Guest post by “Francis Drake”: Business and fellowship

Sometimes it helps people to get completely “out-of-the-box.”

For a number of years I ran a local fellowship for businessmen and women. Because they never thought of it as a “church” they didn’t come with their church straight-jackets on; consequently we had amazing results. The vision was never intended to be about getting people saved, although that did happen. It was about giving existing believers the confidence to walk in their anointing, as a normal way of everyday life.

The meetings were prophetic,  and everyone participated in a body style of ministry. We met monthly around a large hotel conference table complete with note pads and coffee. We started with open fellowship, words or prophecy as the Lord led. For many who would never have ventured outside their institutional church, hearing this genuine free relationship with the Lord was a complete shock.

Being the organiser (or facilitator), to ensure that everyone participated, I would ask all present to introduce themselves in turn, and give a run down as to where they were at that moment in their business, and what their needs and desires were, and more to the point, what was God saying to them. Whilst this happened, the others were encouraged to listen to the Spirit and make any notes for prayer and ministry later on.

As we grew, the start could often be a little slow, as usually it generated further conversation and questions, particularly when someone was going through the middle of a business crisis.

Next we would ask everyone to move out of their seats and pray for each others’ situations as the Spirit led.

Giving business advice was banned. Our purpose was to eat of the Tree of Life, to pray and to give encouragement through words from God, and to deal with the work of the enemy by deliverance etc.

People were shocked when they saw the Holy Spirit at work. “Why don’t we get this sort of teaching in church?” was a regular, indignant question. What they witnessed was the practise of faith through and through.

We saw amazing things happen in businesses once God was allowed in. A lowly gardener might have a deep prophetic word or vision for an engineer or doctor which would instigate a massive change in the man’s business. A small core group of Spirit filled business men and women were able to encourage the weaker members.

We never advertised, but it just kept growing as excited newcomers would return the next month with two or three others! Word of mouth from enthusiastic believers did all the networking for us. They came because they saw that when God was active in their businesses, He brought blessing. Their lives outside church changed. Passive Christians became enthusiastic believers.

Our times together gave many believers their first experience of seeing that God could actually change things in the real world. Many Christians have never experienced anything outside of Sunday church. This meeting enabled them to grow in personal faith, especially as they watched their brothers progress through business crisis and on to victory under the power of God.

We started with about ten people at the first meeting. We kept having to ask the hotel for a bigger conference room as it rocketed to sometimes 60 people, which was a bit too big to handle. We had in all about 130 members, but thankfully they never came all at once.

When people see the reality of God, their lives will never be the same.

Francis Drake has always been passionate about letting God reign in his everyday life, not just in church. If the word of God didn’t apply successfully in his daily work, then either it, or Francis was a fake! Learning to run manufacturing businesses as a prophetic venture is an excellent way to grow in faith. The effect of God’s involvement in the various projects Francis ran enabled him to overflow into helping other businessmen. The fellowship was one of the results.

Photo Credit: Amoooo (Creative Commons)

Is your glass half-empty or half-full?

Do you want to be happy or sad?

While there are some people who are unhappy because they need emotional healing from a broken heart, others choose to be pessimistic, to look on the negative side of life.

There are a couple of very interesting verses in Proverbs 15. Verses 13 and 15 say this:

A glad heart makes a happy face;  a broken heart crushes the spirit.

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

The impression, especially from verse 15, is that we can choose what kind of heart we have. Are we going to choose to be glad, or sad? Some people perceive the same event as a negative; others as a positive.

Do we choose to see the glass half empty or half full. It makes a big difference. In general, people prefer to be around someone who is encouraging and has a joyful outlook on life. Jesus was “anointed with gladness more than his companions” (Hebrews 1:9). If we want to be winsome to those who don’t yet know the Lord, we would do well to have a joyful attitude towards life.

Photo credit: Jim_sama (Creative Commons)

The end of the wilderness

Whenever I share about the nine years of wilderness we experienced when we first moved to the States, something about the story resonates with other people–especially the length of time we were there. It seems to give people hope that they, too, might emerge from their own desert experience with their faith stronger, and prepared for the next stage on their spiritual journey. I would make one comment here from our experience/mistakes: learn the lessons the first time round–it saves God having to repeat them!

Photo Credit: Gita Rau (Creative Commons)

For us the end of the wilderness came in a way that I can neither recommend nor endorse.

We gave God an ultimatum.

In the March or April of 1996 we told God that whether we heard him or not, if things hadn’t changed by Christmas, we were going back to the UK where at least we could make a living as doctors.

There were three areas where we asked for change:

  • That he would speak to us again
  • That we would find a means of making an adequate income
  • That our church situation would change

That Spring, we were invited back to the UK to share at a conference. I remember standing at the window of the conference accommodation we were staying in, gazing out at the beautiful British countryside when a thought from left field came into my mind:

“You will be part of a move of my Holy Spirit again a second time.” I instantly recognized this as God speaking to me. What a relief to hear his voice again!

We had lived through the British charismatic/house church movement–wonderful times of God’s blessing which had changed the face of British Christianity. Could God be about to do something in the States? Another move of his Spirit? What would it look like?

From that time onwards, Jesus started speaking to us again.

Back home in Texas, Tony was acting the teenager one day, playing basketball with the kids when he injured his knee. After two or three months, there was no improvement, and so he finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon who advised surgery. The forty-five minute operation was a success, but the bills were a shock. We were part of a Christian sharing co-operative where believers donated to cover each others medical costs every month. Tony was so horrified at the bills that he called the surgeon and explained how the bills would be paid, and suggested the doctor might like to lower the cost. Much to his surprise, the doctor asked how much he felt comfortable paying and they finally agreed on a healthy discount. Every other provider did the same.

For several years, we had been crying out to God, asking him to provide us with an idea to create wealth. The basis of our praying had been Deuteronomy 8, especially verse 18 which, in the NKJV, says this:

 And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

I had the idea that maybe we could discount the medical bills for other members of the group too. Tony called the company with the suggestion and they jumped at the idea of a doctor discounting their medical bills. The phone call was on a Thursday; Tony started working out of our tiny spare bedroom on the Monday; by the following Friday it was obvious that this was a way we could make a living.

Over the past fifteen years, The Karis Group has expanded to offer a variety of services and we now have around seventeen employees. God answered that cry of our hearts.

For those of you who have been through the wilderness, how did the Lord lead you out?  Do you have any advice to offer to others who are still in the middle of their wilderness?

 

Free e-book on hearing God

A year or so ago I wrote an e-book entitled A Simple Guide to Hearing God. It’s designed to be a very practical look at how to hear God’s voice. However, I decided to take a different approach.

I have many friends who know how to hear God clearly–some of the stories they tell are remarkable. Armed with my iphone, I interviewed these people asking them how God speaks to them. (The videos I produced are amateur, but what the people I interviewed say is not!) How to hear God is also a subject I have studied and practiced for many years, and the text comes out of what I have learned.

The result is an enhanced e-book–a combination of video and writing. (It therefore has to be viewed on a computer rather than a kindle).

I would now like to give this e-book away. If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive a link to the free download.

 

 

Lessons from Rosa’s story

I sometimes think the Lord gave us the experience with Rosa and starting church in the projects because it so closely parallels Luke 10.

In Luke 10:1, Jesus commissions 72 disciples to go ahead of him in pairs to all the towns and places he plans to visit. Jesus had a strategy for the area–the disciples had to listen to his instructions, go where he told them and he would follow.

Jesus told me very specifically which street to walk because he planned to visit Springfield. My job was to hear him and obey.

The ability to hear God's voice is vital if we are going to be on mission with God. He has plans for the area where you live. As you listen to him, he will give you a place to pray for, or put a person on your heart. Maybe he will say to you, "Get chatting with the person next to you in the grocery line–she needs to hear from me today." Or maybe he will put a people group on your heart–you will find yourself with an unaccountable burden to pray for skateboarders, or students, or the elderly. 

If Jesus sends us somewhere, it's because he plans to come with us. You change your job? Jesus wants to do something in your new place of work. You move house? What does Jesus want to do in your new neighborhood?

 

New E-book: A Simple Guide to Hearing God

Front cover ASG

How do we hear God? Does He speak in an audible voice? How do we know it is Jesus speaking and not an over-active imagination? What might happen if we deliberately listen to God, believing He will speak to us?

About 18 months ago I had the idea of a multi-media e-book that would address this topic. (It's like a "vook" if you have come across the concept–a cross between a video and a book.) Over the past year or so, let loose with an iphone and with no expertise in videography, I interviewed friends who I know hear God clearly. I asked them the question, "How does God speak to you? How would you help someone who isn't sure God speaks to them?"

These interviews are included in the text of this e-book, along with many examples from my own experience. They all serve to amplify principles from Scripture. My hope and prayer is that both individuals and groups will be inspired and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus as a result of reading/viewing the e-book, but more than that, their Christian lives will become an adventure, on mission with God. 

The e-book is available via House2House at this link.

I'd love to hear of your experiences in hearing God, especially if the e-book helped you in this process. Leave a comment on this blog post.

Can you give feedback on a multimedia ebook?

I've just completed a 40+ page multimedia ebook on the subject of listening to God. (By multimedia, I mean it has videos and other links that are part of the book.)  I'd love to have feedback from a few people so that I can make any relevant changes before I "go live" with this.

Picture 1

My hope is that a few people will go through it over the next week. If they then answer eight brief questions, that will help me decide if there are changes to be made. It's a fairly short read, but if you view all the videos too (which I would prefer), it will take about an hour longer. It has to be viewed on a computer (rather than a Kindle) because of the video content.

If you'd like to be one of those who review this ebook, please respond by adding a comment to this post or tweet me (@felicitydale). 

Many thanks.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has responded to this. Between those who have left comments here on the blog and those who have responded via Twitter, I now have more than enough people who are willing to give me feedback.  The revised book will be available soon via House2House. I'll keep you updated.