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Finally Our Wedding…. Together As One

lGreetings,

The following Stryper song sums it up pretty well and details will follow…..

“Together As One”

[Verse 1]
“Now is the time
That we stand together as one
A new light inside us will shine
As bright as the sun[Verse 2]
Let’s bring, bring in the new
And do away with the old
A new love, a new love that’s true
A love that’s never cold,
A love that never dies
A love that fills our souls
We will survive

[Chorus]
Together as one
We’ll stand for the world to see
Together as one
We’ll shine bright throughout eternity
All the dreams we’ve dreamed before
Are now reality
Now the dreams of a perfect love
Will always be

[Repeat Chorus]

You and I in a perfect love faithfully”

               On Saturday April 21’st we gathered for fellowship and a wedding at Talena’s daughter’s home in Bellingham Washington.  The setting was quaint, casual, relational and participatory as we met and celebrated our union with Christ, one another as a fellowship and the complete joining together of the very essence and completeness of Talena and I’s life together eternal.
               We began at 11 am with a buffet style salad bar with many different choices of toppings that Talena and I personally mixed, sliced, diced and chopped the day before.  The house was alive with fellowship and rich conversation as children played with one another as the adults shared words of life with each other.
               As we finished eating together BK brought out her guitar to tune it.  I purposely left my guitar at home thinking I would be too preoccupied with getting married and such to play that day, but Jesus had other ideas.  BK brought her guitar to me and Ken confirmed that we needed to sing some songs that I have written over the years.  They know I am insecure about my singing and playing, but today Jesus calmed my nerves and I agreed and began singing “I Want to Listen You.”
               After a few songs BK took her turn singing some songs that others had requested and from there we launched into Spirit led dialogue with one another.  Several key themes were evident in our mutual conversation including how we ALWAYS need to share LOVE and NOT condemnation and operate out of relationship and NOT knowledge, including knowledge of even the scriptures….and finally how The SPIRIT ALWAYS trumps legalism and the Law.  Many of the 26 gathered shared and we were all blessed.
               Next the wedding portion of our day began with Lisa singing and playing the electric piano in an awesome rendition of “Together As One”.  This song brought some to tears and then BK prayed and shared from Genesis about how Adam and Eve were especially created to help and serve God and each other.  It was such sweet sharing.  Then Talena and I each shared our vows to one another from our hearts as led by the Spirit.  Talena said the wedding was great, but still a bit odd because on that day we were not becoming ONE, because Christ had already made us one at the very point of our creation.  Perfectly matched halves from HIS very hand.  Talena said that Christ had used everything in our past, every abuse, every relationship to make and mold us for HIS will and purposes.  You see Jesus appeared to both Talena and I when we were just 4 years old.  To comfort and counsel us concerning the many abuses we would have to endure in this life.  Because we trusted and accepted HIM then and throughout our struggles in this life…HE has made us stronger, more authentic and empathetic.  Those nurtured attributes have made us both much stronger and viable as individuals, but now when joined together we become a force for HIS Grace, Love and Mercy like very few ever have before us.  This is very heavy and humbling for us and only made possible by the Christ formed inside us and NOT at all about the flesh, skills or intellect.
               My vows were short and simple.  All my life I have asked for brothers and sisters who in Christ are full and equal peers to me.  I have never wanted to be in charge of anyone or anything.  No, I just want to BE a part of whatever thing the Lord is doing at any given time or any given place.  Friends, in Talena Jean, I have found my equal and my compliment and I will love, honor and serve her for the rest of my life and beyond.
               Next BK announced us as being Mr. and Mrs.  Christopher Kirk and we kissed like our lives depended on it.  After that we all enjoyed the lovely and wonderful cakes that Heather, Talena’s daughter, made for us.  The bride’s cake was carrot with cream cheese and pineapple frosting.  The grooms cake was sugar free, low carb, dark chocolate cake with peanut butter cup frosting.  Special thanks to those who have been praying for us.
Love and…..
Kirk out !
P.s. You can hear the song here:
P.s.s.  I almost forgot the best part.  Before BK announced us we opened the floor for members of our fellowship to share blessings and wisdom with us.  Those who did so pretty much pegged us as to our future aspirations and dreams together.  It was awesome!
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Keep Pressing Forward

Greetings,

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.  For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:3-11

Wow, I just love that passage because it is packed full of excellent stuff.  According to these words we lack nothing that we need to follow and serve Jesus.  Because His divine power has given us EVERYTHING we need to live a godly life in the here and now.  It even says that because of His promises we can now participate in the divine nature.  Just how awesome is that?  The truth is that we actually lack NOTHING because He has made us like Him and extended to us His divine power.  Because of this we can avoid the corrupt ways of the world caused by impure desires.  The fact is that we are well equipped by Him to face any circumstance we could possibly imagine.  If we would only grasp and take hold of that concept, THAT REALITY, then we would not be afraid to face our fears or any other obstacle that *seems* to be in our path.  The possibilities are endless.

Sure it all starts and ends with Christ and His power, but He has extended to all of us His grace to be able to grow and learn ‘along the way’ in this life.  Jesus chose that growing up in Him would be a cooperative effort with us.  Sure He extends power, love and grace, but we have to believe and receive it in order for it all to work together effectively in this life.  He holds out His hand, but we have to intentionally choose to grasp it.  It says that we need to “make every effort” to add to OUR faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.  We need to purposely take hold of these excellent qualities and then press on forward into Christ in “increasing measure”.  Because by doing so we avoid being “ineffective and unproductive”.

Being in Christ and possessing these excellent qualities is not an automatic thing.   He freely sets a banquet of blessings before us, but we have to do all the eating and nourishing ourselves.  However, IF we partake of Him and His gifts we will “NEVER fail”.  That folks is a HUGE promise!  Today I am choosing to cooperate with Him by taking up my cross and following Him.  However, everyday we have many choices to make.  It is my prayer that we would all continually choose Him and then walk in His ways and NOT our own.

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  This will likely be my last blog post until next week.  Fellowship and the wedding are taking place Saturday and we have preparations to make.  Prayers appreciated!

 

 

My Move Is Complete And The Wedding Is Saturday

Greetings,

First off both Talena and I want to give extra special thanks to all of you who prayed for us during the big 2,351 mile move westward.  We left Michigan at 10 am Saturday the 7th of April after loading up the truck with much help from my son Caleb, my best friend Robert Smith and his son Isaac.  We traveled over 500 miles that day through Chicago traffic to Albert Lea MN.  I knew tolls would be expensive through Indiana and Illinois, but never thought they would come to nearly 70 dollars.  That total put a severe strain on our budget, but not as much as the realization that our moving truck would average under 8 miles per gallon.  Penske’s website said in black and white that this model truck would get approx. 12 miles per gallon and when I picked up the truck the Penske worker verified the 12 mpg claim.  More on that later in this blog post.

Our Hotel that night was clean and within budget and the indoor pool and hot tub offered great relief for our sore muscles.  Free breakfast including waffles also really hit the spot.  The weather forecast for Sunday was not at all pleasant.  We were looking at high winds, blowing and drifting snow with accumulations nearing 8 inches.  It was snowing lightly when we took off at about 8:45 am, but about 2.5 hours later it was getting nasty out there.  After seeing several cars in the ditch and one semi also we prayed and decided to get off I-90 to grab some lunch and reevaluate our travel plans in Sioux City SD.  Lunch was good, but a little pricey.  Talena struck up a conversation with a lady one booth down from our table and this nice lady informed us she was traveling East and told us that the roads were clear just over an hour West from here.  We thanked her for the heads up and took her report into serious consideration as we prayed about how, or if, to proceed that day.  Several friends and family members texted us and asked to to consider getting a room to ride out the storm and to wait until Monday to proceed, but we decided to press on for at least 1.5 hours to see if the storm would really clear.  As we were getting ready to leave the waitress brought us what I thought was our bill, but to our surprise it was a note saying our bill had been taken care of.  What a great blessing!

After we gassed up again we hit the road.  To be honest I-90 was slick and very messy, but I have driven thru worse.  We must have seen another half dozen cars in the ditch and also several big rigs.  Our trek was slow, but sure, but after 1.5 hours of slipping the storm gave way and the roads were once again clear.  We drove until 7 that night and got a killer room for just 41 dollars in Rapid City SD.  The room was comfortable and HUGE, but the trip was taking it’s toll on both Talena and I.  Talena has severe back issues due to being rear ended by a teenage driver going 45 mph when she was stopped at a traffic light in 1999.  Normally traveling just a few hours causes her great discomfort and pain, but she was determined and also certain that Jesus would cover her for this 5 day mega trip.  My right knee has been progressively bothering me since I fell on it on Feb.  The DR told me that if it was just strained ligaments it should heal by mid April or I should get an MRI to evaluate possible structural damage.  Bottom line is that I need that MRI.  It seems that getting in and out of that big truck has worn greatly on Talena’s sore back and my sore knee.

Monday was pretty much uneventful finishing off South Dakota and getting deep into Montana to spend the night in Livingston.  Our biggest problem is that because of the poor gas mileage we were running about 300 dollars over budget and I had to dive into my NEVER EVER SPEND emergency money.  Thank Jesus however, that HE had led me to save this cash in advance.  Tuesday we made it too Spokane very glad we had less than a full day ahead of us on Wednesday to make it home to Bellingham.  However, Grace once again reared its lovely head during the day Tuesday while climbing the Rockies.  I went to change into the right lane from the left and did not see that there was an 18 wheeler there trying to pass me.  We were mere inches from a horrific crash, but Jesus covered us BIG TIME!

Wednesday was spent driving thru the East desert of Washington and climbing and descending the Cascades.  At about 6 pm we parked across the street from Talena’s apartment, very glad to have completed our long journey.  The truck sat there until Saturday morning when we had great help unloading.  After the unloading we took the truck to turn it in and I was ready to tell the Penske people how dissatisfied I was with the poor gas mileage the truck had got when their website said otherwise.  However, where we turned the truck in was only a subcontractor.  They were sympathetic, but unable to offer any real help.  Please pray because I am calling Penske headquarters first thing Monday morning to demand satisfaction?

If you read all this you are likely pretty invested in this blog site and my life.  On Saturday I marry Talena and my life becomes our life.  As always your prayers are greatly appreciated.  More to come!

Love and…….

Kirk Out !

 

Thirty Nine Years Clean

Greetings,

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead be filled with the Spirit.”  Ephesians 5: 18

On Sunday I celebrate thirty eight years clean and sober from drugs and alcohol.  My real clean date is April 1, 1979, and I get my Narcotics Anonymous (NA) coin and cake at Sunday night’s meeting.  Many of my NA friends and family will be there to share the moment with me. Their encouragement and mutual accountability have been a major source of strength and comfort for me over all the years and especially these past seven years..

Yes, April Fool’s day 1979 was the last time I was the kind of fool who used drugs and alcohol to great excess.  Fool that I was, my best friend at the time and I went to the county fairgrounds so that I could launch my brand new fire engine red 1979 Pontiac Trans Am off of the earthen cattle loading ramp.  We figured that if The Dukes of Hazzard could do it on TV, we could do it in real life too.  BIG MISTAKE!  Oh we made the jump just fine at 135 miles per hour, it was the front heavy crash landing that did us in.  When I woke up I was bruised, battered and bloody, but my friend got the worst of it.  His head went through the windshield and there was blood everywhere.  When I next woke up I was in jail, but my friend was in a coma for 6 days and almost died.  That was my rock bottom, and thanks to Jesus and NA it was also the very last time that I ever used drugs and alcohol.

I started using alcohol when I was just 11 years old.  We were at my great aunt’s place for Thanksgiving dinner and for whatever reason the adults saw fit to give me a big water glassful of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine.  I did not know any better so I just chugged it, asked for more, and practically passed out in my mashed potatoes.  I liked the numb feeling it gave me though, so I continued to get as much alcohol as I could.  It wasn’t hard because my father was an alcoholic.  Soon afterwards I started taking my parents vicodin and other pain killers whenever I could.  It did not take long to find people who would sell them to me at school either.  Mixing opiates and alcohol could have killed me, but back then I didn’t care.

Like I said, I used the dope to just get numb.  Feeling nothing was the only feeling I could stand. My father started abusing me sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally when I was about 4 years old and it did not stop until I was 12.  Even though the sexual abuse ended then I still had these totally awful memories.  So I got drunk and high as often as humanly possible in order to avoid everything going on inside my head.

Jesus walked with me through my horrific childhood.  I can remember Him holding me close during the times of abuse. However, I did not know or fully understand exactly who He was until 1976 when I went forward at a Larry Norman concert in Columbus Ohio.  When I was finally exposed to the bible, it fully confirmed all of the things Jesus had been sharing with me since I was 4. Things about true fellowship, love, grace, truth and the church.  Things I try to live out to the fullest even till this day.

Well, that’s my story.  A big chunk of it anyway.  Thank you Jesus, thank you relational housechurch, and thank you Narcotic’s Anonymous for all you have done for me.  Let me just close with this:  The fellowship of Narcotic’s Anonymous has taught me more about love, acceptance and actually BEING the church than the Traditional/Institutional “church” EVER has. NA has wide open, free flowing, sharing from the heart all the time. ” Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do NOT govern.”  What I find at the tables of NA is total, brutal, gut level honesty about where we are and where we want to be.  We simply love one another and carry each other until we can all walk again.  “It is a Spiritual, NOT religious program.”  It is real and never fake.  My life really began at step 3…..”We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  In Jesus I have come to understand God.  Not my will, but HIS be done!

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  This will be my last blog posting for about 2 weeks.  On Monday Talena flies here to help me with sorting and packing of all my stuff and on the following Saturday we load up the truck, pull my car behind, and head West to Bellingham Washington.  During the week Talena will be meeting my children, grandchildren and dear friends.  It will be a very busy week.  We are very close to having the needed funds for the move.  Jesus is such a wonderful provider.  We would appreciate any help or prayers that you could offer.  Special thanks to everyone who follows this blog and to those who participate here.  Our wedding will be during fellowship on April 21’st.

 

 

On Divisions and Obstacles

Greetings,

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.  Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  Romans 16: 17-20

Pretty straightforward warning from Paul there.  Divisions and obstacles need to be avoided or they can shipwreck our faith in a hurry.  Sure there are other divisions, but the biggest division that I see in the Body of Christ is that between Clergy and laity or Leaders and followers.  It is an obstacle and division because it creates the myth that some Christians are leaders and others can’t lead.  This division stifles the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ by denying every member ministry and instead it elevates one person or a select few over the rest of the congregation.  Then instead of the Body being living and active, it becomes dead-like and passive.  The Church should never be about a few participants and many spectators.  No EVERYONE is supposed to be a vibrant participant with much to share with the rest of the Body.  When the Church is allowing and empowering every member to be Spiritual givers and not mere takers….She shines!

Who is misleading the Church these days?  Most denominations (The very word denomination means division) and independent “churches” uphold the Clergy/Laity division and the notion that some Christians are special and to be revered over and above other followers of Christ. Sure most denominations and independents give lip service to the Priesthood of all Believers, but the problem is that they do not make it their practice in everyday church-life.  Other than that it is impossible to turn on the television and find a TV preacher that doesn’t line their own pockets with cash smooth-talked and manipulated away from the innocent.  Just a few years ago The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest “christian” network, had come under fire because the founders very own grand daughter had come forward to say that they had misappropriated MILLIONS of dollars from the ministry to feed the founders appetite for more luxury cars, jet airplanes, mansions and mammon in general.  Aside from the money problem much of the theology of most TV preachers is just whacked.  The whole prosperity doctrine and Seed Faith movement is just so very, very wrong.  I totally believe in prayer and healing, but not the kind that apparently says that God can be manipulated with money.

The whole being wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil is just excellent.  The best way to be innocent about anything is to not even be exposed to it in the first place.  When they train U.S. Treasury agents, the agents only work with real money.  They get to know real currency so well, that when they come across counterfeit bills later they almost automatically know them to be fake.  It seems that God wants the very same from us where it comes to good and evil.  It is all about knowing the good so well and intimately that when we come across the evil we will know it right away.  BIG EVIL is easy to spot.  It is the little evil things that tend to trip us up in this life.

I really like the last verses in this passage.  It is great to know that God will soon crush satan and somehow it will be with peace and right under our very own feet.  To me this means to hold on because it won’t be very long until God helps you through any difficult situation that you can face or even imagine.  Because the awesome Grace of Jesus is with us.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

On Divisions and Obstacles

Greetings,

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.  Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  Romans 16: 17-20

Pretty straightforward warning from Paul there.  Divisions and obstacles need to be avoided or they can shipwreck our faith in a hurry.  Sure there are other divisions, but the biggest division that I see in the Body of Christ is that between Clergy and laity or Leaders and followers.  It is an obstacle and division because it creates the myth that some Christians are leaders and others can’t lead.  This division stifles the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ by denying every member ministry and instead it elevates one person or a select few over the rest of the congregation.  Then instead of the Body being living and active, it becomes dead-like and passive.  The Church should never be about a few participants and many spectators.  No EVERYONE is supposed to be a vibrant participant with much to share with the rest of the Body.  When the Church is allowing and empowering every member to be Spiritual givers and not mere takers….She shines!

Who is misleading the Church these days?  Most denominations (The very word denomination means division) and independent “churches” uphold the Clergy/Laity division and the notion that some Christians are special and to be revered over and above other followers of Christ. Sure most denominations and independents give lip service to the Priesthood of all Believers, but the problem is that they do not make it their practice in everyday church-life.  Other than that it is impossible to turn on the television and find a TV preacher that doesn’t line their own pockets with cash smooth-talked and manipulated away from the innocent.  Just a few years ago The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest “christian” network, had come under fire because the founders very own grand daughter had come forward to say that they had misappropriated MILLIONS of dollars from the ministry to feed the founders appetite for more luxury cars, jet airplanes, mansions and mammon in general.  Aside from the money problem much of the theology of most TV preachers is just whacked.  The whole prosperity doctrine and Seed Faith movement is just so very, very wrong.  I totally believe in prayer and healing, but not the kind that apparently says that God can be manipulated with money.

The whole being wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil is just excellent.  The best way to be innocent about anything is to not even be exposed to it in the first place.  When they train U.S. Treasury agents, the agents only work with real money.  They get to know real currency so well, that when they come across counterfeit bills later they almost automatically know them to be fake.  It seems that God wants the very same from us where it comes to good and evil.  It is all about knowing the good so well and intimately that when we come across the evil we will know it right away.  BIG EVIL is easy to spot.  It is the little evil things that tend to trip us up in this life.

I really like the last verses in this passage.  It is great to know that God will soon crush satan and somehow it will be with peace and right under our very own feet.  To me this means to hold on because it won’t be very long until God helps you through any difficult situation that you can face or even imagine.  Because the awesome Grace of Jesus is with us.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

What Many Traditional/Institutional “Churches” would have you believe

Greetings,

“And when Jesus had collected the tithes and offerings from the people, he gave thanks and called his disciples unto himself. Having counted it he then broke it into five portions. The first three portions he took and gave them to Himself, Paul, Peter, and their personal assistants as compensation for their hard work. The fourth portion he then put toward bills and improvements on their building of meeting.  Taking the final portion, he then further split it into four smaller portions. He then gave the first three of those smaller portions to his disciples, instructing them to fill their place of meeting with wonderful music, childcare programs, youth events, and other creative ways of persuading the people to come away from their normal lives and join them in the building.  At last he took the final fourth portion of the final fifth portion and distributed it among the needy. Sadly, it didn’t help very many people.  He then rebuked the multitudes for not bringing more. He explained that he really wanted to do more, but just couldn’t because the true work of God required a very large overhead. He then admonished them to exercise their faith through increased giving and trust that the Father would supply their needs, or else their money would be under a curse.” 2nd Matthew 4:18-23

Thank Jesus that His reality is FAR from this satire for many who gather outside the walls of religion!!!!

Love and………

Kirk Out !