Language is a many splendored thing

If you’ve at all noticed how often I blog, you can see that I’ve lost a lot of my "mojo" for blogging.  One reason is that I have too much to say!  I just can’t sit down and get all my thoughts out easily.  It takes enough energy that even though I’m excited by something enough that I want to express it, the expression itself matters enough to me that I tend to see it as a mountain that I just don’t have time to climb at the moment.

Anyway, this morning, I was listening to a teaching, as usual, while washing the dishes and I figured, that if I just started typing, I could get some of my excitement out before I thought about how big a task it is! (I’m trying to trick myself! Smile with tongue out )

I was listening to a series of teachings/discussions by a guy named Skip Moen on the book of Matthew.  Skip is a theologian/Bible scholar who, while still teaching various theological courses at a university level, is also endeavoring to reach a broader circle of Christians with the message of what a Hebrew/Old Testament contextualization of the New Testament does to help us better understand Jesus, God, His Kingdom, etc.  I learned about Skip Moen because Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA mentioned him in a sermon about 6 months ago or so. 

The plug from Bill interested me because he made reference to some word/concept in scripture and then what the Hebrew behind all that really means and it really brought it to life.  I’ve experienced that before when I’ve discovered the original language meaning and cultural context of something in the Bible – typically something I thought I already knew/understood.  I’ve also experienced that in a more modern context by simply living in another country where another language is spoken – even though there is no disconnect in the temporal context. 

Language and cultural context are enormous!  I don’t know how I can stress that enough – other than to say that I understand as well that it really has to be experienced to be fully understood (which is, itself a concept taken from a Hebraic world view!) These recordings of this study of Matthew are interesting because you can hear the discussion and the questions of the people in the discussion on the recording.  When he presents something that creates a cognitive dissonance in them that I don’t personally feel, I realize just how far God has brought me these last dozen years or so outside of the American and English context – and how valuable that journey has been.

So, all that to say go have a listen yourself and expand your dimensions of understanding and knowing God and His plan for us and His Creation.

Bill Johnson’s series on the Transformed Mind

In July, 2010 Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California began a series of messages on the Transformed Mind. I’ve no idea (nor maybe does he!) if this series is even over yet, but here are the teachings that I think are part of this series (he sometimes interrupts his series to teach on something else). If I find more, I’ll add them here.

At any rate, this is powerful stuff! One of the things that I like about it is that it is not the transformed/renewed mind message that I’ve heard so much, which is basically:

Meditate on scripture so you won’t think bad thoughts!

While there’s truth to that, it’s not terribly motivating for the long-haul and frankly, it doesn’t make for a stirring message! 😉

Bill’s approach, while wide-ranging and deep, seems to focus more on what he terms “pillar truths.” These are truths that once they’re in place, allow us to properly “triangulate” our way through the rest of the truths (or lies) that come our way so that we maintain a perspective that is godly…things like (not an exhaustive list):

  • the love of the Father
  • our complete righteousness in Jesus
  • the completed work of the Cross
  • living under an open heaven
  • the Church/Body of Christ brokering heaven’s reality on the earth

Living with minds firmly established in pillar truths allows us to aggressively filter the other perspectives that we’re continually assaulted with and allows us to walk in a different reality that is not just for us but is projected around us.

OK, as the French would say, ” enough blah, blah! “, here are the messages:

Transformed Series – Really Saved – mp3 – 20.5Mb

Transformed Series – From Glory to Glory – mp3 – 23Mb

Transformed Series – Gate of Heaven – mp3 – 23Mb

Transformed Series – The Real Jesus – mp3 – 23Mb

Transformed Series – The Power of a Seed – mp3 – 21Mb

Here’s the last one in the series…a powerful message about being the Bride. Very interesting to hear the same things from Bill Johnson that I’ve heard from Mike Bickle and IHOP for years, but from a different perspective. Very good.

Transformed Series – Being a Bride – mp3 – 17Mb

And finally (I think) an added bonus. This is a talk Bill recently gave to the students of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. It’s not specifically in the series nor only about the transformed mind, but it does cover that and is very complementary. Excellent stuff.

BSSM Bill Johnson November 2010 – mp3 – 38.4Mb

The “structure” of the Body of Christ…a family

I’ve sort of had a love-hate relationship with Kris Valloten’s messages (no offense Kris, if I ever meet you! 😉 ). His humor, often self-effacing, is engaging but sometimes one can detect what seems a sort of lack-of-confidence defensiveness in his delivery. I have to overcome that to get to the good stuff of his messages…and there is really good stuff!

At any rate, recently two messages of his were posted at Bethel Church in fairly rapid succession (Bill must have been traveling a lot!) and they really struck me. The first one is on the 5-fold ministry from Ephesians 4:11 and the second was on Fatherhood, which he gave on Father’s Day. For me these two messages really dovetailed together with things that God’s been speaking to me about.

Several times this spring, I’ve heard extended teaching on spiritual parents/children and about the generational transfer of inheritance. Tied with that is the honoring of our preceding generation and succeeding generations. Tied with that is honoring the special graces that God has placed on each individual person. Tied with that is receiving God’s unique graces through each other. This may be one of the key messages that God is emphasizing in the Body of Christ right now. It certainly is one of the messages that is being emphasized to me and in our community of faith here in France.

There is a sense that God desires to pour out a special “grace”, “anointing”, “blessing” (pick your pregnant term) on His Body in order to impact our society more significantly. The amount of this impartation is what is in the balance. The amount needed to really facilitate change and advance God’s Kingdom is more than individuals can handle…it would crush them. Picture someone with no foundation in their life winning the lottery. We see it over and over again with the real lotteries and with young professional sports “first-round-draft-picks”. The enormous blessing becomes a curse. Lives of promise become a parody of success at best and end tragically at worst.

God NEEDS to pour out an enormous blessing on His Church in order for them to be the Kingdom agents He called them to be (way back even in Genesis 1:28!) How does He do it and not crush us? He needs to pour out His blessing “corporately.” This is not of course meaning on a “business.” In fact if you look at the word “corporately”, you see the Latin root “corp-“, which means “body”.

Sum it up:

  • God has chosen to draw the world to Him as a loving Father, King of all Creation, to live in loving, family relationship with benevolent stewardship of His Creation
  • God has chosen to use His Son Jesus as the perfect image of the Father and the only way into relationship with the Father
  • Jesus’ body on earth is the Church…agents of His Kingdom and His image-bearers in Creation
  • His Body on earth is His principal agency of connection between the spiritual and physical realms…those who are tasked with bringing Heaven to earth
  • Jesus put His Spirit in us, the spark of life that gives us the possibility to live and function as members of One Body and to be coordinated with the Head…Jesus

At this point then, we’re only “saved individuals” with simply a potential to be effective agents of God’s transforming power in Creation. It’s a pretty good deal, but it’s not enough. The kind of power we need to wield in order to affect the changes needed in Creation is simply too much for us as individuals. God desires to pour out His power, but He’s made us in such a way that we’re unable to effectively carry His power as individuals. He values family and relationship too much to allow us to simply “do tasks” and be rewarded for it…as individuals.

As a corporate body, however…

As a family, however…

That’s another story and that’s where these two teachings by Kris Valloten come in. I encourage you to learn about the “authority structures” that facilitate the impartations of grace that we need in his teaching on the 5-fold ministry and the “family structures” that establish love in our hearts and honor for one another that cause us to flow together as more than an a well-oiled machine or an organization, but an organism…a body…a family. When this occurs, we become vessels ready for God’s poured-out blessing, His anointing, His transforming power. We, as a body, as a family, are then positioned to live as transforming agents of our Father’s Kingdom…our destiny all along.

Fatherhood (mp3 24Mb) (link to watch as video on Bethel’s site – free registration required)

The role of the 5-fold ministry (mp3 26Mb) (link to watch as video on Bethel’s site – free registration required)

Living with a God who moves

In sports there’s an axiom that says “Dance with the one who brung ya.” It’s often spouted by coaches, having just won a championship, who are justifying why they continued to play their star player who seemed to be having a bad start in the championship game. The idea is that when you understand the basis of your success, don’t screw it up by messing around with the formula…even if the formula doesn’t seem to be working.

In this teaching by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, the idea of how a move of God was sustained in the early church is put forth. The premise is that the move of God that lasted a generation had a foundation. The foundation was Acts 2:42.

(The title given by Bethel to this teaching is “Continuous Revival”. But, because of the way “revival” is used in many different contexts – its current “semantic cloud” if you will, I admit that I’m not a fan of the word right now. I find that it “mis-communicates” more often than really conveying its fullest/highest definition. )

Teaching – mp3 – 22Mb