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 A Fresh Breeze is Blowing -Nate Krupp


[b]A Fresh Breeze is Blowing[/b]

A fresh breeze is blowing. In this hour, God is calling and leading His
Church back to the humility, simplicity, and mutuality of the Early
Church as seen in the New Testament. He is saying, "For 1,700
years you have done it your way. Now you are going to do it My
way." We are now in the midst of the early days of a sovereign, very
radical, new move of God that will result in true, New Testament
Christianity and the final fulfillment of the Great Commission. This
new move of God is characterized by thefollowing:

Introduction

A fresh breeze is blowing. In this hour, God is calling and leading His
Church back to the humility, simplicity, and mutuality of the Early
Church as seen in the New Testament. He is saying, "For 1,700
years you have done it your way. Now you are going to do it My
way." We are now in the midst of the early days of a sovereign, very
radical, new move of God that will result in true, New Testament
Christianity and the final fulfillment of the Great Commission. This
new move of God is characterized by the following:

1. From serving God to knowing God.

Most of us have known about and served God for years. Now He is
calling us to truly and deeply know Him and supremely love Him and
Him alone. True fruit will be produced naturally as we intimately
know and love Him.

2. From a Gospel of "easy-believism" to the Gospel of the
Kingdom.

In the 1960's people were encouraged to "accept Christ." This often
resulted in shallow conversions, people who were not truly
converted.Today, God is calling His servants to preach "the Gospel
of the Kingdom" which requires us to call men to repent (turn from
sin) and to make Jesus their Lord or King, the Sovereign ruler of
their lives.

3. From the efforts of man to the works of God.

The days of putting out a sign, starting some programs, and
conducting services to do God's work are over! We must learn to
"do God's work in God's way." We need to wait upon Him; learn to
know His voice; get our direction from Him alone; and obey promptly
and totally. We must pay the price for revival. We must give
ourselves to united, intensive, extraordinary prayer and warfare. We
need to believe God to confirm His Word with signs and wonders.
We need to implore God to teachus to do His work His way - and be
ready to make drastic changes as He does just that. Then the fruit
will be produced by Him - and He will get all of the glory.

4. From insecure, wounded people to people made whole by
Jesus Christ.

Most of us have had traumatic experiences and have received deep
woundings from other people. The word "salvation" means
soundness, deliverance, wholeness. Jesus wants to heal us and set
us free - body, soul, and spirit - to live a life of total victory. He is
today raising up an army of such people - made whole by Him in
every way - to live an abundant life that brings glory to God.

5. From being told by man what to do to learning to hear
God's voice and doing what He tells you to do.

For too long we have gotten our revelation and guidance from
others. God wants us to grow up, learn how to hear His voice
(John10:3-5), and get our understanding of truth and direction from
Him. And yet, of course, we need to do that in an attitude of
submission towards all.

6. From clergy-dominated services and programs to
mutually-participating communities of believers.

We are used to attending "a church" and participating in "a service"
led by "the minister, clergy, or pastor." But such is not the case in
Scripture. The Early Christians, for three hundred years, gathered
in their homes to experience "koinonia," to share their lives with
each other (Acts 2:42-47). They gathered together to build up one
another by that which each one shared with the group (1
Corinthians14:26, Ephesians 4:15-16, Hebrews 10:23-25). The
moving ofGod's Spirit in supernatural expression and power was an
important aspect of these gatherings (1 Corinthians, chapters
12-14).

Today we have developed a spectator Christianity where a few (the
"clergy") perform and the many (the "laymen") observe. Many of our
Sunday morning services are nothing but a religious "production."
We have made idols out of the Sunday morning service, the pastor,
the building, pulpit, choir, platform, etc. We need to repent and
return to the humility, simplicity, and mutual participation of the Early
Church.

The indication that the time is ripe for this transition can be seen in
many churches today where godly people ("laymen") who have
been deep in the Word for twenty years, and have gifts and
ministries that God has given them, are getting "bored" with being
spoon-fed. They are eager to do some sharing themselves. God
has been teaching them much, taking them deeper in understanding
the Word, intercession, etc. Yet,when the Body of Christ gathers
together, there often is little or no opportunity to share.

7. From one-man leadership to team, servant leadership.

The early Christians worked in teams: Jesus sent the twelve and
seventy out in pairs; Paul always had associates (Barnabas, Silas,
Timothy, Titus, Priscilla and Aquila, etc.) working with him; the
churches were led by a group called elders (Acts 14:23, 20:17-32,
1Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Today we have borrowed our organizational patterns from Roman
Catholicism, the military, an the corporate world, and have
developed religious hierarchies, where men rule over men, in
contradiction to Matthew 20:25-28, 23:8-12, and 1 Peter 5:3. And
most of these religious systems have perpetuated one-man
leadership, i.e., "the pastor of the local church" or the president or
director of the para-church organization. This generally leads to
domination, manipulation, autocratic rule, and personal failure. We
have developed charismatic leaders who entertain and who use
God's people and finances to fulfill the leader's dreams rather than
servant-coaches who serve-coach-release the people of God to
fulfill their various dreams.

Today God is loudly calling His Church back to the simple patterns
of the Early Church where those in leadership walk in humility (1
Peter 5:5-6), work in teams, are submitted to one another
(Ephesians 5:21), are servants (Matthew 20:25-28), and are
coaches, releasing all others into ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).

8. From being "meeting" oriented to being "relationship"
oriented.

The standard often used for evaluating how committed one is as a
Christian has often been how regularly he attends the standard
meetings of the church, i.e., Sunday School, Sunday a.m. service,
Sunday p.m., and Wednesday p.m.

God doesn't care how many meetings we attend - or don't attend!
He is concerned about relationships. He is concerned that you have
a committed, growing relationship with Him; He is concerned that
your relationship with all others is without sin; He is concerned that
you have a deep, committed, growing, wholesome relationship with a
small group of fellow Christians; and He is concerned that you
develop natural, loving relationships with several unsaved friends in
hopes of seeing them come to Christ.

Let's get off of this "meeting kick" and start developing relationships.
Let's make sure that we are "without offense toward God and men"
(Acts24:16). Let's put a priority on one-to-one and small group time
together. Let's restructure our church services to be times of
building relationships with God and with one another. (There should
be time during the service to share with one another and pray for
one another as stated in James 5:16.) Meetings and programs come
and go - only God-ordained, committed relationships last. We must
give priority to relationships.

9. From gathering in church buildings to gathering in homes.

Jesus never erected any buildings and He never said anything to
His disciples about erecting buildings. He taught that true worship
has nothing to do with a place (John 4:20-24); and that His Kingdom
is within us (Luke 17:21).

The Early Christians gathered in their homes (Acts 2:46,
5:42,11:12-14, 12:12, 16: 40, Romans 16:5,16:2; 1 Corinthians
16:19,Colossians 4:14, Philemon 2). The Jewish Christians in
Jerusalem went to the Temple. But after it was destroyed there is no
record of Christians in erusalem, or anywhere else, having any
desire to erect "church" buildings.

For three hundred years the Christian Church was home-centered:
just believers coming together in their homes to worship (Acts 13:2)
and praise God (Acts 2:47), pray (Acts 12:5), read the Scriptures (1
Timothy4:13), encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25), sing
(Ephesians 5:19,Colossians 3:16), listen to the apostles' teaching
(Acts 2:42), have a meal together (Acts 2:46), have the Lord's
Supper (1 Corinthians 11:22), etc. When the group grew too large
for one home, one could assume they simply began to meet in two.
What a simple way to expand: no expensive building programs,
fund-raising, or facilities to maintain. Think of the money saved that
was used to fulfill the Great Commission and to minister to the poor.

Today God is restoring these simple home-centered meetings to His
Church. In the Soviet Union, China, and other "closed" nations,
secret house-churches are the way of life for most of the Christians.
In many pioneer mission situations, the converts are won in their
homes through door-to-door evangelism or home Bible study
groups. The young believers are then discipled in home-centered
meetings. In some places a "church" building is eventually erected,
but in other places the times of coming together are kept in the
homes. In large, crowded cities, like Hong Kong and Singapore,
many of the churches are house-churches. There is, in fact, a
growing house-church movement world-wide. Even in suburban
North America, one of the most popular Christian activities is
home-meetings, during the week or on Sunday evening. God is
leading His Church more and more back to the home. We will see
this trend continue to accelerate world-wide. In fact, we could see
the church buildings closing quite quickly in many nations through a
change in non-profit tax laws, an energy crisis, a political upheaval,
an economic collapse, war, or end-time persecution. This writer
believes that Jesus will find His Church primarily meeting in homes
when He returns.

10. From looking inward to looking outward.

It is easy for all of us to become involved in our own lives and forget
others. But Jesus said we were to love our neighbor as ourselves
(Matthew 22:37-39) and that we will be judged in respect to our
ministering to others (Matthew 25:31-46). The Bible further exhorts
us to not look out just for our own interests, but also for the interests
of others (Philippians 2:4). Too often we have been too concerned
about our own needs, and have become a "bless me" club. Too
often the Church has been too concerned about its own continued
existence rather than about the great needs in the world and the
fulfilling of Christ's Great Commission. The Church has taken a
defensive posture, functioned as a hospital, and attempted to care
for all of the believer's needs and wants. It is time to take the
offensive, begin to function as an army, and go out to evangelize
the world, trample on the devil, and take this world back from him
and deliver it to Jesus. God is looking for soldiers!
God is calling His Church afresh to be deeply involved in:

a. evangelism - taking the Gospel to every person in your nation
and seeing multitudes brought to Christ.

b. missions - seeing the Gospel taken cross-culturally to the yet
unreached 12,000 unreached people groups.

c. social justice - seeing the oppressed of earth - the refugees, the
homeless, the poor, the disadvantaged, the minorities, the
oppressed, the disfranchised - have a chance to live productive,
wholesome lives.

d. all of society under Lordship of Christ - seeing every segment of
society - the home, the schools, government, banking, business and
industry, the media, the arts, sports, etc. - called to return to a
Biblical foundation and brought under the rulership of the living Lord
Jesus Christ.

11. From big, expensive programs of evangelism to the
simple, Spirit-led witness of "the little people"

When we have given ourselves to the evangelization of the world,
we have often thought in terms of some big, expensive program.
But, increasingly, God is emphasizing that the world will be
evangelized by the simple, Spirit-led witness of every day people
who love Jesus with all of their hearts - sharing Him by life and word
everywhere they go.

12. From the subjugation of women to a release of women as
equal partners in the Kingdom of God.

The Church through the centuries has been one of the entities that
has restricted women in their role at home, in society, and in the
church. Much of this has been based on an erroneous interpretation
of 1Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. But, little-by-little,
that has been changing since about 1850. And based upon a look
at all of Scripture, women are increasingly being released to be fully
and freely led by God's Spirit to manage their home (Titus 2:5), to
be fully involved in the life and ministry of the Church (Acts 2:17-18),
and to pursue and attain all that God may have for her in the
business and professional world. When Jesus returns He will find His
women fully released and ministering under the leadership and
anointing of His Spirit (Acts 2:17-18).

13. From financial "sloppiness" and cover-up to financial
integrity, accountability, and disclosure.

The Body of Christ and the world recently have seen a major
example of financial mismanagement, cover-up, and fraud. There
are many other examples of "sloppiness." Christians, of all people,
should be people of utmost financial integrity. The following should
never take place: the pastor setting his own salary, the
congregation not knowing how much is received in the offering, the
pastor's wife keeping the books, etc. There should be a full
disclosure of how much comes in and how it is spent. Salaries and
major expenditures should be determined by a group appointed by
the congregation.

14. From denominations to "the church of a city".

There exists today over 20,000 denominations and many more
Christian organizations. All of these groups have come into being as
a part of spiritual awakenings, the restoration of truth and practice,
or to meet a particular need, and all have been used by God.

In the New Testament we find that all of the believers in a given city
were identified as "the church in (that city)," i.e., "the church in
Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1), "the church in Ephesus" (Revelation 2:1), etc.
They were identified as one church even though they met in many
various homes throughout the city.

Today God is restoring this aspect to His Church. Increasingly,
believers in a given city are seeing themselves as the church in that
city. In a growing number of places the leaders of all the various
groups are coming together on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly,
monthly) to share and pray and to begin to function as the elders of
that one, city-wide church. This will continue and accelerate. As it
does, denominational and organizational distinctions will become
less and less clear as each receives from the other and all flow into
functioning as the Body ofChrist, or "church of (that city)." (In all of
this we are talking about heart unity of true believers, not
organizational unity of the apostate church.)

15. From being related to one another organizationally to
being related to one another in the Kingdom of God.

It use to be that one related to others primarily on the basis of
similar organizational connections, i.e., Baptist, Methodist, Campus
Crusade, etc. But that is drastically changing. God is bonding
people of various backgrounds and affiliations together for His own
purposes. We need to be open to these divine connections, allow
these relationships to develop as the Spirit leads, and be used by
God as He would choose.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2005/11/18 0:25Profile





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