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Intertwined in Unity

Posted by Chase Aderhold on February 16, 2015 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (3)
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." -- John 14:20

I am so raptured lately by the fact that you and I are as close to God as we are ever going to be -- AND THAT'S GOOD NEWS!  For so long, it's seemed like God has been so far away and that there was no possible way of reaching Him or attaining to whatever level of goodness and mercy He may be on until we're dead and gone to heaven.  We've created this beast of an organization that's fueled by the ideas of distance and delay and called it Church.  We cling to these hopes that cause us to fast, pray, seek, beg, and seek some more, just so that we can experience a momentary glimpse of God's presence in the here and now because the future is way too distant to wait for an encounter with God.  In the mean time, we read our Bibles and self help books so that we can feel better about our sin (falling short) and long for God to get over His obsession with all our miscomings so that He can just be near us all the time.  We want to be out of the body so badly because we're convinced that this body is some kind of stained ruin of former glories that we've sacrificed on the altar some time in our youth or early 20's in order to convince God to move nearer to us.

Praise God!  That's NOT the Gospel.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ can actually be interpreted from the original Greek as the "Well Done Good News".  It's the news of how God is so totally outside of our concepts of justice that He reconciled us to Himself before we even imagined we were separated.  Though we ran, He ran faster, and He never left.

Can you try and grasp with me right now that you fill up God's thoughts?  Need a scripture?  Okay. 

"Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me..." -- Psalm 139:1

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.  I awake and I am still with you." -- Psalm 139:16-18

"What is man that your mind is full of him, and the son of man that your care is focused on him?" -- Psalm 8:4

GLORY!

You see, there's this deep and eternal association between you and God.  The Incarnation is a huge event in human history which stands adjacent to all we've ever beleived about God.  Up until then we saw our deity (or deities) as something completely other than.  The concept of God was of one that was totally separated from us and all that had to do with us and that's what made Him Holy to us (which is what Holy means).  The concept became that, because God was so totally separated from us, we would have to become Holy, or different/separated, in order to be near Him.  Why?  Because being near the Father is what we were designed to do (more on that later).

But then God came as a man.  Not just in apperance, but fully.  All of God was wrapped up in human flesh.  The same flesh that you and I have.  For Thirty-Three and a half years, God walked around openly telling everyone about Himself and just how close He really is to them.  But that doesn't really fit in with our theology, does it?  This body is too weak and broken to contain anything special, much less the fullness of God.  If we were to so much as look at the holy deity that we'd invented, we'd instantly be overwhelmed and die.  But how in the world does one look the source of life in the face and the result is death?

For so long we've held doctrines that claim that we're not as close to God as we could be.  That if we'd just do this or that, we'll be more like God or more like Jesus.  Doesn't that sound familiar?

"But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opeened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." -- Genesis 3:4-5

It wasn't swallowing the apple that caused the fall but swallowing the lie.  Eve was successfully convinced that God was holding something back from her and that she lacked in her likeness.  But we have no evidence that was the case.  God made all of Mankind in His image and likeness.  Adam and Eve both were as much like God as they ever would be.  They were as close to God as they ever would be.

But now even today, we heep doctrines up around ourselves agreeing with what the serpent said in the garden that day.  We're still convinced that God is not as near us as He could be or that we still need to be more like Jesus.  We're thinking "like mere men" (1 Corinthians 3:3).  All this time, the Incarnation has been staring us in the face.  God's answer was that, if we were convinced that we were not like Him, He would show us that He looked just like us!  The fact that there is a Man with flesh seated at the right hand of Father shows that we've been on His mind all the time.  And because we've been on His mind, we've been all wrapped up in Him and He in us.  The incarnation is a literal manifestation of the feelings of the Father towards Man for all of eternity.

"In that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."  What day?  The day you realize that you're as near to God as He's made you to be.  Your very design is companionship with God.

Jesus gave a parable in Mark 13:28 that we needed to "learn the lesson of the fig tree".  He said that as soon as the branch becomes tender and leaves appear, that summer is near.  Is the fig tree still a fig tree when it doesn't put out figs?  Yes.  Is an airplane still an airplane, even when it's not in the air?  Yes.  Are you still in fellowship and communion with God, even when you don't feel it?  Absolutely.  Why?  Because that's what you were designed for and there is a God who's absolutely obsessed with you!  He refuses to stop pursuing you and he's never far away from you.  Father loves us with an everlasting love.  There's no changing it.  He's made up His mind to love us.  And though we still rage against Him with accusing doctrines of failed gospels, He still stays as close to us as He did to Adam:  just a breath away.

Lots of CHANGES!!!! - Thomas Dover

Posted by Thomas Dover on October 17, 2014 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings everyone!!! As we are heading into the Fall season more than just the leaves are changing! As most of you should be aware this past Sunday was our last time meeting at the facility on Leader Dr in Powdersville. As a church we came together and decided to take a different direction in pursuit of what God is calling us to. We will have more info on all the new changes to come at a later time! For the moment we wanted to make everyone aware of the immediate changes.

This coming Sunday we will be meeting at Rudi & Carmen's House at the usual 10:30am start time. Same community, different location!

House is located at:

128 Stonegate Ct
Easley SC 29642

Park in the driveway and along the road in front of the house.

Hope to see everyone there!


Blessings,
Thomas Dover

Sunday Gathering Time Change

Posted by Thomas Dover on July 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

As we are transitioning out of the summer months and getting ready for day time to grow shorter we are making some adjustments to our Sunday Gathering time! During the summer we moved our meeting time up to 9:30am because of the heat in the day and the early sunrise. Now as we move into the cooler part of the year we are returning to our regular 10:30am start time for our Sunday Gatherings starting Sunday August 3,2014.

As a reminder, we ask those that are a regular part of our church family to please plan to arrive by 10:00am to help prepare to recieve visitors and to assist with starting our gatherings on time! This allows everyone to get parked, have refreshments if they desire, visit the restroom, and be ready to fully partake in our Gathering.

Doors will be opened typically by 9:30am and all are welcome to arrive as early as they like!



P. S.

-Sunday Gathering time change effective August 3, 2014.
-Doors opened by 9:30am.
-All church family encouraged to arrive by 10:00am.
-Gathering start time will be at 10:30am!

Let everything be done decently and in order! - Rudi Louw

Posted by Thomas Dover on June 26, 2014 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Let everything be done decently and in order!

 

(1Corinthins 12:1, 4-12;

1Corinthians 14:1, 5, 12-15, 24-27, 29-33, 39-40)

 

I really strongly believe in freedom of expression in our meetings, and therefore we follow an open mic policy. This has led to a strong flow of the Holy Spirit in our meetings with many miracles and manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit through every day ordinary saints. It has also led to our meetings going sometimes longer than usual because of the strong flow of the Spirit. Needless to say that this free flowing family atmosphere and open mic policy presents its own challenges.

 

Like for instance funky prophetic words that are given from time to time. Just recently such a flaky prophetic word was given by someone who is new to our group to another newcomer to our group. Both Carmen and I knew that that prophetic word was not really from God, well only partially. They are, however, new to our group, and we are still building relationship and trust with them, so I didn't want to publicly stand up and rebuke and humiliate them.

 

That still doesn't change or make right what happened though. But, because the person at least went out of their way to try and submit the word to the rest of us to judge, and proceeded to say that if it is not from God the other person is more than welcome to reject it and throw it out as nonsense, and because there were still some elements of correct discernment in it, Carmen and I both decided to wait for a more opportune time to say something to the one who prophesied, and only after talking about it first to the person who was prophesied over. As I said before, we felt like the person partially missed God and that it wasn't really from the Holy Spirit, but we wanted to make sure. We were banking on the fact that the person who was prophesied over was mature enough as a believer to judge that word for themselves and not to get offended at the other person, or us for that matter.

 

We actually had several others from our group come to us afterwards and confirm that they too felt like the person who prophesied missed God on the matter and that that word may not apply at all or perhaps only partially to the person it was spoken over.

 

We really try to be gentle with folks that are new to our group, and I really do believe that freedom of expression as well as proper instruction in these things as a group and more importantly, one on one, is the best way to handle these kinds of situations, otherwise our attempts at controlling these things becomes too stifling and shuts down the flow of the Spirit, instead of promoting it.

 

Unfortunately most of the body of Christ is way too immature in such things and people are not even allowed to learn and grow in these things, because of immature and insecure leadership, who are controlled by their fears. It has become much easier for leadership, because of the controversy involved, to keep these things of the Spirit on a shallow level, or to shut it down all together, rather than to instruct folks and allow for growth and some mistakes.

 

Maturing together is a process and it only works in a family type setting where we get to know each other well enough to speak our minds, and to bring reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, as well as in all other aspects of our Christian lives, without trying to control people.

 

When it comes to the time issue, let me just say that we are not used to such long meetings ourselves either, it is just really a result of our resent Spirit outbreak from our last worship conference. (In fact we are already planning another 3 day similar worship event for this coming August, which is open to anyone to attend) In our regular meetings and during these worship events we make it clear to everyone in our group that they are free to come and go as they please, and the ones who invited them to the meeting should explain our meetings and warn their friends before they come.

 

Let me just add that I fully understand the needs of the modern family, and we always promote family above all else. We have several folks who are our friends and consider themselves a part of our group who cannot always make it to the meetings, or remain for the duration of it.

 

Revivals and times of refreshing come and go, and the things of the Spirit tend to ebb and flow, so I suspect things will simmer down more again among us into a pattern we are all more familiar with before the next wave of refreshing comes and things heat up again. In fact it has already settled down some, enough for me to actually get to preach and teach and bring some instruction again... ha... ha... ha...

 

I am a stickler for freedom of expression and tend to allow the natural flow of things more freely than most, which does get me in trouble with visitors and outsiders, and folks that are used to the more controlled settings of the current church culture in this country ...although it is the very visitors themselves who are quite often the very reason for the different flow in our meetings. Their very presence affects things and influences the ministry of the Spirit and the atmosphere in the meetings.

 

Many of them, experiencing that kind of freedom for the first time actually are the very ones who explode with joy and expression, which is sometimes almost like a cute little baby throwing up all over a person, but we forebear it because we love people and we celebrate with them their new found joy. Gentle instruction does eventually follow, once love and trust is established.

 

I am not trying to justify myself, or the order of our church meetings, or the lack of it as some may see it, I am just trying to explain maybe a little more how Holy Spirit order works. In our fellowship, we are way more relationally oriented than meeting oriented, because I have found that it makes for more spiritual growth, and that is what God is after more than anything else. Could that be accomplished even in a more controlled environment, sure, the process is just much slower though, and after planting a few churches, and being a part of many small and large churches, I have learned that things can become very controlling and stifling and it usually ends up working against God and not with Him. I would much rather allow freedom and flow, and see more growth in people's personal lives because they feel a part of a real family, and know that this pleases the Lord, than to try and build the next or biggest mega-church in the Greenville area.

 

Let me emphasize that I believe it to be more important for us to build faith and understanding and to encourage real relationship with God through the knowledge of redemption, than to try and promote spiritual experiences and encounters with God of a supernatural kind. I do not minimize those experiences and encounters, in fact I celebrate it and promote it when I can, but our faith and personal love-affair with Jesus is more important than having some supernatural encounter.

 

Many people do have emotional blocks however, and want their experiences with God to be so real and authentic that they do not know how to yield to the Holy Spirit for fear of something fake. They would rather experience nothing than to fake it themselves. I really do respect that sincerity, but it often leaves people frustrated. Now I am not saying; fake it till it becomes real, but there does need to be a yielding before there can be an experience. I have found that for people that have become sensitive and skid-dish in this area, it is best to not try and push them, but to simply keep focusing on Jesus' love for them, and the importance of building a relationship with Daddy God, and to let the encounters happen organically and let the Lord work on them emotionally.

 

I truly do pray for you the reader, and for your family, that you may all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be caught up in intimate fellowship with Him to such a degree that more than ever before you will be manifestly epistles of Christ, being known and read by all men everywhere, His love being clearly seen and understood through your lives.

-Rudi Louw

 

 

Overwhelming Theme - Chase Aderhold

Posted by Thomas Dover on June 16, 2014 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As I was in prayer the other day, I felt the Lord tell me to "Soak in Psalm 45." Even though I could probably quote the first few verses by heart because I've meditated in it so much already, I decided to turn there in my Bible just to see it written physically in front of me. As I read the first line of the first verse, the presence of Father hit me so strong I couldn't move on.

Psalm 45:1(a)
"My heart is overflowing with a good theme..."
(NKJV)

The first thought to come to my mind was, "Thank you Father, that you are my good theme." I'm reminded of how Paul exhorted the Church in Ephesus to "Address one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:19-20)

The preceding verse to what I just quoted refers to getting filled with the Spirit of God verses getting drunk off wine and strong drink. The fruit of getting "filled with the Spirit" is that you actually become overwhelmed by good, or pleasing themes. I've never noticed this before, but what if Paul was actually addressing the manifestation of spiritual drunkenness at Ephesus? It's interesting that Paul would submit being filled with the Spirit as a substitute for debauchery.

For so long we've looked at drunkenness as a purely evil thing: the Church has said that drunkenness takes away your faculties and therefore leaves room for the devil to work. We've completely rejected the idea that God can overwhelm anyone anymore, even making them "drunk". When we say the word "drunk" in our gatherings, it's automatically assumed that we're talking about some guy that stinks sitting about a block away from the building in which we meet that always asks for money so he can go and buy more alcohol. We justify never giving him any of our "hard earned money" because he'll just go and spend it on something that we've said is a sin to buy anyway and we have to "tithe" and "give" to our churches anyway.

We seem to assume that Paul is exhorting us in this passage of scripture not to loose our senses and be somber and "holy". But have you ever really thought about the people he's describing? I've been in a few bars in my time and I'll tell ya that verse 19 looks more like a bar than a church. I've seen more people in those settings who are willing to give the shirt off their back someone who needs it as well.

Let me quote it again:

"Addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in to the Lord with your heart."

How many times (in your BC or "Before Christ" days) have you and your friends had a few beers and just went of singing some song that you all love? You kind of reach a point where, dang it, you're just so overwhelmed by the alchohol that you just don't care anymore. You sing at the top of your lungs. You make melody, even if it sounds terrible. Then you go off and plan how you're gonna all be a famous band one day.

I love that Paul used the word hymn as the first manifestation of being filled with the Spirit. Did you know that the word hymn does not find its origin in the Church? Hymns actually started out as drinking songs! They were similar to the games that people play these days when drinking. How about that?

You know, one of Jesus' first recorded miracles (according to the book of John) was when He turned water into wine, and it seems the church has been trying to turn it back again ever since. I think we've forgotten that God is an all consuming fire. He's overwhelming. Perhaps we've been found too long "kicking against the goads" as Paul himself was: trying too hard to be religious without really knowing the God of his religion. I think religion can be good: James says that when it's pure and undefiled, it results in care being given to the orphan and widow. But if we loose sight of the God of our religion, then it can get very empty very fast.

There's this constant temptation in our world to self-medicate by abusing alchohol. We're told by commercials that social drinking is a fun activity to participate in and that it helps us live our boring, day to day lives. We all just live for the weekend and everything is okay.

There's a certain freedom in drunkenness. You reach a point where you don't have worry about it all anymore. You get to kick back and just go with the flow.

Did you know the Bible's full of the Lord exhorting people to look like that? Have you ever known (or been) a pot head? They don't care about tomorrow, do they? They're living in the moment. Taking life by the horns. It's kind of funny how Jesus was found more with sinners and publicans, being called a drunkard (Matthew 11:19) than He was with the religious, church going crowd of His day. He sounds awful care-free when He says, "Don't care about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:30-32). Even the 120 in the upper room are accused of being drunk when Holy Spirit is poured out on them on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: all of it).

What if God has destined you for a more enjoyable life than you've given Him credit for? We've spent too much time hiding in our "prayer closets" scared that He'll send us away to Africa and make us live in mud huts. It's time to get filled with the Spirit! Let's erupt with holy drunkenness that those who look on us see the freedom that God intended for us to show!

-Chase Aderhold

Sunday Gathering Time Change

Posted by Thomas Dover on May 23, 2014 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Hey everyone! There have been lots of changes as we're heading into the Summer months! The community at Living Word is more and more on the move and with it we're deciding to shake things up a bit! 

As anyone who has been in our recent gatherings can attest, the last two months of sundays have been incredible times of ministry and worship! Coincidentally they've also gone on for more than four hours at times. We want to be absolutely open to taking as much time as necessary to allow the Spirit of God to do whatever it is that needs to be done! 

In light of these events for the time being we're moving our Sunday Gathering start time to 9:30am! So get a good breakfast, grab a bottle of water (and snack if you need it), and we'll see you all bright and early at our Sunday Gatherings!

Grace & Peace!

-LWI


New Thursday Gathering!

Posted by Thomas Dover on May 17, 2014 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Starting May 22 we're kicking off Thursday Gatherings at Living Word! We invite everyone to come out and join us for an unscripted night of fellowship, faith, and fun! Doors will be open by 6:30pm and coffee brewed ASAP! There will be different kinds of refreshements ranging from cake to pastries to sandwiches.

We want to set aside this time to focus on connecting with the community members of Living Word and get to know the wonderful folks that are coming and going through our doors! This is also a time to get to know more about Living Word and why we do what we do!

Each gathering (much like our Sunday Gatherings) is going to be allowed to grow and expand organically! If someone needs healing, we'll go that direction. If someone needs a word of prophecy or encouragement we'll go there. There may be musical worship, there may be times of prayer, there may be one big group, we might break off into smaller groups, or we may end up just having coffee and talking; Where the Spirit is Lord there is liberty.

So grab a friend or neighbor and join us this Thursday for one of many great times together! With God all things are possible and when believers come together we see the overflow of The Kingdom.

-Thomas


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