Over the last 20 years, I’ve gone from a denominational church upstart preacher boy through the “mega” church jet set, then segued into the authoritative, five-fold global apostolic networking spheres and then landed in organic/house church circles because, quite frankly, at that point, we didn’t have any idea of what things were anymore and all we had were relationships.
As the reduction has occurred over the last 20 years or so, my life has boiled down to learning how to properly relate with Father through Christ and properly relating to others through Christ.
Too simplistic for you? I apologize! But, it’s all I got.
Originally, through example and verbal instruction, I was taught to isolate myself from others and only allow them in so close. The relationship was always based upon titular standing and only served the form I was involved in at the time. As things began to unwind, I found myself being required to actually form authentic relationships; meaning that transparency and equal exchange happened. ‘Twas not pretty in the beginning. There was a ton of hatchet work due to lack of experience and wrong expectations. I am still not perfect in it but things have definitely gotten better over time.
I’ve seen some crazy stuff along the way. Some of the “crazy” was my doing. People doing things to other people, all in the name of God, that God Himself would never do. If you carry any weight as salt, I bet you have a few stories of your own that you could share.
At this point, I am really not interested in any, (wait a minute, let me add some emphasis…..) ANY anointed personality and/or orchestrated, organized events/forms/structures that are purported to advance the Kingdom, bring down the glory, usher in a new day or season or is marketed as THE KEY to what God is REALLY doing.
Now, if Christ is the center and you want to tell me about how He has impacted a new business venture…………….I’m in. But, if we can’t sit down and have a conversation about Christ and what He means to you and how that is revealed in everyday life, my eyes will glaze over once you start blabbering about your “thing”.
I’m fine with the Kingdom being IN believers and Christ, the (only) Hope of Glory being IN believers. I’ve sort of have this symbiotic examination thing going on now. I invest in searching out Father and then I go and see if I can find Him in others. On the other hand, as I interact with others, I seem to catch glimpses of Him incarnated in them and ask, “What’s up with that?”, then go back to Him to dig deeper. In the process, the Christ in me gets to connect with the Christ in others and is formed. The most significant, dynamic changes that have occurred in me over the past several years have been accomplished in this manner.
Actual interaction in relationships with people………….like my wife, young brothers I disciple, elders in communities, seemingly coincidental meetings, brothers/sisters, etc., is where I am seeing Him; hearing Him; experiencing Him in life altering ways. There’s no way I can relegate Him back to a Sunday morning “worship” experience or specialized event. He’s in the corporate expression….regardless of where you find them. Gatherings. Visits. Dinners. Coffee! Everyday life, you know.
Over the last month and half, even during this house renovation thing going on, we’ve had visitors in our home. They came from California, Missouri and Ohio. The time spent together with these precious people was significant for us. They each brought something to us, a deposit from Father that was consistent with His Nature, extremely encouraging to us and in line with His intentions for us at this present time.
Along with the hospitality, we were able to deepen relationships with them and, hopefully, provide some type of blessing to them. It’s rich, tasty stuff! It is the gooey goodness found ONLY in Him that makes you want to further repent and keep in hot pursuit of His Fullness.
So, I reckon that this post, if it is actually anything, is a call to the simplicity of Christ and for that simplicity being worked out in relationships by Loving others.
Seriously, if your home is out of order or your marriage is in a bad place, maybe you should just stop going to church or doing ministry until things are set right. Humbling yourself and seeking out those who Father would lead you to for help/encouragement would do you a world of good.
If there’s a recycling sin that keeps emerging and you can’t stop it, ask Father for someone to connect with for a time of confession, repentance, restoration and encouragement. Find a safe place to bring it to light…..darkness will flee.
Before you offer up meaningless prayers and “worship”, go to THAT brother/sister, humble yourself and repent/forgive for the offense that was caused/suffered. No matter what “IT” is, you can never go wrong by humbling yourself before another and work to keep the unity found in the Spirit. You’ll find it will dislodge a number of things in your life and will permit you to advance.
I could go on offering examples but I think you get the picture. I understand doing such things makes us uncomfortable. Yeah, that’s your flesh dying. That’s why we don’t do it.
We’d rather drag ourselves through Bible study, bless me prayers and occupy ourselves with “church” activities. We’d rather sit back in our existing, religious state and dream up something else for God to bless rather than responsibly attend to and nurture that which He has already blessed. That’s the cover where the sneaky little antagonists called the pride of life and lust of the flesh hide. Those pesky forces are nasty in and of themselves but layer a self-righteous, religious spirit on top and you have the makings of a nasty disposition that can taint even the most well-intentioned soul.
Listen, I know I am not talking to you. This is obviously for the “other” reader. Heck, it’s for the writer of this post. This isn’t anything new. It’s been going on looooooooong before you, errrr, I mean, I came along. Paul dealt with “Christians” not acting like Christ-followers as they dealt with one another.
I mean, go back and read the Letters to the Corinthians. They were a train wreck and they had Paul ministering to them. Here’s just a sample from 1 Corinthians 3:
But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?
Basically, he was telling them that he had quite a bit more, deeper, spiritual truth to lay on them but he couldn’t do it because they were still acting as if they weren’t partakers of Father’s Life and were treating one another b-a-d-l-y.
What Paul eventually winds up telling the Corinthians is that it is time for them to put away childish things and learn the more excellent way of Love because it never fails.
You can tell, I’ve been beating this drum for a while. Some of have even said that the message has been received loud and clear. Well, I don’t know about you, but the proof is in the pudding and sometimes I produce some bad pudding and I must be reminded to return to Christ’s simplicity.
Perhaps this is too simplistic a view of things but as I’ve read and studied the scriptures, I have discovered that Jesus was sent because the Father loved and Jesus willingly sacrificed his life because he loved.
It’s funny how that whole “love-one-another-as-I-have-loved-you” thingy, called a command, that Jesus gave is sort of necessary to moving into the fullness He has for His People. It was that way back then and I am thinking that it is still required today.
It is required today because that is what His Life, Nature and Love produce. Anything short of treating one another as Father would want His family treated is just us acting a fool. And despite how publicized it is, how loud and entertaining it is or how satisfying it is to us, it is NOT satisfying to Father’s heart.
Keep your peace!