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Old 05-03-2009, 07:09 PM   #1
Hope
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Default A Fellowship Line

Tonight here in Durham, NC, we had our regular Sunday evening gospel friends gathering. There were twenty in attendance. Four were interested unbelievers, one a brand new believer, one a first time visitor from a large old line Presbyterian Church who is concerned for the gospel reaching one of the guests. Another couple, who has a common interest in the salvation of some of the friends, attends a community church. And we were blessed with the presence of a couple from the local church. We fellowshipped and shared over John chapter five regarding the sick at the pool in Jerusalem. The believers all enjoyed our oneness in Christ and in His love for the lost. All the beloved Christian guests joined with us in sharing and testifying of Christ's person and saving work. God is so Good. The sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was with us. We all left with the sense that Jesus is just awesome.

I trust some you will be led to pray for us. The fields are white unto harvest but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send in the workers to bring in the harvest.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Hope
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

Dear Believers in our Wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

Several of the saints in this area have spent three wonderful times of prayer and fellowship regarding the coming conference. We feel very happy to be a little like the early disciples. As you read the gospels, it becomes very apparent that only the Lord knew what was coming next. There was no clear agenda that had been approved and all were following. Same in the Acts of the Apostles. The apostles never knew what would happen next. But when we depend on the Lord's current and instant leading and supply, we can only praise Him and give Him all the glory.

People we have never known have heard about our gathering and informed us they are coming. We are really looking forward to what the Lord may speak through them to us.

We are looking to the Lord to enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we can see more. We are expecting the Lord to give us fresh light and to supply specific grace and mercy to meet every timely need.

So far in the fellowship we have received much encouragement regarding:

"Christ in you," Col 1:27, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. NASB

"If any man is in Christ," 2 Cor 5:17, Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
NASB

"Now you are Christ's body" 1 Cor 12:27, 27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. NASB

Much new light came out this AM. Through His Body, Christ desires to walk the earth today and to be expressed. We especially were thrilled to realize that our function is much more for the daily life than just for meetings or for the few with whom we have regular fellowship.

Rom 12:8, 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation (or encouragement); he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. NASB


One brother, who really has the gift of encouragement, shared how the Lord has opened his realization that he is gifted to encourage believers where ever he may see them. It has brought him much joy to walk through the day trusting the Lord to encourage others without any motive or agenda. Another sister has an amazing gift of showing mercy. The Lord has placed her in public health. What a place where her gift can be used! Because she has displayed the Lord's mercy to those in need and also coordinates with some who have gifts in teaching, sharing the Good News, and giving, several have come to know the Lord and cold backslidden believers have been revived.

We are looking to the Lord to give us more light on what it means to be a functioning member in the Body of Christ that He might walk the earth again.

Please pray for us and feel free to share any help you have on these matters.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

This type of sharing and reporting is informative and inspiring to me. There were a couple of other reports I was helped by, one by Steve P. in Toronto.

It helps me to know in some detail, even 1-2 specifics, such as the encourager brother. Can you imagine how happy he is in his daily life telling others they can do it.

At any rate, it all goes into the fellowship in the Body for its building up by the members, IN LOVE.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

Amen, dear brothers Hope and Indiana.

These reports are very precious! They are inspiring and encouraging to me as well.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

Dear Saints,

Continue to pray for us here in North Carolina. Tonight at our gospel friends gathering we had 15 gospel guests. We have attempted to keep the number small and intimate in order to have a low key atmosphere for the gospel friends. Thus we have kept the number of believers small. Tonight we did have 10 believers also here. Three have never been to any of our church meetings or functions but have a burden for the gospel and are really a gift to help us. Where do we go from here? It seems we are being a little overwhelmed with folks who have some interest in learning about the Good News of Jesus Christ and mingling with believers in Christ.

I have never had such a realization of how much Jesus cares for people. Tonight we shared from John chapter 7, the thirsty multitude. It is so clear that the Jewish leaders cared for their rules, rituals etc. but Jesus cared for people. I am reminded of the children's song, "I am so glad that Jesus loves me."

Next up is the conference. May the Lord give light, utterance and a rich fellowship regarding the experience and development of our innerlife, that is Christ who is indwelling the believer. Secondly we desire to see more about our being in Christ for a proper daily walk living out Christ. Thirdly, we are looking to the Head, Christ, to give us light regarding His functioning body and our part as members in particular.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Hope

PS

This morning we had a wonderful experience of the Lord caring directly for a member. Over the past several weeks, we have been considering knowing the Lord. (see Hos. 6:3 and Phil. 3:10) We do not know what we will consider week by week or how long we will continue. We pray and seek the Lord on an ongoing basis for what he is speaking to the assembly here. This morning we had three new guests, a young mother of two who has suffered so much in her life and her two children. Before we knew she was coming, the Lord impressed us to consider "God is for us." The Word is so rich here. Afterward she must have expressed six times how much the meeting and especially the content of the sharing meant to her.

The Lord cares for His people.

Hope
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

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Tonight at our gospel friends gathering we had 15 gospel guests. We have attempted to keep the number small and intimate in order to have a low key atmosphere for the gospel friends. Thus we have kept the number of believers small. Tonight we did have 10 believers also here. Three have never been to any of our church meetings or functions but have a burden for the gospel and are really a gift to help us. Where do we go from here? It seems we are being a little overwhelmed with folks who have some interest in learning about the Good News of Jesus Christ and mingling with believers in Christ.

I have never had such a realization of how much Jesus cares for people. Tonight we shared from John chapter 7, the thirsty multitude. It is so clear that the Jewish leaders cared for their rules, rituals etc. but Jesus cared for people. I am reminded of the children's song, "I am so glad that Jesus loves me."

Next up is the conference. May the Lord give light, utterance and a rich fellowship regarding the experience and development of our innerlife, that is Christ who is indwelling the believer. Secondly we desire to see more about our being in Christ for a proper daily walk living out Christ. Thirdly, we are looking to the Head, Christ, to give us light regarding His functioning body and our part as members in particular.
Interesting aspirataion: "to try to keep numbers small". It seems diametrically opposed to the vast bulk of the christian work I've been exposed to thus far. But you may be on to something. When you stay small, you don't need to organize so much, and you can focus on caring more; the focus on what you call "rules and rituals" may be kept away from your door.

Okay, but what about the God who wants to "fill all in all"? Doesn't He want to expand beyond your small gathering? Absolutely. God does and God will. Perhaps if we stay small it allows God to grow great on the earth, and truly fill all in all. If we try to grow beyond our measure, we create organizational structures to "meet the need", and eventually God is pushed aside.

It takes a measure of trust to care for your intimate circle, and let God do the building of the body of Christ. My view is that the hardest thing for a christian to handle is success. At some point the temptation to "take the reins" becomes too great. I pray that the Lord would stay your hand from the work, and keep His upon it.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

Last Lord’s Day evening we had our usual gospel friends meeting. We had 18 friends in attendance. We also had 12 believers who had come to assist in the introducing of Jesus to the friends. I do not know which was the most amazing to me. On the one hand, as friend after friend streamed into my home, I felt like kneeling down and worshipping the Lord. On the other hand, I am amazed at the diversity of believers who have joined in. One brother is a Christian from Iraq who attends a Bible church. Another is a sister who is a psychiatrist and attends a mainline Presbyterian church. Another attends a community church. One couple just recently begin to joined us from the local church. Then there are a few from our little group of humble and meek who meet in the Lord’s name here in Durham.

We reviewed the case in John chapter 11 regarding the resurrection of Lazarus. I never know where the anointing will fall. At the very beginning, the passage says, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” I began to explain that since there is no mention of parents and that in those days people lived with their parents until marriage perhaps these were orphans. I told the friends that Jesus loves orphans and chose to spend the evenings of his last week in this modest dwelling. Two friends who are now believers became orphans when they were teenagers. They are R. and his sister S. I began to declared that just as Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus He loves R. and S. I then begin to fill in the blank with the names of others including several of the friends. As I spoke of the Lord’s specific love for each of those there, we all were filled with gratitude. Many of the friends began to tear up and several had a few tears coming down their cheeks. I nearly lost it myself.

After the sharing from the word, we broke spontaneously into small groups. This went on for over an hour. It was so beautiful and awesome to witness two or three friends gathered around one or two of the believers as they gave witness to life in Christ.

Finally, may I request you take a charge to pray for us. Please keep the following passage in mind, Col 4:2-6, Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. NASB

Your Brother in Christ Jesus,
Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: A Fellowship Line

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I told the friends that Jesus loves orphans and chose to spend the evenings of his last week in this modest dwelling. Two friends who are now believers became orphans when they were teenagers. They are R. and his sister S. I began to declared that just as Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus He loves R. and S. I then begin to fill in the blank with the names of others including several of the friends. As I spoke of the Lord’s specific love for each of those there, we all were filled with gratitude. Many of the friends began to tear up and several had a few tears coming down their cheeks. I nearly lost it myself.
Dear brother Hope,

This whole testimony is absolutely precious. I am about to lose it too.
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Way down South! - Discussions & Concerns South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Thank you HOPE, yes, I believe I saw all of those folks at one time or another!
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
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Default A Look from all sides

I had listed this post under regional concerns, down south but felt it should be on its own thread.

Hello to those currently participating on the “forum.”

Due to many personal issues and my feelings about some who were posting here, I have been away. Recently I felt that perhaps the Lord desired that I begin to read the current series of posts. The most recent series seems to me to be of much more potential value than those 4-6 months ago.

I felt to stop my ongoing history on the forum as the format of an incomplete work being target practice for certain malcontents did not seem profitable for what I believed the Lord desired.

My hope was that my experience could be an aid for others seeking to know the Lord’s will in their lives regarding participation in the LSM etc and could serve as help to any who had been discouraged by their experience there. In addition, I thought that the posters were predominately seekers of truth and that perhaps we all could come to a more accurate understanding of the Way of God, Acts 18:26.

One glaring fallacy among the posters is to assume the worst possible motives and conduct among those who had some leadership and the best motives regarding former members. I personally know or know of the most vitriolic posters. In the early years, we endured quite a collection of saints. Unless you were there and participating in seeking to help the many problem people, you cannot understand the endurance, mercy, and compassion needed to shepherd some among us and also some among the would be leaders. I believe it will help this discussion to focus a little on the problems which came with the territory in the early days.

Some came into the church and were attracted by the attention they could demand. Giving “testimonies” was an excellent opportunity to talk about ME, ME, ME. Some could go on for weeks, months and years constantly drawing attention to themselves depending on how much they could couch the self-glorifying in spiritual terms and church lingo. Eventually, when out of exhaustion on the part of an elder or elders or compulsion of the Spirit or stacked up complaints from the saints or all of the above, the dear one was confronted about their self- obsession. It almost never went well. THEY WERE HURT! THEY HAD BEEN WOUNDED! Then we all suffered a time of retribution, complaints and getting even. Some on the forum are still suffering from me-itus.

Because of the apparent loose oversight and low key roll many of the elders took, wandering stars would appear. These were folks who saw themselves as spiritually gifted but in need of an audience or group to shepherd where they could practice their wonderful gifts. When they were not given the leading role they saw for themselves, it was surely those controlling elders who stood in their way. They only wanted to help the saints but were shunt aside by the awful elders.

Similar to the above was a group of men I have labeled “disappointed office seekers.” After a period of time, they assumed they would be recognized by WL or BP or some local elders and invited to share in the leadership. (President Garfield was assassinated by a disappointed office seeker. After that event, the civil service examine process was instituted.) This person is so easy to recognize because his remarks always, always, always center on belittling any local church elder or leader.

Then we had the confrontational fault finder. Some elders fell into this category. (Mike, one was in Dallas.) They always had an issue with someone or some church. Usually the other elders would try to ignore them hoping they would get better. Eventually they would get frustrated and withdraw from the church or from the leadership or move somewhere else.

A final group I will mention was the “we are free”, “we can do whatever we want,” “we are not religious,” “we are not under any law.” These folks disrupted many a meeting and offended many of the saints. Eventually when the saints and the leadership could stand no more they were adjusted. My, my, often they howled like a stuck pig. Some on this forum are still howling.

To take the testimony of some of the problem folks and overlay their accusations on WL, BP, RG, MR etc is so unfair. Many of the errors and mistakes made by the local churches were due to the challenge brought on by the “come one come all” approach with very little organization and deliberately weak leadership.

WL had been too authoritarian in the Far East. He told me so directly to my face and I heard him mention it many times. One of his hopes for the trip of 141 in 1967 to Taiwan was to demonstrate to the churches there the lack of control and freedom of the Spirit. Actually pray-reading and calling on the Lord, were originally stumbled on as a way to level the playing field. Anyone could pray read and anyone could call on the Name of the Lord.

The change that occurred in 1974 was not just due to the ambition of WL and MR. (Yes they were ambitious.) But they were searching for a way to provide direction for what often seemed to be some poorly managed congregations often without a clear rudder. The above mentioned problem people were too many. MR was especially running out of patience and ready to institute tighter controls.

BP, RG who I knew intimately, served, and served and served. They both had a weakness of being a little like Popeye the sailor man. Popeye would endure Brutus and endure and endure until finally he declared “I have stood all I can stand, I can’t stands no more.” Then after a little spinach, the house is destroyed as he explodes and deals with Brutus. This happened a few times in Texas. They could have handled some of the problem folks in a better way. But would you say that poor ole Brutus was just an innocent victim? Please note dear reader, you never hear the other side of the story from some of the vitriolic posters.

WL had two bad children. So did Aaron. So did Eli. David had more than two. Solomon’s son caused the kingdom to be divided. Do bad children mean your service was false? The Bible does tell us the details of these families but to illustrate that there is no such thing as Spiritual succession. There is no such thing as apostolic succession. This would be for another discussion of God’s Administration.

Unfortunately there was a very real change over time and the change was not for the better. Unfortunately there were some serious flaws in the practice and attitudes. There was some wrong understanding of the truth and practice unveiled in the New Testament. And there were some problem people who hurt others then and continue to damage and distract those seeking to press on the know the Lord.

In Christ Jesus,

Hope
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:04 AM   #11
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Hello to those currently participating on the “forum.”

A final group I will mention was the “we are free”, “we can do whatever we want,” “we are not religious,” “we are not under any law.” These folks disrupted many a meeting and offended many of the saints. Eventually when the saints and the leadership could stand no more they were adjusted. My, my, often they howled like a stuck pig. Some on this forum are still howling.
Thank you for the humor. I certainly may go overboard with the "Am I not free?" line (cf 1 Cor 9:1). Perhaps in deliberately being a counterweight to the "we must be in one accord ... absolutely identical" crew, I sometimes lean too far in the other direction.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:16 AM   #12
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Hello aron,

A very excellent point. Being in "One Accord" and being "identical" are not only not the same thing but some would-be leader trying to force the latter is void of any spiritual understanding.

Yesterday morning I was with 20+ Bhutanese brothers and sisters. We sat on the floor but a couple of the American saints sat in chairs. We sang "I have decided to follow Jesus" first in English led by five young Bhuanese believers ages 11-5. Then we sang the same song in their language, Nepalese.

We knelt on the floor and prayed. I do not understand their language but as 1 Cor. 2:13 tells us, the Holy Spirit was communicating spirit to spirit. We had a wonderful experience of one accord.

In Christ Jesus,

Hope
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:39 AM   #13
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Being in "One Accord" and being "identical" are not only not the same thing but some would-be leader trying to force the latter is void of any spiritual understanding.

Yesterday morning I was with 20+ Bhutanese brothers and sisters. We sat on the floor but a couple of the American saints sat in chairs. We sang "I have decided to follow Jesus" first in English led by five young Bhuanese believers ages 11-5. Then we sang the same song in their language, Nepalese.

We knelt on the floor and prayed. I do not understand their language but as 1 Cor. 2:13 tells us, the Holy Spirit was communicating spirit to spirit. We had a wonderful experience of one accord.
Thank you Hope. Believing into the name of Jesus brings us into an accord, the likes of which any of our own attempts to replicate cannot but pale in comparison.
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Last edited by aron; 08-29-2011 at 11:44 AM. Reason: language
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