Insights from The OOZE

I received the latest newsletter from The OOZE the other day and, prefacing all of their new info, was a really thoughful and insightful article by Spencer Burke, founder of The OOZE, regarding the dialogue on what many are calling the "emerging church".

For the sake of reprinting it on the Wind Farm, I have edited out some small, irrelevant elements that relate specifically to OOZE events. The omitted pieces have no bearing on the overall import of his thoughts.

Enjoy them .. they ought to give us all pause as we consider how we’re communicating with people, and how we might be interpreting what we hear, during a time of great flux in the church.

For the record, whilever we waste our time arguing over the "emerging" v’s "institutional" church, I think we’re missing the point. It is, what I call, the "great leveller" we ought to be discussing .. because it is the emerging Kingdom of God, and not the church, that is ultimately all-important.

To allow the Kingdom of God to fully emerge, all of us in the church, regardless of our theology, ecclesiology, christology or eschatology, must fall in line with the reign of the King. Our King is so secure in who He is as King, that He is more than happy to allow a multitude of expressions of His body in the earth, regardless of what we think or believe.

Remember, so long as Christ is "first and last", whatever we do "in between" is not that important!!  Enjoy Spencer’s insights …..

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This’ll Get You Thinking ….

I stumbled on this video and was really impressed that it was produced by an Australian church. As a professional broadcaster, I was totally blown away by the outstanding production values. This is some of the best, most thought provoking video I’ve ever seen an Aussie church produce. You can download a range of material from them here


"The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man."
Psalm 115:16

It’s been our responsibility from the start! No wonder it’s such a mess. There’s no-one else to blame but ourselves.

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From a “Homily on Christmas Morning”

"Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted’ on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

"Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His virgin mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

"To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever. Amen."

St. John Chrysostom (349– 407 AD)

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Willow Creek is Waking Up …

Please allow me to preface the reprinting of "Guitar Priest’s" incredibly encouraging blog post by saying that, for many who know me personally and who are readers of the Wind Farm, I know one of the most difficult things for you to do is to reconcile who you’ve known me to be with the things I am presently researching and exploring at the leading of God. How is it that an otherwise gregarious prophet could be exploring monastic wisdom, principles and values, for example? It doesn’t make sense .. or does it?

You see, underlying all of this "research" and "exploration" has been a hunger in my heart for a deeper, richer and more authentic experience in my relationship with God; the same God who founded the Christian faith some 2000 years ago. I have longed to find spiritual practices that I could maintain on a daily basis that would develop consistent fruit in my life; practices that were more fulfilling than just a quiet time squeezed into the busyness of the day that left no other time for regular encounters with God.

The Apostle Paul said in {bible }Colossians 1:9-10{/bible} (as translated in the New Century Version):

We pray that you’ll have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you’ll live the kind of life that honours and pleases the Lord in every way…

I have been desperate to find the kind of relationship with God that so many of the ancients knew, but that seems to have become so elusive to many 21st century Christians. Put simply, I need to at least have an awareness of God in a moment-by-moment, day-by-day experience. But more than that. I need to encounter and know God in such a way that my relationship with Him is deepened every day of what’s left of my life, because I feel as though I have wasted so much of my life to this point with involvement in useless things, such as a multitude of programs, services and conferences that generally do not produce fruit.

Please be clear, I love the church; spiritual Israel; the mystical body of Christ, but I do not love much of what we as Pentecostals and Charismatics presently call church. As leaders, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, programs will never satisfy. Volunteering (or being conscripted) on a work crew in the church will never cause ongoing spiritual growth. And attendance of services will never be sufficient to produce anything more than spectators.

We are not teaching our people how to pray .. and we ought to be. We are not teaching them how to read the Bible so that they have a vital encounter with the living Word of God, that is, the person of Jesus Christ .. and we really ought to be. We’re not teaching our people how to order their lives according to Kingdom values .. and we absolutely ought to be.

By way of illustration, the mere mention of the word "poverty" causes us as leaders to kick and squeal. But, to the ancients, the idea of poverty had nothing to do with being a pauper. Rather, it was and is a matter of being willing to lay aside everything in order that, together with my brother, we might live a common life in Christ. That’s what Jesus was trying to say to the rich, young ruler. "Unless you lay aside everything that is presently important to you, sure you’ll come and follow me, but you’ll still be the rich, young ruler .. not a true disciple."

So, whether we like it or not, we must be willing to see that much of what we "Pente-matics" here in Australia (and in many parts of the world) call the Christian church, is in fact an adoption of American church culture which only seems capable of producing a vicarious faith rather than the vital faith of our apostolic fathers. And, whether you agree with these statements or not is irrelevant. The fact is, I believe they’re true.

But my hope in these past few months has been that those who know me might have picked up on a prophetic principle at work here. Could it be that Kerry, as a prophetic ministry, might have been communicating the word of the Lord to us, even though he never "said" so? Think about Ezekial and Isaiah and remember that they lived what they had heard long before they proclaimed the word of the Lord. One of my mentors taught me long ago that "the prophets of old always put legs on what they believed before they spoke what they heard".

Truth be told, I have been researching, exploring and endeavouring to live what I believe I am hearing the Holy Spirit saying to the church at this time. The trouble is, He’s saying it in such an emphatic whisper that few, in the busyness of their schedules, seem able to hear it. Now, I’m sure He’s saying plenty of other things, but I am convicted that this is at least my "part" of a prophetic whole that God is trying to communicate to us. But sadly, in so many cases, we are failing to hear. Even worse, we are not wanting to hear, because what is being said by the Holy Spirit is so "outside our box".

Regardless, it seems that at least one church is starting to pick up on what God is saying, even though they’ve heard it from an unlikely source. I just thank God that their response to what they’ve learned seems so wise, at least at this point in the game. The church I’m talking about is Willow Creek Community Church. Yep, Bill Hybels’ church.

So, as mentioned earlier the following is a reprint of a post written by Peter Matthews, the Vicar of St Patrick’s Anglican Church in Lexington, Kentucky, better known as "Guitar Priest".

PLEASE, read on. I believe you’ll be glad you did.

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