Showing posts with label Frank Viola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Viola. Show all posts

25 August 2010

RESPONSE - What inspires me?

Frank Viola recently asked his readers 'What inspires you?' It's a great question, isn't it? He's asking us to think about breathing. What do I mean by that? Read on...

My answer really centres on the idea of listening to Yahshua daily or, more accurately, moment by precious moment. I live each moment once, just briefly. And in each of those moments I respond to influences and pressures, to joys and fears, certainties and doubts. Some things I desire, other things repel me. And everything is in relationship to others. Even when I seem to be alone Christ is with me. Every little thing I do or say affects those around me. But through it all I try to pay attention to the voice of Jesus guiding me.

He speaks to us by living within us (Christ IN you, the hope of glory). We are containers for his life, his power, his righteousness, he is the bread of life, the living water, in him we can do ALL things. But we must listen.

Why? Because he blesses the obedient (his grace and his love are freely poured out upon us but blessing requires our obedience). And how can we obey if we don't hear what he tells us? And how can we hear unless we listen? (Hint: if you want some helpful ideas on listening, read about Church of Two.)

So for me inspiration is a matter of listening, hearing, and obeying. Let's look at this in a slightly different way.

To be inspired is to be breathed into. If I retain what is within me (stop breathing) I will die! It's no coincidence that the word 'expire' implies death. A body that is not breathing is dead, or about to die, or about to start breathing again. Breathe and live, don't breathe and die - there are no other alternatives.

There is physical breathing and there is spiritual breathing, physical life and spiritual life, physical death and spiritual death.

When I first recognised Jesus as the Messiah and believed that he was the Son of the Most High, he breathed his Spirit into me and I became spiritually alive with his life. The word 'spirit' and the word 'inspire' are closely related - both have to do with breath and breathing. Indeed, the Greek word 'pneuma' and the Hebrew 'ruach' can be translated 'spirit' or 'breath' according to context.

The Holy Spirit is the Holy Breath! When I was born my lungs inflated with air and I have been breathing ever since. If I stop I will die. When I was born again I was filled with spiritual breath (the Holy Spirit) and I have been breathing him ever since. If I stop I will die spiritually.

Do you think about breathing? Perhaps you are aware of breathing when you've been doing physical work and you are 'out of breath'. But most of the time it's a natural rhythm and you don't have to plan to breathe or set aside a special time for it. You even manage to breathe every night while you are asleep. Breathing is automatic.

Spiritual breathing is the same, it needs to be automatic. It is what 'inspires' us. The Holy Spirit was sent to lead us into all the Truth (Yahshua is Truth), to comfort us, to guide us, to be our advocate, to act in us on Christ's behalf.

I am inspired when I see Jesus in others, when I see the evidence of his life in them. I'm inspired by every action or word that comes from the fruit of the Spirit in others, such things as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-25). I'm inspired by beauty, grace, humility, wisdom, and everything that is good (Phil 4:8).

A more specific thing that inspires me is seeing others built up and growing in grace. And I am inspired by watching others reach out to share Christ's love in the community. What could be better than to see brothers and sisters living in unity of purpose, building strong bonds of peace and rejoicing together in the truth? This is church, this is life in Christ, that we love one another and share what we have with those in need around us. (There are physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. Our loving and sharing should cover all three.)

Inspiration comes from the Father through the Son as a result of their Spirit living inside us. And that inspiration floods out into every part of the body (the church), just as the air I breathe gives life to my fingers and toes and every organ in my body.

You have been called to be inspired and also to inspire. That is calling enough for a lifetime of fulfilling work.

17 May 2010

News - Internet postings, interviews and more

I have five items for you this week. Dip into these and follow up any individual items that catch your attention, the Holy Spirit will lead you to the things you need to see.A megaphone
  • My friend and accomplice in Christ, Sean, greatly enjoys David Wilkerson's Blog. And with good reason. For a taste of his writing read 'He brought us out to bring us in' or 'The spirit and power of Elijah'. Great stuff! His posts are challenging, exciting, and thought-provoking.

  • More on Felicity Dale's book, 'An Army of Ordinary People'. This time she's interviewed by Roger Thoman.

  • Frank Viola responds to someone who is troubled by the confusion over the term 'organic church'. This is a useful response because it points out very clearly the difference between allowing Jesus to take control and merely going through the motions to the best of our own ability.

  • The House2House e-letter contains some clear but necessary thoughts on spiritual warfare. Spiritual oppression on our lives can easily be mistaken for no more than a series of coincidences or 'just bad luck'. Don't believe it for a moment! Tony Dale reminds us that if we can identify the enemy's interference then we can (and should) resist. The e-letter also contains some useful links to various resources.
  • Simplechurch.eu links to a series of helpful stories from the church in Europe.

10 May 2010

NEWS - Jon Zens, Tony Dale, Neil Cole

This week's news roundup contains four items.A megaphone
  • Frank Viola interviews Jon Zens about his book on the place of women in the church. He expresses some interesting views and backs them up with detailed Biblical scholarship.
  • Felicity Dale interviews her husband Tony on women in the church. Obviously the subject is topical with two mentions in this week's news!


  • Neil Cole responds to Brian Hofmeister's report of having difficulties making organic church work. Part two of Neil's response is still to follow. (See also my recent post.)
  • The latest Nomad Podcast brings you an interview with Stuart Murray of the Anabaptist Network.

03 May 2010

NEWS - Interviews, meetings, CO2

This week there are five news items to mention. A megaphone

  • The next meeting in the Moggerhanger series is planned for 6th June. Add it to your diary! It's not going to be at Moggerhanger this time, instead we've booked a room at Hinchingbrooke Park on the edge of Huntingdon.

    There'll be a full article about this in the next day or two - so watch this space. (See the report of the last meeting.)

  • Frank Viola has interviewed Felicity Dale about her book 'An Army of Ordinary People'. It contains encouraging and challenging stories of real-life people involved in organic church life and growth. This book was originally published ten years ago but is just now being republished in an updated version.

  • Wolfgang Simson has announced a 'Starfish Unconference' in Helsinki, Finland. You'll have to move fast on this one if you want to go, it takes place on 15th and 16th May.
    Read on Scribd...

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