Expecting Contributions

Most of what we look for from our members of congregations or ministry teams in terms of contribution either falls into the category of money or time.

Otherwise, we are usually looking only for compliance. We inform people, especially younger ones, of the rules and protocol and expect them to comply. We engineer structures and teams to maintain “normal” for us. We teach our members to maintain and guard the past and protect it from the future.

Contribution in other categories of life and work scares us, because it could mean we have to constantly fight suggestions for change or questions about why we do or don’t do certain things. It is in these categories, though, that we teach our members to lead.

When we create spaces into which people can step with new ideas about how to love God and people, they will scare us by doing exactly that. And we will grow. And we will mature. And we will make mistakes, but learn from them. And we will colonize the earth with much of “as it is in Heaven.”

And the generation that comes after us will bless us and build more, starting at a higher place.

The Best Way

The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, according to the last verse of chapter 12, is a “way” to be part of the team of people who are the servants in the Church. Chapters 12 and 14 are descriptions of some of the “what” that the Church does, and chapter 13 is a description of “how” it stays in a level of unity that makes the “what” possible.

Receive His love for you through your partners in ministry, and give Him permission to administer His love for others through your life and your resources. He is trusting us to do things His way.

When we do, we will honor Him with the nations as an offering to worship Him and glorify Him forever.

Seeing the Poor

Matthew 26:6-13

When Jesus was drawing near His sacrifice, He was anointed by a woman with an expensive perfumed ointment. His disciples complained that the value of the ointment was wasted on Jesus and should have been used to give some provision to the local poor.

Jesus’ answer included the information that poor people would always be around. Until the Judgement, there will also always be sick among us. And demonized people. And unbelievers who need to be evangelized.

Looking around at all the needs of people in order to decide what ministry needs to be done will not lead us into the Kingdom. Listening to the King about what He wants us to do next will.

We should not do anything on our own. Only what we see the King doing. Then we will have light burdens and easy yokes and successful ministry.

And the King will be glorified and honored.

Lively Responses

Bad situations and annoying or costly events present us with opportunities to suffer.

The suffering really comes from our responses to the situations, though, not the situations themselves. When we respond to a difficulty with one of the “works of the flesh” that Paul described in Galatians 5:13-21, we are stuck holding that response, and we are probably miserable. So is anyone who has to tolerate us.

When we respond to situations with the strengths Paul described in Galatians 5:22&23 that he called the “fruit of the Spirit,” we then possess the peace or patience or joy or whatever else we respond with.

A response includes how we talk to others or even how we talk to ourselves about the difficult event. If we are telling ourselves over and over how badly we were treated or how impossible it will be to fix the A/C or how we told him not to do that, etc, that is a response. It doesn’t have to look like an action or an interaction to be a response.

Something goes wrong, you do something next. Does what you do next remind you of your flesh, or His Spirit? If you don’t pick the right thing first, pick the right thing ASAP. Even if its just a thought.

Moving out of the Desert

Jesus was driven by the Holy Spirit into the desert when He was baptized. In 40 days, a work was done in Him of preparation for His purpose.

Israel was driven by the Holy Spirit into the desert when they were baptized (1 Corinthians 10). In 40 years, two of the several million original citizens and all of the next generation had received preparation for their purpose. Those who died in the desert did not learn the lessons they were offered through the experiences they had there.

Some people over time will gain 10 years of experience in their field. Others simply gain 1 year of experience 10 times. These are circling the desert.

You are accepted in God’s Beloved Son (Ephesians 1:3-6). Study, to show yourself to be accepted (2 Timothy 2:15). If you feel that you are not equipped to study on your own, study to be equipped to study. Find the tools that extract truth and life from the words in the Book and learn to use them. Study listening to the Spirit.

Prepare yourself to exit the desert and enter your destiny!

Some Assembly Required

Hebrews 10:23-25                                                                                                        Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.

Ephesians 4:11-16                                                                                                              And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him Who is the Head – Christ – from Whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.


The “assembling” in the Hebrews passage is a word related to “synagogue.” That type of assembly is like piling things into a pile that will all be spread back into their original or other locations when the wind or rain comes.

The word pictures that create the idea of assembly in the Ephesians passage are more like a bicycle that is delivered in a box. If you shake the box, the nuts and bolts and parts shuffle and rattle, because they are assembled “synagogue” style. When you follow the instructions to turn the parts into a vehicle, you have joined and knit them into a unit. They stay together and work can then be done with them as a bicycle.

Let us cease being assembled  in the way of the synagogue (piled and then parted), and instead be built up by what every joint (every relationship) supplies, joined by love and knit by purpose, into a bride who is an appropriate partner for the Son of God.

If the synagogue (gathering place) where you gather with the Church doesn’t create environments in which you can build relationships that are focused on Kingdom work, take responsibility for creating your own. All of creation is groaning waiting on us to step into that wondrous realm!

Hades or Hell

The place called “Sheol” in Hebrew is the same place that Greek writers would call “Hades.” In English, it means “the Grave.” From one end of the Bible to the other, it is described as a place where all dead humans go to sleep until a day of judgement that is described in Revelation 20, starting at verse 11.

All ten times the word appears in the New Testament, the King James Version translators translated it as “hell.” The Complete Jewish Bible translates it “Sh’ol” every time, because those translators see it to be the same place that is called by that name in the Old Testament.

It is the place from which Samuel was called up to the earth by the witch at Endor for Saul (1 Samuel 28), so it is not what the Romans called “hell.” Other versions translate the word as either “Hades” or “the Grave.”

Both death and the grave are thrown into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14. Only the KJV inserts “hell” as being thrown instead of the grave.

Success and Successful Change

When a ministry achieves what it defines as “success,” it arbitrarily builds a system around that success that promises to continue to feed and protect it. Find food, and fight off wolves. Repeat.

If the ministry continues to exist, over time the purpose of the system of sustenance and safety becomes a hard old wine skin. It may not spend time and energy looking for opportunity that could be possible through its replacement with a newer, more flexible structure, even if the change could mean that growth can continue in more directions than the one original.

When you encounter a bureaucracy that has been erected to protect a previous path of success, it is not likely that you will be successful describing new, better, more effective ways of doing things to it. If you do not sense that the Spirit of Jesus is instructing you to take up the work of maintenance, it is much more likely that He is calling you to build something new than it is that He would call you to demolish an old building and reclaim the ground it stood on for a new edifice.

Fear of leaving the familiar helps to strengthen the government that protects the past and wants to revive it to its former glory. If you are not called to maintain, but to build, you must overcome that fear. Fear of being accused of all sorts of evil by that ministry because they feel that your vision is an insult to theirs needs to be overcome also.

Read the stories of Nehemiah and Joshua and Ezra. Note that their resources had to come from pagans much of the time, since the religious bureaucracy exhausted their resources on themselves much of the time. Look for the strategies these heroes developed for side-stepping evil reports and false accusations.

See what’s past the deep waters. Go be awesome.

Hearing the Word

 

I expect there have been many times when you said something to someone and very soon were convinced that they did not really hear what you said, even though they gave the clear impression that they were listening.

Faith comes by hearing. Hearing comes by the word of the Lord. The successful saints listed in Hebrews 11 received God’s promises by faith. Faith is the connection then, between hearing and receiving.

Yahweh speaks. I need to hear and receive what He says. I need to live in the mode of trusting Him and trusting what He says. I then receive the real-ization of His word.

Far too often, our responses convince Him quickly that we did not really hear Him. The track leading to our success makes a turn but we don’t turn with it, instead derailing from His provision and protection.

Weakening Nations

In Isaiah 14:12, Lucifer was accused of weakening the nations.

The United States of America has, by Abraham Lincoln’s description, a government of, by, and for “the people.” (Gettysburg Address, 1863)

A nation that is its own authority is one of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24 and 25 several things about nations. One was that the good news about His Kingdom would be preached to every nation. Another was that every nation would be judged, and the criterion would be their treatment of Him, evidenced by their treatment of the hungry, sick, needy, and incarcerated among them.

Lucifer is weakening nations by creating a fake culture that pretends to accomplish some of the manifestations of the Kingdom of heaven – socialism. Another way is by creating a fake culture of uncurable poverty – generations depending on welfare.

When believers continue to grasp the good news regarding the Kingdom, continue to step into roles of leadership in government and education and other culture-forming influential positions, we will strengthen nations with His government.

The nations that are led by His people, under the influence of His Spirit, will be judged as sheep. They will be strong in the power of His might and His righteousness. They will bring liberty, and their law will be of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.