Monday, December 6, 2010

Kingdom Connection: Apex, NC



I was intrigued when Steve Crosby invited me to join him as he paid a visit to friends he connected with through his writings.  I did not know what to expect.  What I experienced was warm hospitality and deep fellowship from the time we arrived to the time we left.  Though we went to encourage these new friends, we truly sense that this was an example of true mutuality that characterizes genuine Kingdom life.

I asked Steve to sum up what he saw in the people we connected with in Apex.  May the Lord multiply these qualities in values in all of us:

Personal security (a good sense of identity and place in the kingdom-comfortable in their own skin)

Not trying to impress or be impressed

Not position seeking, nor impressed with those who have position

Authentic

Open themselves, and appreciating openness in others

Kingdom alignment in values versus local church alignment in values

Risk takers... faith adventuresome

Not looking for security

Willing to follow the Lord no matter what... even without full understanding

A readiness to listen and receive instruction incarnationally, not just informationally




4 comments:

Pamela Morris said...

How do you know that the behaviors that you are observing are real ?
What does this look like?

Stephen Crosby said...

Hi Pam, Steve here. Here are some suggestions.

1.An analogy: "How can someone tell when he/she is in love?" They can detect the invisible lines of attraction between them when no one else can. It is a recognized thing by the participants that is not immediately recognized by outsiders. Love is not "open for inspection" to non-participants.

The exchange of kingdom love is recognizable when it is present, and recognizable when it is not. Kingdom love is authentic (1 Cor 13).

The "Christ in" one another recognizes each other. The aroma of Christ is detectable. it is either present, or it is not.

The Scriptures call this the anointing within that needs no man to teach. It is spiritual resonance of authenticity.

If I had a 440Hz tuning fork and struck it, and put it on one end of the table, I could take another of the same frequency, put it on the opposite end of the table, and because of being configured at the same frequency, the second tuning fork would vibrate, without any contact or instruction (so to speak). The identicality of the frequency causes resonance. Christ in me, resonates with Christ in others, so the "recognizing" process, so to speak, is not observable. It is knowable. these are not the same.

Deep calls unto deep.

This is admittedly a subjective process, but the Scripture says that our discerning faculties are developed by reason of use.

I hope this helps you in some way.

God bless you

Steve C.

sandragrenga said...

What do you mean by kingdom alignment in values vs local church alignment in values?

Stephen Crosby said...

Hello Sandra,

The local church is a legitimate subset of the kingdom. The lesser is included in the greater, but it is lesser.

The local church is supposed to be a gas station where we come to get resourced to go and engage in kingdom life. Too often, the local church is like a space station: people have to come to it to survive and never escape its inexorable gravitational pull. It is all about us: come to our meeting, our friends, our comforts, our likes, what “we” want to do.

A local church is often characterized by: gathering, keeping, staying, meeting, feeding, meetings, us, our needs, desires and likes; virtually all resources, human, time and financial exist to maintain the entity.

The kingdom is characterized by: scattering, releasing, sharing, giving, and the needs of others. Resources, time, human and financial are “given away,” to others in need of both the truth of the message and the needs for human survival.

Jesus’ last word to his disciples was to go and make disciples in the nations. Instead, seven years later, they are CONTINUALLY having a Bible study and prayer meeting. (Acts 6:4). The fact that we think that this is what “leaders/Christians” should do, indicates how badly focused our “church” experience is, and how it is not kingdom aligned. Of course, God eventually had his way, but he had to send suffering and persecution to get them out of Jerusalem, out of the prayer meeting and out of the Bible study to go and fulfill His mandate. We will be kingdom aligned, one way or the other: freely, or at the hand of divine discipline.

It also took fresh DNA . . . that is, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, to get the apostles out of their eternal Bible study and prayer meeting and engaged in a kingdom mandate.

Our normal view of Acts 6:4 also betrays our fixation with pulpit presentation and teaching, as if Bible exposition week after week is what defines Christianity. It does not. The essence of Christian teaching is incarnational, that is, we teach with our lives, especially when under pressure. There is a place for “Bible teaching,” of course, but it is not the totality of the matter. In a healthy community, it should have a very measured role. We teach from the Bible to reveal Jesus, so we can live rightly with God and humanity, not to produce “Bible geniuses.” When our notebooks are fat and our hearts are lean and our wallets are full as we pursue American comforts, well, that is not a “kingdom alignment” of godly virtues.

Now, the “one another” functions of care and spiritual feeding are legitimate, but SUBORDINATE to the kingdom mandate. When they become the central all consuming focus, we are no longer representing the interests of Christ in the earth.

I hope these thoughts help you.