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Wednesday Night

Pastor John, 

Monday night I was ironing and just talking to Jesus.  I was telling him how thankful I am for the love I’ve been feeling and for all that he has done for me, for us.  I said, “Jesus I crave more of you.”  That is the only way I knew how to describe how I’m feeling.  I reached over to turn Songs of Rest on and Darren was singing and I heard this:

There is truth you can know, there’s a life you can crave,
There is strength to help you overcome the world.
There is power to get you out of the grave,
And so much more, all in my Father’s world.

I loved hearing my heart’s desire echo in Darren’s song!  The next day, I wanted to hear that song again, but I didn’t know the name of it.  I looked, and I listened, but I couldn’t find it.  Then, Wednesday night, that was the first song Darren sang.  My heart felt like it was going to leap out if my chest.  I thought, “Oh Jesus, you care so much you let Darren sing that song for me again.”

Then when you were talking about having a perfect heart before God, I remembered listening to a CD and hearing you preach that message.  It stirred my heart then just like it did Wednesday night.  It feels like another layer of the hard Christian beliefs has been blown away.  Then, when you were talking about loving God’s children everywhere, there was such love in it.  There was such a spirit of gentleness, just sweet, loving, gentleness, I felt like it was just poured into my heart.

Then when you and Donna sang “Come to the Water” I just felt like my cup was running over.  That song has always touched me; it feels like such an invitation every time I hear it.

When I got home Wednesday night, I tried to pray; I tried to do several things, but couldn’t.  All I could do is lie here and soak it all in.  

What a sweet, wonderful life Jesus has given us!

Michelle

 

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Living Above Obedience

Pastor John, 

This morning driving into work, I was listening to a CD, and on it you were talking about the ten lepers being healed.  You said, “Jesus told them to go to the priest and offer their sacrifice.  This is what the law told them to do but one of them disobeyed the law, and even disobeyed what Jesus told them to do, and came back and fell at Jesus feet to honor and thank him!  Jesus reply was, “Where are the nine?” 

Whew…that was so good!  I had the thought: “now that’s living above obedience!” The Spirit fell on me, and I just soaked it in!  O Jesus, let us live there!  I could just imagine the love and thankfulness that that leper must have felt for his healing, to honor Jesus like that!  

I LOVE our life!  I LOVE the food you give us!  Whew….. full, full, full! 

Michelle 

Evil Imitating Righteousness

Pastor John, 

I was thinking today about the Jews who watched as Jesus was being led away by soldiers.  Some of them would have witnessed Jesus rebuking Peter, when Peter made an attempt at saving Jesus from those soldiers.  Some of those same Jews standing near may have been just moments away from doing the exact same thing that Peter did, right before Peter lunged with his sword, and met the Lord’s stern displeasure.  No doubt those Jews who might have acted would have taken the Lord’s correction of Peter into their own hearts, and obeying their Master’s wishes, would have stood fast and watched in quiet anguish as the soldiers carried Jesus away. 

I then considered the others that would have been watching that day, the other Jews that were also quietly standing by.  Also seemingly obeying the words of Jesus, as they offered no resistance to the soldiers who carried him away.  These people were doing exactly what the other Jews were doing, but for entirely different reasons.  These Jews would have been happy that Jesus had been taken captive, happy that this trouble maker, whom so many seemed to adore, was finally being dealt with.  These people were doing the same thing as those who loved the Lord, but one group was refraining from doing anything and enduring the heartache – for the sake of obeying and loving Jesus above their own desire to save him – and the other group was doing nothing simply because they wanted Jesus killed. 

They all were doing the same thing, to all of those who were looking on.  But one group was hating God’s righteousness, while the other group was loving it.

Evil imitating righteousness.  Tares imitating wheat.  Death imitating life.  It all looks the same without the eyes of Jesus to see it through.  

Thank God for the holy Ghost in us! 

Jerry

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And I might add, Jerry, that both groups were ignorant of what God was really doing in His Son Jesus.  The difference was a matter of the heart.  Some ignorantly loved God, and some ignorantly hated Him. 

Yes, thank God for the help of the Holy Ghost in our hearts! 

Pastor John

What Does ‘Zion’ Mean?

Pastor John, 

What does the word “Zion mean”?

Leika

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Hi Leika. 

The original meaning of the word, “Zion”, is unknown.  It appears at times to be associated with fish or fish nets, figurative or otherwise (e.g., Eccl. 9:12; Ezek. 12:13; 19:9), and at other times to mean something like “stronghold” (e.g., 1Sam. 22:4; 2Sam. 5:7). 

In time, especially in Psalms and the prophets, the small area within the very ancient city of Jerusalem that was known as “Zion” became synonymous with Jerusalem itself e.g., Ps. 48:12; 51:18).  And the term “Zion” is also used in Psalms and the prophets as a prophetic reference to the assembly of God’s people, or even to the people them selves (e.g., Ps. 74:2; 87:5; Isa. 60:14; 62:1-2). 

Pastor John

Hi pastor John, 

What does “great commission” mean in Matthew 28:16-20?

Thank you,

Leika

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Hi Leika.

There is no “great commission” in Matthew 28:16-20.  That is a phrase Christians invented and applied to those verses to use as a tool of manipulation, to pressure people to donate to their evangelistic enterprises.

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus is only ordaining the ones with him then, the ones to whom he was then speaking – his disciples – to preach and to spread the gospel.  He was not speaking to you.  If Jesus ever tells you or me to go preach and to spread the gospel, then we should go do that, too.  In the meantime, we have no authority to do so, and we are under no obligation to support Christians who claim to have a commission to spread the gospel just because they read those verses in Matthew.

Only those whom Jesus personally anoints and sends have authority to preach and to spread his gospel.  Now, if Jesus DOES anoint and send a man, that is indeed a “great commission”.  But such a commission belongs only to those whom the living Jesus sends.  No scripture has the power to anoint and send men to preach the gospel of Christ.  “The scripture kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Let us pray that Jesus will anoint and send many men to preach his gospel.  It is very much needed.  Whenever he does that, the difference is enormous between those holy men and the Christian missionaries who claim to have a “great commission” to evangelize, based on Matthew 28.

Thank you for the question, Leika.

Pastor John

 

Wednesday Night

Pastor John, 

I’m sitting here considering and enjoying all that we felt Wednesday night, and the wonderful things that we heard.  The message Wednesday was, “The only part that God’s children play, in true religion, is to respond to God.  He acts, and we react – that is all that real religion is; everything else is just man’s ‘good’ idea, an idea that has nothing to do with the holiness of God or the mind of Christ.”

My, that is a lot!  It encompasses a lot – everything, really!

To consider how incredible every one of our lives is, every one of us!  To think how God has completely remade every one of us and our circumstances. And then realize that all of that, all of the growing that we have ever done in Christ, all of the changes, all of the building up and the tearing down, all of the rearranging and recreating that has occurred – every bit of it – was just us responding in faith to something that God did first!

We didn’t do a thing.  We didn’t even “come to Christ”; we don’t know the way!  He bid us to come, and we said yes.

The truth carries us.  Our only part is to just say yes in faith when He sends us the next choice to make.  We just go left, or we go right when the Spirit bids “turn”.  We have been reacting to the love of God and His intricate management of our lives and circumstances since the day we were born. We didn’t initiate a bit of this, and at no time since that first day have we (successfully) taken off under our own direction toward the Lord, because we still don’t know the way.

What a testament to the love of God, if we can’t do anything during this entire journey but respond to the Lord, and He constantly gives us guidance to which we can respond!

This way is like a moving sidewalk.  We don’t walk forward and outrun it; we don’t know where to go.  We stay on the sidewalk, let it carry us, and then turn when God says “choose”.  And we don’t know the way even then, but the Spirit in us does!  And those who do the will of God along the way, they turn the right direction when the choice comes.  “These are the sons of God”, as Paul said, and they will end up at home with Jesus, standing right at God’s front door at the end of this life.

Wonderful!

Jerry D.

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Pastor John,

I am so overwhelmed with God’s love right now.  For days, Jesus has been talking to me, drawing near and teaching me.  I love these times with Jesus.  The meeting Wednesday night was so good to me!  It brought such a peace!  “Just respond”  heart  I felt like I could breathe again.  Like everything slowed down and the stillness of Jesus took over.  It has not left me since.

For some time now Jesus has been talking to Michelle and me with these old prayer meeting CDs.  I wish someone else could see it, just to witness him working.  We do not plan which CD we listen to, or in which order.  The years vary, yet Jesus has so perfectly timed it for us to hear lesson after lesson, in sync. There are lessons about spirits that divide, lessons about hearts and how he made them into what we see today.

Oh, to have a heart like sister Lou.  A heart that sees a scar on her flesh as what God is doing for her heart.  I want that heart.  It’s beautiful, pastor John.  There are also lessons about you.  It did something in my heart Wed. night, when you spoke of wanting what your father had, as he gave his testimony that night long ago.  It does something to me when Lou says, “We need to know who John Clark is.”  Oh I pray I cherish you.  I pray I value and honor my gift from Jesus. 

Reading Jerry’s email, and Michelle’s email, and spending so much time with Jesus learning what he has done to each heart, each child, to get them ready to come home, lets me feel that holy anchor even more.  We have a beautiful family history that Jesus has so intimately loved and formed.  I am so in love with his love for us!

I love you Pastor John

Beth

 

 

 

In Awe!

Pastor John, 

I was reading in Mark tonight.  I was really touched by the love and compassion Jesus had for the people. 

I read about blind Bartimaeus and how, when he heard Jesus pass by, he cried out, “O son of David! Jesus!  Have mercy on me.”  And at first the people tried to quiet him but he just cried out louder!  “Oh son of David have mercy on me!” 

Then Jesus called for him!  And his disciples said, “Be of good cheer!  He’s calling for you!”  Whew…can you imagine being blind, begging for mercy, and then the Master calls you to come to him! 

Whew I just had to stop and let that scene soak in.  Then I had this thought, well actually, this question just came out of my mouth, “How close can I get to you, Lord? Then the flood gates opened! 

I just don’t know if this human heart can take in the goodness, the love!  I’m just lying here in awe tonight. 

Michelle