Burst Forth and Rejoice

 

February has been an interesting month with a focus on the giants in the land. We began meeting on Tuesday evenings as the Ekklesia at Anoka in January where after an initial introductory gathering, we had eight nights of prayer followed by some clarification on what we were to do in February.

 

The first two weeks of February carried on the message from January which was to inspect ourselves. We were to purify ourselves to prepare for what the Lord would have us do. We were, in a manner, preparing the way of the Lord. Our purification is important in that we do not want any basis for the enemy to latch onto us with any stronghold. The month’s plan materialized.

 

February 1-13: Purification and Preparation

February 14-21: Decrees Made

February 22-26: Bursting Forth

February 27-28: Rejoicing!

 

This document will lay out the next two weeks of Sunday Sessions being February 21 and February 28 which will have the topics of Bursting Forth and Rejoicing. See AnokaAwakening.com for more information on Sunday Sessions. If you have never joined us for Sunday Sessions, perhaps now is the time. We enjoy the company of one another during some social time and a meal, then the Holy Spirit always guides us through an interesting conversation on a topic of the week.

 

 

Bursting Forth – 2/21

 

  • An action: voluntary or involuntary? Or both?
  • Standing firm in the face of the enemy
  • Not silent concerning our relationship with our Lord and our God
  • We are to burst forth with rejoicing
  • With the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven

 

 

Rejoicing! – 2/28

 

  • An action: by choice and determination
  • A command to be obeyed
    • Often going against our feelings
  • Attitudes of contentment and hope
  • Our joy in the Lord
  • Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit
  • Salvation is the first step
  • Walking in submission to Holy Spirit and God
    • Die to self – Daily
  • Maturing in Christ
  • Deal with conflicts
  • Serve the Lord with gladness
  • Develop intimacy with God

 

 

A Short Study

 

While contemplating, Bursting Forth: Not silent concerning our relationship with our Lord and our God, I was led into the verses below and made these notes.

 

John 4:40-42 KJV

 

Verse 40: So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

  1. Samaritans: not friends of the Jews
  2. Tarry, or stay, with them: they desired to be with Him and to hear His message
  3. They besought, or asked, Him: they hungered for Truth
  4. He abode, or stayed, there two days: Jesus went against the cultural norms – for them, for their sake

 

Verse 41: And many more believed because of his own word;

  1. Because of His own word: the word of the Gospel of the Kingdom produced fruit

 

Verse 42: And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

  1. Said unto the woman: the people acknowledged and spoke to the woman
  2. Not because of thy saying: so, they had believed, at least to some extent, based on her word
  3. We have heard Him ourselves: eventually people need their own revelation to cement their belief
  4. And know that: intellectual knowledge became heartfelt belief
  5. Saviour of the world: The only proclamation like this? The world: they were outside of the Jewish system

 

Concerning #8, their own revelation: Discipleship? Leads to this?

This was a revelation from God – as it was for Peter.

Matthew 16:17b KJV

for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

John 6:44 KJV

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

Concerning #1, not friends of the Jews: What drew them? The Father and the Gospel. There is a dynamic here of the Father drawing people, the gospel being shared, triggering belief.

Matthew 10:7 KJV

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Romans 10:17 KJV

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Glance Back, Gazing Ahead

 

John, to the Ekklesia at Anoka,

 

It has been my honor to serve as part of the group, Anoka Awakening.

 

The year 2020 was turbulent in many ways, but through them all, God was faithful. Almighty God was with us every step of the way guiding us through changes in our operations, refining us through pruning that we may produce greater fruit, comforting us in our trials, and faithfully, lovingly providing all that we needed, both physically and spiritually.

 

The year 2021 will undoubtedly have much of the same, concerning challenges and refinement. We should, however, be operating at a higher level, walking in greater faith. The ministry opportunities will be numerous, and we should experience great times of rejoicing in what the Lord has done, and will do, in our midst. While some may preach the darkness, I choose to focus on the light. The darkness may seem greater all around us, but this is due in part to the increased light as the Kingdom of Heaven invades our space through those who intimately walk with God in this world.

 

The line of demarcation between dark and light, evil and good, seems to grow clearer with the passage of time. Fence sitting is becoming increasingly difficult as people are being pressured to take a stand for or against the things of this world. Choices and decisions need to be made and positions are being established. While this may be good to enhance the ability to discern a matter quickly, it does have a dangerous pitfall. It creates an “us vs. them” paradigm that can inhibit ministry to others.

 

The evil one has done well this past year to pit person against person to distract us from combatting evil with good. Now more than ever we need to focus on overcoming evil with love; specifically, the love of God flowing through us. We cannot let the manifestation of demonic rage and wickedness distract us from loving the person and sharing the hope that is offered by the gospel and kingdom life.

 

Concerning the ministry of Anoka Awakening, the past years have been primarily reactionary in nature. While a few things have been accomplished in the city, we must be more proactive in the future to impact our community for the Kingdom of God. We will not do things just for the sake of activity in search of meaning, rather we will continue to only do things as led by the Lord. The difference will be the intention to persistently seek the Lord concerning His desires and His will rather than sitting back and waiting for someone to be inspired and seeing if any action will take place. We will ask, seek, and knock. We will discern the will of the Lord and then we will be doers and not hearers only.

 

Thus, the Ekklesia at Anoka is operational. We have explored ekklesia in prior Sunday Sessions with some excellent conversations. It has been interesting to see how this all tied back to the beginning of Sunday Sessions with the Living Stones and Building the Wall. Holy Spirit is Masterful at tying all this together when we pay attention and follow His plan. While we will still have Sunday Sessions on Sunday afternoons/evenings and Fire-Pit Worship on Thursday nights, we will also have Ekklesia on Tuesday nights.

 

  • Fire-Pit Worship, Thursdays, 6:30 – 10:00 PM
    • Corporate gathering to worship God
    • Time for personal encounter and intimacy with God
    • Opportunities to minister to one another
  • Sunday Sessions, Sundays, 4:00 – 8:00 PM
    • Fellowship gathering with a meal
    • A short teaching on a topic
    • A conversation on the topic
    • Opportunities to minister to one another
  • Ekklesia at Anoka, Tuesdays, 7:00 – 10:00 PM
    • A time to corporately inquire of the Lord for His plans for Anoka and beyond
    • A deliberate seeking of His will and the plan for the implementation of it
    • Acting upon the revelation we receive
    • Opportunities to minister to our region

 

Throughout my time as a follower of Christ, many people have either called me a pastor or asked me if I was a pastor. Much of what I did involved pastoral care for my brothers and sisters in Christ, so I suppose the assumption was reasonable. Until recently I would always respond that I was not a pastor because I did not have the diploma, nor did I care to go sit in classes. However, God has called me with the gift of pastor. A prophet confirmed it with a word from the Lord for me, while others have affirmed the validity of it by the witness they received. This realization does not change how I do things as such, but it does add a weight of responsibility to what I do.

 

The gifts, as seen in the Apostle Paul’s writings, were given for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. That is, the gifts are for the maturing of fellow believers, that each one may be strengthened to do the ministry they are called to do by the Lord. The gifts are for serving the body of believers. Like Christ, the one with the gift is there to serve, not to be served.

 

Christ gave these five gifts: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher. (Ephesians 4:11)

Christ gave the purpose: for the perfecting of the saints so they can do ministry and build up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)

Christ defined the time frame: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)

 

The gifts have specific roles and purposes in building up the body. The ekklesia will explore these and seek God as they are put into practice. I believe we have a few of these in place by the grace of God. I also believe that until all are in place, He uses others to perform some of the necessary roles, for the time being, to accomplish His purposes. For our part, we need to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and have discernment to know what is of God and what is of the flesh.

 

Activities in 2020 were somewhat limited by the events of the world. There were 69 official events with Anoka Awakening. This new schedule potentially puts that number over 150. With 44 people involved throughout the year, only 6 participated in 40% or more of those activities; only 2 over 60%. We will each need to determine our level of commitment and participation for 2021 as the Lord opens doors to minister to our community.

 

Concerning our finances in 2020, the Lord blessed us with exactly what we needed. Anoka Awakening entered the year with the January bills paid and $204 cash on hand. We concluded 2020 with the January rent paid for 2021 and $0 cash on hand. God used 11 people to provide 80% of the finances. Here too, each of us must ask God what He would have us to do. We should then come into agreement with Him and do what we have determined with Him. God will remain faithful to His children.

 

Our email list in 2020 remained consistent at about 50 recipients of our updates. Of the 50, 24 have not participated in activities nor provided finances in 2020. I trust the Lord has them praying for us as I know personally that some do.

 

I, as I hope you do also, appreciate all who participate in Anoka Awakening whether in activity, financial support, or prayer support. It is the Lord who keeps all these bases covered for us. It is Christ Jesus who said, “Upon this rock I will build my ekklesia.” He will build it and I trust we will continue to serve it. I deeply appreciate and sincerely thank our intercessors.

 

My personal focus for ministry remains as it has been for the past 36 years since I surrendered my life to the Lord in February of 1985:

  1. Share the good news of the gospel with whoever will listen
  2. Provoke believers to live more holy lives for Christ

Considering the recognition of the pastoral gift, I will serve in building up the saints to perfect the body for the ministry to which they are called. The Lord willing, I will make myself available to all who seek encouragement, comfort, and council, doing my best as the Lord leads me and as His grace enables me.

 

That said, I will continue to participate in every event or activity as possible and I will continue to financially support the ministry as led by the Lord to give from what He provides in my life. I will also continue my practice of spending time in the morning in worship, study, and prayer. Over the past number of years, I have begun most days at our space for time with the Lord focusing on Anoka and the ministry He calls me to do. Aside from the times a job takes me out of town, I will be as involved as I ever have been, if not more, in the ministry of Anoka Awakening.

 

I pray that each of you will seek the Lord for:

  • clarity in the ministry to which you are called
  • discovery of the commitment He asks of you to make
  • the faith and faithfulness to carry it out

 

I look forward to serving you, and serving with you, in 2021.

 

“for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” (Ephesians 6:22-24)

Time to Praise

A Time to Praise

November 13, 2020

 

It is time to praise God for who He is, for the goodness He exudes and for the lovingkindness He exhibits toward us. God is good. God is Love. God is victorious. He is our foundation, our rock. He is our salvation, our shield, and our deliverer. The perfect love of God casts out all fear. Fear not. Let your heart not be troubled. God shows us through history His deliverance when hope of escape appears to be gone.

 

It seems as though we are backed up to the sea with the enemy coming at us. What will happen? What will our reaction be? Will we respond from fear or with confidence? Will we moan and groan or praise and exalt our deliverer?

 

It seems as though our boats are being tossed through the stormy night and God is silent, perhaps sleeping in the bow. What do we do? Will we scramble about in panic crying out to God with accusations of inaction? Or will we display a quiet confidence that we will see our deliverer before it is too late?

 

It seems as though we are left alone, hiding or laying low, doing our work under the cover of darkness or in the shadows. Perhaps we are being called upon to lead others though we think we are acting in fear or cowardice. How will we respond? Our future is at stake. Rewards are about to be gained or lost. Will we say, “Who me? I don’t think so.”? Or will we respond, “Here am I Lord, send me.”?

 

How many of us have said at one time or another, “Whatever You want Lord, tell me and I will do it.”? Or something along the lines of, “Anything for You Lord.”? Yet, when the going gets tough, where do we go? What happened to the enthusiasm? Where is the commitment? Are the worship times or services merely a religious exercise or duty? Or are they encounters with the Living God? Self-reflection is needed here and now. Who are we and why are we here?

 

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

1 Corinthians 10:11

 

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Though repeating the victory moments is far from doom. At the Red Sea, Moses led the people through the salvation of the Lord. On the stormy sea, the Lord arose and calmed the chaos. At the Midianite camp, Gideon led a small band to victory following the leading of God. How much more will we see our deliverer in these days? And in Christ, even what looks like defeat to the world is victory in God.

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

 

What do we really believe? Is He able to deliver us? If He chooses to use us and the situation in another way than we see it, are we willing to follow Him? Imagine the disciples the night of the day that Christ Jesus was crucified. Nothing was as they expected it to be, though they were told what was about to happen. Why did they not hear it? What are we not hearing? Do we hear the Apostle Paul?

 

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:1-3

 

For if we do come into the situation of being absent from the body, are we not confident that we will then be present with the Lord? Where is our confidence? In what we see? Or in what God has revealed to us? For the darkest time has not yet come upon us and we have little time to prepare our mind to deal with what is to come.

 

Some things do not produce a desired effect by merely exposing something by word. Often times there is the need for us to see and experience something, even if painful, to cause us to respond appropriately, moving us to a position of victory. We come to a moment of decision whether we will cower and whimper or we will praise God and declare His greatness.

 

The wickedness and evil of the world are being exposed on levels as never before. As in the days of Noah, judgment is about to fall upon the ungodliness that is all around us. What was the requirement to enter the ark? Is our righteousness in Christ? Is our trust fully upon Him? Are we developing our intimacy with Abba?

 

It was told to me once that fear and faith are opposite sides of the same coin, and that interestingly, we get to choose which side of that coin we will live on. We know that perfect love casts out all fear. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God. Knowing these things, how are we choosing to live and react to the chaos around us? Are we listening to the prophets of the day? Are we discerning enough to know which are the prophets that have God’s word for us? This is a showdown between good and evil. This is a battle between the prophets of God and the prophets of Baal. We must choose this day whom we will serve. As for me, I will serve the Lord. As for me, I will PRAISE the LORD.

 

I tell you my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a time to praise God for who He is and for the victory that is in His hand. The darker it gets around us, the closer the moment of deliverance approaches. When the fullness of God’s plan arrives, when the evil is exposed and we are called to choose the ground to stand upon, our deliverance will be at hand if we choose to serve God by faith and follow Him. But if not, I will still walk in victory on the streets of Gold. This is a win-win time for those who believe. Much is at stake in this world; however, we need leave nothing to chance in eternity.

 

For the record, I believe:

  • Victory will come for the Trump administration as we humble ourselves and pray
  • The current virus is real, I believe it was used as a bioweapon, but is not to be feared for those who cling to Christ and follow Him
  • There is much that God has for His Kingdom workers to do and He is not done with the United States taking the gospel to the world
  • There are exciting times ahead for those who co-labor with Christ Jesus

 

I call you my brothers and sisters in Christ, to join in this time to praise God for who He is and for the victory that is in His hand. Pray and worship in great faith, calling things that are not as though they were. Seek God for His will and pray it into the earth. Pray that His Kingdom come and His will be done in earth as it is in heaven. This is for now, not some far off time.

 

This is not a time for fear. This is a time to praise God with thanksgiving.

 

May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and the presence of God be upon you.

 

Blessings to you my brothers and sisters in Christ.

John Schaenzer