In the Beginning (Jan – March 2010)
There were just 3. I had moved in with Ryan/Laura in their apartment in Redding for 2 months.
We listened to the DHT and realized how much bad theology we had. With our newly-realized authority, we learned how easy it was to walk in boldness, we learned how to talk and act like sons, we learned the reality of persecution, we learned how to respond to pharisees, we realized that 9 out of 10 people had 1 leg shorter than the other and we started to do it everywhere, we learned the utmost importance of sowing good seeds because plants will reproduce after its own kind…
Every week at Bethel’s Healing rooms we saw hundreds healed, and we realized how how important it was to actually train people to walk and stay in freedom instead of creating a supernatural drive-through with temporary satisfaction. We saw hundreds healed, and we watched people without their own momentum swing back and forth with symptoms of sickness. We learned the importance of teaching people how to fight in addition to fighting for them. We learned how to dismantle all kinds of bad tradition, we learned how to persevere to see the results we were looking for, and we learned to place a value on results rather than nitpicking on particular methods.
A New City, A New Vision (March 2010)
When we “rebooted” in San Jose, the team grew to 7-8. Among us, some had given up jobs, education, and some even moved away from home to kindle what we started.
At that time, we were all about bringing the power. ”Power is the missing link… Power is what will bring the revival everyone is longing for!!!” we thought. “We’re gonna take over the whole city!”
Within the first few weeks, we realized how sheltered we had been. We realized how much “christianese” we spoke, we realized we really had no idea how to relate to the outside world. We learned how to actually be relatable to people we were ministering to, how to talk about the Kingdom without any “over-spiritualized” terms.
We learned how to be more diligent in follow-up. We learned how to live and give generously, we learned how to live out of our spirit instead of feelings and emotions.
Our influence grew as we started to minister at events, outreaches, teaching people how to bring freedom and the Kingdom as a lifestyle rather than an event. We were downtown at the clubs friday nights, we regularly visited Walmart, local malls, Santa Rosa, and we got to go to Rhode Island and Denver.
Growth of Influence (April – Sept 2010)
During the first 4-5 months, we tried to incorporate ourselves into several local churches, but most of them weren’t doing anything close to what we had in mind. Most of them were concerned with their own congregation, church growth, and rarely did we encounter a church that was actively ministering to the lost and one that valued results over our qualifications/training/methods.
Meanwhile, our group had grown, so we didn’t know anything else but to start a “house church”. I use quotes because it’s such a loose definition. So for 3-4 months, we had a weekly house church meeting that we also streamed online.
We eventually created the same church structure that we were trying to get away from. We created the same “pastor”, “man of God”, “sermon-based” structure as in most Sunday morning churches.
Change of Direction (Sept – Dec 2010)
So after doing house church, we restrategized and started having “church” at a local mall. We realized we weren’t actually making significant impact on the city — our lights were covered by our house as we were fellowshipping together — so we wanted to have our gathering in the midst of people who actually needed hope.
It was at about this time we realized how ineffective street evangelism was (in the context of discipleship). We had done street outreach stuff for the previous 7-8 months and we had yet to see even 1 person get discipled as a direct result of street outreach. When we realized this, we had to reassess the effectiveness of what we were doing. It’s the definition of insanity to expect different results if you’re doing the same thing right?
So we did the “mall church” for about 3 months. We were hoping to establish a reputation among the regulars at the mall by meeting up three times a week at the foodcourt of the mall. We led families to salvation, ministered healing and hope to anyone nearby, we gained a reputation among the janitor ladies for prayer and healing, and even gained favor among the security team which allowed us to promote what we were doing to all the businesses in the mall… but we didn’t see any lasting fruit.
We saw the same miracles, lots of encounters, but no one stuck around to get involved. Even the families that enthusiastically expressed they would come every week, never showed up.
On the bright side, we ended up creating a culture where people would actually got to know each other. Because we were in a mall setting, we had removed the sermon/worship part of our meetings, so everyone had an opportunity to invest in one another, care about, serve, and bear one another’s burdens.
Lessons Learned (Dec 2010 – March 2011)
From there, we decided to combine our previous attempts in establishing a community. We liked the fellowship that resulted from the mall church, and we liked the home environment. So, we started our house meetings again but made the central focus about loving one another by serving each other.
Turns out, the Kingdom is really about helping people get healthy in their relationship with God and their relationships with people (hey, sounds like the great commandment). It’s developing relationships with each other, loving one another by actually caring about each other.
Turns out, you really only influence people when you demonstrate that you care about them instead of having an agenda to change them. Turns out, “taking over the city” really starts with you loving your neighbor as yourself not in words, but in action (1 John 3:18), and then teaching them to do the same to those around them (Matt 28:20).
Relationship is the foundation of discipleship and this is precisely the reason why most churches don’t create many disciples. They have relegated discipleship into a program instead of a relationship, their systems aren’t conducive to relationships, they are primarily channels of information-exchange rather than relationship-exchange.
Coincidentally, the more relationships that happen, the more people are trained to actually love each other, or rather trained to express love to each other. Love cannot be expressed outside the context of relationship.
State of the Ministry (Now – TBD)
So as of now, this is how we do “church.” Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings, we meet because we are interested and care about each other, not because there’s going to be “good worship” or a “good sermon” or because we have a “good pastor.”
“Worship” is good because it has become a lifestyle, not because we’ve gathered to sing songs. The “sermon” is good because it’s been tailored personally as we speak with one another and help each other with what we’re struggling with or growing in. There is no more solitary “good pastor” because we’ve all learned to be pastored, and now pastor one another.
With these core values in place, we have created an environment for everyone to grow as leaders, for everyone to grow in relationship, and for everyone to provoke one another to good works. I think we’ve discovered what being “knit together” can look like (Col 2).
“Outreach” is more of a lifestyle rather than an event. Relationship has taken priority over short-lived influence. Longevity over the “wow” factor.
We have by no means figured everything out, but we have learned a lot through trial and error. There are a few more tweaks we are looking to make in the future, being able to reassess and change directions has been one of the most vital factors in our growth.
Here’s a bonus on discipleship:
So if you would like to get discipled via skype/phone with Ryan, you can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be making myself available to do this as well after I return from Africa. Dennis, Sue, a few others and I will be in South Africa for 6 weeks (April 5th – May 19th). You can read more about the trip here.
Here’s an extra bonus on discipleship:
In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth. The pharisees were mad and questioned this man and his parents about who healed him and how he did it:
25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” – John 9:25-27
A “disciple” is not synonymous to a “believer”. It is absolutely free to become a believer, but it will cost everything to be a disciple. The implication of a “disciple” is that they want to learn. When someone inquires, “How did you heal me? How did you know that? How do you know these things? Where did you learn how to do that? Why are you doing this for free?”, it means that they want to learn, and that is an open invitation for you to disciple that person.
One of the reasons why we are seeing lots of success in discipleship is because we are giving practical answers to people’s problems. We are giving hope to the hopeless, and that is why people want to learn. People want answers, so they come. When you have answers to the world’s problems, the world will come knocking on your door.
If you get this, you will never struggle with the emotional roller-coaster ever again. If you get this, you will be empowered to never make a choice based on your emotions.
I first caught wind of this principle while I was reading Timothy Jorgensen’s book, Spirit Life Training. It was one of our required readings when our School of Obedience was running. I highly recommend you purchase it when it finally comes out, republished by Destiny Image.
This article builds upon my other “identity” article I have written. It will be most beneficial if you read my first article on identity.
When people are feeling angry, they say, “I’m angry.”
When people are feeling sad, they say, “I’m sad.”
When people are feeling tired, they say, “I’m tired.”
When people are feeling nervous, they say, “I’m nervous.”
When people are feeling worried, they say, “I’m worried.”
Yes? Yes. Keep that in mind.
You are a 3 part being – spirit, soul, and body.
You are not a body that has a soul and spirit, nor are you a soul that has a body and spirit.
You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body.
Your spirit is the real you (Remember when God breathed into Adam?), it is what gives you life. The fact that you have been made one spirit with him (1 Cor 6:17) is what enables you to connect with God (1 Cor 2:10-12).Your soul could be defined as your mind, will, intellect, and emotions. And your body is… your body.
Most Christian are led by the flesh; they allow their spirit and soul to be subservient to the lusts and desires of their flesh, which is why they struggle with sin. They do not know that they are supposed to be dead to the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:24) and walk in the spirit. You can read more on being dead to the flesh and freedom from sin here.
Walking in the spirit is not about a conscious effort, it is understanding your identity. Thus, problems arise when your identity is rooted in our soul/body rather than your spirit.
Managing your Emotions
So when people are experiencing emotions, frustrating thoughts, or pain, those are all experienced in the soul or body. But the issue is when people place their identity in what they feel. It’s the “I am” part of the phrase. When people say that, they fail to distinguish between “I am frustrated” versus “I am feeling frustrated.”
When someone says “I am frustrated” they are placing their identity in what they’re feeling, hence, “I am frustrated”, and as a result, they will feel completely powerless to feel anything else. The mindset behind that is, “I am frustrated, and I am completely powerless to not be frustrated because I am frustrated… it’s who I am! I am frustrated!”
But if you can understand “I am feeling frustrated”, it changes the mindset to , “Oooh this is just a feeling! If this is just a feeling, I can change what I feel! I don’t have to be stuck with feeling this!”
When people say, “I’m sad, I’m depressed,” the implication is that they feel stuck in that emotion — that they don’t have any power to get out of it. But if they can shift it to “I’m feeling sad, or I’m feeling depressed,” it will help them realize it’s just a feeling, and they can change what they feel.
“Man I’ve just been so frustrated about xyz”
“Oh, well good thing you’re a spirit.”
It became a tool we used to remind us that we are no longer bound by what we feel. Emotions were no longer the basis from which we made decisions and how we related to people.
If we understand that we are made one spirit with God, and the Kingdom is in righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17), then we have constant access to peace and joy.
People say things like, “I’m scared of this, I’m worried about this, this situation is making me feel stressed out.” But when they understand that what they’re feeling is something external that’s affecting them, they will feel empowered to not live in that emotion.
“I’ve been worried about xyz”
“Oh, well good thing you’re a spirit.”
The first time I lived out this principle was about a year ago. I was changing the oil for my car and the drain-nut was stuck. I tried for about 30 minutes trying to get it loose. I tried multiple wrenches, different positions to get better leverage, none of it worked. I was fuming mad. I pulled out my phone to call my uncle because he used to be a mechanic.
As the phone was ringing, I was thinking about unloading all my frustration on him because the situation was so irritating, and then, I remembered, “Oh wait, I’m a spirit.” I instantly realized I was empowered to not feel frustrated. The situation didn’t force me to be frustrated, but it was how I was choosing to respond, so I decide to chose otherwise. I realized, “I’m a spirit!” so I have constant access to peace and joy, “This is just a feeling!” so I felt empowered to feel otherwise. Immediately, my countenance changed, the frustrated lifted instantly and I calmly spoke with my uncle about the problem.
Go here to read about a time I approached a gang of 5 huge guys to minister to them, this same principle got me past the fear.
For most, it doesn’t even cross their mind that they can feel something other than what their current circumstance dictates. If the circumstances are frustrating, most people will come out saying, “I’M SO FRUSTRATED”, not realizing that they are free to be at complete peace.
So the whole point of this isn’t to eliminate your emotions, nor is it to imply that you will never experience another negative emotion (how would you even define “negative”?).
The point is to empower you to not be bound your emotion (e.g. you should never feel helpless to stay feeling scared in any situation). The point is to remind you how to live from your spirit rather than from your soul.
Did you notice how this ties back into identity? Your behavior will always reflect what you believe about yourself and what you place your identity in. If you believe you are depressed, your depression will be there to stay.
Even with sicknesses, diseases, and conditions, people say, “I’m sick.” “I’m diabetic.” “I’m paraplegic.” “I’m blind.” “I’m an alcoholic.” “I’m OCD.” The list goes on. I don’t have a problem with language and how our culture uses language, but it does create mindsets concerning people’s identity and it keeps people bound up in their issues.
Why is this even important?
The devil will do everything in his power to try to keep you powerless, and so long as he has you operating in your soul rather than your spirit, you will lose the battle eventually.
The devil makes every effort to keep believers in worry, fear, and anxiety because it keeps them focused on themselves, it paralyzes them from recognizing the real enemy and it makes them turn inward to find the problem internally. This causes them to lose sight of God and the tools He’s given us for victory . They get lost in their inadequacy and no longer see His power/sufficiency that works in us (Eph 1:18-23).
To live in perfect peace and joy isn’t some hyper-spiritual reality that only a few dead saints had the privilege to experience. It is possible for every believer to live in. Living in perfect peace and joy isn’t about some kind of emotional bliss that makes you super-human. It’s a confidence and awareness of who you are, who He is in you, and the tools you have been given to overcome any situation.
Having victory in every circumstance isn’t about trying to make every situation go the way you want it go. It’s about being able to have absolute peace and joy regardless of what is happening… and in that peace and joy, you become aware of the tools you’ve been given and that is often what helps you turn those situations for the better. Also… it’s a lot easier to think straight (Col 3:2) when you’re not caught up in an emotional breakdown.
Again, this is not about eliminating emotions from your life, that’s silly. This is about empowering you to no longer let emotions cloud the way you think, make decisions, and the way you relate to people. This is about learning to rule your emotional life, rather than allowing your emotional life to rule you. This is about learning to walk in the spirit, to train your spirit man to have supremacy over your soul and body.
Remember the first line of this article? If you’re not there yet, go ahead and read this again. =]
This is the story behind the naming of my website. Understanding this propelled me to live in a whole new freedom from the emotional roller-coaster. I no longer did things because I did or didn’t “feel” like I wanted to, I no longer worried, no longer got nervous, no longer feared, no longer felt confined to an emotion because I realized I didn’t have to. My hope is you will encounter this same freedom.
*Tim’s book has come out on Amazon.
Someone asked me, “So what has kept you from lust?”
Please read these articles before you continue on with my answer:
Part of it is just having a very high value for your wife, just valuing the fact that you want to have her become the standard of beauty in your life and solid core values on purity (refer to the article above).
Aside from that, I personally believe that Rom 6:11 is one of the biggest keys to overcoming sin/temptation. I know we know it in our heads, but the verse says to “reckon it so”.
It really hit me a few months ago, because I was still doing the up and down thing, falling and picking myself back up. During that time, I spoke in multiple places about “you’re a saint, not a sinner”, and over and over I would remind people, “if you get this, this is what will get you free from sin.”
It eventually hit me, my message was not consistent with my life. Yes, the principle had already gotten me a lot more freedom, but I wasn’t fully walking in the results that I was preaching. So I took some time (less than 10 minutes), I meditated on the fact that I was dead. Dead dead dead. Dead people don’t sin. I am dead to that. Fully dead. I don’t respond to that. It’s dead. All dead. Dead dead dead. I imagined the next time I was going to be tempted. Oh pretty girl– wait, I’m dead. pretty gi— nope. I’m dead! Dead dead dead. This felt so good last time, do it again! Nope. I’m dead. But it felt good!! Nope. That part of me is dead. Dead! Dead! FREEDOM!
That was pretty much it. Since then, I’m walking in even more freedom. I still encounter the past thoughts, same temptations, but I’m just fully convinced I’m dead, so I don’t do it. I still have that thing in me that says, “OOOH I WANT IT!!” But i still pull back and just remember, “Oh yea, that’s dead.” That desire’s gone. It was cut off. It died.
That’s all the devil does, bring up your past, your past desires and tries to get you to think that you’re still struggling and wrestling against it. And if he gets you to believe it’s still “sin in you” that sins, then you are pulled into a battle against yourself in which every case, you lose. BUT the moment you understand, you are already dead, the devil’s illusion of reality falls apart. You must just reckon it so. Dead people don’t sin.
But so long as my mind is not renewed to that, I will not prove the will of God (Rom 12:1-2). 1 John 3:6,9 says “Whoever abides in Him does not sin” and “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him”. That will experientially impossible if you THINK that you are still alive to sin. If you believe the lie that “sin is still desirable” then you will not walk the reality of freedom from sin.
That’s why Gal 5:24 says, “And those who are Christ’s HAVE crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” How can the “lusts of the flesh” struggle against the “lusts of the spirit” when the flesh has been crucified?
It truly. is. dead. You must become fully convinced of that reality, and when you do, you will never feel helplessly drawn to sin, because you’ve come to understand, you’re dead to sin, and alive in Christ.
You don’t respond to sin and its desires, you respond to God and His desires.
The only reason why you sin is because you have believed the lie that you’re not actually dead to sin.
The only time I’ve ever fallen into sin is because I forgot that I was dead to it, so for a moment I would entertain the thought to sin. How hard is it to do something you weren’t born to do? You were first born in sin, but then you were re-born into righteousness (John 3:6, Rom 5:19-20, 2 Cor 5:21). As long you think you are a sinner prone to sin, that will be what you do naturally because sinners, sin. Righteous people, walk righteous.
Sinners don’t try to sin, they do it naturally. But they have to try to be righteous.
Righteous people don’t try to be righteous, they do it naturally. But they have to try to sin.
To say that this is different from what we are typically taught in church is an understatement. Church teaches, “don’t sin don’t sin don’t sin” and what it actually does is produce sin-consciousness (exactly what Christ came to set us free from, read Hebrews 10). You become so aware of sin and it’s grip on you and it becomes and effort to try to resist it.
The gospel is freedom and deadness to sin. “Not sinning” should be a natural byproduct of realizing, “Oh I’m already dead to that” and, “oh it’s no longer my nature to do that”. The gospel gets you aware of the Christ-righteousness in you, it’s grip on you, and sin is something easily resisted.
That’s why 1 Cor 15:34 shouts, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin”, rather than “awake to your depravity and try to be holy.” Righteousness-consciousness, rather than sin-consciousness.
Glory and freedom.