What Has Church Become?

November 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

What Has Church Become?

Does our church, our gathering together in the name of Christ still resemble this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14 or has it gotten swallowed up in the organization, the structure, the program and the one man headliner. Is it about a functioning body where different members are able to contribute as they are led of the Spirit or have we become dumbed down to depend only on the leadership to carry out the act of worship and give the Word. In many churches our services have been reduced to a series of rote mechanical functions that we have memorized and go through. That isn’t the church that Paul speaks about here. We have become accustomed to playing church rather than being the church. Our religion has separated us into clergy and laity. One performs and the other is the audience that listens. We wouldn’t know what to do if the Holy Spirit actually showed up in our service because He would throw the agenda on our bulletins all off and mess everything up. We would lose our order and our control and our smooth running programs. We have been so raised up in this organized church mentality it is really hard for some of us to conceive of something so different where we actually individually and corporately begin to operate in the gifting the Holy Spirit has for each member. Besides that it would most likely get out of our time limitations and constraints. Then we couldn’t beat crowds to the restaurant after the church and we might miss the football game.
Church has really ceased to be all about Him. It has become all about us. After all, we are doing God a favor just to show up on Sunday mornings, right? God forbid if someone or something should offend us. We’ll just take our attendance elsewhere where we are more appreciated and they sing our flavor of songs. What has the church become?
The truth is when we turn everything over to the Holy Spirit it can get out of our comfort zone. It can get messy and it certainly may not fit into our agenda. or box It doesn’t mean there isn’t leadership and there isn’t an order, but it is subject to the Holy Spirit and not to man. Let me tell you, when we allow and invite the Holy Spirit to show up we go home with more than just a self-righteous attitude. His presence touches our lives and changes us in ways that only He can. He doesn’t use just one man or a worship team to do it, He moves through His body and upon His body as His will dictates, when we allow His will to be done. Paul says here we have these different functions through the various members for the strengthening of the church. Something tells me that church might have looked a lot different back then than it does today. Today, our churches are built around our charismatic leaders, not our charismatic bodies. Isn’t it time we quit playing church and start being the church where each one of us functions in the calling and gifting upon our lives? It doesn’t have to be limited to the Sunday service. Your ministry and calling should spill out into your everyday life. You are not only for the edification of the church, but to edify, encourage and build up all who are in your presence. If we are in Christ and He is in us then we must become the daily expression of who He is and we need a place of worship where that is actually what we do, WORSHIP Him who is worthy until we enter into His presence and He is the headship and the direction of our service. I can tell you it won’t be the same thing every week. It will always be fresh and new. You will know that you have been with Him, not just heard about Him.
What has church become? How do we bring it back to what it should be? It is time we became activated and no longer stagnant, because the church that we have known isn’t what is lighting a fire in the midst of our unbelieving nation. They need to hear and see the reality of God’s presence just as we do, not just the rhetoric about who He was. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He hasn’t changed, we have. Church, wake up to who you are and come alive in your spirits so that you can be the expression of Christ in the midst of His body and in the earth today.

Blessings,
#kent

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A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 17, 2014

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways and lives in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the One who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
#kent

A Life in Order

June 3, 2014

A Life in Order
Psalms 119:133
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

This is really the Lord speaking to me. You just get to listen in and glean what may apply to you.
God is a God of order and that is an area I need to be so much more like God. I wonder how many of us can really say we have our lives and houses in order. Do we order and run our lives or do our lives and lifestyles run us? I have to confess that disorganization is far too much of a weakness in my life. I kind of go with the flow jumping from one thing to the next before the former is finished and put away. It doesn’t take long before I’m buried in disorganized paper work. I fail to have a place for everything and everything in its place.
We were in a class and the instructor gave an illustration where she had two volunteers come up. She gave them each a deck of cards and then ask which one could most quickly give her, in order, the cards that she called out. One deck was totally disorganized, with cards turned in both directions and as hard as that person tried she couldn’t begin to keep up with the other person whose deck was all in order. It hit home that this often is a picture of our lives and why there is such chaos and ineffectiveness.
When we look at the nature and the order of God, we don’t see that. God is a God of order and structure. As I was looking through the scriptures pertaining to order I was impressed by a number of scriptures from Exodus and Leviticus that speak of order in the tabernacle. For instance, Leviticus 1:12 is typical of many verses which says, “And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that [is] on the fire which [is] upon the altar:“ There was an order of doing tasks and an order in which things were to be done. I believe that God has an order for our lives of when and how things are to be done. So often we go through life doing things however and whenever. We don’t enjoy a lot of peace because we are always looking for what we misplaced. For our lives to work effectively we have to find the order of the Lord for us, both naturally and spiritually. It’s not that we have to be annal and legalistic about everything. It is important to stay flexible and moldable, but we do this while being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction and order for our lives, because we want ours and His to be one in the same.
Job 10:22 speaks of disorder in this regard, “A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness.” Disorder is like muddied waters, even our light is like darkness and its hard for us to know where we are going, as well as finding the resources to get there.
On the other hand 1 Corinthians 14:40 exhorts us, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Since order is a nature and attribute of God, I’m realizing that I need to make it a priority in my life to get more organized. That means I have to practice overcoming a lot of bad habits that keep me in that state. For some of us we may have lives that are in great order outwardly, but spiritually we may be running amuck and have our lives out of balance and out of order. It is great time for all of us to make that commitment to put our lives and houses in order. It will no doubt again be a “God help me thing”, but that’s okay, by His grace we will set our lives and houses in order.

Blessings,
#kent

Affectionately Loving One Another
Romans 12:10
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Did you ever notice that the people that you end up neglecting and abusing the most are usually the ones you say that you love the most? They are most often your family, close friends, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ. The ironic thing is that we often give preference to the ones or the things that are putting the more demands and abuses on our lives, but in the scheme of things are less in importance. Somehow we just expect those we love and prefer to understand when we put them last on our agenda or speak or treat them harshly. Perhaps many of you, like myself, find your lives out of balance with your priorities and preferences. In a society in which we find ourselves running like crazy in a thousand different directions, with people and pressures pressing in on us on every side, when something has to give it is usually our family. That can apply to both our immediate families as well as the family of God. Isn’t it strange that we are doing all of these things that in our minds we consider for the benefit of our families and yet they are often suffering as a result of them? What’s wrong that picture?
I speak this first for my own benefit and then for the benefit of anyone else who thinks it may apply to them. I find I get an agenda set in my mind and I’m not real tolerant of interruptions to that agenda. Some of you, like myself, may find that you have created walls of hurt and wounded the ones closest to you. You have communicated to them so many times through your actions and words that they aren’t as important or as valuable as so many other things in your life. My feeling is that this is a major problem with a good many of our families and relationships. We all need to get our priorities in order. God and his people are often at the forefront of our offense list. It is not usually something we do intentionally and often quite subtly these neglects and abuses creep in to undermine our most precious relationships and destroy one of the most valuable commodities we possess, our families, friends and brethren. We often put up our pretty fronts around others, but the loved ones so often see a whole different face and attitude.
Those closest to us rub us the hardest. We would most like to blame them for being the problem with us, but in reality if we didn’t already have a problem then a lot of what they did wouldn’t irritate us so. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t get a person’s goat unless they have a goat to be got.”
The unconditional love of God prefers the other above themselves. It displays that preference by being affectionate. The connotation of our theme verse is to be tenderly reciprocating love and caring in a relational way as with a parent and child or husband and wife. It is preferring the other above yourself. Please join with me in making it our goal to set the priorities of our relationships and commitments straight. Let our God be at the forefront of all that we do, then our family, our relationships with each other, then those outside and then us. Let’s make it our first priority to invest in the eternal things and then the temporal.

Blessings,
kent

A Mighty Wind, A Gentle Breeze

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

How do you know there is a God and a Holy Spirit? As I listen to the chimes outside sounding their eclectic notes both loud and soft I know that the wind is blowing. Why, because I physically see it with my eyes? No. How do I even know there is air, except that it sustains my life? Can I see the electrons flowing through an electrical wire and yet I can experience the power of their presence. The evidence of the Spirit of God is all around us. Do we see Him with our natural eyes and senses? No, not normally. Like the air and the wind He moves in our lives and in our spirits. Sometimes it is gently through the still small voice, sometimes it is like a storm that shakes us at our foundation and sometimes He is still and we don’t sense Him at all, but like the air He is always there hovering over us. It is that precious wind of the Holy Spirit that blew upon us as believers and blew back the spiritual veil of darkness that had covered the eyes of our understanding and kept us ignorant of the Truth. Then He breathed into us the breath of spiritual life and new birth. Again, it was that wind that blew upon our spirits as it did in Acts 2:2, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” It brought power, authority, anointing and gifts of the Spirit into the lives of believers that forever changed them and the world around them. That wind is still blowing today. Sometimes we dwell in our ceiled houses of natural thinking and living and fail to step out into the Spirit to experience the exhilaration of its wind blowing through our spiritual hair. We wall ourselves up in the safe places of our lives where we don’t have to deal with the issues of the spirit and we prevent the Spirit from dealing with us.
Open the doors and windows in your heart and life today and allow some fresh air into your soul. Let the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit in to purge out the stench of stale air and stagnant odors that have accumulated. It is springtime! Step out into the Son and feel His warmth on your face and heart today. Breathe deep the freshness of Spirit Life and come alive in newness of spirit and commitment. The Holy Spirit is alive, moving and blowing today. Step out into the wind of His blessing. Let Him blow the cobwebs away and refresh you with the power and unction of His Being. If we don’t know there is a Heavenly Father, Son and a Holy Spirit it is because we are spiritually dead. The evidence is all around us. May the wind of His precious Spirit blow through your life today bringing renewal, revival, power and refreshing. He may ruffle your feathers and blow everything out of order in your life, but that’s okay. He is the order of the day.

Blessings,
kent

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