OPEN SOURCE CHRISTI@NITY

'In part we know and in part we prophesy…" 1 Cor. 14:7


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I speak life over you!

  What a beautiful spring and what a beautiful May day in Minnesota!

I’m thrilled to be able to share this word and to speak life over you (there’s a prayer at the end, don’t miss it) while taking advantage of Automattic’s blog platform, which allows for such spur-of-the-moment things to happen. 

Y’all be blessed and don’t forget to share this with others!

George 


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What if big churches would take on big issues?

Awesome read from one of the leaders God has raised up for this hour!

The Green Stick

I love everything about Charles Spurgeon and have been a big fan for my entire ministry life. In fact, I’m related to him – five generations back. My great grandmother was a Spurgeon. So to cast him here in a negative light isn’t something I do lightly.

On Sunday September 5, 1855 this famous and very fruitful nineteenth century mega-church pastor, the one we call the Prince of Preachers, preached a message simply titled Election. In his third point he commented on Evolution which of course became very popular in his day…

Years ago we thought the beginning of the world was when Adam came upon it; but we discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvelous skill…

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Numbing our souls with church activities

I don’t know the author personally but this resonated with my spirit as I think it would with any good “church” goer or….a recovering…church goer for that matter. 🙂

George

Numbing our souls with church activities
By Alan Knox

Numbing our souls with church activities

Church people are busy. Sundays are obviously filled with activities. In most churches, there are also weekday Bible studies, evangelism classes, choir practice, activities for teenagers and children, Moms groups, Men’s meetings, outdoors enthusiast clubs, discipleship classes, and any number of additional activities.

A few years ago, when we started meeting together, we decided to forgo almost all of these programs. In fact, we only scheduled one weekly meeting for the church, and we decided that meeting would take place on Sunday mornings.

Something interesting happened when our calendars began to empty… and our lives became less busy. We had to deal with real issues, personal issues, relational issues, marital issues, parenting issues, financial issues, etc.

Why were people not dealing with those issues before? Because they had been so busy with church activities that they were able to hide those issues from others and, often, from themselves. They were busy doing church things – which were certainly God things, right? – that they did not have time to think about what was really going on inside and among themselves.

In some ways, our souls were numbed to all of the painful issues that we should have been dealing with, because we were so busy doing good things.

In fact, we soon found that even though we were taking part in evangelism classes, we were not really sharing the gospel. Even though we were part of Bible studies and discipleship classes, we were not learning and living Scripture or discipling one another. Even though we were taking part in classes for children, teenagers, moms, and dads, our families were not strong and were not maturing together in Christ. Even though we were spending time together, we were not actually relating to one another.

Our lives and our families and our relationships were not filled with Christ. The only thing that was filled was our calendars.

When we stopped pretending that we were doing good things – that is, when we stopped attending classes and programs – we learned how empty our lives really were, and we began to look for the reality of life in Christ with one another. Now, we had time to love and serve and evangelize and grow and mature together.

This may sound great to some of my readers, but I have a warning for you. Those classes and programs were acting as an anesthetic, numbing our souls. When we cleared our calendars, we did more than free our time. We also disclosed to ourselves, to our families, and to one another the emptiness and pain that was hidden within. This part was not fun.

But, I’m convinced that the church will not grow until we face these hidden hurts; until we accept that we don’t know how to love and serve and evangelize and care and share and grow and mature. We don’t know how, because we’ve never taken the time to learn. We’ve never taken the time to learn because we’ve been too busy doing good things – church things.

But, in reality, those good church things were numbing our souls and keeping us from growing.

http://www.alanknox.net/2011/05/numbing-our-souls-with-church-activities/


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The Power Of Sanctification Part 1

1. When you come together…

Before we go any further, just a reminder what’s different about our meetings.

  1. We are accommodating a FLOW and a PRESENCE
  2. We want everyone to be very free yet not to a point of grieving the Holy Spirit

1 Cor. 14:26 When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

2. Spiritual defilement 

Now let’s talk about defilement first. Demons are also referred to as “unclean spirits”. Uncleanness or defilement has two sides:

  • Sin and the culture of sin
  • Unclean spirits

Spiritual defilement is never passive. As we have already seen, sin is referred to as something that almost has a personality of its own. This is not uncommon in the Scriptures.

Gen. 4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.

  • crouching: heb. rabats; a prim. root; stretch oneself out, lie down, lie stretched out: Sin is reaching out, it’s trying to take over.
  • desire: h8669. heb. teshuqah; from an unused word; a longing: desire. Desire means also possessiveness.
  • master: h4910. heb. mashal; a prim. root; to rule, have dominion, reign:–
  • dominion (1), gain control (1), govern (1), had charge (1), have authority (1), master (1), obtain dominion (1), really going to rule (1), rule (27), ruled (5), ruler (18), ruler’s (2), rulers (6), rules (9), ruling (3), wielded (1).

3. Sanctification is intentional

2 Cor. 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Heb. 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Sanctification is our response to the work of the Holy Spirit in us:

  • repentance from sin, deliverance from demons, renunciation of sinful lifestyle and the culture of sin.
  • Early believers went on to actually publicly BURN artifacts associated with sin & demons.

Acts 19:19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

In the next teaching we will go deeper into holiness and sanctification and what this involves.


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The Great Commission As Big Idea

Do Big Ideas have the power to change the world? Your world? My world?

Years ago, when I was studying at the med school for lab technicians, we had to go to a plant and work there for a period of time. Funny, to this day I’m not sure what was the purpose behind this exercise. It was a pharmaceutical plant and we had to package medicine into these carton made packages. The same movements for hours and hours. Not a dirty job, but totally uncreative. It didn’t require hardly any intellectual or other faculties, except to be physically fit and present. You were just a human machine, repeating the same movement for a set amount of time, at a certain speed. I felt claustrophobic. I felt like I wanted to punch someone in the face. On top of that we weren’t going to get paid. It was probably a neat way for the lazy communist director of this state owned plant, to make up for lost quotas. It was definitely an Orwellian experience. Years later, when I went to the army to serve the 2 year mandatory service every male in Bulgaria was subject to, the army felt very much the same way. Wasted time. Wasted human energy. It made me extremely mad.

To my shock, a good number of my classmates didn’t mind doing this job. They saw nothing wrong with it. The whole time I was thinking about all the things I could have been doing – reading books or doing something that was fun or at least benefited me in some way. It didn’t seem to matter to my classmates. But again, most of them weren’t reading philosophy and weren’t looking for the meaning of life, they seemed to have no questions, no dissatisfaction with what was going on around them.

They were happy to be small and insignificant and to work small and insignificant jobs, as long as they were safe.

I didn’t care too much about safe. I wanted to know “why”. I was looking for the Big Idea behind this thing we call life.

First I found out there are others out there who have had the same questions throughout human history. Even communism couldn’t hide this from people who had enough of a seeking mind. Then I began to connect with people who saw how broken and futile everything around us was.

It wasn’t until I turned 20, in the middle of my 2 year army stint, that I started reading the New Testament, to find out that so much of what I had been looking for, was already there. It was awesome to hear Jesus confronting the big questions. Someone who spoke about these things way back.

Christianity is a Big Idea. 

It’s a soul-saving faith, it’s a life-giving experience, it’s a way of being.

But it’s also a Big Idea. We live in a generation desperately in need of a Big Idea. They don’t just need a soul-saving message, it needs to cut deeper that just addressing the existential issues each one of us has. It has to be a Big Idea, too!

Stop for a moment and think about Matthew 28:18-20.

Jesus, freshly resurrected from the dead, is ready to share his plan of action with his most faithful. They’re ready, waiting to hear about the angels coming and rooting the bad guys out of Jerusalem and Rome.

That would have been epic to witness!

But instead, Jesus shares with them his Big Idea!

“Go and disciple all peoples!” 

Since the nation-state concept wasn’t around at that time, the word “ethnos” in the original language might best be translated as “peoples” – the distinct conglomerates of people, clustered around similar ethnicity, culture and geography. People groups with various forms of social structures, unwritten codes of ethics, religion and values. A sea of human energy, ready to be aligned with the Life Giving King of Kings!

And all this was now placed on the shoulders of 11 relatively young fellas, who had just witnessed their formerly dead leader walk through the wall of their little church building.

That’s different!

There’s something magnetic, exhilarating, overwhelming and completely irrational about Big Ideas!

Big Ideas is the stuff revolutions are made of.

Big Ideas in science change our whole human experience. Electricity, surgery as a way to cure conditions, the antibiotic, the division of labor, brand-management.

All these Big Ideas have produced big results.

What about Christianity?

Have we belittled our Christian pursuit only to self? Wounded at childhood at home, abused by dependency relationships, neglected, grappling in our search for significance, addictive, hedonistic, making ends meet – this described so many today.

Do they have the hearts, eyes and ears to hear the Big Idea the 11 heard that day on Mount Olivet?

They didn’t just receive an order. They didn’t go to work as if the nations were some assembly line. They didn’t succumb to the pressure for survival and the existential needs of their own families. They didn’t exchange freedom for security.

They took the risk. They were sold out. They saw the Big Idea. They felt it. They embraced it. They live for it. Most of them died for it the violent death of martyrs.

Anyone out there hearing and seeing the Big Idea?

Ekklesia, the Church – city within city, nation within nation, people within people. Salt of the earth, light of the world. All or nothing. Life or death.

We have a Big Idea to live for…and die for, if needed!


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Control

Upcoming teaching

On Friday, Nov. 2nd we will continue learning how to deal with the demonic. We’ll teach on the spirit of control.

At some point or another, we all come to the realization that control and the desire to control are very much part of the human experience. It’s seated deeply in our carnal nature. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remain only a carnal issue. The spirit of control is key factor in making this one of the most difficult parts of life.

Some of the teaching will touch on:

  • What is control and what is perceived control?
  • The difference between controlling personalities, habits, culture and the demonic.
  • Getting free before you start helping others.

And more.

If you ended up at this blog post and you live in the Twin Cities area and would like to join us for this time of teaching and ministry, please comment on this blog or email me here.