The invisible teacher (the risen Jesus) will speak clearly in the heart of the people who truly want to hear Him. Do you? When you’re being taught by God’s Spirit speaking within you, the words of the Bible will come alive in your heart. Just because you can’t see Jesus doesn’t mean He can’t teach you!
Trying to learn the Bible without daily doing what it says, is like trying to learn to play baseball while never picking up a glove, ball, or bat. Openly and humbly interacting heart-to-heart with other passionate Christ-followers while embracing the risen Jesus and staying aligned with the Bible will keep His fire ever burning in your heart.
Recipe for spiritual doldrums:
1) Hear a religious talk,
2) Walk away and forget it,
3) Come back each week and do it again.
Recipe for spiritual awakening:
1) Daily listen to Jesus in your heart,
2) Verify what you hear with the Bible,
3) Say and do what He tells you to.
Even after decades of sermon-hearing and 3 years of seminary, I’ve learned very little through religious lectures. Oh, I’ve obtained some dry theological information that way, but little of it has inspired me. I was taught the knowledge that keeps my heart ablaze with passion for Jesus by God’s Spirit speaking in my heart and making me hungry to continually devour the Bible, to bask in His presence, and to align my thoughts and behaviors to His will.
Christians can gather without organizing into a religious institution and instead let God’s Spirit lead and empower us. Will we? I don’t think the living Jesus likes being structured, systematized, and nationalized by religious organizations. Intuitional Christianity where Jesus speaks directly to human hearts is often abandoned for institutional Christianity that inserts a pastor between Christ and His people.
Jesus never said, “Wherever a big crowd of people is gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” He said, “two or three.” It’s much more difficult to get a crowd of people to be led by God’s Spirit than it is to get two or three (or a few) to hear and obey the Spirit together.
A problem with man-led religious structures is that the person at the top who claims to hold others accountable, has no individual in the organization who is allowed to effectively challenge him and hold him accountable. When he’s out of alignment with God, the whole group feels coerced to follow.
2,000 years later we can still follow Jesus. He remains alive and continues to lead those who are willing to listen to and obey Him. The new wine of revival will quickly spill and lose its thrill if it’s pulled into and tamed by religious institutions.
Revival happens in individual hearts. It’s not confined to a particular place or building. “Stir up the gift that is in you!” Be dependent on the living Jesus, not on a church or preacher!
The profound simplicity of New Testament ekklesia: Gather with one or more Christ-followers and listen to Jesus together. Then let each person say and do what Jesus tells them to.
Revival happens when Jesus is allowed to take control. Search: Beyond Church Ekklesia.
God disrupted the apostles’ (sent ones) early efforts to institutionalize the body of Christ. After Pentecost there were thousands of new Christians. Jesus wanted them to go into all the world, but they stayed in Jerusalem as the apostles (sent ones) began to organize and direct the Christian movement as if it were a local megachurch. A man they had appointed to “wait tables” (Stephen) did more than they had authorized for him to do and was killed for openly proclaiming Jesus. Great persecution broke out and all the believers were scattered everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus, except the apostles (sent ones). Their attempt at putting the move of the Spirit into religious wineskins left them empty handed. Surely there’s a lesson there for us contemporary Christians.
Have been taught
By religious talks
But haven’t let
Themselves be brought
By God’s Spirit
To stay at the foot
Of the Cross.
Let the heartache
Of human heartbreak
Cause you to
Hunger and thirst
For more of Jesus.
Here’s a truth that our society is ignoring today: You can’t truly define who you are by the desires and appetites that torment, tightly control, and sometimes triumph over you. You’re much more than the things that you crave. You are a human being created in the image of God and you have been granted free will.