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Christ And Christ Alone

Greetings,

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  Colossians 2: 13-15

Wow, let me see if I understand this passage……  When I was dead in sin God forgave me and made me alive with Christ?  100% His action and He required neither response or acceptance on my behalf to make that happen.  That sure is the way it reads to me.  However, any cooperation on our part does make navigating this side of life much more pleasant, peaceful and rewarding.

The written code and all its rules and Law is now gone and totally obliterated by grace and the work of the cross.  All powers and authorities are now totally disarmed.  Now the only Authority in our lives is Christ Himself.

How can we deny or ignore such a great salvation?  Jesus bought and paid for our lives before we were ever even given a choice. His arms are open wide at this point and it is up to us whether or not to enter into a full and complete relationship with Him.  Now, in this life, we can choose His narrow path to righteousness or the wider path that leads only to destruction.

Salvation by grace is clearly intended for everyone, but not all will choose relationship with Him.  By Ignoring relationship with Jesus we will miss out on much love, truth, mercy and grace.  Jesus desires to gather us all under Himself as the sole authority, but some will still be unwilling and will suffer in this life because of it.

Some will choose authorities for their lives other than Jesus.  Thinking that being under a Pastor or some other “man” is true, right and biblical.  However, it is a grand error to allow a human to rule over you in this manner.  Following a leader other than Christ Himself will eventually lead only to sorrow and bitter disappointment. To be under Christ and Christ alone is the one and only true way to successfully navigate through this life and on to the next.

Jesus appeared to me when I was only 4 years old and I have tried to follow Him ever since.  When my eyes are upon Him…He will bring me through any situation or obstacle.  In this He has proved Himself over and over again.  While I was being raped and abused as a child Jesus was ALWAYS there holding and comforting me.  He may have first chosen me, but now in all things I choose Him and no other.  Christ is our life!

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

The Spirit Has Written On Our Hearts

Greetings,

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts……….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.”  2nd Corinthians 3: 2-3, 6

This passage shows us that what really matters most in life and ministry are Spirit forged relationships.  It is all about being Spirit led and touching people’s hearts.  If we desire to give people life and well being we will do so by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide all of our interactions.

Ink and paper do not give life to anyone and that includes even the ink and paper of the bible.  Life comes only from the Spirit and the best way to communicate life is via relationships.  The bible does have a role in the life of a Christ follower, but it was never intended to be the primary source of light and life.  When we place the bible ahead of the Spirit and relationship with God and others the letter then kills instead of enhancing our life in Christ.

However, when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16: 13) the bible then becomes perhaps the greatest resource in the life of a believer.  There is a HUGE difference between seeing scripture as THE Source and Authority in one’s life, instead of simply seeing scripture as the great gift, tool, and resource that it is.  Quoting scriptures may appeal to the intellect of others, but they in no way give life to them.

If you want to give abundant life to others then simply share your whole life with them as you are being led by the Spirit of God along the way. Touching people’s hearts while sharing the Truth in Love is what our faith is really all about.  The most important thing in life is having a relationship with Jesus, but right immediately after that is having relationships with others that are built on the Cornerstone that is Christ.  Forever remember that this is always a matter of heart and not just the head.  Heart to heart relationships are birthed via the Spirit of Christ and are maintained by deep sincere Love for one another.  May the Great Comforter write Truth and Love on our hearts today.

Love and …….

Kirk Out !

 

 

The 2017 Searching Together Gathering

Greetings,

“If we walk in the light as HE is in the light we have fellowship with one another…”

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

This years gathering was exceptionally awesome.  HIS people from nine different states drove miles upon miles sacrificing their time, energy and money to simply come together under the Headship of Christ alone, to experience true Body life with one another.

This was a fellowship gathering and NOT a conference or a seminar.  We came together in simplicity to hear and experience from every member their portion of Christ.  We had no featured speakers or so called experts.  This was not at all about sitting in rows and quietly listening to sermons or structured teaching.  We sat in a circle so that we could gaze upon the glory of Christ that shone forth from each others faces as each member shared their experience, strength and hope.

This was totally open and free, Spirit led sharing from our hearts.  It was an entirely interactive, true give and take, Holy ebb and flow, participatory gathering.  This remained true in our times of meeting, breaking bread together, or relaxing in our shared guest apartments.  We met, shared, played, sang, shopped, cooked, ate and cleaned together.  This was a time of true community and living together in total unity and because we surrendered to that in every aspect….God bestowed upon us all HIS very grand and complete blessing.

In the meetings or in conversations over dinners, everyone there got to share their stories and testimonies of God’s grace and leading in their lives.  We shared the good, the bad and the ugly; including challenges we have faced or are still facing.  We held each other up in prayer and will continue to do so.  We laughed and cried together.  Because we opened up our hearts and lives to one another and Christ we forged relationships that went very deep, very fast.  At Searching Together 2017 we became more than just friends, now we are family.

In four days of open and free sharing without a Pastor or one person in charge of our gathering there was only a brief few minutes where contention tried rear its ugly head and it was addressed and redirected by the Body in love.  It did not blow up or in any way undo the progress we had made in loving and accepting each other in Christ that weekend.  In true open fellowship there will be differences of opinion at times, but those differences need not divide us.

Love, acceptance and forgiveness are the way of Christ and learning to walk in these attributes together takes a lifetime.  Christ and HIS Body the Church are to put relationship first and foremost.  Jesus said that, “There is no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend.”  That is a very high call my friends and I believe it starts by being willing to lay down our point of view or opinion on even biblical issues for the sake of others until the time is right for all involved.  “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is the timely spoken word.”

I loved and embraced every aspect of Searching Together 2017.  The Lord used the good, the bad and the ugly to mold and reshape all of our hearts and minds.  I love real life, real time relating to whatever comes up along the way.  Hope to see others there next year?

Love and……

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

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 that 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 all of our hopes, dreams, fears, successes and failures with each other.  As siblings we should give one another extremely deep love, support and care beyond what the world can even 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 Christ has loved us.  Jesus held absolutely nothing back and His love was so great that He even gave His life to save those He loved.  I consider myself very blessed and fortunate to have experienced this type of Holy Love with many sisters and brothers over the years.  Once you have tasted this great 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 outstanding type of love and relationship please do not lose heart or give up.  Press deeply forward in Jesus and you will find others who embrace this grand love and are more than willing to share it with you.

 Stop looking for this deep sincere love within 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 a 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 !

p.s.  I will be taking a break from blogging in order to participate in the Searching Together Gathering  near Chicago thru at least next Monday.

 

 

 

 

Warning Very Graphic Content Ahead!

Greetings,
                    There Is A Very Huge Difference Between Praise And Worship……..
                   “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”  Hebrews 13: 15
                    “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.”  Romans 12: 1
                    To me it all simply boils down to this…. praise is what you say with your mouth and worship is about what you do with your very being and entire life.  You can praise the Lord in word, prayer and song, but worship is much more difficult and comprehensive in scope than merely speaking well of our Creator.  It is easy to open your mouth and give God complete honor and credit for all the wonderful things He has done in your life, but worship is literally laying down your life for Jesus and His Holy purpose.
                    On Sunday mornings all across the land traditional/institutional “churches” host what they call “worship services”, but that is really not an accurate description of what they actually do is it?  True worship rarely, if ever, occurs during these gatherings.  What they really do is praise God for a bit, receive tithes and offerings, and then get a pep talk from a professional Pastor.  That is not worship my friends…it is “Christians” paying for and receiving a performance and show that is hopefully somewhat about God.  I contend that a group of Christ following volunteers building a home for Habitat For Humanity is much more worshipful than what occurs in most “church” buildings on Sundays and Wednesdays.
                    Much of what passes for praise and worship on Sunday mornings is nothing less than manipulation of the masses.  Praise leaders and bands many times use music and song to control the tempo of the service and the emotions of the congregation.  When you have fast songs to get you up and going and slow songs to get you in the right mood…what usually happens is a sad sick form of back and forth spiritual masturbation.  The music is there just to get you off at the right time.  So that you give well and listen intently while sitting in the afterglow of the sermon.  How does any of that truly exalt Christ and give Him true praise or worship?
                    Worship is NOT a prayer, some songs, an offering, and a sermon……  IT IS A LIFE LAID DOWN for the sake of God, His children, and His purposes!  It is about being a living sacrifice while serving only Jesus The One True King!  True worship is difficult to find in the modern “church”.  Most of the church is unwilling just to be inconvenienced for the sake of God and others.. and they flat out refuse to die in any sense, form , shape or method for His higher purpose.  You can’t be selfish and worship God at the same time.  It is just impossible.  Has His glorious Church really been reduced to a bunch of spoiled rotten, crying brats?  I hate it, but I have to honestly admit that this is me on some days.  Many of us are driven by feelings rather than being led by the Holy Spirit.  Lord Jesus please help me to die daily so that You may be glorified through and in me.  We all need your help and guidance Lord.  Please help us to worship you in Spirit and in Truth?
                    Love and……
Kirk Out !

Not Counting Sins Against Them

Greetings,

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “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.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15: 54-58

So death has been swallowed up in victory.  Amazing!  In Christ we are no longer held in bondage to the laws of sin and death.  This is about total victory in Christ for every single person with no exceptions.

 In Christ the law of sowing and reaping or what some call karma is no longer in full effect.  At least not in the big picture pertaining to our salvation.  Sure in the small picture of day to day life in Him, He uses sowing and reaping to teach us and build character in us.  However, grace and total reconciliation will eventually absolutely and completely obliterate karma.  This message is clear in 2nd Corinthians 5: 19, where it states that God reconciles the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  Plus on top of that God has made us Christ’s ambassadors and committed to us this message of great grace and reconciliation.

That means instead of us reaching out an arm to point out and judge sin in others; we should open wide our arms and accept everyone right where they are, and for who they are right now in this very moment.  Jesus did this for us while we were still sinners, so we should do the same for others with a glad and sincere heart.  Far too often “Christians” have required sinners to clean up their act before they would even offer Jesus and Christ’s love to them.

If we are truly operating in His grace and reconciliation we will love and accept everyone no matter what baggage or filth they may carry with them.  If we welcome them open and free they will then receive Jesus and He will help them get free and clean in His perfect timing.  We should NEVER require someone to get clean first in order to eventually bathe in Christ.  Love, acceptance, grace and forgiveness is what it is all about.  If we build relationships on that foundation everyone would have more hope and a whole lot more people would discover Christ.  After all, Christ in us is THE hope of glory.  If we give people the love, grace, and reconciliation that Jesus freely offers, it would change everything for everyone.  Today I choose grace over judgment.  Who is going to join me?

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Yes, this blog post is from the sites archives.  I have been re-posting and re-working some other older blogs too.  The past several days The Lord has had me pondering the passages I used in this post and instead of writing a completely new post He led me to just make some adjustments and share this one again.  I feel this is a very important message both for the Body of Christ and those yet to fully know and follow Jesus.

 

 

On The Rock And Beyond The Storms

Greetings,

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  Psalm 62: 1-2

That passage of scripture has never rang more true in my life than it has in this particular season.  This current season has been one of rebuilding and fortifying for me.  Over 6 years ago I nearly lost everything due to the fallout and issues related to 18 years of battling severe PTSD flashbacks of being raped and sexually abused as a child by my natural father and others.  PTSD cost me a 30 year marriage, a terrific career, and endangered my relationships with my children, my friends, and the home fellowships I relate to.

However, in the last five years Jesus has intervened in a mighty way and in the past three years I can finally honestly say that my soul has found rest in Him alone.  This is nothing short of a major miracle my friends.  I used to average over six psych unit hospitalizations a year, but now it has been over five years since I last needed inpatient care and that was only a medication issue.  Plus I have went from being suicidal on a daily basis to it being an extremely rare occurrence.  Don’t get me wrong; Jesus never left me and kept me alive through some horrendous storms these past 18 years, but peace was a very rare thing indeed in all those years.  Now I have peace every single day and I totally love it.  Plus I haven’t had a full blown PTSD flashback episode in over four years.

Occasional PTSD storms still blow through my life, but they no longer own me like they have in the past.  In the past four years Jesus has fully equipped me to face my problems, PTSD or otherwise, straight on with the help of the Holy Spirit.  He has led me to open up and share my struggles publicly on this blog and that has released my mind and heart in ways I cannot even begin to describe.  Being totally honest and open about my plight instead of trying to hide it like a dirty secret has released me from any shame or bondage from my past.  Because of that I feel good about who I am today and I also have high hopes for tomorrow.  Today I feel closer to Jesus than I ever have and going through what I have in the last 18 years has made me a better, more complete, person in many ways now.  Let’s just say I more than earned my high level degree in compassion, empathy and patience.

Today, in Christ, I know that I will never be shaken to the point of being broken beyond repair.  More storms are bound to happen, but I now have a solid foundation on Jesus the Rock and the wind can blow as hard as it wants; because I know in my heart and mind that I shall not be moved from where He has placed me now.

If you are reading this today and you struggle with mental health issues and depression please know that you are not alone and it is not something to be ashamed of.  When I read Psalms I know that David was hard pressed at times and struggled with mental issues.  The weeping prophet Jeremiah definitely dealt with depression.  Paul, an apostle, and his fellow workers even despaired of life due to their hardships. (2 Corinthians 1:8)  To me it sounds like they may have even been suicidal at times.  No matter what issues you struggle with, I want you to know that you are not alone.  If you need someone to talk and pray with you do not hesitate to call me @ 269-221-1266, anytime day or night.  Jesus cares about you and so do I.  I know from experience that we are NEVER alone.  Jesus is always right there with you every step of the way, and I fellowship with some of the sincerest Christ followers I have ever known.  They will bathe you in prayer and love you until you learn to love yourself again.  Special thanks to everyone out there who reads my blog and has prayed for me these past six years or longer.  You mean more to me than you will ever know.

Love and……

Kirk Out !