House of God
Komba, Africa, 1996
A “Healthy” Family—The Bride Prepared
Jesus will come back for His Bride. The Bible says that Jesus will come back for His Bride when she has made herself ready. How can we position our lives to be prepared? Well, consider this picture with me.
When most of our religious or spiritual endeavors happen in one place on one day each week, then it is like eating just one meal every week. That’s NOT how Father made us to live. We need to feed our physical bodies most every day in order to live. He also made our spirits to need to eat many times throughout a week—to eat bread from heaven and to love on one another daily, daily, daily. He made us to be a Kingdom of Priests together and to bring each other the Bread of Life as we rise up, as we sit down, and as we walk along the way.
Our worship of Jesus is as we cut wood together and as we wash clothes together. We teach each other the Word of God in the places of our lives as we walk to the market together. If we see a man that is harsh with his wife, we bring him the Word of God and wrestle with him to help him see Jesus. When we see a man or woman that is selfish with their possessions, we love them with the Word of God each day. We don’t wait for someone to “preach a sermon” about it on Sunday, but we offer them the Word of God because we are all priests.
A little child who would eat only one meal every week would be sick and weak. This is also true for the Bride of Christ. We must be feeding each other every day—day and night, day and night—in order to grow strong. We feed each other the Word of God. We worship together every day. We ask God to help us every day.
Most people would think that a physical family would be very ill if it were only together on Sunday and Wednesday. In the Bible, we read about the Family of God in Acts 2. It says clearly that they were together every day and were devoted every day to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship with one another, and to prayer together. Every day, every night. They did not count their possessions as their own; they broke bread and ate meals together in one another’s homes every day.
We were taught many years ago that christianity and church is something we attend and then we go back to our old lives. We have two or maybe three different worlds. We have the world of our home and family, the world of our work and occupations, and the world of our “church”. This was not how our Jesus lived. Our Jesus taught us that all these worlds are together and the same. Anyone who has given their life away for Jesus has 100 fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, and possessions—not 100 next-door-neighbors and third cousins, but 100 mommies and daddies. This is what Jesus taught us. This is what the CHURCH is meant to be. It’s not a place to go, but who we are every day. The Church is as intimate and close with one another as a mommy is with her newborn baby. These are the very words of Jesus.
So what keeps us from living these things? The first obstacle is the incomplete teaching that we have had over the years. But even when we become familiar with the teachings of Jesus about these things, there are other barriers or obstacles that keep us from living the way Jesus wants us to live as a Church. If we are selfish or lazy, we don’t want to be the Church that Jesus wants us to be. We want to live our own lives the way we want to live them. If someone comes to you or me and brings us the words of Jesus about how we are treating our wife or husband, a selfish person says, “Mind your own business. Stay away.”
But this is not Jesus’ way. Jesus said, “Everyone that knows Me and loves Me loves the teachings that I teach.” A lover of Jesus will say, “Thank you so much for helping me. I want to love Jesus more. I was blind and you helped me to see a little bit, and I thank you for that.” This is how the Family of God lives together every day. We help each other to know Jesus better by helping each other put away sin, loving one another more, and by caring for others’ needs more than we care for our own. These are the teachings of Jesus. This is how He lived His life for us, and now He has called us to live this way for one another. This is how the Bride is made ready for the return of her groom, Jesus.
We become more and more beautiful as we learn how to truly love each other more. As we put away our selfishness and pride that keep us separate from each other, and as we willingly open our hearts to be vulnerable with each other, then the Spirit of God, the Grace of God and the Love of God pour out on us... and we become a beautiful Bride READY for the return of our groom, Jesus.
This is the will of the Father for us—not to “attend a bride,” but to be a Bride. We can only BE His church and live His Life as we love each other and exchange our lives with each other every day. This involves more than just a “Hi!” and “I love you!” when I walk by. Instead, I open my heart to you and ask you to help me. If you see sin in my life, things that are not like Jesus, then you come to me and beg me to turn my life to Jesus. You don’t turn the other way and ignore it. You are an ambassador of Jesus as if God were making His appeal to me through you.
This is a Church—to live this way every day, not attending the house of God, but being the place where God lives. Then our homes, our workplace and our church all become one. There are no more barriers from my heart to yours and no more barriers between my home and yours. I put away selfishness, pride, laziness and unbelief, and I love others as Jesus has loved me. When everyone does that, from the least to the greatest, Jesus pours out His healing oil, and we are a Church, a beautiful Bride. If we are content to just attend something on Sunday morning, we will miss the heart and the call of our God, and be like some other religions that are meaningless.
Leadership in the House of God
In Acts 20, Paul was speaking to some leaders and said, “It was the Holy Spirit that made you overseers.” This is very different than man’s way. In most countries that we have been to, the way a person becomes a leader in God’s House is that perhaps he goes to bible college or seminary, or perhaps can read better than other people can, or is a leader in business or some other area, or perhaps he can speak better than others. But these are all the wrong reasons. These are not the ways that God makes leaders.
There have been times when we have traveled to churches in various cities and were asked to speak to the leaders. At that point, there were two ways that we could decide who the leaders were. The normal way to decide is, “Who are the people on staff, or who are the people chosen by men to be leaders?” Perhaps the leaders are all the ones that have titles, such as “pastor” or “reverend.”
But this is not how Jesus picks His leaders. He didn’t choose men with college or seminary backgrounds. He chose men as He looked into their hearts and saw that they were willing to leave their nets and their desires for human life and follow after Him to serve Him no matter what. So, when we have been asked to speak to leaders in various cities or countries, instead of inviting everyone that has a title or a position to come, we have said, “Everyone that feels as if God is using them to touch other people’s lives, everyone who goes to sleep praying for other saints, who during their days cares about other saints and other unbelievers, who has a heart to serve God’s purposes in the earth, male or female, young or old, if you are caring for other people’s souls and not just for your own, then you are a leader. Come. Let’s talk.” This is how the Holy Spirit makes overseers. This is unlike the way man does it, which is to make a leader of a person with position and education.
In Acts 6, there was much work to do in Jerusalem. They did not say, “Choose from among yourselves seven men who have a seminary education and can read better or speak better than others.” They said, “Choose from among yourselves seven men who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.” You see them loving people and helping people in their daily life. These are the men or women that the Holy Spirit is raising up. It does not take a certificate on the wall with a gold seal. It takes a large heart with the Holy Spirit’s seal. So these are some teachings about leadership, because God wants to raise up leaders from among every people.
What men think of as being important, God does not. When Samuel was trying to find a man to be king, several of David’s brothers looked like they would be good leaders. But the small, uneducated shepherd boy was the one that God chose. He doesn’t care about a man or woman’s externals. He looks at the quality and the largeness of a person’s heart. David was willing to risk his life to save his little lambs from the lion and the bear. Little David killed a lion and a bear in order to save one of God’s little lambs. David told King Saul, “I killed a lion; I killed a bear; I can kill Goliath.” Because David was willing to risk his life to save a little lamb, God saw that David would also risk his life for God’s Lambs. This is a mark of a man or woman that God will raise up as a leader, not a man or woman with credentials or education necessarily, but a person that will risk their life for God’s Lambs.
The book of Acts also says that David was a man after God’s own heart because he would do whatever God said. David made mistakes in his life; we know that. But his heart was to do whatever God said. For that reason, God could pour His anointing oil all over him and allow David to be a great leader among His people—because he would risk his life for God’s lambs and do whatever God asked him to do. This is God’s kind of leadership: The men, women and children that will risk their lives for God’s Lambs, that will do whatever God says, that will do whatever God asks them—these are men, women and children that are after God’s own heart. Amen?