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Supreme Empathy

Greetings,

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus The Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4: 14-16

I find great comfort in this passage.  Jesus, unlike all other so called spiritual leaders of other faiths, knows exactly what we have to go through in this life.  He knows because He allowed Himself to go through life just like we do, and He was tempted in EVERY way exactly like us.  Jesus emptied Himself of His Godlike powers and He walked through His life here on earth as fully human so that He would know exactly how we experience the ups and downs of this life.  Jesus faced life head on as a total human being and because of that He is fully able to empathize with us on an infinite number of levels.  Quite simply if it happened to us it is as if it happened to Him too.

I know that when I go through trials of any kind, including PTSD flashbacks, that Jesus is there with me every step of the way.  We do not serve a God who is distant and far off.  No, He is our ever present help and hope in our time of need.  We are never alone in our struggles and we can always turn to Him no matter what is going on in our lives.  When we are battered and bruised in this life He wraps His loving arms around us and shelters us from every assault, storm and blow from the enemy and or others.

We need not be shy or timid when approaching our Lord and King with our needs and troubles.  For Jesus has stepped forward and cleared the pathway to the throne of grace for us and He welcomes us with open arms.  His blood covers everything that we have ever done or will do.  He knows our darkest of secrets and yet still forgives us every single time.  I know that when I am in the midst of flashbacks and struggles that HE is always there with me and because of that I have great and wonderful hope.

One of the things I love about totally free & open, Spirit led relational fellowship is how we can come before Him together and pray and share about absolutely anything.  There is no topic considered taboo or off limits.  When we can verbalize our needs openly and pray to Him in total agreement with one another amazing things can and do happen.  I know, I have seen it and lived it myself for over forty years now.  Quite simply, together in and with Christ we can overcome anything that we may face in this life with no exceptions whatsoever.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

 

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Perspective

Greetings,

“O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.  Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.  The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.  So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.  I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.  Selah  Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.  Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.  Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you.  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.  For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life;  in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.  In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.”  Psalm 143

I was only going to share a portion of Psalm 143 this morning, but it was so rich that I felt led to share the whole thing here today.  In my times of PTSD flashback distress I have cried out to The Lord like this on numerous occasions and He has always answered me and rescued me. Sometimes not as quickly as I would have liked, but eventually in His perfect timing, He always brought to me awesome and true, comfort, love and mercy.  I trusted Him and by the morning He would always bring me word of His great, wide and deep unfailing love.

Unfailing love, what a concept?  What a reality!  If we all could only grasp that His love for us is truly unfailing, it would reshape the entire way we think, live and walk forward in this life.  Far too often we focus on our wretched state and His discipline or punishment.  When what He really wants us to grasp is His extreme and unfailing love.  He wants us to be overcome and engulfed in it.  Are we worthy of it?  No!  But Jesus lived, was crucified, put to death and resurrected so that we can experience His massive love in this life and the next.  Did you hear me?  Yes, I said in THIS LIFE!  Christ’s sacrifice is for the here and now as well as for things eternal and in the future.  Problem is that we seldom think and live that way in our daily walk. We need Him to totally rearrange how we think about such things.  We need Him to change our perspective, completely and radically….

Love and….

Kirk Out !

 

Fruit That Remains

Greetings,

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”  Romans 12: 9

Yesterday I had an excellent and interesting conversation with a dear brother online.  We were talking about my blog and he was very supportive and complimentary.  He even called my blogs “inspired”.  I really appreciated his comments because from the very beginning I have made the commitment to never ever write unless I felt HIS inspiration and anointing.  I do not want to just write for the sake of writing.  Because If Jesus is not in it, then I do not want to do it.  Period!  I simply write about the things He lays upon my heart, mind and Spirit.  If I am faithful and true in that, then I do not need to worry about whatever the responses or reactions may be.

This led to further discussion about fruit in the lives of Christ followers.  I am a very firm believer that true Spiritual fruit is borne and never MANufactured.  In my experience people end up coming to The Lord most often because they really know and appreciate the person who eventually leads them to Jesus.  It is the relationships that we forge, that have the biggest impact on the lives of others.  True ministry does not happen by following programs of evangelism or discipleship. Programs reduce the people we are trying to love and reach into mere numbers and dehumanizes the whole entire process.

I do not befriend people because they are potential notches on some sort of a spiritual belt  I reach out because His love compels me and I really do value friendship, deep lasting friendship. Developing relationships is what it is all about and that takes sincerity, love and time.  Programs do not work in the long run because eventually those reached by the programs realize that they were just another project in some sort of religious experiment.  Some people are leaving “churches” today because they discover that what they thought were true friendships are really nothing more than the results of some “church” outreach program.  Then once they are converted over time they just move up the assembly line from the position of recruit into that of the recruiter.  It is a sad thing indeed to realize that you were just part of a religious program and not a valued, treasured and sincerely loved friend in the first place.

So I do not use “The Four Spiritual Laws”, “Romans Road” or any other sort of prepackaged MANufactured plan of life or ministry.  What I do is depend totally upon the leading of His Holy Spirit in EVERY situation and having an open and sincere heart towards others.  I never look at anyone as a potential project. Because “love must be sincere” for it to make any real or lasting impact in the life of another.

It is worth saying one more time… True Spiritual fruit is borne and never MANufactured!  It comes from abiding deeply in the True Vine of Christ.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

A Refreshing Legacy

Greetings,

“To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and The Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in The Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.  I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”  Philemon 1-7

Paul, an apostle, wrote those glowing words many years ago to a dear brother in Christ named Philemon.  In his letter Paul praises his brother for many things.  Things that I believe that we all would be wise to aspire to.  It is a brief mention, but I love how Paul mentioned the church that met in Philemon’s home.  As most of you know relational house church is one of my passions and I love the places in scripture that validate and affirm home churches.  So consider this a shameless plug for totally free & open, Spirit led fellowship in homes.

Philemon is also praised for his faith in Jesus and his love for ALL the saints.  It would do us all well to have a growing and authentic faith and to also love as Philemon did towards all without showing favoritism.  Because what good is faith if we are not active and open in sharing it with others?  But it is interesting that Paul connects having an active, vibrant faith with gaining a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  If that does not motivate us to share more outwardly and actively I do not know what will.  Me?  I would love to have more understanding of all we have in Christ.  I only have a small understanding as it is and more would certainly be a tremendous blessing both to me and also to those I am in fellowship with on a regular basis.

Finally Paul says that Philemon’s love gave him great joy and encouragement because he had refreshed the hearts of others.   When I die I hope that someone can say something similar about me and my life, for that is the type of legacy I want to leave behind me and those are the type of things I aspire to in my life.  Faith, love, relationships, open sharing, open heart, open home, these are truly the things that really do matter most of all in this life.

Love and……

Kirk Out !

 

Embracing The Moment

Greetings,
                              “After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  There He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.  If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!”  Matthew 17: 1-5
                            In all my days I have rarely heard any commentary on the transfiguration, but I am going to give it a shot here today.  The main thing that I get out of this passage is that we should listen to Jesus first and foremost above all, and not The Law, or The Prophets.  Moses clearly represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets, but The Father said listen to my Son.  Sure reading and studying the Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament can be helpful at times, but our main focus should be on Jesus and the New Covenant at all times.  And wherever the Old Covenant and Testament seems to contradict Jesus we should always go with and obey the way that Jesus taught and viewed things.  The Father clearly said listen to Jesus, so that is exactly what I am going to do.
                             The other thing that stands out in this passage is Peter wanting to build shelters/monuments for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.  It seems like many in the “Church” always want to build a building/monument when they witness, or partake in, a move of God.  Please notice that Peter receives no answer to his proposition.  He is totally ignored by God.  When God reveals Himself to us and we witness a move of The Spirit, we should just enjoy and embrace the moment for what it is; instead of trying to figure out how to contain, sell and market it to and for others.  We should also allow those moments to pass so that we can press on forward into the next thing God wants to do in us and with us.  We are NEVER supposed to try and bottle, contain and sell the things that God does before and within us.  That would all but eliminate most products sold in “Christian” bookstores these days.
                             When we try to extend a move of The Spirit beyond its God ordained lifespan things always get weird.  The Toronto blessing in the 1990’s may have been a real Spiritual blessing and event, but trying to keep it going to draw bigger crowds was a huge mistake.  Worse yet was trying to turn it into a franchise in other locations.  When we focus on yesterday’s manna, we end up missing the next great thing God wants us to know and experience.  “His mercies are new every morning”, so please allow yesterday to pass so that we can fully welcome and embrace Him anew again each and every day and moment.
                    Love and……..
Kirk Out !

It Began With A Buddhist Named Ben And Ended With A Woman Named Talena

Greetings,

My trip to the Pacific Northwest was more than wonderful my friends.  However, going through TSA security at the airports was a major struggle.  Both going and then coming back home I was singled out for 2 very intrusive pat downs.  To me these events were nothing short of molestations, even though I told them both times that I had PTSD from childhood sexual abuse.  In Kalamazoo the agent felt all around and beneath my waistline to the point of groping my genitals and sliding his hand down my butt crack.  Honestly, he could tell how many testicles I had and whether or not I was circumcised.  Then in Seattle, at my request, they took me to a private room.  Did not get groped that time, but they did use a swab on my private parts in order to detect the presence of any bomb making materials.  It was hell, but with the prayer support of others and my praying through the violations… I did not have any flashbacks, and that is a complete miracle in every way.

The 4.5 hour flight from Detroit to Seattle was the smoothest flight I Have ever had.  I struck up a conversation with the Catholic priest sitting next to me.  He wanted to talk church, but I was led to only talk about the grace and love of Jesus.  Then out of the blue the man sitting across the aisle from me asked me to tell him more about this Jesus of which I spoke.  This led to an amazing 2 hour give and take conversation between Ben and myself with the priest throwing in his 2 cents from time to time.  Ben was a half Japanese Buddhist, who was thirsty for some grace, love and peace in his life.  I told Ben that those blessings come only from deep relationship with Jesus.  He was eating up everything I shared and he said that he had never heard these things presented in such a welcoming, heartwarming, manner.  Then the captain announced we would be landing soon.  It was then that Ben asked what the catch was in following Jesus.  I told him there was absolutely no catch, just faith, hope and love.  Ben pressed his question wanting to know what he had to give up to follow Jesus.  I checked with the Holy Spirit and told Ben that entering into a relationship with Jesus required nothing but simple faith in HIM.  Ben was amazed because when others had tried to share the Gospel with him before there were always strings attached and immediate changes he had to make in his lifestyle.  I assured Ben that if any changes had to be made that Jesus would help him along the way in that ongoing process as needed.  Ben smiled and we then prayed together and he welcomed Jesus into his life.

When I got off the plane in Seattle and went to baggage claim beautiful Talena was there with her daughter and 2 of her grandchildren.  We finally embraced and shared a simple kiss after 6 months of correspondence online and via the phone.  This was a pinnacle moment in both of our lives and the Holy Spirit was all over and within us deeply. We spent the next 7 days learning about each other more deeply and to be totally honest neither of us were surprised.  Because what we experienced together was EXACTLY what HE had been revealing to us since day one back in July.  Even Talena’s dog Fin who trusts no one outside of Talena’s family.. immediately loved and accepted me.  From The Spirit to family, friends, and those we are in fellowship with, there was nothing but positive confirmation that Talena and I were perfectly matched in Christ.

In the days that followed we had many fellowship opportunities.  In fact we had more fellowship with the Body than we had time alone with each other.  Those times of fellowship were very beneficial and the central theme of our gatherings was that Jesus did not die to forgive our sins as most “Christian’s” believe.  Jesus was forgiving sins long before He was crucified.  HE died to give us a full and abundant free life of Love and Grace.  Therefore there is NO CONDEMNATION in Christ Jesus!  Our lives in Christ are to be used to forgive and love others, NOT to condemn them.

Late Sunday night was the BIG MOMENT.  Talena took Fin out for a walk and I leaped into action.  We had been sitting at the dining room table talking.  So I reached out across the table and hid the engagement ring under her place mat.  It was a bit lumpy, but so were the place mats since she washed them.  All week long she had been trying to flatten them out again.  She came back in and sat down and immediately began trying to pat down the place mat again.  She then looked under the mat and saw the ring box.  Her eyes and heart lit up at that moment and said, “Christopher, what have you done?”  I then asked her to marry me and Talena said YES!!!!!

Both of us are praying about when and where to marry and it looks like I will be moving out there no later than this summer.  I love Talena like I have loved no other than the Lord and I know that she loves me that much too.  In every way we seem to be God’s perfect match for one another.  We would appreciate your prayers as we walk forward together towards eternity

Love and…

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Plus Talena’s spectacular family accepted me as their very own too!  More children and grandchildren for me.  What a tremendous blessing!

P.s.s.  An interesting note…. this is the second Buddhist named Ben I have led to Jesus while flying to Seattle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Follow The Spirit’s Leading Along The Way

Greetings,

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or to that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast and brag.  All such boasting is evil.  Anyone, then who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.”      James 4: 13-17

This passage is just packed with excellent and difficult admonishments.  Like don’t tell Jesus what you are going to do and just do it.  No check with Jesus first to see if it is His will, or your will, to do whatever needs to be done in the first place.  There are so many things we do in our daily lives that we do without any guidance or approval from The Lord, but that is not the most excellent way to do things, is it?  This begs the question,,,,are we really supposed to do ANYTHING out of mere rote and habit?  I don’t think so!  God should always be sought and allowed to interfere in ALL of our affairs. Many times while driving I pray for the Spirit to lead me in ALL of my day, and there have been several times (if not more) when HE told me directly to take another route.  Only later to find out that my normal route would have had me in the location of a major accident.  Better yet, on the new route that He led me to I have had amazing things happen, including folks getting rides and beginning a new or deeper relationship with Jesus.

What does this passage speak concerning our times of fellowship or “worship services”?  Should we really start at 11 am Sunday, pray, sing 3 songs, take up an offering, sing some more, hear a sermon and close with another song and a prayer???????  Week after week, year after year, decade after decade?  It is my assertion that being locked into that type of, or similar, pattern is just not God’s will.  Do we care about that?  Should we not rather seek God continually and then allow His will to invade and move us in the way HE desires us to go?  Even relational housechurches get into ruts like this, and I don’t think He is pleased about that at all.  Knowing what we are going to always do ahead of time I suggest is not a blessing, but rather a curse.  We need to be free in Him and allow His Spirit to lead us in all things great or small.

Then there is that last verse…If we know what is good and we don’t do it…we sin.  Yikes!  This tells me that I really need Jesus; because I sin often according to this verse.  But who doesn’t? Specifically, I know that it is good for me to check with Him before I do anything of meaning or substance on my own and if I do not, I boast, brag and sin.  Beyond that whenever He puts me in a situation to do something good for someone, and I do not do it, I sin.  Sin, sin, sin……..  What are we supposed to do???  It is quite simple really, surrender unto Him in all things and allow HIM to correct us on the fly along the way.  NEVER discount HIS Grace!  NOTHING should be set in stone. We should always check with Him concerning everything substantial that we do.  He is The Lord and we need to be following His will and not our own.  We are totally free to ask Him anything and everything.   Jesus is not a micro-managing, anal retentive, control freak.  HE just cares for us so much that HE is always there 24/7 to bounce our ideas off of.  So why not take full advantage of this great and ultimate resource in our lives?

Love and……

Kirk Out !

P.s. To Clarify, all it is really about is BEing in Him and allowing Him to flow through you in every moment.  That takes a surrender, but BEing in Him is a joy and not a burden.  If you feel burdened in your walk with Jesus, then it is time to re-evaluate everything; starting with your very own relationship with Him and all that He truly is, was, and will be.

P.s.s.  Jesus is supposed to be our Lord and King, but many do not even use Him as a consultant yet alone Lord.  Do we pray and seek His will as we ought to?  Many times HE is not even consulted on where to go to college, what career path we should take, who we should marry, where we should live, or how we ought to church.  I feel that ignoring Him in our decision making can lead us into peril instead of blessing.  Today I choose to surrender and yield to Christ every portion of my life and future.  How about you?

P.s.s.s.  Yes I Have returned blessed, safe and sound from my visit to the Pacific Northwest.  It was an amazing wonderful time of fellowship and deepening relationships.  I am still decompressing from the trip and hope to report soon here the wild details.