Jesus from our brief communications over the years, but in that very moment I felt the Lord nudge me to talk to her frankly about the Holy Spirit.  I told her I was familiar with breathing difficulties because I have had asthma in the past and my Mother had COPD before she died 13 years ago. Somehow (I don’t know how) that led to me explaining how the Spirit of Christ was like the breath of God and that the Wind of The Spirit could fill us and set us free in Christ.

Claudia’s face lit up as I was speaking the truth in love to her and after a few minutes she told me that she desired to have Jesus and the Spirit of Christ in her life.  In that very moment I felt the Spirit come upon her and she invited The Lord Jesus to take charge of her life.  At this point we were both in tears and I gave her a big hug and with a glad heart I welcomed her into the Body of Christ.  This was clearly an upper room experience for the both of us.

Now I sit here two weeks later and Claudia has passed on to be with Jesus forever.  Hard to believe for sure, but It seems that Claudia had been witnessing to her family and friends at great length during her last days on earth.  I am now fielding numerous questions about Jesus and the one true faith from Claudia’s family and friends.  To the point that I have given away all my bibles again.  What a very nice problem to have.  All of this just serves to prove that if you simply live your life for Jesus…HE will give you opportunities to share your faith in Him with neighbors and others along the way….no matter what season you find yourself in.  Jesus is REAL!  For over three years I was able to plant very small seeds in Claudia’s heart and mind by just being available to Jesus during very small exchanges of pleasantries and by serving her once in awhile by helping her carry in her groceries.  In short, I was just being a good neighbor.  So I prayed for her and waited for the opportunity for our conversations to turn towards Christ.  Finally when she was ready so was I, and the rest is HIStory.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

p.s.  I would appreciate your prayers?  Finding Claudia cold and dead has triggered some flashbacks about finding my own Mother cold and dead 13 years ago.  So far I am coping pretty well, but these are tough memories.

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