It has been a privilege and blessing to do this work here over the last eleven years. I am thankful to the Lord. With your help I look forward to year twelve…
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. [Acts 5:41-42]
As Christians, suffering is often a difficult concept to grasp. It is hard to make sense of in light of the fact that the Lord said He came that we may “have life abundantly.” Abundant life and suffering don’t seem to go together. These two appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. How can such opposites have fellowship? The Scriptures are clear, however, that real Christians are also called to share in His sufferings.
I’ve written about 750 posts in my time here at WordPress. Most of these are teaching posts of two to four pages. I have also written many longer articles, however, which means my total count here is probably approaching three thousand pages. That’s approximately ten to fifteen books.
Please excuse me for personal reference but I think we need times of such accounting. These annual birthday posts are one of two times during the year when I allow a tad more personal reference in order to give you, my dear readers, a better understanding of who I am and what the Lord has called me to do. In that light, we should all be glad that His standards of judgment are not those of the world.
The world, and yes, even the Christian world, judges ministers on their success, how big their church or ministry is, whether or not they’re on television, and whether or not they have millions of people, millions of dollars, and many church higher-ups backing them. I am not saying that all of such people have drifted off and do believe that some of them are where they are supposed to be, but I am saying that the standard of what a real minister of the Gospel is was established in the very beginning and that it is FAR different from modern standards.
Of course, though most Christians and most ministers thoroughly reject it, the greatest and only standard is that of our Lord Jesus. Prior to official ministry He worked tirelessly and obscurely preparing for it. He also worked for most of His life to that point as a builder. Though the Scriptures refer to Him as a carpenter, the meaning of the term extended beyond what one may think a carpenter was in those days. He was actually involved in larger construction projects though to what degree we do not know. Suffice it to say that He learned His craft from His stepfather Joseph and served him honorably while growing up. There is no doubt the Lord had great success as a builder though such success is relative. At some point Joseph passed away and the Lord had to take responsibility for His mother and siblings. He also had to prepare for future ministry which included earning enough money to finance it. He would have to earn enough not only for Himself, which amounted to next to nothing, but mainly to take care of His twelve and their families. This measure of a minister of the Gospel is therefore, truly, pretty much the opposite of Christian ministers in general, who are more concerned with their own bottom line rather than that of their congregants.
During His ministry, the Lord Jesus, a Man accustomed to having much more, one whom the apostle Paul said was rich and became poor, pared Himself down to the use of only the barest of the bare essentials. He had no house. He had pretty much no possessions whatsoever other than the clothes on His back. This was the model He set. He taught this model to His men. He taught them to travel light. Therefore, the idea that He would involve Himself with something so spurious and foreign as building “church buildings” and doing His best to look like a Pharisee is ludicrous.
It was the Pharisees and those like them who were obsessed with religious externals. They had to have their synagogues and their high places therein, their own equivalent of platform thrones, from which they could rule and make sure everyone knew who was in charge. They also loved their extravagant clerical costumes and their highbrow religious attitudes that would gag a maggot. The Pharisees were also lovers of money (as were the Sadducees, Scribes, etc.). Their religion was entirely external. The Lord, on the other hand, had no need of such ridiculous externals. His was a spiritual ministry. He was a spiritual King of a spiritual Kingdom. From without, He had nothing by which to command respect according to sinful religious standards. This is obviously why the religious leaders had no respect for Him and why they treated Him with such contempt.
It was the same for the twelve apostles. It was the same for all the Lord’s disciples. It was the same for all of His true followers. And it is the same for all real Christians ever since.
SPEAKING OF EXTERNALS…
Over the last several years church buildings in America have been closing at an alarming rate. Until a person takes a look at this phenomenon he is completely unaware of it and doesn’t understand either side of the issue. A great church-building campaign was implemented throughout the last century. Protestant churches of all major denominations engaged in the practice once they had the money to spend, and they obviously had gained a lot. The Roman Catholic Church had always been flush with cash and power, so building church buildings everywhere was relatively easy for them also. However, what goes up must come down. That many of these church buildings no longer exist or have been sold and transferred into something else is yet another sign of the times. Sadly, for the most part, much of the money that these religious leaders possessed and had access to was used improperly. THE MONEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT ON PEOPLE.
This is what the Lord did. Unlike the grifting Christian religious leaders who refuse the Lord’s example and appropriate that of the Pharisees who have no problem asking for and demanding money all day long because they are worth it though “their people” are obviously not, the Lord worked very hard in His early life earning the money He would need for ministry and for supporting His ministers. He never called them forth from their life’s work at earning money for their families, whatever their trade may be, such as fisherman, without also providing for them. Imagine all those guys just dropping their nets and following a poor preacher all of the sudden and leaving their families in the lurch. This is apparently what most Christians must believe.
In reality then, one can see that the object of highest value in the Lord’s eyes was never external religious stuff but PEOPLE. The Lord Jesus loves PEOPLE. The Lord Jesus died for PEOPLE. He lives for PEOPLE. He rose again from the dead so that PEOPLE dead in sin can be saved and also rise again. His entire focus was always on PEOPLE. And He loves every single PERSON exactly the same because one cannot exceed the fullness of one’s heart and the Lord always gives His full heart to “whosoever will.”
Thus, practical externals are okay if necessary but are always far down the priority list. Regarding places to meet, why build external “church houses” when so many homes are available for use? How many times do we see the Lord using someone’s home, such as Peter’s, as not only a place to stay but a place to meet? The Book of Acts, early on, reports that they went “house to house.” And how many times do we see this standard throughout the epistles? There was always someone’s home here and there used as a meeting place. The houses of the early Christians thus served a dual purpose. They were following the Lord’s example.
As we continue on we will see more and more church buildings shuttered forever, especially after so much of American Christianity bought into the scam of the last two years and began worshiping “remotely.” One wonders what happened to these people. The bigger question, however, is how American Christians in general also bought into the hate toward those Christians who refused to engage in the false narrative. This is obviously a terrible development but what is done is now done. There is no going back. It was a big test and many if not most American Christians failed it.
ON THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION
Over the last eleven years I have done my best to warn you and keep you informed. I have always worked very hard at gaining information and truth because it is what I do. It is my calling. The Lord anointed me for this. I mostly get rejection, however, which is roughly par for the course. And I often prefer a parabolic approach. I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence. (The Lord used parables for a reason. They force people to think and become engaged.) However, Americans, and people in general, who refuse to consider the Lord’s gracious offer to become real Christians, usually do not make this decision based on what but on will. In other words, most people know the Lord Jesus is someone very special and have little or nothing against Him. With just a little introductory witnessing people quickly understand what is what. Their problem is thus not one of facts and truth but one of will, in that if they acknowledge the truth about the Lord they know they will have to submit to Him and quit their free-to-sin lifestyle. They don’t want to do this. Carrying a cross is no fun. They would rather keep their independence from God so they can maintain their authority to live in whatever way they choose. They are therefore forced to reject truth which forces them to cast aspersions upon the Lord’s Truth in order to be comfortable in the unworkable place they have chosen.
It is interesting that many Christians have the same attitude. In their case, New Testament facts do not matter. If New Testament facts clash with the doctrines of their denomination most will always choose the false or incomplete doctrines of their denomination. It is a religious thing. It is a cultural thing. It is a social thing. It is a lowest possible common denominator thing. Rather than choose the Lord’s full Truth and likely lose fellowship and social standing (and money and power and prestige and honor and self-congratulatory plaques on the wall and trophies in one’s case) they would rather keep on keeping on and keep the Lord and His hardcore Christianity at a distance. They would rather not be confused by facts. Again, especially in these days when so much truth and information is available, it is not because disobedient Christians do not know it but because they don’t want it. So they gather among other Christians like themselves and support one another in their disobedience. It gives them a warm glow or something and makes the conviction go away.
Tradition is a hard taskmaster to break free from.
Speaking of houses, did you know vast swaths of housing in America are being bought up at this very moment? Did you know that entities worth trillions of dollars are buying entire neighborhoods and plan to continue until they own as much housing as possible? And that they are buying houses above market rates to insure that owners will sell? And that they plan to turn all of these into rental properties and raise the rents astronomically? Money is not a problem for them. All they have to do is keep raising the sale price until the sellers sell.
Did you also know that the American homeless problem is growing by leaps and bounds? Did you know that renters are being priced out by being presented with massive rent increases they simply cannot afford? And that these responsible hard-working Americans can now not afford to live anywhere in their areas because the cost of housing has risen so dramatically? It is one thing to be homeless because one may be lazy or has given up or is mentally unstable or is addicted to drugs or alcohol. There has always been a percentage of the populace that fits this category. But many homeless people as of late are homeless because their salaries no longer allow them an affordable place to stay. Many of these continue working their jobs while living in their car or on the street. This is an entirely new phenomenon. And it is beginning to explode.
Did you also know there is war against your food? That bad actors are buying up all the farm land? That a great many food processing plants are mysteriously being destroyed all across the country? That multiple millions of chickens, etc. are being willfully destroyed because of possible bird flu? In other words, in order to protect the people we must starve them. Famine is thus coming to America as is increasing poverty. Destruction is upon us and most people are not even aware of it. I humbly suggest you do your own research to confirm this. You will then see.
We must also work harder at researching Scripture. The Lord rebuked the Pharisees in part because they knew the Scriptures but refused any understanding of Him as the Messiah. To do so would put too much pressure on them to change and get right with God. For them there was simply too much to lose. Our attitude toward Scripture thus reveals the condition of our heart.
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:39-44]
The Lord said the Scriptures tell all about Him. But how many “Christians” are willing to do the simple work of reading and studying the Scriptures, especially the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus, to get to know Him better and pattern their lives according to His will? If we want to know Him and know about Him, this is how to do it. Of course, the Lord was talking about the Old Testament in the preceding. We have so much more! A great way to get to know the Living Word is by reading the written Word. Those who do are much better prepared for any eventuality including that of the present.
At the end of the day we were all properly warned. Many Christians have been warning for a long time. It is mostly a failing cause which reminds one of Jeremiah’s work. Next to no one heeded his warnings or considered his teachings. Most of the Lord’s own people even rejected all of His warnings when only a very short time was left to repent. Most refused. Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple were destroyed forever. Is this America’s fate? Unless something dramatic happens very soon it certainly is to whatever degree. As of now it appears that no one is doing anything to rebuke the devourer. The Devourer is running roughshod over the country and Christians are still doing and believing what they always have which is exactly how we arrived at the present. Unless one is doing what the Lord requires, the same old same old will no longer work. It is not working and hasn’t been for a while now. Also, the spiritual void created by the fake Christians is now being filled up by the fakest of fake ministers and most are none the wiser. It is all happening right before us. For many it is hidden in plain sight. American Christianity has largely been taken over by imposters.
SOMETHING MUST CHANGE. CHRISTIANS MUST DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA MUST INCREASE THEIR SPIRITUAL PRESENCE AND ABILITIES HIGH ENOUGH AND STRONG ENOUGH AND POWERFUL ENOUGH TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. CHRISTIANS MUST START STANDING UP AGAINST ALL THE DECEPTIVE COUNTERFEIT GARBAGE.
The tide of this greatest spiritual war in this country must be turned. I believe it will be. But it also looks like it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Maybe this is the only way to make Christians wake up. Maybe they cannot be properly motivated while relatively free and financially comfortable and must be enslaved and suffer great lack before they get the big idea. (Experience is the best teacher.) When they do the Lord Jesus will be there to meet them.
I have written more new material and longer articles this year than in any previous year. I remain very thankful for those of you who read and follow. Words cannot express how much I appreciate it. But it’s not about me, of course, but the material. If you want to further support my work, say a prayer. There are many things I need to accomplish. Your prayers may help move some mountains. I continue to do what I can to direct people to the Lord’s pure teachings. When we apply them correctly we no longer support lesser teachings and false interpretations of His Word, maintain false ideas and formats, or focus on religious externals. Real Christianity is about the heart. The Lord knows your heart. He knows everything about you. This would normally cause a person to simply give up and surrender to Him knowing he or she cannot hide. But again, it is not about what but will. One must engage one’s will in the process. One must surrender one’s will to Him. Whoever does gains the greatest benefit which is a close relationship with the Lord and secondly, is blessed with specific fulfilling spiritual work to further His Kingdom.
Remember, the last member of the human body to surrender to the Lord Jesus is the tongue. When this most rebellious member fully submits the Holy Spirit enters and heavenly speech pours forth. This is the clear record in Acts. It is the same when we surrender our will. His will then becomes dominant in our lives and everything begins to change for the better. We must know He loves us with all His heart and will bless us with abundant life if only we allow Him to do so. He is a benevolent God of mercy and compassion. It is very important in this regard that we embrace His full curriculum. This process will drive out any false or incomplete teachings resident in our minds which means such things will no longer be a burden or a drag on our spiritual lives. His Truth also puts an end to confusion and cognitive dissonance.
WHAT ABOUT AMERICA?
I have been telling you for eleven years now through this medium that a national Great Awakening is upon us. I got the word from the Lord in late August of 2010, going on twelve years ago, that we were in the early stages at that time. The term Great Awakening was not at all in use then. Roughly five to seven years went by as I continued to labor in obscurity before the term then burst upon the scene in America. Now, probably half the country is well aware of the term Great Awakening. Millions know what it means. Millions are seeing the light and gaining more truth daily at an exponential rate. The Lord is seeing to this. HE IS EXPOSING EVIL LIKE NEVER BEFORE. But the perpetrators are still getting off scot free. Facts no longer matter. It reveals who is in control at that level. But the Lord’s Light will keep shining. Sin will continue being revealed. There is nothing anyone can do to stop this juggernaut let loose by the Lord. The devil wanted to amp it up and the Lord essentially said, “Fine. Now watch what I can do.” Whenever the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord will have the last word if we submit to Him and allow Him and will bring an answering flood of goodness and abundant life for His people. The Lord always takes care of His people but this works best when we fully cooperate.
Therefore, regarding the country, all nations and empires eventually come to an end. The only entity existing in the world at present that will never come to an end is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. This Kingdom has existed on this planet since the first century AD. It was designed to continue growing and expanding until it fills the earth. It is constantly clashing with the temporary kingdoms of this world controlled by you know you. The Lord, however, said the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Currently, spiritual warfare in America is off the charts. It will be up to the relative few to continue fighting this battle. Most Christians are not engaging and will not engage. It is because most are not really Christians anyway. They have false conversions. They are Christians in name only. These are the people who comprise Unreal Christianity. They cannot fight their way out of a spiritual paper bag. It’s just the way it is.
Though things look pretty bad and times are growing darker, and it appears as though all sin ever known to man is being freely exhibited all around us with no apparent remedy, and that those who are supposed to honor the rule of law and enforce the law are doing the opposite, always remember that the Lord Jesus is in charge. And even though He is not in effective charge in that He gave us free will and honors it and will never force anyone to do anything, He is in charge in that He can answer effectively at any time. It greatly helps Him when we pray properly and sincerely. I have the faith that He can do anything whenever He wants to. I have seen great miracles in my time and in my own life. We should all know what the Lord can do.
So be strong! Believe Him! Believe in Him! He keeps winning! The enemy has been throwing everything he has at us but keeps failing and thus continues resorting to different tactics. If the Lord’s relatively few people stay with Him the Lord will continue defeating anything the enemy might try. But again, we must put all of this in the context of the Lord’s invisible spiritual Kingdom. He puts all of His efforts into saving PEOPLE not things.
Outside of His Kingdom, everything in this world is temporary with an expiration date. We must occupy and be responsible but know our spiritual responsibility must be paramount.
Consider His perfect example. Consider the example of our Christian forebears in the first century. Study them. Read their accounts. Do what they did.
This is the answer.
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Small groups of Spirit-filled Christians are often more effective than traditional congregations. The New Covenant Scriptures clearly express this. Spiritually strong small groups are the Lord’s revealed model.
REAL INDIVIDUALS / REAL FELLOWSHIP
The Lord teaches us that each individual Christian matters. He did not sacrifice His life for groups or congregations but for individuals. Though it may be a difficult concept to grasp, the reality of His greatest of all sacrifices was based on a one-to-one relationship in that He died for you. And He also died, simultaneously, for each of us. We must not see His sacrifice as a one size fits all in which He gave His perfect life for a large, nameless, homogenized blob of folks congealed into what we term “the world” but for every single person who would ever live.
Each of us has a name and a story and a history and a heart. We are each attempting to find our way and survive in a fallen sinful kosmos of mankind. It is a world primarily built and influenced by sinful people after selfish gain with no real heart for the other. We learn to get along because the smart ones among us learn early on that life goes better that way. Regardless of beliefs, we know if we treat others well most will treat us well. Most will understand that we too are simply trying to live as they are, against long odds, and fraught with the burden of getting by.
The Lord told us to love one another. We know this intrinsically, as children (though there are exceptions). We naturally love others and put up no defenses. We must be taught to do the latter and it certainly becomes necessary once we understand the presence of evil people and the danger they present. But early on most of us are unaware of such dangers.
The people of earliest times learned the value of coming together in groups. These initial groups were small and family based. By coming together they lent each other protection from the wild natural world and also made their chances of survival better. Their greatest need for protection, however, was from other groups of people. I would think most of these groups had no initial evil intent but some certainly did. The evil groups made life much harder for those who were not so inclined. The good guys did not like being forced to grant a relatively large portion of their limited resources to this form of defense but knew survival depended on it just as it did against other forms of attack. Thus, these small groups learned they must develop and possess a warrior mindset or they wouldn’t be around for long.
As other groups formed and these people groups grew in size they maintained a family or clannish identity. They were not necessarily based on a single family head or generational leadership from a single clan, but on a community model which allowed for its greatest strengths to manifest, and whoever might be in possession of such was granted greater control. The community was grounded on what was best for all and allowed for each individual to develop since this process was obviously perceived as what was best for the group as a whole. This meant they valued and cherished the individual. They raised their children that way. Who knew what child might come forth to be a great positive for the group in the future?
Other groups took a different tack. What developed among them was the opposite of strength by individual. They chose instead strength by the strong man. They allowed the rise of a single powerful man which they all subjected themselves to, much as what often takes place among wild animals. These groups were convinced that a powerful alpha male would make their group stronger against others. This meant the individuals in the group accepted an increasingly lesser role and agreed to be ruled over. The strong man would gather the strongest members around himself, force them to pledge loyalty, and this was approved by the group at large. Hence, the strength of the group gravitated to the top. Soon, the large submissive subgroup had little inherent strength or power and the relatively small ruling group effectively had all of it.
Because there was no love or respect for individual rights and the God-given strength and gifting of each individual, the ruling group began to despise the weak ones who voluntarily surrendered their power and began using force to keep them under subjection. They then learned to attack other small groups and bring them under their power. In time, they massed large groups of subjected individuals and forced them to do their bidding. This made it easy to defeat even the strongest of groups. Other strong men in other areas did the same and when these large groups clashed it became a major war with even higher stakes.
THE LORD’S EXAMPLE
When He started His ministry the Lord chose a mere twelve men. This was His core. Each of these men were equal. But also, and very importantly, their individuality was greatly respected and prized. He chose each of them for a reason. He never chose a “group” but individuals. His intention was to develop each of them to the fullest. That was primary. Secondarily, He would teach them how to be strong, gifted, powerful individuals while simultaneously getting along very well with one another. They must learn to work together. This is the greatest community challenge Christians will ever face.
However, this method and model never enters the mind of the strong man. He knows all he must do is get each individual to submit to his leadership. He will then use deceptive force of some kind or another to make them get along (or else).
One should see then, that a group composed of very strong individuals is much more effective than a group of underdeveloped submitters headed by a single strong man, especially because his strength is most often a mere carnal strength and not spiritual. Whether the strong man is secular or religious, he uses the same tactics. He uses some level of force, often understated, to gain control over people. He will also do the same in gaining control of their minds. Once he convinces those under his control that his leadership works best for their lives and demonstrates it by making them believe their small undeveloped lives are better than what they could ever gain elsewhere or through any other means, the submitted choose the very little over the hope of better and greater, especially because (1) They are undeveloped, dependent, and individually weak, and (2) They are convinced this is how they were meant to be and live, because their small weak lives are much more appreciated by their rulers.
STRONG INDIVIDUALS ARE THE GREATEST THREAT
The strong man, the evil ones, absolutely hate strong, developed individuals. They greatly fear such people. They know such strong individuals are the only ones who can dethrone them. It is why they fight them at every turn. And because they are in their place unlawfully, they will not restrict themselves to lawful conduct in fighting their foes. They will use any means available to maintain their power. As soon as a strong individual with righteous intent comes forth, the strong man pools his resources against him. He does the same with the next one. But if strong individuals intent on righteousness keep rising up and coming forth, the strong man will have to apply lesser resources in overcoming each and will have a lesser chance at defeating them.
Keep this in mind when thinking of the Lord Jesus. He spent His first thirty years becoming the absolute best He could be. He was fully developed in personal strength, knowledge, and everything else. When the time came to start His official ministry, through which He revealed Himself as Messiah and Savior, He was anointed from on high with great spiritual power. He was already filled with the Spirit of God without measure. This happened at the incarnation. He was always God. Then He became a Man. But He was still God. Yet, He lived an obscure quiet life of preparation prior to His ministry and when He came forth He was fully prepared.
This is exactly how He trained His twelve original disciples. He would teach them and bring them to full preparation. Each one, other than he who chose perdition, became powerful, strong, fully developed individuals with an individual ministry. By that time they had also learned to work together and love each other. The group they composed was one of the most powerful groups of men ever assembled, if not the most. Other disciples had been added throughout the Lord’s ministry and His approach to them was the same. The only thing lacking before the official beginning of their ministries was Holy Ghost Power. The same way it happened with the Lord, in that He was baptized and anointed with great spiritual power, so were the original 120 water baptized and then filled with the Holy Spirit on that wonderful Day of Pentecost.
Thus, members of one small group of nobodies submitted themselves fully to the Lord, and through His guidance and direction became a powerful group of individual spiritual stalwarts able to take on all the evil strong men of this world, including the devil himself. And one must never forget that, relatively speaking, this was a small group! The original Christians were never a vast conglomeration of non-Spirit-filled weaklings as so many of our present congregations have become, but a collection of powerful small groups comprising a whole. In fact, Christianity in general has become the opposite of what the Lord intended. Those who defend it are doing a disservice to the Lord but also doing a disservice to themselves. Whoever submits to the strong man, whether secular or religious, has accepted another one to rule in place of the Lord Jesus. This is exactly what Adam did which resulted in the great spiritual fall of mankind.
May we all receive the revelation that each of us matters, each of us is called and gifted by God, and each of us is vitally necessary for the task at hand which grows more problematic by the day. The Lord created a body of which each of us is a vital part and we must each be about our Father’s business.
THE BODY OF CHRIST
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.
But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. [1Corinthians 12:12-27]
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert… I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. [Isaiah 43:18-20] 
There is a recent article on the Barna Group website about the new book by George Barna, Futurecast. One of the bullet points regarding future American Christianity follows:
Various measures indicate that Americans remain deeply interested in connecting with God, but fewer and fewer retain enthusiasm about doing so in a conventional church setting or through long-standing religious institutions. Millions of Americans are currently marking time until new, more appealing avenues of faith expression and experience are developed and accessible. 
What this means is that stodgy traditional Christianity is getting in the way, and far too many believers are living in the past. The people have already decided they are done with the usual church formats and methods and have generally shoved off for new frontiers, but those new frontiers do not yet exist as they should. God has been working overtime to prepare the way but traditionalists continue with methods they are familiar with. There is hope in that many new forms are making inroads within churches and leadership is generally bending. Many of those who refuse to bend or recognize the new move of God are losing their buildings and locking their doors. Certain mainline churches continue largely because the people never expect much anyway and consider church to be what it is and want no changes. Many have left such churches, however.
In America, most people remain unchurched. There is no possible way they will ever be reached by traditional means since such means are slowly fading out. Vibrant new formats are taking their place. Some of these are simple, and some artificial. Most mega churches usually attract those who are looking to be a part of the most popular movements and desire celebrity preachers, but such churches often have high turnover rates.
What would Christians do without a building? One might ask the Lord Jesus, the original apostles, and the believers of the first three centuries of the modern era. They had no buildings and turned the Roman Empire on its left ear. They also had no New Testament, though various gospels and letters made the rounds. What they did have was reality. They had the personal presence of the Lord Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit. They maintained the love and unity He taught them, and the world listened. They paid a huge price, though. Their discipleship cost them everything.
Real disciples of the present are discovering the same fact. When one gives up everything and surrenders all, the power and love of the Lord is much more able to reach a hurting world through them. Most Christians in America are mere cultural Christians and have certainly not had the born again experience the Lord speaks of. Thus, they are comfortable with “church as usual” and content to let the Lord pass them by. This is why so many Americans want God but don’t want the rigamarole associated with many church groups.
The home church movement began gaining initial steam approximately twenty years ago, and has served as an excellent format for both bringing in new converts and allowing believers a much better chance at spiritual development. Such free formats are what many crave, and home churches are serving as the bulwark of the coming Great Awakening.
People go to church for years on end and never develop as real disciples of the Lord. Those that do are often forced to grow at the speed of wood. Imagine a classroom with one teacher and twelve students and how well such students learn. Then imagine a classroom with one teacher and five hundred students. Or a thousand. Or ten thousand. It doesn’t take Albert Einstein to figure out why the Lord’s model worked, and that our models since constructed largely do not.
Hence, there is big change in the works. Within two decades there will be more real Christians in this country outside of traditional church formats than within. Church buildings will continue closing their doors. The institutional clergy will find fewer and fewer jobs. Though some traditional formats will remain, they will be the exception rather than the rule. Believers must continue praying, listening to the Lord, and changing their lifestyles to keep up. We must be willing to change and obey God. If not, Christianity in America will continue going south.
The Barna Group has this to say about the “leaders” of the future, though such is merely a term denoting those Christians who are more spiritually mature and not in the mold of the traditional clergy:
George Barna encourages leaders to remain aware of the trends so that they and the people they lead do not become victims of those patterns. “Leaders define reality for people. You cannot effectively define your slice of the world if you’re always a step behind, trying to undo what has already been done. True leaders are compelled by a vision of a superior tomorrow to create that world. You have to grasp the current state of things and the direction things are moving in order to effectively direct the flow of energy and resources. Leadership never happens in an information vacuum; it always builds on trend awareness and cultural potential.” 
The heart of true leadership is optimism. One must possess a sincere optimistic attitude toward the work they are called to do. Sadly, the majority will not listen and have never listened. The Lord is currently creating a brand new Wineskin and whoever will follow Him must get on board and pay attention. So much that has been done in His Name has been done without Him, and this continues.
Ralph Neighbor, author and founder of Touch Outreach Ministries, wrote a book about those who decline to change for the better. He based it on years of personal experience, the New Testament record, and the failure of many traditional methods. The title of the book, The Seven Last Words of the Church, is based on the last words of people in churches (before they crater) who refuse a new move of God.
And what are those last seven words? “We’ve never done it that way before!”
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Throughout all of man’s history, the one constant form of physical structure which has accounted for 99% of all buildings on the planet is the simple family dwelling. Be it a hut, a tent, or something more extravagant, it is home. Houses, therefore, have forever been ubiquitous. Even in modern society houses greatly outnumber all other buildings. The farther one goes back in history, the more the percentage rises. Hence, the private home was then and remains now the best ministry tool of all time, and the early believers proved it.
All throughout the Book of Acts is the record of private homes being used in ministry. They began by going “house to house.” The house of the upper room was most likely the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. After his Damascus road experience, Paul was taken to the house of Judas where he met Ananias. Peter was staying at Simon the tanner’s house by the sea. Paul stayed at and ministered from Lydia’s house in Philippi. The home of Jason in Thessalonica was obviously used for ministry. Paul also lived at and ministered from the house of Titius Justus in Corinth.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. [Romans 16:3-5]
Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. [Colossians 4:15]
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [Philemon 1:1-3] 
Church buildings are not New Testament archetypical. They can be good. They can be useful. They are possibly great on a temporary basis. But they are very costly and high maintenance. They sometimes cause more problems than they solve. And the number one reason is because they are slow.
I played softball with a guy once who had to be one of the slowest guys in the whole world. He was not overweight. He was physically healthy. But I could make it to second base before he ever got to first. Once, a dim coach actually put this gentleman in front of me in the batting order. In that game, he had somehow made it safely to first base. Then I came up. I got a hit that would normally easily get me to second base and maybe third. But when I rounded first base my buddy was only halfway to second. Doh! He barely made it there. I’m standing on first when I might have made it to third. And I was not the fastest guy on the team.
American Christianity has slowed considerably. Despite all the latest technology it has grown sluggish, materialistic, and weighted down. It is no wonder it is failing so badly. The Community of the Lord Jesus was built to be fleet of foot, in shape, slim and trim, on the move, and filled with energy, but also strong in its own right. American Christianity has grown in size as has the population and as a result has long since given up sprints. The problem is doubly bad in that we don’t have the strength for weight-lifting competitions either. In general spiritual terms, though traditional American Christianity has church buildings everywhere, we’re simply not getting the job done, are routinely outclassed, and often overrun. People “go to church” forever and never get to know most of the people in the congregation.
On the other hand, there is a relatively new wineskin in this country on the rise. It has remained true to the gospel but has sloughed off old forms that slow and restrict. It is having a tremendous impact.
House churches and small groups have exploded in the country over the last two decades. Its proponents are quick and mobile, and do whatever possible to reach the lost and disciple the up and coming. There is no way to stop their progress. They need little or no funding. They reach places traditional Christianity rarely reaches. They touch hearts. The organic nature of a small group allows the Lord to be in charge. One cannot hide in a small group. Everybody is somebody. Through much learning and many spiritual trials, home church practitioners have developed the same ministry forms of the early centuries of Christianity. They are motivated by love. They stand on unity. They live to serve.
The Lord’s original model is presently being applied in more places in the world than ever before, and is impacting the lives of millions that would otherwise never be reached. Mobility is the key. Instead of one large physical building, there are scads of many smaller buildings. Some have no buildings. By this they much more easily follow the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and cover a lot of ground. And they are having miraculous Lord Jesus-caliber results.
Also, they understand that each real believer is a house—the real building—a mobile tent wherein lives the Spirit of the Lord. Collectively these comprise the worldwide Community of Called-Out Ones independent of the traditions of men. On those occasions when church buildings supplement the work of God and exist according to His will, it is good. Otherwise, we must follow the Lord’s example, trim down, get quick, and make the necessary transistion to the future. His work demands it. [Part 2 of 2]
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The Community of the Lord was built for speed. It began in the upper room of a house. The early Church had no time to even consider the things we in the present deem wholly indispensible. They were out to save the world. The Community was expanding by leaps and bounds. Growth was rapid from the very beginning and never slowed for three centuries. It began on its very first day in Jerusalem with a harvest of three thousand souls.
Imagine that. Many churches of today work for long decades to accumulate a few hundred loyal members. Many are presently trying to keep what they have and are failing miserably.
It was twenty years ago when I began receiving from the Lord the notes and revelations that would eventually become my first book. But I knew by the 1970’s, within a very short time of studying the New Testament by Holy Spirit inspiration that modern Christianity did not match up at all with the prototype. And I wondered why.
I quickly got the big idea. I eventually spent thirty years in institutional churches, including my youth, gaining much experience of all that is good about church buildings and that which is not so good. There is no question that the latter outweighs the former.
First of all, church buildings are simply not Biblical. The Lord never built a building nor did He ever instruct His men to do so. He was never on board with the rich, connected Sadducees who controlled the Jerusalem Temple. Though He often preached in synagogues when welcome, He spent the majority of His ministry time out in the open, in the woods, along the Sea, and on the beaten paths. He was always moving. Always. The Lord Jesus was mobile. The tabernacle in the wilderness was mobile. It was a tent. It was set up, used, taken down, loaded up, transported to a new site, and set up again.
The Lord taught His men to be mobile. He taught them to give up all their possessions, in part so that they would have nothing tying them down when it came time to move on. The apostle Paul was also constantly on the move. There were occasions when he stayed local to teach and establish a work and then he was off yet again. The traveling man was so mobile that the Lord blessed him with a perfect location to end his life on earth—on the side of a road outside Rome.
The Lord had no place to lay His head. He occasionally stayed with others but He mostly slept under the stars. He was on a mission. He had work to do. He could not afford to be slowed down.
It is as obvious as it can be that the early believers followed His example. They were as mobile as He was, and a perfect representation in spiritual terms of the tabernacle of Moses, which was a type of mobile ministry centered on human beings.
Conversely, our ministries are most often centered on church buildings. We are often bound by church buildings. We can’t get them out of our heads. We cannot imagine life without them (“How can I go to church if there’s not a church?”). For the most part, Christians feel absolutely naked without the comfort, security, and anchor of a building.
Yet, the majority of Christians throughout history never had buildings. The majority of real Christians on the planet today do not have buildings. But they have the Lord. They are dedicated. They are productive. And they are fast. They can break camp quickly and move to new locations, so to speak. Some of the travel real Christians do is in the Spirit. It is not always geographic. We live, we learn, we gain revelation and greater knowledge, we mature, and then we have to leave old forms, understandings, and perspectives and create new ones based on such. Core Biblical truths are thus granted greater freedom and opportunity to produce much fruit. Isn’t this our goal?
Static forms always slow. They restrict. We end up trying to force our ministries within such structures. But are we really having an impact on society? How can we when we force others to come to us instead of us going to them?
Here’s the real beauty of the Lord Jesus and his manner of ministry: He needs nothing material on a permanent basis. Because He is God, He can create anything He needs whenever He needs it, so why must He accumulate a bunch of stuff to schlep around? All it does it slow Him down and restrict ministry efforts. The bulk of His work is in the spiritual realm. If He wants or needs stuff He acquires it. But when it is has served its purpose He gives it away or sells it, and usually gives the money to the needy. Then He starts again. He will not be bound by anything. He is as free as free can be. He builds nothing that grows sluggish as long as He is in charge. [Part 1 of 2]
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.