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Question for Ma Strong.............
December 30, 2009
12:11 pm
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truthBtold
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Hey Ma Strong,

Just read about your incredible journeys coming up in the other thread and I think that that is just fantastic!!!!!

When you said that you will be addressing topics such as hyper-religiousity, legalism and boring church traditions, I was wondering (when you have the time you globe-trotter you 🙂 to go into a little bit more detail about that, if you would.

Also, what do you think of these vastly popular ministries such as Joel Olsteen and others which seem to preach prosperity and not much else?

Would like to hear your slant on that sometime......

tBt

January 1, 2010
2:40 pm
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StronginHim77
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Deat TBT -

I want to give some serious thought to your questions. Can't stay online long enough to do so right now, but I WILL respond.

Blessings,

Ma

January 2, 2010
1:35 am
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hopeinhim
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Ooh - glad I caught this. I am interested to know more.

Cool!

Hope

January 2, 2010
12:15 pm
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StronginHim77
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Dear TBT -

Sorry it took me so long to reply.

Many of the hundreds of new visitors who come to my gatherings each year make the same observation: "This reminds me of how the church of the Book of Acts might have been."

And that is one of the goals of my ministry: to let the Holy Spirit have His way and meet the individual needs of each person, joining our gatherings. We never do services the same way, twice in a row. We do not have a rigid "order of service," (i.e., 30 minutes of praise & worship, followed by one or two prophetic words, then announcements, then an offering, then a song, then a 45-minute canned sermon from the pastor, followed by a blessing and everyone is out the door.)

We let our gatherings flow according to God's prompting. Sometimes, I do have a message ("sermon"), usually from a prophetic slant. Sometimes, we draw names and pray over the person whose name we drew. Sometimes, we take turns having one person sit on a chair in the middle of the gathering and each of us takes a turn, praying for that individual, sharing whatever visions or prophecies we receive for him/her or Scripture(s) that come to our hearts.

Different people within the group share their "giftings." We have one man who plays steel drums and sings awesomely...another who is a violinist...yet another who is a writer and share awesome poems, containing deep insights into our relationships with God. As I said, each service is different.

Occasionally, we take up the offering and give it to whoever might be in great need that week. We have a Mercy Fund to help anyone who has lost their job or having trouble making ends meet in these difficult times. We all share from this Fund, as much as we can.

Our greatest emphasis is on seeking and entering into the Presence of God. And we do feel Him...tangibly. We feel Him touching us with great warmth, power, love. He shows up at each and every gathering. Many people come, just to experience feeling and soaking in His Presence. I even keep alot of comfy pillows & afghans/throws around, so people can lay on the carpeted floor and soak comfortably with Him.

No matter how weary, tense, exhausted or discouraged people are when they walk in the doors, they always leave smiling, lighter, happier and strengthened. They have had a personal encounter with God and He has met their needs. That brings great joy to me.

As pastor, I do not "dominate" the gathering. Rather, I "facilitate" each service. I don't do all the preaching, personal ministry or teaching...we all take turns. It is my function to encourage and help each beleiver to identify their own giftings and callings...and begin to exercise/develop them in a safe, loving environment.

In addition to our Sunday evening prophetic gatherings, we have intercessory prayer on Tuesdays and a support group for men on Thursdays. Again, the emphasis at each gathering is flowing with the Holy Spirit's Presence and being led by Him, rather then by our own empty traditions.

What is "hyper-religiosity?" I know this one because (many decades ago) I was hyper-religious. I attended church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Tuesday, Wed and Fri nights, as well. I talked constantly about the Bible...preached to anyone I could grab...had a life that was totally out of balance, but never realized it. God created us to have a deep and passionate attachment to Him, but also to enjoy our human pleasures: friendships, sports, relaxing & watching a great movie, dining out, recreation, love with our spouses and families. We can be God-centered without becoming hyper-religious. The difference lies in a calm, gentle awareness and enjoyment of His constant presence in whatever we are doing (even sleeping), versus being driven to "perform" religious acts, such as heavy church function attendance (to the detriment of our family time and recreation time), ramming our beliefs down others' throats, etc.

Does that make sense?

To me -- and obviously, to those who support and participate in my ministry -- having religous services in which God is mentioned, taught about or prayed to...but NOT felt or personally experienced...is meaningless, "empty religion." We want to experience him personally, each and every time we come together, or we feel it is time wasted.

As far as boring church traditions, I think my explanation of our own "Book of Acts" gatherings clarifies what we consider "boring." Traditional church services leave me cold. Usually, the Holy Spirit is never invited in or included in the process. Just empty rituals and traditional services which leave souls unchanged, untouched, unhealed. Maybe people attending them feel "better about themselves" for having "attended church," but that is a far cry from the satisfaction and joy we are learning to receive from our more intimate gatherings with Holy Spirit showing up.

Bless you. Hope this helps.

- Ma Strong

January 3, 2010
10:22 pm
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truthBtold
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Wow, thanks for such a well thought out response.

Your process, especially about the part about the throw pillows and relaxed atmosphere and stuff reminds me of a time when I attended an "Artist's Way" class based on the book by Julie Cameron.

No particular agenda perse, just a very open forum and whatever unveiled itself just did.

Sounds cool!

(Though I personally have a problem with the addressing of 'him') - all in all though, it sounds like you allow the opportunity to have whatever needs to unfold - unfold. That's pretty neat.

And if folks leave in a better frame of mind and spirit then when they first came, well you know, can't argue with that!

Thanks again for your response. I appreciate it.

tBt

January 3, 2010
11:42 pm
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StronginHim77
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TBT -

You're welcome. Although, this olde lady did not understand what you meant when you wrote, "...though I personally have a problem with the addressing of 'him'"). Can you explain to me what you meant, so that I understand better?

Thanks,

Ma

January 4, 2010
5:26 am
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CraigCo
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The Bible says "God" is a "he" (him) and some folk simply don't buy into that.

January 4, 2010
10:14 am
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StronginHim77
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God is a Spirit-being and thus has no gender. Perhaps that is why I love the book, THE SHACK, so much, since it beautifully addresses this aspect of the Deity.

- Ma

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