“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5: 1-3 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament
Yes, there are such people as true elders within the Body of Christ. However, please notice that they are AMONG us and NOT over us. In my over 40 years of serving the Body of Christ I have noticed that true elders do not accept titles or pay for their service. No, they serve gladly and give of themselves continually without compensation or reward. These mature folk help us find safe pasture where we are able to grow and learn directly from The Master. They help make sure we are safe in all matters of faith and practice.
The Lord never meant for these gifts to become offices to be filled. This is not about positions within the Body, because there are really no positions in the true Body of Christ. Because we are all equal siblings peers and Priests in God’s true Church. There is no positional Leadership in the Body of Christ, except that Jesus is King and we are not. The only way to effectively lead in Christ’s Body is by example. We are not to stand over and above others in the church and tell them what to do or believe. We will not Lord over others in the Body. What we will do is live upright lives worthy of the callings we have received. We will be the same person in public or in private. We will love others by laying our lives down for them. The greatest calling any of us can receive is that of being a servant to all, just like Christ Jesus.
I have witnessed the church function gloriously without professional, positional, paid leadership for over 40 years. It can and does work extremely well. The church does not need those with titles or positions to be effective in its ministry. The church I am speaking of makes disciples and cares for others extremely well; and it spends all its resources on direct ministry to widows, orphans, and those in Spiritual and natural need; instead of on Clergy salaries, buildings and institutional maintenance. Any human hierarchy within the church hinders the church. I know it is a very simple way that I follow and in that way Jesus is the One and ONLY Head and Leader. I will bow down to Him and no other. Who do you follow? I certainly don’t want anyone to follow me. I am just glad when folks choose to stand alongside me.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-7
This past Saturday in free and open fellowship, during prayer, The Spirit had me have this passage from Philippians ready to share. Then not too long into the gathering a brother was sharing about how he was very anxious about a situation at his workplace. It was the perfect opening for me to share the passage that God already led me to, and it was very well received.
Then another brother began sharing how as of late he had been drawn to the very same passage. Another sister said that she too had been reading Philippians a lot lately. That is what I just love about totally free & open, Spirit led fellowship. No one planned anything or had an agenda, but The Spirit knew exactly how to lead us and all we had to do was surrender to His will. It was amazing! I have witnessed The Lord lead gatherings like this since 1976 and I have never once been disappointed. God knows exactly how to lead us without the need of any liturgy, human plan, or agenda. And the past 40 plus years I have been learning how to stay out of His way and allow Him to flow through each and every member as He sees fit. We are not in need of any Pastor or human Leader to direct our meetings. No, we just let go and let The Spirit of God flow as He desires in our midst.
Another thing that happened during this gathering was a brother expressing how he could not afford his blood sugar medication, so he was doing without. Then another brother stepped right up and gave this brother all the cash that he had on him. It was more than enough to cover the medication. This kind of thing happens all the time in free and open fellowship. When you don’t have a Pastor or building to pay for, it totally frees up the Body to be able to give as anyone has need. True fellowship works like a fully functioning family and NOT like a business as most “churches” do. Love and freedom abound when they do not have to follow a planned schedule. We simply adjust to The Spirit’s flow, instead of requiring God to follow our format and plan. That is what works for us anyway. Let God out of your box and He will AMAZE you!
Kirk Out !
“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of The Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3: 6
Here we have it again: The Spirit is superior to the letter. We need The Holy Spirit to guide us, even guide us in how we approach and use the scriptures.
I am going to try and explain this as simply as I can. I need The Spirit more than I need the bible. Because the Spirit inspired what is written. That means if I don’t have a bible The Spirit can still tell me anything I need to know in the bible. The Spirit can even give me exact chapter and verse if need be. When I have The Holy Spirit I have full and complete access to everything written in the bible. The Spirit can bring to my heart and mind ANY passage that I need at ANY given time. That means if I have The Spirit I also have the entire bible available to me at all times. With the Spirit I lack nothing that the bible can supply.
However, If I only have the bible and not the Spirit I am lost. Because you need the Holy Spirit to really fully understand and comprehend what is written. It is the Spirit that gives the bible its life. We need the Spirit to open the eyes of our understanding to the bible, without that Spiritual understanding….. the bible is just another lifeless book.
If one has to choose either The Spirit or the bible. The Holy Spirit is the obvious choice. If I have The Spirit I automatically have the bible also, but if I have a bible that does not guarantee that I have the Spirit too. When left to our own human reasoning and understanding apart from the Spirit’s enlightenment we are very apt to misuse and misapply the written word to the detriment of all who may be involved in any given situation. “Church” and cult history are full of such misled examples.
I am thankful that I do not have to choose between the Spirit and the bible. However, it is very good to know that no one can ever really take the bible away from me. Sure they can confiscate the book, but as long as I have The Holy Spirit I will also have the whole counsel of scripture available to me at any time.
Does this help explain why I always say that we need to be Spirit led and not bible led? I value and treasure the bible. I wear them out all the time. It is never really about the book. It is truly all about the Holy Spirit who gives life to the book. The Truth needs to be written on our hearts and not merely on paper.
Kirk Out !
p.s. I Had 2 people call me a heretic over my last blog post. I just smile and continue to love them.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16: 12-13
There we have it! The definitive word, right from the mouth of Jesus Himself…. It is The Holy Spirit that guides and leads us into ALL TRUTH. This is why I say and stress that we must be Spirit led and NOT bible led. Taking these words of Jesus into full account and consideration how can anyone say anything different?
The Spirit of Truth is above the bible there is just no other way around that truth. Now when the Spirit is leading us into this truth, the place He leads us perhaps most often is the bible. The Spirit can and does lead us in the scriptures and that is as it should be. However, the bible does not always lead us back to the truth of The Spirit. Because without The Spirit’s illumination the bible is nothing more than dead letter. “For the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The vast majority of traditional/institutional “churches” out there claim that the bible is their final or sole authority in matters of faith and practice. Yet they deny, in practice, the Priesthood of all believers and settle most often for the Priesthood of one “man” in their congregations that they call their Pastor. Plus they deny many if not most of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives individuals in the Body of Christ. When they limit or deny the Holy Spirit’s empowerments like that they can always back it up with their version and interpretation of scripture. Jesus came so that we could be free in the Spirit and led by Him and no longer be in bondage to the written word and Law. Being bible led places limits on the Holy Spirit’s leading and in fact denies us of the full and free Gospel of Truth that is abundantly found in the Spirit of Christ alone.
This brings us to one very great and important question….. Would the Spirit ever tell us to do something that goes directly against Scripture? Please step back, say a prayer, and ponder that for a minute? The answer is YES He can and does at times. Now, read Acts chapter 10 verses 9-16. In that passage the Lord directly tells Peter three times to kill and eat what scripture had previously called unclean. Peter was told in no uncertain terms to violate what was written in the scriptures.
So I choose to yield and submit to The Spirit’s leading in all things, biblical or otherwise. At least I do on good days. More human words here will not prove this case any better than what Jesus, Himself, has said about this matter. God, The Father, The Son Jesus, and The Spirit reign supreme. I refuse to follow or bow down to anything or anyone less than God Himself. I will choose direct revelation from The Spirit over and above secondary revelation from a book about Him on any day.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !
“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8: 14-17
Here it is again…… “..those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Please notice again that we are supposed to be Spirit led and NOT bible led. If someone is bible led it does not necessarily mean that they are a son of God, but if they are Spirit led they are a son of God. It does not get much clearer than that folks. Once again I am not saying that the bible is not important in the life of a Christ follower. In fact the place that the Spirit leads us most often to for truth and confirmation is the bible. However, being Spirit led is not limited to the bible; but being bible led leads to many limitations.
Another thing…. I was just reading Revelation and in chapters two and three we find messages to the seven churches and each message concludes with,,, “Let him who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” The Greek word used for “hear” is a form of akouomai, from which we get the English word acoustic and it means exactly what it says…to hear or recognize. If we really want to know what God is saying to the church we need to listen to, and follow, the Spirit; NOT the bible. Don’t throw your bible away, but only use it when the Spirit leads you to.
Finally Jesus said in John Chapter 10 that His sheep hear His voice and obey. So where it comes to following Jesus and The Spirit we need to listen for and hear His voice. It does not say to look at and read the bible. True Christ followers listen for His voice instead of always trying to make the bible The Sole Authority. Of course when we do read the bible we can also hear His voice there quite often, but always remember that His voice is always more important than what is printed on the page. Right now some folks are shaking their heads and pulling out their hair because of what I have written here. I will say this right out loud now…. sola scriptura is a lie. The bible is not the know all and end all of the faith. I am surely glad to have the bible as a most excellent resource in my life, but I refuse to elevate it to near Godhood. I know this is a difficult saying, but what I am sharing is the Truth in Love, even according to the bible. Listen for His voice? The Spirit of Christ will surely guide you into ALL Truth!
Love and …..
Kirk Out !
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6: 19
Many people have recently asked me why I have so much success in leading people to Jesus. They wanted to know if I had a rehearsed plan or spiel, like the “Roman’s road or The Four Spiritual Laws”, that I used to get folks to “buy in” to Jesus. I can honestly say that I have no advance plan, agenda, script or formula that I follow in sharing Christ with others. My sharing with them is always entirely spontaneous and Spirit led, moment by moment.
What I say to people can be a mixture of my personal testimony, actual words of Jesus, or other pertinent passages from the bible. I always try to speak from the heart, not from a script. I seriously doubt if I have ever used the same exact wording with more than one person. I feel the main reason I easily connect with others is because I am authentic, real and genuine. With me what you see is exactly what you get with absolutely no guile or pretense. (But even I have bad days) I sincerely love all people and it shows and that draws people to me I am certain. I view all people as precious and valuable to God and potential members of my Spiritual family. I see the spark of HIS Creation in everyone’s life and only want to offer them a full and rewarding relationship with Jesus and The Body Of Christ.
Another reason I have been able to impact lives with the Love and acceptance of Christ is that I pray continually for Jesus to prepare the hearts and minds of the people He is going to put me in direct contact with. I also pray and submit my will to Him asking that He continually prepare my heart, mind and message; so that I can always be ready for those He sends my way on a given day. This is not rocket science. I purposely and intentionally make myself available to Him and others. When I do this He fully equips me and makes me more than able to share the Truth in Love with whosoever will. You see it really is ALL about Him and not about me.
I hope you can now see how simple sharing Christ can be? It doesn’t take smarts and extreme biblical knowledge. All it takes is an open heart and complete surrender to the pathway He picks for you. Along the way on that path you will encounter those who need His Love, Grace, Mercy and Truth. Then in the proper moment simply open your mouth and allow Him to speak His words through you. It is all about simple conversations, real give and take dialogue. Worked for Jesus, worked for Paul and it still works for me. “Perfect Love casts out all fear.” Trust Jesus to use you in this manner also, and then prepare to be amazed.
Kirk Out !