Finding Church – Wayne Jacobsen

I am coming back in 2016, so stay tuned for more works and media. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

So a quick post on my latest read..I recently read ‘Finding Church’ by Wayne Jacobson, at lifestream.org. Wayne also has some wonderful free E-books you can download. They have added clearer insight into my walk about simplifying Christianity and inspiring alertness to the true desires Christ has for our lives. If you get a chance have a read over this Christmas break – give me your feedback here to start the conversation.

Blessings Daniel

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Demons Fear Jesus – They know who Jesus is! Do you?

According to Luke 8 we can extract three characteristics of Demons;

– Demons like solitary places (like seclusion and privacy)

– They don’t like returning to the abyss (must be a awful place)

– They fear Jesus, His authority and Power over them (they thought Jesus was there to torture them)

What captured my attention in this story was how the demon identified Jesus and his authority. The demon immediately was intimidated by Jesus and thought he was going to be tortured! Our saviour has power over creation, man and principalities in spirit dimensions, what a great King He is. Its great to be reminded of the power our saviour has to overcome all circumstances; his intention was to free the demon-possessed man and restore him to his natural state, removing the influence of the evil one.

We are children of the most high, through Christ we have been restored into a right relationship with our Father in heaven. What a blessing it is living each day knowing that Christ now dwells in us through his spirit and the power He has to restore us, strengthen and protect us. He has our best interests close to His heart.

‘They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.’

– Luke 8:26-38

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The Leadership Dilemma Many Sweep Under The Carpet

I was recently reading a series of articles and blog posts that continually challenge my views on leadership and hierarchy in the church. Deep down I know this to be true but many evangelical Christians today haven’t even heard of this.. let alone tried to understand its implications on their relationship with Christ Jesus.

Frank Viola touches on it here in this extract:

The N.T. notion of leadership is markedly different. As previously stated, there’s no biblical warrant for the idea that church leadership is official. Neither is there any scriptural backing for the notion that some believers have authority over other believers. The only authority that exists in the church is Jesus Christ. Humans have no authority in themselves. Divine authority is vested only in the Head and expressed through the body. Good leadership, therefore, is never authoritarian. It only displays authority when it’s expressing the mind of Jesus Christ.

The basic tasks of biblical leadership are facilitation, nurture, guidance, and service. To the degree that a member is modeling the will of God in one of those areas, to that degree he or she is leading. It’s no wonder that Paul never chose to use any of the forty-plus common Greek words for “office” and “authority” when discussing leaders. Again, Paul’s favorite word for describing leadership is the opposite of what natural minds would suspect. It’s diakonos, which means a “servant”—a person very low on the social totem pole in the 1st Century.

You can find the full explanation from Franks blog:

http://frankviola.org/2014/01/15/rethinkingleadership/

Also another great discussion on the church office and clergy/laity dichotomy:

http://frankviola.org/2012/07/17/christianleadership/

I would love to have open discussions with church leaders and prayerfully explore what Frank is saying here, I was a pastoral overseer with the baptist fold and its impact on me has been significant.

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A new kind of people being the Church.. not just going to it!

A recent question stirred in me the following response;

“Why do you gather in your home? So how do we gather outside of mainstream Christian circles when most of our bothers and sisters are attending large well established  and structured programs and services ?”

The answer is easy, you just can?! Let me ask you these questions..

Do you need a formal membership card to prove your an upright character and a note to say your a Christian? Do you need a pastor to decide everything for as you walk in your relationship with God? Can you still experience worship, prayer and fellowship in a place other than a building with a cross on it s roof?

We forget that he answer existed in the early NT church before it was married to a state, hierarchical, top heavy and deeply rooted in practices modelled from institutions of the day!

Gods word is clearer than ever on how He wants us to function, I believe the answer does not exist in any denomination or institutional framework – scary thought, it exists in your personal relationship with Him and regular functioning as you gather with other Christians in His name. Dont get me wrong, the modern church is doing some amazing things and impacting the world, but before you can be effective in gathering and functioning you have to get yourself sorted. Lets start a truthful relationship with Him that is transparent, honest and centred on Christ.

Want some help, guidance and free resources or even just want to explore something new..

http://www.awakeninglife.com.au/

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Element 5 – Everything Wears Out Except for Christ

5. Everything Wears Out Except for Christ

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I often feel that way about contemporary Christianity. As an observer of the passing parade, I’ve noted the following: Most of what’s put on the table with respect to reforming and renewing the church are the same ideas repackaged from decade to decade. There’s very little new in any of them. But more critical, these “renewing’ and “reforming” ideas and solutions lack one critical element. That element is best illustrated by what Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, once said during an interview:

‘Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesn’t add up to much…. There were bits and pieces of interesting things floating around, but not that gravitational pull.’

Jobs’s metaphor is an apt description of the great need in the church today. Christians have made the gospel about so many “interesting things floating around” but without the gravitational pull that brings them all together. And that gravitational pull is the Lord Jesus Christ. That said, if there’s anything I’ve learned by being a Christian over the last thirty years, it’s this:

• Any solution, cure, or remedy that doesn’t have Jesus Christ at its centre is doomed to fail.

• Everything in the Christian life eventually wears out. The only thing that doesn’t is Christ Himself. He is new every morning.

Consequently, all of our methods, techniques, innovative ideas, strategies, programs, and solutions don’t stand a chance if the Lord Jesus Himself isn’t front and centre of them all. He and He alone is God’s method, technique, idea, strategy, program, and solution. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – Christ and Christ alone is the gospel (2 Cor 4:5). Everything else tastes like plain yoghurt.

Notes:

1. See Jesus Manifesto co-authored with Leonard Sweet.

2. By “Christian life” I mean the life that Jesus lived, which was a lifestyle lived by His Father’s life. And it served as an example for all Christians (followers of Jesus).

3. See my book From Eternity to Here for a detailed discussion on the eternal purpose of God.

4. Voices of the Innovators, “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation,” Business! leek, October 12, 2004, http://www.businessweek.com

5. Obviously, God the Father and the Holy Spirit do not wear out either. But all of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, and we come to know the Father by the Spirit through Christ.

We hope you enjoyed this article.. Be sure to purchase Frank Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info Click Here

Ensure you start from the beggining –  Element 1 Click Here

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Element 1 – The Reality of an Indwelling Lord

1. The Reality of an Indwelling Lord (Being Like Christ?)

There’s a great deal of emphasis today on being like Christ. This is commonly tied into and even defined as “discipleship.” The way to be like Christ, it is taught, is by imitating His behaviour.

I believe that this emphasis is correct. But it’s not complete. Christian leaders have been telling God’s people that they must “be like Christ” for the last six hundred years (at least). The well-known book by Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, was published around 1418.

Some 480 Years later, Charles M. Sheldon’s book In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? was published. Ever since then, Christians have been trying to “do what Jesus did.”

But this “gospel” hasn’t worked. The reason? It’s an instance of asking the wrong question. The question is not “What would Jesus do?” I believe it’s “What is Jesus Christ doing through me … and through us?” Jesus made pretty clear that we cannot live the Christian life. Instead, He must live it through us.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John .15:5)

Notice that Jesus Himself couldn’t live the Christian life without His Father.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” (John 5:19)

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)

Unlike all other religions, the founder of our faith is still alive. But that’s not all. He lives inside of all who have repented and believed upon Him. But that’s not all. As Christians, we have been called to live by His indwelling life. And we can. Note Jesus’ own words:

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57)

A large part of the gospel is to be awakened to an indwelling Christ—not as a doctrine or theology, but as a living, breathing Person whose life we can live by. Paul’s central message was “Not I, but Christ” and “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (See Rom. 8; Col. 1; Gal. 2; and John 14-17, where Jesus Himself spoke about His indwelling just before His death.) Paul said, “To live is Christ,” which means that Jesus, being in the Spirit, can now serve with our hands, walk with our feet, see with our eyes, and speak with our lips.

Jesus Christ lived His life by an indwelling Father. In the same way, we as believers can live the Christian life only by an indwelling Christ.

This is not a peripheral issue; it’s a central part of the gospel. Imitating Jesus, therefore, is not a matter of trying to mimic the outward things He did (as if we can actually do that in our own energy).

It’s rather a matter of imitating the way He lived His life. It’s to get in touch with the engine of His outward activities and to “do likewise.” This puts us on a collision course with the issue of living by an indwelling Lord. In short, the goal of the gospel is not to get you out of hell and into heaven, but to get God out of heaven and into you so that He may be displayed visibly and glorified in His creation.

Element 1 from of Franks Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info click here

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Reflecting on Worship – “In Spirit and In Truth”

Awakening

Well its good to be back! It feels like its been too long since I have had time to sit down and share with you all.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24

The Holy Spirit in me searched the meaning to this verse and I have discovered a depth to it that has brought conviction to my core. When I ponder the word ‘worship’, I usually think of a 1 hour session in church on a sunday.. or the latest hit just released by Hillsong. The fact that we have mixed ideas about ‘worship’, reflects on our diverse ways we seek Gods face and return to…

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Darkness Cannot Hide From The Light

The potence and power of light is a fascinating image. Put simply, when light enters a dark space, darkness has nowhere to hide.. its overcome by overwhelming force and nothing can be done to get away from it. I was driving to work this morning watching creation screaming out Gods glory in the most simpliest way – light. I left home in the dark and watched the awsome power of light reveal everything hidden.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” – John 8:12 (NLT)

“I [Jesus] have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”- John 12:46 (NIV)

We cannot deny the overwhelming power of light, when Jesus says that ‘He is the light that leads to life’ I start to realise just how dead I was before I met Him. We are all born into sin and darkness, but we have an escape route and it comes through this ‘light’ – that is Christ Jesus. We were once condemned and on the path of destruction (Rom 5:12, 6:23), our hope exists in Christ who brought freedom (Luke 4:18)

If I could challenge you today about your actions, it would be this: Do you hide this Light in your life or let it shine for others to see?

“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” – Matt 5:15 (NLT)

If we truely believe in Christ and his light that penetrates all darkness, in His freedom and salvation why do we not share it… people stop allowing darkness to reign, let light do what it was intended to do – Shine, Overwhelm, Consume, Expose, Blind, Reveal, Bring Hope!

Note: Our role is to be the lamp (a willing vessel), the fuel that ignites the flame (Holy Spirit) and the light that comes from it (Christ) is ready for you.

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The “Christ And…” Syndrome – by Dr. Michael Horton

In C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, the devil’s strategy is not to remove Christ altogether from the scene, but to propagate a “Christ And…” religion:
 
What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of “Christianity And.” You know–Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychic Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing (Letter XXV).

Today, we see this in terms of Christ and America; Christ and Self-Esteem; Christ and Prosperity; Christ and the Republican or Democratic Party; Christ and End-Time Predictions; Christ and Healing; Christ and Marketing and Church Growth; Christ and Traditional Values, and on we could go, until Christ himself becomes little more than an appendage to a religion that can, after all, get on quite well without him. That is not, of course, to say that the evangelical enterprise could do this without some difficulty. After all, every movement needs a mascot. We say we are Christ-centered, but what was the sermon about last Sunday?

In fact, it is not even enough to preach the centrality of Christ. It is particularly Christ as he is our sacrifice for sin and guarantor of new life because of his resurrection that the Bible makes central in its revelation. After a tragic car accident, Fr. James Feehan, a seasoned Roman Catholic priest in New Zealand, realized afresh the significance of Paul’s command to preach Christ and him crucified:

If the pulpit is not committed to this utter centrality of the Cross, then our preaching, however, brilliant, is doomed to sterility and failure. We preach the Christ of the Mount; we preach the Christ of the healing ministry; we preach the Christ of the sublime example; we preach the Christ of the Social Gospel; we preach the Christ of the Resurrection but rarely, if ever, do we preach the Christ of the Cross. We have evaded the very heart of the Christian message. In our preaching we tend to decry the human predicament, the turmoil of our lives, the evil in the world, and we wonder if there is a way out. The Way Out is staring us in the face. It is the Way of Christ, the Way of the Cross (Preaching Christ Crucified: Our Guilty Silence [Dublin: The Mercier Press, 1991], p.19).

In other words, to guard the centrality of Christ in our preaching, it is necessary to guard the centrality of Christ’s ministry as prophet, priest and king. Otherwise, we will even use “Christ” as a means of preaching something other than Christ. We will insist that we are preaching Christ even though we are really only using his name in vain as a buttress for some fashionable tangent we happen to be on this week.

What then is the proper method for reading, preaching, and interpreting God’s Word? Many resist the idea that there is a proper method at all, dismissing it as naive. The content is normative and unchanging, they say, but the method is relative and depends on what works best for each pastor. It is often treated as a matter of style, like whether one wears robes or has the choir in the front or the back of the church. But not only does the Bible give us the content of what we are to believe; it gives us a method for properly determining that message.

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Article taken from:

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/preachChristalone.html

God’s Grace Be Upon you – Understanding Grace

(This is a circulated email that I liked – rarely does this occur!)

There once was a man named George Thomas, a preacher in a small Texas town.

One Sunday morning he came to the Church building carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, the Preacher began to speak. . . .

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little
wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply. “What are you going to do with them?” I asked. “Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”
“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The preacher was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”
“How much?” the preacher asked again. The boy sized up the preacher as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”

The preacher reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The preacher picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars ersuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the preacher began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked. Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other,
how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”.”And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.. “Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked. “Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you.
They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”. “How much? He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The preacher picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit. May this message bless you in some special way as you read this.

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