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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Is The Spiritual Realm Real? Venice Beach Adventure and Modern Demons?

Is the Spiritual realm real?

 Not a stranger to the realms of the Spirit and the reality of the demonic, I have been growing since the first days of my conversion in understanding the ways of the enemy of our souls. 

....Venice Beach 1993 Fuller Seminary spiritual survey.....
My wife and I ventured into Venice Beach to interview spiritualists, palm readers etc...   We had already known about or met many in other journeys down the Venice Board walk over the summer.
We had some great talks with people who were fully convinced they had a familiar spirit.  
Familiar Spirit = "The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for him/her as they come into their new powers.[3] (Wikipedia - familiar spirit)   A presence that helped them know things about people, events, etc that they relied on and communicated with.  I was fully convinced as well and marveled at the depth they were willing to share with us about these "helpers' they expected to hear from in their readings.   

Not a surprise.  

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." 
Eph 6:12

Not a stranger to the realms of the Spirit and the reality of the demonic, I have been growing since the first days of my conversion in understanding the ways of the enemy of our souls.  



 
It appears possible.  But I cannot figure out how.  
People divorce Jesus from the realms of the Spirit, 
encounters with the demonic, 
from the whole cosmic struggle of his Kingdom 
entering in and overcoming darkness.   

 

I recently read a blog that mentioned the absence in the bible of the "Jezebel Spirit".   
That was a good point.   The author mentioned the flesh as the main element in the destructive ways of humanity.  I find it interesting that the world rarely speaks of evil as a reality but for the most part everyone acknowledges that Hitler was "evil".  The bible speak to three key points of evil.  The World, The Flesh and The Devil.  Jesus defeated them all.


Yes the Bible does not directly call....

1) The destruction of the worship of Yahweh in the hearts of Israel (so that, of a whole nation, only 7000 continue in true worship and bow to the Father) the Devil directly. 


2) The attempted murder and destruction of the prophetic voices throughout the land  (including Elijah, and the systematic replacement of the divine voices with prophets of Baal) the Devil directly.  (OT prophets spoke the very words of God to Israel in an attempt to win them back) - Jeremiah 1:17-19

17 “Get yourself ready! 
Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. 
Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.  
18 Today I have made you a fortified city, 
an iron pillar and a bronze wall 
to stand against the whole land—
against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests 
and the people of the land.  
19 They will fight against you 
but will not overcome you,
 for I am with you and will rescue you,” 
declares the Lord.

 

3) The replacement of true worship, prescribed by the Father, with Baal and Ashe -rah in the one nation chosen to reflect and display his glory on earth.


4) The wiping out of the memory in the hearts of Israel of the holiness of God, righteousness and truth and purity in life and witness.  The worship of Baal is a sexual rite.  Sex is the blessing language of covenant commitment.  Sex in covenant expresses deep wells of intimacy and love.   Sex as worship, as in pornography and everything living in the tribe of the barren heart, is adultery of first love and the Kingdom first.  It is ultimate distortion and deception.  It is soul enslavement.  Blinding the eyes of the heart and stopping up the ears.  It is a captivity of immense proportions. 


5)Paul, in the N.T. era mentions Idol worship as an offering to demons.   I Cor 10:20
 
19What do I mean then? 
That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, 
or that an idol is anything? 
20No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, 
they sacrifice to demons and not to God; 
and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.  
21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; 
you cannot partake of the table of the Lord 
and the table of demons.…












6) Yet, there are demons mentioned by name in the Bible including, "legion"(Mark 5:9) and "Python"(Acts 16:16).  Jesus talks with Legion and frees people enslaved by demons.   Paul encounters python and whole societies ruled by their ways and captivity.  

1 Kings 18:21-40

King James Version (KJV)

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, 
How long halt ye between two opinions? 
if the Lord be God, follow him: 
but if Baal, then follow him. 
And the people answered him not a word.

22 Then said Elijah unto the people, 
I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord
but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.


It seems to me that in order to hold the view that the demonic is no longer active, that the evil affairs of humanity and the world are simply the struggle of the "flesh" is to:


1)Divorce ourselves from the whole person of Jesus Christ and his Apostles who encountered and delivered the world of their time from demonic beings.  Beings/angels who speak, capture and possess people.  The Kingdom present breaks every captivity.  And Jesus gave us authority over ALL demonic angels. 

2)To live a duality in terms of the Scriptures; Angels, demons and spiritual realms are all revealed countless times and are at the core of understanding the very nature and reality of the coming Kingdom of our Lord. We get a half Jesus.  Good teacher, smart person, no realms of the Father and certainly no supernatural.



There are three things we fight as the Kingdom advances, the world, the flesh, and the Devil.   If we allow the Spirit to lead us we will encounter the captivity and bondage around us.  We will encounter demons in America.  As discernment grows, we will dislodge captivity and see people delivered just like Jesus, the Apostles, those they laid hands on all the way up to today.  



If we allow the Spirit to lead us we will encounter the captivity and bondage around us. That is when the opportunity for freedom and the ministry arises.  When the freedom of the Lord Jesus through the Spirit in us is expressed. 


   

The world gets set free in this process.  The "presence carriers" of the Kingdom, through following Jesus by the Spirit day to day, will encounter strongholds, demonic presence, and captivity.  In the grace and power of the King you and I can bring freedom. 




The world is under the tyranny of the Prince of Power of the Air (I always loved this - the air = nothing really).  It always intrigues me that Christians would spend much time at all arguing that the demonic powers are not real, present and as active as in any time in human history. 

But our mission is not to go hunt them down.  
We are to seek the Kingdom first, First Love, Be a Temple and dwelling of God where Christ dwells by the Spirit.  


 
There are all kinds of levels of involvement in freeing people, cities, nations from the grips of the powers.  The key is Kingdom first, First LOVE, First prayer and worship, being a temple and honoring the advance of the Kingdom in our own lives.  

Have you cast a demon out of a person or ever seen anything like what regularly occurred with Jesus in the New testament?

Has the world, as fundamentally presented in the Scripture, changed since the time of Jesus?   

The great restoration needed today is to be restored to being the dwelling place of God.  This is one of the stated goals of the Father.  To make us a building, a temple of his presence.  Each believer.  Full of First LOVE life and following Jesus by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Together a witness of the Kingdom in the world.  Shining love and family in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his perfect work. 

This is the easy yoke and light burden.   When we encounter barriers to the advance of the Kingdom we allow the flowing rivers of living water to break out and spread around us.   We change the atmosphere with the Kingdom grace and love.  


Ideas?  Comments?    
Join the dialogue.  
Forward this on.  
What might be stirred up?  



Sign up to follow this blog.    
Thank you for reading.  Really appreciate it.  
Go after Him with a childlike First Love fire. 

 

Love in the Lord,

Brother Jeff
Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader 
Capstone Christian Fellowship
jreynolds@mycaptone.org
jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Overcoming Mindset - Can We See the Victory of Jesus Loving the Father The Way He Did?

What is an Overcoming Kingdom Mindset?  - Do Our Starting Thoughts  De-activate the Kingdom Power In Our Lives?

Can we see the victory of heaven loving the Father the same way the Lord Jesus loved the Father? 

An amazing thing about the world we live in, touch, taste, smell, feel, embrace and know every day is,  it was created in the Mind of God full of loving kindness and replete with life changing power.    A couple examples to get things going.

Our Bodies are built to heal themselves.   Those small cuts and wounds to hands and legs amazingly heal with a little care over a relatively short period of time.   A sickness enters our body and into action it goes to defeat it before it can overtake us.   Cancer starts with a few cells.   Then those cells have to convince the healthy cells around it to join with it.  Accept it and ultimately provide a connection to a blood source to really take off and grow.  Evil is always working in a similar way, searching for available agreement and then encouraging more.

We know this stuff.  But when it comes to God's Kingdom do we possibly have the wrong mindset?  There are plenty of believers marching with an empowered mindset advancing the Kingdom daily, but there are what seems and equal number of poor minded Saints who do not understand the way the kingdom overcomes the world.   How?  From the inside out, through sacrifice and love and with a compelling vision of Christ triumphant over all things!

A kingdom mindset is more reliant and founded on the truth that Jesus overcame the world than we seem to believe today.   Jesus overcomes the world.  The power of the Kingdom  continues to do so through those who understand the total victory of dying now, living in the resurrected life and ascending with Christ daily to the heavenly realities of his Kingdom rule and reign. 

When it is some kind of "victory of faith" to attend church on a regular basis, we are not plugged into the overcoming power of Jesus Christ that is transforming nations. 

What do I mean?   Consider the wheat and the tares for one thing.   Jesus said about weeds being sown into the wonderful wheat of his Kingdom garden and his servants question of whether to pull them out, 
“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them."  
How many times I have moaned about the "little Ones" blown out over some church issue that is not "central to Jesus Christ" or critical to his Kingdom advancing. You?  To many I think.

Jesus is all about keeping and upholding and blessing and encouraging even the smallest flame of the Kingdom in all our hearts.   The task is about encouraging, strengthening and comforting those with a commitment to follow Jesus with all energy and effort, not to focus on defeating the tares of the world.   Let everything grow to the glory of God.  Water what you want.   The Kingdom overcomes as our Lord overcame the world.   the Kingdom moves and grows where it is received and welcomed.  Somehow we have come to a mindset that believes that the Kingdom is better served by policemen.  That the task is to root out and cleanse and purify.  I recall that being the work of the Holy Spirit. (but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;… John 16:8)  Is that at the root of this world mindset.  We don't believe in the core reality of the work of Jesus. 

When Jesus told Peter to "Feed My Sheep".   In some fellowships broken people are considered bad.  Broken children who can't pay attention are labeled.   Jesus said "Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom."   (Matt 5)  Quite possibly the American social and economic classes have taken over the Kingdom mindset?   Possibly we have no answers for the desperate because we don't share the mindset of Christ or move in his power and love?  

Side Note:  I am just asking.  I am part of this journey myself and have been blown away by my lack of understanding basic things in Jesus Kingdom. 
    
As I weeded my greenhouse this past weekend this truth came home to me. My pea patch was overcome by weeds that looked just like the pea vines.  As I grabbed up handfuls of weeds I also pulled up healthy beautiful pea vines that were ready to produce fruit.    I started thinking, possibly with the Spirit's aid, about my mindset of clearing the weeds.  It seems to me that much of our mindset regarding how to do church and much of the wounds inflicted relate to pulling weeds not to encouraging more of the Kingdom.    Whole movements get stuck and focused on "keeping out the bad" instead of overcoming evil with good.   Some things that hold up these ideas:
  • Love overcomes the world in Jesus through sacrifice.  
    • Our love is our witness of the truth of Jesus to the world -  John 17:23
    • Can we abide in him in circumstances that need deliverance, wisdom and love? 
  • Jesus ascended to the highest place through loving the Father and doing his will. 
    • Can we see the victory of heaven loving the Father and the Lord Jesus the same way? 
    •  He fills all things in every way.   Live from the mindset of the Kingdom overcoming the world.
  • The Father sent his Son into the world as one light --- who has now lit the hearts of billions!   
Are we too impatient or unwilling to join the Apostle John in....

"I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." 
Rev 1:9

I think Jesus expresses a basic bottom line mindset about his Kingdom in his statement about not pulling out the weeds.  It may be hidden but I believe it is there.   Jesus is saying something about the Kingdom of God.  About how our lives prosper in the Kingdom.  About how we grow the Kingdom.  About a Kingdom mindset.   
The Kingdom overcomes obstacles by prospering, growing, presenting it's reality vrs tearing down, policing, and defeating what is clearly passing away with this world.  
world mindset - it is more powerful than Jesus and his love
Kingdom mindset - it is growing daily in the "Christ in you" (Col 1:27) believers and the Ekklesia of Jesus our Lord who Was and IS and IS to COME.   

Apostle John, teaching out of understanding of the Lord said,
"The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." I John 2:17.   

A critical piece of an overcoming mindset is "the world is passing away".   Jesus and his Kingdom are advancing by love, sacrifice, patient endurance and power through the Holy Spirit.   Are we living in what is passing away as if it will remain?   Are we attached to the world for our identity and significance?


"There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this."  Isaiah 9:7f
  
Overcoming the world is done.  Jesus did it. "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33.  Now we with unveiled faces are beholding his glory are moving by faith each day into the greatness of the Rule and Reign of Our King Jesus.   

I believe the greatest offering you can bring in the world: to be a living sacrifice, holy and devoted to HIM.  (Rom 12:1-2)

Thank you for reading.  Pass it on if it blesses you. 
 Comments?  Ideas?   I would love your feedback.


Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader 
Capstone Christian Fellowship
jreynolds@mycaptone.org
jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com 
Thanks again, 
Brother Jeff. 
 

Friday, May 23, 2014

An Angelic Visitation and The Company of Heaven's Witnesses




Angel Visitation and The Company of Heaven's Witnesses

May 23, 2014
Visitation
Yesterday May 22, 2014, I had a visitation in  morning prayer. 

While seeking the Lord in the morning my eyes were drawn upward and I found myself looking at a Cloud of Witnesses in heaven.   A vast flowing landscape of faces filled up my vision.  I was also drawn into the atmosphere of the Witnesses.  Without words I understood the grace, joy and truth of their glorified lives with HIM.  Words are not adequate to describe the total and utter connection, Oneness that filled up the whole atmosphere.  Every voice, sound, feeling, thought reverberating glory and connection to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.   Joy moved out from their faces like breathing is for us, so elemental so basic to everything known there.   Eyes were prominent.  Smiles, faces that were the very thing they shined.

One face filled up my vision.  The person, who I understood to be Peter, was front and center and I could see his eyes clearly.  At this point I have to break away and fill in two things.

1. In 2012 my wife and I visited Bethel Church on our way to Glacier Park and a celebration of our 25th Anniversary.   While there I had a vision of the Lord Jesus: a life changing vision of him that I will treasure until I see him again.   The prominent part of the vision was that I saw his face.  He was full of a blazing joy that poured out of his eyes so pure and powerful.  Love emanated, joy radiated; he could build worlds out of the firm reality of his character flowing out from his eyes and face.   He welcomed me to come with him.  Nothing was said but I heard his voice in everything about him. 

2. Peter's life speaks volumes to the mystery of following Christ.   He failed in significant ways and was carried through to glory despite his shortcomings and human frailty.  Much like David, he was a man after the Lord Jesus Christ.   Of full devotion with his eyes fixed on Christ.  This is what was coming to me as I saw his face like that of the Lord's.  Promise. Hope.  Victory.  We shall be like HIM when we see Him if.....we hold fast to the end.


When Peter's face became promanant in the visitation, his face, smile, and flaming glory filled eyes were exactly like the face of the Lord I saw a few years earlier. 

I was completely overcome during all this.  Seeing the Lord's face in Peter's face was overwhelming.  Weeping to the depths of my heart, longing for God's word to go forth and match the revelation of his presence.  Shaking and convulsing under the weight of heart cries.   I found myself crying out for the truth of grace and the blessings of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus to be poured out into the world in overflowing measure. 

As I looked into Peter's eyes and out over the crowd of witnesses volumes were spoken into my heart and spirit.   Patient endurance and every weakness, all our brokenness, longings, self preserving aspirations, when submitted to Jesus in the mystery of following Him become glory and worship in our transformation.  The witnesses look like him, emanate without words volumes of praise and agreement; Jesus fills all things in every way.  Heaven speaks this without words because the way of the Lord leads us to transforming grace.  We become like him. 

I wrote what I heard emanating from the crowd.   "Yes, this is the Way"  
No judgment.  I knew that as this grace was to advance and fill me up it required my death.  I had so many more deaths to die to this world as heaven will fill me again and again until I see him face to face. 


As all this was occurring, I had my hand over my mouth, weeping and shaking.  The knowledge of my fallen-ness clearly caused me to cry out for his Kingdom to come to me and then the deep desire to see it poured out to the world.  

At this point an Angel approached me.  He carried righteousness and an object that looked like a diamond.  He told me to remove my hand from my mouth.  Then he touched my mouth and lips with the translucent white object.  I believe he imparted the very heart and grace that was roaring at me from the Cloud of Witnesses. 

As I wept and cried out for that WORD to go forth into the world and express the harvest prophesied and desired by the Saints with an aching hunger, I became aware of two Angels standing on either side of me.  Wisdom and Love were recently identified to be with me on assignment through a dear friend at EPIC Center in Bend OR. 

So let me break away again and tell this story.

Wisdom and LOVE.   I was ministering at EPIC Center in Bend and during the ministry time my friend, Ron Griggs turned and said to me, "I see two angels standing on either side of you.  They are tall.  They are Wisdom and LOVE."   That was a significant moment for me.   From the start of Capstone Christian Fellowship Angels have been identified and prophesied.  I have seen the warring Angel and others over the past few years.  Prophetically I felt the "warring" was coming to a close and "Wisdom and LOVE" were our clear assignments from the Spirit.  The ekklesia has been exploring what we call the culture of love for 6 months and I felt the Lord said to me that the season of warring would be replaced with Wisdom.   Traveling to work one morning I was crying out to the Lord for the Wisdom of Solomon to shepherd the Lord's people and move with HIM in his heart for his people.   I have been acutely aware that what the Spirit is doing is of such promise for restoring and healing. 

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  Isa. 43:18-19



"And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12"Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.



"And your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundation of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Isa. 58:11f


These two Angels stood on either side of me and placed their hands on my head.   Friends in the ONE desire, their touch brought deep encouragement and fellowship with heaven.  Power as strength and hope as reality, these two lifted my whole being.  Weeping and shuddering in spirit, soul and body, to many things were occurring without words to recount with words.  They were all happening at once and speaking to every part of me at one time. 

Clear, true, and all the time Jesus was clearly the one every sound, touch, word communicated, filled up.   It is hard to explain this manifold connectedness of heaven and how it all in very essence reflects the power, majesty and truth of the Lord Jesus.  
  
The Supremacy of the Son of God
15 "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."  Colossians 1:15-23

We, as a Body of Followers of Jesus, Need to:
  • Loose what we want to do for  --  Who we want to know -  Jesus  (Matt 10:39)

  • Let go of the "me" and put our eyes on HIM - author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2)

  • Realize it is not about us - It is about making a place for him - we are temples with daily living sacrifices (Rom 12:1-2)

All throughout this encounter this rang in my ears.......



Where is your treasure?



With Love and Grace in the Lord Jesus.


Brother Jeff

Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader

Capstone Christian Fellowship

jreynolds@mycapstone.org

jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com

www.jeffreynoldsministries.com  -  other blog posts and reading on the "new"


Comments! Ideas? 




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hearing God? Sometimes we need to dial in a new frequency


The Father is in touch with the smallest details.  So what is going on when we don't seem to hear him? 

Check out this picture.  The world's smallest bouquet!  The flowers on the green plant are microscopic.  The Father made these and planted them all over the desert near my house.   

When we can't hear God like we did even a short time ago.....

Sometimes we need to dial in a new frequency


 I think there are four areas to consider in expanding your "range of hearing"
 First a story.

My German short-hair pointer, Abigail Frolichiet Reynolds, is trained to hunt on an English whistle.  It is nearly silent to the human ear.  The frequency is outside the normal range our ears can hear.   But Abby hears it over a mile away!  


She knows when to turn, head back my way, and a few other things when I blow  the whistle.  She hears the frequency and the different tones and locks in.   

As we follow the Lord we often run our "range of hearing" into the ground.  Over and over and over we seek the Lord in the same way.    Yet he is such a creative God.   Our culture, family, spiritual family all teach us to pursue the Lord in a specific way.   Break out.  Try something new.   Learn from a source far outside your spiritual stream.   

I spent 4 days in a Dominican Retreat Center in the desert of Southern California.  Wow. What a time with God.  The whole atmosphere was dedicated to seeking him, finding him, knowing him.  Break out.  Try something new.

Over the course of my walk with the Lord I have focused on learning new frequencies of his voice.    Things get quiet and I jump into another form and listen to the new frequencies.   My ears are fresh not worn out to the new sound.  

Think about it.  If you pound the same tones, same food, same routine day in and day out you start loosing the taste that made those things so stimulating and alive.    

God is speaking in 1000's of frequencies all the time.  

Heaven never sleeps.  Worship is 24/7 there.   
God is speaking in...
Creation
Our friends and family of faith
His anointed Servants 
Through music, art, writing, movement and sound
 Always and forever in his Scripture 
But foremost and completely......IN HIS SON

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.


First place to dust off and have a look -  Check the frequency of your heart and first love in Christ. 

 It is not hard for our the eyes of our hearts to drift and loose sight of Jesus.  It is very easy to slide off the narrow way.  The narrow way is deliberate.  Sometimes it seems like you can't go on without squeezing through, doing serious face time or resting deeply in his love and presence.  As we put off taking time for some critical focus, we continue drifting and getting dull.   Walking in the Spirit and following Jesus is moment to moment.  Feeling we need time off from first love fires only points out that grace, mercy and love need to find a deeper place in our hearts.   Relationship with Jesus is a wild ride of never ending love and forward expansion.  

Jesus is our inheritance.  He is everything.  He is our strength and encouragement.  There is sufficent grace to walk in all circumstances with Jesus in full devotion and love.   Our hearts were made to be ONE with him as he is ONE with the Father.   Check your first love frequency.  Is Jesus the very heart beat of your life?  

Check the frequency of your heart.   Are you hearing the Father?   
If not break away and throw yourself into the word, worship and some resting in his presence.   Stop the drift right away.  Your eternal joy is riding on the steady flow of communion with Jesus.  


Yours in Christ,

Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader 
Capstone Christian Fellowship
jreynolds@mycapstone.org
jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com

What are your thoughts? Ideas?  
Best ways to break out and hear the voice of the Lord again?





Friday, May 16, 2014

Ok. So I kind of lost that compelling first love along the way.

 Ok. So I kind of lost that compelling first love along the way.

When I was first saved at 17 I started riding my moped around with some friends in Southern California looking for people we could share the gospel with.   We would ride up to bus stops and malls and start sharing our hearts and the story of Jesus.   We felt compassion for those we met.   We were moved by their stories and needs.   My church would bus our youth group down to the Sunset Strip (my parents would follow along in secret to keep an eye on me) and send us in 2's to share with Bikers and drug addicts and people wandering the streets.   We went out nearly every weekend with a guy at church sharing the love of Jesus and winning many people to the faith.    It was the tail end of the Jesus movement and Daniel Amos was a hot band!   Fun times but more so deeply connected to the heart beat of the Lord.  I was fascinated with everything Jesus.  

I would pray at church for everything I saw happen.  People would get healed and I wanted to be part of that.  I would pray for words of knowledge and give it a try.  People would sing some sweet harmony in worship and I would ask the Lord for that too.   I lived and breathed the Scripture and learned every possible thing I could about it.   I prayed.  Got up when it was still dark, at the break of dawn, and prayed with my youth group.   Then went off to school where we plastered posters on every locker and hung signs on the backstop where the whole school could see "Jesus Saves".   Then we started an on-campus gathering right next to the school office.  We would worship, pray, read the word, hang out and then go out and share the gospel all around the school while lunch was in session.   Jesus was clearly front and center and I was blown away by his Kingdom, his people, His Church and the life of abundance I was living.   Compared to drugs, brokenness, loss, stealing and drinking myself into a spin, Jesus was profoundly freeing.  

Then I lost touch with that kind of compassion.  With the raw and life changing Gospel that was so closely tied with the presence and purpose of the Lord Jesus at different times in my walk.  

Things happened.  My youth pastors got a divorce.   That hurt.  I was from a divorced family and used to bury all that with drugs and alcohol.   The pastor of the church got fired.  I was a kid and had no idea what was going on but that pastor was amazing and filled my life up with a powerful church and love for Jesus.    I drifted further than I recognized from the walk with the Lord; from the heart felt first love, from deep conviction and from penetrating worship.   My focus shifted from Jesus onto people, his church, everything that needed correction and on to the pleasures and cares of the world.   

Let me clarify.  I went on to help plant a church right out of high school, led worship, wrote many worship songs, continued to share my faith, study the word and minister.  Then I shifted off to Bible College in Oregon and got a little taste of what I would call religion.  
First couple days into Bible College I was sitting in the cafeteria and a Sr. was sitting there.  She was not really interested in talking with me, but I was always looking for divine encounters.   I started talking about something in the Lord Jesus and she turned and looked me square and said something to the effect, "It's ok, you'll get over all that soon."   

Get over what?  Get over Jesus?  How amazing he is?  Get over my sins being gone?  Get over the gospels power to change people's lives?   Get over worshiping him?  Get over the power of God giving words of knowledge, prophecy, healing?   I shrugged it off.  But my heart got a little dent.


The flames of pursuit of Jesus ebbed and flowed over years of service in the regular things of the Christian life.  


I marvel at the connection the Lord Jesus showed as a whole person; his mind, body, soul and spirit were flowing in complete harmony in his acts of mercy and love.   He said he was doing what the Father was doing. (John 5:19)  That came out into the world as compassion, as action.    Volumes could be written on this idea alone -  What is the Father doing?    Jesus pointed with his life, action, power and compassion to what the Father was doing.   
My first love pursuit of Christ was linked right in to this reality.  Jesus is alive and I could follow him as the disciples did today.  By the Spirit I could follow Jesus.  


Ok. So I said I kind of lost that compelling first love along the way.   It seems that it leaked out of me.  A small leak.  An acceptable leak.   A leak that no one really cared about or noticed.   As my passion leaked out I picked up self talk phrases to support my lack and replace the Scriptures.  "It's ok, we are all human."    "I need to be realistic.  Jesus doesn't expect all of us to live that way?"  "I'm in an off season."

Could the real problem be that as believers we hardly expect or relate to one another out of "First Love".   We don't demand first love of ourselves possibly because it is so easy these days to simply go with the low end and get by with what is "standard".   

Accepted levels of "spiritual pursuit" agreed upon by the masses should alert us to the origin.   The wide road is easy and broad.    

So, can we assume anything easy, accepted by the masses and broadly approved of might not produce the hottest fires of first love for the narrow way?  In every generation season and time there is a narrow way that requires first love to walk on, live on and dwell in with God.  It will require faith, hope and love to stay on, perceive and all of it will drive our hearts to love the Lord our God will everything we have; heart, soul, mind, strength.  

Mat 7:13
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Things to keep.  Jesus commended them on these things.
A. Good Doctrine
B. Good lifestyle and perseverance in good
C. Good involvement in the family - His Church
D. Good worship and devotion

The problem with anything 
1) defined outside of compelling love for Jesus 
2) established in the lifestyle of following him today, in this world, through broad feel good standards; 
3) or placing perseverance as the highest worship is....

If it does not have first love.  It is not worthy of Jesus. 
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.

 Remember first love?   Remember when people called you, "ON FIRE FOR GOD?" 
Remember when you could not wait to get up in the early hours of the morning and pray before anything else?  Remember you wanted to worship on and on and on?  Remember after glows?  We had a meeting after the meeting?  Sweet, do you remember?   Remember you were hungry and asked for things from the Father?   Remember you believed for people to encounter Jesus and break free from whatever held them back?  Remember people did break free in the power of Christ?  Remember you broke free?   Remember you used to do things that you no longer do and when you were forgiven and set free from them your whole mind, body, soul and spirit soared in worship and love for God.   You could not believe it could be that good.  But it was.   Jesus was that good.  

Remember.

Remember. 

My hope is that as you remember you will encounter the Lord Jesus afresh in this day.  At your present age and life situation.  That the fires of first love will burn away every worthless thing in your life and that Jesus would so fill up your vision you would step into new grace, love and faith.  We would all say of you, "You are on fire for God"  
"you are a witness of first love for Jesus".   

Read these Scriptures for encouragement and first love ignition.  I hope your walk of faith lights up an entire city, an entire nation.  Dream again with Him and walk as you did at first. 


2Ki 13:23
But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.
Isa 30:18
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isa 54:7
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
 Mat 14:14
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
 Mat 20:34
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Mar 8:2
“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.

This is part I.   Part II will seek to tell the testimony of the past few years.  When first love visited my heart again in a more powerful way than I have ever known.   

Jesus, you are our ONE DESIRE.  


Love to you all in the LORD.   You can achieve greater love than ever before!


Jeff Reynolds Sr. Leader
Capstone Christian Fellowship
jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com
jreynolds@mycapstone.org




Monday, May 12, 2014

God is not talking to me anymore? Did I do something wrong? Learning to Float




 

Getting to know God more deeply definitely requires moments where we hold off "judging" both ourselves and God.   

Of course, everything in us wants to surmise the situation and come up with the "reason God is not talking to us anymore".   Don't give in.   Hold out for something much better.   Yes.  it will take some effort, a bit different mindset, but once you capture a few keys your walk with God can always find the wind of his voice.

We have to learn to float to learn to swim.  

I remember when my boys were learning to swim.  Some kind of crazy freaked out aliens invaded their minds and bodies.  They could not imagine themselves at peace in any body of water unless the feet could touch and the arms was close enough to the side to grab with no effort.    Parents have to push through this stage because of the sheer important of teaching their kids to swim.  Life has too many hazards for those who don't know their way around a large body of water.   

So my wife found this breakthrough swimming school in Salem Oregon.  They seemed to get the fact that kids were freaked out.  That they needed basic confidence just to move away from the side of the pool.  Right away I could see they were looking to create the right atmosphere for the kids to find the most basic success in swimming.  

Learn to Float.    

They knew kids needed to loose their fear or they would never swim.   So they taught the kids to float.   Their feet could touch the bottom.  Their little arms were not that far from the side and the instructor was right there.   They gave em the fundamentals of survival in water.  LEARN to FLOAT.    Motionless in the water let your bodies natural floating ability carry you.  Settle in.  Trust it.   You'll see that floating takes no effort.   We let go....and float.

 
When they had the skill down the instructors celebrated the kids to the whole pool.   "Moving on.  Isaac Reynolds is now a ....."  Sorry, I don't remember what the title was.  Everyone clapped and celebrated and something changed dramatically in my kids.   They were not afraid of large bodies of water.  They were not afraid of loosing themselves.  They learned that they could float.  Rest.  Hang out.  And it was easy. 

Floating is actually fun once we get the hang of it.  
 
I remember floating in the pool in the warm summer sun.  The water covering my ears and my arms all stretched out with legs dangling down into the depths.   Things slowed way down.  Just to hearing myself breath and looking up into the vast blue puffy cloud sky.   Floating.  Hanging there in the water.  Nothing like it.   

Christians need to learn to float in the vast pool of God presence. 

If we want to learn to swim in a life of hearing God, the first step is to learn to float in his presence.  We can learn to float in a vast body of water without fear.   Peaceful.  Eyes wide open to the vast sky of his presence. 

When we no longer hear the Lord in the ways we were used to or have experienced so easily, down we jump into our survival mode.  Possibly protecting ourselves from the fear that God may not love us anymore.   That we have done something wrong.  Even that God was not real and all we experienced was a hoax or some kind of self delusion.   Down we jump searching and stretching for the bottom of the pool for our feet to find some Terra fir-ma.    

To Float in God's presence is to find God as our Terra fir-ma.   
The best abiding  comes when we reach out with toes and hands and find the presence of God as our resting place.   But we are talking about Floating.  Sorry. 

We have to learn to abide through thick and thin, to float.   Settle down into the presence, just like the water, and trust that we are going to float.   When the water covers our ears and we start to hear ourselves breath, its time to realize that we are able to float.   Floating is natural.  


We were made to float in his presence.  An effortless float.   Held up by all his promises and the reality of the victorious love of Christ Jesus.  We can float when everything screams to reach for the side of the pool or try and get your feet to touch.   We can Float, when our thoughts incessantly demand some resolving idea that will put all our fears to rest.   Calm our minds.  Quiet the alien.   The flesh is the alien in the pools of his presence by the way. 


Day in and day out finding connection with the Trinity God is our heritage and inheritance.  
"For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth."
 Isaiah 54:5



God says we are his temple (I Cor 6:19).  He dwells in the temple all the time.   "Christ in you, the hope of glory".  (Col 1:27)    Because of the perfect work of Jesus on the Cross, through the new life resurrection and by seating himself in heaven after he ascended, we share in the victory of Jesus and in his relationship with the Father and the Spirit.   No one can snatch us out of his hand. (John 10:27-28)

 So.  What makes you float in His presence?  

A.  No one is greater than our Father
"...and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.…  (John 10:28f)

B. We have passed from death to life
"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death."  (I John 3:14) 

C. God so loved the world
 Jhn 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 By faith in Christ Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, we find our ability to float in the presence of God with no effort.   Love, grace and mercy are the waters of the deep holding up each of us in the heart of the Father.   Jesus paid with his life for our redemption.   And no one can snatch us out of his hands.  

Finally, we all have heard this but hear it as a new word of encouragement to float.   


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?




Rom 8:36
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Rom 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Rom 8:38
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

Rom 8:39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.






 This is the water we float in.   Let God the Father of Heaven show you how to float in his loving presence.   You will never be the same. 



In his love, 


Brother Jeff 
Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader 
Capstone Christian Fellowship

jeff@jeffreynoldsministries.com
jreynolds@mycapstone.org