Relationships or Agenda

Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church wrote a post a few days ago about What do you do when you can’t find fellowship with others? I followed the link to the LifeStream Blog post Loneliness and the Journey which had another link at the bottom of the post High Risk/High Reward of Relational Community.

Sorry for the rabbit trail, to make it simple, the page I am pointing to is here. It is a podcast by Wayne and Brad on The God Journey, that I listened to, and learned something very valuable.

Stop making such a big deal out it. Stop with the agenda.

I have put too much pressure on myself in trying to do it right. Why can’t I just share my life with others, invite them over for dinner just to get to know them better, have lunch with them, or even go on a bike ride or play a game of tennis with them. It doesn’t have to be all about God… because loving others is all about God. Does that make sense?

`A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; according as I did love you, that ye also love one another; in this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye may have love one to another.’ -John 13:34-35

Others will not know that we are disciples of Jesus because we schedule a Bible study, or organize a charity event, or invite a coworker to church, or any other act besides just loving each other. That seems to be what Jesus said, if that means anything (my interpretation, not asking if Jesus’ words mean anything).

Can it be loving to do those things, sure, but I think I’ve had an agenda for doing those things; starting something in my home, being visible in the community, growing the Church, etc.

That hasn’t been 100% of my agenda though. I have wanted to share Jesus and get to know others better, but the double agenda has gotten my off track. It has muddied the waters in my mind. I think I’m just going to try to focus on relationships for a while, then maybe other things will simply grow up around those relationships.

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There’s No Place I’d Rather Be

I sing a simple song of love
To my Saviour, to my Jesus
I’m grateful for the things You’ve done
My loving Saviour, my precious Jesus

My heart is glad
That you’ve called me Your own
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than in Your arms of love

In Your arms of love
Holding me still
Holding me near
In Your arms of love

-Words by Craig Musseau

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He Knows My Name

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

-Words by Tommy Walker.

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Listening to the Spirit of God

I wanted to highlight a comment from my post yesterdayFrank talked about some things I’ve thought about some recently, and don’t understand. I have come to see that my conscience is important, and that the words of scripture can train my conscience in the Spirit of God, but haven’t put any thought into it as if God is speaking through the Spirit. It’s just something I don’t understand. (I’ve made some formating edits to break it up a bit.)

I have a close friend, who about 6 years ago departed the institutional church with his family, having had enough of the sham. He had two children, a girl of about 2 and a boy of maybe 5 years. He decided to “do” church at home with the children.

I asked him what he was going to do. He had no idea, other than some worship and maybe some bible teaching. I suggested that he start by getting each one, including the children, to listen to God to see what God was saying, rather than trying to reconstruct church at home. I said this to him because nothing is more important than encouraging children to realise their spirit is far more important than their mind. ie. tree of life supersedes tree of knowledge.

 Normal living, school, TV, relationships, workplace, shopping, everyday life, promotes the mind, and body, and all else that pertains to the “real” world. The life of the spirit is not only ignored but denigrated and despised except for “religious” moments like church on Sunday.

Listening to God is natural for little children. Their spirit man, when they are born, is at the same stage of development as their natural man, effectively an empty vessel. Listening to God will be therefore far more valuable than any educative learning of biblical history etc.

This is the difference between “knowing” God, rather than “knowing about” God. Bible understanding can follow in the wake of knowing God. Children being empty vessels, WILL get filled with fruit from one tree or another. Childhood is the time to start.

So when they sat down to listen to God, he also gave the children paper and pencils. saying to them to listen to God and draw anything they saw. Within moments the boy started to scribble away. They continued to listen to the Lord, a little distracted by his activity. Finally, they asked what he was drawing. The picture was of a huge long bed filled with loads and loads of people asleep crossways like sardines in a can. There was a man standing on the floor at the end of the bed with his hands on the headboard, as if he was guiding it somewhere.

When asked by his puzzled parents what Jesus had shown him, he explained:

“This is the church Daddy”
“And who are all these people?”
“They are all the church people, asleep, Daddy.”
“And who is this man standing up at the end?”
“That’s Uncle Mike (the Pastor)”.

Gulp!!!! Talk about accuracy in the Spirit, and a powerful confirmation of their decision to leave. The body asleep whilst the pastor directed and decided everything on their behalf. My friend’s son had never been in the discussions as to why Dad felt the Lord wanted them out of the institutional church system. Nevertheless, even at 6 years old when given the encouragement and freedom, he could hear and see in the realm of the Spirit with greater clarity than his parents.

Many are the prophetic words with piercing accuracy which has come from the boy now that the shackles of church born Christianity have been removed. Recently my friend asked his son what the voice of God sounded like, the boy burst out laughing, “you don’t know?” He was amazed at the question.

My friend, is very prophetic, but has grown through a “christian” environment which attached little value to spiritual happenings as opposed to church. He was learning, slowly, alongside his son. However, unlike his son, my friend had much to unlearn. We must make sure our children do not endure the same. Our responsibilities as parents should be far more towards growing the “Spirit man” of our children than growing their physical or mental man.

Like I said, I don’t understand all this. It did make me think of one thing.

Quench not the Spirit.  -1 Thessalonians 5:19

I think that matches what I have been considering about the conscience. When you do not follow your conscience, you numb it. If  you follow your conscience and it is wrong, learn from it, and next time your conscience will lead you right. But when you start ignoring your conscience, it fades away. It gets suppressed, or in biblical terms, quenched.

Is that the same thing? Is there more to it than just being a mental conscience? I don’t know.

I do wonder if I’m not allowing myself to believe that, because if it is truth, it becomes even more important to listen to my conscience (the Spirit in me), and I’ve got some scary things in my head that my “conscience” is asking me to do…

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Lacking Focus

Its been hard for me to focus lately. I just can’t get my head on straight.

One thing I realized last night, is that I have been failing at leading my family spiritually. (One of many things I’ve been failing at.) I am blessed with a wife, though, who has not let our family fail altogether. She continues to teach our children about God without my leadership.

But I know I need to step in. I have to lead my home.

And the fathers! provoke not your children, but nourish them in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:4

I realized that whatever my wife teaches our children, I am still responsible for, as if I taught it myself. Not to say I don’t trust my wife, because I do trust her to teach our kids, as she should be doing. But, to a lesser degree, it’s kind of like leaving my own salvation in someone else’s hands other than Jesus, I’m accountable for what is taught to my children.

I see that I have been a failure so far, but the true failure would be my choosing to sit and watch. I’ve got a plan. Pray that I can accomplish my new goal.

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Couples Who Pray

My next book from Book Sneeze was Couples Who Pray, by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt.

The topic has become an important on as I am learning how to pray, when to pray, and who to pray with. It is something I haven’t been comfortable with, and when I saw this book, it seemed to fit right in.

There is a 40 Day Prayer Challenge that is made, which seemed like a great idea. I’m not good with those kind of goals, so after a few days I felt held at knife point to pray. Not the best way to approach your Father.

Other parts of the book were true life experiences by couples, including many celebrities. There was a lot of good advice, but I just had a hard time picking this book up every night. Not that it is a bad book, it just didn’t pull me in. I would, though, recommend this book to get you started and give you some inspiration to take this very difficult challenge of praying as a couple.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

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Traditions of Men

This is very similar to the 4 part video series I posted early on my video blog. Thought it is similar, it has some very interesting stuff that is different. I’m not posting the direct audio, but a link to where you can download it and listen for free on the source website.

Please go check it out. I know it is a lot to listen to, but if you make it through the first and maybe the second (of 6), you might have plenty to study tonight.

Here is the link to the Traditions Series audio downloads.

Enjoy. And let me know what you think if you have a chance.

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