If you live in the US I encourage you to get on our mail-out newsletter list as the content is usually very different than this e-newsletter that goes to so many people in many nations. The mail out newsletter is more personal about what is happening in our lives, while the e-newsletter usually includes some teaching and other thoughts.
Prophetically – Remember the Father told me in September 2003 to “Watch out when Hillary takes office”, and about 2 years ago (I haven’t’ shared this publically before now that I recall), “The President (Obama) and his policies will be more dangerous after he leaves office than when he was in office.”
But the ‘watch out’ part has certainly been true since 2009 when Hillary became Secretary of State, so that has been fulfilled as we've certainly seen massive changes to our nation since then. But time will tell if He was speaking of a still larger ‘office.’
I had mentioned earlier the Father told me "The last half of the year will be difficult for many." Of course a statement like that can be said of any given 6 months in history - but when the Father specifically made that statement to me, I took it as having a deeper meaning, that things unusual would happen in the world.
Having seen the terrorism and political happenings around the world already, from Brexit to Dallas and other violence against police, to Turkey to Nice, France and more, and we're only in mid-July, I am really praying about these last 5 months. He had already said as I've shared before "2017 will be a difficult time for the world", so I'm 'gearing up' spiritually so to speak.
But again I go back to a visitation in early 2010 when I was asking about the Arab Spring and Egypt and other things, and after telling me a few things He said, "But what are these things to you? As for you, you must be about the Father's business."
Christ is in us, and He is rock solid steady. We must as individuals, each be about the business the Father has for us in our sphere of life; Our spouses, family, work, those we fellowship with - those are our priorities. Watch, pray, observe, but don't fear. And remember, we are human beings, not human doings. First 'be', then 'do', in that order.
Practical house church tips - You are the host so you set the rules. If people need to be out by a certain time, tell them that up front. If you close the doors to certain rooms tell them they are closed for a reason and to stay out. Set the rules, you are the host. If it is any consolation, Paul had to instruct the Corinthians on such social skills in I Corinthians 14 starting in v26. Those included take turns, don't interrupt one another, anything you say will be judged and could be rejected, don't dominate conversation, and more.
In our first year of starting CWOWI we had a couple lead a house church that met Sunday mornings at 10am. They would tell of how people would stay until 11pm, and even go home, get their swim suits, and come back for dinner and sit in the hot tub until almost midnight!
We told them that is not wise, that people are there for house church - to celebrate Jesus and what we have in common in Him, and to grow as people and believers. As such our advice was to limit the meetings to a couple hours or as the Lord moved, but certainly to dismiss in time for people to have the rest of the day.
This couple complained about it, not wanting to hurt feelings, but torn because they had to get up early the next day for work, so for the sake of not wanting to hurt feelings they wouldn't set limits. The end result was they burned out as predicted, and aren't doing house church today.
Rotate - another tip is rotate who leads, and rotate homes. We've found this pattern seen in Acts 2:46 and elsewhere, works no matter the culture or nation. If it isn't possible to rotate homes each week, at least rotate who leads the meetings. And by that I don't mean a rotation among just 3 people, but rather give everyone the opportunity to lead a meeting. We've had several house church meetings that have been led by children and teens - share the responsibility!
And leading doesn't have to mean the whole thing - be creative, maybe someone new only feels comfortable picking out some worship songs while asking someone else to share the Word or what's on their heart. It isn't a competition, it only needs to be non-controversial and instead focused on what we have in common - and people can share depending on the grace He has given them. A person who loves to worship, may lead everyone in worship without any 'teaching' from the Word. An intercessor may lead everyone in prayer. A teacher may skip a time of worship altogether and just share from the Word - allow people to share according to their grace.
We've found a house church is more vibrant if it limits studies from books or other curriculum, choosing rather to rotate each week who shares, making each meeting different. If one feels led to share from a book or lesson, do so only when they host and/or lead rather than each week, or at least limit such set in stone schedule to no more than a month of meetings - trust Christ in each person, and remember that a little wild fire is preferable to no fire. People will come back to balance with gentle guidance.
Live intentionally towards one another - don't let that weekly meeting be the only time you see and/or communicate with one another. Invest in the relationships by making the effort to have lunch with someone in your house church once a week. Invite someone from your group over for dinner mid-week. Be creative; moms and young kids get together, have a men's get together over sports or meal or something all agree on. Maintain social media contact and stay in touch so that the weekly meeting is merely a continuation of the relationship.
May Dutch Conference
Our Dutch conference next year is held on the USA's Memorial Day weekend, starting Thursday, May 25th through Sunday the 28th. (Memorial Day is Monday the 29th)
I encourage you to prayerfully consider coming to the conference. It is a mix of fellowship, worship, teaching, and move of the Spirit, all in a retreat setting where we eat together at a nice facility on beautiful grounds in rural Netherlands. We usually have people from 6 to 15 nations attending and you will certainly gain many new friends!
The plan is that after the conference, from Monday (Memorial Day in the US) the 29 through Wednesday the 31st, those who wish can stay over and site see with Barb and I. The Netherlands is so beautiful, especially in spring, with fields of tulips, quaint towns, castles, and vibrant Amsterdam and surrounding areas. We may visit the Anne Frank house and/or the Corrie ten Boom house as well.
Flights to Amsterdam allow easy access for those coming outside the US or Canada. From the US you leave one day, sleep on the plane and arrive the next morning. You can easily do it in a week or 8 days. Contact Wil and Ank at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you could keep us and Chris in prayer we'd appreciate it. We've had so many trips and visitors and events this year that our normal schedule for having him home has been all over the calendar, which he hasn't understood as he is very schedule oriented with his brain damage doesn't understand all the changes we've had to make to his schedule. The aides at the group home, as well as we have had to deal with behavioral issues and his emotional roller coaster. Thanks.
Jesus said He is meek and lowly in heart, and so He is. He isn't Hollywood Jesus. He isn't impressed by Italian marble foyer as one enters a building called church, He values a cup of water to a child, a personal visit to sick friends or those in prison, and meeting food and clothing needs.
Our values must align with His values. He is meek and lowly in heart and we can learn of Him; that learning is day to day through mundane, normal, life. That is a life-long process!
We have several needs right now and we SO appreciate your giving – Thank you.
John & Barb