“Everyone’s always trying to leave Jesus out, which is one reason we’re in the mess we’re in.” –War Room

war room

The new movie, War Room, makes a bold, powerful statement: “Everyone’s always trying to leave Jesus out, which is one reason we’re in the mess we’re in.” Do we leave Jesus out of our worship meetings? When we script, plan, and program church so that we know and control everything that happens in the meeting, where is there room for the living Jesus to be actively involved?

“The Lord is risen indeed!”
The risen Jesus can
Himself direct and lead us,
When we gather in His name!
Dare we set aside our programs
And allow the living Jesus to lead us?

If you have seen War Room (or you haven’t) and you are ready to stand up and fight to live right, come visit us at The Salvation Army Berry Street where we don’t just sit down and listen, but we allow ordinary people to stand up and fight with testimonies, prayers, Scriptures, gifts of the Spirit, songs, confession, exhortations, and declarations.

At Berry Street we want to put Jesus in the driver’s seat and allow Him to personally direct our unscripted Sunday morning worship meetings. You’ll be amazed at what the living, resurrected Jesus can do when we meet with no human agenda and let Him take control.
–Come see! 10:45 am., 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.

war room 2

Posted in church, Everyone's always trying to leave Jesus out, I call this my war room, I'll fight, Kendrick Brothers, organic church, raise 'em up, Salvation Army, simple church, the mess we're in, this is where I do my fighting, war room quotes, Where is War Room showing in Nashville | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lecture or loving interaction? (Sermon or heart-felt sharing?)

What works? Lecture or loving interaction?
–1-man lecture doesn’t work as the foundation for support groups. Neither can effective family gatherings be built on the same man always doing all the talking.
–So why do we tie church meetings so tightly to a tidy, 1-man talk? Is it possible that there is a more effective way for churches to meet? The Bible gives an alternative to the 1-man lecture in 1 Corinthians 14:26. Check it out!


If Christ is living in ordinary believers (as the Bible says He is) then why don’t we allow Christ the opportunity to speak through ordinary believers in church meetings?

Church sits people down to listen.
Ekklesia stands them up to testify!

Church is not a translation (of the Greek word ekklesia). It is an invention that replaces proper translation. It gives a meaning which is not contained in ekklesia. It conveys a concept that is not in the Scriptures.” –Daniel Gruber (quoted by Don Finto in his new book, Prepare!)

Who do we gather around? When a group of Christ-followers gathers together in surrender to the direct leadership of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ, His power and Presence fill the room.

Being undone by a glimpse of the glory of God made me ‘done’ with church as a formal program and caused me to long for God-gatherings that flow under the direct leadership of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ.
(“I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” –Isaiah)

“Awe combined with intimacy is the essence of Christian worship.”
—J. D. Greear
(Experience awe & intimacy with us every Sunday morning at 10:45 at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.)

Posted in Nashville, church, Isaiah, ekklesia, 1 Corinthians 14:26, sharing, Salvation Army, J.D. Greear, I saw the Lord, Dones, Don Finto, Daniel Gruber | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andreas Karlstadt (Luther’s Organic Church/Ekklesia Guy)

Before Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses and nailed them to the door of the Catholic Church in Wittenburg, Germany; Andreas Karlstadt (1480-1541) had written 151 Theses and delivered them to the Pope in Rome. When the Protestant Reformation began, Karlstadt and Luther were close friends and allies. When Luther was in hiding away from Wittenburg for an extended time, Karlstadt led the movement, however, when Luther returned, he felt Karlstadt had gone too far in the reformations he led in Wittenburg and in welcoming 3 prophets from Zwicau, Germany. So Luther forced Karlstadt to step down.

“Karlstadt was convinced that the Spirit spoke directly to people apart from the Bible. Karlstadt wondered the streets of Wittenburg in his professor’s robes, asking illiterate peasants to give him the spiritual interpretation of God’s word.” –James A. Nestingen (in the book, Martin Luther A Life.)

In 1523 Karlstadt left Wittenberg and became the pastor at Orlamünde. Away from Luther, he began to implement ekklesia style reforms by seeing all believers as equal and opening church meetings up to give ordinary people the opportunity to speak in the meetings and allowing “open debate with the common people.”

“Karlstadt refused to continue holding his doctorate title, he took off his scholarly gown and dressed like a peasant and called himself from then on: Bruder Endres (Brother Endres). At first, he was employed as a farmer in Wörlitz, because he did not want to eat any longer the poor people’s bread.” –Joachin Bauer

“On Sundays, Karlstadt preached the John’s gospel and during the week he interpreted the Acts of the Apostles. He asked the audience to make known the word of God, including all lay persons, because he deemed it possible to learn from them just as well as from any priest. This was the consequence Karlstadt drew from the doctrine of the universal priesthood of all believers.” –Joachin Bauer

“In June 1523 he began pastoral work in the small rural parish of Orlamünde (on the river Saale in Thuringia) that was incorporated in the prebendary foundation of the Wittenberg Castle Church of which he was archdeacon. There in Orlamünde, between July 1523 and September 1524, he began work as a peasant farmer with the objective of gaining independence from his ecclesiastical income and being able to support his family by manual labor. In this profound change of life he also abandoned his title of doctor, and asked to be called Brother Andie, expressing his desire to be known as a new layman. In Orlamünde he initiated a communal model of evangelical reform: celebrating worship in a simple and austere manner, communing the Lord’s Supper under both species as a memorial of the liberating death of Christ on the cross, removing images from the church, postponing the baptism of infants, intensifying Bible study in open debate with the common people, and emphasizing the great importance and autonomy of the laity in the total life of the church.” –Alejandro Zorzin

After a little more than a year in Orlamünde, Karlstadt was once again forced out by Luther. He began a career as an avid writer and had much influence on the Anabaptist movement. Many of Karlstadt’s “radical ideas” were eventually widely accepted. However, some of his ideas are still looked down upon, such as:

* Letting the Holy Spirit be the active Leader in meetings;
* Allowing anyone present to speak in meetings;
* Encouraging and freeing people to personally listen to the voice of the Spirit;
* Expecting true believers to live holy lives by daily following and obeying the living, resurrected Jesus Christ;
* Giving up titles;
* Recognizing that all who have experienced and are following Christ are social equals;
* Realizing that the Holy Spirit is the primary teacher of the Bible;
* Expecting church to be a loving, interactive community;

Here are some quotes from Andreas Karlstadt:


“The Spirit alone leads us into knowledge of the sayings of God.”

“Christ says ‘My sheep hear My voice;’ He doesn’t say ‘They hear old customs and practices.”

“Where there is true knowledge of God in faith, there the true love and friendship of God are. And where God is strong, there too is love of neighbor.”

“Without the power of Christ, no one will be saved.”

“The Spirit of God — who leads people in all things to God — may appear foolish to carnal people who lack the Spirit.”

“If a person is upright internally, then his external behavior will be right too.”

“God’s word is a fountain out of which the Divine Spirit flows into the believers. We believe the biblical books because the Holy Spirit spoke them to the church.”

“If we want to have a way to salvation or hold to the truth, we must cling to Christ. You can’t show me the way or the truth or the life anywhere but in Christ. I won’t be led to anything else. I fear Divine Scripture, I yield to Divine Scripture, and I honor it.”

“We must follow Christ and be where Christ is in will, thought, love, and desire, suffering.”

“Letting go is a turning away from everything that we might covet, so that God alone is our love, pleasure, worry, trust, help, fear, and everything. To Him we must cling! We must let go of earth so that we can grasp Heaven.”

“I wish you were not so addicted to the letter of Scripture, thus withdrawing your heart from the teaching of the Spirit of God.”

Posted in 95 theses, Anabaptist, Bible, hearing God, Holy Spirit, Martin Luther, My sheep hear My voice, organic church, radical reformation, simple church, sola Scripture, Wittenburg Door | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

“Dones” or “Beyonds”?

Meet the Beyonds
The Dones are people who have given up on church and dropped out.
–The Beyonds are people who realize that biblically church is supposed to be so much more than what we have made it. Beyonds want to move beyond traditional church and into biblical ekklesia — beyond passively hearing lectures and into participatory interaction with the living, resurrected Jesus Christ.

Nashville’s Don Finto confirms ekklesia in his new book, Prepare!
–Don says: “‘Church’ is an unfortunate mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia — literally meaning called out. The Greek word carries no connotation of a building, but of people. William Tyndale understood this. In his 1525 completed text of the New Testament, there is no church. There is only community. Even under great pressure to translate ekklesia as church, Tyndale resisted.”

Beyonds go:
* Beyond form and into power (2 Timothy 3:5);
* Beyond pastor control and into Christ’s control (Colossians 1:18);
* Beyond just being led by man and into the leadership of the Spirit (Romans 8:14);
* Beyond sermons about the historic Jesus and into following and obeying the living Jesus; (Hebrews 13:8);
* Beyond passivity and into participation (1 Corinthians 14:26);
* Beyond pretense and into raw reality (1 John 1:7);
* Beyond religion and into relationship with Christ (Matthew 11:28);
* Beyond human programming and into the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

When church moves beyond passive learning & into shared yearning it releases supernatural power.
–When worship allows time for ordinary people to open up and tell what God is doing in their hearts and lives, their openly shared yearning for God has a much stronger impact than many years of passively learning about God.

Too many people want to sit passively and listen to preaching in church, but Jesus wants His followers to get up and go preach in the world!
–“Go you (y’all) into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” –Jesus (Mark 16:15)


If you live in Middle Tennessee, come and go beyond church at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry Street, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45 — where ordinary people show and tell what God has done.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, back to church, Bible, Bible quotes, called out ones, Christ the Head of the church, Christian community, Come unto Me all you who are weary, Don Finto's books, ekklesia, gifts of the Spirit, Go into all the world, having a form of godliness but denying the power, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, led by the Spirit, Nashville, preach the gospel, Prepare, walk in the light, William Tyndale | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ain’t nothin’ like watchin’ God work in ordinary people!

Berry Street nothing like it

Last Sunday at The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville one of our members started the meeting by reading a Scripture that she had chosen. It was Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Immediately afterwards our guest worship leader, who had picked his songs out earlier in the week, began to lead us in a song that repeats these words over and over: “You make all things work together for my good.” The two had no idea of what the other was going to do. Message heard! I got goose bumps.

Now hear this! Whatever you are going through is going to work out for your good if you love God and follow His calling in your life. (Do you?)

A few minutes later, a 19 year-old college freshman shared an amazing testimony. A couple of years ago she completely lost her voice and couldn’t speak at all. She went to various doctors and specialists and they couldn’t help her. She was devastated because she was planning to major in theater. She prayed for over a year that God heal her voice and many other people were praying for her, but nothing happened. She was ready to give up, but then in desperation she prayed one more time, picked up her phone that she hadn’t spoken on in more than a year, and called her father. Suddenly she felt like something grabbed and shook her throat. The she said, “Daddy, I can speak.” She has been speaking normally ever since!

God is doing amazing things in the lives of normal people, but unfortunately we seldom allow them to share in church meetings. How we miss out, because we silence God’s people!  “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” –Psalm 107:2

A glimpse of God will save you. To gaze at Him will sanctify you.” –Manley Beasley
–God is invisible like the wind — you can’t directly see Him with your natural eyes. However, you can clearly see the movement God creates when everyday people come together and individually listen to Him and then say and/or do what He tells them to. To regularly gaze upon God working in and through ordinary people will transform your life!

“We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.” ― A.W. Tozer
–At Berry Street ordinary people share insights from their heart as they are led by the Spirit. Come see — Sunday mornings @ 10:45, 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.

Posted in A.W. Tozer, Berry Street, He makes all things work together for my good, Manley Beasley, miracles, organic church, Psalm 107:2, Romans 8:28, Salvation Army, Spirit-led | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

I believe in being naive!

What’s your threshold of naivety?
–I believe in being naive about some things. To choose to be naive about certain things can relieve anxiety, stress, and deception and help you achieve inner peace and contentment, by closing the door of your mind and heart to evil. The knowledge of evil opens us up to the influence and torment of evil. To be entertained by evil is the beginning of entrapment and entanglement by evil.
–If your hope has died, perhaps you have left the threshold of naivety. “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” –Genesis 2:17
–The living, resurrected Jesus Christ can restore you to innocence. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” –Romans 8:1

power of naivety

Your choice of lifestyle matters!
–Some lifestyles produce pain, discouragement, depression, frustration, anxiety, guilt, and/or shame.
–One lifestyle produces love, joy, peace, patience, contentment, hope, and self-control — the lifestyle of daily following and obeying the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. One person actively following and obeying the living, resurrected Jesus is much more effective than 1,000 people passively sitting and listening to a sermon about Jesus.

Can you predict church?
* People in rows focused on the front; A welcome from a platform; Announcements; Some singing; Offering; Sermon; Closing song; Benediction.
–When ordinary people are free to follow and obey Jesus in a meeting, church becomes unpredictable and exciting!

Posted in choice of lifestyle, church, condemnation, contentment, denial, Genesis 2, hope, original innocence, power of choice, psychology, quilt, Romans 8:1, the power of, tree of the knowledge of good and evil | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Jesus be the church program . . .

A God-gathering (ekklesia) has a program, a plan, a presentation, and a purpose:
The program . . . to let ordinary people follow and obey Jesus.
The plan . . . to free up everybody present to be led by the Spirit.
The presentation . . . to allow everyday Christ-followers to walk in His steps.
The purpose . . . to have no one in the meeting quench the Spirit.

* Did Jesus plan His day, week, month, and year?
–“The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” –Jesus in John 5:19
* Should we?
–“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” –Romans 8:14

I am the way

–The way is not following a system, a technique, or an agenda, The way is the living, resurrected Jesus — listening to Him and following His directions.
–The early Christ-followers were called people of the Way — meaning they followed Jesus. So what if we gathered with no program except to all listen to and obey Jesus! You would be amazed and in awe.
–Come see for yourself at The Salvation Army Berry Street, every Sunday at 10:45 am. at 225 Berry St., Nashville, TN 37207.

Let’s let Jesus be the program! Rather than giving people a printed bulletin, let’s hand Jesus out to people as they come into a God-gathering.

Posted in Nashville, simple church, Romans 8:14, participatory church, ekklesia, led by the Spirit, Salvation Army, Spirit-led church, John 5:19, the Son can do nothing by Himself, church bulletins | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment