Monday, November 16, 2009
Spotlight: Lexington, Kentucky
I’m writing today from Richmond, KY. For some time I’ve carried a burden for this region to see a spiritual breakthrough in an area I’ve known to be very “religious”. This is not a slam on anyone or any group here… just what I believe is an informed assessment based on my 10 years here and ongoing relationships with people in the area. But like our own city, and Cleveland where I visited last weekend, there is a deep desire in God’s people to see something more.
This weekend I had the opportunity to reconnect with dear friends who have that heart. We’ve known Mike and Pam Krejci for nearly 20 years, but haven’t seen each other since we left Kentucky 17 years ago. I’m thankful that as many of our friends have fallen by the wayside, the Krejcis still love the Lord and want to see Him glorified in their lives, and in their community. As we fellowshipped and prayed together, it was like we never left. Our life in Him and through Him is truly eternal… timeless.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve periodically conversed with Mike and Pam by phone or through email. And several weeks ago, Mike sent an email that really encouraged me as we continue our journey in the organic church world. I’ve been looking for the time and opportunity to post it. What better time than now? I hope it edifies you as much as it edified me.
I don’t know if I will ever get this correspondence to you. I just read your comments on Jim Reynolds and Jose Sanchez. Very good, the word of the Lord spoken in each of their lives. I wonder if the people we are around have similar inspirational experiences that we don’t even know about because we lack community and true fellowship with each other. If this is the case, and I suspect it is, we suffer a lack of hearing the full word of God while He is so near and at work. Thanks for posting these testimonies and the other edifying comments and writings.
I have been looking at your blog and have been considering the “change in course” you are pursuing for a few weeks now. I regret not being able to give you some feedback sooner, but I assure you my heart has been with you since first reading the blog at your e-mail prompt. I trust you and your heart. I want to fellowship with you in this because I believe God has planted in you a true desire to be in His work, without any pretense. I can see the Holy Spirit is at work in you giving you revelation, pulling you toward Himself. A high blessing. This is the good thing, the significant thing, the measure of where God is breathing life. You are wisely responding to Him.
I love the church of Jesus because I love Jesus. I know the same is true of you. I do believe that institutions like service schedules and hierarchical leadership structures that come closer to fitting corporate business models than a community joined by the love of Jesus, are a hindrance to the testimony of the church. However, I see these things as having a more insidious negative impact upon the child of God than on the perception of the unbeliever. The unbeliever can view such hypocrisies and inconsistencies, offer a criticism and shrug of the shoulders and go on until they have their own real confrontation with the Holy Spirit. The child of God must figure out how to live in the midst of doctrine and tradition and perception and church politics and programs and any number of other pharisaical bondages, and somehow remain genuine as they find a balance adapting to all those considerations, while maintaining fellowship with believers caught up in serving these institutions. The seduction and deception of these traditional models is effective in the subtlety of the attack, because following these models (in contrast to loving Jesus Himself) is somehow too easily regarded in the notions of what is righteous. So, I think what I understand you to be pursuing is in a direction away from what I have described and I am for that. Our practices must be genuine beyond merely doing what is right for the evidence of God to be seen and lived out. I find it ironic and compelling that God seems to earmark His authenticity in the expression of love rather than power. How can His love be known outside of relational, familial expressions? If organic church takes a direction to encourage a love for Jesus and each other, good. Let everything that hinders this love be torn down.
If there is life in a thing or a pursuit, where our souls are refreshed and we are meeting with God, the “Life” is always Jesus no matter what it looks like. Be it liturgical or rolling on the floor. Fit your revelation of “organic church” in this context. I say, continue opening up your heart, your family and all that you have been blessed with, and continue to let God own it. This will only bear good fruit as it grows from the response of people who love Jesus. It can only become more garbage if the “improved” model becomes the distraction. Be wise as were the five virgins who obviously prepared and planned with a whole heart to give their lives to the pleasure and love of the Bridegroom. Let your love for Jesus continue to deepen. Let Him become your distraction. Of course, everything else will pass away and you won’t even notice.
Gladly made your brother in the blood of Jesus,
I Peter 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
I believe this is the heart of God for EVERY city. One city. One church. Living stones built together on the foundation of THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE. If you have the same heart whether in Charlotte, or Cleveland, or Lexington, or wherever, we’d love to hear from you.