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What is Grace?

The Lord is with your spirit. Grace is with you.

When the Lord Jesus became the Life-giving Spirit, and entered into our spirit, He became our Grace. The fullness of the Triune God is within this Man, Jesus and He ascended so that He could be the Life-giving Spirit to enter into us. The Life-giving Spirit is not just the Spirit of God, but also the Spirit of the Last Adam, the Spirit of the Perfect Man. Only by having the Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Man, could we enjoy the effectiveness of His death and resurrection. So the Lord Spirit, who is with our spirit, is the mingled Spirit of God and Man, for God has forever taken humanity into Himself, so that He may forever put Himself into humanity. This is Grace: God, in Christ, entering into us and saturating us with Himself, to be Everything for us.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Since the Lord is with our spirit, we must turn to our spirit, to grow in Grace. Every day and every moment, we turn to the Spirit and enjoy Christ as our Grace, as our Love, as our Life, as God’s provision for our every need. This is to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s not an outward knowledge of objective facts, but it’s the inward knowledge of the experiential Lord Jesus, who is the Reality.

Not only is He the Lord within us, He is also the Savior. Whenever we turn to the Spirit, He is saving us as our Grace. By turning to the Spirit, He is spreading to renew our mind, will, and emotions. He is growing and enlarging within us, so that we may magnify Him.

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The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 2

Impact of water in a water-surface

[6] Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” [7] God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. [8] God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. – [Gen 1:6-8 NASB]

This is the third post in a serious of posts. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. Let’s do a quick review. In Day 0, we saw that the universe, that God created, had come under His judgment. Then, we saw the Spirit brooding over this problem. In Day 1, we saw God made light, even though the sun, moon, and stars had not yet been made. Thus, this light was an objective light.

We are looking at these days the lens of God’s eternal purpose and what He is doing in us to achieve that purpose.

Now, for Day 2!

Day 2 is the second day of division. In Day 1, we saw the division of the light and darkness. Now, we see the division of the waters below and the waters above.

The waters below, or the sea, represents the world. It is something of death. Salt water is not good for drinking. If you drink salt water, you will die. Ironically, your death would be from dehydration. As people drink in the salt water of the world, they think that they are being hydrated. Instead, with every drink, they are more and more dehydrated.

On the other hand, the waters, which were above, represent the elect of God. We are the heavenly waters. The waters above are fresh water. Water that is good for drinking. We are these fresh, heavenly waters because we have the Living Water within us. The Spirit is a well of Living Water within us, saturating us, and flowing from us. How Christ quenches the thirst of those who come to Him!

The division on the second day is the Spirit separating us from the world. We are no longer in the seas of death, but we have ascended to the heavenly waters.

[36] Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” – [Jhn 18:36 NASB]

We have died to this world and are now sojourners. We live in tents, looking forward to the City to come. If you cling to this world, then you will be like Lot’s wife, who looked back to Sodom.

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The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 1

No Darkness

[3] Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. [4] God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. [5] God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. – [Gen 1:3-5 NASB]

This blog post is the second in a series of posts. If you haven’t read the first post, the link is at the bottom of this post.

As we saw in “Day 0”, the original creation was fallen and under judgment. Then, we saw that the Spirit was brooding over the problem of this fallen creation. This is a picture of the Spirit’s move on us. Thus, Day 1 is the beginning of the Spirit’s regenerating work.

The first thing that we can learn from Day 1 is: It is God’s desire for the Light to overcome the Darkness. The darkness was already present, but God said, “let there be light”. Then, we see that Light and Darkness must always be divided against each other.

This light is the first seed of God’s eternal purpose.

God is calling the Light to overcome the Darkness. God dwells in light, so the Darkness is something that is against Him. He is unwilling to destroy the Darkness as the Creator. Instead, He will use His created Light to overcome the Darkness. For a time, He is even using the Darkness to make the Light shine brighter.

Next, the light in this day is an objective light.

You may have noticed that the sun, the moon, and the stars have not yet been made. There was light, but it could not yet be seen. This Light is Christ. He has always been Light, but before He took on flesh no one had seen His Light. He was a great Light while He walked the earth. Since His ascension, we no longer see His Light, except by the eyes of faith.

[2] The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. – [Isa 9:2 NASB]

So how could this objective light be experienced by us?

We were in darkness until the Spirit moved on us. The initial work of the Spirit in regenerating us is to shine the Light of Christ within us. This is the revealing of Christ in us. We do not see this Light, but we certainly feel its effect within us and we believe into Christ.

There was evening and there was morning…

Let me take this chance to point out that before the writer states what day it was, there is the use of the above phrase: “there was evening and there was morning”. This is extremely important! This is another seed of God’s eternal purpose. Every night we have a mini-death and every morning we have a mini-resurrection. Death must always come before resurrection. This is something that is both objective and subjective to us. Objectively, God has included us into the death and resurrection of Christ, because we have believed into Him. Subjectively, we are to experience our death and resurrection with Christ, everyday.

[7] for we walk by faith, not by sight– – [2Cr 5:7 NASB]

Christ is our Light. Let’s experience Him as our Light by faith.

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The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 0

No Darkness

This will be a series of blog posts on God’s eternal purpose in the seven days described in Genesis 1 and 2.

In this introductory post, we will look at Genesis 1:1-2. Before we actually get into the days, I want to present a view of these two verses that will preface what we will see happening in the seven days.

[1] In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2] The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. – [Gen 1:1-2 NASB]

The word “was”, in verse 2, can also mean “became” and I believe this to be the proper translation. There is sufficient evidence in Scripture to show that God did not create the universe in the way that we see it in verse 2. Let’s take a look at some of that evidence.

God did not create the earth as formless and void, nor did He create it in darkness and covered with water.

[18] For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. – [Isa 45:18 NASB]

“Waste place” in Isa 45:18 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”.

[11] But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness. – [Isa 34:11 NASB]

“Desolation” in Isa 34:11 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”. “Emptiness” is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “void”.

[23] I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. – [Jer 4:23 NASB]

Jer 4:23 bears to most striking resemblance to Gen 1:2. The earth is both formless and void and the heavens are in darkness.

Isa 34:11 and Jer 4:23, in context, both describe the world under God’s judgment. Also, in Isa 45:18, we can see that God did not create the earth the way that we see it in Gen 1:2.

Further evidence that the world is under judgment in Gen 1:2 is that the earth is under water. This resembles the earth under the judgment of the great flood, during which, Noah and his family were saved in the ark. But, lets take a look at one more thing that is wrong with the picture in Gen 1:2.

God dwells in light, not darkness.

[15] which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, [16] who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. – [1Ti 6:15-16 NASB]

Honestly, I’m not sure how I ever missed this. I just assumed God lived in darkness before the creation. But, according to Paul in 1 Ti 6, God dwells in unapproachable light. Indeed, in Revelation 22:5, it states that God will be our Light. Surely, if the consummation of God’s eternal purpose is that all things should dwell in His Light, He would not create a world in darkness.

So what happened?

The angels were present when God created the heavens and the earth.

[4] “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, [5] Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? [6] “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, [7] When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? – [Job 38:4-7 NASB]

It seems likely that, during this unknown period of time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, Lucifer rebelled and God passed judgment on the heavens and the earth because of his rebellion.

Creation happened in Gen 1:1, the creation is under judgment in Gen 1:2, and what we see in the following seven days is the regeneration of a fallen heavens and earth by the Spirit.

The Spirit was brooding.

Above, in Gen 1:1, it states that the Spirit was moving. This word “moving”, may also mean “brooding”. He was brooding over the problem of this creation under judgment. I think both meanings, “moving” and “brooding” are appropriate.

Don’t you know that the Spirit brooded and moved over you?

We were a fallen people under judgment, but the Spirit came to regenerate us and make us a New Creation! This is what we will see in the seven days.

These seven days are about God’s eternal purpose in and through Christ to attain His desire.

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We are Designed to Be a Divine Glove

A PVC-Glove

[26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – [Gen 1:26 NASB]

A glove is made in the image of a hand, and according to its likeness. We were designed to be a Glove for God. God wants to get into us and fill us with Himself. The glove is the expression of the hand and we are to be the expression of God. The Glove is the Corporate Man and the Hand is the Triune God.

If we would be filled with God, for His full expression, His authority would be exercised.

Immediately, after God’s decision to make man in Their image, They state that men are to rule.

God’s authority always comes from His expression. If we are not expressing God, we cannot have His authority. Likewise, we must first be like a Glove, filled with God as our Hand. Then, He can exercise His authority through us.

What do you have to do to be a part of the Glove? Nothing. You were made to be a part of this Glove. You just need to cooperate with the Spirit, who dwells in your spirit, if you are in Christ. Let Him spread, renewing your mind with Himself, until Christ returns. Then, we will have new bodies and the consummation of God’s eternal desire.

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The Bread and the Wine are Better Than the Manna and the Water

This image shows a red wine glass.

Image via Wikipedia

The manna from heaven and the water from the rock are both Old Testament shadows of Christ. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ reveals Himself to be edible, saying that the bread symbolized His body and the wine His blood.

So, why is there a change in the images of Christ from the OT to the NT?

The manna was provided by God straight from heaven. Likewise, the water came out of the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness. Both were God’s provision for the Israelites and shadows of Christ.

But, do you know how much better the bread and the wine are? Bread does not start out as bread, now does wine start out as wine. Bread and wine must go through a process to become what they are.

The manna started out as manna and the water started out as water. But, bread starts out as wheat and goes through a process to become bread. In the same way, wine starts out as grapes and goes through a process to become wine.

Do you know that Jesus had to go through a process? As God, He had to put on humanity, live a sinless human life, die on the cross, be resurrected, and ascend to the very throne of God, taking His humanity with Him. Now, the One who sits on the throne is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Like the bread and the wine, which symbolize the way that we are to partake of Him, our God is a processed God.

Through this process, we are now able to partake of His divine nature. Also, by eating and drinking of Him by the Spirit, we are going through a process to be like Him.

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The Revelation of Jesus Christ

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, – [Rev 1:1 NASB]

Today, I have a burden for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. This burden is in regards to the book of Revelation. The problem is this: Many view Revelation as either divisive or unknowable. Neither of these is true. The problem comes from our perspectives of this book.

Divisive?

This book is by no means divisive. The division is because we are not reading the book through the lens of Christ. This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ! In it, He is being unveiled to the world and the spiritual powers. So is this book divisive? No. The problem lies in how we read the book. It is not merely end-times prophecy, but the method by which God will unveil His wonderful Son to the entire universe.

Unknowable?

This book is full of signs and symbols, but it is a book meant to be understandable. The reason that we don’t understand it is that we do not understand the rest of Scripture. None of the symbols in Revelation are new. This is not a new book, but a conclusion to the rest of them. You must read this book with God’s ultimate thought in mind, His eternal purpose. This book is how He is attaining His desire, that Christ might be all and in all.

In addition, do not forget that this book, like all of Scripture, is a spiritual book. You will learn very little by simply reading its letters. You must exercise your spirit, which is indwelt by the Spirit of God, in order to understand its writings. Read it over and over with prayer, asking God to reveal its meaning to you. Read the interpretations of others’ and discern which fit well with the rest of Scripture and the eternal purpose of God.

So, I hope this post will encourage any who read it, not to give up on the book of Revelation. We need to see and understand this revelation of Jesus Christ. With every day that passes, the coming of our Lord grows ever closer. Let us read this book, understanding the message that our Father has given us, and preparing ourselves for the return of our Bridegroom.

Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

Image by mushon via Flickr

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Mat. 13:52 NASB)

 

Every once in a while I hear people saying things like: “I only read the Bible”. I went through a phase like this for a short time in my walk with Christ and now I realize how silly it was.

 

Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ and there is nothing to add to it. Likewise, it is clear that the Spirit is able to teach us all things, so we don’t need a teacher. We have Scripture and we have the Spirit, so why read anything else? This is actually similar to those who believe there is more importance to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the gospels, than in the writings of Paul and the apostles. This belief lacks the understanding that the same Jesus who spoke those words, became the life-giving Spirit, who spoke through Paul, the apostles, believers throughout the ages, and now us.

 

There are many Christians who have spent their lives studying Scripture and when we learn from them we are standing upon their shoulders. For example, Witness Lee who stood on the shoulders of Watchman Nee, was a Christian for seven decades. When we read his writing we stand on his shoulders, rather than going back and starting where he began. Someday people will stand on your shoulders, as you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t go back to the beginning of the revelation of Christ, but stand upon the shoulders of the ever-increasing revelation of our Great Lord until He returns.

 

You should choose wisely whose shoulders you will stand on.

 

Here are some shoulders that I think you would be wise to stand on:

Brother Lawrence

Frank Viola

T. Austin-Sparks

Watchman Nee

Witness Lee

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

Ephesians 1

1. This letter is from Paul, one sent by Christ Jesus, by the desire of God, to the ones in Ephesus, set apart and faithful in Christ Jesus. 2. Favor to you and rest from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every kind of spiritual gift in the heavenly places, 4. inasmuch as He chose us in Himself before the foundation of the universe to be set apart and without blemish before His face. In love, 5. He marked us out beforehand to sonship for Himself, on account of Jesus Christ, according to His desire. 6. He did this for the praise of the glory of His favor, which He bestowed freely on us by the Loved One. 7. In Him, we have redemption because of His blood and complete forgiveness of sins, according to the wealth of His favor. 8. He superabounded this favor to us in all wisdom and understanding, 9. having made known to us the mystery of His desire, according to His good pleasure. He purposed this in Himself 10. for the stewardship of the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on earth 11. in Himself.

In Him we have received a share, having been marked out beforehand according to the predetermination of Him, who works everything according to His deliberate wisdom, 12. so that we who have first hoped in Christ are to the praise of His glory. 13. In Him, you also having heard the message of truth, the good news of your salvation, in whom also having put your faith, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise. 14. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our inheritance, for the redemption of the full possession, for the praise of His glory.

15. On account of this, having heard of the faithfulness among you in the Christ, and to all the saints, 16. I don’t cease expressing thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 17. so that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18. having the eyes of your heart enlightened. This is so that you perceive what is the expectation of His calling, what is the abundance of the glory of His inheritance with the saints, 19. and what is the surpassing greatness of His power among us who believe, according to the working of the power of His might. 20. He worked this in Christ, having raised Him up from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21. far above every ruler and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the coming age. 22. He placed everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over all the 23. Church. The Church is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

Two Questions, Two Answers

question mark

Image via Wikipedia

First of all, let me explain why I am writing this post. I am writing this post because someone reading this post might have the same questions, and perhaps, God wants to give you the same answers through this post.

Background to first question: So, I have been facing some difficulties with work recently, that have caused me to wonder what I should do. I decided to ask God, “What should I do?”. Immediately, I got an answer, “Be patient”. So I thought to myself, “Gee, some answer!”. But, then I realized my mistake and announced that, “Jesus is my Patience”.

A little while later, I was wondering how I could go on. Sure Jesus is my Patience, but I don’t think that I can physically go on. Patience doesn’t seem to solve my difficulties. As I pondered these things, I received my second answer, “I am Enough”. With these words, Peace came upon me and the enemy fled.

Maybe you have something that seems like it is too much for you. Maybe the enemy is filling your mind with doubts as well. Indeed, it is too much for you. But, God has declared that He is Enough for all of our needs. Let me tell you that your feelings are not real when they conflict what God has said. What God says is absolute truth, even if you can’t see it. Christ is Enough for us.

Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

Bexley_Christ_Church

Image via Wikipedia

Just a note, I will be discussing my ideas of organic church, which may not represent every person who meets organically.

The Supremacy of Christ

First of all, the supremacy of Christ over all things is at the very core of the organic gathering. If Christ is not supreme, then our gatherings are a waste of time. Christ must have supremacy in all things. If Christ is to be supreme, then we must submit to Him and His desires. When we meet organically, we lay down our own vision of what “church” is like, to see what Christ wants to do through us.

Christ is Zealous for God’s House

It would be pointless to meet under the supremacy of Christ, if He didn’t care about our gatherings. But, that is not the case! He wants to lead us into all righteousness and glory. Indeed, He is our Righteousness and Glory! No man will ever care about the Church as Christ does. We are the Bride, and He is our Bridegroom. He is consumed with love and passion for us.

Christ is Head

But, what does it matter that Christ is supreme and zealous for us, if He is not Head over us? We must realize that we are one Body, under His Headship. Only the Head is capable of leading the Body. Every believer is simply a body part. If one person leads, it is like a finger leading the body. If a group of people lead the body, then it is like a hand leading the body. Christ is more than capable of leading His Body through anything and everything.

All are Equal in Christ, the Corporate Man

Now that you have seen that Christ is supreme, that He is zealous for God’s House, and Head over the Body, let’s look at this Body. Is one part of the Body, greater than another? Never! All need to participate in the gathering of the Body. Every single body part is needed. Can a mouth speak, without the tongue and the neck and the lungs? Does the mouth speak by itself? Institutional gatherings assume that one person is the mouth and everyone else are the ears. What I am getting at is this: All the body parts are equal in Christ and all should have the opportunity for Christ to use them when we gather together. When Christ is allowed to use every person as He chooses, we will see the fullness of this great corporate Lord of ours. He ascended to Heaven for this purpose: That He may be a Corporate Man, in His People, through His Spirit.

Christ is in All

But, we must also believe that Christ is in all. Christ is not only in the pastor, nor, only in the prophet. Christ is in all! Every single believer, in Christ, has the Spirit of Christ living in him or her. Christ can speak through a young child, as He can through an elder. He doesn’t have favorites. He chooses as He wills, according to His wisdom. Indeed, your strengths will inhibit what the Spirit wants to do through you, but your weaknesses give Him free reign. May the weakest be the greatest among us!

Some Thoughts on the Pastorate

Considering that, there is much disagreement over the authority of the pastorate, I will say a few words about it. Let me say that I do, indeed, believe in the ministry of the pastor. But, a pastor, nor any other ministry, is not a title to be taken. You do not choose to be a pastor, pastors are chosen of God and you will act as one as you learn Christ. A pastor does not stand in front of the Flock, but is among it. A pastor is simply another body part, that is no more significant than any other.

Concluding Thoughts

Lastly, I would like to point out that the Church is a living organism, not a structure. It needs nothing, but Christ. All things flow from Him. He is our Life and our Light. If any one member of the Body is not present at any particular organic meeting, the Body is still able to meet without any hindrance. The member, who isn’t present. will be missed, but Christ will still be free to act through His Body. This gathering under the Christ, is a gathering of faith. By faith we see and hear Him through our brothers and sisters. Sometimes, He acts almost imperceptibly, sometimes through power.

I meet organically that Christ may be all and in all.

For He Has Done Wonderful Things

Groom, Texas

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1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” – Isa 12:1-6 NLT

Here we are given a description of the age in which we now live, and what a glorious age it is! This is not the description of some future time, but this is the time in which we now live. Someone has come and made peace between God and us. God is no longer angry with us, but has become our Comforter, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Once, we were His enemies, but now we are His Family. What a change!

Who is this that Has saved us from His wrath? It is none other than God Himself. This Wonderful God has given Himself to us. He has become our All. What do we now have to fear? Nothing. Christ is our Strength. Christ is our Courage. Christ is our Song. Christ is our Victory. Christ is our Salvation. The list can go on and on. Everything we now have is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have exchanged our ashes for Beauty.

Oh, the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Fountain of our salvation. Everyday, He nourishes us. He is the great Refresher. Has your love grown cold? Are you defeated? The Son beckons you, “Come and drink of Me, for I am the Life-Giving Fountain”. It is our joy to drink deeply of Him. His depths are endless!

From these things flows our thanks and praise to the Lord. We share with others the amazing things that He has done in us and through us. The great might of the Lord is in how He has exchanged our old selves for Christ, that we may no longer live, but He lives in us. Never has such a thing been imagined, except in the mind of God. He has done the most wonderful things imaginable. He has given us His very Life to live by.

The last verse is most amazing. We, the Church, are that great People of Jerusalem. We are the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the end of Revelations. We are the glorious City of God. What is the glory of this City? It is none other than the Holy One, the Christ that lives among us by His Spirit. The Father has indeed found a place of rest in us. Look, how He dwells among us, not just in us, but among us. As we gather, each believer is to share his or her portion of Christ, that He may be displayed among us. No one person can show the fullness of our Lord, but all of us together show His fullness.

Penetrating the Darkness by Jack Hayford

"Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rop...

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In “Penetrating the Darkness”, Jack Hayford explains the authority Christ has given to us over the powers of darkness. We are not engaged in a war with flesh and blood, but with principalities in spiritual places. Thus, our warfare with the enemy is conducted by the Spirit, through prayer. Spiritual warfare in prayer is the major topic of this book. The audiobook that I listened to was narrated by Tim Lundeen. His voice was not boring, but soft enough to enjoy listening to during rides to and from work.

Some of the topics that the author discusses in this book are: Intercession, supplication, binding and loosing, and the keys to the kingdom. Jack Hayford uses a mix of Scripture, word study, and personal experience to explain these difficult topics. The author doesn’t distort these topics with a “name it and claim it” theology. Instead, the entire book is based on the power and the authority given to followers of Christ by His Spirit, through the blood and the cross.

If you are tired of being accused by the accuser, sick of seeing relationships ruined by the spirit of division, or angry at the blood of the righteous that has been spilled by the murderer, you will want to read this book. It will explain what Christ has given to you for the battle that the forces of heaven are engaged in against the forces of hell. If you think that spiritual warfare doesn’t involve you, then Satan will bring it to your door. You don’t have to be a victim. In Christ, each of us has been given the power to transform the lives of people around us and even the lives of those far away. We bring the light of Christ into the darkness, and the darkness cannot stand against it.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Shadows of Christ

Shadows of flowers

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All that we see are but mere shadows. The good things are shadows of Christ, whereas the evil things are shadows of hell.

I will begin with how evil things are shadows of hell, before we get into the much greater topic of how good things are shadows of Christ. Some have decided that pain and suffering in this world is hell, but that is not so. Pain and suffering warn us of hell. Hell is much worse than what we experience on earth. The greatest pain here will not compare to that of hell. That is why it is by far better to pluck out your own eye that causes you to sin, than to be cast into hell with both eyes. That horrible pain of plucking out your own eye is but a shadow of the pain of hell. But, let’s move on to greater things than hell.

All good things are shadows of Christ. Each good thing reveals Him in a different way and in a different measure. There is not a place that you can look without seeing Christ. The highway may be the way you get to work, but Christ is the true Way. There are many signs that show you where to go on the road, but Christ is the real Sign that directs us. We dwell in houses, but Christ is our true Home. You feel relief from a cool breeze in the heat of summer, but Christ is our true Relief. The sun gives us light and warmth, but Christ is a Light to our path and gives us
His warmth. A tree is lifeless in the winter, but comes to life in spring. There you see a shadow of His resurrection.

The entire land is a great shadow of Christ. From the land, mankind receives everything it needs. The land gives us food, water, materials for building, precious jewels, and the list can go on. The land is abundant. Christ is our Land, and from Him comes everything we need in abundance. Are you hungry? He is your Food. Do you need shade? He will cover you. Do you need your Spirit lifted? He is far more pleasant to look upon than any wildflowers.

Do you understand? Look anywhere and the shadow of Christ is obvious for those who look through His Spirit. He is the ultimate Reality and all that you see and naturally experience is a lesser reality.

The Radical Disciple by John Stott

The Radical Disciple” is a decent book. I can’t say that there is anything extraordinary within its pages. Instead, it is a solid picture of a disciple of Christ. The narrator of the audiobook, Grover Gardner, had a pleasant voice and made the book enjoyable to listen to during drives to and from work.

The religious might take this book on how to be a disciple. That would be a grave error. This book should be an aid to disciples of Christ to remember some neglected aspects of the Christian life. That being said, there are eight chapters that describe some of the “neglected aspects of our calling”. These aspects are: noncomformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death. It can be said that there are many more aspects to being a disciple, but these are ones that the author views as most neglected in our day.

I would suggest this book to any Christian who wishes to have a more well-rounded view of what a disciple of Christ looks like. Do not take this book to be all that a disciple is, but use it to learn how to follow Christ in ways that you have neglected in the past.

The aspect that moved my heart the most was dependence. In a society where independence is championed, it is difficult to feel alright being dependent on another person. Independence is a result of pride and has no place in the life of a Christian. Some even pretend to be content with being dependent upon God, but refuse to be dependent upon other people. This is not true dependence, considering Christ lives in His People and expects us to live as a loving community. If you are to follow Christ, you will have to lay down your old man, and rejoice in your dependence on God and His People.

For those of us still learning Christ, this book might just show you something that you have missed in you walk with Christ.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

 

The Precious Riches of the Church

Also in the church in Rome was a godly man named Lawrence, who was a minister of the Gospel and in charge of distributing the church’s goods. Marcianus greedily demanded that Lawrence tell him where the church’s riches were hid, thinking he could take them for himself. Lawrence requested three days in which to gather the riches together and present them to the governor.”

“When the third day came, Marcianus demanded that Lawrence keep his promise. Whereupon Lawrence stretched out his arms over some poor Christians that he had gathered in the place with him and said ‘These are the precious riches of the Church. They are the treasures in which faith in Christ reigns, in whom Christ has His dwelling place. What more precious jewel can the Church have than those in whom Christ promised to dwell?’”

“…After many cruel torments, this meek slave of Christ was laid on his fiery bed. But in God’s providence, it was as a bed of soft feathers, and the godly Lawrence laid there and perished as if taking a nourishing rest.” – John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Let Us Pray by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee

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In “Let Us Pray”, Watchman Nee brings us into the deep waters of the mystery of prayer. He reveals that “the prayer which a believer utters on earth is but the voicing of the Lord’s will in heaven”. Any expression of our own will that is not God’s will is not prayer at all and will be ineffective.

Using examples from Scripture, Watchman Nee shows the importance of prayer in the lives of Christians, because “all the actions in heaven are governed by the actions on earth!” Although, God has His eternal will, which He will complete, He will wait to act until His People join with Him in prayer.

Watchman Nee uses the parable of the widow, who repeatedly bothers the judge because of the oppression of her enemy, to show the importance of praying against Satan. This is a type of prayer that Jesus prophesied would be rare when He returns.

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luk 18:8 ESV)

Watchman Nee continues throughout the book showing the importance of prayer, offering examples of effectual prayers, explaining types of prayers, and revealing the schemes that Satan uses to harm us.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much when I started reading this little book. I have quite a few books on prayer and there comes a point when you have to ask: “Is there anything else that someone can say about prayer?” Watchman Nee has showed me my many failures in prayer. I understood that prayer is always to be according to God’s will, but I didn’t realize He waits for our prayers before He acts.

How unfaithful to my Lord have I been in this matter! I have not been praying for His return. I have not been praying for Satan to be bound and cast into the pit. I have not begged our Father to rebuke the evil one with all of His wrath for causing all kinds of pains and sufferings on His Children. Christ has revealed to me that He wishes for us to join in His work and is willing to delay the fulfillment of His will, because we don’t yet care enough to pray about His desires. How the army of heaven has suffered, because we have been unwilling to aid them in their battle against the enemy of Christ.

If Christ is always interceding for us, how can we justify not joining with Him in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God?

Enjoying Christ

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

(Psa 46:10 ESV)

 

 

Some of my most enjoyable times with Christ, have been in silence. To sit still and see Him by faith is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t take words to worship Him. You can worship Him by just enjoying Him. To forget the troubles of the world, if even for a moment, and turn your gaze to Him, honors Him much. Instead, of bringing Him your laundry list, you can bring Him yourself and seek Him for no other reason than because you want to enjoy His Presence. If only we turned our focus from our outward duties to God more often, we would surely be consumed with a holy passion for Him. Somehow, during this time, He fills us with contentment, while filling us with more desire. If only we knew how important this quiet time is to Him, perhaps we wouldn’t consider it wasted time.

 

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