Category Archives: apostolic Christianity

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 3) — We Are One Body

In our last post, we saw that God uses the model of family for His Church. He also likens His people to a human body. The two ideas are similar in how they cause us to relate to one another, if we heed them. Let’s take a look at the main passage which describes us as a body, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27:

For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are still one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body … and have all been made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not part of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not part of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?

But now God has set every one of the members in the body as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where would be the body? But now are they many members, yet only one body.

And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” Nor can the head say to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, how much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. And those members of the body which we think less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; our less presentable parts are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts have no need. But God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to those parts which lacked.

This is so there would be no division in the body, but the members should have the same care one for another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

In a healthy family, every member is valued. We share each other’s joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats. When one hurts, the rest are empathetic to his or her pain. Little children are not disdained because they are small and weak; they are treated more tenderly. If a family member moves away, passes, or chooses to be estranged, he is sorely missed. A healthy family pulls together as a team.

In a healthy body, every part is also valued. If one part hurts, the whole body is affected. Parts which are naturally weaker and more susceptible to injury (such as the internal organs) are protected, not despised. If a part of the body has to be surgically removed, the rest of the body suffers great hardship. The left eye, ear, leg, or hand does not compete for dominance with the right eye, ear, leg, or hand. They work together.

So it is meant to be in the Church, the “body” of Christ. We are supposed to take special care of those who are weaker or less capable. Those who are sick should be tenderly nursed back to health. Those with less visible functions (like the internal organs of the human body) are vital to the life of the church as a whole, and should be valued accordingly. If someone leaves or passes away, it is like an amputation has taken place: the rest of the body tries to compensate for the loss, but it is not the same without the one who is gone.

In the church body, we should not be envious of one another, vying for dominance. Instead, we should pull together, recognizing the unique purpose God has for each of us. There is room for more than one “eye” or “ear” (the prophetic gifts of spiritually seeing and hearing). In fact, the sight range and depth perception of two eyes working together is better than what one eye can do by itself. In short, we need each other, each fulfilling our God-given purpose, in order for the church to be healthy and fully functional.

Appreciating each other and being willing to work together in the church body is not easy. It takes commitment to unconditional love, as we see laid out in 1 Corinthians 13. It takes dependence upon the Holy Spirit and a continual dying to our own selfish ambitions. Some members of the local body are not as easy to love as others, due to irritating personality quirks or character flaws. We may be tempted to wish they would go elsewhere. But if we can remember that they, too, have a unique, God-designed place to fill, and that the body will be missing a part if they are gone, it helps our own attitude. Many is the time I have asked God to show me the good He sees in a brother or sister, when I couldn’t find much to like. He has been faithful to that prayer, so that when I saw their value from the Lord’s perspective, I came to love them.

In our next post, we’ll look at the Church as an army. We’ll see how that can be good or bad, depending on whether we keep it within the biblical concept of family.

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)
Part 2 — We Are Family
Part 4 — We Are an Army

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prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
Audio teaching by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God, Christian discipleship

 

 

Before Whom We Stand, by Lee Ann Rubsam

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 2) — We Are Family

familyIn our first post, we said the Church’s core job description is to be the expression of Jesus Christ upon the earth. We also talked about the meaning of ekklesia, the Greek word which is translated “church.” It is an assembly of called-out ones.

The Church is referred to in the Bible using several different metaphors, but I believe the Scriptures reveal that the Church’s primary way to function is as a family. This is true of the universal church, but its best practical application is within the local congregation.

God’s people as family shows up already in Genesis, beginning with Adam and Eve. We see the idea woven throughout Noah’s, Abraham’s, and Israel’s story. It is a continuous, consistent thread flowing through centuries of Old Testament history.

Mankind was originally created in the image of God. “And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness'” (Genesis 1:26). Family is God’s very nature, with two of the Persons of the Godhead being Father and Son. Since we have been made in His likeness, it should not surprise us that functioning as family is part of the Lord’s plan for His people.

In the New Testament, it becomes still clearer that God’s people are to follow the pattern of family. Believers in Jesus are referred to as the “sons of God” six times, including 1 John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God….”

Romans 8:15-17 explains that we have been adopted by God the Father. As His adopted sons and daughters, we enjoy the same privileges and inheritance that Jesus does:

For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

Throughout the New Testament epistles, members of the Church are referred to as “brethren,” “brothers,” and “sisters.” Those terms are used approximately 190 times in the apostles’ letters to the churches. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, which he had founded, that he was a father to them (1 Corinthians 4:15). He called Timothy and Titus his sons, although they were not biologically related (1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). John repeatedly referred to the Church as “little children” in 1 John. Paul also instructed Timothy in how to treat fellow believers: “Do not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father and the younger men as brothers; the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1, 2). The portrayal of church as family is clearly primary.

You may already be thinking, “My church experience is not very much like family. I wish it were.” Sadly, that is often the case. It is one of the things which needs to shift, in order for our congregations to be healthy.

Or, perhaps you are thinking, “My family life growing up was a total mess! Why would I want my church experience to be like that?” You wouldn’t. None of us would. But, because we are made in God’s image, each of us has some understanding of what family should be, even if we have not had the opportunity to enjoy it growing up. There is a knowing in your heart what family done right should look like, and you long for that. And that is what God wants His church family to demonstrate to each other and the world.

In a properly functioning family, children are not valued for what they do, but for who they are. All the sons and daughters have equal value in their parents’ eyes. Younger children do not have the same responsibilities and options as the older ones, not because they are less important than older siblings, but because they do not yet have the maturity to handle those responsibilities or choices well. In larger families, older children often help care for the little ones, even teaching them some of the basic skills they will need to possess.

In the same way, God values all His sons and daughters, not for our deeds, positions, or functions, but simply because each of us is His own dear child. In the Church, we must learn to see each other as God sees us. Yes, there will be mature members who pastor or mentor newer believers. Some will have more visible ministries than others. But their position is not a measure of their importance. Neither maturity nor individual function within the congregation has anything to do with value, so may God help us to stop acting as though they do!

In our coming posts, we will examine other biblical aspects of what the Church should look like. We’ll also see how each of them can, and should, fit with the family model.

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)
Part 3 — We Are One Body

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prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
Audio teaching by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God, Christian discipleship

 

 

Before Whom We Stand,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)

church buildingMany articles are being written in our day which are highly critical of the modern Church. Often the criticism is well-founded, especially in our Western culture. Truly, we seem to have drifted off-course, so that many church gatherings look more like entertainment clubs or feel-good social gatherings than the Church we see in the New Testament.

There’s another side to this, though. Some critics are proposing an opposite extreme — a so-called New Testament Church which is narrowed in scope to their own particular vision or preferences.

The two extremes spark a question. What is the local church really supposed to look like? It’s not a question with easy answers. In this series, we will look at some of the main components of church life and purpose, as we see them in the Bible.

Let’s start with a core job description:

The Church is the expression of Jesus Christ upon the earth.

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? — even overly simple. However, in the end, it all comes back to this. Romans 8:29 tells us that God predestinated us (both individually and corporately) to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” Whenever the Church deviates from being the same as Jesus Himself would be on earth, we have missed the mark. Likewise, when we accomplish looking like Him, we’ve done what we were intended to do.

In the New Testament, the word translated “church” is ekklesia (ecclesia in Latin). Literally, the word means “the called-out ones,” but the common understanding was that it was an “assembly” or “congregation.” (See end notes.) So, a reasonable, combined definition would be, “a called-out assembly.”

Truly that is what the Church is, on both the local and world-wide level: we are called out of the world system, set apart unto Jesus, and we are an assembly of believers. By definition, no one of us can be the church all by himself. We need each other. “Ekklesia” cannot be separated from the concept of community.

This is why Hebrews 10:24, 25 (NKJV) says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting [encouraging] one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Sunday morning services are one expression of how the local church can gather together, but by no means are they the complete picture, as we shall see as this series progresses. There are many facets of being the Church. If we tried to emphasize all of them in a single setting or time frame, we’d probably miss out on a lot.

In our next post, we will talk about the Church as family, which I believe is the starting point for restoring it back to what it is meant to be. If we get the family part right, our churches will become healthier, happier places, and everything else will flow quite naturally out of that.

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1. Ecclesia (Church). Simple English Wikipedia. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesia_(Church). Accessed 5-18-19.

2. Jackson, Wayne. “What Is the Meaning of Ekklesia?” Christian Courier. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1500-what-is-the-meaning-of-ekklesia. Accessed 5-18-19.

3. Strong, James and Thayer, Joseph. Concordance. My Sword Bible app. Accessed 5-20-19.

4. “What is the Definition of Ekklesia?” Got Questions. https://www.gotquestions.org/definition-ekklesia.html. Accessed 5-18-19.

Next (Part 2) — The Church is Family

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prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
Audio teaching by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God, Christian discipleship

 

 

Before Whom We Stand, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

Priorities for 2016

As one year comes to an end and another begins, my usual habit is to ask God what He would like to say about what lies ahead. Sometimes I hear things for the Body of Christ as a whole, but this year, I mostly heard the Lord speak about priorities I need to have in my relationship with Him. Even though I am filing these in my “personal” cabinet, I thought I would share them with you, just in case what I have been hearing might resonate with you or be confirmation to solidify what you are already hearing Him speak.

First of all, this is The Year of Invitation. (Actually, I do think this one is for the whole body of believers, not just me.) God has left His door open, and He’s saying, “Come in. I am waiting for you.” I am reminded of Revelation 4:1, which is an invitation into His Presence, into seeing from His perspective: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as a trumpet talking with me, which said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.'”

I am asking the Lord to help me become more focused on Him — less wandering in my thoughts during prayer, less distraction, more discipline in keeping my thoughts attuned to Him. I want more than ever to make a concerted effort to wait quietly upon Him and to ask, “What is on Your mind, Lord?” (Staying focused is really hard for me. My mind is prone to flitting about, hither and yon. The Flight of the Bumblebee could easily be my theme music, so getting where I want to be in having a quiet mind and heart is going to take a lot of grace and dependence on Him!)

I have always taken comfort that my life is transparent to the Lord. I am so glad that He knows it all, that nothing about me is hidden from Him. That way, He can bring things to my attention which need to go. Strongholds (mindsets not in alignment with His truth) can come down, and I can become more like Jesus. This is the desire of my heart — to be conformed to Jesus’ image, as He is the express image of the Father. So, the removal of even more strongholds is a goal for this year.

Praying the Scriptures is something He wants me to make more of an effort to do. When we are fairly familiar with the Word, it is easy to pray the concepts we know are in the Bible, without actually opening it to particular verses and then speaking them directly as prayer. I feel the Lord wants me to grow in wielding specific verses in petitioning and prophetic declarations over my life and the lives of my loved ones (or the nation, or world events, or whatever the Spirit is prompting me to pray into), so I’ve been more deliberate about this. The result so far is delightful! The glorious Presence of God seems to fall like a blanket about me as I launch my prayers with the Word, and the Spirit leads me along a path from one verse to the next in a way beyond what I could think up on my own.

The Lord has been speaking to me for some time not to look at the events taking place around me, but to look at Him. Colossians 3:1-4 has been huge for me:

If you, then, are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory.

I think on those verses a lot. They help me to endure in peace, and to keep what’s happening around me in the right perspective.

The Lord surprised me by telling me several times that there are good things yet ahead in the days to come. It surprised me because our world seems to be unraveling at such great speed, and so many Christian leaders are constantly talking about the extreme seriousness and increasing darkness of our times. Although I don’t understand what God means by “good things yet to come,” I believe what He says. I suspect He has a few things we haven’t even thought of in store, which could turn everything around, upside down — or better yet, right-side up. We’ll just have to see how that unfolds. But these days, I’m looking for a Romans 8:28 ending for all sorts of seemingly bad happenings: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Perhaps the key will be in what perspective we hold to — having eyes to see what others can’t.

Quite a few prophets have been saying that this will be a year of radical change for many of us.  One person put it that if last year was like a new chapter, this year will be a whole new book. That resonates with me. Several of my dear ones are already on the verge of that kind of extreme shift taking place in their lives in a very good way.

Those are my thoughts as we enter the new year. What has God been speaking to you? I’d love to hear about it!

 

What Christians Can Do to Stop Ebola

newprayerA few weeks ago, I wrote about a dream I had that Ebola was coming to the U. S. and that we could stop its spread through prayer.

Now that Ebola in the U. S. has become a reality, I would like to follow up with a few more thoughts about how to go about stopping this plague from spreading — through prayer. Here are some specific steps that all praying Christians can take:

  1. Know that, biblically, God has given us authority to receive answers to prayer. That is what prayer is for. I have for you two links to specific Scripture verses which promise that He will answer us: Our God Is a Listening God and The LORD Answers My Prayers (both at my website).
  2. Understand that we have biblical precedence to intercede  for plagues to be stopped and to receive God’s intervention.  Moses and Aaron did this in Numbers 16:42-50, when plague had entered the Israelite camp.
  3. Have faith, not fear. This is a time to watch over our words carefully, and to speak what is in alignment with the desires of God. For me personally, I understand from the Ebola dream I had that it is God’s will to stop this disease from spreading if His people will partner with Him by taking authority against it in prayer. So I will speak in oneness with the revelation I believe He has given to me, and not wring my hands in fear.
  4. Begin now to pray and fast — and stay at it. The sooner we get started, the sooner we may see an answer. Ideally, we want to see this nipped in the bud, but even if things would grow worse for a time, we should persist in prayer until we see results.
  5. Spread the word to other intercessors. The more people who pray, the more we can expect a speedy answer. Leviticus 26: 8 tells us, “And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”
  6. Encourage your prayer group to pray together on this issue. There is power in the prayer gathering. Jesus promised us, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”
  7. Pray for our government and health care leaders to take preventative steps to protect our nation from further inroads/spread of Ebola.
  8. Pray for a breakthrough in treatment for prevention and cure of this disease. Pray for divine inspiration/ideas for researchers.
  9. Pray for those who are already suffering so greatly in Africa. We can’t only be concerned for ourselves. Stand in supportive prayer with the intercessors in those afflicted nations, that they will see the waning of Ebola there.
  10. Pray Psalm 91 over your loved ones. This is a great idea at any time, but particularly when it comes to sickness. There are verses in this Psalm which particularly apply:
  • V. 3 — Surely He will deliver you … from the noisome pestilence (noxious disease).
  • Vs. 5-7You shall not be afraid for the … pestilence which walks in darkness …. A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.
  • V. 10There shall no evil befall you; neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
  • V. 16With long life will I satisfy you, and show you My salvation.

Let’s get the word out and encourage many to be praying. I believe we will see God’s intervention, if we will pray.

New Audio Products

 

We now have The Intercessor Manual available as an audio book 
(6-CD set or MP3 download). 

Print version 

 

We also have other audio resources for you:


Speaking as the Oracles of God
& Resisting Negative Words
By Lee Ann Rubsam
CD

 

Flowing in the Prophetic,
Levels 1 & 2

Level 1: The Prophetic Anointing
Level 2:  Prophetic Alignment
by Steve Driessen
6-CD Set for each level

Leveraging Kingdom Authority
by Steve Driessen
A powerful teaching on healing, with the actual healing time that took place at the end of the service. This CD carries such a presence of the Lord with it, that you are likely to be healed while listening to it.

Flowing in the Prophetic Seminars

At Full Gospel Family Publications, we’re very excited about adding apostolic teacher Steve Driessen’s CD resources to our product line. Pastor Steve is our personal pastor. His teaching is dynamic, thought-provoking, practical, and wisdom-filled. Much of what I know about prayer and the prophetic I have learned from this man. I think you will find his materials to be a great blessing upon your life.

Flowing in the Prophetic
Level 1: The Prophetic Anointing

Have you ever longed to:

  • Hear God more clearly and more often?
  • Be more certain it was really Him you were hearing?
  • Better understand your dreams and visions?
  • Or didn’t even know where to start?

No matter what level you are currently operating in prophetically, this 6-CD set is sure to bring you higher. Apostolic teacher Steve Driessen imparts prophetic understanding that is practical, easy to relate to, and life-changing.

Topics covered:

  • The Ministry of Jesus in the Church
  • Having a Hearing Ear and a Seeing Eye
  • Anointed to Serve
  • An Open Heaven
  • Visions and Dreams: The Language of the Holy Spirit
  • How to Interpret Dreams


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Optional Accompanying Study Notebook — 41 pages
($11.00 US)   

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Flowing in the Prophetic
Level 2: Prophetic Alignment

You’ve got the prophetic gifts.
Now, what do you do with them?

In this 6-CD set you will learn how to:

  • Release life and light to those around you through prophecy
  • Use your prophetic gifts within the church setting
  • Maintain a pure word of the Lord
  • Maximize the blessing potential of your prophetic words for others

Today’s world needs the prophetic voice, both in the Church and outside of it. You can be that voice. This seminar will help you prepare to take your place in the greatest release of prophetic revelation the Church has ever seen.

Topics covered:

  • Keeping a Clean Stream
  • False Assumptions About Prophetic Giftings
  • God Offends the Mind to Reveal the Heart
  • Pastors and Prophets: How to Function Together
  • Prophetic Words in Public Worship
  • Women in Ministry

$32.00 US

Optional Accompanying Study Notebook — 37 pages
($11.00 US)

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Leveraging Kingdom Authority

For centuries the Church has thought that we must accept sickness and disease as “normal.” But God is restoring the understanding that health is God’s plan for His people. When we fear sickness, we become its victims. By learning to exercise our rightful authority, we become victors.

In this message, you will gain understanding of how to leverage Kingdom authority over every sickness and disease. Fear will no longer rule your thoughts, and healing will become a reality in your life. It’s time for you to enforce the victory already won for you by Jesus.

Included is the healing prayer time that took place immediately after this message was delivered. We encourage you to actively participate in that powerfully anointed time of prayer, so that you, too, will receive your healing.

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