The Journey 2008
The Journey 2008 - part 1
Dear friends of the Great Physician, Jesus the Christ,
Gracious and mighty is our God to sustain us in troubled times; and, to send in Jesus Christ the Ark which carries His faithful above the flood.
“Near a crest in the Hill of Difficulty, I saw the road Danger, and I saw my brother on that road, striving toward the woods; and I saw my own helplessness to rescue him. Lord knows, have I ever hurt so deeply ‘til now?”
In the year 2007, this was where we last wrote from the California desert. A year has since passed
From the little (but faithful) Suzuki Swift, at highway speeds I happened to see a large turtle in the road. What is a turtle doing out here in the desert? After a mile more passed, and turning back, we passed by again to see that the turtle had so soon been crushed by traffic, its life gone in an instance of impact. A quick (passionate, thoughtful) response on my part had been lacking, and, how have I become too slow to save?
[II Corinthians 6]
It's true. I have.
It came in me from two planes: First, the festering dissolution for paper life-rings that have been tossed to drowning masses by modern Protestant revivalism (a.k.a., “evangelism”). The second thing that had cooled my heart's beat was the institutional church mantra for putting the organization ahead of the rescue. Being the “Good Samaritan” had been re-organized to require only that we speak softly and leave a trendy self-help book under the shell of the roadside victim as he/she crawls into our accommodation. “Lord, I am undone. Return me to the compassion that leads to sure and selfless action, like Jesus lived.”
If that all didn't pinch enough
the Spirit said something more. House churching has most often supported my apathy. Some of my closest brothers & sisters have helped me 'let the turtle die', in that it's easier to circle wagons around the sofa, as the mind & heart rather settle-in for perpetual moments away from frontline spiritual conflict: real life. Some of my brothers have been suffering in the same dispassion-distraction as I, and so the story goes. Yes, I was willing to lift the turtle after it became too late for me. May God awaken us that we may seek to save.
While we were sojourning desert areas near Death Valley, wildfires burned in southern California. Fire is coming to wood, hay, stubble, and every heart. After the smoke had mostly cleared, we drove on to the San Diego area. The fire is selective. Though no man can explain its will, God knows. A real estate sign in front of a property that had burned to the ground reads: “Lot 9 acres. Well, electricity, pad. $249,000” Would you invest as much for a piece of what remains to be in the fire’s path? Many have, conferring their life & strength to things that will surely be lost to them by fire or thieves.
A large sign along hwy 94 announced: “FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR: My 84-year-old wife with hose and bucket.” What man wouldn’t be delighted for a brave & determined bride? Even Christ. This couple’s home had been lost to the flames, and my prayer for them went up with hope that the man was writing from a hand and heart who had been on-scene to lead in the fight. Traveling through hundreds of miles of burn area left by the Harris fire, Witch Creek & Poomacha fires, I observed that those not scorched had wisely adopted a defensible space. This is when what we treasure does not rest within what will surely burn.
[I Corinthians 3:11-18]
Greg Aldana is a Presbyterian Reverend [resigned] and aerospace engineer [retired]. He had received a vision of many house churches, and began to build with a house church in his home in La Mesa, and at Mark & Diane's in Santee, California. These 2 churches then gradually came apart, while a man’s “radio ministry” quickly grew up from within. Ministry works of God breathe in ekklesia, as the ekklesia will live in/through Jesus Christ. Hands and feet fastened to body, with that body surely attached to the Head. Here in San Diego county, a heavenly connection was broken; the work flounders; the expression of Christ departing, scattered sheep find poison-weed pastures today in the weekly Hollywood production stage of megachurch.
[Acts 15; Matthew 7; John 10]
We attended Journey Church, La Mesa, on Greg’s invite. The people I spoke with manifest hypnosis for a church enterprise that had recently purchased the commercial mall strip where their auditorium, café, offices, classrooms, fellowship halls are nestled. If you come here looking to be set free from the power of sin, that’s a strength not to be found at this vendor venue. What’s available is a selection of mixed treats in humanism with sayings from the Bible: the belief system of pragmatism & perpetual sin for the satisfaction of man. Everyone I talked with spoke of little but the towers, personalities and activities of The Journey Community Church. Even the mention of our Lord’s name did not awaken or detour them!
[II Thessalonians 2:7-12]
Not far from La Mesa, we visited the Ecclesia Collective for a Sunday evening in the South Park district of San Diego. An open Bible reading provoked some roundtable discussion that was to reveal penetration of an idea known as New Realism philosophy: that God exists (for me) only as/where I may perceive Him to be
an inkling that proved to be enough to keep hearts and minds apart. We felt the beginnings of ekklesia at Jason's house. May Father set us free not to again be eating the fruit of our own perceptions. With Yeshua so near, together we go to His promised land.
Along this journey, David Hoopingarner had expressed interest in making his house available for gatherings of the faithful, and I was blessed to have met with him and his friend, Mike, for brunch in Fresno. David had formerly been a pastor, and traveling evangelist with a large denomination. I visited David & Dawn for 3 days with hope they may receive the word of my testimony concerning Jesus Christ and the new life He brings, but they could not receive this word. A once-per-week “church service” was what they were then able to receive.
Such a nasty ruse, the Devil has done, to depict the church as a weekly meeting, demand and infringement upon our own. But, authentic faith/trust in Jesus Christ brings us into Christ’s family, where we can be loved and cared for beyond measure. Father’s house: it doesn’t hold wood, brick, steeple, pulpit or pew. It does have everything you and I will need for life and godliness in Jesus Christ our Lord. There lives the Son.
[I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Galatians 2:20]
Chrystal has now traveled for works of service in Portland, Oregon (USA). For me, the next leg of this Journey is with bicycle. Today, cycling southward, with the addition of a cell phone [346-707-4757] since the Journey North to Oregon in 2001. Please pray that my way will be pleasing to God, effectual in His love. For the love of many has grown cold.
Our brothers & sisters everywhere desire to hear of your welfare, prayer petition, and for how we may further serve our Lord in preferring one another.
Thank you for your prayers in the Journey,
Grace & Peace be yours,
on-line: A few years back, development began for ScriptureText: a free Bible & patristic search software tool for Windows. It’s is now available for download at:
on-line: Water2Fire has now opened at http://water2fire.worthyhouse.info
change of e-mail address
Q. What is “worthyhouse.info”?
A. The WorthyHouse name is drawn from Matthew 10:11-20. Worthyhouse.info website is primarily a resource of reminders & helps. It’s not a separate entity or organization, and the site is far, far from complete for all that the Bride & Bridegroom may be blessed. May they ever be blessed! Amen.
See you soon? The Lord is risen!
The Journey 2008 - part 2
You have been praying for us through a year, as we give thanks for you. Now it is time again to tell of the good works and revelation from our dearest, greatest Father, through His First: Messiah, in/by whose spirit we live. We also journey with you.
[Acts 14:27; 15:3-4]
With a flat bicycle tire on California’s I-5 “Grapevine”, the Twelve Tribes community from Vista sent a car to pick me up (340 miles round trip, no hesitation): and so began 10 weeks among a people who are not afraid to love one another.
Their turn began about thirty-five years ago, when Gene Spriggs escorted a church youth group out of going to church. Their witness to the church closed for sake of a football game was enough apparent to set them on quest to be the church, in love, and not like the world loves. And, the thing they asked me to do, should I come to remain among them for long, was simply to renounce you -- yes, just to agree with them that you do not know Love. They even badgered me a bit for this, from time to time: “Marshall, where are these people you know who love God? Where are your friends that have laid down their lives for one another?” I watched them take in a single mother with six young children. They will care for all seven through the rest of their lives. How about you and me? The God of Abraham cares for widows and orphans: we will do likewise, if we know Him. Or, would you rather postpone answering at the Door until you’ve lost everything vis-à-vis a queasy culture, failed economy, and into a day of judgment?
The people with Twelve Tribes demonstrated a daily interest in each other’s welfare, provided me with plenty of work to be done, talked to me about real problems in my heart and mind, invited me into their homes before they even met me. Traveling across the contiguous US states over 3 years, visiting more than a hundred recommended houses: I largely met individuals who took a determined interest in their own affairs, seldom provided me substantial work for my hands, sometimes talked to me about the things in me that tended to upset their own paradigm. What, then, when the Master comes?
[Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 18:7-14]
Jesus, when He visits your house
“He’s homeless? He says that He is working, but He doesn’t have a paycheck to show for it. Why does He want to stay at our house? The Father sent Him for what? He speaks like a prophet, and He obviously does not accept the way we live. Who are these friends of His? What is He planning to do to better himself and pay His own way?”
Yet, the Twelve Tribes Commonwealth still lack the power to walk in Ya’shua. Why is that power not with them? It has been withheld from them because of their divided hearts on their hypocrisy. It has left them to the building of crosses for each other, instead of faithfully taking up their own. Why does this sound familiar? It does. Many house churches, organic churches, simple churches, missional churches & communities, et.al., are running on empty amid latent hypocrisy; sputtering along to love and good deeds, failing to do many of the things that they would teach themselves. Not that anyone truly hopes to hesitate or limp along with Christ in this way
Are you of one mind? Is their anything about Jesus that would not want?
[Romans 12:9; James 1:22-24; II Peter 1:10-13]
While in North San Diego county, I was blessed with 4 new friends each to visit from Rose Creek Village (Selmer, Tennessee, USA) and Church Communities International (Rifton, New York, USA). These are just two of many groups with the desire from above to complete the desire of Jesus Christ (as from John 17) while clinging tightly to one or another security blanket. One of these swathes popular would be formal membership and the new catechism. Odd, how we may be inclined to re-invent what has already been brutally tried and failed by those who have already lived before God and us.
[Colossians 2:20-23; II Timothy 4:1-5]
In my haste to complete work on Charis RSS [http://worthyhouse.info/charisrss.html], I had neglected moderation, and for the third time suffered a herniated disc with sciatica. Peter Hoover took me in and helped me toward healing. Joy to daily be with a brother whose heart from God is sincere to help. Thanks be to God, (with a cane,) I was soon able to cook & clean, and to visit the Presbyterian church with which he has been associated. Yet, my back injury persisted through returning to Fresno, California:
It was good to see Bob & Dawn Wallace again, since visiting them during 2005. There is today a fledgling house church in Fresno which, from house-to-house, sometimes gathers at Bob & Dawn’s. While with the Wallace’s in Coarsegold, I was struck with a sudden fever, and, when I awoke as the fever broke, the failed disc in my back had been healed! I thanked them for prayers offered on my behalf, giving thanks to God through His Great Physician for mercy shown me. The ekklesia in Fresno will no doubt face many challenges and growing pains in the days to come. Remember them in prayer, as we.
[Exodus 15:26; II Corinthians 13:9]
From Fresno, along the Journey path north to Bandon & Myrtle Point, Oregon. Mid-way, Chrystal arrived as we were to return to Portland together, rejoicing in all the things God has done. Six months news of stirring in the Portland-Seattle area served encouragement as the Spirit brought me to Stan Avery’s ministry house. Stan, a plumber by trade and former member of the Jim Roberts group (a.k.a. “The Brethren”), has worked to form “Unreached Villages” in effort to bring Good News to other lands.
In Portland, a gathering called “The Church of The Servant King”. There would be no neglect of praise & thanksgiving to God, as we gathered first in one house, and then to another home for an agape meal together. Mike shared how this ekklesia grew from fellowship in Eugene, Oregon; and another in Gardena, California. In Gardena, brothers had been awakened by the Spirit to “be the church”. Hilda, Mike’s wife, told me how they do not consider themselves to be a “house church”. Yes, the meanderings and failures within modern “house church” as a movement has trailed some stigma. Although The Church of The Servant King has no program for the construction or acquisition of a worship building, a few institutional-religious stains cling to them today (i.e., tithing, structured ekklesia...).
The common thread to caveat is that “Servant King”, 12 Tribes, Rose Creek Village, CCI, the ekklesia in Fresno, and the former Jim Roberts adherents we met, all share one ugly thing: disunion with one another. An Enemy has done this. We remain on-guard against his all-out effort to foster and maintain devices that divide. It’s why I have been writing and with telephone pestering after some of you to visit with ekklesia who gathering nearby to you. Know the brothers, both near and far, as Father may permit.
Coming back around to Charis (from Greek: meaning “grace” or “benefit”)
“RSS” is a way of having information come to you, rather than having to fetch or browse for it along the internet. During September-October of 2008, Charis RSS was brought on-line to help Prayer Warriers and small ekklesia (house/simple/small churches; communities). Rather than fill this letter with all it’s about, here’s a simple way to check it out.
CAUTION: the following may prompt you to more fully engage the weapons of our warfare.
here’s where you create Charis for your house:
May the Name and grace of the Lamb of God be your full portion,
we may be contacted by telephone at [USA] 346-707-4757
continue to The Journey 2009-2011