A novel by Chip Brogden
Heart of Fire is more than a novel or a book of spiritual teachings: it is a Biblically and historically accurate account of life as a Christian in the first and second century, based on real people, actual events, and timeless truths that are as applicable today as they were then.
For most Christians today, the Kingdom of God is a vague, mystical non-reality. Heaven is a celestial rest home for dearly departed saints. The Kingdom is mentioned twice in the ceremonial recitation of the Lord’s Prayer but has virtually no impact on the spiritual consciousness of the average church-goer.
“The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep.” In one sense of course, in the most commonly interpreted sense, Jesus is speaking of his death on the Cross. He lays down His life for the sheep so they can be saved. Well, that is the natural side of it, I suppose. I’m not saying that’s incorrect. But is there a deeper meaning that can apply?
In my written and spoken messages I make frequent reference to the preeminence of Christ. Just what do we mean by Christ having the preeminence? What do we mean by giving Christ the preeminence in all things?
“Press” is the root word of “pressure.” When people feel under pressure they use another word to describe it: “stressed.” Stress and pressure. Too many things going on. Spiritual things, being invisible and intangible, become less and less thought of, as the things, concerns, and cares of the world press in upon us.
We must allow our Husband to rule, and our desire must only be for Him. Some people want a “Prenuptial Agreement” with their Husband. That is, they are willing to come to Jesus, but they are not willing to bring all they have to Him, to have everything put in His Name, to forsake all others until death do they part. They are foolish virgins.
Let me ask, how can you make the Lord your habitation, your dwelling place? How is that possible? This can only be interpreted spiritually, it is absolutely impossible, and hardly conceivable, if we think of it naturally. How can I live in the Lord? Well, it’s like Nicodemus saying, “How can a man enter into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. In the beginning we coveted the presence of the Lord, but today perhaps we take it for granted. In the beginning we were awed by Him, but today perhaps we are not so amazed. His visits become more routine, more ordinary, more commonplace. The Lord is taken for granted.
When everything is stripped away you are soon left with little but your own thoughts. In prison, John had a lot of time to think. And the essence of his thoughts were along these lines: Did I make a mistake? Did I really see the Spirit and hear the Voice, or was that just my imagination? And if He isn’t the One, do we need to start looking for another?
How can this man give us His flesh to eat? So wondered the crowd, and so we wonder, even when we know that Christ is referring to Himself in a spiritual sense. So what is meant by this strange command? How may we apply it to our Christian life?
There is more to the Christian life than just getting saved. That is the first step into a larger world. Jesus is continually calling out to you, saying, “Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” That is a progressive thing. It is a daily thing. Every day we come to Jesus, everyday we hand over something else, every day we learn to rest in Him, and trust in His life.
At His feet we discover there is a difference between the Holy and the Human; the One Who comes from Above, and the ones who come from Below; the One Who is Spirit and Truth, and those of us who are merely flesh and blood. His feet are burning brass. This is His majesty, and His righteousness.
Having the Son, possessing the Son, being one with the Son, we have and possess everything God is. It never has been a question of seeking ten, one hundred, or one thousand different things from God. If we do not know from our experience, we should at least know from the Scriptures, that Christ is the Gift of God.
Clearly, the knowledge of the glory of God completely fills heaven. But here on earth there is a gap between what God has declared and what currently exists. As with many prophetic declarations, this declaration brings the future into focus and describes something that has not yet occurred.
Pretend for a moment that you know nothing about Jesus Christ, and have heard nothing, and have read nothing from any Christian church or ministry. You overhear me talking about Jesus, and you ask, “Who is Jesus?” Without saying a word, I hand you a piece of paper containing five verses of Scripture…
When He tried to hide Himself, He could not be hidden. I want you to think about that. When God was ready to reveal Him then He could not be hidden. He could not even hide Himself. I tell you, this idea of Christ increasing is the most powerful reality in this universe! Nothing can stand before it, nothing can resist it, nothing can stop it.
God is not moving backward, but in the Son and through the Son, He moves steadily forward. Christ MUST increase. Just as we cannot have gravity without having the law of gravity, so it is impossible to have the Life of the Lord but not have the Law of that Life. And the Law of Life is that Christ must increase.
Demonstrating a victory that is already won is quite different from wrestling to achieve an uncertain outcome. There is an elegance and simplicity connected to preeminence. This is something God wants us to experience for ourselves.
Christ is revealed or hidden from men as He so desires. So many professed disciples of the Lord Jesus fail to recognize Him. The Lord tells them to go to Galilee, but they go to Emmaus. Many people sitting in church would not discern the Lord Jesus if He walked up the aisle and sat down on the altar.
As we grow out of infancy and begin to wrestle with the deeper questions and issues of the Christian faith we will learn to say, I know WHY I believe. The ultimate experience, however, is to be brought to a place where we can say with confidence, I know WHOM I believe. Knowing WHAT is a beginning. Knowing WHY is progress. Knowing WHO is maturity.
It should be obvious that Paul is talking about something other than a physical crucifixion and a physical death, burial, and resurrection. Although he says, “I was crucified with Christ” he does not mean that he was present with Christ in the flesh at the moment of crucifixion; instead, he intends to show us something much more profound.
Some Christians think they have to have the right book or the right man of God or the right formula or the right church or the right this or that before they can be victorious. My friend, you already have all the resources you need to live a victorious Christian life. Trust in His Life, yield to it, rest in it, revel in it, rejoice in it!
The branch who abides in the Vine does not have to know how it abides. So long as it abides, it shares in the Life of the Vine. It does not have to ask how it works, and it does not have to be concerned with producing the fruit. It does nothing but abide, and the Life of the Vine keeps it.
Christ is a deep well in which every spiritual blessing and treasure can be found, but we need something with which to draw upon those depths and bring them up to the surface so we can partake of them. How can we draw upon those depths?
So many times I do something thinking it is Good, thinking it is really Spiritual and Holy and Pure, but it results in Death. It is Death because it is “me” doing it. For many years that was the way I pursued the ministry. I was very busy doing things for God, and of course I thought I was a good, spiritual person. But I am in the flesh whenever “I” am doing anything apart from Jesus.
There is something more significant to be seen in Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus versus Martha who is “much serving.” Jesus is not contrasting service and worship and saying that worship is better. No, Jesus is contrasting “many things” with “one thing.”
Why do scholars find the essential foundation and pillar of Pauline thought, and the vocabulary he consistently uses to communicate that thesis, so difficult to understand?
In due course, God’s Purpose will be fulfilled, and we will see all things put under Him – even though we do not “yet” see it. So here is the question: once God has determined to do something, is there anything, or anyone, that can resist Him?
Compared to the rest of the world, most Christians make Jesus prominent in their lives. They give Him a place. They invite Him into their life and He takes His place among the many other things they have going on. They call Him Lord, they go to church, they sing worship songs to Him, and He is an important part of their life – but only to a point.
If we are abiding in Him then we will be as He is. If we have put on the Lord Jesus then we are being changed into His likeness, we are being made into His image, and we are in the process of being transfigured. The Light and the Life will respond spontaneously and effortlessly to any demand placed upon it.
There is an ocean of difference between repeating what you have heard and speaking of what you have experienced! Is it any wonder that there is much learning, but no experiential knowledge of Truth? If we speak of ourselves then we can only impart knowledge. But, if we resolve to only speak by revelation, we can impart Life. Only revelation can change a person.
How do we touch the living Christ? The answer to this question depends entirely upon our relationship to Jesus. If we are part of the multitude then we must try and touch Him; but if we are one of His little children then we may simply abide in Him.
Trusting His Life effectively positions the fulcrum in such a way that you exert very little force, while the Lever (Christ) does all the work . Of course we eventually arrive to the place of total rest and exert no self-effort at all. Simply “ask, and it shall be given unto you.”
The one in Christ is seated with Him in the heavenly places. If we see ourselves in Him then we cannot help but understand that since the battle is already won, and Victory is ours, then we do not need a method or a technique designed to “get” a victory which we already possess.
Light is one of the most profound things God has ever created to teach us about Himself. The Law of Increase will be more easily understood when we consider it in the context of light.
There are seven stages of awareness through which we must pass through in order to bring ourselves out of bondage towards the fullness of Truth and into the life of an Overcomer. The following seven stages describe the spiritual growth of the Christian from sinner, to...
The Sermon on the Mount, as it is commonly known, begins with what some people refer to as The Beatitudes: “Blessed are…”. What follows is a kind of Kingdom Manifesto, some foundational truths that will help us to better understand what life is like in this Kingdom of God.
"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43:19). "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the...
Repentance, in its truest sense, is an adjustment of the heart, an adjustment of the mind, the thoughts, and the attitudes of the soul; and this leads (or should lead), to an adjustment in terms of things we used to do that we no longer do, or things we have not been doing that we begin to do.
In calling us to come back to the Cross, God is asking us lay down our lives and embrace the Wisdom of death, burial, resurrection, and ascension in order to live as sons and daughters within the Kingdom of God.
The Bible does not promise anyone a world free from difficulties, challenges, trials, and tribulations. At the same time, Jesus does not want His followers to be overwhelmed or stressed-out.
When we stop to reflect upon all that we have in Christ, it is natural and normal to respond with praise and thanks to God. The ones who live in Christ ought to be the most thankful, appreciative, and grateful people in the world – for In Him, and through Him, and because of Him, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Cor. 12:9 When my older daughter was just a little girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old) she saved her money and bought a clock for her bedroom. This clock was very unique! Around the face of...
The blessing of the Lord is in being reduced to Christ. Who is blessed? Not the one who is rich in spirit, but the one who is poor in spirit. The poor in spirit possess the Kingdom. Those who are broken are blessed, and those who are blessed are broken.
Children are led by God in a childish way, but as a mature believer the Lord will lead them in a mature way. Over time we are expected to know God’s WAYS as well as His WILL. When we know the ways of the Lord we will speak and move in harmony with His Spirit without having to consciously stop and ask for guidance.
It is unfortunate that after many years of service the Lord still has to call us back to the Cross, yet this is precisely where we should have begun. Although we ought to encourage people to come as they are and trust the Lord for salvation, we must also teach them that they must count the cost and take up the Cross: else they are not worthy of Jesus.
Jesus said that “in the world you will have tribulation” (Jn. 16:33). And since this is the case, we might as well make the best possible use of every difficulty and circumstance we find ourselves in. These difficulties will either makes us better, or make us bitter. Ultimately, the outcome depends upon how we choose to respond.
It is not learning about Christian things or religious things or spiritual things. It is not learning about the Bible. It’s not even learning ABOUT Jesus, it is learning OF Jesus FROM Jesus. Can you see that? Can you see the difference between coming TO Jesus and learning OF Him, versus coming to someone else and learning ABOUT Him?
Since we cannot avoid having tribulation in this world, we might as well make the best possible use of every circumstance we find ourselves in. Begin to see all your temptations, tests, and trials as opportunities for growing, maturing, and learning how to live as an Overcomer.
This is the goal of the disciple of Jesus. But how is that goal obtained? Where does one learn this single-hearted, single-minded devotion? This is what the Holy Spirit intends to teach us through the principles of Increase and Decrease.
Calling Jesus “Lord” does not necessarily mean you have submitted to His Lordship. The proof of His Lordship over you is not in what you call Him; it is in the obedience to what He says…
Just as a drowning man cannot be saved until he stops struggling, so must all who would be saved by Christ. Until you come to the end of yourself Jesus will not intervene. How hard it is for you to stop struggling and give yourself completely into the hand of God.
We cannot make the narrow Way more narrow than it is already, but we can certainly mislead people into believing it is wider than it really is. We dare not make it too difficult; but we should tremble at making it too easy.
Many Christians wonder why their circumstances are so difficult. They wonder why things never seem to go their way. They wonder why everything seems to rise up and challenge them…
What’s wrong with the Church is that Christ is not preached, the Cross is not taken up, and the Self has not died. So if I am to suffer, let me suffer for preaching the foolishness of the Cross.
Most of our fears are a consequence of not knowing God well enough. Fear comes from uncertainty. If we are confident, secure, and certain about who we are in Christ, and who Christ is in us, then we won’t be worried about what the devil might do, and we won’t be worried about what other people might do.
The answer to overcoming and obtaining the victory, reaching spiritual maturity in this age and spiritual perfection in the ages to come, is entirely dependent upon our relationship with this Person. Will we, do we, abide in Him? Is He our dwelling place?
Until and unless we have a holy hatred for evil then we will never overcome it with good. In your life you will always love something and hate something else. The question is whether or not you will love what God loves and hate what God hates, or whether you will love what God hates and hate what God loves.
What does it mean when Paul says this wisdom is hidden? It means this wisdom is not obvious. It is not readily seen. It is camouflaged in such a way that you can be looking right at it and not know it. That is why everyone looks and listens but so few people “get it”. We CAN see it, and we CAN know it, but we must seek it out, because it hides from us.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1,14). On December 25 each year...
In our daily life we come up against situations that we cannot overcome in our own strength, or with our own wisdom. We need a strength and a wisdom that comes from Above, that comes from Beyond, that comes from Another outside of us and yet rises up from within us....
It is never a question of how to get the Life to flow, or how to get the Lord to move. To tap into the Infinite Supply it is only a matter of being yielded to the Lord and emptied of ourselves. When this happens then the Life will flow of its own accord.
This is a process at work within every man, woman, boy and girl: to bring each of them to the end of themselves so they will embrace Christ and be willing to lay down the tattered, filthy garments of self-centered living in exchange for the righteous robes of the Christ-centered life.
Just like the Law of Increase, the Law of Decrease does not depend upon your understanding, agreement, or acceptance. It must be so, therefore it is so. Just as surely as Christ must increase, so you must decrease.
Once God has determined to do something, is there anything, or anyone, that can resist Him? Is man more powerful than God, or does it only seem that way sometimes?
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do...
Occasionally people write in to ask me for advice because they are worried that they are not really saved. I do not try to convince them that something they did in the past was sufficient; I simply have them make a fresh surrender, and then the question of being saved is settled once and for all.
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all (Psalms 34:18,19)." "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a...
“I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing” (Romans 7:18a). It is a great day for the Lord when a disciple of Jesus learns this most basic lesson: that in “me”, in myself, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. This is a very difficult thing for...
Most Christians I know want to please God but they also want to please people or please themselves and Jesus said no one can serve two masters. I’m not saying be rude and abrasive and uncaring. Jesus certainly was not rude or mean. But He always pleased His Father. He didn’t try to please people.
"'Do you want to know the truth? The truth is that when you were young, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are older, you will stretch out your arms and Someone Else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go'. By this,...
Spiritual growth and maturity is the natural result of discovering something new in Christ, reckoning it to be so, living as if it is so (despite all evidence to the contrary), and then seeing our faith rewarded with tangible evidence, spiritual fruit, and practical results.
The principle in John 3:30 is that I must decrease. As surely as Christ must increase, so I must decrease. It must be so; therefore it will be so.
If we share in His death then we will share in His life. How could it be otherwise? What is true of the Vine is true of the Branches that are part of the Vine.
However well Solomon may have started out, and however well he may have lived for most of his life, Solomon did not finish well. He did not end his life on a good note. He ended poorly. He did not just make some mistakes towards the end of his life – he utterly, completely, and totally failed.
Christians everywhere are keenly interested in how to be increased, how to be stronger, how to take authority, how to rise up, how to get more. They look for methods, formulas, and techniques for becoming bigger and better. The Lord has a different approach for us to take…
God does not lead us according to our fears. How easy it is to justify our fears under the pretext that, “This is how we feel led.” Are you really sure about that? Many times we aren’t led by God, we are led by our fears.
"Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (I Peter 2:21). If we were to ask a Christian, "Have you accepted the work of the Cross?" Many of them would say yes. If you ask them what the work of the Cross is, they would...
We talk about "one way", but there are really two ways: the broad way which many take, ending in death; and the narrow way which a few take, ending in life. There are two ways presented to us. One way is of man, seems right in man‘s opinion, and leads to death. The...
Paul’s confession and the belief did not lead to this encounter with Jesus; it was the encounter with Jesus that lead to his confession and belief! How quickly we forget – if we ever really understand it at all – that “you have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (Jn 15:16a).
This desire to provide people with a positive and encouraging experience creates an unrealistic expectation in the hearts and minds of the audience and congregation who have come to rely on “the ministry” to keep them properly fed.
The Ekklesia enjoys spiritual oneness with Jesus, and so it grows spiritually (and may I say it grows spontaneously) without effort, and is fruitful as it continues to abide in that spiritual oneness that already exists in Christ.
I think we all start out with a kindergarten-level understanding of prayer. I know I did. I suppose that is natural; unfortunately, too many people remain at that level and never advance beyond it. At first, prayer is all about “me.” My needs, wants, wishes, desires,...
We must tear down the flimsy structures we have built and rebuild upon the firm foundation of Christ. I offer the following Four Pillars as a basis upon which the Ekklesia can re-establish itself in the current age and ensure the continuity of an authentic, Biblical, Christ-Centered Faith for this generation and for however many will follow.
just as the newly liberated Hebrews wandered the desert for forty years without entering the Promised Land, it is possible for newly liberated Christians to wander in the wilderness for years and never discover the purpose to which they are called.
If everyone is looking for fellowship, why is fellowship so hard to find? And once we have found it, why is it so hard to maintain it? When God begins to bring you out of church and into a deeper relationship with Himself, there is a lot of unlearning that has to take place – particularly in the area of fellowship.
Just as God called out a remnant of Jews to leave Babylon and journey to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, God has in these last days called out a remnant of Christians to leave “Churchianity” and take a journey through the wilderness. What is He bringing them to?
Jeroboam’s concern is not for the people. His concern is not for the Lord, or for what the Lord requires. Jeroboam’s concern is only for self-preservation: the safeguarding of his leadership, the continuance of his kingdom, the prolongation of his own life.
Jesus often withdrew to a lonely place. More and more, we are finding Christians in these “lonely places” who are praying, waiting, and wondering. I believe this is the first step towards finding a place for the Lord – sensing the Lord’s Need for such a place.
My mission in life is to let people know that you don’t have to go to Church to find God. God’s favor doesn’t depend upon the Church’s favor. It just doesn’t. Religion is fear-based, and Relationship is love-based, and you can have that relationship right now. You know, that’s a revolutionary concept for most people.
Stop defending and protecting what God has already judged and set apart for destruction. Don’t be destroyed with it. Build your house on a rock so you can withstand this flood that’s coming upon the whole earth; or, just keep frittering your life away on stuff that doesn’t matter, and see where that leaves you when all hell breaks loose.
We really ought to thank and praise God that people are sensing something of the Lord’s dissatisfaction with the way things are. Thank God for that disillusionment. People think disillusionment is a bad thing, but to be disillusioned means you have been stripped of your illusion so you can see what is real.
When we hear the phrase, “bring people to Christ” we are apt to think in terms of tent revivals, evangelistic meetings, and missionary campaigns. I’d like to expand your horizons a bit and get you to see that the whole aim and purpose of God is to bring us to Christ – not once, but continually, daily, hour by hour, minute by minute.
Those who ballyhoo the spiritual benefits of joining a church should be reminded that we are already joined to the Body of Christ, the Ekklesia, and are already realizing every spiritual benefit of membership in HIS Church. The only qualification for such membership is a New Birth.
How easy it is for us to become distracted into something less than Christ! Are you centered on Christ? Is Jesus your obsession? Is He your focus? Or have you set your sights on something beneath Him? This speaks right to the heart of the crisis we find ourselves in today.
What is significant about this mass exodus is the numbers of people who are leaving their churches and not going back. They are not looking for another church to attend.
The problem with the Religion Machine was that it started out as a neat invention designed to help people, but it wound up hurting them. The Machine was made for man, but soon man lived for the Machine and became dependent upon it.
If God would grant you a moment by His side and allow you a fleeting glance at His Church you would at once understand what a pitiful substitute we have in Organized Religion. There is no vanity so deep as religious vanity, nothing more sickening and diametrically opposed to the heart and ultimate purpose of God.
If you primarily see fellowship as a verb, then of course you are very interested in where to meet, when to meet, how to meet… To me, those questions and concerns are all based on a viewpoint that sees fellowship as a verb – something to be done.
To be a brother or sister we have to humble ourselves and recognize that we are not the Parent in God’s Family and they are not our children. We have One Father, and He is responsible for the correction, protection, discipline, and direction of His children….
Everything you do (or do not do) as a member of the Body of Christ affects all the other members. No one is an island. The Difficult Path may be lonely at times, but we are never truly alone.
A growing number of people have come to the conclusion that the social benefits of going to church can no longer compensate for the lack of spiritual life.
Can fellowship only occur in the context of a church meeting? Once we realize that our fellowship is supposed to be based on a relationship with Jesus, not a relationship with “church”, we will discover that there are more opportunities for fellowship OUTSIDE the local church building than there are INSIDE.
The good news is that even if the Ekklesia has been underground, it is still growing and developing. When the season is right it will burst forth and once again those who have eyes to see will indeed discern the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear.
Not a doctrine, or a religion, or a catechism, but a Person, an exceedingly great and precious Person, this Preeminent Christ. Paul was not occupied with Christianity per se, and he would have nothing in common with the Churchianity we are all so familiar with; he was forever and always occupied with CHRIST.
Obtain a genuine love for someone before you ever say anything. You should be able to pray for them and ask the Lord to soften your heart towards them. Otherwise, if you do go to them, your words may be correct, but your attitude will be wrong…
Jesus did not tolerate hypocrites. And if you are truly one with Him then you will sense His dissatisfaction with those things that claim to represent Him, but do not.
The Sabbath (and every other thing in the Old Covenant) points to a spiritual fulfillment in Christ. Jesus is not bound by any rule, or regulation, or tradition, that says thou shalt, or thou shalt not. He is Lord over the Sabbath; the Sabbath is not lord over Him.
Jesus prayed for a spiritual unity in Him first and foremost. From there anything is possible, even deep relationships and fellowship with others. But that can only happen when your spiritual life is founded upon a deep, abiding belief in three core principles…
Many things compete for our time, attention, affection, energy, and money. But there is only one Lord Jesus. Just as some people cannot see the forest for the trees, I believe most sinners cannot see Jesus for the Christians. And I believe most Christians cannot see Jesus for the “church”.
Jesus is not building a denomination or founding a movement. The Church is not a denomination, but neither is it a non-denomination. It is not a steeple-house or institutional church, but neither is it a house church. Stated simply, the Church is a spiritual house of living stones, invisible to the naked eye, but clearly seen and known in Spirit.
If you follow this revelation of Christ to its ultimate conclusion, and if you truly desire to give Him preeminence in all things, then you will eventually find that you have nothing in common with the religious system that man has created in His Name.
The glory is in Christ, and not in a method, a meeting, or a movement: and it is for Him, and not for us. How quickly “It is good for us…” turns into “Let us build for You…” How subtle our flesh is! How often in the name of “fellowship” have we have built something “for” the Lord Jesus that really serves our own agenda?
Let us not be too quick to seek out others until we have reaped the benefits of being alone with God. Let us remember that Christ’s Body is a spiritual Body. Being in the physical presence of other members does not make us more of a member, and being removed from the physical presence of other members does not make us any less a member.
The Scripture does not say, “Seek first the ministry.” It says to seek first the Kingdom of God. How does this apply to ministry? It means simply this: I must be governed by the Lord of the Work, not the work of the Lord. The Lord of the Work governs the time, the place, the people, the provision, and the assignment. All these things may change as the Lord of the Work sees fit.
Without a purpose – and without leadership to keep people aligned to that purpose – home fellowships are as spiritually unsatisfying as the institutional church services they aspire to break free from.
The ministry of One-Anothering doesn’t require a platform, a pulpit, a building, a budget, or a Board. You can start immediately, with no training and with no experience, and you don’t have to quit your job or do anything dramatic. The Life you possess qualifies you to be in the full-time ministry of One-Anothering.
Paul gave us an example to follow. Don’t just look at his calling and his gifting and his revelation. Look at his heart of love. He gave all – not just for the Lord, but for the Lord’s people. And they were a most carnal, unappreciative bunch of people. Even so, the heart of a father is demonstrated.
Jesus is no ordinary person; He is the Son of the Most High God. What He demonstrates to them (in word and in deed) is that everyone who does the will of God is His brother, sister, and mother; that is to say, all the members of His family are on equal ground before Him. In this family He plays no favorites, He gives no preferential treatment.
The purpose of solitude in the spiritual desert is to get you to see that Jesus is Enough. You’re not going to die from lack of fellowship, but if you don’t learn that Jesus is Enough then spiritually speaking you’re dead already. He’s the One you need to be focused on – not starting a fellowship, not finding a home group, not making something happen with other people.
We hear a lot of talk about trying to unify the Church, but until we see that we are already One Flock we will just keep on talking about it and never experience it. We must see before God that He has already made us One Flock under One Shepherd. This is not some future event, but a spiritual reality, waiting for us to enter into.
I can appreciate your viewpoint because for many years I shared it, as a pastor and teacher in Organized Religion. But I no longer have that viewpoint, and so I disagree with your conclusions and your advice. Here’s why…
Religion is on the side of bondage, tradition, conformity, uniformity, control, and manipulation. The Lord Jesus is on the side of liberty, freedom, deliverance, healing, setting free, releasing, and restoring that which is bound. And in ten seconds, Jesus did something that eighteen years of religion had been unable and unwilling to do.
Relationship views everything in terms of a "person." Religion views everything in terms of "place" or "thing." For example, people say, "I miss corporate worship." They are basically saying that they see worship as a "place," something to attend, a "thing" to be...
“Perfection” here means “maturity”, and it would be good to simply remember that whenever we see the word “perfect” used in this context we should think “spiritually mature.” The perfecting of the saints means the maturing of the saints, the process of bringing the saints out of spiritual immaturity and into spiritual adulthood.
At first glance the Lord’s decision to accept Abel and reject Cain seems rather arbitrary. Both worshipped the Lord, and both brought the Lord a sacrifice. What makes one acceptable and the other unacceptable?
There is a wonderful reformation happening right now – not within the religious system, but within the hearts and minds of people who are repudiating that system. There is a tremendous revival taking place right now, and it is a revival along spiritual lines, among those who have heeded the call to “come out of Babylon” and have been raised to new Life.
Archippus had received a ministry from the Lord, and he had not, as of yet, fulfilled it. Archippus knew it, and Paul knew it, and now everyone in Colossae knew it. He was called to something, and had received something from the Lord, but it was dormant, stagnant, inert, still waiting to be put to use.
Both sacred and secular history teaches us that having no leadership is just as bad, and in some ways worse, than having bad leadership.
Come to Him and learn of Him. Repudiate the wisdom of the Pharisees and embrace this Man Who does not keep the Sabbath, because this Man is the Son of the Most High God, and there is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!
It took five hundred years of walking with God, but Noah found grace, and that made it all worthwhile. Let us learn to do nothing apart from this amazing grace. It is better to wait five hundred years for grace than to work for five minutes without it.
Have we all attained to the full-knowledge of the Son of God? Have we all, as the Body of Christ (not just individually), grown into the fullness of Christ? Some may have, but it is clear that all have not. We still need the ministries of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher “till we all come.”
Often we take the easy yoke and the light burden of the Lord and turn it into a difficult yoke and a heavy burden. This happens when we go beyond the place God has appointed us and take it upon ourselves to do things He has not called us to do, go to places He has not called us to go to, and speak with people to whom we have not been sent.
I have generally assumed that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. After all, He was born in Israel, He was Jewish, and people called Him, “Rabbi.” But that would make Him a professionally trained religious leader. Was He?
The turning point in my life came in 1995. At that time I was a 24 year-old burned out pastor of a church that had just closed. I was a little angry, a little frustrated, and a little depressed. As I was half-reading and half-praying, I came across a passage that I had seen hundreds of times before…
Receiving revelation is something of an art. To intentionally seek revelation is one thing that sets the prophet apart from the ordinary person who passively waits to receive. The prophet does not wait for revelation, but pursues it.
A true prophet will know how to proclaim judgment and intercede against it at the same time. This apparent contradiction only underscores the need for wisdom, maturity, and prophetic responsibility.
The physical temple came to represent something other than the purpose for which it was created. Thus, the Lord Jesus, in word and in deed, demonstrates that He no longer considers the physical temple as His House, but calls it a “den of thieves”, thus establishing a new House, built upon the foundation of Himself.
Prophetic utterance does not deal with “things,” but with Christ. When the prophetic revelation is genuine, we will be able to answer the question: “What about this tells me something about Christ?” If we cannot find something of Christ in it, then whatever it is, it isn’t prophetic.
What is the Testimony of Jesus? Why does the prophetic word revolve around this Testimony? Why does this Testimony attract so much rage, spiritual conflict and opposition? And what does it mean to have or to bear this Testimony?
This article is taken from an audio message. The spoken form has been retained throughout. Scripture declares that God has given us tremendous spiritual authority in Christ. With this authority, we can confidently overcome sin, satan, and the world. Authority Over Sin...
It isn’t enough for the prophet to be “filled” or even “led” by the Spirit; the prophet must be completely governed by the Holy Spirit. There is a lot packed into that word governed that must be pulled out and examined. What does it mean to be governed by the Holy Spirit?
When we pray “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” do we really know what we are doing? This kind of prayer is not a frivolous thing. It is calling for a revolution in the way things are. It is commanding all that is to make room for all that is to come.
I can quickly relate a dozen experiences I've had with flaky people (both men and women) who thought they were "prophetic." They always show up at my meetings and want to pray for me. Then they always think they "see" something wrong with me, or they want to give me a...
Sin is very desirable; if it wasn’t then no one would be temptable. We need a spiritual compass greater than the limited knowledge of Good or Evil, Right or Wrong, Good or Bad. We need a way to recognize Life and Death.
Most of the time, the right decision don’t feel good. Doing the right thing is usually difficult. The easiest thing to do is to quit, to give up, to go back to Egypt. But I’m telling you, get to place where going back is no longer an option – then going back is no longer a temptation.
Many Christians are in bondage to the fear of man. We cannot be God’s spokesperson and be afraid of people. We will find it difficult, if not impossible to faithfully give all the counsel of God when there is a spirit within us that withdraws from people out of fear, timidity, or anxiety.
In this present time, if we will come into the inner court and stand before God on behalf of His Kingdom and His Will, then no matter what happens, the Lord will be glorified, His Son will be exalted, and His Kingdom will soon be manifest among the nations.
We may have difficulty reconciling the image of a brokenhearted God Who wants to restore the nations with One Who sends a flood to destroy the earth and rains down fire on cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Does the Bible contradict itself, or have we simply failed to interpret it correctly?
The Lord wants us to see that John is an Overcomer. Though they boil him in oil, yet he has overcome death. Though they have exiled him to an island he overcomes, as this prepares him for his greatest contribution to the Church.
This three-fold benediction concludes what is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. It is a fitting conclusion to what we call the Prayer of the Kingdom, or the Prayer of the Overcomer. This confession is the summation of all that precedes it, the end result of what we are asking.
Perhaps you too will have to make even the same mistakes in order to learn, yet following my advice could perhaps help you to avoid the unnecessary heartache and cruelty inflicted upon yourself and others when thinking that you are doing God a service.
The prophet does not usually bring a one size fits all generic sort of message that speaks to the universe. It is typically a surgical strike, directed and honed to penetrate a particular thing in the Body of Christ, with Spirit-led precision that cuts through the formalities and niceties to get to the guts of the task at hand.
In the worst evil, Life and Light come forth and God is glorified. Goodness, holiness, love – that they exist at all in this world is miraculous. The real miracle is that good exists, and that God can bring good out of evil. How is it possible?
Through a series of painful experiences the Lord brought me to a deeper understanding of what ministry to Him is. In this writing I would like to explain this deeper ministry. I have referred to it a number of times in other writings and in my spoken messages, but by the grace of the Lord I would like to take some time here and expound a bit on this perspective of ministry.
What must happen in order for us to minister to the Lord? It involves two preparatory things: “draw near” and “stand before Me”. We cannot offer anything or do anything until we first draw near to Him and stand before Him. I wonder: how much time have we spent just standing (or sitting or kneeling or lying) before the Lord, just to minister to Him?
To the rest of the world, the autistic savant is a bit of a retarded genius, an unfortunate mixture of idiocy and brilliance, caught up in a world of its own. The prophetic savant bears a similar stigma. But if you engage him at all, you soon discover that he sees all of this as absolutely normal; the way it is supposed to be.
Daniel and his friends represent the Overcomers. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would forever and always maintain a certain amount of hostility and resistance to the world system there in Babylon. Not a loud, demonstrative, attention-getting resistance, but a quiet, purposeful, principle-based way of living.
The Book of Daniel holds within it the secret to being an overcomer. Simply observe how in every case of conflict between the Remnant and the enemy that the Remnant is strengthened and the enemy is defeated. In every instance the very thing which is meant to destroy the Remnant actually serves to reinforce it.
The Book of Daniel contains encouragement and wisdom for us who are being raised up as a Last Days Remnant of overcomers. It records a succession of attacks against the Lord’s Remnant and how they overcame these attacks and demonstrated the preeminence of Christ.
What Nebuchadnezzar had to learn is the same thing we all have to learn: the heavens do rule. Heaven governs Earth. To us who are still bound to the Earth it appears that we have a lot of authority, a lot of say-so, a lot to do with what happens here. But control is an illusion. There is One Who rules Heaven and Earth.
As soon as we grasp something of the significance of God’s Ultimate Will and begin moving towards a Heavenly Testimony in the earth, then we become the subject of intense resistance from elements in this universe that are opposed to that Testimony. That resistance the Bible calls “Antichrist.”
The time it takes varies from individual to individual, but each one of us facing the cumulative effect of unmet expectations reaches the same fork in the road. Eventually the focus of our attention shifts from what people have done, to what God has NOT done.
When the servant’s eyes were opened, he saw what Elisha saw. When Elisha said, “The ones with us are greater than the ones with them” it must have sounded like lunacy. It cannot be understood with words alone: the eyes must be opened.
All contrary things, whether they be of spiritual, natural, or human origin, find their root in one of these three sources. The glorious thing of course is that God’s provision meets all three enemies and defeats them in order to demonstrate the preeminence of Christ.
If the Overcomers are not earthly conquerors or crusaders, what are they? Overcomers are simply Christians who live the normal Christian life. That is, the normal Christian life, as God intends, is a life that overcomes. It is a life which demonstrates the preeminence of Jesus Christ over all things.
The prophetic mandate today is not to keep watch over a city, but to keep watch over the Ekklesia (a “heavenly city” if you will) to ensure that the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ is fulfilled.
Along with the revelation of God’s Eternal Purpose concerning Christ, there is a corresponding testimony that is declared. Scripture refers to this as The Testimony of Jesus.
That Jesus intends for His disciples to fast is made clear by the words, “When you fast…” Fasting is as much a part of a disciple’s life as prayer; hence the Lord couples, “When you pray” with “when you fast” in His teaching to the disciples.
Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will pray. This is why four times in a row He says, “WHEN you pray” and not “IF you pray.” But from these brief excerpts of Scripture we learn that there are at least two classes of prayer. One is unacceptable to God, and the other is well-pleasing to Him.
Even someone who is after God’s own heart, someone who seeks Him early and often, someone who desires Him more than anything else – yes, THAT kind of person, ESPECIALLY that kind of person! – will be called upon to endure some of the most excruciating physical, emotional, and spiritual rigors imaginable.