Is it time for an octastich — a new beginning in how Christ-followers meet?

eight fingers
An Octastich Based On 1 Corinthians 14:26
When the body of Christ comes together
Each person has a special part to play,
As we allow the presence of the living,
Resurrected Jesus to lead the way.
Some people have heart-felt prayers to pray,
Others have Spirit-led words to say,
And it all shines together
As a Heaven sent light ray.
An octastich is a poem with 8 lines. There are 7 days in a week. The 8th day begins a new week. Therefore 8 is the number of new beginnings.  
I believe it is time for a new beginning in the way Christians meet. Our contemporary, participatory society is no longer being impacted by the traditional way of doing church.
Perhaps it is time to get back to the way the Bible tells Christ-followers to meet: “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” –1 Corinthians 14:26 (The lost verse of the Bible that teaches ekklesia, the lost word of the Bible.)
Posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, 1st Century church, body of Christ, church, church poems, Dones, ekklesia, how the body of Christ functions, meaning of number 8, new beginning, octastich, organic church, poem, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Audience-style church keeps people passive and contained.
–Testimony-style church (ekklesia) allows people to flow in the Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 14:26.

(Check out this article about testimony church in Priority! magazine, the magazine of The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory: The Berry Street Testimony Church.)

Posted in agendaless church, attending church, audience, back to church, church format, church order, organic chruch, simple church, testimonies in church, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Audience-Style Religion

Go beyond audience-style religion
And enter the inspiring reality of
Ordinary people sharing from the heart
As prompted by the Holy Spirit.

It’s amazing how God continually confirms the open sharing and participation format at Berry Street! Last Sunday morning a man who can’t read brought me this book, “The Celtic Way of Evangelism.”
–As I looked through it, I came across these words that also describe what we do at Berry Street: “A distinctively Celtic approach to ‘doing church’ and living the Christian life emerged . . . more of a movement than a institution, a movement featuring laity in ministry more than clergy.”
–Also: “Through the community’s life, you observed and gained experience in ministry . . . you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer, and worship.”
–Come see this in action every Sunday morning at 10:45, 225 Berry Street, Nashville, 37207.

steve & celtic book

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Biblical Characteristics of the Body of Christ

The living, resurrected Jesus actually lives inside individual Christ-followers. When we surrender to and actively obey His inner promptings, He animates us from the inside out, like a human hand activates a puppet.

Each Christ-follower contains the living Jesus, however, as independent individuals, we are not the New Testament body of Christ. To be the actual (not symbolic) body of Christ, we must allow Jesus to call us out of our self-focus, gather us together in humility, and connect us in genuine community under His direct and immediate control and headship.

The New Testament gives the following characteristics of the actual body of Christ (His ekklesia). It is:

Connected — “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” –Romans 12:5

Community — “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” –Colossians 3:15

Caring actions — “To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” –Ephesians 4:12

Codependent — “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'” –1 Corinthians 12:21

Christ-controlled — “He (the living resurrected Jesus) is the Head of the body, the church (ekklesia).” –Colossians 1:18

Coordinated by the Holy Spirit — “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” –1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Diverse –“One body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.” –Romans 12:4

body of Christ monastory pic

Posted in 1 Corinthians 12, baptized by one Spirit, Bible, Colossians 1:18, Colossians 3:15, Ephesians 4:12, New Testament, Romans 12, the eye cannot say to the hand | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When your heart sings . . .

When your heart sings
It’s more than mere words.
It’s nonverbal joy,
Waves of delight
And wonderful insight,
Breaking beyond words.
A singing heart is
An inner flow of celebration,
A spring of living water,
Dancing up from deep within,
Releasing spiritual songs.

heart sings

“Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” –Ephesians 5:18-19

Posted in Be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5, hymns, John 7:38, joy, melody, psalms, rivers of living water, singing in the Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Successful TV show shows open sharing in simple church

Two days after finishing the final edit of a new book I have written, Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible, my wife and I were watching a TV series from the 90s. Suddenly there was a scene that showed a group of people in a church meeting going beyond church by honestly opening up to one another and sharing what was really on their heart.

beyond church Dr. Quinn

It was a scene from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The episode is called End of the World. In the late 1860s, after seeing an article in the New York Times that said that a comet was coming close enough to destroy the earth, the people of Colorado Springs, Colorado become convinced that the world would end in three days.

After trying various, unsuccessful ways to cope with such devastating news, many of the people wound up in church together. However, instead of a typical, preacher controlled meeting, they went beyond church and moved into open sharing and participation. It’s a beautiful scene that shows the power of simple church (ekklesia) to release love, healing, and heart-felt community in a group of people.

However, you don’t have to watch the End of the World episode to learn more about simple church.  You can; 1) Simply gather with two or three or more Christ-followers, set aside human agendas and programs, and allow anybody present to share as they feel prompted by the Holy Spirit: 2) Search and read about ekklesia in this blog; 3) Come visit The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, Tennessee where we experience simple church every Sunday morning at 10:45; 4) Read my book,  Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible, which will be available through Amazon around the first of December, 2015.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman is a CBS television series starring Jane Seymour that ran for six seasons, from January 1, 1993 to May 16, 1998. Since then Dr. Quinn reruns have been shown in syndication and on ABC Family (formerly The Family Channel), the Hallmark Channel, Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), Eleven, gmc, UP, INSP, and CBS Drama. It has been shown in more than 100 countries.

(Another example of simple church being shown in contemporary media is the Max Lucado movie, The Christmas Candle.)

Posted in ABC Family, CBS Drama, Eleven, gmc, Hallmark Channel, INSP, Ion Television, Jane Seymour, Max Lucado, religious TV, simple church, syndication, The Christmas Candle, TV series | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment