whassup

Resume Posting

I have neglected to post here for quite some time. More than a year. Not going to waste time explaining why. But, I am back. In February of 2011 I left the church where I had served at for 12 years. I them began attending a Calvary Chapel. I taught Evangelism Explosion there for 16 months. One year ago this month my wife and I went into the “wilderness” and stopped attending “church” on a regular basis. We have attended a few churches on and off; of which I will write about in the future.

While I have soured on being involved with church, I am not against “the Church”. I still think it is important to meet regularly with other Christians for worship, communion, Bible Study, and prayer (Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer). Because the current church structure is totally focused on “the pastor” it has become weak and ineffective. Many “church attenders” may find that harsh, but we all know it and feel it. It is a “grieving” of the Holy Spirit (Ephesian 4:30).

How do we break out of this cycle? I am not the only one writing about this now, and it is nothing new. Spurgeon, Tozer, and many more men throughout Church History have had to deal with it. Spurgeon called it the “downgrade”. A.W. Tozer wrote for 13 years in Alliance Life.

http://www.spurgeon.org/downgrd.htm

https://www.cmalliance.org/about/history/tozer

 

Whoops

    Recently this blog had an error that I did not catch. During the process of repairing it all of the posts since June 7th 2013 were deleted. Most of them were from the Cleansing Word or Possessing the Treasure. To retrieve any posts from PTT you can go to the link and retrieve them from his archives http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com/. If you are interested in retrieving the missing posts (Psalm 23-39) for the Cleansing Word you can request them from pastorjohncclv@comcast.net.  I am not planning on re-posting any missing articles. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Taking a Pause

    Since Feb. of 2012 I have been training Matt and Theresa in EE Discipleship Training at Calvary Chapel Lake Villa. It has been a joy and a struggle. The spiritaul warfare that has surrounded the ministry is intense. Because of that I feel the need to take a step back, PRAY, and re-evaluate. Until I get some issues in order and have a more firm prayer life with serious committed prayer partners I feel the need to pause for a moment. Sometimes, because God has been gracious enough to equip me with knowledge on how to share the basic gospel message in a way that people can understand, I can tend to lean on my own strength. This is not the first time I have attempted to start Evangelism Training in a church or organization. Counting the time spent with the LCBA evangelism Booth, this is actually the 5th time in 17 years that I have been involved in an attempt to implement an evangelism training ministry. Because this is not my “first rodeo” I am very sensitive and aware when spiritual warfare begins to get intense. Without going into details I can say that it has gotten intense and that if I do not step back, PRAY, and re-evaluate, some serious damage could happen that I want to avoid. Satan does not want Christians doing evangelism. He especially wants to stop any Evangelism training that equips the saints.  Sometimes it is more prudent to step back and get reinforcements before one advances further.

    I am not going to stop sharing the gospel or handing out gospel tracts. I am merely pausing in doing EE discipleship training on a specific night of the week. I am praying and planning on starting back up in September 2013. I just need a few months to pause. Please pray for me and the direction this training ministry should take in the future.

“I will build my Church”

    In 1877 Bishop Ryle wrote: “The Lord Jesus Christ declares, ‘I will build My Church’….Ministers may preach, and writers may write, but the Lord Jesus Christ alone can build. And except He builds, the work stands still….Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing. But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning. He works by a perfect, unalterable and certain plan.” [J.C. Ryle ‘The True Church’ in Warnings to the Churches, 1877, pp13-14].

 

    Wy don’t churches grow? Why do the churches that do grow seem to get all of their growth from “sheep stealing”? Many modern day evangelical pastors think they are “building the church”, but most often they are merely preaching on Sunday and the people check off their weekly “heaven card” that they “went to church”. Are churches being the Body of Christ? Are they concerned with one another? Do they bear one another’s burdens? After 17 years as a Christian the biggest disappointment that I have had is that the church is not being the Body of Christ.  If the pastor or his family is in any trouble the church will rally and help and everyone will rejoice, but when others are in trouble the church is not there. When we truly “love one another” and not just love the pastor who preaches a Sunday message, then maybe people will take notice.

 

 

 

May 31, 2011

    Today is my 50th birthday. I am working today, as I seem to do on many of my birthdays. One birthday I remember very well; my 25th birthday in 1986. I had been considering taking a motorcycle trip out west. Actually I was going to move back out there, somewhere. I had planned on moving in the fall of 1985, but I crashed my motorcycle and decided to stay one more winter in IL. All spring I made my plans. I gave my car away; a 1967 Impala Supersport with a 327 4 barrel, dual exhaust, slap stick shifter, bucket seats. I loved that car.

    Anyways. After I put my motorcycle back together during the spring and saved some money, I packed my tools, art supplies, portfolio, and favorite clothes onto a Kawasaki 550 and left Mundelein. I didn’t drive too far. I went to Wilmette to visit with my grandparents. My grandma Bear was so excited for me. She loved adventures. My grandpa Bear was glad to see me, and hoped to see me again, since I did not know if I was ever returning. I went to my grandma and grandpa Rengels next. My grandma Rengel made me lunch and I stayed around for a few hours chatting politics with my grandpa and my uncle Tom.

    I finally left and drove south on the tollway and drove to Champaign, IL. Jane Teresi was living there and a friend of hers allowed me to stay the night for a few days before I moved on . . . but that is another story. What I remember about my 25th birthday is heading off on a great summer adventure and spending the day with my grandparents. As I turn 50, all of my grandparents and 2 of my uncles are dead. What adventure will I begin today?

Anniversary 5/5/11

    Happy Anniversary Tina. Today 5/5/11 Tina and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage. Some may ask, “what is the secret to a successful marriage?” For me the answer is found in a scripture I memorized many years ago; Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.” How did Jesus love the church? He sacrificed for the church. He gave His life for the church. Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially. This is not an easy thing to do and I cannot say that I do this on a daily basis, but I try as best as I am able to with God’s guidance by the power of the Spirit. In my own strength I fail.

Holy Week 2011

    This was the best Holy Week since I have been a Christian. Beginning last Saturday 4/16; witnessing at the CCJDC. 4/17 went to Calvary Chapel for worship. They had a great meal afterwards with some good fellowship. Spent the rest of the day at home. 4/18 we had a prayer and worship hour at Calvary Chapel. 4/19 I went to my parents house and then shared the love of Christ at CLC. 4/20 I went to Crossroads Church and spoke to the Evangelism team on how to implement EE and also about doing an evangelism booth at the Lake County Fair. 4/21 I went to men’s “keeping it real” meeting and we had 4 hours of Bible Study and had communion together for the first time. 4/22 I went to Good Friday service at Calvary Chapel. We had worship and shared communion for 2 hours. 4/23 Amanda, Pastor Bob and I went to Gurnee Mills and handed out gospel tracts for 2 hours. I also shared the gospel  with Crystal and Steve. After that Amanda and I went to a sader celebration at Sanctuary Messianic Fellowship. Pastor Steve Barak taught us about Passover for 3 hours. We had great teaching, great food, great worship, and great fellowship. Steve was clearly Spirit filled. what a JOY! 4/24 was Resurrection Sunday at Calvary Chapel. An amazing Spirit filled week focused on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 Samuel 22:2

    1 Samuel 22:2 says, “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him (David), and he became their leader.”

    On Thursday evenings I have been meeting with a group of men for accountability, Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. I have been meeting with them for about 6 weeks. Right now there is about 12 men. I am learning a lot from being with these men. My walk is taking a steep climb. I am so thankful I am not climbing alone.

whassup 3/10/11

    Earlier this week I sent an e-mail to Evangelism Explosion because I wanted to know which churches in the area were doing EE training. I was looking for some Christians who believe as I do that the best way to advance the Kingdom of God is to make disciples through the local church; training them to share their faith while teaching them how to do so. In less than a half hour a received a phone call…AMAZING. The EE Midwest regional director called me and it turned out he lives locally. We had breakfast together this morning and he updated me about the many exciting new training ministries that EE was offering and he greatly encouraged me.

    Since I finished the Henry Blackaby study “Experiencing God” at the end of 2010, I am stunned at the sudden churning and turmoil that God is doing in my life. It is good churning and yet challenging.