New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Saturday, January 19 2002 Vol 02 : 014
Re: [NTCP] short report from Pastors Conference at TACF
Re: [NTCP] short report from Pastors Conference at TACF
Re: [NTCP] cell groups
Re: [NTCP] cell groups
[NTCP] How to Start a House Church
Re: [NTCP] cell groups
[NTCP] Demons
[NTCP] Bopping into the discussion

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 14:03:23 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] short report from Pastors Conference at TACF

Hi List!

I just got back from the TACF (Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) Pastor's
conference. The presence of the Lord was very strong. The theme was "Word and
Spirit Conference". The speakers were Jack Taylor, Paul Carrin, and N.T.
Kendal (Westminster Chapel). Powerful time of teaching and exhortation, just
what you need from an apostolic gathering like this one.

I registered as a pastor of a house church Network. Came home with only a
couple of business cards left!!! I was amazed at how many asked about house
church and one pastor of a Pentecostal church asked me if Robert Fitts (Return
to Simplicity) and I could come to Iroquois Falls, in Northern Ontario to a
house church seminar! He wants to move out of the institution and into homes
all over town, and the Lord has places these words on his heart, INTIMACY,
RELATIONSHIP, BODY MINISTRY. He can't shake these, and he knows it won't work
like what the Lord has shown him. I am amazed. I was conferring with Robert
Fitts about adding Iroquois Falls to our itinerary.

Some institutional church pastors from the area want to come and experience
house church. I am open to that, as I will be praying that they have a dynamic
encounter in which they receive revelation. One pastor told me, "It's not
working! It has never worked! I am more tired, more frustrated! I would love
to quit and drive a bus for a living, and just gather with some folks and seek
Jesus!" I said, "Great! You just described house church!" He was shocked, and
he smiled and looked at me with a funny smile, and then said, "I'll see you
later..." He walked away somewhat dazed!

The schedule for yesterday included:

RT Kendal - The anointing - God has a unique anointing for each of His
children. Don't seek another's anointing. Seek the Lord, and He will impart His
anointing for you. He spoke on 1 Sam. 16., and how Saul was 'yesterday's man',
a man gifted by God, who was a great starter, but a lousy finisher, and who
lacked the character development to succeed. Yesterday's man will have a
common grace anointing and will be very evident in his gifting, but you measure
a man not by his gift, but by his character!. He then spoke of 'today's man'
which is Samuel, who had anointed and confirmed 'yesterday's man', but would
also anoint 'tomorrow's man'. He is man in transition who must have great
character and great confidence in God so that he can bridge the transitions.
He is a man of both the 'now' and 'tomorrow'. He said that many in the room
where in this catagory. Then he spoke about 'tomorrow's man' who is David. He
never fit's in. His own father won't recognize him as special. Samuel had to
ask about any more sons, and Jesse said, "Sure, just David, but he's just a
shepherd." David was not recognized as anyone special by his father or his
brothers. When he went to the camp, just before confronting Goliath, he was
put down by his brothers. Then Saul, 'yesterday's man' tried to inflict upon
him his own armour! You cannot fight the enemy with another man's weapons, or
another man's anointing! You need to walk in the anointing God has for you!
David was 'tomorrow's man' and he did not fit in to 'today's man'. He had to
be seasoned and prepared to become 'tomorrow's man'. It was a powerful message.
Kendal went on to say, that 'today's man' needs to support and encourage
'tomorrow's man', for he will be different and he will fit and he will receive
his own unique anointing to fulfill the plans and purposes of God.

I was blessed for I saw the whole house church/institutional church debate in
this. It was reinforced when Kendal said that in a few years we will not
recognize the coming transformation coming to the church! We need to be ready
for what is coming. God will give us the revelation and the grace to embrace
what He is doing.

Also of note and importance was his inistance to view the church within the
framework of the Kingdom of God. If we do this we will not lose our connection
to the past moves of God, and the current moves of God, and we will be able to
launch out in the future knowing that we are advancing the Kingdom when we
plant churches taking enemy ground one heart at a time!

This was the ONLY workshop out of four that was of any use to us! The others
were: 2. Consider Your Structure - John Arnott (pastor of TACF) spoke about how
important structures are! He dealt with the whole area of physical property,
programs, etc.. NOT MY CUP OF TEA as a house church planter!

3. G-12 Groups - Steve Long (assisant pastor to John Arnott). They have jumped
from 99 small groups to 199 G-12 groups in one year. The emphasis was heavily
on accountablity (I really, really, really, really do not like this
'accountability' thing! It is another means of CONTROLLING and MANIPULATION in
the guise of shepherding and pastoring). It really sounded like multi-tiered
marketing the way it was spoken about. Very hierarchal. Very 'structural'!
YUK! NOT MY CUP OF TEA EITHER!

4. Burn on instead of Burn out! - with Carol Arnott (wife of John). She
addressed the whole issue of personal renewal and about not taking on too many
burdens from your congregation, etc.. NOT MY CUP OF TEA EITHER! If the body is
mutually subject one to another and are functioning as a family...there is very
little pressure that causes burnout! I have not found stress for over two
years! Ironically, it goes right back to when I left the institutional church
in August of 1999! Coincidence? I don't think so!!!

As much as there was really only one workshop in the afternoon that was really
good (on the anointing), I really enjoyed relating and sharing what the Lord is
doing. I was blessed to see an old college friend (military chaplain now) and
to see some pastors from my denomination, and other pastors I know in the
renewal. It was good to deepen the relationships. Even better were the ones
that said they wanted to hear what I had gone through...because I really looked
happy and fulfilled!!!!

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 23:50:58 EST
From: TheologusCrucis

Subject: Re: [NTCP] short report from Pastors Conference at TACF

Howdy!

I've been reading the thread on cell groups and although there has been much I
have learned, I must admit to being discouraged about the whole "house church"
Vs "institutional church " part.

I have written before to say that I am new to the concept of beginning a
believing community along nontraditional lines. I have been on staff in
Pentecostal churches for a decade and never expected God to call me into this
type of situation. I and my wife have been "witnessing" more than we ever have
in the past; just in the last couple of days I was able, by the preparation of
the Spirit, to present the Good News to three Muslim students and a supervisor
who takes his spirituality from the new Quantum physics. If any of them respond
to the message, I know that any relationship with them will begin on the basis
of simple friendship. If by God's grace a small group forms, I don't see a
building, incorporation, or a parking lot in my future.

Isn't the Body of Christ built on this simple foundation of friendship -- the
Spirit of God in each one producing individually the Fruit of the Spirit; and
that same Spirit producing the edification of others thru the gifts given to
individuals? And relation to each other based on faith in Jesus as described in
the Gospel? Are not all of us adopted brothers and sisters into the family of
God thru the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus the the little Jewish
carpenter? What is true spirituality except to individually and corporately
daily play out the story of Jesus -- dying with Christ to who we were, raising
again with Jesus to what He has made us? It is no longer we who live, but
Christ in us.

Why this emphasis on particular ways of conducting a worship service? I mean,
really, what is so hard? From the first century to the present day, baptism and
the Lord's Supper has been the focal point of every service, whether "High
Church" or low. Baptism, the symbol of death and resurrection, and the Lord's
table, symbolizing Jesus' role in sacrificing Himself for us. It's been done,
and done well, in every culture, in every place, and in all times.

There were no "Good old Days," no golden era in the first century. One of the
first things after the formation of the church in Acts is the Greek Jews
complaining about the Jewish Jew's treatment of widows! Do some of us really
think that we, in the 21st century, can exactly replicate what went on in Roman
occupied Palestine 2000 years ago? People are people, no matter where or when.
But ways of relating, of thinking, of explaining the world and our human place
in it, all these things change. If by some miracle a believer of the first
century were to appear out of thin air in one of our gatherings, they'd be as
perplexed as we would be if the situation were reversed by what was going on in
our gathering! The only thing they'd recognized beyond the language, culture,
and perspective barrier would be the water, the bread, and the wine.

The only thing revealed in Scripture is salvation by faith in Jesus, not a
sacred way of church organization: "It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we
proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus' sake.
For the same God who said, 'Out of darkness let light shine,' has caused his
light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation -- the revelation of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 4:5-6

My soul, literally, can't take any more divisions or conflicts with others over
things that are made the center when really they are only periphery issues. To
do ministry in a way nontraditional in the US, will I have to defend the
organization of a worship service and fellowship in order to accomplish what
God has called me to do? Will the acid test of fellowship among us be what one
thinks about the "house church" Vs the "institutional church "?

I know that in these threads there are things that need to be discussed, and
that organization and fellowship are very important matters. I am not writing
to protest the thread, or anyone involved in it. I know that in the realm of
experience, many of us have not been just burned, we've been seared in the
"institutional church "! But what is sacred here? How we do a service and the
environment in which we fellowship, or Christ in us?

I don't mean to be harsh, or to be disrespectful to you folks with much more
experience and maturity than I. I have learned much in these threads that has
encouraged me, and has increased my faith in God's ability to build His church!
But I'm beginning to see a pattern emerge...

TheologusCrucis (TC)

PS: Pray for the kid I talked to, the student supervisor, his name is Todd.
After talking about the creation story and Genesis and God's response to the
Fall (Jesus crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected), I lent him a copy of
Will's translation of "Confessions" by Agustine. Augustine spoke much about the
creation of the world and God as a personal Creator in Book one. He is going on
a long trip, and has promised to speak to me about what he will read this
weekend on Monday. He is very much into string and chaos theory. I'm hoping to
give him a NLT of the first chapter of John, if he is interested, next. -

Howdy!

I've been reading the thread on cell groups and although there has been much I
have learned, I must admit to being discouraged about the whole "house church"
Vs "institutional church " part.

I have written before to say that I am new to the concept of beginning a
believing community along nontraditional lines. I have been on staff in
Pentecostal churches for a decade and never expected God to call me into this
type of situation. I and my wife have been "witnessing" more than we ever have
in the past; just in the last couple of days I was able, by the preparation of
the Spirit, to present the Good News to three Muslim students and a supervisor
who takes his spirituality from the new Quantum physics. If any of them respond
to the message, I know that any relationship with them will begin on the basis
of simple friendship. If by God's grace a small group forms, I don't see a
building, incorporation, or a parking lot in my future.

Isn't the Body of Christ built on this simple foundation of friendship -- the
Spirit of God in each one producing individually the Fruit of the Spirit; and
that same Spirit producing the edification of others thru the gifts given to
individuals? And relation to each other based on faith in Jesus as described in
the Gospel? Are not all of us adopted brothers and sisters into the family of
God thru the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus the the little Jewish
carpenter? What is true spirituality except to individually and corporately
daily play out the story of Jesus -- dying with Christ to who we were, raising
again with Jesus to what He has made us? It is no longer we who live, but
Christ in us.

Why this emphasis on particular ways of conducting a worship service? I mean,
really, what is so hard? From the first century to the present day, baptism and
the Lord's Supper has been the focal point of every service, whether "High
Church" or low. Baptism, the symbol of death and resurrection, and the Lord's
table, symbolizing Jesus' role in sacrificing Himself for us. It's been done,
and done well, in every culture, in every place, and in all times.

There were no "Good old Days," no golden era in the first century. One of the
first things after the formation of the church in Acts is the Greek Jews
complaining about the Jewish Jew's treatment of widows! Do some of us really
think that we, in the 21st century, can exactly replicate what went on in Roman
occupied Palestine 2000 years ago? People are people, no matter where or when.
But ways of relating, of thinking, of explaining the world and our human place
in it, all these things change. If by some miracle a believer of the first
century were to appear out of thin air in one of our gatherings, they'd be as
perplexed as we would be if the situation were reversed by what was going on in
our gathering! The only thing they'd recognized beyond the language, culture,
and perspective barrier would be the water, the bread, and the wine.

The only thing revealed in Scripture is salvation by faith in Jesus, not a
sacred way of church organization: "It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we
proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus' sake.
For the same God who said, 'Out of darkness let light shine,' has caused his
light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation -- the revelation of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 4:5-6

My soul, literally, can't take any more divisions or conflicts with others over
things that are made the center when really they are only periphery issues. To
do ministry in a way nontraditional in the US, will I have to defend the
organization of a worship service and fellowship in order to accomplish what
God has called me to do? Will the acid test of fellowship among us be what one
thinks about the "house church" Vs the "institutional church "?

I know that in these threads there are things that need to be discussed, and
that organization and fellowship are very important matters. I am not writing
to protest the thread, or anyone involved in it. I know that in the realm of
experience, many of us have not been just burned, we've been seared in the
"institutional church "! But what is sacred here? How we do a service and the
environment in which we fellowship, or Christ in us?

I don't mean to be harsh, or to be disrespectful to you folks with much more
experience and maturity than I. I have learned much in these threads that has
encouraged me, and has increased my faith in God's ability to build His church!
But I'm beginning to see a pattern emerge...

TheologusCrucis (TC)

PS: Pray for the kid I talked to, the student supervisor, his name is Todd.
After talking about the creation story and Genesis and God's response to the
Fall (Jesus crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected), I lent him a copy of
Will's translation of "Confessions" by Agustine. Augustine spoke much about the
creation of the world and God as a personal Creator in Book one. He is going on
a long trip, and has promised to speak to me about what he will read this
weekend on Monday. He is very much into string and chaos theory. I'm hoping to
give him a NLT of the first chapter of John, if he is interested, next.


------- <><><> -------



Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 01:53:52 EST
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

Dear Michael & Crew,

Do I actually think that RELIGIOSITY, CONTROL, PRIDE, and FEAR/INSECURITY are
real evil spirits?

Well, ten years ago I might not have thought that. But we live and learn.
We're all kind of hanging out into the "greater things" dimension of
post-Biblical revelation whether we like it or not.

Yeah, I believe they're real. And it's not because of any anointed gifting I
have. I've simply learned that when you run into nasty, evil stuff that has no
rational or logical reason to exist, then you're looking at evil right from the
Pit, as opposed to cultural/psychological evil that can be explained away by
any competent sociologist.

I actually have about as much spiritual perceptivity as your average brick.
But now and then I meet people (especially some pastor types) who are
absolutely REEKING of control or religiosity. Makes my skin crawl--like
jumping into a snake pit.

The spirit of religion is more common among laymen. When you meet someone
whose heart is eager for the things of God and yet he has an almost violent
reaction toward rearranging his traditional church service in any way, you've
probably got a mind that has been seriously invaded by the spirit of
religiosity or religion.

Fear/insecurity is almost entirely a pastoral problem.

Let me take a few more paragraphs to give you my (non-inspired) version of how
these demons came to roost in the church in history. Remember, this is just my
opinion. But it seems to make sense to most house church folk I tell it
to.....

Waaaayy back at the start, people must have discovered that open, free-form
house meetings can be terrific .... or not so terrific, varying week to week.
And you know what it's like after a truly great meeting: You have this urge to
spend the rest of your life trying to replicate it!! Right? (That explains a
whole lot of the motivation of house church people; at some point they've been
in some great meetings, and after that, nothing else is good enough anymore.)

So after a great meeting in, say, August of A.D. 64, two followers of the Way
walk out of a house, saying, "Wow, that was great! Let's do this again NEXT
WEEK!!!!! And so the next week, they meet at the same house, sing about the
same songs, have the same people do most of the speaking, put the contributions
in the same order, and--voila!! They've cloned the service.

After that, it's no longer good enough to have an ordinary meeting. They've got
to float out of the meeting on a pink cloud. I call this the Pink Cloud
Syndrome. Already at that point, they've crossed over the line from religion
to magic: You do this and this and that, you chant these words, and you
automatically get the desired result; you are in charge. You've re-created the
effects of God being in your service, so it no longer is crucial that He be
there. (You have the same phenomenon we see in building cathedrals, organizing
awesome choirs, firing up the incense burners, cranking up the pipe organ, etc.
These things can artificially recapture the emotional, soulish impact of God's
presence. Without them, you're faced with the brutal fact of Ichabod. God is
nowhere in sight, and you've got nothing to replace Him with. That's why
traditionalists sometimes froth at the mouth when you propose a meeting style
that robs them of their spiritual props.)

Well, continuing my little imaginary saga, this pink-cloud-dependent group soon
has a visitor. And in the midst of the meeting, he pipes up with some honest
question or objection. Obviously, they can't allow that. It would interrupt
the meeting, break the spell, and cause who knows what mischief. So an elder
stands up and says, "Excuse me! This is not the time to bring up such matters.
Please save that sort of thing for afterward thankew." And so the spirit of
control drops into the midst of the fellowship like an African bull elephant
and takes over. Demons cause blindness, and 2000 years later, most Christians
think it's highly desirable to have everybody file in, sit down, and not utter
a word for 90 minutes.

After a few years of polishing their routine, the abovesaid early house church
undoubtedly got it down to near perfection. And so they would invite their
friends, "Hey, come visit our home next Shabbat! We have terrific meetings.
We're not like that ragtag bunch of amateurs in the house next to Honest John's
Falafel Palace. WE know what we're doing!" And so pride crept in. And
stayed--at least until severe persecution knocked it out of some of them.

Now, a house church built on a foundation of religiosity, control, and pride is
a fragile thing. Many of them must have collapsed for various reasons. And so
through the second century or so, the leaders learned to fear not only the
government and the Jews, but also the occasional visiting skeptic or critical
Christian, people who would create dissension by questioning or arguing about
the plainly artificial foundation of that ekklesia. To this day, most pastors
I know are plagued by the irrational spirit of fear/insecurity. Though they
have everyone perfectly trained to file in, sit down, and shut up, they can't
fully escape the fear that somehow someone will someday bop into their meeting
and obliterate the whole charade by refusing to join the lemmings.

Whew. I'm sorry to be so windy. But I want all of us to realize what it took
me 7 years and $4 million to figure out: When you try to get an institutional
church to open up, you're not just facing the normal task of informing and
persuading. You're head to head with ugly spiritual entities that are way, way
bigger than you are. You can argue yourself hoarse with perfect logic, great
testimonial stories, and airtight Scriptural prooftexts, but in the long run,
the best you can hope for is to pour enough new wine into their old skins to
cause the whole thing to burst, destroying whatever progress God was making in
that institutional church . Not a good outcome. Instead (as one character
said at the end of the "Lord of the Rings" movie), let's go hunt some orc! Our
target is the sinner pool--which has by no means dried up!

Cordially in Christ,

Jim Rutz
Colorado Springs


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Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 10:43:12 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

Jim, Thank you for your contribution. You said........

I've simply learned that when you run into nasty,
>evil stuff that has no rational or logical reason to exist, then you're
>looking at evil right from the Pit, as opposed to cultural/psychological evil
>that can be explained away by any competent sociologist.

It's interesting that I as an incompetent psychologist decided to reseach some
of these things about 5 years ago (at the result of a request from a group that
I was working with at the time), and i came to much the same conclusions as
you. Wherever I go I'm confronted with people's "pink clouds". Years ago, in a
Baptist setting, I left a church after about half the church couldn't worship
with a sanctuary carpet any other colour than blue.

In the situation where I now work, there is one of the leaders (an argentinan),
who shows his insecurity by trying to whip-up revival, by copying in his church
just about every thing he has ever seen in videos of Argentinian revival
meetings, and stepping firmly on anyone who questions wether this is God's way
ahead for us in Spain. Just last week two people were expelled from his church
for asking the wrong questions. Such is the unity of the church in Northern
Spain.

Thanks and Blessings keith


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Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 03:02:38 -0700
From: "David Cummings"
Subject: [NTCP] How to Start a House Church

Cast out the spirits. Cast out the Spirits. The "institutional church ". I hate
that term it brings such division. I would like to call them "The People who
belong to the big buildings with the CEO's in charge instead of God"

I find that the way is narrow and many of the people I consider Christians
'belong to the building with the CEO's in charge' but that does not make him a
"Christian" ; another term I don't always like. I am not big on labels. See
your either a follower of Jesus or your not. You either take up your cross or
you don't. And the people who 'belong to the big buildings with the CEO's in
charge instead of God' are no different than the tailgaiters who gather every
Sunday eat a meal of hotdogs and brewski outside of Big Buildings aka football
stadiums and "spectate" themselves in a 'religious' activity after the meal.
'religious' can be implied to mean extremely devoted. To those tailgaiters
Football and tailgaiting could be a form of relgion. To many in the
'institutional church ' are religious just like this. Well it boils down to 2
things. God or "themselves aka the flesh".If they are sincerely devoted to God
they can be called out of the bondage of religous crap. It really is crap.
Religion is the great lie of Satan. 'religion' is the prefabricated God of this
Age, Just as it was in Jesus day and age. Satan does not have a new game plan
after 2000 years. It is the same old crap that he used to fool the Pharisees
and Sadducees.

If they are into "themselves aka the flesh" they must be called out of that.
And called to God.

How do you do it? The same way you plant house churches. You cast out the evil
spirits. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Fasting. Fasting. Fasting. Do I give up on
them. No. Did Jesus give up on me? No. Did I not once 'belong to the building
with the CEO's in charge instead of God'? Yes, I did. And if it wasn't for
someone just like me encouraging them to seek God's word and to be lifted of
the bondage of 'religion' and seek Jesus than I would have never left. And then
after I helped plant a house church that grew to 30+ people I was faced with a
decision. Get a building? Get a name? Go institutional church ? Or What? I
stood firmly for my beliefs firmly in the concept of fellowshiping New
Testament style. Long before I knew there were others out there like me. And
even though I was one of the original two church planters. I was asked to
leave. It cost me my job (I was a drywaller) ,My housing. My well being. My
friendships. Guess What? I would do it again. Over and over again. Because I
don't give up. Rally troops send me to Corinth. I am ready to go. And I will
win over the church at Corinth by prayer and fasting. And if I don't? Maybe one
or two people will leave and see what was going on and find out what God was
doing.

Since I was asked to leave, That house church that formed Clear Creek Community
Church fell to pieces. All the young people that I had gently "pastored" have
left the flock and the church fell apart financially and folded in 3 and half
months. But the story doesn't end there.

Greg Daily, one of the original youth is now planting NT fellowships in a small
town in Minnesota. Jen Daily, is beginning a small group for young people in
Golden,Colorado. David Cummings,'delivered youth pastor' is planting house
churches in Boulder,Colorado. Melanie Prince,has moved to Raleigh,NC where she
is planting house churches in her community. Rich Green,"pastor not yet
delivered", is working for Faith Bible Chapel West. He instilled in me the
dream of 'home church' which began for him when he was 21 years old and
preaching on the College Campus. He helped plant a network of 'home churches'
in the 80's. Someday he will again Lord willing find that dream again.

4 people have left the dead Clear Creek Community Church and are planting New
Testament Fellowships as a result of one man's determination to have control
over a situation. What Satan used for evil. God uses for good.

So I boldly speak out Jim. Here is what I think you did wrong. Did you cast out
the spirits? Did you walk in faith when casting them out? Or did you like so
many in 'christianity' today try to intellectualize this House Church concept
vs. Institutional Church concept. Because both concepts can be just as
relgious! I preach no concept but Jesus and no gospel but Jesus. And when
neccesary I use words.

For Yes, house churchers can be dead to Christ. And so can ICers. But the
truth of the matter is this. Is Jesus the forefront of your life. Are you
taking up your cross daily? Are you living for Jesus?

I could return to the institutional church today and feel completely free of
the religious crap that goes on there. I could be financially cozy in a youth
pastorate and God would bless me and I would love Him with my whole heart and
everything that I am. I could be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. A
crossbearer.

But. I don't. Because God called me to do His work somewhere else. If God led
me back there. I would do that with the same passion and devotion which I to
the roundtable now. Because it's not about institutional church vs. house
church. It's about Jesus. I challenge everyone that wants to speculate about
the concepts to do this.

Ask yourself this question. IS JESUS LORD OF MY LIFE? If so. Go start new
testament gatherings of believers. One by One.

How do you do it? Cast out the demons and the wicked spirits. Then take up your
cross and follow Jesus.

Amen and Amen.


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Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 07:45:40 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] cell groups

Dear "Hole in the wall" gang,

If "speaking the truth in love" includes sharing the honest content of our
hearts, then I would have to say that we are beginning to get somewhere. Now
the only question is, are we in love.

A couple of years back, I wrote in part to Gene Edwards:

"There is nothing wrong with healthy fathering or mothering, rather the problem
is with neglect or abuse. The old creation reveals, for anyone who will stop
being religious long enough to take a look, that parents do not raise children
to sit in pews and watch the parents do everything. Healthy parents teach their
children how to take over the business of living, and if possible go beyond,
even "farther up the mountain", than where the parents have been or began.
Again, I fear that you are throwing out the baby with the bath water where
authority is concerned. I understand that there is an awful lot of bath water
which must be drained away if we are ever going to catch even a glimpse of the
baby, but lets take care in the draining of it.

"Beyond Radical"; given the present condition, even the historic or chronic
condition of the church, something like "beyond radical" is not only good, but
vital, if she is to reveal Christ in the earth. That said, then Jesus, Himself
must be understood as being "beyond radical". The question is, What was it
about Jesus that made Him beyond radical. Forgive me if I suggest an answer
which goes beyond the implications of your own.

For all of His truth, wisdom, insight and revelation, not to leave out ability
to communicate, He was not alienated, but rather redemptive. Clearly he was not
out to redeem the synagogues, but rather the people in the synagogues. I think
that I wrote to you in a previous letter concerning those who relate to God by
appointment. If they are to be redeemed, someone needs to meet them at the
appointed time and tell them that, "God does not live in buildings built by
human hands ..."

While this may not be a task for the faint of heart or the immature, it is a
legitimate task none the less. It continued to be the priority task in the
early church, "... first for the Jew...". I wonder if your communication of
the problems in the church could not reflect just a little more grace toward
those who have embraced this task, with no less revelation than your own.
Perhaps even some of those who are looking to you might then become part of
this redemptive process."

Yours in christ,

Jay


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Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 10:47:04 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [NTCP] Demons

From: "Nahmen" [Original post sent from an unrecognized address. Use text
only, no html. Much thanks.]

Greetings from the farm.

Since we are on the subject of demons here is a testimony. We have been taking
in people who have drug or alcohol problems. A young man came to us. He seemed
to be a very spiritual person. During our daily study he would have revelations
and be moved to tears. His revelations were scripturally correct.

It came out during conversation that as a small child he encountered an ugly
thing behind his mothers bed. This ugly thing stretched out his hand to shake
this young boys hand. The boy hesitated but was encouraged to respond. seeing
that this ugly thing was friendly he shook its hand.

>From that moment on this boy would levitate as he laid down in the grass
under the fruit trees in his mothers back yard.

We realized he had a religious spirit (demon) and cast it out in Jesus name.
From that moment on this young man had no more revelations.

Satan does not seem to mind giving revelation, even scripturally correct
revelation as long as there is no relationship with Jesus being formed. It is
not religious knowledge that saves us.

I have since come to believe that there are preachers standing in the pulpit
who have received a religious spirit in seminary and are receiving revelation
from the devil himself. "Doctrine of demons"? Could this be?

Nahmen


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Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 11:40:51 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: [NTCP] Bopping into the discussion

Jim you've got me laughing aloud and crying at the same time!

Isn't THIS the truth:
>After a few years of polishing their routine, the abovesaid early house church
>undoubtedly got it down to near perfection. And so they would invite thei
r
>
>friends, "Hey, come visit our home next Shabbat! We have terrific meetings.
>We're not like that ragtag bunch of amateurs in the house next to Honest
>John's Falafel Palace. WE know what we're doing!"

LORD JESUS, take that UGLY thing out of us all, and help us to walk in your
mercy, YOUR kindness, justice, and humility!

>
>Now, a house church built on a foundation of religiosity, control, and pride
>is
a
>
>fragile thing. Many of them must have collapsed for various reasons. And

>so through the second century or so, the leaders learned to fear not only the

>government and the Jews, but also the occasional visiting skeptic or critical
>Christian, people who would create dissension by questioning or arguing about
>the plainly artificial foundation of that ekklesia. To this day, most pastors
>I know are plagued by the irrational spirit of fear/insecurity. Though they
>have everyone perfectly trained to file in, sit down, and shut

>up, they can't fully escape the fear that somehow someone will someday bop

>into their meeting and obliterate the whole charade by refusing to join th
e
>
>lemmings.
>

Who among us has not experienced this firsthand? I vividly recall the first

time I bopped into an AG Bible Study on a Wednesday night over 20 years ago.

I was attending the church for a couple of months and had gotten to know the

preacher and his wife, and asked him when we mght have Bible Study, ..."you
know, a sharing of the Word in more informal way." He said, "Oh, we have
that on Wednesday nights." So I went. This pastor (a peer, my friend, and a

pretty cool, decent guy) stood up and started preaching.

I kept waiting for the bible study to begin, but it never did. It was just
Sunday morning all over again. One distinction. He wore a sweater instead of
a tie and jacket. Oh, and one other difference,-- this time he was talkin g
about the Book of Revelation instead the Book of Matt.

In my naivet E9 I raised my hand and asked if we were going to discuss this
stuff (okay, give me a break, ...I was a young 20-something just out of college
and eager to find believers who loved Jesus and wanted to fellowship

with each other, and I still hadn't realized that most pastors think they're

the head of the church). Anyway, his eyes just about bugged out. He said w e
"WERE HAVING BIBLE STUDY." Okaaaaaaaaaay.

In any case, the spirit of control and religiousity there did not come out o f
anything but this dear man's fear and insecurity. My problem was that I simply
did not know better. I did not realize that most churches did not tak e the
Bible seriously or even attempt to let the Body look like a functioning,

living, breathing entity. Plus, it took me a while to learn that you don't say
those kinds of things to the preacher or else you are considered a
troublemaker, etc.

All this to say, I can relate to your Pink Cloud scenario Jim. Our nature i s
to replicate what works. So true. So true. Earl and I came down here a year

ago after seven years in a very cool house church DETERMINED not to try and
replicate what God did up there in NJ, but REALLY wanting to see God do it
again. However, He did not. It's simply NOT what He is calling us to do down
here. Occasionally we have had to fight that thing in us that wants to

replicate what worked in the last house church, but overall, it's much bette r
to be following the cloud and surrounding by His presence, engulfed in His
presence, and finding ourselves following Him rather than repeating history and
following the PINK cloud.

I'm going to share a neat story of what's happening here in another e-mail
soon. This one is already too long.

Bless you all,
Stephanie

Horizon Creative Services & Consulting Marketing Solutions
for the 21st Century

http://members.aol.com/steffasong/index.html steffasong


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