For those who have prayed for or asked about Chris, thank you. The group home put a folding table in the lawn just off the circular driveway in front of the group homes, set his Matchbox cars, coloring books and crayons and pens on it, and he seems content to sit and draw and play and watch cars go by rather than roll around the parking lot and road. Whew!
This month has revealed something happening in the body of Christ I’ve not seen before to this degree in the US. That is, many more people than usual have emailed me asking for financial help or sharing their situation not asking for anything but prayer, yet opening up to reveal their need. Yet to the person, when I ask about their church giving money to them, they reply they don’t have a church or their church doesn’t give to its people in need. They are alone.
Here is my heart; I don’t want anyone reading this letter to feel you are alone, whether you are part of a CWOWI affiliated house church or not. And though we have some affiliated house churches who rarely or have never given anything for my own living and support, we have other people who are givers just because my teachings have changed their lives and they appreciate all we do. You are not alone! We can at least offer prayer and perhaps wisdom, but most of all I encourage you to either become part of a home church or start your own and become networked with us or someone on your same 'spiritual page'!
I can just tell you that people sense in their spirits 'something is going on' on a larger scale, but they can't quite put their finger on it. Fear of the future is at an all-time high in the body of Christ, and being a part of a home based group of friends is so comforting. It doesn't tickle the spiritual funny bone, it isn't high emotion, it has no royalty to get all goose-bumps that so and so is the speaker today - it is just life, friends, it ebbs and flows, and that is good!
If you don't have a church that you call your own, I encourage you to just meet weekly with your family, or a friend, informally, maybe over breakfast or brunch, maybe an evening during the week. Pray, study, discuss, worship - build a bond with someone you can gather regularly with to call 'church'.
The word 'ekklesia' which is translated 'church', is much more than merely being 'called out' as the traditional church teaches. That is only half of the story. When Jesus used this word to describe His followers they heard exactly what He meant.
The word 'ekklesia' originally started in the days of the Greek city-state, when Athens was one city-state and Sparta was another, and so on. In those days when there was an issue that all the citizens of the kingdom needed to hear about and discuss and make a decision on, they would 'call out' the citizens of the kingdom to a gathering to conduct the business of the kingdom. Not called out of the world, but called out to meet with other citizens of the kingdom to discuss the business of the kingdom. That is what 'church' means.
Thus, when Jesus said that upon the rock of revelation that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God He would build His 'ekklesia', the disciples understood their gatherings were the calling of the disciples to receive revelation to conduct the business of the kingdom in their midst. That business is discipleship, the process of becoming more like our Master and Savior.
The business of the kingdom can also include meeting practical needs of fellow believers for as Jesus said in Matthew 25: 35-40, when He returns He is looking for down to earth, caring people who when He was hungry, naked, thirsty, sick and in prison, they were so involved in the lives of others they fed, clothed, gave drink and visited them.
At His return He isn't looking for the 2 million dollar Italian marble in the church building foyer, He is looking for people who are 'real' - so get real, humble yourself, stop looking for the next spiritual goose bump, and get to know people in their homes, and yours.
Meeting with a friend to worship, study, discuss life's many issues and pray about it, talk about how to grow in Christ-like character, is the business of the kingdom.
I also encourage you to become disciplined in your life to give something regularly for God’s use, for I Corinthians 16:2 tells us to set aside something weekly as He has blessed us and II Cor 9:10 says God provides seed and bread – the seed for giving the bread for our own consumption.
All of us are on a limited budget, from the retired to the wealthiest on earth – it’s all limited.
The question is discipline to set aside the seed and give it, and be connected in the times to come. That giving can also of course include, time, resources, assets - but be a giver as a lifestyle!
And finally a big thank you to our faithful friends and partners! We love and pray for you as you enable us to touch thousands in over 40 nations around the world every single week!
You are the core supporters who are used of the Father to make it all happen.
Thank you. Blessings, John