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I started answering the question “What did it look like back in the day at Calvary Chapel when Christians got together, for a bible study and other gatherings?” in my post on Sept 24. I started by explaining that the answer is found in who we were because that resulted in what it was like. This is part 2 of my answer.

In addition to everything that I wrote in this post here.

We abided in Christ.

We lived in Christ, we lived for Jesus, we lived “Hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus. We were obsessed with Jesus, we praised Him continually, talked about Him obsessively.

And just like with Jesus out of His personal union with the Father (John 10:30, John 5:19, Luke 22:42, John 14:9 ) came His words (John 12:49) and His works (fruit), which manifest the character of God and His mission on earth. Out of our union, our abiding in Christ, abiding in His word, came our works (fruit) and Character of Christ in us, resulting in us living on His mission (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).

So imagine what it would be like for two or more people in a union (abiding) with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the word of God just as Jesus was in a union (abiding) with the Father coming together. Think of the results in the life of Jesus, the fruit He manifested, everything He did on His mission. Look at the life of the disciples and the fruit in their lives from abiding in Christ (Book of Acts). Now maybe you’re getting a glimpse of what it was like when we came together. What our daily lives looked like.

We proved daily that John 15:1-11 is true. “……he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, “. Our lives, what happened when we came together were the result of us abiding in Christ all day, the fruit from abiding.

Calvary Chapel May 5, 1973. Hundreds gather at Corona del Mar beach for baptism.

We were all part of the same church.

In the late 60’s through the 80’s Calvary Chapel held their baptisms at the beach, they had to because they were baptizing as many a 500 people in a single baptism. Those people were not coming to Christ because of some church event, or program. But because every one of us took Jesus to the streets, everywhere we went, we carried our Bibles with us and shared Jesus with everyone we met, each one of us was an evangelist. We did not invite people to come and attend a church, we were the church everywhere we went inviting people to come to the wedding feast, to Christ (Matthew 22:9).

This is who we were, the Christian culture we were reborn into, what Christians did, we opened our Bibles read what it said, believed it and lived it, we acted, we just did what it said. Thereby we made Isaiah 55:11 a reality in our lives. We were living on mission, talking about Jesus to everyone. It was that way for the first church, it was like that for us back then and it should be the same for us today.

We were all part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. What was Calvary Chapel like, try to imagine thousands of followers of Christ who are passionately in love with Jesus. Coming together to worship Jesus, study the word, and have Koinonia with each other, who are expectantly waiting for the return of Jesus (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6) and wanted to tell everyone about that Jesus. This was not a church of Sunday Christians, church attendees, a give me ten minutes of worship, a quick twenty-minute sermon and let me get out of here kind of people. This was Jesus people, Jesus freaks (as we were called), followers of Jesus coming together. People who actually loved to be with other followers of Jesus and talk about Jesus. To us it was not just a one hour Sunday morning event, in addition to the Sunday morning service, we had Sunday, Monday and Thursday night bible study services that lasted 2, to 2 1/2 hours each. Plus we went out for dinner afterward with bibles open talking about the study for another couple of hours. We were not just attendees of a church, Sunday Christians, but people in love with Jesus, and the body of Christ, the word of God and so we came together to be in the word, love on each other and love on Jesus.

I believe the essential part, the key to being part of Calvary Chapel was that it was a teaching church, an equipping church, and a sending church. We were taught the word of God (1 Timothy 4:6, 2 Timothy 2:15), equipped to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16) and sent out to preach the gospel and make disciples (2 Timothy 4:2, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8) and that is what we did. It was not about starting programs, it was about making missionaries of all of us.

Somebody once asked me where I went to church, I said Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, They responded: “Wow, going there is like going to seminary, you really learn the Bible”. And they were right, we not only were taught the Bible verse by verse, cover to cover, but we were also taught how to study the Bible ourselves, we were equipped. Thereby we were able to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:15 “Earnestly study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.“.

So image a group of people who along with everything I said in part one of this post, they believe in the same Jesus (Biblical Jesus), are madly in love with, abide in Jesus, who talk about Him with everyone they meet. Who are anxiously awaiting His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6), and with urgency told everyone Jesus was returning. Who love the word of God so much that they study it every day, meditate on it all day, and talk about it with everyone. Are in unity in what the bible says (theology). Who love the body of Christ, and live to one another the body. Who exercise their Spirit-given gifts when they come together. A people that live on the same mission, to go make disciples. That believe in the same gospel and preach it to themselves and everyone they meet every day. We were filled with, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who is enabling, gifting and leading them. Are Charismatic (Not into Charismania).

We were a people that are of one accord, one Jesus, one gospel, one bible, one mission, a people who read the bible then do, act on what it says in the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s is who we were, a group of people who met the one who died for their sins and rose again and live as if they did.

It was Just Normal Christianity

In other words, it is normal Christianity according to everything I read in the NT as to how Christians live, the normative for a follower of Jesus Christ and how we live and do church.

So what was the result of a group of people like that to coming together? Whether it was 2, 20, 200 or 2,000, I think the only way I can convey what it was like is just to say: It was a Jesus explosion, a Jesus celebration. It looked like Acts 2, like Ephesians 5:16, and 1 Corinthians 14:26. It looked like a group of co-laborers in the mission (Matthew 28:19-20), who were stirring up one another to love and good works, spurring on one another in the good fight of the faith. It was like what normal Christianity is supposed to be like.

Honestly, you have to have lived it and experienced it to truly know and understand what it was like, what happened when we came together. If you were not part of the Jesus / Oneway Movement in the 60’s – 80’s, especially in California and particularly at Calvary Chapel (where it began), you truly cannot understand what I’m talking about.

I can also say for sure that you cannot make what happened back then happen today with a “how to book”, a “checklist of things to do”, or “church programs”. No man-made list or program can duplicate it. Nor can it happen with a church or group that’s full of Sunday Christians. People that think a church is something you just attend.

Just as Calvary Chapel did not make it happen with programs or manuals. It was God, the work of the Spirit and a people passionately in love with, abiding in Jesus and in love with each other. Chuck’s part was that he lifted Jesus up, taught the word of God and equipped the people for the work and sent them out. He let God and the Holy Spirit do the rest. God filled us with His Holy Spirit, and Chuck filled us with God’s word, and the word and the Spirit together did the rest.

I think the last part of Acts 17:6 best describes the gatherings back then “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” because they really did.

Read part one here.

 

In my Friday morning men’s group, I was asked what it looked like back in the day at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa when Christians got together, for a bible study or other gathering.

And I have been thinking about that since he asked that, and I’ve had a hundred memories running through my head while trying to think of how to answer that question.

And I think the answer is found in who we were, how we lived daily. Because without that any examples don’t make sense and are truly unduplicatable. Because that is the foundation, was the catalyst for what occurred when we met together.

Like the trinity we had a three-fold purpose and that ultimately was one purpose, Jesus, the Word, and the mission. And it dominated every aspect of our daily life, our thoughts, our actions, our purpose for living. Sub purpose along with those was Koinonia, (fellowship) and Maranatha, (the second coming of our Lord Jesus).

Because Jesus, the word of God and His mission were our lives, the most important things in our lives, the priority of our lives, what happen when we got together happened because of that. Jesus, the word of God, and the mission dominated our thoughts, our conversations, they affected everything we did every day.  So, when we came to gather it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26.

When we gathered together all we talked about was Jesus and His word, because for us “to live is Christ” was how we lived. We did not have to switch to “church mode” or start acting like Christians when we came together, we were living it out daily. We talked about Jesus all day with everyone.

I must start with the elements, the foundation that created what happened when we came together?

The Mission: We all joined God in what He was doing every day, and so we had daily stories about fresh encounters with God, with what He was doing, stories of us joining Him in what He was doing. Stories of preaching the gospel, the sick being healed, the blind seeing, people being saved, people repenting, people being delivered. That is we had testimonies of Mark 16:15-20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Even stories of receiving persecution for preaching the gospel, and testimonies of prayers being answered.

First-hand stories, so that no matter who we talked with, set down next to when a conversation started we had a steady stream of God stories about what He had done. We prayed daily for God to use us, lead us where He was working, let us join Him in the mission. And when we prayed it, we meant it, we put everything else on the back burner. So then we brought those stories, testimonies with us when we come together, our part in the mission, in what God was doing on earth (Matthew 28:19-20, 10:7-8, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 9:2).

The Word: We had daily fresh encounters with His word and what it said to share, not just a list of isolated Bible verses committed to memory from some list memorized we just repeated. But a daily fresh encounter with the word and the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the word it for that day. We started our day with our Bibles open digging into the word, we finished our day in it, and every minute in-between that we could. We carried our bibles with us everywhere, we were reading it and sharing it every opportunity we had. We were set on fire for and by His word, encounters with God in His word. And if we did not share what we had received, we would have exploded I think. And we wanted to share it with everyone. We had burning bush encounters with God in His word. You cannot keep that kind of encounters with the Lord under a basket, you must shout it from a rooftop, and so we did, to each other, to everyone we encountered.

We all carried our Bibles with us if we were going to a restaurant to eat alone or with somebody, it was with us and open. When going to somebody’s house, because whenever we gathered together we always open our bibles and shared the Word. Even work because we never wanted to be far from it or miss any opportunity we had for sharing the word with others.

Jesus: And we abided in Christ and He in us, our thoughts were consumed with Jesus. We preached the gospel to ourselves all day, keeping the cross and resurrection fresh in our thoughts, to us it was if Jesus died for us and rose from the dead that day and we praised Him for it and had to tell others about it. We walked and talked with Him as if He was standing right next to us all day long because He was, we were consumed with Him. God became a man, suffered for our sins, paid our debt, died for us, and rose from the dead. And when we die He is going to raise us from the dead, give us His ring, robe and sandals. And we will eat with Him at His banquet table. What is there to talk about that was more important than that! Therefore, we talked with everyone about Him, I mean everyone. Our greatest joy was to talk about Jesus, we would rather talk about Him than anything else with each other and with others.

And we were also about Koinonia, the word means; 1contribution, 2fellowship, 3participation, 4sharing. We used the word a lot back then to describe our gatherings because It denotes the active participation or sharing of what one has in common with others. Koinonia is a very special kind of sharing—entering into what the apostles experienced with Christ. And that is what we did when we came together, “active participation or sharing in what one has in common with others” and that was Jesus, the word, and the mission. We entered “into what the apostles experienced with Christ.” That is why we wanted to be with the body of Christ in the first place.

Maranatha, the word means; “Our Lord comes” or “Our Lord is coming.” Jesus told us “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt 24:44) So we reminded each other to be ready, we did not want to be found asleep in the light. Paul said “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess 5:6-11 NKJV) And so when we came together we “comfort each other and edify one another” and we keep each other awake. And alerted others that Jesus was coming again.

And the Holy Spirit, I cannot leave out that we were all filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, baptized in/with the Spirit, however, you want to label it. It was not us doing these things in the power of our flesh, our strength, something we learned from a “How to” church manual. Not man made plans, schemes or programs, but by the Spirit of the Lord. We lived surrendered to, lead by the Spirit. It was not as much as us doing as it was us just Going and letting God do something through us, letting the Holy Spirit work through us. We let the Spirit equip us, work in us and through us when we were Going, and when we came together.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31-33, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6), “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  John 14:26, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7,  and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and on and on, we lived out, or maybe I should say the Spirit lived out through us.

Those things defined who we were and thus cased what it looked like when we came together, it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26 I really think it looked like what it must have been like when the disciples came together after a day of joining God in what He was doing, a day of living on mission. A day of Going into the world and preaching the gospel, teaching what Jesus said even onto persecution.  Each one with their stories to share of going. A bunch of people who were crazy about, passionately in love with Jesus, the word. A people obsessed about people getting saved, even unto death, coming together as co-laborers for the Kingdom of God, encouraging one another in Christ, in the word, in the mission, filled with, equipped and empowered by the Spirit.

That’s the starting place, the foundation of what caused what occurred when we gathered together, part 1 of the story.

Read part 2 here.

 

 

ywam-togther-kc-2016-2

Having YWAM Together 2016 here in KC the last week was such a blessing, God amazingly continued a conversion we have been having the last month, so many things on my heart and my prayers, speakers addressed.

It was so great to be back among YWAMers, got to see my old base leader John Dawson, and hear Loren Cunningham. Hear what God is doing through YWAM today in the earth like Ending Bible Poverty, being reminded of the goal that the Bible will be translated into every known language by 2020.

God moved powerfully in the worship and faith-stirring messages.

I believe God was talking to me about what I have been crying out to Him for the past two weeks, to walk with Him as Enoch did, as Elijah did. God seemed to be speaking to me through the example of the lifestyle of and message that Todd White gave. What it is like to be a man who walks with God, someone who imitates Paul as he imitated Jesus.

I have been praying that I need my prayer list answered, so I can move on to going and doing, be so busy going and doing that I have a new prayer list and that is what Todd does, lives a life busy doing, joining God in doing.

The day after the event ended, most of the YWAM leadership and attendees still in town came to Forerunner Christian Fellowship, George Otis spoke at the first service. He also was speaking to something I had been praying about the last month. That we need to have stories about fresh encounters with God, with what He is doing to tell others about. He articulated very well what I have been trying to tell God I need. I need stories like I had when I was in  YWAM, stories of what my God is doing, the sick healed, the blind see, the dead raised. Testimony of my prayers being answered. Stories of God moving, salvation, people being delivered. First-hand stories weekly, daily, so that no matter who I walk with, set down next to when the conversation starts I have a steady stream of first hand stories that is what my God has done, is doing.

Action take away, I need to find where God is, what He is doing, where He is moving, no matter where in the world that is, and get involved with Him in what He is doing, get busy going and doing. So that I have stories, so I can begin to talk about once again the things I see and I encounter God doing. Not hearsay, but first-hand stories, not what I hear about, what someone else is doing, but like when I was in YWAM, hands-on participation in what God is doing.

Fell in love with an incredible worshiper of God, Lindy Conant, she was on the YWAM worship team that lead most of the worship. Her worship was so passionate, she is so passionate for Jesus, I could have worship all day and night with her. Talk about someone to worship and pray with, do ministry with, she’s my heart’s desire. People with that kind of passion for God, obsession with Jesus and the message, that’s the kind I want to do life with, live life with.

 

lindy-conantAbove photo, Lindy Conant is on Right

Loved hearing all the YWAM stories, and being in a room with over 80 nations represented.

ywam-together-kc-passports

And that I miss YWAM, the mission, the people, being part of God doing amazing things, I was also saddened by thinking about all I have missed out on, the things I could have joined God in what He was doing. How I could have had a life spent for Him on the mission field. That I would go back into YWAM in a heartbeat if it were possible. It is so true what they say once a YWAMer, always a YWAMer.

encounter-small

I attended the YWAM Together (YWAM is Youth With A Mission for you none YWAMers) here in Kansas City on Monday, its a week-long conference that YWAM  holds every two years Monday was open to the public and it was awesome in so many ways. First gathering with YWAMers from all over the world, being a YWAMer, being with YWAM three years back in the late 80’s, it was like going home. There is a saying in YWAM, once a YWAMer always a YWAMer, I can testify it is true.

 

It was so great to hear YWAM stories, people sharing what God is doing all over the world, getting to share my stories with other, priceless.
Seeing and hearing the leaders speak, like Loren Cunningham, John Dawson, who was the leader of the base I was at when I was in YWAM, and many others.

 

To hear all the new technology that is being implemented to spread the gospel around the world.

 

To hear that by 2020 that the Bible will be translated into every known language in the world, and YWAM will have a base in every country in the world, fulling the bible verse Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.”

 

When I was in YWAM I got to go on the Anastasis Hospital ship the largest of 3 ships they had at that time, today they have 8 ships, praise God.

 

Bottom line I miss YWAM.

 

ywam-together-2016-2

 

 

It seems every church, every person that calls them selves a Christian has their own definition of what it is to “follow Jesus” to be a “follower of Christ”. Their are a multitude of books, countless sermons on the subject, each with their own opinion of what it means.

Recently The Lord took me to Matthew 4:19 where Jesus says “And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

When I think about these words, “Follow Me,” and being Jesus is clearly and absolutely worthy of far more than church attendance and casual association.

We are talking about the Savior King of the universe and the Righteous Judge of all, God in the flesh saying, “Follow Me.” Just let it soak in, the thought alone is Mind-boggling when you realize Who’s speaking here. God. And when He speaks you don’t just memorize it.

When Jesus comes to you and says, “Follow Me,” this is not a minor thing, there’s no potential for a casual response here. It’s either turn and run or bow and worship. You ether say No or Yes Lord!

So one can establish right off the bat that following Jesus is far more than church attendance, casual association, simply being a fan of Jesus. Imagine yourself standing before Jesus and Him saying to you “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. How would your life change from that moment on.

As you know if somebody gets hit by a Simi Truck they look different. How much more when a person comes face-to-face with the God of the universe in the flesh, the Savior King of the nations and the Righteous Judge of all peoples Who is sovereign over everything in the world, when you meet Him…….you look different. Everything changes, you do not go on with life as it was, with the same goals, worldly ambitions, desires, purpose, lifestyle or even identity. Everything changes!

I go from doing what I want to do with my life, pursing what I want to do and be, to doing what Jesus says I am to do.

Jesus did not say follow me and ______________, you fill in the blank what that means, with what you want to do. No, He tells us what following Him means, what follows the word “and”. I don’t need to read commentaries, read volumes of books, ask Google to know what it is to be a follower, Jesus tells me here.

Jesus says, “I’m going to make you a fisher of men.” In other words, Jesus says, “I’m going to do a transforming work in your life that will enable you to spread My gospel all over the world. Your life is going to be spent for My purpose, being a fisher of men, that’s what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.

Every follower of Jesus is to be a fisher of men according to Jesus in this passage.

And like I said in my last post, I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.

So I pick up my bible, read Matthew 4:19 and Bingo, Jesus defines following Him, or maybe more precise, the result of being a follower perhaps. If we are following Him, He will make us fishers of men. Going back to my last post on Matthew 28:19-20 about “Go, make disciples”, put the two verses together it’s quite clear Jesus is saying if you are following Him,  you’re a fisher of men, you will be making disciples.

So according to Jesus, what does it look like to be a follower of Jesus, you are a fisher of men, you are making disciples. That’s your new identity, purpose, and lifestyle.

Again like I said before if I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to let Jesus make me a fisher of men, and go do it, go make disciples.

It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, say here’s what I would do. I would be a fisher of men, that would define who I am and I’d start making disciples!

According to Jesus’ own words, if someone ask what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus, I would answer, if you’re a following Jesus, your a fisher of men, busy making disciples. Is there more to it than that, Yes, but this is where you start, this is the core of what following Jesus is, to be a fisher of men, to Go make disciples.

See Jesus Says – Go make disciples.

When I was a kid we played a game called Simon Says, I doubt kids today even know it since it not played on a smartphone. How you play it is if the person who’s “it” says, Simon says pat your head, or jump on one leg, or bark like a dog, you have to do it, because Simon said to, or you’re out. That’s what the game is about, if Simon says to do something, no matter what it is, you have to do it because you must obey Simon’s commands.

It’s a very simple game, but it’s so weird how in the church, Jesus Says is a totally different game. If Jesus says to do something you don’t have to do it, you just have to memorize it, talk about it, have bible studies about it, and that’s it, you don’t have to actually do it.

It doesn’t make any sense, Jesus tells us to Go and make disciples, but yet how many people in the churches are actually making disciples? They’ve memorized the verse, so what is that what Jesus asked us to do, memorized His commands? Do Bible studies on what it would be like to do it?

If you told your daughter or son to go clean their room, they wouldn’t come back to you two hours later and go, I’ve memorized what you said. You said “go clean your room”…….. and I can say it in Greek too. And my friends are going to come over and we’re going to have a study on what it would look like if I clean my room. Tomorrow I’m going to start a discussion group on the theology of what you said, theorize as to if you really meant “I” should do it, what exactly you meant by clean, and is descriptive of prescriptive.

Your kids know better than that, and so why do we think we’re going to come before The Judge one day before the one we say is our Lord. Stand before Jesus and quote everything that He said, talk about how much you know, and Jesus will say “well done good and faithful servant”? Really!

Note the keyword in His statement is “done“, its an action, a verb, meaning you have completed a task you where given to do. The only way you can hear well done is if you do what Jesus said to do.

It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, here’s what I would do. I’d start making disciples!

I would Not just memorize it, do a bible study on what it would be like to do it, read two dozen books on the theology of it, argue whether or not it was for then only or for today, or is it’s descriptive or prescriptive. That’s not what I would do, I would say, Yes Lord Jesus and start making disciples.

If I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to make disciples of Jesus, and go do it.

I would just Go and make disciples……… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)

And when you combined that with Jesus saying:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

Jesus’ very words to us are if you love Me you will do as I say, and He said, Go and make disciples. So either we love and obey, or don’t and make excuses. that’s are only two choices.

I want to be a simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.

See part two: Jesus Says, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

chan_and_platt

Francis Chan, my favorite pastor and David Platt, (in my top 10)  have been teaming up on a new venture to help followers of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, ….” (Matt. 28:18-20).

You can see their new Multiply Website with resources to help us make disciples.

The free and downloadable Multiply Material will be contain a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture, and be the church.

And there will be a Multiply Gathering that is a free, once-a-year webcast with Chan and Platt, where followers of Christ can gather and encourage one another in the disciple-making process.

You can register for the Free gathering here. The first two online events in 2012 will be on Friday, November 9 (7-10 PM, CST), and Saturday, November 10 (6-9 PM, PST).

 

I’m tired of going to church and seeing a big production. I’m tired of feeling like I’m at a rock concert or a funeral when it comes time to worship in church. I’m tired of hearing shallow sermons presented with a flashy power-point and HD videos. Tired of the message that is carefully filtered to be PC, not to offend anyone, so that it would Not Convince, rebuke, or exhort anyone. I don’t go to church to be entertained, I can entertain myself well enough on my own time. I don’t go to hear a sermon that sounds like a self-help book. Of going to church that you do not need to bring your bible to. I feel that it would be too much to ask to simply have a pastor open the Bible and expound on the word of God. I come to church to be with others on the same mission, Jesus’ mission He sent us on and to be equipped for that mission, to share the gospel and make disciples.

When I read the scriptures that is what I am longing for, what I read about in Acts, what I read church to be, is want I long for.

I want to erase everything I have learned about the church in America, in bible college, seminars, books and the church. I want to open my bible and do what it says the church is! Read what is God saying in the scriptures church is about and what the first church did, read it and go and do it. I want a church that looks just like that, what I see in the bible. I Would not come up with what we have in America as church by simply reading scripture, that’s not what would I come up with for what church is if I just read the scriptures, not what I see today. (more…)

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Unless we make a shift in our thinking, many Christians will continue to look at missions as a sub-division of the church, or as a special “calling” for a “special group of people”. I spent three years on “the mission field”, I went to “be missionary” with YWAM. While I was in YWAM, I did not think much about doing “missions,” since I lived my daily life focused on what God wanted me to do. I did not start my day focused on being a missionary, but rather doing the task set before me that God had given our mission base to do. My everyday routine was doing work for God and for the Kingdom of God. And set out to look for and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way to preach the gospel, rescue a child off the streets, out of prostitution, out of drugs. Counsel someone hurting. Distribute food to those in need. Hold a bible study. Pray for someone. It was just life, normal everyday life with God for Christ for me.

Missions should be just that, being part of God’s plan, just a normal everyday way of living. He desires each and every person to be involved in His mission. What is God’s mission?

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
; ” Luke 4:18

and “For the son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 10:19). That’s why He came and that’s what He wants each of us to be a part of. Jesus told us to do the same thing, to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). We are also told to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

And I set out to do all of that every single day in YWAM, that was my daily to do list, and it still should be today.

How do I disciple a nation, one person at a time if need be. I do not know if I will ever preach the gospel to an entire nation (I sure want to), but I can preach the gospel to a neighbor, a waitress, a store clerk or a co-worker, a room full of people or even crowed street corner.

So what is missions? It is personally being involved in what is on God’s heart: seeking and saving that which is lost. And that is a full time job, a title we all can put on our card, resumes. Every one who claims to be a Christian is to be a missionary, full time missionary.

11-21-10

I was reminded today of the words of Jesus “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” that is so often quoted. But if you read the entire verse, and the two before it, that are the complete statement of Jesus. I think we might just learn that His statement “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” does not mean what everyone thinks it does.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:17-20

His words I am with you always seem to be linked to going, doing all the tings He mentions before those those famous words, that is what is known as the great commission. (more…)