Saturday, September 30, 2006

Acts 29 Daily -- Acts 1

Before beginning this new series I want to share a new way to enjoy the ACTS 29 DAILY studies. We have packaged all 19 daily nuggets of the Letter to the Philippians into one CD. In this format, you can use it in your car for a short encouragement in your day or download the entire CD into your mp3 player or iPod. To order this CD with 19 dailies (nearly 90 minutes), write to the address below, request PHILIPPIANS and send any donation to EMBERS FELLOWSHIP.

P.O. Box 14578
Irvine, CA 92623-4578

For the next 28 days (7 days a week) I want to move back through the book of Acts. I suggest that you read the full chapter from whatever version each day and I will comment on a paragraph that seems to stand out to me out of that chapter. PASS IT ON TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY…

Don’t be distracted away from this dynamic book of Acts. In a very real sense it’s the 5th Gospel, specifically a continuation of the Gospel of Luke. I’ve always heard of Acts being a transitional book, but I see it differently in this season of my life. You’ve probably heard Acts called the “Acts of the Apostles”, but I find it helpful to refer to Acts as the “Acts of Jesus.” You see, although Jesus ascended into heaven, He is still quite active in our lives individually and as we gather in fellowship with one another. We grossly miss the point of the experience of walking with Jesus, if we don’t see it this way.

Today in ACTS 1…check out verses 6-8…

6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

First NOTE their question. It’s a little like “Jesus, are you going to unfold life and the world the way we’ve been taught and believed?” I’ve spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how God is going to unfold the world and bring it to some glorious conclusion. I’ve used the “signs of the times” to stir up people’s interests and have been quite successful doing it. However, Jesus seems to relieve us of that knowledge or responsibility to know these things and points us to something far more important and strategic.

And He uses a big “BUT” to refocus our attention toward the most important things—the power of the Holy Spirit is to come upon Jesus’ disciples and the disciples are to be Jesus’ witnesses. First, the power of the Spirit is to come upon Jesus’ disciples. The way Jesus will remain active and powerful among His disciples is for the Spirit to do His work in us and among us. And, because the Spirit takes up permanent residence in those who believe, Jesus will have the opportunity to touch so many more lives than He could have. They were looking for political or organizational power. What Jesus wanted them to possess was a new kind of power—the transformational power of His Spirit for the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did and this is how it’s done—with Spirit power!

Second, the disciples are to be witnesses of Jesus. We are not to be witnesses of a denomination or a cultural bent of Christianity. We are not told here to be witnesses of Bible doctrine or creeds or of the many teaching gurus. Literally Jesus says He wants His disciples to be “witnesses of Me” or My witnesses. The purpose for the power is to bear witness of Jesus…not Jesus plus anything, but JESUS PLUS NOTHING.

A question arises here… Why is it that we disciples are to bear witness of Jesus? It’s because Jesus is all that is needed and nothing more. Jesus is the Good News in a bad news world. Jesus is the Gospel! The meaning of Jesus’ name says it all… “God Saves”…. Is there anything you can add to your witness to improve upon Him? No, there is nothing more to be said…it’s all about Jesus!

Now NOTE the strategy for bearing witness of Jesus. We are to bear witness of Jesus to the remotest part of the earth. Also, NOTE that this witnessing has an order to it. You begin right where you live—IN JERUSALEM. Then be sure to witness of Jesus in your surrounding area. Now watch this…and in Samaria. Samaria is the place where you might not be invited, because they are not “your kind”…in fact, the Jews believed the Samaritans were half-breeds and they didn’t get along at all. Yet Jesus made it clear that this was a strategic part of the plan for bearing witness…even to the Samaritans. Then, Jesus’ disciples are to bear witness of Him to the remotest part of the world. This begs the question, “Who or what is the object of your witness?” Is it Jesus or is it Jesus plus something else?

For making a difference,
Tim Timmons

Friday, September 22, 2006

E-Walk: Forgiveness

E-Walk is a frequent word of encouragement and empowerment as you learn to walk the walk.

CLICK HERE to listen to this podcast online.

About Us

We are a group of people who are interested in walking, thinking, loving and talking like Jesus. We have come alongside one another in order to…..

EMBRACE the life and principles of Jesus as a lifestyle!
MENTOR others into the Jesus lifestyle!
BELIEVE God will raise up leaders and resources!
EMPOWER the youth of the world!
RESTORE the broken, fallen, wounded, abused and addicted!
SERVE everyone in the spirit and love of Jesus!

Listen in on Jesus’ prayer about the fellowship…

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world but for those you gave me, For they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, and my life is on display in them. For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world; they’ll continue in the world while I return to you.

Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind. As long as I was with them, I guarded them in the pursuit of the life you gave through me; I even posted a night watch and not one of them got away, except for the rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

Now I’m returning to you. I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing so my people can experience my joy completed in them. I gave them your word; the godless world hated them because of it, because they didn’t join the world’s ways, just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—set apart for a mission—with the truth; Your word is truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes so they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

I’m praying not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are—I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me. Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them—who you are and what you do—and continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them (John 17:6-26).
He wants you in…He wants you in far…He wants you to bring others in… Make fellowship a verb in your life!


We work with the problems of alienation in the family, in the community and in the world. We want to bring the message of reconciliation and freedom to individuals everywhere! Our approach is not religious, political or commercial, but simply the model of Jesus’ lifestyle and teachings.

We believe there have been 4 primary stages of alienation that have contributed to the destruction of every society:

1. INTELLECTUALISM—Blurry picture of God!
2. IDOLATRY—Blurry picture of self!
3. IMMORALITY—Blurry picture of male/femaleness!
4. INSURRECTION—Blurry picture of human rights!

No society is exempt and only the powerful teachings of Jesus can provide the necessary intervention to reverse the negative effects of these devastating stages throughout history.

We practice fellowship is a verb as the solution to alienation…

In order to effectively bring the Good News of reconciliation to a world filled with alienation we have found that we must operate in a fellowship!

The fellowship is not an organization, an institution or a denomination. The fellowship is a verb that, when properly activated, has the power to change the world—one person at a time! In order to use the fellowship as a verb you must learn the fellowship principle…

The designated partners within the fellowship include Jesus Christ, Jesus’ followers and you. The fellowship is not a religious system of do’s and don’ts. The fellowship is not in an organization, not in Christianity, not in churchianity or not in any institution. The fellowship is with God Himself (Father, His Son Jesus and His Spirit) and with His people.

The fellowship principle is the full application of this dynamic partnership between God and His people. When the fellowship is functioning properly, there is no need for heavy promotions. It all has to do with attraction to Jesus, Jesus’ people and Jesus’ mission. The fellowship operates on the principle of attraction, not promotion.

When I was a young believer, I adopted Romans 1:16 as my life verse: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Paul prays that the “eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-29). And when the gospel message of Jesus went out to the city of Thessalonica, “the gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…”(I Thessalonians 1:5). It’s difficult to read the life and works of Jesus and the early church and miss the powerful explosiveness of the Good News!

So, how can believers today embrace that same kind of power? Is there a spiritual formula that I must discover? A special, supernatural experience that I must know? A certain version of the Bible? A specially anointed denomination or group that I must join? Do I need more of the Holy Spirit?
None of the above is the answer. It’s more simple than that! In fact, Paul put it this way: “I’m afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, that your minds might be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3-5).

This simplicity of Jesus is all wrapped in the fellowship principle. Let’s examine the model of Jesus, the mode of the disciples and the mandate for the 21st Century.

First, the model of Jesus.

Think about it! If you were out to start a movement that would change the world through its message of faith, love and hope, how would you have orchestrated it? I would have launched into doing massive seminars and workshops to as many people as possible. My model for reaching the world would have been filled with the latest papyri flyers being handed out by the best trained management and sales team ever! Jesus did just the opposite. He came into this world with a quiet, yet supernatural birth. He performed quiet, yet powerful miracles, mostly on individuals.

Instead of a series of massive, promotional events, Jesus chose to work with a few. He chose a few just to come alongside Him—to be with Him (3 and 12). Note that He didn’t lay out a plan to reach the world right away. That came later. Then, after experiencing the power of being together with the few and learning how to love one another, He sent out several more followers into the villages with His message (72 and 120).
Jesus’ strategy proved to be the most dynamite movement ever launched! This movement of a few were unlikely people who were used to turn the world upside down! Now that’s powerful!

Second, the mode of the disciples.

The disciples of Jesus learned to follow the model that was set. They always traveled and ministered in teams of two or more. When you read the book of I Thessalonians, you will discover that the ministry that followed Jesus’ pattern echoed forth from the believers in Thessalonica throughout Greece and much of the rest of the world.

They were known for their faith that worked (work of faith), their love that worked (labor of love) and their hope that stayed (steadfastness of hope). These believers saw people in Thessalonica and all of Greece turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for Jesus to return.

The most shocking thing about this powerful explosion in northern Greece is how it all began! Since first seeing this through a brother and friend, I have asked a question over and over to pastors, professors, counselors, bible students and to hundreds of people within church congregations. The question is simple. After reading the first chapter of the book of I Thessalonians, I ask “Who wrote I Thessalonians?” I have never received the correct answer yet! Most everyone answers, “Paul!” I did the same thing when I was asked. However, in the very first verse it clearly tells you that it was Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. These three wrote the book! And it was the dynamite relationship of these three men that the Thessalonians imitated!
These three men practiced the fellowship principle and their work proved to be most effective—most powerful!

Maybe this is the missing link that we’ve all been praying and searching for…the fellowship principle.
Third, the mandate for the 21st Century.

Paul must have been a southerner, because he used what I call “the y’all principle” throughout most of his writing. Take a look: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you (among y’all), with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”(Colossians 3:16). Or, “I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you (in y’all)” (Galatians 4:19). Or, “Christ in you (in y’all), the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

Paul is commanding believers everywhere to allow Jesus to make His dwelling place (make Himself at home) as you come together into the fellowship. The dynamite (power) of the gospel will be present in the midst of a few who are gathered together in Jesus’ name. The y’all principle is the fellowship principle! If you want to be powerful and effective in spreading the message of Jesus, you must do it His way. WDJD? (What Did Jesus Do?) is far more powerful than discussing WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?). Your “I” will be powerfully turned into “we.”