I’ve been thinking on the word from the Father I shared last fall about how we would see the passing of a generation in the coming months through this fall’s election cycle in the US in faith, politics, and entertainment. His point concerning the body of Christ was to notice there are no ‘big names’ to replace them because this move is a move of, and from within, the body of Christ.
Around that time Pastor Chuck Smith of Costa Mesa, a key leader in the ‘Jesus movement’ of the 1960/1970’s but not a fan of charismatics, died. A couple weeks later Ed Dufresne died in a plane crash, from the charismatic ‘stream’ of the faith. This past week Bob Jones died, most noted perhaps for the Kansas City/prophetic stream, to name just three representatives of a passing generation in three different streams of faith.
There will soon be more to come in different streams as the Lord uses these passings to try to get people’s attention, that some might ‘wake up’ and realize the Lord is moving as a body, not in individual streams of the faith, here and there, but overall as the whole body of Christ.
I remember back when we had the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky and financial scandals and I asked the Father why He allowed such embarrassments to happen. He said this, “I allowed the private life of the President to be played out in the headlines of this nation because he represents the sins of his generation, which are primarily 2; sexual lust and greed. That some would look at his life and say, ‘Oh my, that is me and I need to change’, and repent, and that some might say, ‘See, he is just like me’ and make the decision to continue in their sin.
The same type of thing is happening right now in the body of Christ as one generation of various ‘streams’ of faith pass, leaving us to contemplate our lives and look to Him because there are no leaders in their streams rising to take their place. This is God, again, because this is a move of the body, not of streams. The body of Christ is therefore faced with looking to the Lord and not man for what He is doing, which is unsettling for some.
This is a grass roots, groundswell flow. This is relationship based faith which is a lifestyle, not just going to church as something we do like we’d schedule a dentist appointment. It isn’t a stream of faith able to be pinpointed as followers of x minister or x system of believing – this is a lifestyle of faith that transcends previous denominational and stream boundaries, where the Word and Spirit are in balance, practicing faith as patterned in the New Testament. This is the rising of Bible culture Christianity all over the world, not ‘churchianity’.
I believe that’s one reason I was led to teach this month’s teaching series on the differences between Bible culture and modern church culture, where I identify 10 key differences between the two.
When I pick Chris up from the group home, usually around 8:30am, we spend the day until about 3:30 running errands Barb and I have saved up for our time with him. He loves being my helper and visiting Lowe’s and Walmart and taking trash to the dump station and such.
I have a habit of letting out a sigh after I’ve been in deep thought where my mind has tied various things I need to do together, put them in order, looked at the full scope of all that has to be done while weaving prayers for this or that through it all as I think – that sigh is a physical expression of mentally closing the door on that subject. Often we’ll be driving and I’ll let out a sigh, and Barb will say, ‘What’s the sigh for dear?’, and I’ll realize I did it, and tell her the list of things I was mentally organizing and praying about.
But this errand day Chris was in the front seat when I sighed. He looked me in the eye, paused, and then said, ‘Yep’, and turned back again. It took me a second, then I burst out laughing when I realized it was a word from the Father, and then Chris laughed too. His ‘Yep’ was from the Father saying not to take myself too seriously; He has it under control, and let Him carry the burden. No matter what details I can or cannot pin down, the Father is in control, so do what you know to do trusting He is guiding, and let Him do the rest.
The next day Chris and I were at a local restaurant eating pizza, his special treat, and I was texting my daughter in law who at that moment was sitting in the front seat of their mini-van with all 4 kids loaded in the back while Chris’ little brother, Jason, was driving. They live in the Seattle area 2,000 miles away.
I told Chris who I was texting and asked if he wanted to say anything to Jason, and he said, “Slow down Jason, drive slowly”, which I then texted to them.
At that time they were driving through heavy snow, and shortly after that text they had a fender bender when rounding a corner, the van sliding into another car. Minor damage to both, but afterwards we all wondered with humility how the Father gave Chris a word of wisdom – Jason did drive slow – and had he been going faster it could have been worse than a just another dent to add to the front of the car.
That the Father would use Chris, mentally 4 years old, to tell me his dad, ‘Yep’ meaning it will be OK, and to tell his little brother, a married father of 4 and Captain in the Army, to drive slowly, is in keeping with what Jesus said of Himself: “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to children…Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mat 11:25-29.
I realize also, however ‘rewards’ are figured in heaven, Chris was credited that day. It served as a reminder to look for the Father’s grace and messages in the little things, the mundane, the humble, the ordinary, for that is where He lives.
Spring conference and network update and how Barb and I are doing
We are really looking forward to the conferences in the Netherlands and Finland, taking place the last weekend of April and first weekend of May. There is such anticipation in my spirit I can hardly wait to see what He will say and do. I know He will touch some deeply in a deep healing, and I know there will be prophetic revelation…beyond that He hasn’t told me yet.
CWOWI continues to grow weekly as people contact me for help starting home based churches; usually 2-5 people per week. At the same time we see a rearrangement in existing ones, for a house church is a living and breathing thing because the body of Christ is alive. Some start out as a single family finding no one and no church on the same page, others start as pastors restructure a traditional church to house church, some have a ministry in one form or another and start a house church from there, some are friends who gather for meals and realized after some weeks they are doing house church, almost by accident, but led by the Lord all the while.
All go through a transition if allowed to follow the Spirit to the way He did house church in Acts and the New Testament. Sometimes that is a painful transition and leaders from a traditional format can’t see how it works in house church. Often a house church is started and grows to maybe 40 people, and because they haven’t followed the Biblical pattern of rotating homes and/or at least leaders weekly – and by leaders I mean from morning greeting to last good bye – they are stagnant, starting to resemble what they came out of. Then it takes 6 months or more to start rotating a different leader each week and get everyone comfortable – but then if they continue, it becomes a richer and stronger community of faith.
As a result of all these and more ways people come to and are doing house church, with all the changes people contact me about, I need wisdom on how to handle the emails, phone calls, Skype calls and Instant Messages, Facebook Instant Messages, and more.
I really need your prayers and it is something Barb and I have discussed at length. We believe some good changes are going to happen, there is a sense in our spirit, but we aren’t sure what it will look like. Thanks for your prayers!
What is exciting is to see healings throughout the network in every area of life. That is one thing about house church that is very different from the Institutional Church – because house church is a lifestyle of relationships; wholeness comes physically, in the soul, socially – in every area. Whether it be the Dutch boy with the head injury touched by an angel this past month in his home and healed after a severe bike accident, or a young mother learning about caring for her baby because up to that point she had no one in her life to show her how to be a mom, wholeness is happening throughout the network – it is SO exciting! The book of Acts really is normal Christianity and we see miracles as they did in Acts, because of following His way of ‘doing’ church.
Chris’ remodel – one of our leaders in Tulsa is an architect, and is graciously drawing up plans for Chris’ handicapped room and bathroom, and also a ‘master plan’ if we are able to add an office room for Barb and enlarge my office (currently about 10×10 and packed). Once those plans are tweaked as needed the builder will be able to give us a price and we can move forward. We are planning on a spring start, and we thank you for those who have given to help us with this. We think we are about half way there or a little more financially.
Thank you for those who have donated to help us with this. Though I am a big and strong man, Chris weighs 177 pounds, and walking him to the toilet and in and out of the bathtub is very difficult. Each 2 day/1 night time frame home I figure I lift and set down and lift again the equivalent of well over 2,000 pounds. I’ve believed for myself since I was a teen that I’d be like Moses, that ‘my eye is not dim nor my natural strength abated’, but with Chris now 34 and me lifting him all these years, for his sake and mine, we have to make this change to our house.
Barb and I thank you for taking upon you this ministry for the saints, to paraphrase Paul. Just yesterday we sat in the truck opening the mail, reading the messages and prayer requests, praying and thanking the Father for using kind people like you to help us in His work. Each time we read the messages and pray for you, we really do give thanks to the Father. You mean so much to us.
John and Barb