Thank you for being patient
I have many emails that I've not been able to read that are a month old, but looking at the subject matter I can see many in the US are wanting help starting house churches - that's what I do. But I'm only 1 man and the load in the US alone, not to mention around the world, has increase this year considerably. Our son Brian has long wanted to join me on staff and we are making plans to do so next spring.
It is one of those things where we have peace about it but we don't know exactly how it will happen. We are looking at our budget and expenditures this year to make adjustments, and have a goal of having this year's ministry trips that didn't pay for themselves paid off so we are in a good place financially next spring. We ask for your prayers for wisdom in this, and thank you for those who give to CWOWI, you mean so much to us you can't imagine. Thank you.
Over the next 2 weeks I will get to each of the emails, I feel bad so many have sat for a month in the inbox but the next 2 weeks I'll catch up - thank you for your patience.
One of the things the Father has been showing me is how people who know Him are inwardly unmovable by circumstances. They are constant, as He is. In fact as we become more like Him we become more like that - nothing 'fazes' us - we see the headline news, we hear of things - we may even have to react and take action to avoid disaster in our own lives - but inwardly we are not moved. We are resolute. We are unshakable though outwardly our life may be shaken like a tree in a hurricane. Inwardly we have a peace about us.
Many of you will remember the vision the Lord gave me one visitation of a square field filled with children chasing butterflies. The field was sun-lit while all around it was darkness, and the children were giggling and running around trying to catch many butterflies flying all over the field. They were completely focused on the butterflies and unaware of their surroundings outside that field. You'll recall I saw a child stop chasing a butterfly mid-chase as it was, and turn to look to the edge of the field.
Upon seeing the edge of the field she walked over and saw people sitting at the very edge of the field, clothed in rags, sitting in darkness, thin and with hollow eyes. But they longed to play in the light with the others. This girl reached her hand into the darkness and grabbed the hand of the first person sitting there, and as she pulled him up and into the light he was transformed into a clean, healthy looking boy.
In the vision other children began turning from the butterflies to pay attention to those at the edge of the field, and as more on the edge came into the field, the field expanded to the space they had previously occupied.
The Lord started explaining to me as He and I stood there, the meaning of the vision. He said many in His body were like those children chasing butterflies. If not caught up in the world and money and status and things like that, and closely related, were various teachings that tickled their ears but had no real meaning to their spiritual life. Many were caught up in silliness to use His term, though they are quite serious about it. They are self-deceived, for they are not doers of the Word, rather than choosing growth and the repeated difficult decisions required to grow in Christ, they are in spiritual neutral, entertaining themselves with things that don't matter. They have no eternal value.
In my terminology not the Lord's as it pertained to this vision: They are like binge-TV watchers, who sit in front of a TV watching episode after episode of a particular show, all day long, or all night long, eating junk food until they are miserable, and thinking how much fun it was while inwardly asking 'Why did I do that?'
That is how many people are, and there is a division in the body of Christ underway between those still chasing butterflies and those who are focused on others rather than how they feel about this or that doctrine, or in fear over those teachings. I see this in so many asking now about how to start a house church. Unwilling to play games, they want to express their seriousness about their faith out of their family and home, and invite others to join them 'in the light' so to speak.
Everything in scripture about Christian growth involves the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and the growth of character as seen in II Peter 1:5-8. No where in scripture are spiritual butterflies mentioned as worthy of consideration. Look at the list: Add to your faith, moral excellence, knowledge, consistency, godliness, brotherly love, unconditional love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness (teachability)... II Peter 1:5-8, Galatians 5:22-24
Which of the teachings and 'movements' out there done in the Lord's name is all about growing people in these things? Where is your focus? If your focus is on a 'fad' teaching or 'movement', your faith will be shaken as soon as that popular teaching fades and a new move emerges. If you are focused on developing the above qualities on a daily basis right where you live in the here and now that lead to being Christ-like character, you are blessed. You are therefore immovable in your faith by circumstances, then you'll be fulfilled and at peace.
You can't be immovable in your faith if you chase the movable. Butterflies were the object lesson in the vision for good reason...
Need in the network
Our brother Daniel, from Kenya but who travels also in other nations for CWOWI overseeing the (house) churches there, came to our Dutch conference this spring, He expressed a need in his village for water. They have a good and deep well, but neglect and political turmoil have conspired to make the generator unfixable and the water tank needing replaced. There was an NGO (Nongovernmental organization) that was going to get a new generator and tank, but again, political turmoil caused them to back away from the project. So now the village wants to take matters into their own hands.
The village will charge a fee for water drawn which will go to buy fuel and maintain the equipment, and the village has set up a council to oversee it so the neglect doesn't happen again. The cost in US dollars for generator, tank, and all the piping and such is about $4500, and it is something that would bless a whole village, who now must walk to get water from another village. If interested in helping with a donation I can furnish pictures and costs as laid out by Daniel upon request, for we've talked this through the last 5 months to ensure a stable and long lasting solution.
House church affirms a person differently than the auditorium. If you walk into a large church building a person feels peace with the stained glass, the pews, the order and show of it all - it is stable, and predictable. House church has none of those things. A person is affirm - that is to say touches the emotions and encourages a person differently. In house church you have a room full of people gathering, eating, praying, worshipping, catching up on life with each other...it takes getting used to because it is so...so...normal. Mundane, 'just' a get together at someone's home...but when Christ enters, the whole dynamic changes, the presence of God changes everything. And because He is meek and lowly and is looking for a people who fed, clothed, watered and visited Him when He was hungry, naked, thirsty, and sick or in prison, He is there in their midst in a strongly different way than in an auditorium setting.
Many house churches start by one couple or person inviting others to join them for a meal, and to pray, worship, talk about their faith. Acts 2:42 reveals the early church meetings revolved around: "...the apostle's teaching and fellowship, breaking bread (meals together) and prayer." Very simple.
Thank you for remembering us in your giving, and especially your prayers. There is so much going on I need wisdom. As Paul told the Corinthians who supported him in prayer and giving, that "they gave us the gift, and take upon themselves the ministry to the saints...they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God."
Thank you for being in our lives! Blessings,