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“Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor not a cook!”

Greetings Crew,

When our little group of believers gather together for fellowship we “normally” start with a complete shared meal. Eating together is an extremely important thing for churches to do.  Breaking bread with one another is something deeply human and deeply Spiritual.  We gather together to share our blessings both temporal and spiritual and the home cooked meal represents how we go about sharing these Divine blessings with one another.

At our time of gathering EVERYone brings a substantial contribution to the meal.  Each household is responsible to bring enough food and drink to share with their whole church family.  We rarely organize this ahead of time, except for perhaps a few phone calls to make sure we are not doubling up on any given dish.  Our fellowships take our communion meal so seriously that we honestly refer to ourselves as THE FIRST CHURCH OF MEAT COOKED ON FIRE.

So we sit down and share a big meal together.  We all sit around the table and around the room where we are either side by side or face to face with our fellow eaters.  All of this is by intentional choice.  Yes, we really want to just hang out and just eat with one another.  And as we eat the conversations flow in a great number of directions and topics.  Yes, exactly just like we are gathering with our extended natural family.  Because we totally recognize and surrender to the Spiritual fact that we really are HIS family and we belong to one another in the Body of Christ.

After the meal we all clean up together and after that we reassemble for a more centered and focused time of sharing, singing and prayer.  Guess what?  We treat this time together just like we went about preparing for the common meal.  EVERYONE has a contribution.  We then all share in turn as The Spirit leads us.  Then we simply eat from the Tree of Life found in one another and converse until we are full.  It is that simple!  It is that real!

The second chapter of Acts talks about the early church coming together to share teaching, fellowship, eating and prayer.  It says they broke bread in their homes and “ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”  Should we in the 21’st century settle for anything more or less?  GOD has not changed!  And YES it really is that simple.  Every member brings their portion to share and it always works out and Jesus is always lifted up and glorified in our midst.

Love and…….

Kirk Out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Consider Participating In The 2016 “Searching Together” Gathering?

After the following announcement I give a personal report about the 2014 gathering:
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We give you a hearty invitation to attend our 17th Searching Together Gathering on June 23-26, 2016 at International Teams, 411 W River Rd, Elgin, IL. 

We meet at the facilities of International Teams in Elgin, IL. Everybody has raved about this venue. Attendees stay in a “unit” with others, which consists of 3 or 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a kitchen, dining area & living room area. So we use multiple “units” for our conference.

Time will be given for fellowship and networking. We don’t invite (or pay for) anybody to speak. It is “open” in the sense that if someone has something to share, they can present what’s on their heart. We just ask that they let us know what they’d like to talk about.

If you have further questions, please feel free to ask — but we hope this info will serve the purpose of basic information.

To register, please contact Jon Zens (jzens@searchingtogether.org).
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Greetings,

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Ephesians 5: 21

This past weekend I had the honor and pleasure of being a participant in this years Searching Together event.  We gathered Thursday through Sunday just West of Chicago Illinois at a venue that provided a conference room large enough for 22 of us and an opportunity for a true communal living experience in guest apartments with three bedrooms each.  We met together under the Headship of Christ as a large group several times a day and also met “house to house” each evening,  We broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts and all our times of fellowship were extremely sweet and profitable.

This year’s gathering was intentionally more conversational than previous events.  Instead of having 40 minute teachings followed by 40 minutes of questions and interaction, every session was allowed to be totally free, open and interactive from the start.  Our focus was on dialogue rather than monologue and Spirit led interruption was welcomed and encouraged.

In a word it was WONDERFUL.  It was perhaps the best national gathering (We had folks there from coast to coast) I have participated in since 1996 at Potato Creek Indiana.  We were allowed to have totally open and free, Spirit led fellowship without the hint of manipulation or human control.  The flow of the Holy Spirit was very rich and deep and everyone got to share their portion of truth in love with the entire group.  Plus believe it or not we did not experience even one moment of contention or sharp disagreement.

As we took turns sharing we simply submitted to the Christ in one another and the overwhelming fruit was sincere love.  In prayer, song and word we lifted our voices and Jesus met us there in a deep and substantial way.  Jon Zens shared Thursday night and said we could have either revelation or religion and I guess we all chose revelation; and we found it in one another.  I have been gathering and interacting in this free and open manner since 1976, and not once have I been disappointed.  When you put away all agendas and yield to the Spirit’s leading and teaching through each member of the Body the Truth in Love just flows to the benefit of all involved.

At this simple gathering my relationship with Jesus grew deeper, as did my relationships with the other participants.  Wow, it is a true blessing to be honestly able to say “participants” instead of mere attendees.  Special thanks to Jon, Dotty, Jodi, Marv and all the others that worked to help this event happen.  I am really looking forward to 2015.  Those folks are more than friends…they are family!

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Please pray about and consider joining us at Searching Together 2016 next month?  I will be there as well as Janet F, BK , and Sue who comment often here on this blog site.  These are the best Body life, relational, and organic gatherings I know of here in the USA.

 

 

 

From Death Into Life Eternal (2016 Update)

The following occurred in October 2014, but the Holy Spirit and recent events prompted me to share it again here today.

Greetings,

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”  2 Timothy 4: 2

“…….  “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.”  1 Corinthians 15: 54-57

Thursday night just after 8 pm. I found the nice older lady who lives in the apartment below me cold and dead in her chair.  Her 20 something daughter came and got me when no one would answer her Mother’s door.  I helped her daughter break in through the bedroom window, but we were too late to help.

Claudia was a kind and generous soul.  She was my downstairs neighbor for over three years.  Until just recently we did not have a lot of conversations, but starting about a month ago we seemed to always check our mailboxes at the same time.  We normally did little more than exchange pleasantries, but 2 weeks ago I helped carry her groceries in from her car.  This led to her asking me if I wanted a glass of fresh lemonade and that led to our very first lengthy conversation.

We must have talked for about a half hour and then she asked me to help her exchange her oxygen tanks.  Claudia suffered from emphysema and I was glad to help.  She knew I was a follower of Jesus from our brief communications over the years, but in that very moment I felt the Lord nudge me to talk to her frankly about the Holy Spirit.  I told her I was familiar with breathing difficulties because I have had asthma in the past and my Mother had COPD before she died 13 years ago. Somehow (I don’t know how) that led to me explaining how the Spirit of Christ was like the breath of God and that the Wind of The Spirit could fill us and set us free in Christ.

Claudia’s face lit up as I was speaking the truth in love to her and after a few minutes she told me that she desired to have Jesus and the Spirit of Christ in her life.  In that very moment I felt the Spirit come upon her and she invited The Lord Jesus to take charge of her life.  At this point we were both in tears and I gave her a big hug and with a glad heart I welcomed her into the Body of Christ.  This was clearly an upper room experience for the both of us.

Now I sit here two weeks later and Claudia has passed on to be with Jesus forever.  Hard to believe for sure, but It seems that Claudia had been witnessing to her family and friends at great length during her last days on earth.  I am now fielding numerous questions about Jesus and the one true faith from Claudia’s family and friends.  To the point that I have given away all my bibles again.  What a very nice problem to have.  All of this just serves to prove that if you simply live your life for Jesus…HE will give you opportunities to share your faith in Him with neighbors and others along the way….no matter what season you find yourself in.  Jesus is REAL!  For over three years I was able to plant very small seeds in Claudia’s heart and mind by just being available to Jesus during very small exchanges of pleasantries and by serving her once in awhile by helping her carry in her groceries.  In short, I was just being a good neighbor.  So I prayed for her and waited for the opportunity for our conversations to turn towards Christ.  Finally when she was ready so was I, and the rest is HIStory.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

P.s.and update:  I was asked by Claudia’s family to share at her memorial service and I was glad to do so.  When I had finished sharing and opening it up for others to share we closed in prayer and to my surprise a handful of Claudia’s family members stayed behind to talk with me.  They all wanted to know more about this Jesus I spoke so freely about and Who had entered into a relationship with Claudia recently.  Understand, I gave no invitation or altar call of any sort.  We must have conversed back and forth about 20 minutes or so when they all decided they wanted this Jesus in their lives too.  So we prayed together and asked the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth.

A few weeks after the memorial Claudia’s daughter and her boyfriend showed up at my apartment asking even more questions about Jesus.  It was evident that they had been growing in Christ.  They wanted to know why when they went to several “church” buildings ..that they did not feel Christ at all there like they had felt HIM at the memorial or when talking with me.  We discussed this at some length and the outcome was our understanding that ,”The Spirit of the Lord no longer dwelled in houses made by the hands of men.”  And also that “church” traditions nullify the Word of God or the Spirit of Christ and relationship triumphs over liturgical form.  I was led to tell them that we are all called to fellowship with Christ and one another, but NOT to “go” to “church”.  They agreed wholeheartedly and since that day they have stopped by for fellowship every now and then, including today.  Which is why I am posting this now.  Simple everyday living in and for Christ does bear great fruit my friends.  Thanks for reading this.  Kirk out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Warrior Is A Child

Greetings,

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  Psalm 40: 1-2

I am happy to report that I have had zero looping flashbacks since yesterday evening and my sleep has been void of any difficult dreams.  Special thanks to all who provided me with an immense prayer support base.  The messages and calls have been overwhelming in a most excellent manner.  Janet and those I fellowship with stepped up big time.  It sure looks like I have been spared from having a full blown PTSD episode.  Looks like I slipped a bit while emerging out of the pit that held me captive nearly 17 years.  So today I am very grateful that Jesus has placed me back on solid and extremely firm ground.

Today I am reminded of how far I have really come these past years.  However, I also realize how fragile and vulnerable my recovery has been.  I am now keenly aware that I am like a small child learning to walk for the very first time.  I am a new Christopher forged and reshaped by HIS fire and hands.  For 17 years Jesus has been cleansing my heart and mind from the brutal memories of my childhood and repurposing my very being to be well fit in the Body of Christ.  It will take time for me to get emotionally 100% up to speed, but now I am well on my way to be whole, complete and mature again.

Yesterday a dear friend sent me a link to the song “The Warrior Is A Child” by Twila Paris and many times over the last 35 years I have been told that this song is for me.  I think it fits me well even more so today than in years past.  Sure I may be big, strong, bold and tough, but on the inside I am just my Father’s innocent fragile child.  Today I post these lyrics and following them I will post a link so you can hear the song.

The Warrior Is A Child By Twila Paris:

Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right

But even winners can get wounded in the fight

People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears
And they don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child
Unafraid because His armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at His feet
And they don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child
And they don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and look up for a smile
‘Cause deep inside this armor
Deep inside this armor
Deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

To hear the song go here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRNFf3ykQvM

If the link did not work you can look it up and play it on youtube.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

P.s.  My last blog post had over 4000 views.  Which is a new record and the comments have been most excellent and encouraging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suicidal Follower Of Christ?

Greetings,

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”  2 Corinthians 1: 8-11

Well friends I am sorry to have to report that I am continuing to have those brand new PTSD flashbacks since last Saturday.  After nearly two years episode free the hell has returned with a fury.  So far I am coping fairly well.  However, I did not sleep well last night as I was having the new flashback in a continuous loop, over and over and over again. I am hoping that this is just a speed bump in my recovery and not a full blown PTSD event, but only HE knows.  The flashbacks coupled with some major depression due to other factors have me feeling quite suicidal. However, I do not have a plan for ending my life so please don’t over worry on my behalf.

The relentless memories of being brutally repeatedly raped and molested as a young child make me feel far beyond my ability to endure. Sometimes the flashbacks are unwaivering and flood my mind with awful thoughts to the point I can hardly breathe.  So much so that I despair even of life and have attempted suicide three times since 2001 and came extremely close to succeeding.  I find myself in good company in this despair though, as it seems that even apostles like Paul have felt this way at times in their lives.  I am now reminded, once again, that I cannot rely on myself in these matters.  No, I must rely solely on Jesus and those He places in my life.  I trust He will deliver me again, as always, but for now I patiently wait on Him.

I cannot say enough how much the prayers and counsel of my friends comfort me in times like these.  I have been in contact with many dear saints this past week.  The calls, chats and texts mean so very, very much to me.  I know that I am not alone in my struggles.  Because Jesus is with me and so is His Body.  The relational, organic, simple, home church folks have really stepped up to the plate to help me in my current state of need.  The positive confession camp will hate this, but I am not ashamed to say that at times I am a suicidal follower of Christ.  When I am absolutely truthful and call it what it really is, then I can accept the needed healing and redemption.  I know I am not the lone follower of Christ who struggles with life and death in this manner. It is my hope, that by talking so freely about my affliction, that others will find the courage to step forward and get the help they so desperately need in their lives.

It is too late for Robin Williams, but not for me and you.  I sincerely hope that this post will silence some of the ignorant comments that have been made in the wake of William’s suicide.  He was NOT a coward and neither am I.  Plus I do not believe that suicide is a direct ticket to hell, only God knows what was on William’s heart and mind when he took his own life.  Anyone, including those who follow Christ, can suffer from depression, suicidal ideation and other mental health issues.  In this life we will have many troubles….. Jesus said that.  And the way out of our troubles and afflictions is rarely easy.  Jesus helps as do medication and counseling at times, but there is no easy answer to the difficult problems we all face at times in this life.  All I know is that last week I helped a man find Jesus and that very same day, within hours, I was having flashbacks again.  We can go from the amazing mountaintop to the depths of the valley of the shadow of death in mere moments….Yet Jesus will never leave or forsake us.  Until we have first walked in the shoes of the suicidal we should avoid foolish judgments and uninformed comments. Perhaps you know someone who struggles with mental health issues and could really use an encouraging phone call or visit?  Pray about it and call them today, for tomorrow just might be too late.  God only knows.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek Jesus Not Church

Greetings,

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.”  Isaiah 55: 6

Awhile back I was watching Fleetwood Mac perform live on the TODAY SHOW.  They are one of my favorite bands from the 70’s.  I just have always loved their sound.  One of the things I really liked about them is that they have three lead vocalists who also sing harmony extremely well.   That morning as they played the song “Go Your Own Way” there was a red banner behind the stage that read, “SEEK JESUS NOT CHURCH”.  That simple phrase instantly struck me as a Spiritual truth and it has been on my heart and mind since I first saw it.  I do not think that the band was responsible for the banner, but I guess it is a possibility even though they have been known to practice witchcraft and abuse cocaine in the past.  Either way I will certainly be praying for them from now on.

“SEEK JESUS NOT CHURCH”, That certainly does ring very true to me.  It makes great sense because it is Jesus that defines the Church and certainly not the other way around.  In fact much of the mess that most of the Traditional/Institutional “Church” has become comes from its attempting to define who Jesus is for themselves and outsiders.  The Jesus they present is exclusive and not inclusive and many times quite angry and judgemental.  Their Jesus condemns sin and sinners instead of being the One who reconciles All to right standing with God in spite of their sins.  Their Jesus rubber stamps and approves of them isolating themselves from the world and hating those still in it.  Their Jesus divides while the true Jesus unites.  Finally their Jesus has love and redemption, but only for those who meet their conditions and criteria.  When you seek Church instead of Christ you end up with the Christ they preach and define instead of the One True living and all loving and forgiving Jesus Christ Who is Lord over all creation.

If you desire life, love and truth SEEK JESUS and allow Him to fully define and reveal Himself to you. For in that process He will also introduce you to the true Church, the Body of Christ who gladly welcomes whosoever will into its outstretched arms of mercy and grace.  The true Church is always about relationship and not dead religion.  The true Church is about total freedom in the Spirit and not rules and legalism.  The false Church is about traditions, conditions and the Law.  The true Church knows that the Letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit always gives life and more freedom.  The false Church sets itself up as judge, jury and makes God into the executioner.  I am not meaning to be so harsh, but in comparison there are HUGE differences between the true Church of Jesus and the other one out there claiming to be His, but in reality is man centric instead of Christ centric.

All I really know is this….. Jesus loves you and if you seek Him you will find Him.  When you receive Him His Spirit will fill and guide you into all truth, even the truth about Church.  So don’t put the cart before the horse and instead seek Him first and allow Him to reveal Himself to you.  The Love of Christ is unconditional.  Being in Christ is a lifelong journey of discovering the truth in love.  It is my sincere hope and prayer that whoever reads this finds Him and then at HIS leading discovers true fellowship with others in the glorious Bride of Christ which is the one true Church.  Please do not settle for anything less than His Love, Grace and Truth.

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s. I am hoping it is just a blip on the radar screen or a speed bump, but I had a new flashback of my father and his cousins raping me at about age 9 this past weekend.  It has been troubling me, but I haven’t lost any sleep over it yet.  Prayers will be deeply appreciated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Toe To Toe For The Gospel Again

Greetings,

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5: 11-12

Three people contacted me last night and two of them shared those exact verses with me, and the other person encouraged me in a very similar manner.  All these friends knew was that the Holy Spirit prompted them to call and encourage me.  They had no idea about my current circumstances.  All I can say is that according to those verses I am in the process of being very greatly blessed the last few days.

In the last 48 hours in an online forum about house churches Two legalistic men have attacked and denounced me falling just short of calling me a false teacher.  All this is because we have different understanding about some key issues in the Church.  They say I have a low view of scripture because I refuse to elevate the written word to a place equal to or greater than Jesus Himself, because I feel that is idolatry.  They say scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  While I believe that only Jesus is THE final authority in all matters PERIOD.  They also vehemently disagree with me when I say the Church needs to be Spirit led rather than bible led.  We also part ways concerning the role of hierarchy in the Church.  They believe in and support the need for a human hierarchy to rule over the Church based on gifting, gender and biblical knowledge.  While I say we are all equal sibling peers in the Church under only the rule of Christ alone.  They see the need for human rulers with great authority, but I see the need for true servants with equal authority in Christ.  Finally I support the full equality of women in the Body of Christ in regards to all giftings and practice and they promote patriarchy where only males can ever lead and teach.  Yes, there are very dysfunctional house churches out there that differ very little from most traditional “churches”.

Some would say to me that an online forum is no big deal and that I should just leave to avoid further conflict with these two men.  Problem is that I have been called and equipped by Jesus to contend for the faith in situations just like this.  I also am not the only one speaking for the ways of Christ rather than men there.  Jim W. a dear brother in Christ had stood back to back with me fending off the assault of the enemy via these two very persuasive, highly intellectual men.  Jim and I feel that we need to take a stand against the very traditional/Institutional teaching of these two men who tend to dominate the discussion at this forum of more than 550 people.  There simply needs to be light in the midst of this darkness.  So that those who visit there sincerely seeking a better more relational way to Church can find it there in this location.  It would be Christlike to just present differing views and opinions concerning difficult beliefs and doctrines there, but these two men continually go for the jugular and place their feet on the neck of those with differing views.  Demanding compliance to their understanding of such doctrines and scripture.  It would be great if someone would step in to help moderate the discussions there, but these guys help administrate this forum so there is not much help or balance in sight.  Brothers in Christ should be able to work through differences such as ours, but they are all but saying Jim and I aren’t even real Christians because of our views and lack of having the bible as our only standard.  However, the deeper I go in Christ it seems that I become too radical for even the radicals.

Me?  I accept anyone who loves Jesus and calls Him their Lord.  If they follow Him in the big picture I am certain that any other details can be worked out over time and fellowship.  If we agree on who Jesus is we should be able to walk together and figure the rest out in His good time.  God hates divisions and to divide over doctrine before giving our sibling relationships a real chance to grow and mature is a HUGE mistake in my humble opinion.

The traditional “church” has many doctrinal obstacles in the way of true fellowship and life in Him.  The same should not be true in totally open and free, organic, Spirit led and relational fellowship.  Jesus never made me take a test about doctrine or scriptural knowledge in order to enter into a relationship with Him.  He called me His friend and then began to teach me via the Spirit all I needed to know about life in Him and the Church.  Cutting people off over doctrinal disputes is like aborting a baby before it grows to full term and is born.  It takes time with Him to learn and grow into the disciples He intends us to be, but if we walk with Him and one another long enough we will all eventually grow up to where we can be fully birthed into His amazing truth and love.  I don’t consider myself to be fully there yet, but I hope to be in the future.  I would surely appreciate your prayers for Jim and I.  Fighting the doctrine police is surely a difficult adventure.  Jesus said we should be defined by our love for one another and not by our doctrines.  I say a tree is known by its fruit.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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