“By this time you ought to be teachers.”

Will we allow Jesus to lead us?

–Jesus leads us through the Bible, and since He is alive and present in the 21st Century as the Holy Spirit, Jesus also leads us by communicating directly to our hearts, conscience, and/or mind — through His still, small voice. When we learn to daily deny ourselves and to obey His leadings, promptings, and nudges, we experience the power of His living leadership in action in our day-to-day lives. Paul of Tarsus put it this way: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

“Obey the voice of the Spirit.” —Catherine Booth.  Should each person in church meetings be allowed “to give forth the gushing utterance of his soul”?
–“Here is abundant evidence (1 Corinthians 14:26) that these Corinthian converts had opportunity to witness for Jesus, each one to give forth the gushing utterance of his soul, and tell other people of the experience which the Holy Ghost had wrought in him.” –Catherine Booth

OP + SH = OT
Ordinary people speaking from the heart make outstanding teachers.

teacher

Every Christ-follower is called to teach others about Christ; but spectator church services: 1) continually keep people in a passive classroom setting; 2) make them lifetime dependent on a professional teacher: and 3) keep people unaware of their supernatural ability and calling to teach others.
–Spectator church is the only educational institution in the world that never graduates anyone. The book of Hebrews shows how spectator church can keep us “infants.”
–“Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” –Hebrews 5:12-14.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 14, as many as are led by the Spirit, Catherine Booth, Hebrews 5, Paul of Tarsus, Quotes, Romans 8:14, sons of God, voice of God, you ought to be teachers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Defense Against Taking Offense

Our Best Defense Against Taking Offense

Although the Tennessee Titans and their new quarterback Marcus Mariota play in Nashville, this post is not about football. It is about not being offended by the words and/or actions of others.

Heaven knows that we all have many opportunities to be offended with people everyday. As human beings, we don’t exactly treat each other with gloves of kindness. We all sometimes slip up and say and/or do bad things to other people. And when we do somebody wrong, those of us who are Christ-followers we are called to humbly acknowledge it to them, and then to do our best to make it right. Love is being willing to say “I’m sorry.” And a sincere apology usually releases the person we have done wrong to, from the torment of being offended at us.

But what is our defense against offense when someone hurts us and refuses to say “I’m sorry.”? What if they say they were right to say and/or do what they did? In that case it is very difficult not to be inwardly tormented by a spirit of taking offense. However, if we allow the torment of offense to get a hold on our heart, it will make us seethe with anger, resentment, and bitterness and eventually drive us to retaliation and revenge.

So what can we do when a spirit of taking offense is pounding down our heart’s door?

1) Pray, pray, pray and then pray some more! “Lord, help me not to take this offense at this person and what he did to me!”
2) Bless, bless, bless and then bless some more! “Lord, I ask you to bless (name of person). Bless his health, bless his finances. Bless his relationships. Bless his family. Bless his activities. Give him your peace. Heal his hurts. (You get the idea.)
3) Confess your struggle with offense to someone you trust. Have them pray over you and rebuke the spirit of offense from you. If necessary, get several people to help you do this.
4) Refuse to think bad thoughts about the person who has done you wrong. Fight to drive anger, resentment, bitterness, revenge, and retaliation out of your mind and heart.
4) Don’t surrender. The spirit of offense can be relentless. However, though the help of the living, resurrected Jesus you can overcome it and drive it out of your heart. Don’t give in to offense. Keep resisting it until you overcome it!

Here are a few quotes to help you win the battle against the spirit of offense:

“Don’t let hard lessons harden your heart.” — Carlos A. Rodriguez:

“To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” –David A. Bednar

“Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.” –Rene Descartes

“We cannot choose who offends us, but we can choose how to respond when we are offended.” –Moffat Machingura

“Getting offended is the bait of Satan for the believer.” –David McGee

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. — Epictetus

“When things start to get rough, you find comfort in your faith. Knowing that no matter what, you can dust yourself off and be okay.” –Marcus Mariota

offensive

Posted in anger, apology, being offended, bitterness, Carlos Rodriguez, David Bednar, David McGee, Epictetus, how to apologize, How to forgive., how to not take offense, Marcus Mariota, Moffat Machingura, Quotations, Rene Descartes, resentment, retaliation, root of bitterness, unforgiveness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Flags Are Everywhere — But Where Are The Christian Flags?

Flags, flags, everywhere. But where are the Christian flags?

There are so many flags being displayed today: posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media, pictured in blogs, shown on television, texted, carried on the streets, hung from overpasses and buildings.  Flags seem to be everywhere — Rainbow Flags, Confederate Flags, American Flags, the flags of many other nations — but where are the Christian Flags?

Two of the best known Christian flags are: 1) the Free Christian Flag (unaffiliated with any Christian group or denomination) and 2) The Salvation Army Flag, also known as The Blood & Fire Flag. (There are also other Christian flags that represent various denominations.)

Here’s #1

christian flag A

In January 1907, The Christian Advocate wrote this about the Free Christian Flag:

Within recent years a flag has been designed which shall stand as an emblem around which all Christian nations and various denominations may rally in allegiance and devotion. This banner is called the Christian flag. It was originated by Charles C. Overton of Brooklyn, N.Y., whose first thought of it came to him while addressing a Sunday school at a rally day service. The flag is most symbolic. The ground is white, representing peace, purity and innocence. In the upper corner is a blue square, the color of the unclouded sky, emblematic of heaven, the home of the Christian; also a symbol of faith and trust. in the center of the blue is the cross, the ensign and chosen symbol of Christianity: the cross is red, typical of Christ’s blood

The Christian Advocate goes on to say:

Mr. Overton has dedicated his flag to the Christian world, refusing to copyright or patent it. It stands for no creed or denomination, but for Christianity. Every sect of Christ’s followers can endorse this flag

Here is some more history of the Free Christian Flag:

“The Christian flag is the only free flag in the world. It is different from every other flag, religious or secular, ancient or modern. It is uncontrolled, independent, and universal. Unlike all national flags and all denominational flags of various churches, it has no earthly bonds or allegiances. Christ and Christ alone is its Master. Without limitation, it exists for all the world’s people regardless of sex, race, national boundary, economic condition, affluence, or poverty, politics, slavery or freedom. It cannot be restricted by any nation or denomination. This unique, universal quality makes it like the air we breathe, belonging to all and yet owned by none. For those who want it, wherever and whenever, it is freely theirs.”

“The Christian flag is one of the oldest unchanged flags in the world. It was conceived at Brighton Chapel, Coney Island, New York, Sunday, September 26, 1897, and was presented in its present form the following Sunday by its originator. Call it chance, or providence, serendipity, or the plan of God, on that day, the Christian flag was born.”

“The white on the flag represents purity and peace. The blue stands for faithfulness, truth, and sincerity. Red, of course, is the color of sacrifice, in this case calling to mind the blood shed by Christ on Calvary, represented by the cross.”

“The first pledge to the Christian flag was written by Methodist pastor Lynn Harold Hough in 1908.”

“I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One brotherhood, uniting all mankind, in service and love.”

Here’s # 2

flag at Berry street big

Here’s some history of The Salvation Army Flag:

“Around the world, The Salvation Army flag is a symbol of the Army’s war against sin and social evil.”

“The red on the flag represents the blood of Christ; the blue border stands for purity; and the yellow star in the center signifies the fire of the Holy Spirit.”

“The flag is used at special occasions such as marriages, funerals, marches, open-air meetings, enrollments of soldiers, farewells, and retirements.”

“The first Salvation Army flag was designed and presented to the Coventry Corps in England by Catherine Booth in 1878. At the time the centre of the flag was a yellow sun representing the Light of Life. This was changed to the star in 1882.”

The words “Blood & Fire” are written inside the yellow star.

–Here’s a challenge: Let’s bring Christian flags out of the closet, out of church buildings and into public view!

Step 1) If you believe in the the  message of these two flags, begin to regularly post pictures of them on social media.

Step 2) Begin to prayer walk with a Christian flag in your city, town, or neighborhood. For more information about flag-prayer walking, check out this Facebook page: Prayer walking With The Salvation Army Flag.

Posted in Battle Flags, blood of Jesus, Catherine Booth, flying the flag, history of the flag, meaning of the flag, national flags, out of the closet, prayer walking, social media, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How’s your Christ-connection?

Christ connection

How’s your Christ-connection?
1) Is Christ freely flowing from your heart like “rivers of living water”?
2) Is Christ continually showing in your lifestyle — in the things you say and do?
3) Are you growing closer and more obedient to Christ everyday?
(If not, you may have faulty spiritual wiring.)
–“Christ, the Eternal Son, shining into the open heart, causes that heart to grow and to bloom, and it overflows with all the inward powers, with joy and sweetness. –John Ruysbroeck (1293-1391)

If your Christ-connection is not in tip-top shape, it’s time to be a first responder!

First responders
Rush to God’s fire
And let Him blaze brilliantly
In their hearts.

You can’t heal the hurt in your heart. The living, resurrected Jesus Christ can.

The living, resurrected Jesus Christ connects with us when we “walk in the light.”
–If people are not permitted to share what God puts on their heart when we meet together for worship, how can we learn to “walk in the light” with one another?
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” –John the Beloved (a disciple of Jesus)

The New Testament calls this walking in the light in order to connect with Christ — ekklesia.

“Ekklesia”
We gather here to hear
The voice of God so near
And then to say and do
The things He tells us to.
–“I will build my ekklesia.” –Jesus Christ

People say that ekklesia won’t work; that there is no order in it. They said the same thing when George Fox and the early Quakers set aside a central sermon and began to let the living Christ lead their meetings.  Fox put it this way:

“It is said by the professors: ‘There is no order among you,’ but I say the order of God is a mystery. Its order will stand when all of theirs is gone. The cry is: ‘There is no government amongst you!’ Is there not? Yes, the government of Christ.”

Posted in 1 John 1:7, connecting with Christ, George Fox, God's fire, I will build my church, Matthew 16:18, New Testament, Quakers, Quotations, Send the fire, spiritual growth, spiritual healing, walk in the light | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Dare To Read These Amazing Words From Catherine Booth?

Cathering booth reading

Here’s a long passage from Catherine Booth about how church meetings should be done. Dare you read it?

“While the gospel message is laid down with unerring exactness, we are left at perfect freedom to adapt our measures and modes of bringing it to bear upon men to the circumstances, times and conditions in which we live. ‘I am made all things to all men,’ declared the great apostle to the Gentiles who had thrown off the paraphernalia of Judaism years before, yet became as a Jew that he might win the Jews.

The great strong intellect became as a weak man that he might win the weak. He conformed himself to the conditions and circumstances of his hearers in all lawful things that he might win them; he let no mere conventionalities or ideas of propriety stand in his way when it was necessary to abandon them. He who was brave as a lion, and hailed a crown of martyrdom like a conquering hero, was willing to submit to anything when the requirements of his mission rendered it necessary.

Now here it seems to me that the church — I speak universally — has made the grand mistake of exalting the traditions of the elders into the same importance and authority as the word of God. People contend that we must have quiet, proper, decorous services. I say, Where is your authority for this? I defy any man to show it. I have a great deal more authority for such a lively, gushing, spontaneous, and what you call disorderly, service as our Salvation Army services sometimes are, in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians, than you can find for yours. The best insight we have into the internal working of a religious service in apostolic times is in this chapter (1 Corinthians 14), and I ask you, Is it anything like the ordinary services of today?

We cannot get the order of a single service from the New Testament, nor can we get the form of government of a single church. Hence one denomination thinks theirs is the best form, and another theirs; so Christendom has been divided into various camps ever since; but this very quarrelling shows the impossibility of getting from the New Testament the routine, the order and the fashion of mere modes. Do you think God had no purpose in this omission? The forms, modes and measures are not prescribed as in the Old Testament disposition. Why?

The principle is laid down that you are to adapt your measures to the necessity of the people to whom you minister; you are to take the gospel to the people in such modes and habitudes of thought and expression and circumstances as will gain a hearing. You are to preach to them in a way as will cause them to look and listen. What scope for the various manifestations of the Spirit! The argument that this free operation of the Spirit has been abused is no argument against it, for then you might argue against every privilege. Here is abundant evidence that these Corinthian converts had opportunity to witness for Jesus, each one to give forth the gushing utterance of his soul, and tell other people of the experience which the Holy Ghost had wrought in him.

And look at the result! ‘If . . . there come in one that beleiveth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.’ What unkind things have been said of The Salvation Army because people at our meetings have fallen on their faces under the convicting power of the Spirit. But you see this is apostolic.

Should we not pray to be set free from the traditionalism and routinism in which Satan has succeeded in lulling us to sleep? It was only the repressing, and ultimately, I am afraid, the all-but estinguishing, of the Holy Spirit’s urgings that has led to the dead way in which many services are conducted.

I maintain that the only indispensable qualification for witnessing for Christ is the Holy Ghost. Paul expressly, over and over again, abjures all mere human equipment. He expressly declares that these things were not the power even where they existed, but that it was the Holy Ghost. Therefore, give me man, woman or child with the Holy Ghost, full of love and zeal for God, and I say it would be a real strength and joy to that convert to testify to the church. The Lord is not going to evangelize this land by finished sermons and disquisitions, but by the simple testimony of people saved from sin and the devil, by His power and His grace. He is going to do it as He began, by witnessing.

Read your New Testament and you will be struck with the amazing amount of evidence for this unconventional kind of service. When shall Peters and Marys be so filled with the Spirit that they cannot help telling what God has done for the, like the woman of Samaria who, when she had found Him of whom Moses and the Prophets had written, went and fetched her fellow-townsmen and women to hear Him? The way in which the Lord is going to gather out His great and glorious kingdom in these latter days is by the power of testimony in the Holy Ghost.”

(“Highway of our God” by Catherine Booth, page 61-63, published by The Salvation Army Supplies And Purchasing Department, Atlanta, Georgia, 1986.)

Posted in church history, church order, church services, early Salvationists, history, organic chuch, Salvation Army, testimony | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is It Time For Another Protestant Reformation?

500 years ago people protested against and then changed the common way of doing church. Shall we change it again?
–The Protestant Reformation took place 500 years ago. The very name of this movement proclaims that people rose up and protested against the familiar way of doing church and then they reformed it.
–However, because the changes made by the Reformation were incomplete and imperfect, if church needed changing 500 years ago, it still needs changing today.
–The Protestant Reformers didn’t follow through and finish their Reformation. For example, they taught “the priesthood of the believer” — that all Christ-followers are priests — and then they denied their own teachings by keeping church meetings under the complete control of a single clergyman and called everyone else a layman.
–As Western Civilization rapidly ditches its Christian foundations, the traditional way of doing church has lost much of its effectiveness to influence society. It is fast becoming a relic of history as more and more church attenders are quitting traditional church and being classified as “Dones.”. Perhaps it is time to transition church from religious meetings dominated by one man into interactive assemblies led by the Holy Spirit prompting ordinary Christ-followers to minister to one another.

reformation quote

“The Reformation did not directly touch the question of the true character of God’s church.” –John Nelson Darby

“God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in His church, even to the reforming of the Reformation itself.” –John Milton

“Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.” –Mary Harris Jones

“The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself.” –Mark Twain

“I’m looking for a second reformation. The first reformation of the church 500 years ago was about beliefs. This one is going to be about behavior.”  –Rick Warren

“What is a man born for but to be a reformer, a remaker of what has been made, a denouncer of lies, a restorer of truth and good?” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Reformation in the sixteenth century narrowed reform. As soon as men began to call themselves names, all hope of further amendment (reformation) was lost.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“The Reformation was certainly not a golden age. It was far from perfect, and in many ways it did not act consistently with the Bible’s teaching, although the Reformers were trying to make the Bible their standard not only in religion, but in all of life.” –Francis Schaeffer

“The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves.” –George Bernard Shaw

Posted in organic church, Quotes, simple church, George Bernard Shaw, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Milton, Mark Twain, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Nelson Darby, Francis Schaeffer, Rick Warren, a new reformation, Protestant Reformers, Mary Harris Jones | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Whose Control Should Church Be Under?

To congregate under Christ’s direct control (to come together and allow the living Jesus, Himself, to lovingly lead us without the aid of a human program or agenda) releases the power and presence of God, like nothing else on earth.

“We want a living embodiment of Christianity.” –Catherine Booth
–When Christ-followers gather together as the body of Christ, shouldn’t we allow the living, resurrected Jesus to move and direct His members however He chooses?
–If no one has the right to control another person’s body, why should any person try to control a gathering of the body of Christ? If we are Christ’s body, then shouldn’t Christ, Himself, control us when we meet together?

“A Christian gathering controlled by one person, cannot be controlled by the Holy Spirit.” –Eddie Hyatt

control

“The present structure of the typical local church is more like a spectator sport than its biblical counterpart, with a few people doing everything and the rest just cheering.” –Rick Joyner
–However, ekklesia (participatory church), based on 1 Corinthians 14:26, allows anybody present to speak up as led by the Holy Spirit.

“In the beginning of the Christian cause all were ministers. There was no place for the observer or the nominal member.” –Elton Trueblood

Salvation Army Founder, General William Booth was not overly fond of sermons.
–“We don’t believe in the religion learned from books, from ministers and sermons. We believe in the religion of the soul.” –William Booth
–Experience church where instead of a one-man sermon, ordinary people minister to one another; at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207, Sundays 10:45 am.

Posted in controlling pastors, Eddie Hyatt, ekklesia, Nashville, organic church, Rick Joyner, taking control | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment