About Me Part II

16 May

OK, so continuing from where I left off, a continuing theme is that we can only do what The Father is doing, including organic church.  If the Spirit only does what glorifies the Son, and the Son only does what the Father is doing, it does not matter if we believe all the right things about church, practice all the right things, use outside apostolic leadership, or try real hard to minister to our neighbors.  All that matters is what the Father is doing.  All else is secondary.  We can only join Him in Church if He has prepared others to form one in a particular place.  When we started this journey in 2006, I never would have guessed it would be six years before we would a part of a healthy expression of organic church.

We began ministering in our neighborhood in Minnesota.  We walked our dogs each day, praying for the neighborhood, meeting and forming relationships with others.  It was great.  We joined in prayer with one woman fighting cancer, shared God’s love with many neighbors, got to minister to a 90-year-old woman right after her husband died while mowing the yard, and led one neighbor to commit his life to the Lord.  When I asked Him what God was telling him to do, he said he sensed he should start going to his Lutheran Church again.  You see, this is what the Father was doing in my neighborhood.  Regardless of what my desires were about starting a church and when.  Is it OK that all these things happened without a Church starting?  We can only do what the Father is doing.

We visited the closest “organic” church to our house in Minnesota.  One organic church author suggested just going somewhere and being a brother and sister first, so this was our most apparent opportunity.  We learned quickly that this was an institutional church except it was in a living room, complete with a pastor who did all the talking, a denominational liturgy, all full of people who never asked why we were there nor who gave us the opportunity.  I was happy that a few people there had recently come to the Lord through the Pastor.  I was also glad to share some books on organic church with the leader.  Yet our search to go somewhere and experience the fellowship of the godhead and use our gifts of the Spirit continued.

For a long time, we referred to Church as “doggie church,” because Church many days was my wife, myself, and the dog.  And though we were hardly the fullest expression of church, we learned through experience that the simplest expression of church is wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in His name.  If you look at Matthew 10: 2-4 you will see the disciples are all listed in pairs.  Jesus sent out the 12, the 72, and the 500 in twos and threes.  A Church of two or three is not the lone expression of church in the New Testament, but it is the simplest.  We are not to underestimate Jesus among any two or three of us when it is Jesus.

We moved to Colorado, sensing the Lord was telling us to do so for the sake of being in organic church and for the health of our family life.  Once here, we twice we were part of failed organic church plants started by outside help.  We took our share of pain and abuse along the way.  Why did they fail?  Again, we can only do what the Father is doing.  I could list the problems in detail and we would come back to the reality-we can only do what the Father is doing.

After the last failed attempt at organic church, we decided to take a year and visit as many organic churches around the country as we could.  This usually meant going on a trip once a month.  During this time, we got to meet some wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We saw some wonderful meetings,  and saw people really using their gifts.  We decided that if God was not building organic church in our neck of the woods, we would move away to be a part of one He was building.

Toward the end of this year, I met with a leader in Denver who encourages a network of hundreds of organic churches.  We started attending a church in Denver.  At first, a few practices seemed different from what we had come to expect in our prior experiments.  But asking the Lord, He told us these were periphery.  We met a couple who lived blocks from us.  Another couple we met in the prior year also emerged, as well as a few singles we met along the way.  And in 2012, a Church of 8-9 adults emerged in Colorado Springs.

Some will say Church cannot be simple as long as God and people are involved.  That is the experience of many that try organic church, and was ours at times in our prior experiences.  But it seems to be much more simple these days, and I believe it is because of the prevenient work of the Lord.

We meet around the Lord, using 2 simple disciplines.  We check in with each other, describing briefly what we may feel sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, or tender about.  Why?  Family bares each others burdens, and we share each others hearts.  Our hearts are where the Lord lives, and emotions are the language of the heart.  But the Lord is the focus, and with that, we take time to listen to Him.  Why listen?  All other gifts flow from listening to the Head of the Church.

Habakkuk 2: 1-3 states, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald[b] may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time;  it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it;  it[c] will certainly come and will not delay.”

The apostle Paul states in 1 Cor 14:1 ” Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”   He further says in verse 26 “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”

Desiring prophecy is desiring to hear the present voice of a lonely God who is dying to come fellowship with each one of us.  He lives within us.  Revelation 3 says he stands at the door of our heart and knocks, waiting to be let in to fellowship with us.  Jesus said His sheep would know His voice.  The fact is, we all hear God.  We just have not been trained to identify when it is Him, or when it is not.  Passing thoughts may come from the world, the enemy, other spirits, the media, but some of them are right from the Spirit of God.  He is speaking all the time.  How do we learn to discern what is from God?

The verses in Habakkuk speak of waiting before the Lord, focusing on Him, and writing down what He gives us.  Revelation 1 : 10-12 also refers to writing what God says when we are focused on Him.

The Lord said, my sheep will know my voice, and died to leave His spirit in our hearts that we might live by His present revelation.

Paul thought prophecy was important enough to single it out from all other gifts.  It pertains to the voice of the Lord, which is in every believer.  So we take time to listen to Him, and to write down what He shares.

Living by the voice of an indwelling God.  There is nothing else like it.  Of course everything perceived to be rhema must be tested by the logos.  So we broadcast what we hear with humility, seeking correction from the scriptures and the sharpening of what the rest of the community  is hearing from God.

It took six years for us to find a community like this.  I hope every follower of Christ will find the joy of hearing the voice of the Spirit, the parakleet (greek), or coach within, and be able to celebrate this in community with other brothers and sisters.  I am a beggar who found bread, and I am happy to share with other beggars where to find what I have found.

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