Report From The Tower
I was thinking about it today. I want to be part of a church: the bride of Jesus. But my environment has been a bit tough. There are only a bunch of harlots around here. It reminds me of a local saloon in the old West boom town. Where can a noble and gentile lady (a pure and chaste body of believers) be found? Then, I thought, "take out a classified ad". Perhaps I will widely publish it, as I am not sure where, if any, such a faithful lady can be found in these times. Should I look for her in "Craig's List"?
So, I am trying to design the advertisement. I will take a stab at it and perhaps, you can help me fine tune it.
Jesus loving couple seeks the true bride of Christ, for fellowship and service in a local body of believers. We are looking for the following qualities in the applicants and they are listed first in their order of importance to us:
1) REAL LOVE: We want to belong to an assembly where the brethren really love one another. We are not so much looking for greeters at the door as we are looking for believers who are really dedicated to helping one another. We are not talking about helping repetitive free-loaders, who are not willing to work. Do they help all the brethren in their midst who are struggling with paying bills, who are unemployed, who are disabled, who have special needs and who might need some significant financial help over an extended period to get back on their feet? The benevolence program should be large, it should be overseen by a spirit filled elder, and it should be a greater priority in the congregation than the building fund, the pastor's compensation arrangement or anything else that the congregation spends money on. Significant assistance should be approved by the board of elders.
2) EXTRAVAGANT WORSHIP: We want an assembly where the worship involves the love of God with all of the heart, soul, mind and strength of the members. Whether it is done by members who are singing along with a recording, or whether this assembly is so blessed as to have its' own worship team, this endeavor needs to be taken seriously. This worship needs to be in Spirit and in Truth: It needs to follow the flow of the leading of the Holy Spirit and it needs to be done without hypocrisy. Significant time needs to be devoted to worship. We are looking for worship that is not identical in every service, but as unique as a snowflake in every meeting. We hate services: they are for corpses. We love living meetings. There needs to be some wonderful variations to worship. We will know it and recognize it when we experience it. The worship needs to be "spirit filled" without being "spirit focused". It needs to be "Jesus focused". Prayer meetings need to be a part of this regular worship experience. Prayer needs to be a priority. The Lord's table should be celebrated both in symbol: with bread and wine and in full meals where the congregation breaks bread together.
3) PRESENCE AND GLORY: God must be present. We must be able to recognize that He is present. His glory should be pursued. Activities that grieve the Holy Spirit must be avoided.
4) PRESBYTERY: Governmental leadership by a multi-elder presbytery is important to us. We do not wish to sit under a "clergy king" Likewise, we are not interested in any church where there is a "first family". Jesus needs to be the focus. The elders need to rule well and be men who are filled with the Holy Spirit. This presbytery needs to consist of two or more elders who are able to teach. There must be more than one teacher in any church we will approve and teaching responsibilities need to be divided appropriately among the elders.
5) FULLY FUNCTIONING GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Function in these gifts needs to be encouraged. Tarrying meetings need to be held where the baptism of the Holy Spirit is sought. Participation of members needs to be encouraged in every meeting. Prophesy must not be despised, but judged. Home meetings need to be arranged with small groups where intimate relationships may be formed.
6) MONEY: There must be absolutely no pressure, pulling, coercion or manipulation to attempt to extract more finances from the members. There shall be no requirement to pay a tithe to this assembly. All giving will be guided by the free will of the members. Needs of the congregation need to be made known. All spending needs are to be approved by the elders presbytery.
7) BIBLICAL TEACHING: All teaching needs to be biblically based and as free of error as is humanly possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Baptism in water by full immersion needs to be offered frequently. Opportunities to teach should be granted to those who are beginning to show evidence that they possess this gift. We would honestly prefer to find a body of believers who honor the Reformation fathers and who have identified the various false teachings that have originated from the Church of Rome which, in these last days, have proliferated in the form of teachings regarding a seven year tribulation, a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, a pre-tribulation rapture and a single future antichrist.
We are not at all certain if there is one single assembly anywhere in North America, of any size, that meets our criteria. We would love to hear from you if you have one to place before us for our prayerful consideration.
I would submit to you that growing up into Jesus is primarily the responsibility of the individual believer.
Apostle Patrick Wachiye of Webuye Kenya (had planted 60 churches already when I met him, introduced me to the G.R.O.W. principle:
G......Go to church
R......Read your bible
O......Obey the Lord
I made an amendment to Patrick’s corollary: if you cannot or will not “G.” go to church, then you will have to “R.O.W.” harder.
Going to a good church makes growth so much easier, but it is not impossible without one.
Deliverance will be present where people are filled with the Holy Spirit, where they pray and where there is powerful, anointed worship accompanied by God’s presence and glory and God’s word is preached with anointing. I do not believe in deliverance ministry per se, as if by a checklist. Jesus is the deliverer and the healer. Most healing requires deliverance. Most deliverance results in healing. If you want to get rid of devils, the best way is to make a bad home for them. Some will need help by a team, granted, but most should be delivered as they grow up in Christ Jesus. People will come under prayer ministry and they will find that a demon manifests that they had no idea was present. Then, the assembly and the person needs to deal with it and be rid of that devil. Most people who have devils do not know it until the thing manifests under the anointing and presence of God.
We will always have the tares with us until the angels come and remove them. So, we will always have people, with demons, who do not wish to be rid of them. You cannot get a demon out of a person who wants to hold on to it. So, I believe it will be impossible to fully remove all disruptions. After all, we discover that which is hidden when it manifests, out into the open, while we are under the anointing, presence and glory of God. I have seen this happen many, many times.
I do not view this as a WISH list. This is a LIFE list.
The church that does not have most of these characteristics will be DEAD. It will be a corpse, and the vultures are being gathered to the corpses, just as the eagles are being gathered to the Soma (living body). This is not some textbook theory I am expounding on: it is happening in America right now. Ten years ago, I saw it in a vision when I was preaching on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Kenya, and the Lord told me it was happening even then. Evil angels and demons from Africa and elsewhere are now flocking to the dead, corpse churches in America, especially in the last month, since all national hedges are now torn down. Whatever you join, you become a partaker thereof. Partaking of a dead, corpse church will result in partaking of that which evil angels and demons wish to impart to you.
The church that has these LIFE characteristics will be able to add programs and functions during seasons as they are needed, as true biblical teaching, prayer, casting out devils and teaching in the proper functioning of the spiritual gifts will take on many forms and specializations. It will see and perceive that which it lacks and bring in a guest or two, where appropriate or necessary, to glean from others from the outside who have special gifts if those gifts are not present in the assembly.
If a person cannot grow or learn more about God in a church that has these seven POWERFUL characteristics, and that person can or will “toss it and go elsewhere”, then perhaps, the cause of or blame for the lack of growth might not be properly laid at the feet of the church, but at the feet of the individual believer who has such an apparently flippant attitude. This attitude scares me, and it scares me even more in that it reminds me of people who are described in the book of Jude, who are “wandering stars” as the stars in the bible are symbolic of the angels of the churches, as Revelation 1:20 reveals. These people go from church to church and they do various things: most of them harmful or, at the very least, empty, vain and without any positive contribution to the life and health of the church. Jude verse 12 describes them as:
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear; clouds they are without water, carried about of the winds; trees whose fruit witherest, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea foaming out their own shame; wandering stars...”
Jude says they spot up our loves feasts. They make things dirty. They are clouds without rain: to look at them, you would think that they have ability, anointing, knowledge or promise, but they have no rain....nothing that ever nourishes another believer. They feed themselves...it is self, self, self with them. They bring forth fruit (of the spirit) but it withers (it never is enjoyed or shared, but you see some fruit apparently hanging on their trees). Such people appear to be, for all the world, a real disciple, but they fall short by just the smallest margin.
So, let us work with all our might to establish and strengthen true churches, and hope that we acquit ourselves from any of these types of charges that Jude alludes to. May these characteristics never be applied to any of us, in Jesus name, and if we become concerned that they do, God help us to be free of any of this type of taint.
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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