Friday, January 29, 2010

Relationship Not Religion!

Relationship Not Religion!

We are passionately committed to help people discover the joy and freedom of relational Christianity. It is our firm conviction that Jesus' death on the cross was to prepare for each of us a dwelling place in the heart of a loving Father and to free us to the kinds of relationships that can share his life with other believers and with the world.
You'll understand our passion when you can figure out who in this cartoon needs the most help.

By relational Christianity we mean:
A personal friendship with Father, Son and Spirit. These are not just words to describe Christianity, but the very way he has called us to live. Healthy relationships with other believers. Many today think fellowship is nothing more than attending the same service together, when it is meant to be so much more. We help traditional churches, home groups and and house churches discover how to relate to one another in his love and allows the ministry of Jesus to flow between them. Friendships with people in the world, so that as God displays his character through us they might come to know the love of God for themselves.

For that to happen we spend a lot of time helping people understand the freedom that Father has given us through the work of his Son, Jesus. Only as we live in his love and freedom can we even begin to experience the power of life in Christ as he brought it to us. Specifically, we help people discover the freedom...

To live in the love of an awesome Father, free to respond to him as he leads you, even if that means you make mistakes now and then.
To walk without guilt or condemnation. Recognize that transformation is a life-long process that Jesus works in us by our security in his love, not something we do for him out of fear.
To be real. To feel what you feel; to ask what you need to ask, to be wrong where you are wrong, and to extend that same freedom to others.
To be liberated from accountability to human leaders who seek to take the place of Jesus in the church by telling others what they think he would have them do.
To love other brothers and sisters freely, serving them the way Jesus leads you and not trying to conform to their expectations of what a 'good Christian' should do for them.
To live free of bitterness and hurt, even where religious institutions (and those who run them) have failed you. We've all got plenty wrong with us, so there can be no end to the generosity we can extend others in their weakness.

With this passion in mind we look for any way Father asks us to...

Go wherever he sends us to encourage people in the life of Jesus, whether it is to hungry hearts in a traditional congregation, a house church, or an informal gathering of believers who want to escape the rigors of religion for the joy and passion of a friendship with the Living God.
Publish materials that will encouarge people to the journey of knowing God better and trusting him more.
Gather with those who are disillusioned with organized religion to help them heal from past abuse and to help them discover what life in Father's family can be.
Equip believers to let God transform them by his magnificent grace, so that they truly relflect his image to the world around them.
Help people who do not know him at all, to be captured by his love.

Article by Wayne Jacobsen

Thursday, January 28, 2010

After riding the tidal wave of the feminist movement of the early 70’s, I began to wonder what value does God really put on women. Regardless of the culture or time, men and women have always had different positions. Were the feminists right, that men and women should be the same? Was traditional America right in the 50’s, a woman’s place is in the home? Or were some of the Middle East cultures right, that women are property?
Even though men in a male-dominated culture wrote the Bible, I believe God’s inspiration reveals His heart for women in those pages.

Women were created second, not second-class. From the very beginning, God put His mark on us! He said that He made men and women to be like Him, not in the way we look, but in His character. He gave us the same moral attributes that He has. He put the same potential to express God’s character to women that He did to men. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 1:27, 2:22) Just as a father gives his precious daughter to her husband in a wedding ceremony, God gave the woman to the man as a special, precious gift.

Men need help! This is a well-known fact to all women but it can be proved Biblically. In Genesis 2:18, God says It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. This verse proves that men need help! It doesn’t say that women need help. God puts a high value on females as we help the male species to function in this world. As wives, we present a different view of life to our husbands. We give them a sense of relationship and community. We fill in their gaps!

The Future is in our hands! God created women to bear the children of the world and to have the primary role in nurturing them. As the famous line goes “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” In our role as mothers of the next generation, we have an incredible opportunity to impact not only the direction of individual lives of our children but also of a whole culture. Even in the “least progressive” of all cultures, women have the role of influencing the next generation because of the amount of time they spend with their children. As a child growing up, my mother had such a positive impact in my life in many ways. One of her most significant dogmas was the prohibition of the phrase “I can’t.” We were not allowed to say those words together at all. Consequently, we were brought to believe we could do anything. Never underestimate the impact of a mother on the life of a child. Can there be any more important role in life?

Bottom line: Whom do you believe?We can believe those who say our worth comes from our position or how much money we make. We can believe those who say it comes from how our kids turn out. We can believe those who say that it comes from how we look or how people respond to us. Or we can believe God! We can believe that we are valuable because of who He made us to be!



Throughout life, we all develop expectations. An expectation is something we look forward to happening. Expectations usually develop when we compare ourselves with others (“They get to so why can’t I”) or from promises people make or imply. Some expectations result from true needs in our lives, like being loved, accepted, and feeling safe. When those expectations are not met in the ways we want them to be met by others or God, the emotional reaction is often anger.
The Bible says to “be angry, and yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Anger becomes a problem when we deal with it in a wrong way. A way to guard against acting in anger is to surrender our expectations to God. In surrendering, I choose to let God meet my needs in the ways He sees best, not in the ways in which I want to see things done. I decide to trust Him and look to Him as the source of my peace, joy, provision and security, instead of looking to circumstances or to other people.

However, what if I don’t recognize an expectation I have and I get angry? What if the anger remains in my heart? When I do not deal with my anger it turns into bitterness. A bitter person is one who is unhappy, resentful, harsh, critical, and mad at the world. If I do not deal with my bitterness it will lead to a sense of hopelessness or despair. The roots of bitterness will go down deeper and deeper into resentment, revenge, not being grateful and having no hope
(Hebrews 12:15).

To deal with anger and bitterness, I can choose to forgive others for what has happened and release them from my expectations. God will deal with them, so I defer that right to Him. I become unable to be satisfied and focus totally on the unmet expectation, and, the one who failed to meet it. Also, I become unable to see how God is meeting my needs. What if the anger is at God? If so, I must make a choice to trust in the truth that God is loving and compassionate, that He is working all circumstances in my life for the good (Romans 8:28), and that He will provide my every need (Philippians 4:19) in His way and in His time.


Belief System

Man creates a Belief System

1- Man is a believing being.

We have beliefs about God, ourselves, others, circumstances, events and the world. We operate on the basis of those beliefs. Our beliefs are shaped in various ways - our perception of our parents, our environment, family, school, peers, etc. When we put all our beliefs together, they form a belief system.
Our whole perception of reality is based on beliefs about everything around us. Our beliefs become the lens through which we see everything. Example: Small child is told he is clumsy by his parents when, in reality, he is just displaying normal three-year old motor skills. However, he forms the belief that he is clumsy. He goes through life perceiving his behavior as either an evidence of his clumsiness or an amazing departure from his norm of clumsiness.

2- Man is Controlled by His Belief System

We are controlled by our beliefs. For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7a. Remember Karen Carpenter. She got the idea that she was "chubby " so she spent what remained of her life compensating for that chubbiness with anorexia nervosa until she died.
Usually it is more subtle. We act out what we believe is true about ourselves. Even a compliment can be received as rejection based on what we believe about ourselves. Our beliefs are the "grid" or "lens" through which we see life.

3- Man’s Belief System is Corrupted

Our beliefs are corrupted because we were born in sin, live in a sinful world, and are under attack from Satan. Romans 1:21-22 says that our minds and hearts are darkened. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. Our beliefs are not necessarily logical or rational, but they are our beliefs and we act on them.
Satan attacks us through our belief system. If we believe our worth is tied to how much money we make, he will tempt us with greed and actions which follow that desire.
How do we change our beliefs which are corrupted and are controlling our lives?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
. . .that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . Ephesians 4:22-23