Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: A Culture of Honor by Danny Silk

I started reading a Culture of Honor last week, and from the first page, I could not put the book down. What usually would take me a few days, I read in under 24 hours because it was just such a revelation.
Judging by the title, I thought that the book was just going to be another guide on "how to honor people in the church" and so on, but in fact it was not what I expected in the slightest.
The author, Danny Silk of Bethel Churth in Redding California wrote this book about what the folks at Bethel have termed 'A Cuture of Honor' which is basically a supernatural environment that they have cultivated and which they try and sustain in their church and operate within.
Bethel church is known for its supernatural occurances that range from healings and creative miracles to dreams and visions, however the reson that they are experiencing such a high level of supernatural activity is because of the Culture of Honor that has been established.
In this book, Danny speaks of how a removal of control in the church and an increase in love, freedom and grace is infact what provides a platform for the supernatural to operate freely within the church. He speaks of how heavenly mindedness is so key in the body today and how the Lord is restoring Heaven and The Kingdom of God to its rightful place in the church and in the minds of believers, who are called to place the agenda of heaven at the forefront of their thinking.
He goes into detail about the specific roles of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers etc (fivefold ministry), according to chapter 4:11 of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. This section of the book really set me free as I came into the revelation that we are each given our own gifting with our own calling and we cannot try and take on the calling of another person because it seems more noble than ours; we are each given a grace and an ability to operate in a certain field of church ministry that God has appointed to us.
Danny speaks also of how through much of the history of the church and still today, the role of the pastor or evangelist etc, is placed at a higher level than it was designed to, and as a result the roles of the apostle and prophet who are called to bring heaven agenda's to Earth, have taken a back seat, and thus the people have become the focus of the church rather than the kingdom of God. No wonder there is so little of the breaking forth of the supernatural realm in most churches today.
Perhaps the reason that I enjoyed this book so much was the fact that every single sentence carried the sweet fragrance of God's grace. Never once was it condemning, harsh or legalistic, but it was just dripping with grace and love. The tone of the book comes from a heart that is passionately in love with God and his people and it can be felt when you turn each page. A beautiful piece of writing by Danny Silk, and a must read for anyone and everyone that loves the Lord and is desperate to see his Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Musings of a Gospel Enthusiast

If you have just visited this blog for the first time, welcome!
I have decided to dedicate my very first post to describing what this website is going to be all about, why I started it, and also, a brief personal testimony to start off with...

I became a born-again believer when I was six years old, and it was one day whilst walking through a rose garden, hand-in-hand with my dad, that I asked him to lead me in a prayer so that I could give my life to Jesus. Like most people, life has had it's ups and downs, highs and lows, and there have been times in my life when I have felt as though I was face-to-face with the Lord, and then other times have felt galaxies away from him. One thing I can admit is that not in all my life have I ever turned my back on Jesus, my first and only true love in this world. Although I have not always walked as close to him as I have desired to, I have never laid aside my faith in the creator of the universe and the saviour of my soul.

For the most part of my christian life, I allowed myself to be held captive by the Law, and knew little of God's grace. I tried my very best to be a 'good girl' always, in a hope of pleasing God and earning his approval. When I had 'done right' by my standards, I felt I had some confidence to approach the throne, in contrast, when I failed or fell short, the Lord was the very last person I wanted to face, and although it is an absurd notion to think that we can hide from him, I tried my best to do so when I felt I hadn't measured up.
I was hard on myself for failing to attain perfection, and in turn, became hard on others for being imperfect just as I was. I felt as though the Lord was mostly judging me rather than loving me, and so I felt it only fitting to pass on that judgement to others who I saw also 'fell short of the glory'. The enemy took advantage of my warped view of God, and would heap colossal burdens of condemnation onto me at any chance he got.  Christianity was an uphill battle but I continued to trudge along through the mire of religion hoping to 'climb the ladder' and 'become somebody' based on my efforts.
However, having an incredible and very close relationship with my 'earthly' dad, I was always able to relate to God as my father, and I always felt his fatherly affection towards me. I knew in my heart that the God I knew somehow was not any longer filled with wrath and fury like he was when I would read the old testament, although I really didn't know the reason for this.

I can honestly draw a line back to a defining moment in my life as a Christian, and say that is was at this moment in my life that there was a pendulum shift and I was never to be the same again. I received a revelation of the Grace of our God, and a true understanding of exactly what was accomplished by Jesus on the cross some 2000 years ago. I became born-again, again. That is the only thing that I can liken the experience to.
It happened two and a half years ago when I was at a conference called 'Increasing Glory', led by a fiery preacher of the gospel, Rob Rufus (City Church International, Hong Kong). Rob, along with his team of worship leaders that included Fini and Isi De Gersigny (Jubilee Church, Sydney) and Bonnie Rufus (City Church International, Hong Kong), came and did a conference in Pinetown that turned life as I knew it, upside down. I can't tell you at what point during the 4 day gathering that I realised my life would never be the same again, but I presume it was somewhere in between the anointed glory worship, the preaching of the pure, undiluted Gospel of Grace and the personal ministry and deliverance I received. As I arrived home after the final session, I felt a fire in my heart that had never been there before, and there was a light in my eyes that religion had once darkened.
As I sat under the teaching of men and woman that had caught onto this revelation of the cross for themselves, I felt as though the Lord was standing over me and the light of his countenance filled with grace and revelational truth shone into the corridors of my mind that had never before comprehended such a message of good news as this. Of course I had heard of the 'message of the cross' and that Jesus died for the forgiveness of my sins, but during these meetings, the preachers took this truth to higher levels than I ever knew it could possibly go. They told us of a Grace so wild that Jesus not only forgave us of our past sins, but our future ones too, and not only did he forgive us of these but he removed that which caused us to sin in the first place (our sinful nature), and stripped us of our old selves, making us new creations, united with him in spirit. They preached that we are the "righteousness of God in Christ," something nobody cared to inform me of ever before in my life, and this changed my perception on just about everything I had ever known before.
Most of all, and what I believe was the one thing that led me to this life-transformation, was having a heaven-meets-earth encounter with the love of God. Waves and waves of his fierce love saturated me and filled my heart so much so, that it over-flowed, and out of that overflow I found myself capable of loving the father in a way I never had been able to before. Joy bubbled from my innermost being and I felt as though I was exuding light, his light that he was shining onto me.
From that moment on, I went from passion-less to passionate, from sober-minded to intoxicated with the new wine of heaven and from a lover of God to being 'in love' with him.

I have come to find it so ironic how, for so many years I was a born-again believer yet was not rooted, grounded and established in one of the simplest and most fundamental yet fiercely powerful truths of our faith, which is the Gospel and the cross. I believed in the death of Jesus, yet still clung to the Law as if he never died to set me free from it's suffocating grip. I believed that he forgave me of my sins, yet fell to my knees in a guilt-ridden 'confession session' whenever I made a mistake. I believed that he died and rose for me, yet I lived life on the wrong side of the cross.
One thing that saddens me more than anything is to see believers living their life as I did, unaware of the grace of God and the right-standing they have in him "not as a result of works lest any man should boast" - Ephesians 2:9.
I want to lay aside my life to the preaching and proclaiming the one true Gospel (which really is Good News!) and seeing people 'come alive' as its transformative power beings it's work in their hearts and minds. I hope to use this blog as a vehicle in which to share this beautiful message with those who read it .

I have received many prophetic words lately about 'writing' and so in faith I will write these posts in a hope that through heavenly-inspired writing, God's glory and goodness can be revealed.
The reason I have started this blog is because I am more passionate about its subject than I am am about most things in creation. It was this message that gave me life, that changed me from the inside out, and gave me a reason for waking up in the morning. If it were not for Jesus and his existence, death and resurrection, I would not exist. Apart from him, I do not exist.
My heart that adores the father, is overflowing and because of this, I have had such an urge to write all that he reveals to me.
Paul says in Galatians 6:14 "Far be it from me that I should boast in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." I agree wholeheartedly with Paul's statement here and I, myself do not want to boast in, speak of, or proclaim anything but the cross and it's power for salvation. I am not a theologian. I am not a debater. I am not somebody that knows everything about everything. I am just a lover of the Lord, and what I do know, is that he loves me and had reconciled me to him by the precious blood of the lamb, and that will always be enough for me.

This blog is is wholly dedicated to the pure, distilled, nothing missing, nothing added, ecstatic, euphoric, blissful, intoxicating, unbelievable, too-good-to-be-true, divine, mind-boggling Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Please leave your comments so that we can be "mutually encouraged by each other's faith" (Romans 1:12). I would love to hear your thoughts, stories of your journey with Jesus and your testimonies of how his goodness, grace and glory has changed your life!

Blessings to you from God, the father our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Gospel Enthusiast.