Archive | October, 2012

DPM Update – 2012 October

31 Oct

Dear Friends

House church
In the last few weeks we’ve led house churches in: our home here in KC; Redding, CA; Joplin, MO; Minneapolis, MN; LaCrosse, WI and Richland Center, WI.  I think one of the main reasons we love house churches is because we get to see people encounter the Presence of the Lord… AND we get the pleasure of offering them an opportunity to grow by ‘exercising’.

In my view, house churches are likely the best environment for believers to grow.  Oh, I know that there may be more people in formal church gatherings and there may be better ‘high-powered’ sermons in larger gatherings, but the fact is that most people have little opportunity to be anything more than just good pew-sitters in those formal gatherings… which means they experience very little activation, participation and ‘exercise’.

So let’s just talk about exercise for a moment.  I liken our spiritual growth to the physical growth of our bodies.  In our bodies, if we want a larger bicep, we must push that specific muscle beyond its present comfort zone… in other words until there is some kind of burn.  Our body then rushes to make that muscle stronger for the next time.  Similarly, when we push beyond our comfort zones in spiritual areas, there is a ‘strengthening’ of that area which makes it easier the next time we want to ‘flex’ that ‘muscle’.

Scripture bears this out, “But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Heb 5:14 (AKJV)  Simply put, exercise qualifies us to receive more from God.  It is a crucial ingredient for growth… which equips us for greater fulfillment and adventure in God.  And the opposite is also true: without exercise, we stagnate… our growth stops when we don’t exercise.

Then what is happening when we hear great sermons… isn’t that growth?  Well, let’s look at our bodies again… hearing great sermons is like a body builder eating a high protein diet only and then expecting muscles to effortlessly and miraculously just pop out.  The fact is that that regimen will only produce weight of the wrong kind.  Jesus said, “Keep on being obedient to the word, and not merely being hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22 (ISV)  The body builder needs nutrition and exercise… spiritually, we need hearing and doing.

To do a little self-diagnostic on these matters, you may want to find your own status on my “Spiritual ‘dip-stick’ Continuum”.

All that being said, the Early Church house churches created an environment for one of the greatest growth spurts in Christianity’s history.  House church settings are one of the places where the believers “get to do the stuff” as John Wimber used to say, which causes personal growth and reward, it delights Heaven and expands the Kingdom.  And it’s the same today, when a precious heart is encouraged into activation, participation and ‘exercise’, we get to see the surprise and delight as the young and old alike awaken to a latent gifting or grace.  Like recently when we were all amazed, endeared and inspired as a 7 year old girl joined in prophesying over many people in the group… she was contagiously vibrant and effective.  More Lord!  Since house churches give such opportunity for growth, I imagine that they will always be a major component of Christianity’s expression on this planet.

By the way, I believe that every person and every family is autonomous under God.  We say we believe in the priesthood of every believer, so for what it’s worth, Jesus has already given you permission to have your own house church under your own roof when He said, “Go ye therefore…”   Rally a few believers (and unbelievers) whom God joins to you… and let the growth begin!  If you were waiting for permission, you now have it.  More power to you!

Here is a pic of a recent house church in WI where people are participating: house church pic  and a short audio clip from the same house church where men and women are singing different parts in a spontaneous song: house church audio.

Just for fun:
A ministry response in broken English from a young person in Taiwan

     Hello!!! ~ Mark Pastor   Do not know if you remember this group of children in Taiwan in 2009, when your whole family to come to Taiwan to participate in a camp SHINE.   in the United States, is your family okay??   Remember when you bring our message and God be friends now.   a lot of people believe that God is with us.   An a lot of people are baptized.   Very happy when the arrival of your family.   very much hope that you and your family have the opportunity to also be able to come back to Taiwan to play!!   to look forward to your arrival  (We have no Asia trips scheduled at this time. – MH)

Please VOTE!
Plato said, “One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.”  Not voting is one of the weak sides of the conservative mindset.  We tend to ‘turn the other cheek’… or believe voting won’t do any good… or just trust in ‘Providence’.  While most of us probably agree that neither of the main contenders will fix our country… only one will keep the blood of unborn babies off of our hands.  We’re voting the values of Life, Marriage, and Religious Freedom.  I’m sure that you know that this is an extremely important election year, but if you’ve not yet decided who you’re voting for, read this article, then please vote on November 6th.   And here’s a great Catholic election video Test of Fire: Election 2012

God bless you… and God bless the United States of America with great God-appointed leaders!

Much love
Mark and Debbie

Personal prayer requests:
* Grace for physical health for our whole family
* Grace for our marriage and family relationships
* Grace for continued financial provision
* Blessing on distribution of Supernatural Provision book
* Wisdom and anointing to match the occasions of life and ministry
* Protection from demonic schemes
* Protection and safety for all of our travels
* Frequent new spiritual experiences, needful to stay ‘fresh’
* Increased heart ‘fire and passion’ for each of our family members
* Holy Spirit’s oversight to connect us with only those to whom we’re to relate and minister
* Wisdom and grace for the administration of ministry, scheduling and bookkeeping

If you would like to pray with more understanding about any of these areas, please feel free to ask.

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Dwelling Place Ministries
Hendrickson
11011 Olive St
KC, MO 64131
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Web: www.dpmkc.org
Blog: www.marklhen.wordpress.com
Mark FB: www.facebook.com/marklhen
SP bk FB: www.facebook.com/spforu

Quote: Rising to walk as those who are kings…

30 Oct

“Too long have we Christians thought that we were supposed to be self-effacing, withdrawn milktoasts; we were not supposed to assert the glory of God; we were not supposed to walk with our heads high; we were not supposed to be what we were supposed to be…kings, reigning with Him even now, in life; masters of our passions and our appetites, masters of sin, masters of satanic insidious attempts to invade our territory, beating them off with royal flourishes, not condescending to scuffle with him in the dust, but bidding him to be gone in the Name of Jesus, rising to walk with dignity as those who are kings and reign in life by the One, Christ Jesus.” – Ern Baxter (excerpt from SP book)

‘Pressed’ – Motivated into God

2 Oct

I’d like to say that I’m always motivated to seek God because of my love for Him, but that’s not always the case.  Sometimes irritations of life give me the desperation, and thus the motivation that I need.  In both cases I’m pressed into Him!  This poem describes the process and feelings.

‘Pressed’

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length,
Pressed so intensely it seems beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll;
Pressure by foes, and pressure by friends,
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends,
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod;
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings,
Pressed into faith for impossible things;
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured!

by Walter Knight

Apostle Paul describes it like this in II Cor 4:7-10 (NKJV)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Or try the same passage in The Message Bible:

7-12 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

Or try it in The Amplified Bible:

However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.

We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;

We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed;

10 Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies.

“How can I ‘feel’ God? – I want a fresh encounter…”

1 Oct

Occasionally, someone will ask, “How can I feel God or feel Father’s love?  I never seem to feel anything even though it’s happening to others.” –sound familiar?   So, what creates the ‘doorway’ into an encounter with God?  Is it only when God sovereignly decides to move upon us… or is the level of our desire a significant factor in finding an encounter?  I think it’s both, but our desire for Him and how we express it may have a more powerful effect in helping to create an encounter than we know. Yes, there are times when God just sovereignly shows up… you know, I was cold as a rock two seconds ago and now the tears are flowing because of His presence.  I LOVE THOSE TIMES!  They just make me fall in love with Him more.  But those times are unpredictable and not as often as I would like.  So how to find the encounter is the ‘million dollar’ question.  Here are a few tips that work for me.

‘Homesickness’
To experience His presence, I usually I have to feel deep longing for Him and His presence, first… sort of like homesickness.  That feeling doesn’t usually happen ‘on command’.  It starts with purposeful asking on a frequent basis in times that I’ve specifically set aside for prayer.  I begin to ask for Him to make me want Him more and I ask for Him to make my heart tender. Have you ever noticed in Scripture that when you read the phrase, “And they cried to the Lord”, that the next phrase or verse says, “And God heard their cry”?  Then the following verses usually describe how He answered them.  He’s like a mother who can’t ignore the cries of her baby.  He will answer.  It’s His nature.  In my experience, if I’m diligent to ask, some noticeable changes happen within a few days or weeks.

Clean-ness
Repentance may be necessary: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” – Acts 3:19.  It’s important to walk in righteousness as best as we can in this process… in thought, word and deed.  Of course it’s not about impressing God with our righteousness; mostly it’s our own hearts which will offend us if we’re not walking rightly.  And in addition to that, the devil loves to condemn us by magnifying our weaknesses and failures.  Even though true righteousness is not about ‘works’, there may be some things we must change in our lives.  Ps 24:3-4 says that to ascend the ‘hill of the Lord’, we must have clean hands and a pure heart.  So get in under the blood of Jesus… and receive the free gift of His righteousness.

Where can I find Him?
I must begin a pointed and purposeful regimen of seeking the face of God.  A familiar and frequently visited secluded spot works well for me… like out in nature… or at least someplace where I can feel liberty to pace, pray out loud, lift my hands, shout, cry, etc… without having to consider who may be listening to me.  This place is my sanctuary… my meeting place with God.

On our own
As a general life mode, we must be able to ‘dig our own well’ in God.  We must learn how to feed ourselves and find God on our own.  This is an integral part of maturing in God.  But there are times when we get stuck and can’t seem to find a breakthrough… and because God didn’t make us to be totally self-sufficient, sometimes we must seek out others for help.

‘Get out of Dodge’
Occasionally I must get out of my normal surroundings.  I must find a conference or church where I can go (where nobody knows me is best) and be a nameless faceless person in the crowd.  When I’m there my heart posture before God must not be frantic or clamoring nor can I be a wall-flower and timid.  I must have liberty to be expressive with my passion; extroverted (with physical expression or dance, etc) or introverted (sitting quietly in total ‘receive mode’).  In either case, I must be fully engaged with God, with my antennae ‘on ten’, and I must be ready and willing to respond however He indicates.

Don’t give up
You can be sure that not all searches yield ‘gold’.  In fact, sometimes I return home after a ‘box canyon’ realizing that I had more life in God than they did.  But in this phase it’s not so important that you strike it rich on each hunt as it is that you don’t give up hunting.  You see, I believe the Lord is looking for earnestly hungry hearts that will not be easily distracted by lesser loves or disappointments until they’ve gotten their heart’s Desire.  He will show Himself strong on behalf of that person. – II Chron 16:9.

Take a look at Isa 64:7 “And there was no one who stirred themselves to take hold of God!”   God was lamenting that no one had a tenacious heart to experience Him.  I’m confident that He is extremely pleased to hear us say “I’ve got to find Him… I’ve just got to find somehow or someplace where I can be totally immersed in the presence of God!”  If we’re saying this, then we’ve got His attention, big time!

Receive prayer
Find a church or conference which offers personal prayer ministry: ‘Soaking’ prayer (extended gentle release of life of God over us) and prophetic type prayers (insights into God’s specific thoughts for us).  Be bold and fearless to receive prayer and be patient when receiving prayer. Without question, we would all benefit from more prayer over their lives.

How much does it cost?
In all of the above, anything we do or anywhere we go will require a sizeable amount of determination to stay resolutely focused on our objective.  It really all boils down to how desperate we are.  Just making the decision to set time aside to pray or read our Bible ‘costs’ us.  Getting into our prayer ‘closet’ will ‘cost’ us.  Driving or flying to a conference will ‘cost’ us.  Not letting our mind wander or get offended in the new surroundings will ‘cost’ us.  Determining to not be timid in a crowd of strangers will ‘cost’ us.   Not being distracted or disappointed when we come back into our normal world will ‘cost’ us.  Not being offended at God if we don’t seem to get something on our search, will ‘cost’ us.  But He is worth any and all costs!  So the questions are: How hungry are we?  How deeply do we want and need Him?

The ‘good stuff’ awaits us
In the end, God’s eyes of favor are on those who are on a sincere quest to find and experience His Father Love.  And He WILL reward us; just don’t give up because: “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Encounters await those who won’t give up… and He’s SO worth it.

Prayer
Father, I believe Your thoughts are only good toward me and that You’ll do me good.  I want to want You more… and more.  Help my heart become more tender and help me find a ‘doorway’ into a fresh encounter with You.  Amen

— MLH