Friday, June 23, 2006

Revolution – New Life Christian Fellowship (#5 of 9)

After being told to stay in Illinois by the Spirit of God and after receiving the Vision from God of the Church he intends to establish in this area (Where prophecy and passion in worship live) I was introduced to a man who had moved to our area to plant a Church. There had been several others. I had met them all. None of them witnessed to my spirit that they were the one I was to partner with. I met Tim Campbell. We had crossed paths before. In Fargo. This man did witness to the Spirit in me. Too many coincidences not to be God. But I was cautious.

I was watching and waiting. Then one night I was with him when he was praying for a man who had a back problem. He was praying in tongues. I immediately heard something in the spirit that said, "He’s the one you are to team up with". So I did. I believed he was sent of God to do this work and bring about the Church of the Vision.

He founded New Life Christian Fellowship of Geneva IL. I became an elder. Hard work, difficult times, but this would mean that people full of the Holy Ghost who live in this area wouldn’t have to drive an hour each way to attend a good Pentecostal work like the promised temple of God of the vision would be. It was at the same time exhilarating and painful. I continued my involvement with Todd. There were personal tensions because of it but I knew my future to fulfill the vision God had given me to pursue was in the Geneva St. Charles area.

I taught in New Life as I had taught in every church we had ever attended. Teaching is a gift I had been anointed with years before. Not just ability, true anointing. I taught the word of God better than I was able to. That’s anointing. I also shared the pulpit in preaching. Better than I am able.

The Church rose. Then began to fall because of personal problems. Tim stepped down. From that time on I operated as Pastor. I learned a lot about leadership and structure. I developed a deep understanding of apostolic leadership during that time.

Divisions in this small body were apparent. People who had been in the church were not prepared to receive me as Pastor. I had been part of them as a member and as an elder. One of them. I learned about the importance of being set apart for ministry in a Church. How important it is to be recognized as such to be truly effective. Anything less leaves you as one of them. This was true in the book of Acts, it’s true now. Moses did it, so should we.

Our church had been founded and funded by the IPHC denomination (International Pentecostal Holiness Church, a sister Denomination of the Assemblies of God with about 3 million members globally, about 10% of which are in the USA). I honored their investment and intent. They were good people with a good heart. To be dishonorable in dealings with them was just wrong.

I made the decision during this time to become credentialed with this organization. Not for any reason except God told me to. I knew it was right, I knew that I would need to be for the future. I’m a big believer in knowing the one who holds the future even if I don’t know the future.

After a year long course of study and testing (which was fortunately made easier by the long detailed study I had made of the Bible in the past decades) I was given credentials as a Licensed Minister of the Gospel under the IPHC. Reverend Gene Redlin. I've probably NEVER written that before. I may not be all that Reverend. But, I am a Minister of the Gospel. Anointed for service, and committed to the call of God he has placed in my life.

In 2002 several painful things happened. We were just coming off the 9-11 in 2001. We were just recovering from the economic fallout as a nation. My business failed. Badly. Nearly bankrupted me. During that time I was connected with Carl Boender of CBMC. Those precious men helped me keep even during a very painful time. At the same time the decision was made to close down the Church. This was painful too. People blamed me. As Pastor they had the right. I wasn’t up to the job. I discovered my gifting during this time. IT WAS NOT THE MINISTRY GIFT OF PASTOR. I have other gifts to give the Church. More on this later.

While it was a very low point it was also a glorious place in God. I discovered new depths of his grace that only being in that place can bring you to. My precious wife Peggy stood right beside me. The power of faith and persistence proved over and over the goodness of God to be sufficient.

Once again, Rodney Howard-Browne’s admonition to me, “You can live like this” was proven true.

Revolution – Prayer Movement (#4 of 9)

In the late 1990’s as a result of my involvement with Todd Beery I was connected with Mike Bickle and his ministry in Kansas City. I was with Todd in Kansas City the night Mike Bickle and Noel Alexander inaugurated the International House of Prayer (IHOP). The concept was Prayer and Worship 24 hours per day 7 days per week.

It began by attending conferences he was either at or conducting. A new level of intimacy began to emerge in revelation. He called it the Bridal Paradigm. He contended that we all are the Bride of Christ individually and corporately and that this truth has the ability to affect our behavior out of our passion towards Jesus. He insisted that this revelation will change our life forever if we grasp it.

It took time. I didn’t get it right away. Gene being a Bride were not synonyms immediately. I grew into it. Mike was right. It did change me.

Worship became less and less about singing good songs and more and more about one on one communication with my Bridegroom King Jesus. I started to see him as the ulitimate lover of my soul. Personally involved in all I do and think. Immediate. Intimate.

As this began to mature in me, a truth that had eluded me earlier blossomed. Prayer and Worship are one. Two sides of one coin. But ONE coin. You can’t pray without worship, you can’t worship without prayer. Old precious hymns I would read with tears seeing the depth of prayer in them. On the other hand some old hymns were just that. Old. No depth.

New intimate songs of passion began to take on meaning for me. Some new worship songs were just as empty and meaningless as some old hymns. This was hard to explain except by the Holy Spirit. It was impossible to understand unless you were already in this place.

I stayed involved with Todd as the Bolingbrook IHOP was opened. I still do. I go as often as my schedule allows. Why? Stay tuned. You’ll find out.

Once I was at a loss of words to explain to a dear Pastor Friends of mine, Dan Rothwell, who with Curt Frankhauser were in Chicago for a conference. He asked me a question, “what benefit is there to the kingdom is people just get together and worship and pray”? “How does that accomplish the great commission?” I couldn’t answer it then. I can now. The revelation of what this is all about has become absolutely clear. You can’t “DO” the great commission effectively without it.

Read on, and see why.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Revolution – Redirection (#3 of 9)

After the profound touch of God in Devils Lake I decided that we should move back to North Dakota. I didn’t think it would be possible to go deeper in God without making that kind of move. Plus we had family there. It made sense.

THREE days before the moving van was to show up to haul us away to Dakota (we had already put money down on a house there) I heard God say “STAY”. "Your breakthrough is here in Illinois". This was 1995. Being instantly obedient to a fault we stayed. . This act caused us to be homeless. The house we had been living in was sold. We packed our stuff in storage and for months lived with friends. Thanks Ken and Ellen. And others. This also meant I was immediately unemployed. The job I had previously required me to live west of Illinois. Interesting times. Obedience has a price, but it pays so well.

I waited. Then one night I had a dream of God. He showed me a clear precise vision of a body of believers he has destined for the area in which we live. The Fox Valley. Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles. It was clear. Worship ministry and the prophetic word resulting in healing, destiny and salvation. Not much preaching. Just this radical release of the presence of God doing it all. I saw it. I felt it. I knew what it was like. I am driven by that vision to this day.

We had been attending a wonderful church in Rockford Illinois. Faith Center. When the move to Dakota was canceled I thought maybe God wanted us to move there to be part of this Church body. We even spent days looking at houses in the Rockford area. But God said NO. He wanted us here, St. Charles. What made it so hard was to find any kind of real Pentecostal fellowship meant driving nearly an hour any direction.

About that time I became involved with a young pastor by the name of Todd Beery. He had been a pastor at the church we had attended in Naperville. Calvary Church.

He was led by God to form a house fellowship. I heard about it from others. A couple months after it formed I attached myself to it. I was attracted by the depth of passion and commitment he and his wife had. The lived this. I saw that, “You can live like this” was true in his life.

The meetings were on Monday nights. What happened there was astounding. Prior to this time I had God all figured out. My theology was fully intact. It was just wrong. He wasn’t going to stay in the box I had created for him. He wanted to reveal himself in new ways to me. He did. Every day He still does.

New music in worship was introduced every Monday night. It was so fresh. So new. Vineyard mostly to start. Then more, then more. It was a radical departure from the choruses we sang in the churches I had been attending. It was new.

During this time Mike Bickle received a prophecy that said, “I will change the face of Christianity in one generation”.

It's been 10 years since the beginnings of this change. The Episcopalians today are singing the music we worshiped toat Todd’s on Monday night a decade ago.

Today’s music in churches has the same notes sung that we did then. Some is very good. Some is simply pap. Contemporary music in the Church has drifted. Much has lost it’s passion. The hope that introducing good worship music would bring real breakthrough, as important as that is, is only partially true. Worship without the Spirit of the living God resident in it is without power or passion. It’s just good songs sung. True worship seldom happens. Many worship leaders have become worshiptainment. Watch what I can do.

What has happened is good worship music no longer is the unique factor separating churches of passion versus churches of just good worship. In fact, you can't be a viable Church without solid competent worship. The secret ingredient is sadly still missing in most churches. The Power of the Holy Ghost.

Todd was leading me to examine the pharisaic lifestyle I had honed to a science. Many legalistic do’s and don’ts I had imposed on myself and others were put under the spiritual microscope. Most of my legalism was driven by a works mentality ginned up by me to please God. It was wrong and binding. Legalsim was a major roadblock to expanding my heart toward Jesus. Liberty truly was in the Spirit.

Love of Jesus was driving me to a freedom lifestyle I had never known before. It was freeing and frightening at the same time. It caused other Christian brothers and sisters to puzzle about me as I began walking this out.

Revolution – Eyes Wide Open (#2 of 9)

In 1990 after we had moved to St. Charles IL from ND we moved to Europe. For the next couple years we became involved with a good Pentecostal Church in Germany. I began to grasp the international face of the Pentecostal movement. The universal appeal of a life in the spirit to all peoples became clear.

Little did I realize the impact of change to come from the Pentecostal wave moving across the world. That within a few years from 1990 – 2006 there would be 1 in 10 people on planet earth would be speaking in tongues and living a miraculous life hearing the very voice of God. When I became part of all this in 1980 we were still on the outside looking in, now the tables are turned. The growth and movement in the body of Christ is all about those things of the spirit I had discovered just 10 years before.

The church body that had nurtured me right after I had received the Holy Ghost was instrumental in introducing me to a man of God who’s ministry changed my life and initiated a change in the body of Christ that is reverberating still. Rodney Howard-Browne from South Africa was conducting meetings at the ND Assembly of God Bible Camp in Devils Lake North Dakota. The meetings were held in what can only be described as a Quonset hut. My brother Steve and I went to the meeting. Rod Hall was there. Rod and I received what can only be described as a supernatural touch from God beyond anything I thought possible. I came face to face with a radical new depth of Faith in God I had never seen before.

After one of the meetings I talked with Rodney. He said something to me that changed my life forever. He said, “Gene, You can live like this”. I believed him.

He has proven to be absolutly right..

I am grateful to the men of God who encouraged me to come to this meeting. It changed me forevermore. Thank you Curt.

This experience only served to make me hungry for much more. I was ruined for anything less. I knew the fullness of the Glory of God was far less then I was experiencing to that point.

When Rodney said to me, “You can live like this” I took him at his word. I became abandoned to a lifestyle of a radical pursuit of the living God at any cost.

I’ve never turned back.

Thank God!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Revolution - Saved and Filled (#1 of 9)

The next several posts will be related to a ministry emphasis I believe the Holy Spirit has placed in my hands to encourage other lovers of Jesus to go deeper.

I have been a believer in Jesus for 30 of my 61 years. Before that I attended Church in a nominal Lutheran kind of way. But I was empty and lost.

At a low point in my life, in 1977, I came to faith in Jesus. Nothing dramatic. A simple prayer of faith (Help! I think I prayed) set my life on a course that I have never looked back from. I bumbled around after that. Looked for more. Knew my nominal denominational Christianity had to end. I was teaching Sunday school. I was good friends with the Pastor. But I was hungry for more. A more that wasn't in the Lutheran Church I was attending. It was a pity but there was nothing there for me.

I met a man Rod Hall who encouraged me to seek for more. More of God. He said to me, "God has much more for you". That was a prophetic word at a nuclear level.

I made contact with an old drinking buddy of mine. Chuck Rutherford. He had been saved. He told me that my search would best begin by receiving the Holy Ghost. I was like the Disciples of John at Ephesus. I didn't even know there was a Holy Ghost.

He laid hands on me. I asked for the gift. Nothing. I didn't leave there disappointed. I left expecting. Weeks later all by myself I got the full manifestation. I began speaking in other tongues. It was glorious.

I'm always amused by people who try to cast doubt on the gifts of the Spirit. That tongues are not for today. That all charismata has ceased. But, sorry, it's too late. My experience in glory trumps your theology all day long. I'm radical and ruined for Jesus.

Now some 27 years later I am so thankful for this wonderful experience of Pentecost. Everything about my spiritual life is so satisfying, rich and fulfilling.

What's more, it gets better all the time.

This was the revolution that put me on the road to where I am today. Saved and Baptized in the Holy Ghost and full of Glory.

More tomorrow. Stay Tuned. There are 8 more chapters to this.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Miss North Dakota (In June)

Those Long Long days. Being out doing things till 10:30 at night. I miss that about North Dakota. Here’s a very cool website that lets you find the sunset and civil dusk (that’s the time at which you have to stop doing anything in natural light) for any city in the USA.

Here in St. Charles IL it’s not light till 4:45am. I’ve never been up to check but the website tells me it’s true. What is more discouraging is that it’s pitch dark by 9pm. Days end pretty early in Illinois.

Growing up in ND it was not unusual to sit out and enjoy the evening till well after 10pm. In Minot the sun goes DOWN at 9:50pm but it’s dusky light such that you could work or play ball till 10:30pm. Yes, mornings come 15 minutes later, but those long dusky evenings. I miss that. A bit has to do with placement in the time zone but most has to do with North and South.

I grew up in Ellendale, 4 miles from the South Dakota border. Dusk expires (dark) at 10:03, A full hour later than Illinois. Look at the distance and time differential from a town due north on the Canadian border. Hannah North Dakota Dusk is 10:25PM. No east or west influence there. Just North South.

This time of year life is sweet in ND (except for Mosquitoes), Northern Lights, staggering beautiful sunsets and late late dusk.


Less intoxicating in January.

Monday, June 19, 2006

They Go to Seminars

A not so new but aggressive defense mechanism has been unleashed in the Blogosphere. Say something bad about Islam, Scientology, Al Goreble Warming, and other things and you will get comments like this. A boilerplate Scientology response came in here a couple days ago.

And some pro Al Gore global warming proponent posted here.

Both of these are long, well written and comprehensive. HOWCOME? These are people who attended a seminar on how to do this. Seminar blog commenters have these things in a file. They troll the blogosphere using Googles Blogsearch and post these comments in an attempt to deal with whatever the issue was.

That is their right. But, they are long winded and not on topic many times. And, it’s not really debate.

I am going to find a half dozen things I give a darn about. I’m going to prepare a general comment defending whatever that is. Then I am going to troll the Blogsearch and find people who are critical of or incorrect (according to me) in their opinion.

So should you. Come to think of it, there are a few who seem to do this.

Turnabout is fair play.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

4851 Days of Dad

I was given a gift.  4851 days of my father's life on earth for me as his son.  Before 5000 he was gone.  I was 13.  It was the end of this month in 1959.  47 years ago.  Seems longer and like yesterday.
Fortunately a great man Fathered me and my siblings. Earl Redlin.
But my DAD, the man who was my genetic and biological parent only had 4851 days to give. 
Had he known he would have acted differently towards me.  We didn't always get along.  I was 13.  That should explain a lot.  Had I know he only had 4851 days I would have acted differently toward him.
And our last words were words of a parent toward a 13 year old kid.  Not really great.  Both ways.
Has that affected me?  I guess it has but I don't know if I know.
So, this fathers day, To Ralph J Redlin.
I honor you.  Too late, but on time for this year.