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Church Life Discipleship Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Prayer Presence of God Worship

Ekklesia – What is it?

A Gathering of Disciples can be an Ekklesia – Photo from Unsplash, by Shane Rounce

In the New Testament, the word most translated into English as “church” is most often Ekklesia.

An Ekklesia is a special kind of gathering of disciples of Jesus Christ, disciples being learners and doers – students who act on what they are learning.

In Roman culture, an Ekklesia was an important part of government, much like a town council, but with a special duty: to teach people to be like and to become – Romans. So much so that if the Emperor came, he would feel comfortably welcome if he should visit.

Jesus used the term to mean:

  • Disciples gathered to bring heaven to earth
  • Disciples to rule on earth so earth will be like heaven
  • Disciples who rule for the Kingdom of Heaven, and
  • Disciples who help the surrounding peoples become Christians – little Christ’s.

They met in public space – the Temple, and they met in people’s homes.

An Ekklesia didn’t have its own building (with the expense of building it and maintaining the building) or single leaders like a Pastor who was the only person active until Constantine, who forbade meetings in homes and other public spaces, and whose patterns of worship leading were like the pagans. With a single leader in a robe, who led, rather than having several leaders whose job was to prepare the people for ministry, as taught in scripture.

The main purpose of an Ekklesia is to influence the culture surrounding it, so Jesus served these people through Christian Disciples. And so that people surrounding became Christians.

Through the preaching of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached and taught, including the healing of the sick and the freeing of people bound by unclean spirits, raising the dead and cleansing lepers.

Ekklesia’s prayed for people, ministered to them, announced the Good News of the Kingdom to them, helped them become Christians and Disciples. Who made more Disciples. Who planted more Ekklesias. Often through local businesses – the marketplace. The Message that Jesus preached and taught spread with wonderful and amazing speed.

And you can learn to take part and be a part of this today. What a great way to live!

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Gospel Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Ministry Presence of God

Bad News & Good News

Bad News.
Good News!

First, the bad news. We live in a busted up, broken world, full of problems. Many problems to many people. It’s the world we find ourselves in: sickness, poverty, troubled relationships, corrupt governing, and lots more junk.

The Good News that Jesus preaches is that Paradise is available to us all, now. Paradise is within reach, it’s “at hand”. We get to live in Paradise!

Contrast that with the Bad News of a busted up, broken world that is full of all kinds or horrible problems – and the Good News becomes obvious.

There is literally a process that allows us to change our world, and experience Paradise – complete with healing, wholeness, restoration and joy – instead of a broken world full of pain.

It’s sort of like science fiction – beaming to a new place, a better place – only this isn’t fiction, it’s real. And it can be real for you. Not to just visit, but to live in.

Ever need a miracle? There’s a process for this, too; and a kind of time and place where miracles are much more frequent than otherwise.

There really is bad news in this world. And there is Good News. And the amazing thing is, you get to choose! (If you have not already done so, visit and see The Gospel Process.)

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Evangelize Jesus Joy Key Article Kingdom of God Ministry Presence of God

Experience Jesus

Jesus Invites – by Sitara

I realized something recently that surprised and delighted me. Some years ago I introduced maybe as many as 75 people to how to experience Jesus for themselves, experiencing Jesus in their heart. It was based on a key decision, which I explained they could undo if they did not like the experience or did not want to continue to experience Jesus. Not a single one chose to not continue to experience Jesus in their hearts. That’s astounding, there is little that we humans do that works so well. But then, this was the work of Holy Spirit….

Most of these people went on to be baptized in water, and then be baptized in Holy Spirit. We met in one of three houses, rotating where we met for about two years. Our weekly meetings lasted 6-8 hours; some people came early, others left early. We didn’t have 75 people at these meetings, but the house was always pretty full.

During that time, discipling happened, helped and led by Holy Spirit.

Regardless, we all learned how to experience Jesus. And everyone liked this so much they wanted to continue.

I was inspired to try this with people by Holy Spirit when reading scripture. It was long ago, and I’m not sure, but I suspect I had been reading 1 John, Chapter 4.

Here’s how it went, helping people to experience Jesus for themselves:

Try out these beliefs, and check your heart: you will be experiencing Jesus in your heart.

If you don’t like it, just decide against those beliefs.

Jesus is fully man, completely human.

Jesus is fully God, he is God.

When you believe both of these things: you can experience Jesus in your heart.

Hallelujah!

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Discipleship Healing Holy Spirit Jesus Joy Kingdom of God Ministry Presence of God

New Person – New in Christ, Heals Easily

New Person – New in Christ, Heals Easily. aaron-burden-lW79kLuvl8E-unsplash

You are fully restored, in Jesus Christ, when you are born again.

Your New Person, New in Christ, Heals Easily.

So…you can heal easily. Just being restored to who you really are, in Jesus.

So…you can heal others and minister to their needs, easily, because of who you already are, in Jesus.

Your New Person, in Jesus Christ, has no wounds or injuries.

Your New Person, in Jesus Christ, follows Holy Spirit, is full of Holy Spirit, and ministers powerfully, effectively and easily.

Your New Person – is the preferred way to be living.

Your New Person – is the preferred way to minister.

This is simple. Easy, when you are doing it – hard when you are not living out of your New Person.

Why would you live any other way?

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Calling Conversation with God Create Holy Spirit Key Article Lessons Miracles Prayer Presence of God The Word

Call and Response

Call and response has a long tradition as a pattern of preaching or speaking in historically black churches. The preacher calls, pauses, and the congregation responds.

It’s more of a two-way conversation than is being preached at, which none of us like very much.

There is similar a pattern in creating, healing, calming a storm, moving your mountain, or commanding a fig tree. Or even having a two-way conversation with God.

This is hard to put into words, and most of us are not used to doing this, noticing or paying attention to the elements of this – so please bear with me and seek and ask to understand – this has been a missing element for too many of us for too long. Including me. It’s taken me years to notice and appreciate this pattern, how widespread this pattern is, and how wonderfully useful it is.

There are elements to this pattern. The hovering of Holy Spirit over what is yet undone or uncreated. The speaking of the Word. Pausing, maybe like a Selah, pausing in the Presence of God. Having called forth a response, we pause for and give room and time for a response, and we pay attention with our spirit in Holy Spirit, and listen or receive.

A conversation with God is a two-way communication. You take turns expressing something or asking something, pausing and then receiving or giving a deep response. And you take turns.

Talking to your mountain, storm, fig tree, healing or other situation is the same. You say something, first in your spirit, and in connection with Holy Spirit, in this case a command. And you pause, listen, calling forth, and inviting and allowing for a response from the deep.

It is not just you talking. Not in a conversation with God, which would be rude and ineffective if you never listened. The same with talking to nature, commanding or calling – there is a response.

Call and response. That is the pattern. Call with your spirit first, in contact with and in harmony with Holy Spirit. Speak, Pause, and actively receive your response.

Too often we broadcast in our communication, but never Selah, pause in the Presence of God. We do not pause and wait for the response in our spirit, which happens before we notice a response in the world.

Response. From God. From our mountain, storm, fig tree, or healing a Centurion’s son at a distance.

And sometimes not directly, do we call or command. But sometimes we do it implicitly. “Stretch forth thy hand”, (commanding what a disabled person could not previously do). Not always commanding healing directly.

Call and response. For many of us, and for me, this has too often been a missing element, and thus a missing key.

Call and elicit, ask for and wait for the response you sense in your spirit, done with Holy Spirit, and there you sense a response before a physical response happens.

All this happens first in your spirit, in harmony with Holy Spirit. Then in the world – response happens.

Miracles happen when faith comes into contact with the Anointing or the anointed. Similarly, call and response for healing or correcting something in nature happens when the Holy Spirit hovers, the Word is spoken, and then there is a pause as we allow space and time for a response.

Whether in creating, healing, commanding nature. It is all the same pattern.

Done with Holy Spirit.

We experience the Anointing as Holy Spirit for a purpose.

Creation of the universe was through the spoken Word of God. With, and after the Spirit was hovering over the deep.

You may notice that you can know in your spirit, with Holy Spirit, when you’ve made contact. You may know you’ve made contact, and a response is in process. Other times, you may not have made contact in your spirit with Holy Spirit with whoever or whatever you are calling to. At least this has been my experience with this. And you may not know why. This is a good time to ask Jesus how to speak or pray. And notice what comes to your spirit and mind next, arriving and in harmony with the Spirit of Holiness.

Call and respond. For many of us, it’s more than a conversation between a preacher and congregation. It’s been a missing element too often in creating, correcting, or healing.

Call. And notice whether you are in contact, and pause for and allow the response. Starting with your spirit, with the Spirit of Holiness, speak a word in harmony with or in Christ Jesus, the Word; pause and allow for a response.

You may find you know what to do next. Including giving thanks and rejoicing!

Categories
Kingdom of God Prayer, Intercession, Angels, Presence of God Purpose Spiritual Warfare Worship

Putting Kingdom First can be Surprisingly Powerful

Angel Wing over man – Art by Orit Martin

Putting righteousness and the Kingdom of God first — has the side effect of helping us sort all our priorities and values, automatically. Putting things in Kingdom perspective – the best perspective in the universe.

When something is disturbing, return to righteousness and Kingdom first, and restoration of values and priorities is automatic. And good for us:

  • The Kingdom of God is easier to experience.
  • Prayer is easier and more effective, and in line with what our Lord wants us to pray for.
  • Presence of God is much easier to experience. Our purpose and purposes are extremely clear and keeping us focused, and easily, too.
  • Spiritual warfare can be done in just this way, and Satan’s kingdom is disturbed and knows it’s losing.
  • Worship is a powerful side effect, and easy.

Especially in times like these, where there is so much that is disturbing going on, and so many people disturbed.

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Joy Learning Lessons Love Presence of God

My Dogs Teach Me about God

Ryke Porras, at Unsplash.com

My dogs are a sign of God’s love and constant attentiveness, given by our Lord. They are like footprints left behind for me to notice and appreciate.

Usually they teach me about – and show something of – how God loves. Unconditionally. Constantly. Generously. Without judgement.

Today my most non-verbal dog (a Doberman) came while I was reading and reflecting about the other end of this – a sign of how I am to be open and receptive to being loved with great tenderness, gentleness, constant attentiveness given and receiving all of this well.

And now I know my dogs are also a sign of and a demonstration of some of God’s love, and how to receive and soak in and appreciate God’s love.

How generous, kind and loving God is to leave me such signs of him, such examples and teachers. I am filled with wonder, amazement, deep appreciation and gratefulness.

I think I will stop writing now, and just soak in this and reflect and receive being this way…I have nothing else and nothing better to be doing. Thank you, Lord!

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Ministry Miracles Prayer Presence of God Worship

Worship & Prayer

aaron-burden-lPCu8HnGU2E-unsplash

So…prayer is conversation, two-way conversation, with God.

What is worship?

I remember someone telling me that worship is giving highest worth. Highest Worth-ship. So putting the Kingdom of God first is very close to, related to, or maybe sometimes even the same as worship.

This seems to be correct, as I easily found this:

“The most commonly cited definition of the word “worship” is based on the etymology of the English word: “Worship” is derived from the Old English word “woerthship.” So, when we worship God, we are proclaiming (or giving him back) his worth.”

https://thinkingworship.com/2011/04/25/worship-theology-101-whats-in-a-word/

“So, when we worship God, we are proclaiming (or giving him back) his worth.” Wow.

And the experience of worship helps us experience our relationship with God more intimately and closely.

Worship is actually very simple. Powerful. Good for us. Has wonderful side effects, including:

Prayer – two way conversation with God is easier and more powerful.

As we gaze upon Him, it gradually transforms us into becoming more like him.

Healing and other ministry is easier in such a context.

Miracles come more easily in such an atmosphere.

Fellowship and brotherly love increases, easily.

The Presence of God is much more powerfully experienced.

Baptism in Holy Spirit easily changes people forever.

We experience heaven and being in the Presence of God with ease.

The Aaronic blessing becomes real to us!

23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;

25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27 So they shall [a]invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+6%3A23-27&version=NASB

Having God’s face shine upon you and his countenance on you is, I have been told often, a way in Hebrew to talk about the Presence of God.

Experiencing God face to face – so intimately and personally, is this not the essence of being in heaven? Being in the Presence of God so intimately and personally, with such closeness? What can be better?

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Glory Key Article Presence of God

Glory & Presence of Jesus

There is more to the Glory & Presence of Jesus than we know. Here’s a view that will help understand and experience more of the Glory and Presence of God.

I saw this better while in my study and Father showed me and put together for me experiences and memories so I can see them in a more fresh and complete way.

Holy Spirit will gladly help you experience this for yourself because the more you understand the Glory & Presence of God, the more you are seeing Jesus. Who is the exact representation of our Father. So:

  • Ask for more of Holy Spirit and receive by faith. Be being more full of Holy Spirit.
  • Ask Holy Spirit to show you the existence of this so you may experience the truth of this for yourself.

The key idea that you want to understand and be very clear about is this: every good quality, aspect or characteristic of Jesus that you can discover in Scripture or from inspiration through Holy Spirit, and every experience of Jesus where you understand his very Nature better — is part of his Glory & his Presence.

What are some qualities of God? What is his nature? Just to name a few, God is:

  • Love, Loving, Merciful, Kindness
  • I Am, Being, Existence
  • Small Still Voice – our Lord is Still and Quiet; speaks to our spirit.
  • Eternal, Eternity
  • Presence
  • Peace
  • Light
  • Merciful and loving; in Hebrew you might say: Hesed.
  • Harmlessness – he has complete power to harm and chooses not to. A variation of Love and Mercy.
  • Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer
  • Trust, Trustworthy, Trustworthiness
  • Perfect, Complete; Lacking Nothing
  • Judge
  • Holy
  • Awesome

Each of these qualities points to an aspect of his Nature. Who he is, how he is: glimpses of how you can seek to experience Jesus.

Each of these qualities is worth your personal exploration; just ask Holy Spirit for help. Meditate. Contemplate. (And be sure to learn what these mean.)

Each of these qualities, when experienced deeply over time, will transform you. You, gazing on him, will be gradually coming to be more and more like him.

If you take on and express and are being such qualities, you are growing more and more into the likeness of God. You are expressing with Holy Spirit such good Fruit that you and those around you are more safe. You are expressing more and more of Jesus. What could be better for you?

You can pray with Holy Spirit to extend such qualities that are part of the Glory and Presence of God to other people and places (intercession that does not rely primarily on your words). Please do so!

We will explore more about this, later. For now, you can see how you can be protected and safe from spiritual attack. Learn about The Best kind of Spiritual Warfare.

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Calling Conversation with God Hearing God Prayer Presence of God Vocation

From Quarantine to Swamp

Dorothea finally got outside after having been in her apartment for months because of the quarantine. She’s been waiting for this! She needed to escape!

Stuck with her two children and her husband, who had become cranky. She’s been feeling responsible for them all and for taking care of them. She needed to do something for herself and to get out on her own. She was feeling desperate!

She drove past some stores, and decided to get away from people, so she kept going. Went out of town and finally stopped at a rest stop. Sat briefly at the picnic table and decided she had to move. So she got up to walk.

Starting walking next to the road and wanted to be even more away from people driving by, so she turned into the woods and started to enjoy the trees. The smell of pine, the texture of bark, the soft ground beneath her feet – captivated her senses. Dorothea felt joy.

And kept walking. And walking. And after a long while, had been walking so much she did not yet even realize that she was lost. She no longer had no idea where she was.

Suddenly she noticed that she was surrounded by trees and by forest which all looked very much the same: she finally realized, she no longer knew where she was or how to get back.

Still glad to be outside, she decided to just keep going. She was trying to get back. Humidity was increasing. The ground was gradually becoming more wet.

Finally, it dawned on Dorothea: she had entered the edge of a swamp. And she was afraid. Panic set in as she knew she was not only lost, she was in danger. Breathing became fast, humidity turned into sweat so heavy it was hard to see. Wet earth pulled at her shoes with a sucking sound when she lifted her feet. And the water became deeper, deeper by quarter inches, but deeper.

Finally, she knew. She was in trouble. She could die here. She turned and turned; if she was lost before and disoriented, she was completely disoriented now.

There is something about disorientation that affects us deeply, strongly, and that is much more strongly than we ever expect.

She tried to catch her breath. To be still. To look and see through the trees something she could recognize. None of it worked, and despite sweating profusely, she was getting cold. It had been getting darker, and she had not noticed. The absence of light coming through the trees was like a dark, heavy wet blanket being thrown over her, and she felt it. Weighed down.

She tried again to orient, to be calm, to see something she could recognize. To slow down…even to just slow down her breathing. Still, none of this was working. The more she tried and failed, the more complete and widespread her panic was becoming.

Desperate, she prayed. Not with good focus, but with urgency and panic. Out loud, she prayed. She heard her voice of desperation…and suddenly realized she had spoken out loud. She was moving into a frenzy.

In the distance she almost heard something, she thought. So she stopped. Listened. She heard it again, a little better this time. She could almost tell that it was a voice. But it was too far away to hear well. Too soft to make out the sounds.

And she realized, suddenly, there were no sounds. It was silence and stillness speaking to her, directly, from inside of her…not from a distance. The delicate whisper-like word she was hearing was Silence and Stillness speaking to her, directly.

Without words out of the stillness she heard. “Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still” – if the stillness that was speaking so very directly to her were translated into words.

It was soft beyond soft, still beyond stillness. It was Stillness speaking to her without actual words – yet she knew in her deepest being that this was directed directly to her. A sense of accountability was already arising from within her as she began to hear.

“Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still.”

And she stopped. Became still. Waited, expectantly.

She was realizing, it was coming to her, that she knew which way to turn. Which way to walk. And she had an inner confidence and fortitude that she did not have before. The fear and the lostness were authentic things that she pressed against and resisted now.

One step after another. She did not know where she was was going to, or what it would be like when she got there. Did not know how to get there. But the next step was always clear. Not the one after that, just the next step.

So she walked and walked, into the growing darkness, one step, then another and another step.

Then she saw it. Light! Kept going, almost trudging. She was exhausted. The deep tired that comes after great fear or having been lost and just keeping going on one step at a time.

She saw light coming from a window. Then a cabin. And she noticed that the ground wasn’t wet anymore.

She was home. She knew it. Deep in her bones she felt it and went almost to the door when an older woman stepped outside to greet her with a smile so warm you could bake cookies with it.

The lady took her inside, gave her clean, dry clothes. And she lay down and slept. She knew not for how long.

She woke in the morning light to the sounds of a crackling fire with fresh, dry wood – the fireplace.

The scent of cinnamon tea and something baked filled her nostrils. She was more hungry than a polite person could ever be, and it did not matter. She was given biscuits and tea and she just consumed them.

She told her story and was given answers to questions with no delay, she felt safe. She was surprised how safe she felt. She even told the nice lady this, how wonderfully safe and held she felt inside.

The grandmotherly lady, hearing Dorothea’s name, asked gently and warmly, “Do you know what your name means?” No…I never thought about it, Dorothea said.

The news about her name was surprising.

“Dorothy is a female given name. It comes from Greek Δωροθέα (Dōrothéa) meaning “God’s Gift”, from δῶρον (dōron), “gift”[1] + θεός (theós), “god”.[2] 

Although much less common, there are also male equivalents in English such as “Dory” from the Greek masculine Δωρόθεος (Dōrótheos).

Also, the given names Theodore and Theodora are derived from the same two Greek root words as Dorothy, albeit reversed in order. The name is variously abbreviated to “Dot”, “Dotty” and “Doll”.” From Wikipedia

Dorothea means, “God’s Gift”. Her life had purpose and meaning, and she has a destiny.

The lady told her, you followed Still Small Voice to get here; it was God who directed your steps, one by one. And you heard. And even in the middle of panic and huge fear, you followed…and came here. Of course our Lord takes you to a safe place.

I’ll not tell you more details of how she got home and to her family now, but I will tell you this, instead – which is far better. Without realizing it, she had stepped into a live experience of the Presence of God. She heard his voice, and she followed.

And she knew deep inside that she could always stop and be still and listen, when things were hard. And she would know deep within herself that she would be okay. She would always be okay. Safe. And even rescued, if such were needed.

A lesson you can have in your own heart and in the depths of your inner being. Just stop. Let go of everything else. Be still. Ask.

You will know. God’s help is yours and you have a destiny. So be glad. Even in these times. Especially in these times.