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Are You Living Too Small a Life?

The underground church from the old Roman days is back and booming. And better than ever, in fact.

Seventeen centuries after the last time that Christians were fed to the lions, a revived and equally tough form of the faith has emerged from the fires of persecution overseas and is rapidly spreading this way.

These small, sometimes hidden gatherings offer so many improvements on traditional, institutional religion that they have attracted roughly 100 million followers in our generation. They are the white-hot nucleus of the 707-million-strong core apostolic Christianity explained in MEGASHIFT.

Over the past 1700 years, low-commitment, conformist Christianity has been the norm for most believers. It is centered around attending church services, which is basically passive. In our day, it has come to seem more and more like watching TV, but without a remote, so you're stuck with one channel for 90 minutes. Small wonder that U.S. Protestantism has shrunk to less than half the population for the first time in 200 years, diving from 63% in 1993 to under 50% about now. (From a UPI report 7/20/04 citing a new survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago)

Eight Offers You Can't Refuse
These aren't free offers! In fact, they have a steep price (see below). But we hope you'll decide the benefits are worth every bit of the cost.

1. A Transforming Empowerment

How would you like to . . .

· Be strong enough to take major steps of faith in your work or finances, moving ahead far faster?
· Ask God with confidence to change a family situation that's causing problems or holding you back?
· Reach out to people and touch their lives, even leading many people to make a commitment to Christ?
· Handle setbacks without panic or depression, trusting the Lord to make lemonade out of the lemons life hands you?
· Be able to walk into a bad environment and transform it by the presence of God's Spirit within you and the power
of the words you speak?

Our goal for open churches is to create Christian disciples
who are trained, empowered, and motivated to do these
kinds of things.

God has been waiting 3,000 years for His people to stop wanting a king or pastor to tell them what to do. And at last, it's happening! He is developing disciples who are mature enough to be able to feed themselves spiritually, without being spoon-fed by a clergyman. He wants you to be a priest, not a layman! (Exodus 19:6)

2. Responsible Freedom

How would you like to . . .

· Dump your status of layman and try for something a little higher than spiritual serfdom?
· Learn to use your spiritual gifts without being hindered and obstructed by traditional top-down structures, rituals,
bureaucratic speed bumps, and committee red tape?
· Get used to serving others in your style using your spiritual gifts in the places God wants you (instead of in the karma-like cycle of program-based duties in church)?
· Enjoy being on a winning team that has strong elements of a tailgate party, family dinner, combat platoon, and field
trip to heaven?
· Experience a character transformation, from being part of an audience to being a responsible player, sharing with
your teammates an attitude of responsibility for the success of the group and everyone in it?
· Find yourself doing things you once thought were totally out of your range?

You'll discover all this and more in a wide open, program-free, hierarchy-free, bureaucracy-free house church. It will give you gifted pastoral attention without clergy, a great atmosphere without a three million dollar mortgage, and a loyal circle of friends without all the headaches of "church."

As a free bonus, you never have to listen to another sermon.

3. Team Support

How would you like to . . .

· Have a team of fifteen sharp people who are committed
to helping you in every way possible, a team that would
stand by you, no matter what, in any kind of trouble?

They would all pledge to be there for you at the big turning points of life and help you to reach your highest possible levels of success, solve your toughest personal problems, and become the kind of person everyone admires.

If you were in trouble, you could call on them day or night, and they wouldn't rest until you were OK. In return, they only would expect the same sort of loyalty from you.

Would you like to have that kind of group around you?

4. Close Friendships

How would you like to have some friends . . .

· Who know all your shortcomings and still love you?
· Who would still make an effort to stand by you even if you started behaving like a jerk?
· Who would never get in your way unless you were headed sharply downhill (and then they just wouldn't let you keep sliding)?
· Who would give you generous amounts of money if they had it and you were facing a tough emergency?
· Who would gently but persistently bug you to keep you on track to reach the high goals you've shared with them?

You can find these kinds of friends in a small circle dedicated to one another as a complement of their dedication to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. When your circle has open participation in the meetings and 24/7 support outside the meetings, you've got a network where million-dollar friendships can thrive.

5. New Identity

How would you like to upgrade yourself . . .

· From a sinner to a saint?
· From a mere layman or laywoman to a member of a royal priesthood, with all its privileges and authority? (See I
Peter 2:9.)
· From a wobbler to an overcomer, one who takes problems in stride and typically defeats them?

Open Christianity is not a two-tiered system with an elite few in the upper story and us cattle milling around below! It is a Biblical-style family with people to whom God has given a new heart and identity. Think of your new life as like being in a government witness-protection program . . . except you don't have to grow a beard and move to the Yukon. Throw off all the false labels and limitations of man-made tradition! Step up to the higher identity that Christ died to give you.

6. Breakthrough Solutions

How would you like to . . .

· Avoid any chronic, cascading failures that can ruin your life?
· Discover fresh solutions to problems you had accepted as permanent?
· Make up lost ground from wasted years?
· Learn how to keep growing spiritually, year after year, without slowing down even in your old age?

Most people who become Christians grow well for two or three years. Then they get stuck. They hit a plateau and grow only slowly after that. In fact, it's rare to find someone making rapid spiritual progress at, say, 80. Whatever character flaws and bad habits they had at 40, they'll still have at 80.

What is their main strategic mistake? They try to solve their problems on their own, without a supportive circle to keep them growing. But that's not Christianity, it's Hollywood heroics. God made us to be working members of His family, team players who have the strength and wisdom of twelve or fifteen devoted friends.

7. God's Presence

How would you like to . . .
· Experience a "personal visit" from God on a regular basis in your team meetings every week?
· Get a spiritual jump-start that will supernaturally energize your mind and heart?
· Be able to anticipate that the Lord will show up in your meetings every week so plainly and palpably that even
non-Christians can feel Him moving their hearts?
· Have a closer friendship with God than you ever imagined? C. Peter Wagner, president of Global Harvest
Ministries, says, "The miracles in the book of Acts were just a warmup for what God is doing today."
· Begin to see miraculous events happen when those in your house church call on Him? The eternal Commander
of the angel armies of heaven does not come when we snap our fingers. He is Lord, we aren't.

But we can strongly encourage Him to show up in our meetings in His great power and loving presence. There are ways to open wide our door for Him to come in and make Himself at home. Here are the first two: We can make Him the Lord and emcee of our gatherings instead of conducting programs. And we can set aside part of each meeting just to focus on Him, worship Him audibly (serially or together), and quietly listen for the still, small voice of His Spirit.

8. An Adventure Lifestyle

How would you like to . . .

· Live the kind of daring adventure that we usually see only in action movies?
· Know that you're working on the most high-stakes mission in the world?
· Be near the fast-growing center of God's kingdom, which is now beginning to displace all the other global religions?
· Experience the excitement of knowing that people's lives depend on your giving your ministry all you've got?
· Look back at the end of your life and see that you've played a role in changing history and transforming Planet Earth?

Many people go to house churches for the fellowship. Or the freedom. Or the healing or empowerment or the solutions to problems or the presence of God in meetings.

Those are good reasons, of course. But sooner or later, you'll find there is much more.

There is reaching out to help the suffering and dying world. There is your help for the unsaved, bringing them to life in Christ. There is your impact on society as you and your team bring wholeness and tear down the established evils that still dominate most of the culture.

As your circle grows and multiplies, don't let it degrade into a "bless-me" club. Go for the whole shootin' match. Work to keep it from being ingrown, introspective, or stagnant. The effort will be eminently worthwhile.


Mega Shift - Total Transformation

Who do you want to be tomorrow?

You're a lucky dog!

So What's All This Going to Cost Me?

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