The World’s Most Important And Urgent Buildup

buildup

How does Christ buildup His church?
Jesus builds His church (on the rock of personal revelation) with living stones; by being actively present when people gather in His name. He personally assembles them into a loving, heart-felt community of living stones; who all sacrifice their personal egos, agendas, and comfort zones; in order to minister to one another as individual priests, each one in direct communication with God and led by His Spirit.
–(Based on Matthew 16:18 – “Upon this rock I will build My church;” Matthew 18:20 — “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them;” and 1 Peter 2:5 – “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”)

So how can you help this happen?  Notice the pure and holy thoughts, words, images, and sensations that the living, resurrected Jesus is releasing into your heart. Unaware, we often overlook them, however, when you quiet yourself and notice; the things that Jesus shows you will amazingly transform your life and you will find yourself being built together with others in loving community.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  –1 Thessalonians 5:11

Posted in 1 Peter 2:5, build up, holy priesthood, I am with you, I Thessalonians 5:11, I will build my church, living stones, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:20, spiritual sacrifices, universal priesthood, upon this rock, where two or three are gathered | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nashville Pedestrian Bridge Flag Adventure

It has come to me several times the past couple of weeks for my wife, Ernie, and me to take The Salvation Army Flag on to the pedestrian overpass on Ellington Parkway just north of downtown Nashville during morning rush hour traffic and wave at the people passing under us into town.  It sounded like a crazy idea to me so I resisted it the first couple of times. Finally I mentioned it to my wife and she was ready to do it with me. So we planned to do it this morning (Monday, April 20, 2015).

When we woke up it was overcast with “scattered showers” so I suggested that we wait until another morning, but Ernie was ready to go. So we did. As we were walking up the Ellington Parkway walkover, we passed over a very long train parked on the tracks below us.

When we arrived over the incoming lanes of Ellington Parkway we held up the flag and began to wave at people and to pray for God’s presence to fall on them.  Ernie said, “Somebody’s going to honk at us.”  Immediately a car honked and waved back at us. At that very moment, the horn on the train sounded and it began to move toward Nashville.

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Suddenly I remembered a vision that I had a few years ago.  In my mind’s eye I had seen a long train moving rapidly into Nashville and these words had come to me, “Revival is coming to Nashville like a train.

Ernie and I stood on that pedestrian bridge from 8:00 to 9:00 this morning waving and praying for the people passing us and for the city of Nashville the entire time. We felt God’s presence so strongly that the hour seemed like 15 minutes.  We were both incredibly blessed as many people waved back at us and gave us friendly honks.  I am so glad that we obeyed the Spirit’s prompting this morning.

So what does the flag mean?  The red represents the blood of Jesus; the yellow stands for the fire of the Holy Spirit; and the blue symbolizes a life of radical obedience to the living, resurrected Jesus Christ.

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Posted in downtown Nashville, led by the Spirit, Music City, obeying the Spirit, pedestrian bridge, prayer, prophetic, Salvation Army Flag, spiritual awakening, witnessing in Nashville | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus-Facilitated Forums — A Forum 4 Him!

Perhaps church could be a Jesus-facilitated forum — a forum for Him!

church forum 4 Him

A forum is a meeting for open discussion. Does the living, resurrected Jesus deserve a forum where He can present His living Word by prompting ordinary men and women to share what He shows them?
–Yes! The living Jesus deserves a hearing. He deserves a place where He can speak freely through whoever He pleases.
–But where in the world can you find such a place — a forum facilitated by the living Jesus? They are rare in the Western world. However, they were the norm in the 1st Century church.
–In the mid-20th Century in China, the Communists put most of the pastors in prison. With the pastors out of the picture, churches morphed into Jesus-facilitated forums and began to multiply like crazy. The Christian population exploded from between 2 & 3 million in 1948 to an estimated 100 million today.
–Perhaps the church in the West needs to morph into Jesus-facilitated forums — to be formed into forums for Him. Here are a few quotes about forum:

“One of my greatest talents is recognizing the talent in others and giving the forum to shine.” –Tory Burch  (Jesus said that His followers are to be the light of the world and that we are to let our light shine.  Since Jesus says we should shine, shouldn’t we be allowed to shine in church meetings?)

“The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum.” –Adlai Stevenson (If it is important to allow words to flow in society, shouldn’t it also be important to allow Jesus-facilitated words to flow in church meetings?)

“He just spoke his piece. There was no forum where everybody needed to talk.” –Jerry Porter (This quotation describes our traditional way of church in the Western world — the same man speaks week after week and the rest of the people passively sit and politely try to listen.)

Experience a Jesus-facilitated forum every Sunday morning in Nashville, Tennessee at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry Street 37207 at 10:45.

Posted in Adlai Stevenson, Berry Street, church, church in China, Jerry Porter, Nashville, open discussion, Quotes, Salvation Army, Tory Burch | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church — Platform Presentation Or Presence & Power Of Christ?

Come unto Me

Is church about a platform presentation? Or about the actual Presence and power of the living, resurrected Jesus?

Jesus told His followers to come unto Him — into His very Presence. We should be careful so we don’t stop short and settle for a platform presentation in place of His Presence and power; religion rather than revelation; entertainment in exchange for experiencing the living, resurrected Christ!
–“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Jesus

The living Jesus works in ordinary human hearts, However, if the people who encounter Christ are silent about His presence in them, then some people may assume that Jesus is dead and confined to history.
–Hear ordinary people show and tell what Christ is doing in the present; every Sunday morning @ 10:45 at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207.

Perhaps we should stop running away from God and then complaining that we can’t find Him. This was even happening in the 1500s.

“O my God, men flee from You and say they cannot find You; they turn their backs and say they cannot see You; they stop their ears and say they cannot hear You.” –Hans Denck (early 1500s)

Posted in Come unto Me all ye who are, Hans Denck, I will give you rest, labor and are heavy laden, Matthew 11:28, Quotes, radical reformation, running from God | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

To say; “It doesn’t matter how church is done,” is like saying; “It doesn’t matter how brain surgery is done.”

Posted in New Testament church, organic church, participatory church, simple church | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is New Testament Ministry Based On Teamwork?

Why are the members of the body of Christ (the church) given various spiritual gifts if only one member is expected to do all the ministry when the church meets? (“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” –1 Corinthians 12:7)

When you read the New Testament, you notice a plurality in ministry.  Ministry doesn’t usually involve (or focus on) only one man, but on the body — on a team. When Jesus sent His disciples to do ministry, he sent them in pairs.  Even Paul, as prominent as he was in the early church, is often referred to as part of a team: “Paul & Barnabas” or “Paul & Silas.” (Unlike the modern church, you never see the work that God did through Paul referred to as “Paul of Tarsus Ministries.”)

Even church leadership in the New Testament seems to be plural or team based. “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church.” –Acts 14:23. Notice that they appointed a team of elders in each church, not just an individual elder. And James says: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them . . .” –James 5:14

Plural leadership:
* Keeps the attention and the power off of an individual man or woman.
* Establishes the concept of teamwork in the church.
* Facilitates hearing from Christ, the Head of the church, as the leadership team seeks to come to agreement and to know and obey Christ’s will in the church.
* Makes Christ the actual Head of the church, not just a figurehead.

The reason for plural leadership is further explained in Ephesians 4:11: “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Thus, the role of church leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers) is to train the people for the work of the ministry.

Therefore, leaders’ ministry is not finished in the church until they raise up other leaders who are as effective (or even more effective) than they are. Apostles (literally means “sent ones”) are not just called to go do ministry, but also to send out other “sent ones” (apostles). Prophets are not just to prophesy but to release other people to prophesy. Evangelists don’t just tell others about Christ, but train other believers to witness about Jesus. Pastors (literally “shepherds”) are not just supposed to care for the sheep, but also to train and release other people to look after the flock. Teachers aren’t just to teach other people information, but also to teach others how to teach and to raise up more teachers for the body of Christ.

team ministry

That’s something that the founding leaders of The Salvation Army understood and implemented.  Leaders were called “officers” and there were usually two of them in each corps (church). Members were called “soldiers” and were all expected to take an active and aggressive role in ministry and in the salvation war.

Posted in 5-fold ministry, apostles, church teams, Ephesians 4:11, evangelists, ministry team, officers, pastors, prophets, Salvation Army, shepherds, soldiers, teachers | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Jesus CEO — Analogy or Actuality?

I recently heard someone in a meeting refer to “the heads of ministries and churches.” Unfortunately, this is not just words. Many people actually believe that a pastor is the head of a church, sort of like a CEO. However, the New Testament is clear that there is only one Head of a church and that is the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. The role of church leaders is to facilitate connection with and radical obedience to the living Jesus among all the people.

Leaders in church serve under the Head, Jesus. He is the CEO and leaders are called to be His humble assistants, keeping the focus on Him and His presence, not on themselves and what they have to say. According to Ephesians, apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers are supposed to train, empower, and release ordinary people to do the work of the ministry.

Jesus Head not figurehead

There was a popular book entitled Jesus CEO. The book looked at Jesus’ “management style” and presented Him as a leadership example for CEOs and other leaders.  However, I believe that the New Testament concept of Jesus as Head of the church is not merely intended to be an analogy but an actuality. Jesus needs to be more than a figurehead, like the Queen of the United Kingdom. He needs to be the actual, factual Head — the literal CEO — the decision maker of His churches.

You see this through out the book of Acts. There, the living, resurrected Jesus, often in the person of the Holy Spirit, gives specific instructions and directions to the church.  Here’s an example from Acts 13:

“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

I wonder why we don’t regularly allow Jesus to make decisions like that for us like that in the 21st Century.  Perhaps, if we did, we would see God do amazing things in and through His people.

Posted in Acts 13, apostles, calling of Paul and Barnabas, Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 5:23, evangelists, figurehead, Laurie Beth Jones, pastors, prophets, Quotes, shepherds, teachers, who runs a church | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments