Rebirth of Five Revealed

Spirit of Evangelism Speaks

GrampanLucy

 “Birthing” as a parent is cool! “Rebirthing” as a grandparent is even better! If Adam ad Eve had been created as grandparents, they wouldn’t have sinned! Spoiled the grandkids? Sure! But not sinned. Eve would have been too busy baking cookies to eat of the forbidden fruit. Adam would have been rocking the grandchildren, telling them stories, gone fishing with them. Unfortunately that is not how it happened, so today we need evangelists. Why?

Evangelists love to “birth” and “rebirth”. The voice of this blog site has been quiet for two years, but no longer! The evangelist proclaims, “Fiverevealed.com” is alive, revamped, renewed, rebirthed!” It may appear that the blog writer went into hiding, but he has been busy writing as well as becoming a grandpa.

Since my last blog, I have written four major manuscripts: One Another: A Guide To Equipping The Saints Through Peer Relationships, The Phoenix Arising From The Ashes: One’s Faith Journey, The 3 R’s - Revolution through Revelation to Reformation; A Metamorphic 21st Century Church, and Martins – 500 Years Later: A 21st Century Reformation. I am also working on Five Underground, the fifth fiction book in the Five fictional series, and Cataclysm: A Tsunami Revival, a fictional book at why revivals do not have to be messy.

Some goals I have for “the new and improved” Fiverevealed.com are 1) share excerpts from some of these manuscripts; 2) reformat the 18 manuscripts I have written dealing with the tearing down and building up of 21st century church structures; 3) offer these manuscripts as ebooks through this website; 4) and have this website become more interactive, networking the body together.

I am totally convinced that the five fold (evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles) are the passions, desires, and points of view of common believers in Jesus. As “gifts of grace”, they are not hierarchal offices! Their purpose is for “serving one another,” not ruling over each other. They allow a linear back and forth flow movement among equal peers when one is willing to “lay down one’s life for their brethren.” Hopefully, this blog will remain true to this calling.

Adapting and Responding To One’s Environment

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 9

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

Let’s look at the church through the eye’s of Katrina Scherbern’ view or Organism Organization where she defines seven characteristics. Let’s look at her fifth and sixth one:   

5.     Living things respond to their environment

6.     Living things adapt to their environment

Being “Missional”, a current church buzzword, is associated with going beyond church culture by responding and adapting to one’s environment. When the church loses being salt and light, it loses its brilliance and flavor and becomes ritual and lifeless.  The concept of being in the world but not a part of it does not mean to be exclusive.

Jesus commanded to love your neighbor as yourself, but when immersed in only a Christian culture, loving becomes easy, not sacrificial or forgiving. Loving your neighbor means responding to those outside one’s cell and adapting to their environment. Jesus was also criticized in his day for eating with tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, those unclean by Jewish Law, but He knew His Church would one day be outside the realm of Jewish tradition and open to the gentiles.

Again the five fold is important in implementing this principle. The evangelist is needed to rebirth, so that all things are new!  A shepherd’s nurture, caring, and kindness is effective in bringing about acceptance, then openness in receiving the gospel. Teachers are needed to teach the practicality of how to love your neighbor, not just preaching at them. Prophets can “read their mail” as Jesus did to the woman at the well in order to bring them into the kingdom of God. Apostles have insight as to how to be the most effect cell in winning new people into their group, how to nurture and develop them, spiritually feed them, and release them when mature.

An five fold church or cell, led by the Holy Spirit will seek direction on how to win the lost, nurture and care for their needs too, ground them in the faith, bring spiritual life to their stagnant one, and help them grow and develop. All this is what Jesus meant when he told Apostle Peter to feed My sheep.

If the Church is to win the world for Jesus, it must infiltrate the world and environment where it has been placed. As different cells have different purposes, so a church cell can be an urban cell, a suburban cell, a cell with outreach, a cell with compassion, a cell with… on and on. Diversity is important to the nature of the body of the Christ, and responding and adapting to different environments can only come through diversity.

Living Things Reproduce

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 8

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

Let’s look at the church through the eye’s of Katrina Scherbern’ view or Organism Organization where she defines seven characteristics. Let’s look at her forth one:       

4.     Living things reproduce

As I said in my last blog: My “little girl” became a woman, who as a mother birthed another “little girl”, a grand daughter for me.  That is how living things work; they grow, mature, and multiply.

Reproduction should be a natural expression of a developmental life. Most Christians today who do not grow spiritually, who are encouraged to remain passive, not active, who have their spiritual passions stifled by leadership or structure, never reproduce.

Again reproduction is a natural process in the five fold. The evangelist majors in reproduction. His cry is, “You must be born again,” being born of the water and the spirit. Life never begins unless there is birth; reproduction is a necessity for spiritual life. A new Christian, one just born into the faith of knowing Jesus Christ, has an enthusiasm, which is contagious. It brings life to the entire body, the cell! Evangelistic churches or church plants breed enthusiasm.

But more needs to be reproduced than just the evangelistic spirit. Shepherding, nurturing, caring, needs to be reproduced in the cell to assure growth in the cell and when it multiplies. Sound apostolic teaching with truth revealed in the Logos Word and lived out through the Rhema Word are necessary ingredients to a health cell, or church. A revelatory spirit for truth and a desire for intimate worship also needs nurturing in order for the cell to divide properly. Finally, apostolic networking needs reproducing so both cells remain the same in Jesus Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If an individual believer and a local church is not reproducing itself over a period of time, it needs to look into why? Sects like the Cloisters of Lancaster and the Shakers are dead sects, having only their community buildings as museums of remembrance. Without spiritual reproduction, their cells died and their organism died with it. 

 

Living Things Grow And Develop

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 7

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

Let’s look at the church through the eye’s of Katrina Scherbern’ view or Organism Organization where she defines seven characteristics. Let’s look at her third one:       

 3.     Living things grow and develop

Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-4, 11-15)

The purpose of the five fold is for “growth and development” to “equip” the “saints” towards individual “maturity” “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” and towards corporate “unity of the faith”.  If a cell, a local expression of the body of Christ, is to grow, it must embrace the five fold to give it life: birth, nurturing, caring, developing, spiritual insight, foundational through the Word, and networked together in unity.

Living things grow and develop. My children were destined to grow; they couldn’t help themselves. Developmentally, they passed through infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood eventually into becoming a mature adult. My “little girl” became a woman, who as a mother birthed another “little girl”, a grand daughter for me.  That is how living things work; they grow, mature, and multiply.

The hard thing to learn is that spiritually we can become stagnant, in active, passive, stale, and eventually die. The church is no different.  Spiritually, we do not develop and grow naturally as our human body does, but we can chose when and how we can grow and develop.  Paul acknowledged this dilemma in I Corinthians 3:2 when he wrote, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.”

Spiritual life is determined upon how willing we are to grow and develop in Jesus! That is why the five fold is essential in supplementing a Christian’s spiritual diet through nurture, care, learning the Logos Word, and living it as a Rhema Word, and seeking revelatory truth through the Holy Spirit, the teacher and revealer of truth, and through apostolic teaching and guidance.

A Church that is alive as a living organism is one willing to grow and develop its members, its saints, by equipping them, then releasing them in the faith to bring multiplication. That is the blueprint for cell life.

 

Living Things Obtain And Use Energy

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 6

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

Let’s look at the church through the eye’s of Katrina Scherbern’ view or Organism Organization where she defines seven characteristics. Let’s look at her second one:        

2.     Living things obtain and use energy

Living things have been creative for activity. The Church was never originally designed to be a passive institution with a subclass called the “laity”. This class, called the “saints” in the Bible were active. After the four gospels, the book of Acts is written to record the acts, the actions, the activities of those followers birthing the Church. The church is not dormant!

When visiting a local church, one leaves and often assesses their visit as just visiting an “active” church they call “alive” or a “passive” church they call “dead”.  Cathedrals are impressive in size, architectural, and artistic value, but when empty they are just empty tombs of remembrance. Without activity among God’s people in a place, death is evident. It is like you want to yell, “The tomb is empty; the Lord is risen!” To find that risen Lord you must look with in a gathering of his people. “Where two or three have gathered together in my name; I am there in their midst.” A gathering of saints produces life when Jesus is in their midst.

We must rethink our use of the word “church”, for we attend church, by going to church, and being the church at our church buildings. Confusing? The church is a gathering of saints with Jesus in their midst, that obtain and use His energy through His Holy Spirit. Churches that have life, are centered around the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ who brings supernatural life naturally to that group.

As a proponent of the five fold, I believe that when all five are present, there is life. An evangelist birth’s spiritual life, shepherd nurtures, cares, and develops that life, the teacher instructs that life through daily living based on the Word, while the prophet brings revelatory truth to that life. An apostle networks all the different facets, or organelles, in that cell, and together they all make up the workings within the cell that brings life, multiplication, and growth individually and corporately.

We as a church, have to quit grieving the Holy Spirit that produces that life and stifling the energy He produces. We have to allow the organelles within the cell to function as they have been created, so they can continue to attribute to the health and welfare of the cell as a whole. 

 

Living Things Are Made Of Cells

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 5

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

Let’s look at the church through the eye’s of Katrina Scherbern’ view or Organism Organization where she defines seven characteristics. Let’s look at her first one:       

1.     Living things are made of cells

If the Church is to be an organism, not an organization or institution, it must be made up of cells. I believe a cell is where “Where two or three have gathered together in my name; I am there in their midst.” A gathering of saints constitutes a cell.

Cells were not created to be denominations or independent Christian sects. Paul visited a metropolis, a city, where he preached the gospel, saw people saved, and nurtured them by equipping them for the works of service for when he would move on to another city. These cells would be self-sufficient, not relying on a hierarchal network to over see them and dictate dogma. They were usually small and met in hopes that built a 24/7 community of active faith.

There was to be no division among these cells, only multiplication. Paul writes in I Corinthians 1:11-13 (NAS), I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ”I am of Paul” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was ot crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you ot mere men? (I Corinthians 3:4)

The only distinction between churches in the 1st Century was by location: ie. Church of Philippi, Church of Corinth, Church of Ephesus, etc. I am sure that in each of these cities were several cells, local bodies of believers, that made up the tissue of fabric of the spiritual life of the city in which they lived.

Pastor Cho of South Korea discovered the power of cell groups, as these small groups began to nurture the local saints, equipping them for their everyday life, and his church grew into one of the largest in the world. Ironically, as the Holy Spirit often does, God’s ways proved better than ours as most cell groups were led by women in a male dominated culture when the men did not step up for leadership.

If the Church as a whole is to be a living organism, it must be made up of living cells, local bodies of believers meeting with Jesus in their midst. 

 

Fighting the Cancer

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 4

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

In this series opening blogs we defined an organism, told how the cell is the central component to life, and how the levels or organs of life, working together, affect the organism as a whole.

Different components within the cell, the local church, bring life to it. Its diversity should be displayed through different passions (evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, and apostle), who serve one another by laying down their lives for the brethren. A purpose for the cell is to “equip the saints for the works of service”. After new converts have grown and been nurtured toward maturity in Christ, cell division should occur where the talents of the saints are released for the purpose of producing two cells, two local churches, all under one banner, the Church. This is the new paradigm for church planting: cell division of an equal splitting apart for the purpose of growth and renewal.

Tissues, organs, and organ systems are similar in that their purpose is to work together to perform special activities in unity.  Historically local churches have bonded over doctrine, forms of worship, church and leadership structure etc. and formed denominations or independent Christian sects. That is not why they were created. Although similar in structure and function, they must “work together” to get the desired results, not oppose one another.

We need Body parts that emphasize evangelism, who shepherd and build communities, who nurture care, and build up saints, who challenge the Logos written Word to be the Rhema living Word, and who network others in an unified effort. We need the five fold, led by the Holy Spirit to bring, maintain, and nurture spiritual life to the Body of Christ.

As molecules, organelles, and cells, we need each other to build the tissues, organs, and organ systems to make the Body effective, bringing it life, and continuing its growth. I believe this can be done through building relationships, not through hierarchal structures. The combination of molecules and organelles makes a cell. Cell combinations create tissues that develop organs and maintain life to birth, build, nurture, and mature the body. That is the structure of the Church.

Cancer is when cells go amok, rapidly dividing without a purpose, fighting to become independent of one another, not willing to bond or work together for the growth, livelihood, and nurturing of the body. Cancer, this uncontrollable dividing among cells, eventually shuts down organs and systems resulting in death.

We, as a Church, need a revival, a renewal, a new reformation to rejuvenate life back into the organism by working together by serving one another. Instead of fighting for our independence from one another, we need a bonding that only the Holy Spirit can do. We can only stop the cancer, not through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, but through embracing an attitude of laying down one’s life for their brethren in service for the purpose of building up one another and bringing unity and health to the entire Body of Christ, the Church.

 

Organization of Human Organisms

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 3

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)


In Katrina Scherben’s video Organism Organization found on YouTube, Katrina attempted to explain her theory of The Organization of Human Organisms. She claims…

Atoms make up

    Molecules which can make

      Organelles that are inside cells that make up

         Cells that are the smallest structural and functional units of life that make up

            Tissues that are made up of cells that are similar in structure

             and function, which work together to form a special activity.

                Organs that are made up of tissues that are similar in structure and

                function, which work together to form a special activity.

                    Organ Systems that are made up of organs that work together to

                     form a special function for the organism.

                   (There are 11organ systems in the human body.)

                           Organism, the total body

Over the centuries, the church created a hierarchal, institutional, leadership pyramid led by Popes, the Bishop of Canterbury, Apostles, etc. who headed Bishops, Cardinals, and Senior Pastors who ruled over boards, presbyteries, and committees who instructed their pastors and priests to organize programs and services staffed and financed by volunteers who were parishioners. This produced a system that has brought division, bickering and disunity.

Local churches, cells, are to support one another (the body) through service through a linear relationship, for no cell, tissue, organ, or organ system is more important than the other. Each is to support the other. It leadership and followers should literally be walking beside one another as Jesus did with his disciples. Each body part is diversely different but must support the other differing body parts in order for the body to function as a whole. How this functions will directly influence the spiritual growth of every believer while bringing unity to the Body of Christ.

 

The Creation Of The Atomic Cell Theory

 

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 2

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

In Katrina Scherben’s video Organism Organization found on YouTube, Katrina states that “all matter (living and nonliving) are made up of tiny units called atoms,” and  “1. All life forms are made from one or more cells; 2. Cells arise from pre-existing cells [There is no spontaneous generation.]; and 3. The cell is the smallest form of life.”   

In light of our Church analogy, all cells (local churches) are made up of combinations of atoms (diverse believers). As the Periodic Table lists all the known forms of combinations of atoms that form elements, so each local church body (cell) is made up of different combinations of talents from gifted believers. As an advocate of the five fold, I believe that each believer has the passion, talent, drive, and point of view of either an evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, or apostle, but you need all five present to have a healthy, living, active cell (local church).

1. The life form called the Church, or the Body of Christ, is made from one or more cells (local churches).  There are “unicellular” organisms, but the Church is generally “multicellular”, composed of of multiple local churches.

2. Cells arise from pre-existing cells [There is no spontaneous generation.] Today’s church plants try to birth new churches through spontaneous spiritual generation using a missionary model. New church plants should arise from pre-existing local churches instead. The purpose of the five fold of Ephesians 4 is “to equip the saints for the works of service”. The local church should be multiplying its evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles within the existing organism, and birth a new church by “releasing” their saints by “sending them out” as a five fold team when multiplying.

3. The cell is the smallest form of life. The local church is not an entity among itself. It is not to stand alone, but bond with other cells (as we shall see in future blogs) to become a tissue or body part. Each local church, one small cell in the Body of Christ, has its own purpose, passion, and activity that is to support the whole tissue, organ, and Body.

Currently there are millions of cells, local churches globally that are like a cancer, some multiplying, others dying. Multiple cells that multiply unnaturally or overbearingly can bring damage and even death to body organs or the body as a whole. This has happened with denominationalism and various independent religious sects that have brought division, not unity, to the body.

How do we stop the cancer? By understanding the Organization of the Human Organism, the Body, can we see each cell’s real purpose in its effort to support life.

 

The Creation Of An Organism

Organism, to Organization, to Institution Series – Part 1

(A single cell organism is a building block of life. When multiplying, how can you prevent it from becoming an institution where the organism can easily die or become lost in its structure? The following blogs in this series will examine the Church as an organized institution or an organism built on relationships.)

In Katrina Scherben’s video Organism Organization found on YouTube, Katrina explains how an organism becomes an organization.  She defines an organism through seven characteristics:

  1. Living things are made of cells
  2. Living things obtain and use energy
  3. Living things grow and develop
  4. Living things reproduce
  5. Living things respond to their environment
  6. Living things adapt to their environment
  7. Living things have different levels of organization.

Scherben emphasizes that all 7 characteristics must be present for the organism to be living. Missing one can bring eventual death.

In Genesis, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likneness…..” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiple, fill the earth, and subdue it.

The Church was birthed to be a living organism, not a lifeless institution or a dead religion. “For where two or three have gathered together in my name I am there in their midst.”

Gathered believers find their energy, grow and develop, reproduce, respond and adapt to their environment through their cell, the local church. Gathering, growing, reproducing, and adapting come through built relationships among God’s people. The local church is to be active, not passive, a living organism who multiples through reproduction to grow, so all seven characteristics are needed to remain alive!

Instead of building buildings, cathedrals, and mega-churches and hierarchal structures with Senior Pastors, priests, bishops, cardinals and popes, God’s intention was to build a living body, a living organism composed of cells working together for the whole. Each cell may have a different function, appearance, and purpose, but is created to support the life of the whole body. Kidney failure can destroy a body. Digestive problems can cause great pain. Heart failure brings certain death. The shutting down of organs brings certain death.

Cell division is for the purpose of reproduction and growth. Uncontrollable cell division is called cancer, which also causes death. When there is cell division and reproduction, what should the church do? Should it organize, institutionalize, or develop a supportive life system?

We will look at these phenomena in upcoming blogs.

 

Reflections of a Book 40 Years Later

 Howard A Snyder’s “The Problem of Wine Skins”

Forty years ago I purchased a copy of The Problem Of Wine Skins: Church Structure In A Theological Age by Howard A Snyder (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill. 60515, 1975). I have cleaned off my bookshelf several times, but have kept this book on the shelf. I picked it up just the other day, and the truths of it in a Pre-Internet, Pre-Flat World, Pre-Charismatic Movement Day marveled me, for it paralleled much of the current material I am seeking. I would like to share some quotes from the book:

Preface: “Leaving the North American scene and becoming involved in the work of the church in another culture prompted me to a fundamental rethinking of the mission and structure of the church in today’s world. Reading, reflection on my pastoral experience in Detroit, Michigan, my involvements in Brazil and, above all, direct Bible study have together brought me to the conclusions and (in some cases) hypotheses which I venture to set forth in this book. Particularly helpful was an intensive study of the book of Ephesians during 1971.”

“Jesus’ words in Luke 5:37-38: ‘No one puts new wine into old wineskins, for the new wine bursts the old skins, ruining the skins and spilling the wine. New wine must be put into new wineskins.’ (Living Bible) (p. 13)

 

“God is a God of newness. On the one hand he is ‘the Ancient of Days’, ‘the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change’ (Jas. 1:17), and Jesus Christ is ‘the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Heb. 13:8). But this does not mean that God is static or stationary. The history of God’s people in the Bible and the history of the Christian church show just the opposite. In every age the true biblical gospel is a message of newness and renewal.” (p. 15)

“Every age knows the temptation to forget that the gospel is ever new. We try to contain the new wine of the gospel in old wineskins – outmoded traditions, obsolete philosophies, creaking institutions, old habits. But with time, the old wineskins begin to bind the gospel. Then they must burst, and the power of the gospel pours forth once more. Many times this has happened in the history of the church. Human nature wants to conserve, but the divine nature is to renew. It seems almost a law that things initially created to aid the gospel eventually become obstacles – old wineskins. Then God has to destroy or abandon them so that the gospel wine can renew man’s world once again. (p. 15-16)

….. and finally:

“There is something else this parable teaches us – the necessity of new wineskins. Wineskins are not eternal. As time passes they must be replaced – not because the gospel changes, but because the gospel itself demands and produces change! New wine must be put into new wineskins – not once-for-all, but repeatedly, periodically.” (p16)

There are a lot of food for thought and a lot of wisdom in those insights!

 

The Voice & Faith of A Believer

 The Aura Of A Papal Visit

Americans were mesmerized by Pope Francis’ U.S. visit because their respect for him as a holy man who leads the Roman Catholic Church, his political influence addressing the Halls of the U.S. Congress, where nothing is revered anymore, and speaking to the nations at the United Nations in New York, as well as hugging, kissing, and blessing babies and children. He spoke to the issues of climate change, poverty, and family issues. The Press, Catholic and secular, focused on his image, persona, symbolic actions, and Catholic doctrine.

Two vivid images are implanted in my mind: At the Philadelphia Airport, the Pope paused to “bless” a quadriplegic that brought his family to tears; and a local reporter interviewed a local man who froze when the Pope came by, never taking pictures on his phone because he was too spellbound when being in his presence.

The Pope was seen hugging, kissing, laying hands on and blessing hundreds of people, but what were the “results” of those actions? Were any healed, delivered, or saved? Tangibly, how were lives changed? To become a Saint in the Catholic Church, you have had to perform at least two documented “miracles”. For a man who touched hundreds, the odds for at least two healings or miracles seem like good odds to qualify him for sainthood just on this one trip. Unfortunately, neither the Catholic Cable Channel nor the secular networks reported any miraculous healings during his visit.

Jesus too was mobbed by the multitudes in his time. When the woman with an issue of bad blood touched him, nobody knew who had done it until she confessed because of the throngs of people. Acts 5:15 records, “They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any of one of them.” People today fought to catch a glimpse of or be touched by or receive a “blessing” from their 21st Century Peter, Pope Francis. Are they getting the same results?

I would love to hear actual, personal testimonies from those touched, transformed, or changed in tangible, documented ways because of the Pope’s visit, not just testimonies of how they were awed or inspired by his image, his presence. I want to hear how “Christ” changed personal lives because of his faith and his actions. There is a part of me that still wants to see the supernatural through the most adored figure in the Roman Catholic Church.

I am not critical of the man, for like each one of use in the Priesthood of Believers, I know he too struggles with his faith. “Pray for me,” is Pope Francis’ continual request to his followers. I have no doubt that he is a very humble, pious, sincere man of faith, a holy man, but Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the original apostles saw, felt, and released the supernatural.

Jesus usually instructed a person who had just been healed to keep it quiet, but they couldn’t; they had to tell others of the good news. When supernaturally touched by Jesus, one is not the same and wants to proclaim His wondrous “Acts” that he has performed.

If you, as a common believer, a member of the Priesthood of believers, is touched personally by Jesus, tell others! Your voice is as valid as the pope’s. Your testimony, your story, your experience is special and unique and needs to be told.

The voice and faith of a believer in Jesus is a powerful voice.

 

“The Old Is Gone; Behold The New!” Will New Forms Of Worship Be Natural Or Supernaturally Natural?

The Millennials Look For Ways To Express Themselves In Worship – Part II

In his blog The Imminent Decline Of Contemporary Worships Music: Eight Reasons, (Oct. 27, 2014,) T. David Gordon wrote, “Thankfully, my own generation is beginning to die. While ostensibly created “for the young people,” the driving force behind contemporary worship music was always my own Sixties generation of anti-adult, anti-establishment, rebellious Woodstockers and Jesus freaks. Once my generation became elders and deacons (and therefore those who ran the churches), we could not escape our sense of being part of the “My Generation” that The Who’s Pete Townsend had sung about when we were young; so we (not the young people) wanted a brand of Christianity that did not look like our parents’ brand.”

What drew many Baby Boomers who were “church kids”, like me, away from their institutional churches towards the Jesus and Charismatic Movements often were the forms of worship we witnessed, when God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, fell on his believers individually and corporately. I had never experienced the masses “singing in the Spirit” in heavenly harmony until in the midst of a charismatic worship experience. The beautiful, rich, four part, a capella harmonies of hymn singing could not capture the harmonies and intimacy of worship found in this unique corporate expression!

I had experienced superb singers singing “special music” before the sermon, but never experienced the richness of a common believer being given an original tune with lyrics by the Holy Spirit while being accompanied by musicians who had never heard the tune before either until I witnessed it at a charismatic worship service.

At Love Inn in Freeville, New York, I witnessed someone sing an original “new song” accompanied by Phil Keaggy and his band while a lady interpreted the song through dance, all at the same time, all original, never rehearsed.

At Jim Brown’s Saturday night Prayer and Praise Meeting at Upper Octorara Presbyterian Church in Parkesburg, PA, I heard a lady sing The Lord’s Prayer, not in the traditional way, but in an entirely original tune that the Lord gave her which powerfully impacted everyone present.

Over the years I have heard prophetic words given through song rather than just being oral. I even witnessed people being ministered to personally through musical instrumentation without lyrics. The Holy Spirit is a creative spirit and will manifest and lift up Jesus in many forms that are nontraditional to us.

I remember sitting on my blanket at outdoor Jesus Rallies in the ‘70’s & 80’s, listening to contemporary Christian bands, discerning if their audience was heavenward or directed to those in front of them. Very few bands directed theirs truly heavenward, but when they did, an incredible worships experience occurred. I have seen a heavy Christian rock band hold their closing note at an incredible decibel level in the midst of an incredible worship experience. It is hard to explain.

So my question to the Millennials is, “What kind of worship are you seeking: high quality professional music, superbly written lyrics, well staged and professionally lighted, with top quality professional musicians and singers, or common, ordinary, believers, like you and me, jointly willing to do whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to do, even if it is out of the ordinary, out of our current comfort zones, totally original, unscripted, fresh and new. Are we willing to just be vessels of His love, His grace, His Mercy, and His voice through obedience to the Holy Spirit? If so, Millennials too can experience supernaturally natural worship!

 

“The Old Is Gone; Behold The New!” Can This Be True For The Way The Church Worships?

The Millennials Look For Ways To Express Themselves In Worship – Part I 

I read an interesting blog, 3 Reasons Contemporary Worship Is Declining, and What We Can Do To Help The Church Move On by Jonathan Aigner (Sept. 4, 2015). His three proponents are: 1) Baby boomers are losing their influence. “‘My own generation is beginning to die.’ Your parents, not your kids, are the biggest proponents of contemporary worship,” 2) Millennials are seeking old ways of doing things. “This doesn’t mean a return to the church of the 1950s, but it means an increasing rejection of the church of the 1990s and 2000s”, 3) Contemporary worship is an unstable and non-theological movement. “To be thoroughly contemporary necessitates a slavish allegiance to the new, the current, the hip, the cool, and the commercial. It requires a thorough rejection of what is old, passe, not current, not cool, and what doesn’t make money.”

Aigner senses a shift in the church worship scene, giving me a hint that the millennials are seeking their own identity in worship, which excites me. This is a good thing.

As a Baby Boomer growing up in the 1950’s & 60’s, I was inundated by hymns written by composers who died over a hundred years earlier. Southern gospel quartets, “special music,” and “choir anthems” entertained us. Worship services were predictable; their script was printed in the church bulletin.

That was all challenged in the ‘70’s & ‘80’s when the Jesus Movement introduced Contemporary Christian Music with a rock beat as electric guitars and drum kits replaced the electronic pipe organs, and the Charismatic Movement introduced worship choruses as choirs yielded to worship teams. Churches were forced to offer two worship services: a traditional service with hymns, hymnals, a choir, special music, and sermon held in a sanctuary, and a contemporary service with choruses projected on an overhead screen, a worship team with drums, guitars, amplifiers, and stage lighting, and a sermon held in an adjacent church gymnasium or all purpose room. The Baby Boomers were trying to find their own unique way to express their praise and adoration to God through worship.

It takes decades for the church to embrace new forms and styles of worship. Those Baby Boomers as youth and those in their twenties who challenged the church scene are now the establishment that accepts their style of worship as acceptable. I do not necessarily support Aigner’s call to “Refuse to contribute to the commercial industry. Stop paying Nashville and Atlanta and Australia for its so-called “worship music.” Stop going to “worship” concerts. Stop listening to commercial Christian radio.” Keith Green challenged the Contemporary Music Industry of his day for their capitalistic entrepreneurship, but he did not call to ditch the whole movement. There is much to glean from it that has benefited the Church.

What the millennials will contribute to the Christian worship scene is yet to be determined by the Holy Spirit, the creator of Christian creativity, who flows among us. How He chooses to express Himself in their midst is yet to be seen, but when it occurs, I guarantee that it will be rejected by current forms, structures, and powers within the institutional church, and it will take decades until it too becomes the accepted practice within the faith.

Holy Spirit come; Holy Spirit create! Church observe what the Holy Spirit is doing in the midst of His people, those who call themselves millennials, as they worship naturally and supernaturally. Embrace the upcoming changes, and accept the new forms of expression Jesus will give His Church, His Bride, in preparation for their eternal marriage in the heavens. Get use to it, for worship in heaven will NOT look like the way we currently do it on earth; just read the book of Revelations, and you will see!

 

Can I And My Local Church Face Change?

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXVII

He who sits on the throne (Jesus) said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) 

Often only when engulfed in it is one willing to face change. When you experience it, you know its real, and it only becomes a part of you when you fully embrace it.

As an undergraduate, I learned about teaching, but only by experiencing teaching in daily life did I become a teacher. I thought I knew a lot about my wife the day I said, “I do,” BUT how little I did know was exposed through decades of marriage to her. We took “baby classes” prior to the birth of our first child; they were no longer needed for our next two because of what we had experienced with the first one. Now, in the fall of my life, people think I have wisdom, but wisdom is only learned through experiencing life.

Our life cycle is all about change. About the time one gets use to being dependent on their parents, they kick you out of the house! About the time you feel being comfortable as being an independent single, you fall in love and get married. About the time you enjoy your spouse, children arrive! About the time you appreciate your kids, they’ve grown up and left the nest. Its back to adjusting to the spouse in an “empty nest” with no kids. Just as you enjoy one another again, one dies. Now you are single again but discover that  you need help from your children during your elderly years; you are dependent again! If life is all about change, then why do we resist it so much? The sooner one yields to change, the sooner life returns to being smoother, familiar, and normal until change raises its head again.

All organisms go through life cycles, even the Church, so it needs to embrace change. The rigidity of defined structures and traditions often oppose and prevent change, so we have to undo mindsets that have been set in stone. Moses had the Law, the Logos Word, set in stone on Mount Sinai but eventually learned that man could not live by it no matter how hard they tried. Jesus came as the Rhema, living, Word who not only lived out the Word, but fulfilled it.

Only through our relationship with Jesus and our relationship with fellow believers for whom we are willing to lay down our lives can we work on changing these mindsets. Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) Only through yielding to the Holy Spirit can changed mindsets become a reality. The Holy Spirit can instill vision in us, and his still small voice can tell us what to do. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15)

I conclude this series of blogs by asking you, “Why should/shouldn’t you embrace change?” and collectively, “Why should/shouldn’t my local church embrace change?” If you and/or I do not embrace the upcoming change, we, like our old Jewish forefathers and former Catholic saints will be versatile and adjust as much as our systems and structures allow and call it revival and renewal, but if we embrace change, we, like our first century brethren, peers in Jesus Christ, joint members in this royal Priesthood of Believers, will see great things, experience creative newness, and fulfill God’s provincial plan. 

 

How Christianity Faced Change

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXVI

 He who sits on the throne (Jesus) said, “Behold, I am making all things new,” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

The Jew who had accepted Jesus as his Messiah faced even more radical change and challenges than his traditional brothers who rejected Jesus, because it was also true for him that ”the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Change meant leaving the old, familiar Jewish structures and systems for a new life in Jesus. This was a difficult transition at first, as these new believers were tempted to return to their familiar religious ways by returning to the Temple and synagogues, but persecution and rejection drives them away from the old forms. They realize they no longer need a physical building like the Temple in which to meet because they can meet anywhere, anytime. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20) That is a drastic mindset change, even for Christians today.

Since Christianity was built around Jesus rather than a religious system or building that included animal sacrifices, there was no need for hierarchal leadership since “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” (Psalm 110:4) Because  “Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, (Hebrews 6:20) You are a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:17) With Jesus as our High Priest, there is no need for a pyramidal leadership structure; instead leadership can be built on a relationship built on equal peers, priests in a priesthood, unlike Aaron’s or the Levitical priesthood, but one that is eternal. Paul, or any apostle, could come into a town, birth, build, release, and leave a church in six to eighteen months without establishing a hierarchy. That is an incredible mindset to grasp, even for Christians today.

If it was tough for the traditional Jew to face such rapid change, the Jew who accepted Jesus as his Messiah faced even more drastic changes. When something old passes the torch to something new, change is inevitable. Often the Old Guard will oppose it or adjust to it, while the New Guard will openly embrace it.

There is a striking resemblance between the way today’s Christian church functions structurally with his Jewish counterparts at the time of Christ. The church identifies with a building; you go to “church”, a building, on Sundays. The “order of worship” is set in stone; you do “church”. A hierarchal form of leadership above the masses, who have become passive, leads it. The masses are expected to finance the institution. What would happen if this system too would crumble, fall, and face the same fate as its predecessor?

I ask:

                  Can peer relationships replace hierarchal structures of leadership?

                  Could organisms be restored to life rather than just be re-organize?

                  Instead of readjusting, could the Church accept and embrace newness?

                  Can the Holy Spirit be allowed to flow freely again in a fluid Church?

                  Could complacency and passivity be replaced with activity, creating a continuation of the book of Acts?

                  Can traditions give way to new mindsets?

                  Can the Church embrace revival rather than oppose or try to control it?

All these require drastic mindset changes.

 

How Judaism Faced Change

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXVI

He who sits on the throne (Jesus) said, “Behold, I am making all things new,” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

How do you transition from and old structure to a new when so much change is required? As a Jew! In just 60 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, he would witness the crumbling of his religious systems and structures because ”the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Can you imagine how difficult it is to believer in a system and structure built around a physical building, the Temple, whose worship featured animal and grain sacrifices, headed by a Levitical priesthood, and see it physically crumble and be destroyed right before your eyes? Jews, being versatile, know how to adjust. They held on to their Torah, oral history, and ingrained traditions for strength, yet their prophet, Jeremiah, wrote, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

This new covenant would require drastic changes: It would take them from meeting in a building, a Temple, to not needing a building at all because their bodies would become the temple. The versatile Jew would meet in a synagogue, while Christians would become “Temple-less”, not having a designated building. The Ark of The Covenant would become legendary, only for Indiana Jones to find. Those mindset changes were drastic.

Without a Temple, animal sacrifices vanished. Jesus, God’s Son, would be the sacrificial lamb dying on the Cross as the ultimate sacrifice. The old “order of worship” would become archaic and scrapped. Judaism would adjust: The reading of the Torah, the sharing of oral history, and the following of traditions would be the backbone of their new “order ow worship.” Another drastic mindset change!

With no Temple and no sacrifices, Judaism faced yet another dilemma: What to do with its hierarchal Levitical priesthood structure. It too vanished, being replaced by a rabbinical system of teachers with diverse opinions and the creation of the Talmud. Yet another drastic mindset that was required!

The versatile, traditional Jew has adjusted by meeting in synagogues, taught through the Torah and Talmud by rabbis for almost 2,000 years now. What was once new adjustments have become old, familiar traditions; that is how established systems and structures work over time.

 

Vision, Point Of View: Deurteronomy 16:16

 

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXV

We have come full circle, literally. The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ has offered us the vision and point of view of salvation, offering life and living to the dead and lost. He has offered us a restored relationship with the Godhead that was once lost, separated through the Gulf of sin but has been reestablished through the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross.  That Passover Spirit is the spirit of evangelism.

The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ has offered us the vision and point of view for nurturing, growth, and maturity in Jesus Christ only obtained through proper care by being groomed in the Logos Word and living it out through the Rhema Word. That prophetic, teaching, and shepherding spirits are the Pentecost experience.

The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ has offered us the apostolic vision and point of view of seeing the big picture of a believer’s spiritual journey from spiritual birth, justification, through the process of maturing in Christ, sanctification, to the passing from this world into an eternal relationship with the Godhead, glorification. It is a journey which needs brothers and sisters in the Lord sacrificially walking beside one another as peers in Christ, a Priesthood of Believers, the Church.

Our personal Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Booths is tied to our “accepting” them by “faith” and our willingness to “receive” them. The kingdom of God does not have slaves, only willing servants. God never forces us to do anything; He sent his Holy Spirit to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:8-11) All we must do is be willing to accept all he has to offer. It is up to us.

Disclaimer: By accepting this offer, expect change.

 

Relationships Produce Revival: Deurteronomy 16:16

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXIV 

What do all these feasts have to do church structure or the five fold? The feasts are not about structure, but about relationships between man and his God. They aren’t about religious institutions, programs, or organizations; they are about living organisms.

Passover reestablished righteousness between God and man. “Righteousness” means “being in a right relationship.” Because of what Jesus did on the Cross, the “ain’ts” became “saints”! “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11: 6) Those ”who seek Him” have been rewarded eternal life and membership into the Priesthood of Believers.

Pentecost empowered this Priesthood of Believers to live by faith. All those listed in  Hebrews 11 “gained approval through their faith” yet they, "did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us. (Hebrews 11) What was promised would be Jesus and the Holy Spirit who would fulfill Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Booths. The Holy Spirit would empower believers to live out the Logos Word through the Rehma Word.

The Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering is relational because God is not only calling individual believers to Him eternally, but is calling an entire priesthood, the Priesthood of Believers, the Church to Him through Jesus Christ. Unlike marriage, it is now beyond “death do us part,” Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, the committed relationship between God and man is now eternal.

Relationally physical and spiritual change happens through these feasts; the earthly body, that looks like mankind, is being changed into the image of Jesus Christ. We will “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” and we will “Lay aside the old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:15, 22-24)

If we, as believers, will have new bodies, new “structures”, why wouldn’t the Church also transform into a new structure? If your temple (“Do you not know that your body is a temple (tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit?” (I Corinthians 6:19)) is going to be “renovated” or “renewed”, why wouldn’t the Church also experience renovation called “revival”? A new body! A new structure! A metamorphosis of newness, so we as individuals and corporately as the Body of Christ can fly, soar, into the heavenlies with the Godhead for eternity.

 “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (of Booths), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

Jesus announced openly in Herod’s Temple about the Holy Spirit. It would be the same thing he offered the Samaritan woman at the well, “from the innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” Jesus was offering them transformational relationships. “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (John 7:16-18)

 

Experiencing Deurteronomy 16:16

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXIII

Our Deuteronomy 16:16 passage concluded, “…and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” I believe worship to be simple, the act of giving back to the Lord what He has already given you. If we believe that, then there is a price to be paid during each of these three feasts; something is to be given back to the Lord.

In his book, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis has captured the price for Passover. To receive salvation, you have to give Jesus the garbage of your life, that which prohibits you from drawing near to God. Lewis tells of a bus trip to the out skirts of hell and the edge of heaven where the saints try for one last time to persuade their loved ones to come to heaven. They refuse because they do not want to give up that which binds them (ie. pity, self centeredness, greed, wealth, etc.) Looking back, giving God our garbage did not look like a big deal, but it was, for it was difficult, particularly when sin is pleasurable and rewarding to one’s ego.

When one has a Pentecost experience, the price is to pay “one’s all,” everything! If Jesus is to be Lord of one’s life, he demands all because He is in total control of your life. A popular car bumper sticker was “God is My Copilot.” How wrong that premise is if you made Jesus your Lord. He is the pilot, period! You aren’t even the copilot; he flies the plane. When on autopilot, the Holy Spirit is in control! All you have to do is be obedient to His flight plans as He directs. It is was difficult giving up your garbage and junk for your salvation, it is even harder to give up the good things that have benefited you to which you are now attached.

For The Feast of Booths or The Feast of Tabernacles you give up your earthly tabernacle, your physical body. Which is better; living her on earth doing the Lord’s will or dyeing and being with the Lord in heaven? Paul wrote,”For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Glorification is giving up this earthly body to dwell eternally in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!