Yes, the following is a reblog with some alterations. I felt led to post it again here on “Easter” the day that most “Churches” have their highest attendance and greatest money collection of the year. The religious system makes my stomach churn. I just can’t hardly wait for true believers to WAKE UP and “Come Out From Her!” I pray each day for people to escape Babylon with all it’s frills and trappings, and to instead find the simple way of Christ Jesus and the cross.
“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I have had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
– Amos 5: 21-24 (MSG)
Further proof that true Worship is NOT a prayer, 3 songs, an offering and a sermon. It is rather a life laid down! The focus should be on Him and not us. Too many “church” services are about how good the SHOW is. Looking right and sounding right are not the same as being RIGHT with Him.
I find it very odd that most places of “worship” are decorated with pretty and fancy flowers this time of year. What Jesus did for us was not pretty! It was a bloodbath! His flesh was literally torn from His body and He was beaten beyond recognition! I am exceedingly grateful for what Jesus accomplished at the cross and I fully accept His glorious resurrection, but I will not whitewash the events and commemorate them in some sort of palatable fancy show filled with pretense, our Sunday best clothes and overflowing collection plates.
How we treat people, especially those who are in desperate need for justice and fairness is extremely important. We should be instruments of His love, peace and justice at all times. When we are all caught up in ourselves this rarely happens. Some introspection is healthy, but too much is more than a problem. We are to look out not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others. Wake up and look around, there are many people in need of His love, peace and justice within your reach. What about the widow and the orphan? What about your neighbors? You don’t have to look far to find those who need His touch.
Most people are far too busy with GOING to “church” and “church” sponsored events. Too busy in fact to actually BE the Church for those who need Him most. To quote the late great Keith Green, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.” How can we spend hours every week being entertained at the “church” building or at “church” events…while people all around us are literally dying, hurting and suffering? It is time to break free from dead religion and “the Show” so that we can reach out and do actual ministry for the poor, poor in spirit and those with great need.
It does not matter how you meet or gather. I have seen house churches just as self absorbed as those at a “church” building. We all have to ask ourselves…What really is the motivation of my heart? Is it to serve or to be served and entertained? Jesus came to serve and we should follow His example daily. I am tired of all the activities and shows that the “church” provides. I want to be more like Jesus and less like me. Today I will seek to meet the needs of others over and above myself. I will still gather in simplicity with those who Love Him, but our gatherings will be about His will and not ours. Time to break free of “The Show”!
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.” Amos 5: 21 (NIV)
Kirk Out !
I have always loved the ideology behind all things Star Trek. Since the shows inception in the 1960′s it has always preached and presented a universe based on inclusion and equality of all life forms. Along the way Trek has even corrected itself to be even more inclusive. When the original series began the mantra was, “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Not exactly inclusive of females, but when The Next Generation premiered in the late 1980′s they humbly corrected that phrase to be the more inclusive and accurate, “To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.”
The equality of all races, genders, social classes, and ages is a noble and lofty goal. A goal that some seem to be still threatened by. Even the Church has had difficulty living up to such high ideals. Paul, an apostle, addressed this important topic in his letter to the Galatians where he wrote, “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.” (The Message)
In this post I am just going to focus on the need, no the Biblical command, to fully include women in all aspects of BEing the Church. Because there are still many churches out there that do not allow for the full participation of women in ministry or any sort of leadership. All this does is cripple the church by not allowing 50% of its members to fully participate in the mission of the church. That is like going into battle with both arms tied behind your back or both legs non-functional. It just does not make good sense.
Jesus NEVER marginalized women during HIS time here on planet earth. Some point to the fact that none of the original apostles were women, but that could be for any number of reasons and not male exclusivity. The fact is that in the book of Romans, Junias, a female, was called, “Outstanding among the apostles.”
In my relational Church experience over the last 36 years we have always valued women as full equals in life and ministry. Because of this we have been totally blessed with the fullness that only manifests itself when the WHOLE body is allowed to function as it was designed when we come together. For those of you who still struggle with the concept of every member, every gender, every age ministry….”I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) And to me, “NO DIVISIONS”, means “NO DIVISIONS” period.
Kirk Out !
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1: 3-7
Today is my 52nd birthday and I am not totally sure how I feel about it. I guess I have mixed feelings, but most of them are good and extremely positive. With all that happened in my childhood I feel fortunate to have lived to this ripe old age. I have faced death a number of times, once even before I was born, when my father kicked my mother in the stomach when she was just over 6 months pregnant with me. This resulted in my premature, dry breach, birth that had many complications and nearly killed both me and my mother. As it turned out, my father trying to kill me would be a reoccurring theme in my life. However, as always, Jesus was watching out over me protecting, teaching and loving me even way back then.
Am I where I dreamed I would be at this age? Again I am not sure, because I never really thought I would live this long in the first place. Looking back though I guess that overall I have done alright. My failed marriage of 30 years is really the only non-positive outcome in my life as of right now, and our break up was certainly not entirely my fault. However, since our separation and eventual divorce we have both grown and flourished in ways we probably couldn’t have if we had stayed together. I am even tempted to say we are both better off now because of splitting up. Then there is the PTSD, but the PTSD is finally manageable after 15 years of living hell. I have not had a crippling flashback in over eight months. Praise Jesus! On the plus side all four of my children are well and serving Jesus in various positive ways. My relationships with my children are most excellent. My friendships are as good as they ever have been with much life and quality and the home fellowships I am involved in helping are really flourishing and growing in all the good ways. I am now also in a very meaningful relationship, with a wonderful woman of faith, that holds much promise for both of us. That and I still have a small private addictions counseling practice called “Creative Conversations” that keeps me as busy as I want to be. Most importantly my relationship with Jesus is perhaps the best it has ever been. I walk with Him and He does indeed bless me in all these areas of my life. So yeah I am 52, but I really can’t complain. Plus I still have good hair and good teeth!
Sure 52 years is a major milestone, but the most important thing in this life is the NEW BIRTH that He freely grants us all, if we only turn to Him. This new birth is about having a LIVING hope through the resurrection of Jesus, and because of this He grants us an inheritance that will never be taken from us. Sure obstacles and trials will come our way, but these only serve to prove our faith. I know I have been tried and tested, but in the end HE is always with me and He equips me to get through every and any trial that satan, this world or even myself places in front of me. We can be our own worst enemies at times can’t we? I know my faith is genuine because of all the shit He has brought me through. I surrender to Jesus all the praise, glory and honor. Jesus was with me loving, protecting and teaching me when I was a child and now that I am 52 He does exactly the same, but even at a greater depth due to my ability to reason with Him as an adult. I may be 52, but I will also ALWAYS be His child. So I cry ABBA Father and He is with me today on my birthday and forevermore.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—”
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1: 3-4
In Christ we are made totally complete and we lack nothing we need for life and godliness. His divine power equips us to face life head on and grow in grace and knowledge during the process. Knowing Jesus is all we really need in this life. He builds on this knowledge and makes us whole, complete and mature. This knowing is not just a simple head knowledge; it is intimate and deep. It is to know Him as in touching and experiencing Him in all His fullness and glory. His sheep literally hear His voice and obey.
Everything we need is found in Him. We do not need a Pastor or anyone else to lead or teach us. Christ Himself via the Holy Spirit will disciple and train us to become whatever He desires us to be. Sure it is great when brothers or sisters come alongside us to encourage us in our walk and faith, but only He is our source and fulfillment. Having healthy peer relationships is awesome, but make sure that no person ever takes a place over us; because that position is for Christ and Christ alone.
If Christ is our only Head and Leader…. He will reveal to us and in us the totality of His great and precious promises and by these promises we are able to participate in the Divine nature. How awesome is that? Christ in us…The Hope of Glory! Surrender to His Leading and pursue Him in His fullness and all things shall be revealed for and in us. Being in Christ is all we ever need. However, even in Him sometimes I struggle, but when I stumble He always picks me up. Today and always I shall seek His Face and no other.
Kirk Out !
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.” When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again….” Acts 20: 32-38
There we have it again…Paul served without taking any sort of pay or compensation. It can never be said of Paul that he peddled the word of God for profit. Quite the opposite, he worked hard with his own hands to supply himself and his companions with anything that they may have needed.
Being paid or taking a salary for ministry goes directly against the example that Paul set for everyone who is called to serve the Church. The only time Paul accepted monetary aid was when he was ill or in chains for the Gospel. When he was able to work and provide for himself, that is exactly what he did. Because Paul knew that taking pay would only serve to discredit the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9: 12). Jesus called people who got paid for ministry “hirelings” and said that they really did not care for the sheep at all. (John 10)
Paul knew that the way of Christ was to give freely to others and expect nothing in return. He helped the poor, the needy and the weak. Being a follower of Jesus is all about freely giving to others and not receiving pay or compensation in return.
Paul knew the value of being a hard working active member of the communities in which he served. He never set himself up as some sort of spiritual guru who sat over and above other members of the community. He worked among the people and by doing so he was able to develop relationships with those who he served. This gave Paul the right of being able to speak into the lives of those he worked among.
Paul did not live his life on any sort of elevated platform. No, he was a common man of the people and because of this the people loved and accepted him and his ministry. Paul followed the example of Jesus and lived his life among the people, seeking only to serve and not be served. (Matthew 20: 28) This is a far cry from the Clergy system we find in the “church” today. That system is NOT the way of Jesus and we should never support or follow it. I love the way of Jesus and Paul and that is the way I choose to live my life…… serving others for free!
Kirk Out !
P.s. a song…..
“Not Clergy”….to the tune of “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner
Well I’m not Clergy, that’s plain to see
I love Jesus and I do it for free
So come on people, do you do more than watch?
I’m not Clergy, I’m not Clergy……..
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that HE who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1: 3-6
This past Saturday I had the blessing and privilege of being an honored guest at the very first relational, simple, organic, home fellowship gathering at the house of officer Matt. I met Matt last February when he pulled me over thinking I was injecting hard drugs while parked in an empty parking lot. The truth is I was injecting insulin, but God used this incident to begin a relationship between Matt and I. Our initial conversation began when he spied a book (Marc Winter’s “Was Church God’s Idea?”) on my passenger seat and then asked what the book was about. I gave him the book and we spoke for about 20 minutes that day concerning the differences between the Church that Jesus intended us to have and the mess that the modern traditional “church” had instead become. I challenged Matt that day to one day open his home for simple relational fellowship with his friends and family. He told me he would pray and consider it and we have continued in phone contact since that time.
I was overjoyed when Matt told me he would indeed open his home for fellowship on the 5th of April. Three local families, all with fathers working in law enforcement, gathered that late afternoon. Altogether, including me, there were 7 adults and 8 children. We shared an excellent meal and the fellowship was sweet. They had a lot of questions about “how to?” do “church”, but I refused to give them a strict pattern. I made it clear that we were meeting under Christ and NOT under Christopher in any way, shape or form. I told them that it was best to just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and that every meeting would be different depending on what each member of the Body had to bring to the mix in any given week. I shared with them that the only things set ahead of time for the fellowships I relate to were the time and place we were gathering and details concerning the mutually prepared meal. From there it is always wide open as the Spirit leads each one of us to share songs, testimonies, prayers, interactive teaching or only God knows what. Totally free and open, Spirit led gatherings under only Christ as Head are what it is all about.
On Saturday this group spent a lot of time praising Jesus for bringing Matt’s 13 year old son Issac into full remission from his cancer. We all ate and shared our portion of Christ that day with glad and sincere hearts. Every adult and many of the children added their parts to the ongoing conversation about how wonderful and gracious Jesus is towards us all. Jesus was without question THE Central theme as He should always be in any gathering.
These folks are off to a most excellent start and I am glad to know them. I am blessed that God can still use me to encourage others concerning actually BEING The Church, instead of just going to building and watching a man tell them about God without any meaningful interaction with Jesus or others. Jesus is real and not just a concept to be preached on Sunday mornings to a passive crowd of pew sitters looking at the back of someone else’s head. The gathering at Matt’s was nothing short of an awesome time spent face to face, loving Jesus and one another.
Kirk Out !