How Can One See Christ in IKEA?

 

Well, you know about IKEA, don’t you? It’s that Swedish store (that’s more like it’s own planet!) that sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories?  It’s extremely popular. Not just what they sell, but their stores! Their stores are crazy places – massive, exciting, they’re almost like Disneyland for furniture shopping!

Well, I first visited an IKEA store here in Perth, WA last year.  Yes, it is an amazing place, quite extraordinary and very interesting. I don’t think their stuff is all that brilliant but I get what all the fuss is about considering variety, quality, price, and the fair dinkum adventure that is just walking around the store! A lot of people are crazy for it.

The thing about IKEA, at least in Australia, is that they’re not very common. While a lot of popular chainstores can be found in almost every suburb these days, not so with IKEA. In fact, they only have one or two at the most in the states of QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA. That’s like, 10 in the whole country! They don’t have a store in the Northern Territory (which kind of makes sense since it’s mostly desert), or the ACT and they don’t have one in Tasmania.

So how do I see Christ in IKEA? I see that where a Christ-centred community is, is not that common. They’re not found in every suburb, on every corner, or every 20kms apart, not even in every town, or every city, or even in every state and more than likely not even in every country!

If you’re part of a truly Christ-centred community where Jesus Christ is actively THE HEAD, and the only Head of that community of believers, then you are as rare as IKEA. Probably rarer. And I strongly encourage you and your community to seek the Lord continuously on His plan for your community toward HIS purpose.

IKEA sells the furnishings and gadgets but CHRIST-centred community/ekklessia is THE HOUSE. Saints, we have so much more to offer the world than IKEA does. We have the Creator of all things, the Centre of all things, the Head of all things. We have the One whose only motivation is LOVE, to offer the world.

So here’s to praying that more and more of these Christ-centred communities/ekklessia’s start popping up all over the world, in every country, every state or county, every city, every town, every suburb and in every street!

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Haystacks and Harvest

img_1697bThis is a photo I took on our recent road trip. I took the photo because it reminded me of a dream I had once.  In my dream I saw something similar to this, in that it was a field full of gathered hay stacks, wound with string, ready for collection.

After I had the dream I felt that the Lord was showing me that the hay stacks represented small bodies of saints that were beginning to gather and meet all over the world.  The small groups of saints were ones who are abandoned to Christ and are pursuing Him with all their hearts.  They are embodying His life and are a living testimony of the manifold wisdom of God, to all the powers and principalities of the heavenly realms. Whereas the physical hay has been cut, raked, dried and bailed, these small bodies of saints all over the world have been tested, tried and found true and are being made ready for His works – much like the Bride being prepared and ready for the return of her Bridegroom.

I was encouraged by that dream and this view on our drive in being reminded that there is a ‘spiritual’ church being built together by God. He is building His church and getting her ready.

So it’s ‘organic’ church but God still needs a facilitator, right?

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Organic meaning: relating to or derived from living matter; living, live, animate, biological, natural

So some of us who have stepped outside of the traditional and institutional system of church life as we have known it, call our meeting together ‘organic’ church. Now, I know there are many brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who meet this way and although once described their meetings as ‘organic’ are turning away from the expression ‘organic’ church.  This is because as they rightly say, it has become a term used to label a whole lot of different ways of meeting together that are actually not truly organic at all!

Now ‘true organic’ church is not a denomination or a model, it’s not even a name or a noun. The word ‘organic’ is an adjective, it is a description of the ekklesia  NOT a brand. Therefore, by calling our meetings ‘organic’ church we are describing the way in which the Lord Himself functions among us, the members of His body.

Organic by its very ‘nature’ (it is NATURAL or in this context Supernatural) is not interfered with by man, just as organic food is not interfered with by chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides! That means there’s no need for man or woman to facilitate in a truly organic expression of Jesus Christ. Jesus can do it ALL Himself because the ekklesia IS Himself just in many parts being brought together.

In 2012 seven of us here on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia embarked on meeting together as an ‘organic’ expression of Christ. We had spent some time with Milt & Mary Rodriguez who are workers in planting groups like ours and most of us had read Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church and Finding Organic Church.  Still, none of us were sure how to do this without having a leader or facilitator although knew that the absence of such a position was key to it truly being an ‘organic’ expression of the Lord.

Well, here we are, coming up to our third birthday and we’re all still here. No-one has the position or responsibility of leader/facilitator/preacher/prayer/worship leader/pastor/elder/teacher. It’s a miracle. And it’s taken a lot of ‘dying to self’ and it still does and it always will.

We are not in any way perfected in this ‘organic’ church life together, and we are always susceptible to returning to old ways of organised Christianity because that’s our background and our human nature. However, having walked this journey together now for this long, I’m pretty secure in the fact that if one of us were to wander into doctrines and leadership tendencies etc, the rest of us would gently steer that brother or sister back to focussing on Christ and letting go of all the ‘self’ stuff. In fact, we’ve seen this happen and it has been graciously received. Another miracle.

Now, all this isn’t to say that when we gather together there isn’t preaching, ministering, prayer, singing, scripture reading, teaching, prophecy, or even leadership. On the contrary, there are all of these.  I used to think of ‘organic’ church in terms of there being no leadership which I had trouble believing (knowing myself and the nature of humanity). However, now what I see occurring is that EVERY member leads at different times, but UNDER THE HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST AS THE HOLY SPIRIT FACILITATES. (I know capitals means shouting but I’m not really shouting, I’m just trying to make my point very clear 🙂 )

So we say it’s ‘organic’ church but God still needs a facilitator? He already has one – His Holy Spirit.

You see, God doesn’t need any one of us to be facilitator. He can do it Himself. He really can! How do I know this for certain? I’m experiencing it. I’ve been experiencing it for three years. It’s no longer a hope, it’s now my testimony! Woo hoo! (Click on this link for another brother’s testimony ( http://www.marklake.org/christian-communities-hierarchy-exclusive-clergy-exist-possible/)

Do you believe Jesus can do it Himself?

Sometimes we, just like our little group when we started in 2012, cannot fathom that Jesus can actually run a meeting.  We seem able to fathom that all creation was made by and through Him and that He fills the universe but can He really run a church meeting? (sounds pretty silly doesn’t it?) We get all caught up in questions like;

  • How will we know when to stop eating and start getting spiritual?
  • Who will set the agenda?
  • Who will tell us when it’s time to sing, if we are going to sing, and what we will sing? Who will start the singing?
  • Who will read the bible and when should it be read? Should it be read at all?
  • How will we know when to pray or stop praying?
  • How will we know what to talk about?
  • Don’t we have to learn something?
  • Don’t we have to have some teaching?
  • Who’s going to address any issues?”

…etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! (in the words of the late Yul Brynner!)

Folks, I’ve gotta tell ya, Jesus can do it all. Yes He can.

“But how?” you ask. Good question.  The answer is Jesus can lead a church meeting/gathering by us laying down all of our agendas. In other words, if we decrease He can increase. This means laying down our preferences, doctrines, practises, talents, traditions, dreams, spiritual ambitions etc, and bearing the cross with one another. By bearing the cross I mean preferring one another over ourselves, giving up the rights to our own lives.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). The word ‘life’ in this verse is the Greek word ‘psuchè which means soul-life).

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4).

So do we think this is easy for us to do? No way! It goes against our very human nature and that’s why something organic can’t be mixed with man’s touch and still be organic. That defies all sensibility. Either a thing is organic or it is not. Either Christ is the Head or He is not. Any mix and it is no longer organic or no longer led by Christ.

Of-course, Jesus has now constrained Himself to His body, which is the church. So Jesus has chosen to live in and through us to express Himself so that He will be exalted and His sovereignty will be displayed as a witness to all powers and principalities. He expresses Himself, THROUGH the members of the body but it is HIS Headship, HIS life, HIS personality that is being expressed as the Holy Spirit facilitates Christ’s Headship. That means, not our charisma, talents, skills, abilities.

This is great news people! Christ is able! God has it all sorted in His Son. But it’s through the laying down of our own lives, that He has the room to function as He wants to. So let’s let Him be Head and trust Him, as we take our hands completely and utterly off His Church.

Let’s let go and let God be God, He really is pretty clever 🙂

Comments welcome 🙂