“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 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
Wow, those are very encouraging words. Just to know we are shielded by God’s power as we walk through this life is amazing. We need to rejoice in that fact, but even though we are shielded we still will suffer grief in all kinds of trials. There is no free pass in this life, even if we are serving Jesus we will be tested and tried.
Light afflictions, momentary troubles and worse, sometimes come to everyone in this world. However, these difficulties are used to work within us a great eternal glory. The key is in how we choose to walk when confronted with adversity. It is best when we choose to walk THROUGH problems, flood and fire, etc, instead of trying to avoid negative things by going around them. If God is with us, shielding us, it does not matter what we are up against. I am certain that the Lord wants us to keep moving forward and to never look back while in the midst of struggles and trials.
The Lord uses these trials to prove our faith and determine whether or not we are genuine and true in all things that we may face. It is a privilege to be tried in such a manner and it proves once again that we are His sons and daughters. This builds our faith and trust because we know He will never leave or forsake us. No trial is too difficult…. No mountain too high…. No river too wide…. No conflict too great…. If we walk in the Spirit He will always be with us, every step of the way, and in Jesus we will always be more than conquerors. I have learned this lesson well first hand over the last 18 years of struggling with PTSD and related flashbacks of childhood rapes and sexual, emotional, physical and verbal abuse. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and with the Lord’s help I have fought my way clear to freedom on the other side of my affliction, problems and difficulties. Plus, I have been gifted with remarkable friends who I share intimate, relational, totally free & open, Spirit led fellowship with both in person and online. Their prayers and support have been invaluable to me.
So the next time you find yourself up against a problem…remember it is not about the size of the obstacle… it is about Christ in you being able to overcome any trial or test. When I am confronted with a problem in my life, I no longer try to avoid it. Now I just lift up my head and pray “Let’s go for it Jesus!” Sometimes I have disappointed myself, but I have NEVER been disappointed by the Lord. When I surrender and allow Him to carry me through amazing things happen, but when I try to go for it on my own nothing good happens. When I am weak, HE is strong. Today I choose His strength over and above any of my own personal attributes. Because of that today is going to be a very good day.
Kirk Out !
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5: 11
Someone recently commented here that we should not tell others when they are on the wrong path to Jesus and true Spiritual enlightenment. Well, I disagree with that for the most part. I think we should definitely warn folks when they are heading in bad directions. This is much of what evangelism is…sharing the good news so that they can avoid where their bad news will eventually take them.
However, I also feel that everyone should be allowed their own personal journey to the truth in love. Healthy Spirit led interactions along the way are also a part of that journey. When we are Spirit led to interact and share the truth in love with others along the way it will bear much fruit. This is not accomplished by setting up overbearing roadblocks, but rather by being an oasis or rest area that folks can visit and be refreshed by. Some people call these divine appointments and I have no problem with using that terminology.
When we cross paths with one another along the way we should always interact and share conversation as the Lord leads. Most often we are called to encourage others in their walk with the Lord Jesus, but sometimes we must also be willing to give healthy correction and rebuke….motivated by nothing else but sincere love. We shouldn’t shout people down, but rather engage in life-giving conversations. After all we are nothing more than fellow seekers and travelers on the same journey, but perhaps different pathways.
I don’t know about you, but when I am wrong I crave correction and I want to be pointed back in the right direction. Then if I finally get to a God appointed rest stop along the way I want others to join me there. Then to help them out will I not tell them about the potholes and detours to avoid on their journey? To me rebuke is like telling other seekers where not to go, because we already made the mistake of going there once and found out that it was a very bad scene with negative consequences. If I am off the God given trail I want others to call out to me and tell me I am going off track. Is this not love? Is this not Christ?
Yes we are all on a Spiritual journey, but if you see me wandering off in a bad direction please tell me so? I feel we are all called as mutual sibling peers in Christ to encourage and rebuke one another along the way. We should warn one another about faulty paths, mudslides and road blocks. Not in a demeaning, better than you style; but with love and forthrightness.
This is why I warn people about the dangers of the Institutional/Traditional “church” system. Go down that road and you will be denied your full priesthood and be told to follow and honor “men” in false positions of so called authority. It will take your money and your hope. The system can suck the very life out of you and leave you on a spiritual dung heap. That is why I am not shy about denouncing that beast and offering the simple way of Christ as the grand alternative.
Love and ….
Kirk Out !
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1: 5-7
“Fellowship with one another” is vitally important and necessary for every follower of Jesus and the Body of Christ as a whole at large. Yet, true fellowship rarely occurs when a traditional/Institutional “church” meets. ”Fellowship”, as used in this text, means deep, intimate relationship and social intercourse. It speaks of extremely rich participation and total partnership with one another.
Truth be told, nearly 100% of most “church services” allow for very little partnership or participation and what they do allow for is rarely relational or intimate. In fact more fellowship happens when exchanging pleasantries and handshakes on the way in and out of the building than within the actual meeting times. It is very, very sad, but the Pastor’s encouragement to “greet your neighbor” is usually the deepest and most relational as it ever gets.
The rest of the time in the “service” is normally spent sitting in rows, staring at the back of someone’s head while you listen to the Pastor’s sermon/monologue. That my friends is NOT fellowship at all. It is not interactive or participatory and it does nothing to build real, faithful relationships within the Body of Christ.
In authentic fellowship everyone participates and shares the deepest of things that they have on their hearts. Real fellowship allows for the open exchange of thoughts and ideas that pertain to Jesus and all things church and life. When we truly gather together in His name we all get to share our burdens, struggles, victories and successes with one another. Without that type of open and intimate sharing it never really becomes fellowship and all it really ends up being is just another shallow meeting of some folks that really needed to hear from the Christ in each other, but were denied access to that due to the traditional standard way in which they meet under the headship of their Pastor rather than Christ.
True Church is all about relationship, with Christ and one another. It is about deep friendship that goes well beyond just sharing a pew, row of chairs or a handshake. In true fellowship everyone gets to share what is going on in their hearts. It is about relationships that go deeper than just being mere friends or family. Is your fellowship like that or does it lack true love and intimacy? If we are really walking in the light WE WILL have rich fellowship like I have described here today. It is not an option. It is a need that all of us have in order to be fully whole, complete and mature in Christ.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !
“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the Body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 1 Corinthians 10: 14-17
I don’t really know how to begin today, so I will just dive in head first and hope I don’t hit a jagged rock. The most troublesome and overbearing idol in the “church” today is “THE MINISTRY”. It elevates some members of the Body over and above all the other members. “THE MINISTRY” divides us when we should all be unified. To say that some of us should be separated from and placed above other members of the Body of Christ in any sort of human hierarchy just screams idolatry. That’s right all Pastor/pewsitter, Clergy/laity, and Gifted/regular divisions promote idolatry and destroy true unity and our oneness in Christ.
In the Body of Christ we are ALL special, gifted and have utterly important messages to share in fellowship together. To say that some of us are more special and gifted than the rest lends itself to the development of idols in our midst. In the true Body of Christ we are all equal sibling peers under only Christ Jesus. It is nothing but pure idolatry to place persons in positions of trust, power and authority over the rest of the Body of Christ.
In the true church everyone is a minister and NOT just the Pastor or the “Worship Leader”, so the idol of “THE MINISTRY” does not even exist. However, when the “church” is run like a carnal business instead of a Spiritual living organic Body, positions are created and slots or offices need to be filled for the organization to run smoothly. In short we create idols when we place women or men in positions of authority in the “church”. Because in Christ’s Church there are absolutely no “man” held positions of authority and power, but rather roles of service and servanthood.
Ministry is something that just flows naturally and supernaturally from the life of any follower of Jesus. “THE MINISTRY” is a man-made, perhaps demonically inspired idol that ultimately divides and does great damage to those left in its wake. I know I am sharing a very difficult and harsh word, but it needs to be shared so that everyone in the church can eventually be set free from the oppression and bondage of the false “church” system and “man” appointed mini-Popes who wrongly preside over congregations that ONLY Christ Himself should be overseeing and leading.
Love and …….
Kirk Out !
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principals of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2: 6-8
The passage above makes all sorts of sense, assuming that you were taught the truth in love to begin with…… But what happens when you are taught wrong instead of right? What if from your infancy in Christ you were taught hollow and deceptive philosophy, human tradition, and the basic principals of the world instead of the real truth in love? I will tell you what happens….you end up with much of what the modern “church” is today. You end up with a “church” full of ineffectual Christians who tend to do more damage to the image of Christ than they do good in His name.
Harsh and controversial words I know, but I speak them in love and out of a sincere desire to see The Body of Christ flourish instead of flounder. The simple truth is that the modern traditional “church” does not act or look much like it should after 2000 years of following Jesus. Because the church Jesus founded was based on relationships and not human hierarchies, organizational flow charts and programs.
The early church used its resources to reach out to unbelievers and take care of widows, orphans and the poor. While the modern “church” spends the vast majority of its assets and great wealth on Clergy salaries, buildings, building funds and institutional maintenance. When the church began there was no such thing as a separate class of believer called the Clergy. In fact they practiced and taught that every follower of Jesus was a gifted and talented priest and they did not place Pastors on a platform over and above other saints. The modern “church” model of Pastor as CEO or sole Leader of a congregation comes directly from the basic principals of the world and not Jesus. The whole concept of leadership being totally male comes from human tradition and not Christ. Jesus was totally inclusive of all who would believe, yet much of the modern “church” practices exclusivity where it comes to gender, race, sexual identity, and social class. Sure on paper many claim to be open and accepting, but in practice there are tons of closed hearts and minds. We have been taught to be judgmental instead of loving and accepting. In today’s “church” homosexuality is the unforgivable sin, but greed and gluttony are just fine. In today’s “church” “God hates Fags”, but the accurate truth is that God loves EVERYONE in spite of whatever sin they may be tangled in.
Somewhere the church lost her way and she embraced lies and error instead of the truth in love. Friends examine yourselves and rid yourselves of error. Many times we were taught and learned falsehoods. We utterly need to unlearn many things that we have been taught. I have talked to numerous educators over the years and they all agree that UNLEARNING is tremendously more difficult than learning was in the first place. We all need to shine the Light of Truth into the shadowy corners of our theologies and then get down on our knees to weed out everything that does not measure up to HIS truth in love. The Spirit of Truth is calling out to the church, but when will we listen, learn and act as we should in Christ?
Love and ……
Kirk Out !
P.s. I wrote this post as a person who was born, raised and reborn all outside of any traditional religion. However, Jesus came to me when I was 4 years old and HE has been guiding me ever since. I never saw or read a bible until I was 11 years old after the Gideon’s came to my school and gave me one. Then everything I read in there only confirmed what Jesus had been teaching me all along. At age 12 I began trying to find a church that followed Christ’s leading and teachings, but I could not find a single one. At 16 I discovered home based, relationship focused fellowships and I have been deeply involved in them ever since. I have tried to reach out and be involved in several other more “traditional” “churches” in the last 30 years as the Spirit led me, but it never took very long to realize that I was beating my head against a prison wall that would never give full way to HIS truth in love. So here I make my stand fully outside of any religious camp with arms open wide to whosoever will, telling anyone who cares to listen that true Spirit led, relational fellowship in Christ is a VERY real possibility for anyone willing to forsake all they have learned from any portion of Babylon. Christ stands at the door of your heart and knocks. All you have to do is let Him in, then let go and start the process of surrendering any falsehoods you have come to believe from institutional Christianity. Home is where the heart is, and the church should be!
Ferengi are aliens in the Star Trek universe that love money and all things mammon. It seems their purpose in life is to make a profit in anything they do. The way of the Ferengi is in direct opposition to the ways of Jesus. “For the love of money (mammon/stuff) is a root of all kinds of evil. And it is further written that, Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10) The desire for money is just not the way of the cross.
What does this all mean for people who make money off of the Gospel? I think it puts them in a place that God never intended for them to be. Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 2:17….”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 someone sent from God.” Seems pretty darn clear that making any sort of profit because of ministry is not God’s way. That certainly shows that all televangelists and prosperity preachers are in the wrong. Paul went even further in 1 Corinthians 9:12 where he basically said that getting paid as an apostle would “hinder and discredit” the Gospel of Christ.
From my study and experience it looks to me that ministers should not get pay for their gifts and service to the church. I know that sounds extreme, and perhaps it is, but it seems crystal clear to me. When I study the New Testament I see Paul tentmaking and getting a job whenever it is possible for him to do so. Sure there were, at times, love offerings and gifts to support him when he was in chains or unable to work. However, he NEVER took a salary to do the work of The Lord.
What does this mean to modern day Pastors and ministers “serving” the “church”. I am pretty sure that it means that they shouldn’t get paid… period! In fact if they are getting paid this is what Jesus has to say about it, He says, “I am THE good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13) To me this implies that Jesus is THE ONLY good shepherd and that all of the others are not so good, in fact pretty terrible much of the time. It definitely says that being a hired hand and getting paid to work with the sheep is totally wrong.
I have known some good Pastors over the years, but I still feel that their position and pay goes against God’s best will. Ministry is a calling and not a job or profession. Churches should use their resources for missions and to take care of widows, orphans, and others in need. Paying someone to lead in the church puts pressure and expectations on that person to perform, but it also takes pressure off those being served in the congregation and makes then passive spectators. The New Testament call is for every member ministry and paying Pastors and such tends to inhibit the Body of Christ in numerous very negative ways.
If the most excellent way is love, then we should all freely love and care for others. When one gets paid to love, it is called prostitution. Need I say more?
Love and …….
Kirk Out !
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” 1 Samuel 8: 4-9
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king. Samuel then basically said that the king they desired would take advantage of them, using up their sons and daughters, taking a tenth (a tithe) of their crops and flocks, and eventually making all of them slaves to the king. 1 Samuel 8: 10-17 (My paraphrase)
“When that day comes , you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ”No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” 1 Samuel 8: 18-22
Any of this sound at all familiar? Because I sure see a modern parallel in the “church” today. The Lord has always wanted to be the one true King and Leader of His children/church, but most of the time He is rejected and instead the church wants a human King/Leader/Pope or Pastor. I see this happen all the time, even in relational housechurches that are supposed to be about the Priesthood of all believers under only Jesus the King of Kings. I believe that most people give in to “needing” a human leader because they get tired of the responsibility of hearing God for themselves. Being a Spirit led follower of Jesus is not an easy task. It takes discipline and a continual surrender and death to self. It takes trading our ways for HIS way. However, when the rubber hits the road many times we would rather have someone tell us the right thing to do, instead of trusting the voice of The Spirit to lead us in ALL things.
People want or think they need a Pastor because they want to be like all the other Pastor led Christians out there. They want the so called safety net of being under a human leader because they doubt their own ability to hear God for themselves. Who hasn’t been there? It is understandable to want to be like all the other “regular” church goers out there, instead of being an outcast Jesus freak. Problem is that God Himself has called all of us to be under only HIS rule and authority. HE has made it abundantly clear that HE wants to be our ONLY Leader/King/Shepherd and HE has warned us to avoid being UNDER a human Pastor/Leader/King. To serve a human Pastor is to reject Jesus as The Good Shepherd and King of our hearts. Will God allow us to follow others instead of Him? Sure, because He is not a dictator and He has given us the great gift of free will. However, what will following someone other than Him cost us? Only our sons, daughters, crops, livestock, ten percent of our money and our freedom. To follow and serve someone other than Jesus will cost us everything in this life. To me following someone other than Jesus is to become a slave to Babylon and its programs and systems.
Strong words? They certainly are, but are they true? I have spoken my peace and I refuse to judge others for the choices they make in these matters, but I will warn them. My final word on this: Follow only Jesus !
Kirk Out !