As you are reading this I am just returning from meetings in Lithuania and Latvia. Unlike the previous 2 years where we’ve had a central conference location, this trip I am traveling by car to various groups and house churches in our network around Lithuania and Latvia.
Our Lithuanian friends are among our closest in the network, and from the start they ‘got it’ in terms of the relationships in Christ. They are living what we’ve also talked about here in the US, being ‘intentional neighbors’ with each other.
That phrase means those you fellowship with are top priority in life – those are the ones you naturally first invite to lunch or over for dinner, the ones you communicate with through the week, the ones you seek out for advice – living intentional towards one another.
I remember what the Lord told me in February 2001 when He appeared to me before I was going to minister in the Toronto area:
“As it was in the beginning, so it must be now. I am moving in relationships.”
How does the ‘wake-up call’ come?
We are going to see many in the body of Christ ‘wake up’ to this truth over the next years – those who have been content to have a relationship with the structure or programs of church are no longer– many are searching out the true and genuine in people of like faith.
We see ‘intentional neighbors in Acts 2-6 where, though they remained in their own homes and maintained jobs and normal life, it was said that no one said what they had was their own, but shared with those in the faith, met with those in the faith, had meals with those in the faith – they lived as intentional neighbors to those on the same spiritual page. It was this love that the ‘outsiders’ saw and led to many believing in the Lord through these first disciples in their midst.
There is a line at the end of the movie ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ that is a great spiritual truth. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is about an unseen ‘Chairman’ who determines the course of each person’s life. If someone gets off of the Chairman’s plan the ‘adjustment bureau’ steps in to correct their path. The trouble is, Matt Damon’s character falls in love with Emily Blunt’s character whether the Chairman likes it or not. At the happy ending this statement is made: “….people who realize free will is a gift that you’ll never know how to use until you fight for it. I think that’s the Chairman’s real plan.”
Grace is exactly that – empowerment for us to live in Christ and be all He destined us to be. Unfortunately, whether by perverted doctrine masquerading as Christian truth, or just sinful human will, grace is often used as a license for sin, as Jude 4 says as well. But God is awakening many to understand that grace given to free willed beings is given us to grow in Him and to connect to others in the faith, to the betterment of all. It isn’t flashy, it doesn’t tickle the flesh – it is empowerment in real life.
Along these lines, I want to share something the Father said to me after the tragic San Francisco airline crash where it appears the pilots thought the instruments were guiding their descent, but they came in short of the runway, resulting in 3 deaths. He said this:
"You will hear of other accidents in the near future blamed on operator error. They will find a common theme of operators not paying attention or so relying on instruments that they weren't engaged in the moment, unable to think through what was happening, allowing themselves to be distracted because they were so used to everything going along in the normal routine."
"This is a picture of many in my body. They are not engaged in Life and what I am doing. They are used to everything going along as is, which allows them to be present but not in the moment.
Distracted and unthinking, they are just plodding through life wondering what is wrong and why they feel that way, so empty and unfulfilled. Remember also what I told you about this fall, where many will be wondering what to do and where to turn. Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches; Leave complicated faith and become engaged in my Life by returning to the simplicity of relationships in Me. These will prove to be most valuable in the months ahead."
Since the SF crash there has been another airliner that crash landed when the pilot allowed the nose gear to touch down first, a tragic train wreck in Spain, and various other accidents all with what appears to be the same trait - people at the controls not paying attention. Let's make sure we are at the control of our spiritual lives and fully engaged in the moment!
Each month I thank you for your prayers and financial support. And each month my emotions well up inside me with tears of gratitude as I write the words, amazed and thankful to the Father for using you to donate to what we are doing, enabling our lives and this ministry to continue. I pause and reflect and pray over the prayer requests on the flaps of the return envelopes, so thankful for the privilege.
Thank you again for being in our lives. You are loved and prayed for, and only heaven will only be able to tell the story the impact we have all had for the Lord, for we are partners – thank you! Blessings, John and Barb