Suppose that each week you had the profound privilege of gathering with some other believers who are mature with regard to their level of knowing Jesus personally and of manifesting Him frequently by bearing much of the fruit of His Spirit.
Imagine that the meeting includes a meal, a time of praising God by declaring His mighty works in the past and testifying about His works in the previous week, and a time of being so focused on His identity and His love that everyone is lost worshiping Him. As He reveals Himself in the gathering, He blesses with truths made clear from Scriptures, prophetic words that encourage and comfort, and miracles of healings and deliverance from bondages. People leave the meetings closer to Jesus and closer to each other. More in love with Him and with each other.
During your week of days between meetings, you intercede for the other members of the group. You make notes of new clarity you receive about certain Scriptures so that you can take responsibility for sharing them with the others. You remind yourself to tell the group about blessings that you see in your life that have clearly been interjected by the hand of your God as He involves Himself in your minutes and hours and days.
Imagine how you would be mindful of the next gathering all through the week, because you are mindful of each family member you will get to be with then. At times you fit them into your life between the meetings because they contact you and you contact them.
Go on and start praying for them now. Pray for them every day. It is the body of Christ. It is normal. Pray for it to be built up in what each part supplies – built up in love. It doesn’t matter what congregations they are in. The body is built of relationships, not memberships and ministries.
Pray to find the others. Look –
What very good advice Paul wrote to the congregations in Colossae about being co-members of Jesus:
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
(Colossians 3:12-17 from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © by Holman Bible Publishers.)
It bears reading slowly, like it is very valuable, and like you’ve never seen it before, so you don’t miss anything…
We have spiritual gifts. Our ministries flow out of the gifts, influenced by our resources: who has parented us, what skills we have, who our neighbors are, and what other gifts are functioning around us.
If I am an evangelist, I will need to be around unbelievers to have effective ministry. If I am a pastor, I will need to be around believers to have effective ministry. If I am an evangelist and don’t know a pastor I trust, I may try to give pastoral ministry to the people who become believers around me. I won’t do it well.
You should look for gifts that differ from yours to be at work around you. It will make your ministry have greater impact when the total ministry people are receiving is through several manifestations of the person of Jesus. That may mean you have to be related to people from different congregations. It may mean that your most effective ministry is not related to any congregation at all, because the people you work with are each from different denominations.
A team of people working together with others who have different gifts will be most effective when they are gathering and building relationships at least as much as they are gathering to do ministry. The fellowship creates levels of trust and respect and love that build the Body up and make it strong and easy to lead by the Spirit of God.
Even unbelievers will be able to discern that we belong to Jesus by seeing genuine love in our relationships, not just by seeing power.
If you want to build something, laying the foundation is always the first practical step. You can’t install a window or door without a wall to put it in, either.
If you need to build a team for a project, it will be a stronger team if you build the peoples’ relationships before you put them to work by assembling their skills.
In a congregation, if the people don’t feel their connections as a family, they are not likely to handle well their connections as an organization. Build a family, then give them opportunities to bless and be useful.
Believers need to be equipped as the Body of Christ before being empowered to build the Kingdom of Heaven. They need to be confident in their relationships with the Father in order to maintain their confidence in their relationships with the King. Especially if they make a mistake.
Most of our congregations are orphanages. One professional parent trying to juggle real relationships with the most troubled kids and hope the quiet ones are doing well. Most of our work is secular – something we picked out, not a calling in the Kingdom. The work contrast should not be religious / secular, but spiritual / carnal. No matter what work the King wants to set you in place for, it will take His Spirit to give you the power to do it well.
A generation is at hand who will refuse to settle for those limits of orphanages and powerless work. The Spirit is stirring Believers who will be moved to find relationships that are real, and work that brings Life.
If you are not in both of those places already, pray that you would be given the keys to those doors. You are called to an important seat at God’s table, and important work in His Kingdom.
When Saul of Tarsus met Jesus while traveling one day, Jesus introduced him to the Church. He pointed over Saul’s shoulder and identified the people Saul had been persecuting as “Me.” “Why are you persecuting Me?”
Have that fact in your mind every time you read something Paul wrote about “the Body” or “members” or “the Head.” When Paul looked at the Church, He could see Jesus. The big mistake, the “unworthy manner” he accused the congregations in Corinth of in 1 Corinthians 11 was “not discerning the Body” when they looked at each other.
When we learn to see the Body in the Spirit, we will see Jesus and love Him in each other. We will be built up in that love to be the full stature of the measure of Christ. A proper Bride for the Perfect Husband (Ephesians 4).
Hate to wait…
1 Corinthians 11 – The Lord’s Supper
How to get it wrong
° eating your meal instead of the Lord’s
° not honoring the body by waiting until all have arrived before eating the meal
° despising the church
° humiliating those who have nothing
° eating the bread, drinking the cup in an unworthy manner
(profaning body and blood of the Lord)
° eating and drinking without discerning the body
(eating and drinking judgement, and thereby becoming weak, ill, dead)
How to get it right
* the bread and the cup are parts of a meal
* proclaim the Lord’s death through the meal
* examine yourself (by discerning the body of Jesus) before eating and drinking Him
* judge yourself truly, so that you won’t be judged
* come together to eat, and be certain that it is a blessing for all
discern and certain are words that are related to a Latin word for “sift”
Here is an article on Communion
Why is there always a desert between the place where you hear the call of Yahweh and where the promised place is?
The answer depends on who you are and who you are related to. Generations rarely bless each other, and it takes two generations to launch a movement.
Wilderness for the forerunner generation is about preparing another generation; wilderness for the second generation is about taking the land.
When we learn to build correctly, it is because we have learned to bless the generation that came before us, and to make sacrifices for the generation that comes after us. We have learned to bless the calling of the next generation to enter something we have not seen and don’t understand yet.
1 in a few million even step over into the next generation. They get re-generated and become re-newed enough to be able to bear being re-stretched with the newer wine.
Wilderness for the generation that refuses to bless what leads it and what follows it, and that refuses to trust Yahweh, is a place of unmarked graves.
Each member of the Church has a calling, each has been given grace, and as each part does its share, the body grows – the Church is built, because love holds us together and accomplishes the miracle. Every believer has an important part to perform in the building process. Each believer must listen to the Head of the body in order to find his/her part and must be empowered supernaturally with some manifestation of the Holy Spirit in order to get her/his part done properly.
The instruction from the Cornerstone will include directions related to what part of the building to be working on. This would inform the worker about the location of the congregation related to his/her assignment. The workers need to find from the Lord what their burdens are, so that they can tell if the yoke they are taking up moves the correct burden, or is doing someone else’s work. Trying to pick up whatever work is nearby in whatever congregation is convenient or comfortable may lead a builder to a heavy burden and a difficult yoke, rather than the one the Lord has for them, which would be easy and light.
The next time you hear a person complaining about some lack of activity opportunities or some service they are not receiving or any other problem in the congregation they gather with, ask them if they are related to that congregation because they were instructed to join it by the Holy Spirit. If their answer is “no”, ask them why they are there. If their answer is “yes”, ask them why they are whining rather than interceding for their coworkers and asking the Head of
the Church how to make the congregation succeed at His mission for it. Most people are related to the Church in ways that have no concern for what Jesus has ordained them to.
In John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples that He had “ordained” them to go out and bear much fruit. In 1 Corinthians 12:18, when Paul was writing about the ministries each believer brings forth by the working of the Holy Spirit, he used the same word Jesus used in John 15:16 when he wrote that “God sets the members in the body just as it pleases Him.” The common word is translated into English in the John narrative as either “ordained” or “appointed”. In Paul’s letter, it is translated “set”.
It describes having been put in place on purpose. You don’t climb into the place or achieve the place, you are put there. You have to get the authority, the power, the freedom, even the information of the assignment, from God.
Presuming to walk into a “calling” prevents your work from being a “calling”.
The foundation of the Church of Jesus is Jesus.
He is the Cornerstone of the entire building. A cornerstone in a building is either decorative, listing the builders or owners or designers or financial benefactors who created the building, or is operative, defining the three dimensions of depth, width and height as a cube.
Any vertical line or plane in a building that has its shape defined by a genuine cornerstone must match the plane or line that is represented by the stone. Level, horizontal surfaces or planes or lines in the building must be defined by the top and bottom planes of the cornerstone, and can be compared to those planes for accuracy during the building process.
Jesus, as a person, as a servant, in character, in integrity, in purpose, in strength, and by nature defines the standards of each of these facets of His identity as they are reflected and manifested by and in His Church.
It is possible to identify the genuineness or the quality or power of love in the Church by comparing it to the Cornerstone for accuracy. The words the Church speaks can be compared to the plumb declared by His words to determine if the Church is out of alignment in her declarations. Any activity a congregation is involved in can be judged by the works of Jesus.
Paul was followed through most of his church-planting ministry by the people he made mad when he emptied their synagogue to create a congregation. They demanded that Jews remain Kosher and God fearing Gentiles become Kosher.
“No one can please Yahweh without obeying the Torah,” they instructed. “It’s OK that you God fearers have become believers in Yeshua, but you can’t be a good believer without being a good Jew.”
The flames of the argument were eventually taken to the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, and that leadership wrote every non-Jewish believer a letter. It contains all that is required of Gentile believers to observe of the laws that Yahweh gave Moses to make Israel’s descendants a nation when He brought them out of Egypt.
It is very interesting that the letter doesn’t mention quite a few laws that are popular to impose on believers today. You should read it. It was written to you, if you are not a Jew…