Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5: 8-11
We had another excellent time of open & free, Spirit led, fellowship here some time ago. Everyone participated and shared concerning things that the Lord had placed on their hearts and we were all built up and edified in the Spirit. Jesus was clearly lifted up in our midst and His Truth in Love flowed through every member. One person was a first time visitor that had never been a part of a totally free & open, Spirit led gathering before. She loved the fellowship and said she was definitely touched by the Lord and wanted more.
One brother shared about how we need to be a consistent steady and true witness to those we encounter in life. He said that we all needed to extend Christ’s love and mercy to everyone we meet along the way. We all agreed with this brother and some shared about the rewards and difficulties of living our lives in such a relational and rock steady manner.
To me it is all about being like a prevailing wind. Prevailing winds don’t get many headlines if any at all. Big storms, tornadoes and hurricanes blow through regions leaving behind them a huge damage path. They get all the attention and the headlines. However, it is the prevailing steady winds that really shape the terrain and impact the environment the most over time.
I feel we all need to be steady and consistent in our relationships. Jesus should be the constant leading force in all our lives. I want to be true and dependable and someone that people can reach out to when they hit the rough patches in their lives. I want to be seen as someone who is loving, accepting, kind, merciful and true. We all need to live our lives in such a manner that people can trust and depend upon the Christ in us. Always sharing grace and withholding harsh judgment. In my town I want to be the guy that people in need turn to for compassion and honesty. I want Christ to develop within me character that stands the test of time.
In the end the only thing that matters is truth expressing itself in love, and that only truly happens in our relationships. No one on their deathbed ever says they wanted to work more or buy more stuff; what they do say is that they wish they had spent more time with their loved ones and building solid relationships. Jesus is about relationships. Faith is about relationships and the church should be about relationships too. I want to spend my life building relationships in a loving, truthful, solid and steady manner. I don’t care about the hottest new movement in the “church” or the new trends in worship. I just want Jesus and I hope I am living my life in such a manner that this is obvious for all to see. Dear Jesus, please let the wind of the Spirit blow and move in and through us like a gentle prevailing wind.
Kirk Out !
P.s. Ask yourself…. as a believer, are you shaping the world around you or is the world and its ways shaping you?
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect re-payment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners’, expecting to be re-paid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6: 32-36
Someone posted these verses on an E-group the other day and they hit me as fresh and right between the eyes. We are supposed to be good and merciful to everyone, even enemies and those who mistreat us. Is it just me or does that sound like a very large and very difficult task?
Sometimes I find it most difficult to be loving and kind even to those who are close to me, but God expects that and more from every one of us. It is easy to be kind to the kind, most of the time. However, the Lord desires that we be kind and merciful to even our worst enemies. My dear friend Glenn Kaiser put it this way….., ” How we treat the person we love the least, is how we love God the most.” Returning kindness for kindness is easy, but showing kindness and mercy to those who are against us or God; that is a monumental task my friends.
If we want to truly be sons of the Most High..we need to be kind and merciful to everyone and perhaps especially to those whom we find the most difficulty relating to…including the ungrateful and the wicked. I do not think we can do this on our own, but Christ within us can…if we just allow Him to. That brings us back to a familiar topic…surrender! If we yield our heart and mind to Jesus we can, via The Holy Spirit, do very great things that are impossible to do in our flesh.
It is a simple principle …If we truly love God..we will in turn love others without condition. This does not mean we will always enter into full relationship with those who could do us harm. It is most possible to love others when healthy boundaries are in place. I loved and forgave my abusive father, but when I finally remembered the abuse and no longer repressed the memories; I did not put myself or my children in situations where he could do any further harm. So sure be loving, kind, forgiving and merciful, but please be smart too. Surrender every relationship to Jesus and He will help you navigate any situation you might face with others.
Kirk Out !
“Wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors.” Proverbs 11: 14
Wisdom, or a mature understanding of God’s will and knowledge of what is true and right, is totally vital in the life of a follower of Jesus. Being able to know and apply wisdom in our daily choices and circumstances is an absolute need in this life. We need to know God and His will intimately if we are ever to grow up into what the Lord desires us to all be.
To be wise it takes the input and advice of many. However, most of the time in the traditional/institutional “church” we are expected to be taught and guided by one “man” called The Pastor. This my friends is not healthy or biblical. Yet, Sunday after Sunday the MANY sit passive in the pews, while the ONE teaches and preaches without interruption. In the early church interruption was common, welcomed, encouraged and perhaps even viewed as a Spiritual gift, but in the modern “church” it rarely, if ever, happens. (1’st Corinthians 14: 30,31)
The simple fact is that we will never grow up in Jesus until the entire Body is allowed to share and interact every time the church gathers. When everyone shares the Body grows up into the Head and there is true unity. In Christ the whole Body, joined and held together by EVERY supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as EACH PART does its work. It is only then that we all become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4)
The church was never intended to be a one “man”, or even few “man”, show. It takes the entire Body of Christ working together in unity to become what He desires us all to be. Every member of the Body is vitally important and needs to be given the opportunity to share their portion of the truth in love whenever the Body gathers. True disciples are made when they are given the chance to hear wisdom flow forth through a multitude of counselors and then allowed to share their part of the picture also for all to hear and consider.
So if you want wisdom..break free from the control of the One “man” show system and seek out true fellowship with others who know how to operate as a fully functioning Body. When the church gathers it should be a wide open, Spirit led, discussion with everyone participating for the mutual benefit of all involved. When Jesus is lifted up in this manner HE will draw ALL “men” to Himself. So what will it be for you? Sit down, shut up and listen to the Pastor; or sit down, open up and have a great free & open conversation?
Kirk Out !
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19: 21
When I began this whole blogging adventure almost six years ago I was pretty certain that the Lord was guiding me and that HE would bless my efforts. Back then I didn’t fully understand what that blessing would look like, but looking back today I can clearly see that His hand was upon this odd endeavor right from the very beginning. Jesus clearly told me right up front that all I ever have to do is to surrender to His Spirit’s leading day by day and simply write what I lived and what He laid on my heart and mind in the process of life. So that is exactly what I have done. In doing so I have shared about my walk with Jesus since He appeared to me at the age of four to hold and comfort me while my earthly father was abusing me. What I share here is a mixture of testimony and simple exhortation about how Christ has been with me every single day through both struggles and triumphs. I have shared at great length about enduring and eventually overcoming horrific PTSD flashbacks of childhood rapes and sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse. I have also used this blog to process and recover from the effects of a very difficult divorce after a 30 year marriage that died due to the fallout from living with PTSD for 16 years. I have also shared my experience, strength and hope that have come from walking 41 years in simple, relational, organic home churches.
By far the most exciting and rewarding results from my blogging experience have been when God has used this blog to bring folks into a full and active relationship with Jesus and His Body. For example in late 2015 I was contacted by “Tina” a former teen client of mine from over 17 years ago. She stumbled upon my blog site and after reading a dozen or more of my blog offerings she felt compelled to call me hoping I was the same Christopher Kirk that was her addictions counselor all those years ago. She told me she has been drug free for more than 12 years, but also that she has struggled with binge drinking occasionally over the past ten years. I freely offered her counsel and support and 30 minutes later she was praying with me to fully surrender her life to Christ. She told me she wanted the Jesus she found in my blog posts and not the “Jesus” that “churches” have tried to force down her throat for many years. Her hearts desire is for relationship WITH Christ and NOT religion with little to no Christ at all. She told me that she “rejects the comfortable bondage of religion and embraces the uneasy freedom found in Christ alone.”
Please pray for “Tina”? She is a single Mom of three children and she is in need of authentic love, nurture and fellowship in her area. She lives just under 2 hours from here, but I hope to visit her again in the near future. If I recall correctly “Tina” is one of the 24 persons to come to Christ due in part to the influence of this blog. To me there is no denying that the Lord is blessing this blog site and causing it to grow in more ways than one.
In the past several days at least a dozen people have reached out to encourage and thank me for my offerings here on this blog site. I want to thank everyone who reads and, better yet, participates in my postings here. To me there is a real sense of growth and community here. I just love that Jesus has blessed many of us to go the extra mile to actually connect face to face with those we have met here. People are coming to Jesus, being set free from institutional Christianity and developing real relationships with Christ and one another because of this site. Knowing that provides me with all the motivation I need to continue moving forward on this pathway that Jesus has set before me.
On another positive note over 15 relationship based house churches have begun around the world due to interaction with me and the simple words I write here online. Just this week a brother from Pakistan contacted me telling me that he has been translating my blog posts into his native language and that several fellowships there are using what I write to inspire interaction and participation in their gatherings. Over the past 2 years the same can be said about simple fellowships that have begun in Kenya, Indonesia and Uganda. This brings tears of pure joy to my eyes and warms my heart greatly. The total simplicity of what has occurred boggles the mind. People, all we need to do is share what The Holy Spirit lays on our hearts while attempting to live a transparent and authentic life. If we do these entirely simple things miracles happen my friends.
Kirk Out !
Update: I spoke with “Tina” today and she is coming here for fellowship later this month. In the past 2 years I Have been able to visit her several times and have helped her to connect with 3 other families that live within 20 minutes of her. They all have been having totally free and open, Spirit led, organic home fellowship every other week for the last 19 months. It is utterly amazing what Jesus can do with our lives if we just simply surrender to His leading moment by moment.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5: 18
Yesterday I celebrated thirty eight years clean and sober from drugs and alcohol. My real clean date is April 1, 1979, but I won’t get my Narcotics Anonymous (NA) coin and cake until week’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 six 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 !
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord…….” Isaiah 1: 18
Did you know that the word “sermon” is NEVER used in the whole entire bible? Well, at least not in the actual text. When men later added descriptions and titles to certain passages somehow the word “sermon” was used about the times Jesus shared on the mount. However, it was NOT a sermon being presented to the crowd. It was actually a long conversation or dialogue.
Jesus did not give sermons and neither did Paul. Usually folks will point to Paul’s talking on and on in Acts 20 and use that to justify sermons in the “church” today. However, where translations call Paul’s sharing there “preaching”; in the Greek text it actually says it was interactive dialogue and an ongoing conversation. This is a HUGE error in translation and in fact it has crippled the “church” in many numerous ways over the years.
There is a HUGE difference between speaking WITH someone and speaking TO or AT them. The Lord tells us to “come and reason” WITH Him. HE did NOT say COME LET ME REASON AT YOU! The Hebrew word used for “reason” in this text can mean to argue, decide, convince or discuss. God Himself wants to dialogue and discuss with us. If this is indeed God’s chosen route of communication… Then why does the “church” use sermons and monologues as its chosen way and total focus in communicating the truth and love of God?
It is insane! It is a proven fact that we best learn through interactive dialogue with GOD and one another. One more point I want to make is that even if Jesus did actually give a sermon on the mount, instead of a dialogue/conversation.. it only takes about 3 minutes to fully read through that entire passage. So why do most “sermons” on the average take over 40 minutes? Jesus could be conversational and brief, so why can’t we? I think it is a damn shame that the centerpiece and focal point of any “church” meeting/service is an un-biblical monologue….. where one “man” speaks and the rest of the Body become spectators and passive listeners. According to 1 Corinthians 14:26 when the church gathers “everyone” is an active participant and gets to contribute to a totally open and free, Spirit led, fully interactive conversation to the glory of God.
The big question is…do we want to follow God’s chosen ways or man’s? The sermon/monologue is “man’s” way and not God’s. So who are we going to serve? To me it is a simple choice, but with HUGE ramifications. The sermon is a tradition of men, a tradition that nullifies the Word of God and keeps the Body of Christ captive in the pews. I have said much more than a mouthful today. Please feel free to share your portion with us also.
Kirk Out !