Ministries March of the Message Newsletter September 2022
The Theme for This Year's Gathering:
Greetings Dear Family,
I would like to introduce you to our theme for the Gathering this year. The Lord is giving us a very specific approach for November. It is by no means a “new” approach, for it is an ancient path in which all those who have truly honored God’s heart in attending His feasts have followed. It involves the path that every sheep set to attend one of the Feasts at Jerusalem had to embark on. The difference between the people who attended the feasts at Zion and the sheep which were brought with them was that the sheep came to be offered as a sacrifice to God.
The Sheep-Gate -- Those sheep that made the journey to Jerusalem came from many different locations in Israel and even from outside of the nation. Because of this, each flock had a different path in order to get to the Feast. However, once they arrived they all experienced the same final portion of the trip. They all came that they might enter into the city through the “Sheep-Gate”.
The Sheep Pool -- Once the flocks had entered through the Sheep-Gate they were immediately confronted with a great pool of water. It is the Sheep pool. Their Journey was to pass through the Sheep-Gate into the Sheep-Pool, where they would be checked and “washed in water.” This process was very important to the overall goal. It was to prepare them to be offered by removing their spots and blemishes. No lamb could proceed further if spots and blemishes remained beyond the sheep pool.
We Are the Sheep of His Pasture — In this picture of going up to the Feasts, we usually picture ourselves as the people of Israel going up to be forgiven, blessed, and to enjoy the company of those we haven’t seen in a long while. But what about His sheep? Every year they go to the feasts for one purpose — to be offered up. The Bible tells us that we are the sheep of His pasture. Within the hearts of His sheep that come to the feast should be a stirring for something more than a healing or hearing an edifying sermon. They should arrive stirred to fulfill the purpose of their existence… to be offered up to God in the Spirit of the Lamb. That passion to be given motivated them to come on a long journey at great cost.
Entering In Another Way — Imagine if the actual sheep in Israel that came to each feast had an actual grasp of their purpose before God! Then they would come, not to receive but to give. They would not come to just give of their time, money or efforts… but to give of their very lives as a sweet savor sacrifice through Christ. Because they gathered not to be blessed but to be offered, they would enter in through the Sheep Gate and not some other way. Because their desire was to bless the Father with the sweet savor of His Son as an offering through them, they washed in the Word to be cleansed and prepared for sacrifice. Their journey “up to Zion” would be to honor the things of God’s heart above their own needs and ideas concerning what a feast should be like.
An Invitation To Come... As His Sheep — God's heart longs for His Firstborn Son in sacrifice through us. Oh to see His true need and be motivated by that alone! As noted before, in Psalm 95:7 we are designated as “the people of his pasture, the sheep of His hand.” May the Holy Spirit begin to prepare our hearts to move as His sheep that are being made ready to be an offering through the Spirit of the Lamb rather than those who would simply attend a conference. I long for us to gather, to see you and to be given with you on the altar of our hearts. Please pray about attending.
With great love,
Gathering at the Sheep-Gate Dates:
Friday, November 25th through Sunday the 27th
You will be hearing from us very soon with more specific information concerning this year's Gathering.
Randy & Debbie's 50th Anniversary Note of Thanks
To Our Friends,
It is with gratefulness that we want to thank our family and friends who helped make our 50th wedding and ministry celebration a special night for us!
Our daughters particularly showed the depth and care of their hearts to make this a special night to remember.
And for you, as our friends and church, thank you for serving along side them in all the preparations in love from your hearts. This event or the ministry through the years would not be the same except by your extreme love of Jesus!
Our hearts are still rejoicing in the fragrance of the Lord from that precious night through all of you!
Thank you! Love Randy & Deb
A Being Called "Not I"
Galatians 2:19-22,“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
Based on the above verse I have two questions:
> How am I dead?
> How am I alive to God?
Let’s address the first one first. “How am I dead?” We get the answer in the first part of the very next verse, verse 20: “I am crucified with Christ...” Even though you are “dead” Christ is there. Christ is even there in the fact that you are “dead.” Why? Because you could not accomplish the death on your own. You would seek to save yourself from the death. You probably already do it on a regular basis in daily life. Therefore, He took care of it by making you one. But there is no oneness in life till there is a oneness in death.
The next question was: “How am I alive to God?”
We get that answer in the same verses, in the latter part.
“...nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:”
You live unto God, but only on the basis of letting it be the correct life doing the living. So here it starts with “I live.” If those two words stand alone, then they give hope to our flesh, but they do not stand alone. The next three words in the sentence confirm this: “yet not I.” This closes the open door for our flesh along with its self-glorying.
I’ve said recently that “not I” is a person, a being. That person understands that if they choose to be an “I” then “Christ liveth in me” could never be a possibility. In fact, the realization of “Christ liveth in me” is only valid if I chose to live as “not I”. This is not a theological decision. It is an ongoing commitment on your behalf to no longer want to be the “I” of your life, but with genuineness of heart want Jesus in this way.
To come to such a place would require giving up Jesus as ONLY being your Savior (from hell) who is now seated far away in glory, but rather to let Him direct your existence by means of His life within. But you must realize that the theology of that is powerless to bring this about. A person must hate their own life in this world and want, above anything else, for “Christ liveth in me” to become their relationship with God and with all others. This is far beyond “surrender”! It is a life-altering (and altaring) decision that walks desiring daily results.
For many believers, much of their Christian lives are lived in battle with sin. Sometimes they do well, but at other times they succumb. That’s how “our lives” go. In using our “Christian life” as the means of pleasing God, our success in living for Jesus may depend on our mood at the time or other inclinations at the time. Somewhere in there, we want to live for God, but we become too occupied with trying to unhitch ourselves from sin. But what Galatians 2:19-22 is suggesting is to shift your heart away from that focus/approach/way of wrestling with sin. You only do so because you assume that is the answer. But what is needed is to move into the “life and death” side of things, which places being “alive to God” in the manner which He desires in the forefront of your quest.
Romans 6 validates this thought:
Verses 6:11-13 —
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
Though this verse is from another book of the Bible besides Galatians, it gives us the same plan. Instead of promoting the believer to a more spiritual plane, it suggests starting with death, or “not I”: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead.”
The Galatian passage had to do with embracing a “not I” position through death in order that “Christ liveth in me.” If they were truly born again, then Jesus was surely in the Galatians, but they had yet to accept living as “not I” in order that Christ would do the living in them. It was almost as if they were the ones doing the living pertaining to “life on earth” while they claimed and believed that “Christ was alive in them” as an adequate substitute for “Christ liveth in me.” But I can assure you that it is not. It’s not even close! Listen again to those verses and see if you agree. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
What am I seeking to communicate here? If a person is born again, then Jesus came into their heart, and “Christ is alive in them.” Yet, Christ being alive IN THEM is not the same as Christ doing the living... doing the living in their daily walk! They may live the rest of their life living by their own life in an effort to please God. So, instead of “Christ liveth in me,” it is more about their “Christian life” for Him. I apologize for repeating this, but it is easy to miss the point.
Now let’s return to what Romans seeks to make us to know.
Though the premise of Romans is the same as Galatians, there is a difference. In Romans, it is dealing with victory over sin. In many Christian circles when you mention victory over sin, the answers that come up have to do with prayer, fasting, deliverance, altar calls, recommitting yourself, surrender, or any of the usual “tools” Christians use to get free. But Romans mentions none of that. Instead, it gives us the same answer as that of Galatians.
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin...” Of course, that is not the full answer, but the answer always begins with us being willing to take our place as the “being” I referred to as “not I”. There is no way that Jesus is going to take His rightful place based on a simple prayer, as long as you and I insist on our life being improved so that we can be seen as the answer. The latter part of that verse expresses this thought and reads this way: “... but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
If you are truly the “not I” of this equation... then you are not seeking to individually and independently be alive unto God, period! To do so is to usurp His place. Also, to do so means we embrace “alive unto God” but refuse to accept “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
How important is it to take our place as the person known as “not I”? The only thing that should matter is that it is important to Jesus. Then what more active part can we have in the process? We can be yoked to Him!
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11:28-30). In keeping with the picture here, Jesus is like a big ol' ox who can pull the load no matter what the weather or weight. But, in His mercy, He lets us be yoked up right beside Him. We are weak and puny. Jesus calls us heavy laden. So how much effect are we having on the pulling process? The answer is “none.” He didn’t put you there with Him so you could help. He put you there to “learn of Him.” He wants you to learn to accept weakness, showing lack, and being inadequate. Why would He do this to you? It’s very simple! He does this so that when He unhooks you from the yoke you will be more willing to be a new person called “not I.” You will have learned of Him in a way that will allow you to be “...alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The lessons can be hard to learn, but when we do the rewards are amazing!***