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The Early Church


Anyone remember this "Revolution"? (Around 1974? Btw, I was born in '74!!!)

I promise, it's MUCH better than the new "Revolution" that's so talked about these days. This Revolution was about the Church! (The preface alone can change your life!) Here's a small piece:


God once sent a man into Judea shouting to all, "Repent, get ready, for the Lord is about to come." His name was John the Baptist. The world lay in darkness; it was not ready for Jesus Christ. But God was not waiting for the world to get ready for Him! God had a burning desire for man to know what He was really like, and He was anxious to have something on earth He could point to and say, "This is like me."

What was it God wanted?

As you read the New Testament it becomes obvious. It was not the Christ of the flesh, but a greater Christ. It was Christ in His church! This combination turned the world upside down... The first century wasn't ready to meet Christ. Of course, the 20th Century feels that it has met the Lord. But is it ready for the Church... (?)

There is nothing like meeting Jesus Christ. Nothing! Meeting Him is a life-changing experience. Meeting His church which is Him, expressed on the earth today, is no less exciting and life-changing! The church you read about on these pages - bold, exciting, victorious and full of life - is still the desire of God's heart today.


And whosoever will, may come... Glory to our Lord.





*--------------------------------------------*
"What was it God wanted?"



"A greater Christ."



"Of course, the 20th Century feels that it has met the Lord."
*--------------------------------------------*

Can you remember knowing Him... or thinking you did... and then coming to know him in a deeper, more aware, more real way? It's like crossing a threshold, or removing a veil. You think you know Him. Then you know Him. Suddenly, one day, it's just HIM. (Do you know what that's like?) Many christians know Him... before they Know Him.

After all the comments on my last post, I remembered: Knowing "church" is like that, too.

In 1995 in Baton Rouge I was reading books about the church and feeling excited about the organizations I was part of and the people I knew... I mean, it was all I KNEW... so of COURSE I thought that's what the church was. The twenty-seven christians I saw from time to time. Usually. Or Sometimes. (I mean come on! What else was there?) And I was right - in a sense. It really was "church" - to a degree. And then, one day, I read this book from Seedsowers... (!) And then soon after I was driving across the country to visit a CHURCH... (!) And there really are no words to explain or describe what I SAW. It's just like: How does anyone even know what "green" is... until somebody shows them GREEN while they're saying that word?

It's like the difference between a bread, ketchup & velveeta melt... and a stacked Chicago Deep Dish Pizza! (But both are "pizza".)

It's like the difference between finding a nice hotel during a looong road trip... and coming home to the nice mansion your whole family lives in! (But both are "rest".)

It's like the difference between sitting in the arena up by the rafters... and having floor seats right next to the action! (But either way, you're "at the game".)

It's like the difference between having a first crush... and feeling fully in love with a wonderful person, on your wedding day! (But every young girl with the first crush really thinks that she knows what "love" is. And she does... in a way.)

You know what you know.

But there's MORE you don't Know...

Till you KNOW!

Ya Know? :)




*--------------------------------------------*
What WE have heard
What WE have seen with OUR eyes
What WE have looked at
And touched with OUR hands
concerning this MANIFESTED Word of Life...
WE declare to you, that you might have
FELLOWSHIP
with
US.
And OUR FELLOWSHIP is with THE FATHER AND THE SON!
*--------------------------------------------*

What is Church?

Someone asked for a definition. These words fall SO far short, but here goes...

"Church" is an ongoing community of believers whose primary focus and need is Him. "Church" is a group of people who are daily involved in one another's lives, and who also "gather" at times. "Church" is a group of believers who have nothing in common except the Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to know Him better.

"Church" is very costly, it is NOT casual, NOR convienient, and it does NOT do a very good job of meeeting my needs. "Church" is NOT a place where I agree with everyone. "Church" is NOT a place where people with a common disposition to mine comfort me about my conflicts with others. It is where we find Him.... sometimes because of each other, and sometimes despite each other.

"Church" is NOT a loose network of all my christian friends and contacts. "Church" is NOT the very true fact that all christians everywhere are part of His larger "Body". "Church" is a local, together-y, group-y, mess-y attempt by God to pull me out of my self-worship.

"Church" is NOT a meeting once a week in a living room or auditorium. "Church" is NOT a building, a concept, a mission, a duty, or a portion of my christian checklist. "Church" is NOT a collection of various spiritual and/or group activities I frequently take part in.

"Church" is a GROUP thing. "Church" is the Body of Christ.

"Church" is inseperable from Christ. (Or at least ought to be!) "Church" is the Father's House, and the natural homing beacon of my God-breathed spirit! "Church" is my lifeline, my connection to other dwelling places where HE is. "Church" is made of many mansions where He dwells. "Church" is made of many living stones... but these stones were made for being built with...

He wants a Living House of Stones! And the "assembling" process is more than the fact that we gather. And it's more than some Ultimate Truth, or perspective. There is both a deeper AND a more practical "assembling" that He calls us to. There is a "building-together" that out-lasts, out-costs and out-shines all our many, brief "assembling" times. He goes through a process of chiselling and fitting US together, locally, in the Body! He Builds Us Up! He Builds His House!

Of course He IS building His House in Eternity, of all living stones, everywhere! BUT HE IS ALSO building His House ON EARTH, WHEN A GROUP gathers UNTO HIM, and LINGERS, abiding for His Purpose, for HIS Construction Project. A Group that gives Themselves for Him to Build His "Church" with.

"Church" is HIM-IN-US, living together, moving together, seeking together, building together. Christ building up Christ! The Glory of the Ages!

"Church" is NOT a place where individuals can "get" some fellowship so we can each get re-charged-up for living the 'mission' of a good, solo-christian life.

"Church" is a together-thing... many christians in an ongoing, humbling, often humiliating, full-of-failure, spiritual adventure where no human-head ever dominates, but where JESUS CHRIST gets to be HEAD!!! A living and active pursuit of Him, not by you and you and you and you and you and me, all seperately... but by an "US".

That's the "church" I see in the pages of the New Testament, and that's the "church" I've been blessed to know for some time...

And I was lost until I found this Home.

Him

A lot of people like to say there are two kinds of "Christianity" – the Grace kind and the Law kind. But that’s not true. There aren’t two. There are three.

There are people who follow the Law.
There are people who follow their lusts.
There are people who follow the Lord.

Most Christians have been in (or at least been to) all three groups. We all say we hope to live in the Lord. Some claim "Grace". Some claim "Law". And each of those two groups often accuses the other.

Now, the Law group is afraid to be caught by their own lusts. And the lust group is afraid to be judged by the Law. Or by someone’s law. Or by any law at all. But the interesting thing is that they both tend to see what they fear. They both, often, accuse other christians of being in the group they don't like.

Jewish Christians (in the Synagogues that James wrote to) accused Paul’s saints of using their freedom to sin. Gentile Christians who gave themselves as slaves to sin were loved but gently rebuked by Paul’s saints – but a few left the fellowship. And don’t you know those folks accused Paul of being a Pharisee still? They did. (Some still do.)

But the truth is there are many ways of the flesh. Serving lust is of the flesh. And serving Law is of the flesh. Living in fear of either one reveals a lack of Faith in Him. (Faith may as well equal “focus” you know, and Fear is “focus” too.) But Paul said that “the Righteous Man” will live by Faith.

And I say: there’s only One Righteous Man… but here is the mystery: He DOES live by Faith. He IS Faith. And He is MY faith. He is neither the Law to me, nor freedom to sin. What do I need rules or sin for? I have Him!!! And that's True Freedom! And He Himself is my only Law!

And I live here, as part of Him here. And we love Him. We LOVE Him. We love HIM!

Together.
Here.
We.
Love.
Him.

And Praise God… Thank You, Lord… we don't have to be slaves to our "freedom". And we're sure there's no Law against You! :)