What a busy time! Here are some updates, some sharing from my heart, and where I’ll be this summer.
Trips this spring – the Dutch and Finnish trips were amazing, and I continue to reflect on what a special time they were. In the Dutch conference the Lord manifest Himself in so many varied ways – from the large angels so many of us saw or felt around the perimeter of the room and the charge to take what we had learned and do it, applying it to our lives, to the amazing worship.
The worship included percussion solo with the drum box, often called a ‘Cajun drum box’ in the USA, with such anointing it touched most everyone, followed by a violin solo that ministered healing…it was just amazing. There were several healings, but once again it was the renewing of friendships and the making of new ones during the weekend that was most special, helped by the fact we were at a retreat center so all meals were together as well.
Finland was equally amazing though much different as rather than having a central conference, we drove sometimes up to 3 hours outside Helsinki (and back each night) to 10 home meetings in 5 days, each day meeting starting at 11am and then driving to another meeting at 5pm. I got to see house church Finnish style which was actually quite varied, but each was full of the love of the Lord. The first meeting was in the city of Tampere at a Nepalese restaurant, the Christian owners who hosted the meeting asking for prayer for loved ones caught in the earthquake in Nepal, and the Lord gave His peace and assurance to all. Other meetings were anointed, each different, and all were encouraged. On the last day in Helsinki I ministered at Christian TV7’s “Holy Spirit night” and prayed for people for over an hour afterwards – good trips!
Summer ministry trips – Tulsa, Hays, KS, Seattle, Vancouver, Osawatomie, KS
Sunday, June 28 I’ll be speaking at Spanish Victory Christian Center in Tulsa at their 81st and Delaware auditorium at the 9am and 11am services. The 11am service is their Spanish Victory Bible College graduation, and I’m blessed they asked me to share.
I’ll be in Hays, Kansas July 11-12, email me for details. The Seattle area August 2-3 and I’m trying to get ahold of friends in the area. Several of you donate monthly, but I’m having a hard time getting ahold of you as my phone/emails for you is evidently out of date. If you live anywhere near the Seattle area, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get together for a meal or a meeting, just let me know.
On August 4-5th I’ll be in Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, then in Abbotsford (east of the city of Vancouver) the 7th-8th. August 22-23 in Osawatomie, KS – this is an auditorium church pastored by good friends Debra and Pat Huss. When I was there a few weeks ago the Lord appeared to me and others, and told me to come back for a time of worship and personal ministry, and to lay hands on everyone. So Saturday night 8/22 is that meeting, then I’ll minister at the Sunday service the next day.
Chris’ bathroom is nearly complete, working lights above the sink are now in, and just about 3 more weeks for the handicapped shaped sink to arrive, and then once the plumbing is hooked up we will be done – we are ready to be done with this project! Thanks for your prayers and giving, there is still about $1000 left just in a proper wheel in shower chair, some toilet side-rails and shower rails to be installed, then we’re done, yippee!
Finances - We’ve had a huge outflow this spring ranging from a change in the way we pay taxes both personal and payroll, huge repair bills, and issues regarding Chris and his care at the group home, as well as a ministry trip here in the US that cost over $1500 in flight/motel/car and none of it was reimbursed. This was in part due to circumstances beyond my host’s control, but it really hit us hard, along with other unexpected expenses.
In fact, the mailing of the mail-out newsletter is currently delayed until we have enough to cover the expenses involved – we appreciate your prayers, giving, and communicating your prayer requests. Just stretched in many directions and need your prayers, thank you so much for being there for us.
Relationship based faith – what I’m seeing all over is the willingness of couples and families to start a house church with just themselves. Over these 13 years since we started CWOWI we’ve seen changes in the body of Christ. Initially we saw some people wanting to start house church in part because of hurt received in the auditorium church. Many of the most popular authors on house church during that time were writing and speaking out of their own hurt and were very against anything called ‘leadership’ as a result, and most weren’t even in any house church, had never started one, but only spoke or wrote about them.
And for those wanting to start a house church out of their hurt, we would help them through the hurt because that isn’t a reason to start a home based church.
Then we started seeing people who wanted to do house church just because they wanted more of God. These were most often people with considerable experience and experiences in the auditorium church, but they weren’t reacting to hurt or the negative experiences, they just wanted more of God.
They realized where 2-3 are gathered in His name so is He, and we saw small groups, often many using auditorium church terminology like ‘God has called me to plant house churches’, being zealous but not yet understanding you don’t start house churches like an auditorium church might start.
House churches occur naturally as an outflow of one’s or a group’s intimacy with the Lord, dynamic fellowship within that group, and natural responses to a growing number of people in a home. Once a living room is outgrown, a group from that house church will multiply out and start rotating between homes and who leads each week among themselves, while staying related to the church they came from. We still see that as it is the way of church in the home.
But in the last year there has been an overwhelming shift towards couples and families who are starting a house church just with themselves – no longer waiting for others to join with them – they are just saying ‘Let’s do this’ and start meeting with just them and their family, or two individuals even.
While these people would love to have others join them, they are no longer waiting for others to show interest, they are just starting and as time goes on will tell others what they are doing, and trust others will want to gather with them.
Not 1 person – I’ve also seen complacency settle in some house churches. Complacency is defined as “Self-satisfaction, quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of a potential danger or threat”. Complacency easily sets in when, like summer now for those who live north of the equator, people are busy with all sorts of things and gathering together with the saints falls by the wayside in favor of vacations, family reunions, and outings that take advantage of the nice weather.
Sometimes I see a house church slip back into the auditorium pattern where 1 person starts sharing week after week or if he/she doesn’t then they conduct the meeting like a teacher and students, calling on x person or y person for comment – the death knell for a house church.
Other times there is a feeling of disconnection and a seeming lack of direction when all summer long people are on holiday or with family doing other things – that’s normal and will resolve itself once everyone is back in the routine of school and work.
The key is relationships. If you’re in relationship based faith and ministry you are in it for the long haul, through the seasons of life and literal seasons of the calendar. The earth will be renewed by fire we are told, but human beings are forever. That means 500 years from now we will still know each other – 1,000 years from now the same, 10,000 years from now we will still remember these times in Christ and our relationship will only be that much stronger. What we have in Christ is eternal and is never lost.
If you have an eternal perspective you realize there is going to be a give and take, up and down, and seasonal adjustments within those relationships. Don’t be insecure, know that August will come, people will once again settle into the routine after they are back to work and school – don’t be dissatisfied, but be praying for those you love and know things will once again settle down.
After this current series in my Weekly Thoughts I’m going to share a spiritual dream I had, which has made me wonder what is coming up for the body of Christ – so watch for that in a couple of weeks.
I also want to say a word about this cd/MP3 series this month and next. There are a lot of teachings out there about spiritual gifts, but this series is about what makes you, you. You’ll see your personality as part of the Lord’s personality, and realize what moves you and motivates you is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit as much as if you prophesied like Isaiah or were an apostle like Paul – it is the Holy Spirit in you – and it will really help people have a renewed confidence within themselves.
Thanks for your prayers and donations this month, we really need it – very stretched in all ways. Thanks and blessings!
John & Barb