Many have asked for an update about the remodel for a handicapped bed room and bathroom for Chris - they start framing this week– yippee! We were told the foundation and concrete work would take 2 weeks, it took 9. The framing should take about a month, so we are thankful for progress.
Chris doesn’t fully understand all the activity, but he knows he is getting a new room, but doesn’t know what that means. But he does like the cement mixer and front loaders and all the activity!
We are thankful for small steps of progress and are still planning on visiting the affiliated house churches and those interested, in England and Scotland, September 5-17, and Florida and possibly more of the southeast US, October 2-12. As things develop we’ll post where/when as we can on the header of my Weekly Thoughts and in our US through the mail newsletter.
Zechariah 12:2 says the Lord will make Jerusalem a ‘cup of trembling to all the people round about when they shall lay siege both to Judah and Jerusalem’. That is part of what we are seeing played out as Israel takes steps to end the harassment by Hamas. As Benjamin Netanyahu stated so accurately: “Israel uses rockets to protect its people; Hamas uses people to protect its rockets.” We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and peace in Israel.
BRICS - You may recall some months ago the Father told me, ‘Watch India turn away from the US’ – He is very specific with words, so the use of ‘away’ rather than ‘against’ is significant. If two people are talking face to face, when one turns away from the other they aren’t making a statement against that person, they may be merely going to another appointment, or ending that conversation – they don’t become enemies.
So I found it interesting the nations allied together called BRICS have made the news by taking steps to trade in their own currencies, turning away from using the US dollar, and have also started their own version of the World Bank, again so they may trade in their own currencies and be a controller of international funds. (The BRICS nations are: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa)
So look for prices in the US to continue to climb as the dollar becomes less valuable to the nations, and look for the EU to become more free-standing and less dependent on US influence economically and politically. Exciting times we live in, that must be treated with prayer!
Here is a question I recently received: How can we help those who won't host gatherings nor take the lead, nor talk in the meetings?
What we did when we started was 12 straight weeks in our home. I taught about house church through Acts, who the named hosts and hostesses were, and I led each meeting - prepared the worship, Barb prepared some finger foods like cheese and crackers, veggie plate, water, tea - the usual suspects for such a gathering. And of course I taught and we discussed all about house church.
On the Thursday before week 6 the Father spoke to me and said, 'You've talked enough, now delegate' - so I shared that last time, then told them someone else would lead the next week - if they'd like I'd prepare a worship cd, and we'd meet at our house still, but they would have whatever message the Lord gave them.
One man raised his hand, and the next week he shared from one of the Psalms. He said he had nothing through most of the week, started getting nervous, but about Thursday something in him gelled, he knew he was to share, he got revelation...and that is what he did. It was great, led to a 90 minute discussion and study...
After that we had no end of volunteers, and we rotated through the others the other 5 weeks. After that I told people it was now time for them to host and lead...so we passed around a calendar and people signed up for the day they wanted to host and lead, and we’ve been doing that since. Sometimes a person will open their home but not lead, but usually whoever hosts also leads that meeting.
So my experience is that leaders must learn to become leaders. You share the pattern of the Word. You show them the hosts named - Lydia, a single woman, business owner, in Philippi. Nymphas, evidently also single, hosting in her home in Laodecia. Crispus and Justus who teamed up in Corinth. In Colossae we have Philemon, in Rome and then in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla. In Thessalonica we have Jason. (Acts 16, 17, 18, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2, Romans 16, I Corinthians 16)
On a practical side, we failed by asking a single couple to host week in and week out. They should have from the start been teamed with another couple with whom they could rotate homes and responsibilities.
If you are thinking of starting a house church: That means when a person or just one couple start, they need to meet for some time with friends and/or other couples to develop that core unity that only comes from getting to know each other well over time. We commonly see a year go by with just a core group of people before the Lord starts adding more. When this core group of friends or couples have rotated homes and leading among themselves for some time and developed those strong relationships, when others come in they see the normal pattern and join in.
Sign up time!
One of the bold steps a leader needs to take in leading an existing house church, is being bold enough to say that you will follow the rotating house to house pattern in Acts. A practical step is to get a piece of paper with the next month of Sundays (or other day you meet) written on it, and pass that paper around with a pen, and have people write their name down on the day they will host. People at first may be hesitant, but once they open their homes to host and/or lead that first time, it becomes natural.
You may have to ease them into it - maybe offer to provide a worship selection, or maybe they want to open their home but not lead, so have someone else lead in their home. Get creative, but lead…
Barb and I thank you so very much for your prayers and financial support. I invest my days visiting with so many people in so many nations through Skype, Facebook IM, email, phone and in our travels because of your support. You allow me to pray, study, write and teach what the Father gives me.
As is the case with ministry, many more receive the benefits of all we do than give back materially, so those who do are very special to us. Please also pray for us.
Blessings and thanks!
John & Barb