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What Little You Have Is More Than Enough

Greetings,

“If you have ANY encouragement from being united with Christ, if ANY comfort from His love, if ANY fellowship with the Spirit, if ANY tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2: 1-4

The emphasis on the “ANY’s” is mine and I think it is very important.  Many times in our faith walk we are challenged to step up in various situations and I feel that we need to be there when we are called upon.  However, sometimes we fail to act in the appropriate moment because we fear that we can’t accomplish the task at hand due to our personal shortcomings. For some reason we think that it takes some kind of SuperChristian with super faith and abilities to get the job done.  To me that excuse does not hold water.  Even though the traditional church feeds that lie by supporting the Clergy/Laity division and upholding the need for Professionals in the pulpit and other key roles.

I just love what this passage points out.  In order to make Paul’s joy complete we do not have to have super encouragement, super comfort, super fellowship, or super tenderness or super compassion.  All we have to have is “ANY”!  It does not take a lot of any of these attributes to shine, it just takes SOME.  Because the Holy Spirit always compensates for what we may lack. So next time instead of talking yourself out of acting in The Spirit in any given circumstance please remember that ANY amount of these good attributes is more than enough to get the job done.  We do not need to wait until we are perfect to minister to the needs of others.  God takes whatever we have and makes it more than enough at any given moment in time. Because, as always, it is more about Him than it is about us.

Jesus wants to take our individual abilities and put them to good use.  To accomplish this, most of the time HE will use us in combination with other believers.  We all have individual gifts, but God wants us to work as part of a unit that He calls The Body Of Christ.  To be fully used in this manner we need to be like-minded and share the same love of God, so that HE can make us ONE in Spirit and purpose.  When we can surrender in that way to HIM and one another; that is when AMAZING things can happen!

To fully become one with others in the Body we need to avoid selfishness and stubborn pride. We need to have some true humility and lift up our fellow members of the Body over and above ourselves.  WE need to be involved in each others lives.  If we are truly ONE in Spirit we should never say to each other, “That it is none of your business.”  We should instead welcome mutual accountability with one another and desire the prayerful input of our peers into our lives.

In closing Jesus equips us well with various gifts and we should always welcome the opportunity to share the Truth in Love with others, even when we feel less than adequate.  We need also remember that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that there is power when we surrender to one another in the Body of Christ.  I have found over many years that I need connection to the Body of Christ and that when I choose to accept and walk in that, I experience Jesus to an even greater degree than when I choose to walk alone.

Love and ….

Kirk Out !

HE Calls Us HIS Friends

Greetings,

Jesus said:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”  John 15: 12-17

“Love each other.”  That is THE command that Jesus gives us.  He doesn’t tell us to go to Church or tithe or even read the bible.  Pretty amazing huh?  Because those are the main things most Pastors tell folks to do every Sunday morning.  Seriously, the three main things that the modern traditional “church” tells us to do, are not at all the FOCUS of what Jesus Himself would have us do.

Now I know that BEING in fellowship with other Christ followers is a needed thing, but there is a huge difference between GOING to a building for a service, sitting and listening passively to a Pastor, instead of BEING together in active relationship with other believers with totally open and free ministry and sharing.  Tithing?  Not even a New Testament requirement, but reading the bible can be an awesome thing if you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through it.  Because without the Spirit’s illumination it is just dead letter that leads us to bondage and legalism.

However, according to Jesus, LOVING one another is the main thing.  This fact is confirmed in First Corinthians chapter 13.  “The Greatest of these is love.”  In fact LOVE is the most excellent way we can choose to interact with others.  LOVE is HUGE and we need to surrender to walking in it each moment of our lives.  We need always to be effecting the lives of others in a positive manner with His deep and sincere Love.

However, there is another HUGE thing in this passage that is often overlooked or misrepresented by traditional “church” leaders.  Here it is:  Jesus calls us HIS friends.  We are no longer servants or subordinates to Jesus, we are His friends.  This suggests that Jesus considers us as peers and fellow workers in His Fathers master plan.   Jesus is still the King of Kings, but He stoops to our level and bestows upon us the honor of being His friends.  This fact totally blows away the hierarchical form of government used by the traditional “church” and the world system.  Jesus does not consider us to be UNDER Him in the way that Pastors consider members of their “church” to be UNDER them.  This makes total sense because even the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, is the one called ALONGSIDE us.  Any “church” that has its members serving UNDER a Pastor or other human Leader is wrong.  So if you are sitting UNDER the ministry of any human leader… I suggest you get out and find mutual fellowship with others who are friends of Jesus.  I bow down to Jesus and submit to Him because I want to, not because He requires it.  He gives us free will and does not make us follow Him or His ways in this life.

That my friends is a HUGE revelation.  There should be no pecking order of any kind in the church because we are all His friends voluntarily submitting to Him and one another.  That’s right ALL submission in the church should be totally voluntary.  There is one Lord and we are to call no one Pastor or Teacher according to Jesus.  When we are all sisters and brothers submitting to one another there is no need for ranks, titles or positions whatsoever in the church.  This sets us totally free to simply love one another as He commands.  Everyone is important and everyone is a minister unto God and others as He sees fit.  WE are all called to be free and directly serve Him and each other in this manner.  LOVE wins when all things are mutual and without hierarchy in the Body of Christ.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

p.s.  All I am doing is sharing what is on my heart and mind and I want to honor Jesus by sharing my portion of the truth in love.  I am not attempting to judge those who find themselves within a traditional “church” system right now.  I just know that we are ALL called to be free of Babylon, that confusing place where truth is mixed with the system.  However, I also know that all things must happen in HIS timing and not ours.  Grace, peace and love to you all.

Peddling The Word For Profit

Greetings,

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?  Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.  On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”   2 Corinthians 2: 14-17

Here we go again.  God always leads us forward in victory because of Christ; and through us His presence is tangible.  Meaning you can smell, taste or feel it.  Jesus makes a noteworthy difference in the lives of those who truly follow Him.

On our own we are never up to the tasks He sets before us, but in Christ we accomplish much in His name.  There are MANY who present the word of God for monetary gain.  They share the Gospel for money, salary and profit.  Friends we are not supposed to be paid for sharing Jesus Christ with others. Doing so is contrary to the message and against everything that is true and right.  To me getting paid for loving others is like a warped form of prostitution.

We are supposed to speak and live without blemish or having our message tainted by receiving money or profit.  People that are truly sent by God are sincere and they do not compromise the truth by receiving pay.  Paul wrote, “We do not peddle the word of God for profit.” The word “peddle” here in the Greek means “retail.” Those who were in the gospel business were charging full retail to the saints of God… God’s word with a mark-up. How generous!  When Jesus sent out the disciples after empowering them He said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  Well, so much for the generosity of Christ in today’s church system. If you buy a book or tape wherever “Christian” books and paraphernalia are sold, you are going to pay full retail plus unless it is at a secular book dealer and only there can you expect a mark down.

Or how about this passage where Paul is addressing the leaders of the church of Ephesus?

“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, you yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35 KJ2000)

Paul not only worked to support himself with his hands, but he also supported those who travelled with him and told them that it was THEIR job to support the poor and the weak, not the other way around. Paul continues,

“For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be a burden unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and just and unblamable was our behavior among you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:9-10 KJ2000)

Paul tells us that to labor with our hands and to preach the gospel without charge is a sign of a true minister having an unblamable behavior among the saints of God. How rare this is in the Laodicean church age we are in where we boast in our Spiritual blindness, nakedness and earthly riches while we leave Jesus locked outside the doors of our “churches”, never allowing His Spirit to get a word in edgewise in our services. We would do well to heed Jesus plea, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent… He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:19-22 KJ2000)

I realize that this message indicts most of the “Church”, so I do not share these words lightly.  However, I share because The Spirit leads me and I want the Church to be effective and free.  Just because the Church has been doing it the wrong way for centuries does not make it right.  Things that have become “Church” traditions since the time of Constantine have infected the Church and it is time for the Church to be freed from the bondage of years past.  For many that is happening now.  I know of 100’s of Churches and thousands of Christ followers that are free and open and have no Clergy or church buildings.  They are using their resources to transform their communities and start other free, relational, Spirit led fellowships around the globe.  Please pray and think about it?  Are we where The Lord would have us, or do we need a total change?  Perhaps these are the days that we will finally complete the Reformation?  That’s right, Luther stopped WAY short by keeping the Clergy intact.  I am not the first to pen words like this and I most certainly hope I am not the last.  I don’t enjoy having to say difficult things like this, things that offend and can bring backlash; but I must and it is what it is…

Love and …….

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Thanks to Michael Clark from whom I borrowed a few of these words and concepts.  He is a true brother in Christ.

The Walking Dead

Greetings,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. (or reasonable service)  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12: 1-2

Everyone I know or run into wants to know what God’s will is for their life.  Who doesn’t?  In this short passage Paul lays out pretty clearly what we need to do to find out what His will is for us.  It starts with us becoming a living sacrifice.  Which is not an easy task.  Jesus tells us to “deny ourselves, take up OUR cross and follow HIM.”  Death to self is a common theme in Paul’s writings and being a living sacrifice means that we basically become living dead “men”.  We need to surrender completely all of our total being to the service of God and hold nothing at all back.  All our hopes, dreams, desires and talents need to go voluntarily to the altar of sacrifice. We need to be emptied of self and filled to the top with Jesus and His Spirit.  This is a huge task to surrender all in such a manner, but this is our Spiritual act of worship.  That’s right worship is about self denial and NOT about singing a few Spiritual songs.  We may praise Him with our lips, but self surrender is about giving ALL there is to God.  We may think this to be an impossible task, but other translations simply call it our REASONABLE service.  This surrender is not about going over and above what is simple and needed.  It is just a reasonable response to all that Jesus accomplished for us with His birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection.

The next part of being able to know God’s will for our lives is to not allow ourselves to be conformed to the pattern of this world.  This means we come to a place where we are able to deny ourselves of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.  We are not to do or to act in the manner that the world does.  This is very difficult to do, especially in this day and age when most of the modern traditional “Church” has patterned itself after the ways of the world.  Most “Churches” have professional LEADERS and operate like corporate businesses these days with Pastor CEO’s and professional boards.  Plus many “churches” pattern parts of their services according to modern advertising methods in order to draw more new members and tithers to their Sunday morning shows.

Finally, if we want to know God’s will for our lives we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means to stop thinking like the world and start thinking like God.  Our minds are renewed by spending intimate time with Jesus and those who love Him in free and open fellowship.  One of the main ways to do this is to spend quality time reading the bible and learning about how God thinks, but even better is spending time with sisters and brothers who know Him, His Word, and His ways.  Because as always, “Iron sharpens iron.”

If we do all these things and in increasing measure, we will then be able to know, test and approve what God’s will is….His good, pleasing and perfect will.   Now who doesn’t want to know that?  If you want to know it, well then you are going to have to live it! ……..  and live it without any compromises whatsoever.  The good news in all of this is we don’t have to do all this in our own power.  The fact is, that who Jesus calls, He also equips and all we have to do is ask, seek and knock and the door will be opened for us  This is NOT at all about our skills, talents and intellects.  HIS Holy Grace will always compensate for what we lack.  The one thing we must do to gain the mind of Christ is to surrender, and after that surrender some more.  “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 24

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

“Child Of God”

Greetings,

“Praise the Lord.  Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints.  Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.  Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.  For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.  Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them.  This is the glory of all His saints.  Praise the Lord.  Psalm 149

When we gathered for fellowship last Saturday this was the passage that The Spirit had us focus on.  Praise is indeed a mighty thing.  There are many places in the bible that tell us to praise our Lord.  Our housechurch is blessed to have many musicians.  At times we have four guitars and a djembe drum.  We often lift our voices in celebration and praise of Jesus.  This passage is interesting because it goes right from praise into warfare.  In the past Israel had to literally wage physical war against its enemies. The church is fortunate in this day and age to not have to fight those kind of battles.  However, we are at times faced with real Spiritual warfare against the dark forces of evil.

Like Paul said, we don’t wage war as the world does and we don’t fight with the weapons of this world.  Because the weapons we use have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10: 3-4)

It is my experience that the weapons we use most often are praise, prayer and The Word.  Over the years we have found it helpful to, with The Spirit’s leading, write our own songs.  We write songs of worship and witness to the glory of God.  We have been inspired through blood, sweat, toil and tears to honor Him and our songs bear witness to that process.  Having our own original songs also helps with making a clean break from the false religious system.

The following song was written after the birth of my son Caleb in 1994 and it is called “Child Of God” or “Caleb’s Song”….I wrote these words out of a deep desire that my son, and everyone else, would be free from the shackles of  traditional dead religion.   And it goes like this:

Child of God, Child of God, you are free

Child of God, Child of God, you are free

Stay free from the prisons, men can put you in

Stay free for the vision, God will set you in

Child of God, Child of God, you are free

Child of God, Child of God, you are free

Dream all the dreams, The Father has for you

Give Him your heart, He will see you through

If man stands in your way, don’t back down just pray

For you are a child of God

Child of God, Child of God, you are free

Child of God, child of God, you are free

Stay free from the prisons, men can put you in

Stay free for the vision, God will set you in

If man stands in your way, don’t back down just pray

For you are a child of God

If self stands in your way, you’d better back down and pray

For you are a child of God

I just felt like I was supposed to share that here today.  If anyone is interested I can give you the chord progression so that you could use this song in your fellowship times

Caleb, like all of my children, has been raised totally outside of traditional religion.  He never went to Sunday school or youth group and I am glad to say that he loves and serves Jesus as well as any young man his age can.  Caleb grew up in a fellowship without spectators, pulpits and pews.  Since he was old enough to talk he has actively participated in our gatherings.  When he was about 7 years old he contributed greatly to our fellowships dialogue concerning Cain and Abel and shared in great detail about acceptable sacrifices.  In our fellowship we do not do sermons or monologues.  Instead we have open free flowing Spirit led conversations and everyone participates.  There is nothing about our fellowships that are traditional or mainstream.  Caleb has never sat under any formal bible teaching.  What he learned He learned directly from the Holy Spirit and from participating in ongoing conversations about our Lord and King.  What he learned is that relationship with God and one another is what it is all about.  Caleb got to where he is today without flannel boards, instructional videos, tithing, bible quizzing and traditional Pastors.  I say he has benefited greatly by not having ANY of the trappings of the Traditional “Church” system.

My son is filled with The Holy Spirit and He loves Jesus with all his heart.  The good news is that he is taking all he has received and learned to an entire new generation.  The message that Caleb shares is all about freedom in Christ.  That we can actually BE The Church without going to a building or following various religious rules.  My son looks at people and sees that they are valuable to our Lord.  He sees potential in everyone and he knows that everyone in the church has something special to share with the rest of the Body.  He does not recognize ANY hierarchy in the church.  He sees things this way because we lived this way everyday in our house or wherever we found ourselves.

I just want to say that I love my son and I am VERY proud of him.  I am very grateful that Caleb can love and serve Jesus and others in ways that do not lead to religious bondage.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”.  I am glad today that my son Caleb is free.  He has certainly lived up to the words of the song I wrote for him all those years ago.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

How The Early Church Began

Greetings,

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  Acts 2: 42-47

Wow, the second chapter of Acts…I love the band and the book.  The book gives us a close up view of the Body of Christ in its infancy and tells how the Gospel spread beyond Jerusalem. What I love about the church is how simple it begins and grows.  It was a God thing and not really a man thing, but The Spirit spoke through and used many ordinary everyday people to get the message out.

The apostles’ teaching was a major focal point, but even it was not complicated.  The apostles’ teaching was not a real matter of doctrine and didactics.  It was simply those who had spent real time with Jesus, sharing what Jesus had said and done among and within them.  It was those who had been with Jesus telling real stories about Jesus.

Fellowship or koinonia was also crucial in those early days and this meant that mutual participation and partnership in the gospel was taking place among all those who believed. During this excellent fellowship the early believers broke bread together and prayed.  Because of what Jesus had done and the unity that they shared they were all filled with awe and many amazing things happened.

It says that all the believers were together and that they shared EVERYTHING in common.  To me this means that everything they had was freely shared, including leadership, their message, possessions and everything else.  No one in the early church there went without; they shared every good thing with each other.

The early church was NOT just a Sunday morning and Wednesday evening kind of thing.  They shared fellowship with each other EVERY single day.  They were out in public in the temple courts and they also met to eat and share Jesus everyday with each other in their homes. When they gathered for the fellowship meal they did so with glad and sincere hearts.  They were praising God 24/7 and because of this they also enjoyed the good favor of all the people in their community.  It is no wonder why people were getting saved everyday

That is the church that was, but what about the church today?  Where is the unity, The Spirit, the power and the awe of God in today’s church?  I hate to say it, but it is really practically impossible to find anywhere today.  We have very little unity because we have chosen uniformity of doctrine over oneness in Jesus.  Instead of flowing freely in the Holy Spirit we have chosen to be led by our understanding of the bible.  Instead of power and awe we have accepted complacency and rote religion.  And finally instead of making disciples in the manner of Jesus, we make mere converts after the traditions and ways of man.  We also traded free & open, Spirit led conversations and dialogue for sermons and monologues from mere “men”. You may say I am being too critical, but in all honesty I do not think I have even begun to scratch the surface of the modern “churches” problems.

The solution?  I think we will find part of it in returning to the simplicity of the early church.  We need to have open hearts and open homes, plus an openness to the ways of The Spirit.  We need to unify over Jesus and not divide over complex doctrines that might not be of Christ in the first place.  We need to be FREE, open and available.  We need to have more meals and less meetings.  We need to value the priesthood of every believer and dismantle ANY hierarchy that places ANY believer OVER and Above other believers.  What we need is Faith, Hope and Love. Well there is a start.  Anyone care to add or subtract?  If so please share a comment?

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

True Koinonia

Greetings,

”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.  It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1: 3-11

It is extremely clear from this passage of scripture that Paul believed that he was in a total partnership with the believers that he was serving.  The Greek word for partnership used here is koinonia and it clearly means fellowship and partnership.  It also means mutual participation.  Paul did not support the idea of hierarchical leadership or a Clergy/Laity division. No, he believed in total mutuality in the Body of Christ.  He knew that he was partners with the believers that he served.   There was no Spiritual caste system that elevated one believer over others.  Paul’s Spirit inspired writings do not support a system that places a Pastor over the rest of the flock.  Paul considered everyone in the body to be equal in Christ and he knew that every believer was a minister of the Gospel.

Paul had a real deep heartfelt connection with the church in Philippi.  He held the church there in his heart and he had great affection for them.  If you get the chance please read Acts chapter 16 and it will tell you of Paul’s visit there. It was there that he encountered a group of women praying by a river, that included Lydia a leading businesswoman in that region.  The Lord opened up Lydia’s heart to Paul’s message and then Lydia opened her home to Paul and Silas. (my youngest daughter is named Lydia)  Soon afterwards Paul and Silas end up getting stripped and flogged and thrown into jail.  While in jail Paul and Silas just prayed and sang to God until an earthquake shakes the whole Jail.  The jailer thinking that the prisoners had escaped was going to kill himself until Paul informed him that no one had left the jail.  Because of this the jailer and his whole family came to The Lord.  Then before leaving the city Paul and Silas return to Lydia’s home and they encouraged everyone before they left town.  Of major note in this passage is how important women are in the whole scope of things and also how the early believers met in homes.  It seems that when one opened their heart to Jesus their home was automatically open for fellowship also.

Paul had a partnership with those he served and he realized how important it is to have a real intimate connection and relationship with other believers.  He prayed that love would abound in them, more and more, in both knowledge and depth of insight.  He wanted his fellow believers to be able to discern what was best for themselves, instead of being THE ONE who always had to tell them what to do or think.  Paul equipped other believers, but he also wanted them to be able to function on their own without him.  To Paul the church is supposed to be mutual and participatory.   Paul’s message was NOT.. I will LEAD and you will follow.  No, it was that Christ will LEAD and we ALL will follow.  As in “follow me as I follow Christ.”  So to me partnership, koinonia, fellowship and mutual participation are the way to go if you really want to be a vibrant and healthy church.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

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