How many sermons does it take to make a person pure?

Christ-followers are called to be pure and holy! That’s not easy to do when seductive media is so readily accessible and overflowing with negativity, disrespect, vulgarity, adultery, nudity, profanity, and worse. Have all the sermons that we have heard (and preached) made us able and willing to live a holy lifestyle, to avoid watching evil, and to think on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report? Perhaps we need more than sermons.

How many sermons does it take to make a person honest and kind; forgiving and pure? Even a million “messages” can’t do that! True transformation can only be found by continually surrendering to and daily obeying the living, risen Jesus Christ. “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Church centers on sermons. Ekklesia operates by surrender to Jesus.

Benjamin Franklin’s “Tell me . . .” quote inspired me to put it this way:
–Tell me about religion and I get bored; teach me doctrines and I get tired; personally involve me with the living, risen Jesus Christ and with the Bible and I am transformed and inspired to follow Him, obey Him, and do everything I can to learn more about Him!
(“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”)
–Ekklesia gets regular people personally and directly involved with the living Jesus!

Ekklesia goes beyond church and lets us everyday people “tell our own story” when we gather for worship, instead of depending on a “professional” to do everything:
–“God has equipped us with his Holy Spirit simply to tell our own story—the good, the bad, and the real. The best part is no one can argue with us. It’s our story. And when others realize you don’t need a degree in evangelism, they become empowered to tell their own God-story. It’s not that complicated. Maybe the early church thrived because they didn’t pay people to be the professional ‘church people’—they all were ‘it.” –Thom Schultz

Here is a cool quote from Origen, an Christ-follower in the 3rd Century, that illustrates that the real meaning of the Greek word “ekklesia” is “city council” not “church”! Origen compares two types of ekklesias (city councils): the ekklesia of city government and the ekklesia of God’s government assembled together in Jesus’ name to live out the will of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
–“God caused ekklesias to be everywhere established in opposition to those of superstitious, licentious, and wicked men; for such is the character of the multitudes who constitute the citizens in the ekklesias of the various cities. In contrast, the ekklesias of God which are instructed by Christ, when carefully contrasted with the ekklesias of the districts in which they are situated, are like beacons in the world. For who would not admit that even the inferior members of the ekklesia are nevertheless more excellent than many of those who belong to the ekklesias in the various districts?” –Origen in about 230 A.D.

Get involved! Learn more about ekklesia — Christ’s city council  — here.

Tell-me-and-I-forget-teach-me-and-I-may-remember-involve-me-and-I-learn

Posted in church, church fathers, church government, city council meeting, early church, ekklesia, evangelism, God's government, government, on earth as it is in heaven, Origen, religion, spiritual formation, spiritual transformation, testimonies, Thom Schultz, transformation, Uncategorized, Walk by the Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope that will heal your hurting heart . . .

me in jungle

Hope healed my hurting heart

My heart was filled
With stinging things
Thorns and thistles,
Entangling vines,
Biting bugs, snakes and rats,
Gnawing on my soul
With torment and trauma
And inner drama
Day and night.
And then one day
I stumbled upon a spring
A fountain flowing with hope,
Showing me the Way out:
Follow the inner flow
Of love and peace;
Resist the disheartening,
Destructive, dominating desires
Driving me like demons to despair.
As I continually followed that stream,
Flowing from Christ’s interior spring,
And fought against my demons
Resisting them all along the way,
My inward jungle gradually became
A place of peace — a land of love;
A bountiful garden — a fruit-filled orchard.
steve & the Bible
Posted in broken heart, deliverance, deliverance ministry, demons, depression, discouragement, drive out demons, freedom in Christ, God's love, healing, heart care, inner healing, inner peace, inner rivers, inward change, overcoming depression, perfect love casts out fear, radical love, rivers of living water, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, spiritual transformation, the way the truth the life, transformation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a sorry safari . . .

Let the Holy Spirit guide you on a sorry safari and show you the shame, error, offense, and other wickedness lurking in the natural habitat of your heart. Discover the treacherous primeval forest that you carry inside yourself. (It’s a jungle in there!) Do you have the courage to face the turmoil, shambles, and wreckage that you will find within?

Will you let the living God show you your disarray and then will you confess your mess with godly sorrow. Will you move beyond denial, defensiveness, and self-justification and boldly and decisively turn away from the carnage of your botched behaviors and discombobulated desires?

“I don’t like sleeping in the dark jungle by myself.” In this quote, Colleen Doran explains the human condition.  We don’t like to be alone in the jungle of our own heart. So we run away and devote ourselves to disabling distractions, hiding from the hurt and mayhem in our own heart.

“The jungle is alive. It’s dangerous as a living nightmare and brimful of hostility.” Sara Sheridan’s words show us why we humans tend to prefer denial rather than being exposed to our inward conditions.

However, these words from Rona Barrett tell us the truth: “It’s ironic, but until you can free (get rid of) those final monsters within the jungle of yourself, your life, your soul is up for grabs.”

“I grew up in the jungle, the son of missionaries. I want to know, is God real?” Like Ted Dekker said; when you face the jungle in your own heart, you, too, will want to know; “Is God real?”

“No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” Maya Angelou shares a basic fact. If we don’t know our own heart, we will wander aimlessly.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” The ancient prophet, Jeremiah, nails it with this one.

“Search me, God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me.” Perhaps we should all follow ancient King David’s example and ask God to search our heart and our thoughts and show us any wickedness we carry inside us so that we can finally find freedom.

sorry safari

Posted in Bible, Bridle my Heart, Colleen Doran, hard-hearted, heart care, heart is deceitful, heart is desperately wicked, heart monitor, human heart, Jeremiah, King David, Maya Angelou, Rona Barrett, Sara Sheridan, sinful heart, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meeting “to do the 2” — the ekklesia 2-step

two step

Ekklesia meets to do the two — to give people hands on practice, training, and experience in living out Jesus’ two greatest commandments. This is the dance of the body of Christ — the ekklesia two-step.

Step one: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Ekklesia (God’s family gathering) meets to worship, to listen to, and to obey the living God. Its focus and attention is glued to God, passionately longing for and pursuing intimate connection with and surrender to Him.

Ekklesia  cultivates an atmosphere where the open and free expression and demonstration of passionate love for God is welcomed and encouraged. It allows people the freedom to pour out their heart in affection and admiration for God, to bear their soul before Him, and to set their mind on serving and obeying Him daily.

Step two: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Ekklesia also meets to care for, encourage, and serve one another as prompted by God’s Spirit. We humans naturally care for and serve our own needs. We seek to heal and overcome our own hurts and weaknesses.

Ekklesia moves us beyond our care and concern for self. It creates an environment where we are free to share with and care for one another thus learning to fulfill Jesus’s second great commandment together with one another.

This command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is repeated in various ways through out the New Testament in about 60 different “one another” directives. We are told to “love one another,” “teach one another,” “build one another up,” “encourage one another,” “comfort one another,” “confess your faults to one another,” “serve one another,” “exhort one another,” and much more.  Ekklesia gives us a venue to learn how to obey those commandments in a safe and nourishing gathering.

Where can you find ekklesia? To experience the ekklesia two-step you only need to find two or three people who are willing to meet together, set aside their human agendas, and then focus on and obey the living God. You can learn more about how to do this at this link. Also, if you are even in Nashville, you can see it in action at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., 37207 on Sundays at 10:45 am.

2 great commandments

 

 

Posted in body of Christ, church, dancing, ekklesia, family of God, heart, heart care, heart of worship, love the Lord your God, Matthew 22, organic church, two or three in My name, Uncategorized, worship dancing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

An unmanaged mind is like

Unmanaged minds are everywhere,
Swerving from side to side,
Like a car being driven
By a distracted driver,
Only one close call
Away from disaster.
An unmanaged mind does to brain chemistry
What an uncontrolled plane does to flying —
Run wild until it crashes.
If you don’t actively program your mind
For peace and happiness,
It will meander into much misery,
And compel you to medicate yourself.
“We’re living in times when hundreds of millions of people can only get through the day by relying on prescription drugs to treat depression and other emotional disorders. Dependence on nonprescription drugs and alcohol, especially among young people, is also rocketing. So too is the rate of suicides.” –Ken Robinson Ph.D.
Perhaps it would be wise to manage your brain and force it to focus on things that bring you peace, contentment, and joy.

plane with no pilot

 

Posted in addiction, addictions, depression, drug abuse, positive attitude, positive thinking, prescription medication advertisemets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

See a sea of God’s Spirit in ekklesia

Ekklesia lets you see a sea of God’s Spirit stirring ordinary people in waves of His presence.

Experiencing ekklesia will free a person captured by controlling compulsions and cravings by carrying them into the cleansing current of Christ flowing through a gathering of ordinary people.

The Greek New Testament uses the word “ekklesia,” but English language Bible translators replaced it with the word “church.” Ekklesia is more than church. The word “church” means a place or building set aside for religious worship, while the word “ekklesia” means “city council.” Jesus wants to build His city council and release a fresh, world-wide movement of of the sea of His Spirit! Will we let Him?

Church can cultivate ego, however, ekklesia (Christ’s city council) is an ego-free zone.

Get help moving beyond church and into ekklesia at this link.

beyond church world map

 

 

Posted in as many as are led by the Spirit, Beyond Church, Bible, Bible translation, Bible translations, Bible type revival, called out ones, definition, flowing of the Holy Spirit, Greek, Greek word, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit flow, New Testament, New Testament church, organic church, organic church blogs, the Bible in organic church, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it wise to expand the “right” to kill?

I’m so sad to see some states expanding “the right to kill.”
–America continues to legally chop away at the commandment “You shall not kill,” calling prenatal killing “choice” and physician assisted killing “compassion,” thus cheapening the value of human life. When killing is considered a “justifiable” choice at the beginning and the end of human life, might that not cause more people to consider killing as a choice at other times? (Former NFL star, Will Smith, being gunned down over a fender bender is an example of this. So are the “stand your ground” laws.)
–What a confused culture we are. Killing is becoming legal, but disapproving of someone’s actions is becoming illegal. Could our culture be eventually headed toward “the right to kill” those you consider to be “intolerant”?

Perhaps it is time to change directions: To turn our culture around to sacrificial love that puts concern for and commitment to others above self-focused choices.

thou shall not kill

 

Posted in anti-abortion, Bianca Jagger, choice, deny yourself, ethics, intolerance, moral choices, morality, prochoice, prolife, right and wrong, right to choose, right to disagree, right to life, the right to, Thou shall not, tolerance, Uncategorized, value of life | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment