Practicing is not Pretending

fact-vs-truth

Everyone fails, and everyone is challenged in this life, but it is so important to not allow these things to speak to us about who we are. We must be very careful who gets to tell us who and what we are!

Following Jesus is, in a very real way, a decision to let God, alone, tell who we really are. And what does he say about those of us who have chosen to follow Christ? “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners” Romans 4:5. God says we are beautiful because we trust in him, not because of what we do.

This does not conflict with the challenge of 1 John calling us to practice our righteousness. I have written quite a bit about the difference between pretending to be something you are not, and practicing something that you are. Once we give up our own life, and choose to follow him, to obey him, at all costs, then he literally gives us a new nature–we are truly born again into a “start over” person in God. So now, rather than pretending to be better than we are, we are taught by the Scriptures, and we encourage one another, to simply practice our true nature which is in agreement with God’s heart. Practicing let’s our true nature out!

My son will get up early in the morning and practice cross-country running. He will not pretend to run, because he really can run. He will practice what he knows how to do, and become even better at his gift at running. He will, however, have to choose to let his gift out by the will to practice. Why don’t we get up tomorrow and rather than trying to be good at reading God’s word, or praying, or loving on our family, why don’t we simply practice what we are already gifted to do … and get even better at it!?

If you love this kind of conversation then you have to sign up for my email connection so I can send you content perfectly sized to your interest.

Sincerely,

Ben Pasley


Three Reasons For Family Reunions


worshipat8500header

I had a thought today as I was thinking about you coming to Worship@8500 this year. I love the idea of us all coming together for a time of retreat and healing this summer in the mountains of Colorado, but that excitement is built on a much bigger idea. It is the idea of the family reunion.

Now, in the past we have even held spiritual family gatherings with our comrades–that were just like family reunions–because we value our relationships so much. This year’s Worship@8500 is not designed to be a reunion for our old comrades, however, but to welcome new friends we have never met! We want to open our hearts up to new people we have never met before! That could be you? So, remember, this year’s retreat is focused on being a time of refreshing, healing, and relationship building for anyone who senses the Lord leading them to come. We are ready for you to get registered and come join us.

With that in mind, however, let me return to this wonderful idea that excites about hosting gatherings. This enthusiasm comes from the heart for family, and God our Father has put it in us. Here are three reasons why family reunions are amazing:

1. You get to see yourself as part of something bigger.

Everyone needs a moment to realize that they are not the center of the universe. This is important when things are going great, and when things are personally terrible. Paul affirms it this way in Ephesians 3:14-15 , “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Our new name has joined at the bloodline level with some great folks that we have yet to meet. Let’s find new ways to meet together, and meet new believers who can challenge and equip us!

2. Learn to share affection for those who are not like you.

Colossians 3:12-15 encourages: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (NLT) Part of growing up is learning to live at peace with our blood relatives, even if we don’t agree on everything.

3. Take a deeper look both backward and forward at your lineage.

Have you read the first chapter Matthew lately? It is an amazing revelation of God’s commitment to our family line. We have folks who have sown into us and built us into who we are today, and we have those God is calling us to pour ourselves into. When we see this through a family lens, rather than an organizational lens, our whole view of the importance of our lives and time together can be radically transformed!

Do you have idea about the family reunion idea? Post them in the comments!

TWO FOR ONE DEAL ALL MONTH!

Oh, I almost forgot: This is March Madness at www.entertheworshipcircle.com for all our music on CD! We are offering a buy one get another of the same CD for free deal all this month. So come over, buy a CD, and let me send you one for free all month. No limit, no restrictions, feel the love! Feel free to share this email with your friends! Subscribe to my email stream to get even better deals, and I have an avalanche of free stuff to share with every new subscriber!


Aaron Strumpel’s New Album!

Bright_Star_Aaron-StrumpelMy good friend, Aaron Strumpel, has just released his latest album, and I think its one of his best. It is called Bright Star. 

You might remember Aaron from the amazing simplicity of Chair and Microphone, Vol. 2 or from the rambunctious Fourth Circle. This new albums contains some covers from his previous albums brought together here under one musical atmosphere. So, I like this because some of the tame acoustic songs are taking on new energy in this production, and some of the wild experimental stuff is colored a bit simpler here. I think this is one of my favorite Strumpel-creations!

The video that he released of the song Coming After You is just sublime. It captures the gentle depth of this recording, so go watch it now and leave Aaron some of your kind thoughts.

Super Bonus!

If you are reading this post online, and would love to receive a free MP3 song from Aaron’s brand new album, a free higher-res JPG version of the poster/desktop picture above, and his official press release on PDF then just subscribe to my special email stream! I send free stuff to my email subscribers all the time!

Ding! Reminder! Don’t forget to register for this summer’s Worship@8500 retreat. It is all about refreshing the basics in our love relationship with God, so we invite you to come!

And, oh yeah, for you folks local to Colorado Springs: join us next Friday night, February 20th at 6:30 for a night of worship and encounter.


Do you like Free Stuff?

I-heart-Free-StuffOf course you love free stuff … at least if it’s quality stuff! I want to express my thankfulness for those of you who have taken the time to post reviews of my books or my albums at important online venues. The time you took to post a personal note on how one of my creative resources helped you, challenged you, or even disappointed you (the only thing worse than being reviewed poorly is never being reviewed at all) is of extreme value to me. I am such a small fish in an ocean of voices. Thanks for lifting me up!

So, to say thanks, I want to send you something free from my catalog at either BenPasley.com or EnterTheWorshipCircle.com. You can choose the single item, physical or digital, from either store! Simply send me an email to me at ben @ benpasley.com with a link to your new, or old, review, and then specify the free product you would enjoy as a thank you gift! Please include your physical address (offer only good in the USA) if you want a physical product, and I will have a ton of fun shipping out your thank you gift or sending you the download link!

If you have been wanting to review some of my works here are some great links:

Amazon for my Books or my Music (EWC, 100 Portraits, or Ben Pasley)
iTunes for my Books and Music (EWC, 100 Portraits or Ben Pasley)
My own website for my Books or my Music

Sincerely thankful,

Ben Pasley

P.S. Congratulations to the 5 people who won! out of 423 entries, in my Elementary Goodreads Giveaway! I am sending out the free books today!


You’re Invited to Worship@8500   Recently updated !

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Friends far and wide! Whether you’re curious about Jesus or whether you’ve been walking with him for a lifetime, Worship@8500 is a time for you to retreat from the demands and distractions of daily life into a space of rest, rejuvenation, and worship. The retreat is June 25-28, 2015.

The beautiful and historic Bear Trap Ranch is 30 minutes West of Colorado Springs, CO, but feels truly remote–a place for peace, laughter, memory-making, and adventure. Space is limited so reserve your space now.

Our local teaching and ministry team will be on hand for both personal interaction and encouragement, as well leadership in worship, teaching, and healing. This year we are specifically focused on the simplest steps in receiving the love of God, and falling in love with him again. Through teaching times focused around intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, guided individual prayer and response times, the opportunity for prophetic counsel and prayer ministry, and, of course, three amazing nights of worship and celebration, Worship@8500 may just be one of the pivotal weekends of your life.


Elementary Book Giveaway

Elementary_Cover_850_300I am offering 5 free Elementary books in a special Giveaway through Goodreads! I am new to Goodreads as an active author, but I thought it would be nice to make friends in that community, and to invite you to join me there by offering this special free giveaway. Simply visit the link below and sign up! Invite your friends, forward this email. Goodreads decides the winners and then I ship the books!

Elementary is my latest work, and is a very encouraging read through some of the most basic teachings of the leaders of the early Church, the apostles, and launches from the amazing passage in Hebrews 6 on the elementary teachings for every believer.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Elementary by Ben Pasley

Elementary

by Ben Pasley

Giveaway ends January 19, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Go Wild With Your Money   Recently updated !

Ben and Robin, Zane and Xander, Pasley

Ben and Robin, Zane and Xander, Pasley

Invite you to go wild with your money this year! Well, at least wild in the arena of giving. There are not many places where we can express our love for God, our trust in his heart for us, and our absolute agreement with the Kingdom of God like we can with our money. It’s the first of the year and a perfect time to consider how we will sow into beautiful, eternal things over the coming months.

First, let me invite you to consider sowing into those who love you and care for your spiritual lives. I have written many articles on the joy of tithing and giving as a way to honor those who pastor us, disciple us, and care for our souls. This shepherding treasure might be one or two people, it might be a group, and sometimes it seems like it is our whole community. However you discern your resources for spiritual leadership, please consider tithing to them this year to honor them. Here is a link to a deeper discussion on that encouragement, and all the amazing promises of God to pour out abundance on us as we put our trust in him.

Secondly, and in full view of my first challenge, I would invite you to consider giving to me this year. If Robin or I have been a resource for you, if we have helped your discipleship, or built you in Christ, and you would like to honor us in some way, then please consider giving monthly to help us over 2015. We need your help. Even a single offering of thanks can go a long way to help us make beautiful things that carry the Gospel message, to equip and train others, and to share the Good News of the Kingdom in new, and people-centric ways. Go to the bottom of this page at my website and you will find it very easy to plan your tax-deductible giving. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ben Pasley


Need Help with Discipleship?   Recently updated !

Renewed SensesFriends, I know many of you are looking for a way to go deeper with God this year. Many of you would like to build deeper relationships with your friends and learn to follow Jesus together. I invite you to consider a season of Kingdom IQ learning. Last year I organized a season of learning for my friends that took us through about 5 months of weekly readings and conversations. We met at least monthly for round table discussions, but you could meet weekly around coffee and snacks to discuss what God is teaching you through each Learning Guide. This is all you would need to do, based on how we developed the materials to have rich discussion questions and learning activities, to host a season of raising your community’s Kingdom IQ over the next few months. Why not start in January?

Think of it this way: there are three important stages to growing into the people of God, the Church, that we are destined to become. First, we must embrace who we are in God’s love. This is basis of the Kingdom IQ learning season. Secondly, we must imagine ourselves coming together as a community of faith and becoming the ordered household of God. This is previewed in the Kingdom IQ season but might be discovered in the video series from the Soma resources. Here is a single video intro from them. Finally, we need a deepening of leadership qualities and skills so our pioneering and caregiving teams continue to help us multiply what we have received from God. This will be best be discovered in personal mentorship with the addition of training tools like the Antioch School. Now, back to my point: some of you need to begin with laying the foundation of God’s love in your lives and going deeper into your amazing, new, beautiful identity in Christ. It is an impossible proposal for the immature and the uninspired to imagine a better Church life if God’s love has not been lain into the foundations of our hearts. Why not start Kingdom IQ with a few of your friends in January?

Simply go to this page to view the entire season of Learning Guides. Most of them have podcast audio files attached where you can hear us talking about the content as well. Most all of them have challenging questions and discussion starters that will help you learn. They are not too long, and can easily be accomplished, sometimes two per week, in order to complete a season of learning together. Contact me if you have any questions. Oh, yes, I almost forgot: it is totally free.

(Short footnote: Those 8 of you who were signed up for the Kingdom IQ email stream, but not the Leadership stream were just added to my new combo stream, simply, Ben Pasley. During the Kingdom IQ season in 2014 we needed two streams for two different kinds of posts, but we don’t anymore. Enjoy the single feed from Ben Pasley containing helps, articles, encouragements, my creative works, etc., and unsubscribe anytime. Thanks!)


Merry Christmas

On the eve of the Eve, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I pray that every dinner with family, every game night with friends, and every warm beverage you share with those you love will unfold to you like a gift from heaven. Advent is the season of waiting, and now we are arriving, so quickly, at the birthday celebration of our Lord, so it is time to make ready the celebrations! Put down the working, and put away the worries. It is time to tuck into the relationships that God has given you this year, and enjoy the surroundings of care and love you have received. Christ will come even more this next year, my friends, so even if this last one seemed lean, hold on, next year is coming. So while I am wishing you the best for Christmas, I will also pray the very best for the New Year. I treasure our connection, and I hope to find new ways to encourage you in 2015.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Ben Pasley


New Christmas EP by Karla Adolphe

tumblr_inline_nfw4e5EOOM1ryd8ahI am so excited to recommend the smooth, intoxicating voice of Karla Adolphe on her new Christmas EP called Lingering. It is available from her website for a special price, and is easy to download, and right here on iTunes as well. She sings some wonderful Christmas standards in some fresh arrangements, that I think are perfect for a quiet evening by the fire, or a morning meditation for Advent. She is one of my all time favorite artists, and beautiful human beings, so please become a fan!

My friends, Tim and Laurie, have been reminding me that Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting, itself, may be a spiritual discipline after all. What is fasting, but the difficult art of waiting for a physical need to come later? The very act of telling an earthly thing, “No,” somehow makes room for heavenly things to take root in our lives. As we all wait for Christ to be born in Bethlehem so we can celebrate the invading power of God’s love, let’s find a way to practice the fine art of waiting. During Advent we can choose to by tell something from this world, “No,” and enjoy what Christians have practiced for centuries during this season: making a heavenly gift a chief longing. It may require some Lingering in his presence!


CyberWeek Half Price Deals!   Recently updated !

cyber As soon as we posted last week’s sale on CD’s we realized that we needed to offer special deals on digital music at Enter The Worship Circle as well! So here is the deal, and it lasts all week!

  • Get 50% off of all Worship Circle MP3 albums with the coupon code cyberweek
  • Superbonus! Follow the instructions in the cart and get a free CD shipped to you as well!

Place as many of our high quality MP3 albums in your cart as you want (these are 160K MP3 files in a ZIP file that contains never published artwork), and get all of them for half off! These can be added to any music collection on a Mac or PC by just dragging them into iTunes, for instance. It’s a great time to buy some music and share as Christmas gifts!


Elementary 2   Recently updated !

Elementary_Cover_850_300I am very excited to introduce you to my latest book entitled ElementaryAlthough you can read the first several chapters for free at most of the ebook vendors on the web, I thought the last chapter was a better way to introduce you to the content. This chapter reveals the inspiration for the book, and even the final intent of the book as well. Please enjoy closing chapter, and if it piques your interest be sure to order your copy today!

 

AFTERWORD

On a personal note, I thought it would be kind to explain that everything I have written in this short book is not yet a comfortable fit in my personal wardrobe, either. I have written on what I believe to be a few of the most clear teachings in the Scripture, but it is difficult for me to wrap some of them around my life as well. What I have not meant to imply is that I expect every believer who reads these teachings to jump to attention, agree with me on every point, and immediately practice every challenge I have made. That would be hypocritical of me, since I am making awkward progress on some of them myself. That being said, I do expect something from you. It is the same thing I expect from myself, so this is a respectful expectation.

I expect you to lean.

When I know that God is challenging me in a new direction the least I can do is lean toward it. I may not understand why he is dealing with me in a certain way. I may not know exactly where this new direction will lead me, but if I know that God is leading then I can at least lean toward his leadership to practice my trust in him. Leaning is the process of shifting our weight in the direction we intend to go. My sons jump on the trampoline all the time—I mean, all the time. Their obsession has taught them a lot of things about balance and direction that I may otherwise have never known. One thing they have shown me is that wherever you point your head is the direction your body will want to go. So, to perform a front flip they jump, tuck their head in toward their belly buttons, and, amazingly, they land the front flip! They have also figured out that when jumping really high on the trampoline, the slightest tilt of their head can take them on a brand new course, so they choose to be carefully aware of their posture at all times.

I am expecting that each of us will tilt our heads toward the teachings from Hebrews 6. Right thinking leads to right action, so even the slightest motion we make with our heads toward the elementary teachings of the Kingdom can bring about significant change in our direction with God. I am expecting each of us to lean toward the most simple foundations in following Jesus. I believe that if we do this, that we will begin to move with God toward the dreams he has for all of us. Whether we understand everything perfectly or not, I believe we still must lean. Even if we can’t predict every implication of these simple teachings, I still believe we should lean toward them, and then allow our lives to follow.

I can also say, to encourage you, that I have faced these lessons in very practical and difficult ways in my own life. My first draft of this book had tons of examples from my own life and of people I know as we attempted to embrace or deflect the weight of these teachings. I removed them to make the book speed along faster, and to avoid narrowing each teaching’s application to a single example from my experience. I decided to fly over the teachings with a bit more altitude so you could get the broadest view possible in such a short book, and understand how broadly they can be applied to everyday life. I relay this to you so you understand that, for me, this is not a philosophical work cooked up in an academic research room. These struggles have been on display in the arena of my life, and in some cases the arena, as it were, also contained lions and gladiators.

I still remember where I was the first time I was challenged to forgive God for disappointing me. I remember that it felt almost sinful to consider such a thing, but I did it anyway because I knew I wanted to restore a trust in the goodness of God’s heart. I was learning to place my faith in God, and it was hard. I can also remember the first time someone asked me if I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and how the feelings that came up in me could only be described as rage. I had cultivated an extreme kind of self-defense around the idea of truth as a young believer, and challenges to my theological rightness felt like an attack on the core of my safety in God. The instructions about baptisms caused me some serious difficulty, at much deeper levels than arguing about whether to sprinkle or immerse. I can also remember the first time I entertained the company of Church leadership who did not wear their denominational affiliations as the brightest part of the name badge on their lapel. This made me feel very, very suspicious, because membership in an established religious institution seemed to be required at the very ground level of legitimacy in my Christian world-view. Receiving the Kingdom way of the laying on of hands was not natural to me at all. I also remember the first time I tried to explain to my own father what I had been learning at college about the mythologies in the Old Testament, and how we had to get past the literal part of the stories so we could discover what God was really trying to say. As I repeated what I had been hearing in my Religious degree program, I felt a kind of odd shame come over me as my father couldn’t control his look of disbelief in what I was saying. It took quite a while for me to regain a sense of intellectual confidence in the Scriptures after that season of collegiate “learning.” Choosing to trust God at his Word has been very a long, difficult process for me. I cited all these things from my life to show that neither my Christian tradition, nor my personal practice, have always been in line with the elementary teachings from Hebrews 6. Changing your mind, no, let me correct that, changing my mind is a very difficult thing to do. I have taken many years to lean toward agreement in these simple teachings we have been reading together, and I am still choosing to lean in today.

I first met Bob Terrell back around 1990, or so, and it was his team of leaders that first handed me written teachings on this passage of Scripture from Hebrews. I still have it today. It is a crude photocopied set of paper stapled in the upper left hand corner. Though written previously, it was compiled by Renee Brown for a pastor’s training conference on March 3, 1992, and it was entitled the Foundation Series. I rediscovered it in the spring of this year, shoved deep inside a file cabinet drawer. I found it because of a recent conversation I had with Doug Roberts who was part of that team of teachers and prophetic ministers I met along with Bro. Bob, as everyone called him, back in the early 90’s. I was telling Doug about how disappointing it was to watch some of my closer comrades collapse under pressure in their spiritual lives. I had been watching a strange assortment of issues rise up and become divisive in relationships with people I knew very closely. I had witnessed, in recent days, people being offended at the commissioning of healthy leadership, because the very idea of Christian leadership had offended them. I had seen people cling to license, like the permission to use recreational drugs, instead of holding on to their faith in God, and the family of faith around them. I had seen people become engrossed in New Age experiments, and self-guided paths to leadership positions, with no respect for the relational foundations of the Church. In moments where the Kingdom process and the Biblical solution would have led to peace and family health, instead there was a devolution into fear, name-calling, and isolation. These situations, among others, really had me off balance. It was a harsh education to see how quickly people can fragment under pressure, and it shocked me more because I knew these folks, personally. What was even more difficult was hearing how justified they were in every decision. They were all extremely confident that their judgments were righteous.

When I relayed these instances to Doug, he shared some of his experiences and insights with me. At one point he said, “Ben, a lot of the time when I have seen people failing under pressure it is because they didn’t have a strong foundation. You might need to ask God if you have failed to lay the basic foundations of Christ in the people around you, because it sounds like this may be what God is trying to show you.” When I hung up the phone I began to write on the blackboard in my office and process aloud in prayer. I wrote out the things that I thought were basic foundational teachings, and I was asking the Holy Spirit to show me which ones I may have neglected to encourage in the lives of the precious people I watch over. As I was writing I had a eureka moment as Hebrews 6 came to mind, and I began to consider each of those elementary teachings. I began to consider whether or not I had placed them as foundation stones in my sphere of influence. That’s when I remembered the old resource file of teachings I had saved from my earliest experience with Bro. Bob and Foundation Ministries. When I finally found the old, photocopied and stapled-up teaching sets, I couldn’t believe how much time they spent teaching from Hebrews 6:1-3, and how important each of their Scripture notes were in my own process. My mind was coming alive to the elementary things of the Gospel again, and I began to repent for having neglected to teach the more fundamental things to those I love.

It’s true, I had been to tossing around some of the bigger ideas of Kingdom living like: sonship, kingdom, community, grace, etc., with many of my friends, and we had become quite good at it, but these ideas did not build the strength we all really needed. It was not because these higher ideas were not excellent in the Kingdom of God, it was because we didn’t have the simpler foundation stones underneath them all, and so, we were not understanding their true Kingdom meaning. To be clear, it was not the mistakes in judgment other people might have made that broke my heart, it was their willingness to devalue their relationships in order to hold to their opinions. People make mistakes all the time, and people have disagreements, but it is a flaw in a person’s foundation that would lead them to diminish their family connections as the result. As a family of believers we must always choose to build our relationships on better things like honor, trust, and commitment instead of agreement, permission, and endorsement. We must choose the values that are more valuable to the Kingdom family’s health over other self-preserving values. But, we will not have the courage to make this choice if our lives are not built on a strong foundation. When there is weakness in our foundations with Christ, I have now learned, relational challenges and difficult situations will send us running toward our old instincts for self-preservation and self-protection.

I am sure that my wife and I don’t agree about everything, but we are still deeply in love, and we are still married after twenty years of disagreements! This is because we have placed the values of honor, trust, and commitment higher than other values in order to prefer one another. My understanding of the relational nature of the Kingdom has become so deeply embedded in me over the years that the very thought of a single disagreement causing a major relational rift just shocks me. It shocked me each time I watched it happen, and it threw me way off balance in my self-view, and my view of others as well. I slowly, through suffering, came to the realization that it was my neglect of these foundational things from Hebrews 6 that had set me up for these relational surprises. This harsh education showed me that I could never assume that because I see these Kingdom foundations in my own imagination, that anyone else in my influence would see them the same way—even if we had spent a lot of time together. This is why Paul told Timothy, “Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear” (1 Timothy 4:1-3). He didn’t tell Timothy to just “hang out with people a lot, and eventually they will get it.” He was telling him to relay good teaching, just like the teachings from Hebrews 6:1-3, and to make sure that it was his serious work! I have failed to make these teachings my serious work, and it has cost me dearly. I repent.

In the Kingdom seeking to serve is always better than seeking to lead. Maintaining a healthy position and a good posture with those we influence is so important. It is a privilege to serve others, and a treasure to build strong relationships with the people of God. I hope to never assume anymore on those I love, and I am working to make more honest relational contracts. I want to live in a way that others can quote this Scripture as they think of me, “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13). I don’t mind telling you that I deeply desire to live at peace with those I influence. I am choosing to work much harder at teaching the elementary things of the Kingdom to those I love, because I think it will help us all live in peace together. Peter felt the same way for every believer, especially leaders, to be kind and respectful to one another, and to learn how to challenge and help each other with humility and grace:

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for

“God opposes the proud

but favors the humble.”

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. (1 Peter 5:1–6).

Would you choose, along with me, to embrace these elementary Kingdom teachings? We could all be transformed toward strength and confidence if these elementary things of the Kingdom were to become the foundation stones of our lives. If you influence anyone, I mean anyone, would you please share each of these teachings with them as well? If we don’t cross these bridges early with those we love, then we are bound to end up in a terrible mix of weakness and misunderstanding. If we want to learn how to grow life-long relationships of depth with our believing comrades, we must circle up around these elementary things, and hold fast to their strength. This book was not designed to be theoretical. This book was designed to teach Kingdom-family principles so we might build more healthy relationships with God and with one another. Relationships of depth are, after all, the most important things in this life, and in the life to come!

So, come along with me. Let’s practice Kingdom culture together now, and watch the Father’s good heart being poured out all around us! Let’s become proficient at the simple things the Father loves, since we will be doing these things, together, for the rest of our eternal lives. For today, at a minimum, let’s all choose to at least lean.

Jesus asks us to follow him. Many say that a journey begins with the first step. I say that the journey begins, first, with a lean. We must shift our weight toward the direction we intend to go before we can even take the first step. Jesus’ steps are simple and deep, and we can lean in his direction right now. I believe in you. You can do this. With a simple, childlike trust we can all go on to great things with God, one step at a time. I believe, with all my heart, that if we commit ourselves to the simplest steps in the culture of the Kingdom, our lives, our Church, and our whole community of faith will become more beautiful than we have ever imagined. The transformation will begin in our own lives, and then it will ripple onto the shores of the lives all around us. If you have been holding back on your decision to follow Jesus, I sincerely hope this book has painted a picture so clear, and so wonderful for you, that you know it is time to say, “Yes,” to him. If you have been uncertain about whether you could trust God with your whole life, and build your whole life on his basic requirements, I hope this book has given you the encouraging nudge that you have needed to tell God, “I agree with you.” It is time for everyone to say “Yes,” to God, and live life leaning toward agreement with him.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

*Excerpted from Ben Pasley’s latest book, Elementary, for sale in paperback and ebook form wherever fine books are sold! Want to read a bit more?


My New Book ELEMENTARY is Released!

Elementary_Cover_850_300Dear friends of the Worship Circle. I want to invite you to read my latest book entitled Elementary: Following Jesus Strong and Simple. It is for sale at my personal webstore, and at places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.

I have written it to do just what the title says, I want to help you follows Jesus, strong and simple. There are many voices speaking to us today that make following God complicated, and sometimes confusing. Jesus told us the Kingdom belonged to those who trusted God like little children, and my hope is that this book will help us all get back to the childlike basics of following Jesus.

The apostles, Paul, Peter and James, especially, had really keyed in a few super-fundamental teachings that every believer should be confident in. They would have referred them as the elementary things of following Christ. In Hebrews 6:1-3 we have an amazing outline of these teachings, and I want to go over each one with you. This book is easy to read, and positive in its tone. This book is perfect for both new believers, as well as folks who lead others in Church-community life.

Do you sometimes get a little lost when people start stringing together sentences with the words Kingdom, sonship, grace, community, justice, and ministry? I know I do. I am not sure that everyone is talking about the same things. I think our definitions have gotten spread out over many different opinions. Wouldn’t it be nice to clean these words up, and clear our heads to see the beauty in each of these popular teachings? This book will definitely help. This book focuses on the elementary building blocks that we must put together in order to make sense of things like the Kingdom of God, or God’s grace toward us.

Some of you have listened to Worship Circle music for many years, and you are still digging into the content of our songs. This book will answer many of your questions like: “Why did he say that?” “What are they singing about?” “Where did they learn that idea?” Books are a way that I can offer a much deeper discussion about my walk with Jesus, and invite you, the worshiping friends we have made, into that conversation. Would you join me in this read? It is available wherever fine paperbacks and ebooks are sold, but visit this link for even faster connections.


Elementary, Released Today!

Elementary_Cover_850_300Hi, friends, I am so excited to announce that my latest book released today, November 20th, 2014. It is titled, Elementary: Following Jesus Strong and Simple. It is a very important book to me, and it is very personal. I have written on some themes because I considered them globally important, like sonship and the Kingdom, for instance. They are, indeed, important, but I over the last year I have had some serious questions come into my own mind about whether they were written in an orderly manner. What I mean to say is that some things are important, but some things must be first. 

Over the past year I have watched several comrades and relational connections really suffer with unbelief, relational break downs, and fixating on earthly solutions for heavenly problems.  All of these folks knew how to use “sonship” and “Kingdom” in a sentence, but many of them seemed to lack a clear understanding of their implications. The Holy Spirit lead me to ask myself, “Have you failed to lay the basic foundations in the lives of those you love?” I asked it because without understanding the most simple things of the apostle’s teachings, the grand and beautiful concepts of the eternal Kingdom, for instance, can be warped into all kinds of unhealthy notions. I believe, that in my sphere of influence, that I have been guilty of teaching important things, but getting them out of order. I apologize. I repent.

In Hebrews 6 Paul outlines what for him, and for his apostolic comrades, were the most simple, the most foundational, the most elementary teachings for every Christian. To excerpt the cream-center of Hebrews 6:1-3 so you can see these teachings–I have italicized for emphasis:

the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds 

and placing our faith in God.

You don’t need further instruction about baptisms,

the laying on of hands,

the resurrection of the dead,

and eternal judgment.

So simple, these teachings, appear on the surface, that many of us would just assume we have them covered. I don’t think we do. My new book, Elementary takes these 6 obvious teachings, adds “the basic teachings about Christ” from verse 1, and “trusting God’s Word” to compliment the teaching on putting our trust in God, and dives deep into each one. You might be surprised at how challenging such a simple set of teachings can be. Each one, if received into our lives, will affect our ideas on sonship, grace, justice, community, and the Kingdom all the way to the core of our understanding! These are not just ideas for people who first come to Christ, no, Paul treats them as so fundamental that everyone should know them and walk in them with extreme confidence. Without confidence in these things the implication is that we have no business moving on to more mature teachings or responsibilities in the family of God. I believe they are that critical.

I offer you an invitation to come with me into a life-changing conversation about the basics. As you know, my pastor, Doug Roberts, has already penned a book called Back to Basics. This reveals the fact that I have a heritage in “keeping it simple,” and this heritage is coming to bloom in this book. As a matter of fact, much of my initial research on the book came from the ragged, photocopied teaching papers I have had in my file since the early 90’s that were first put together by my fathers in the faith from Foundation Ministries in Azle, Texas. Men like Doug Roberts, Bob Terrel, Jack Horn, John Moreland, and Renee Brown were laying the foundations of these teachings everywhere they went, and I am sure, they are happy to see me making a serious review and write a serious book about these things they considered so dear.

I think you will find the book to be serious, but at the same time written with a light and upbeat tone. I want to win you to the most amazing teachings from the apostle’s imagination! I believe that these words are incredible and life-giving, and that everyone, large and small, should enjoy the strength they will bring. They are the things most fit to teach our children, and the things our children can most likely understand. Just like children we will believe who we trust, and walk into relationship with them. If you trust me, receive this book. If you have those who trust you, then teach them this book. Then, I promise, the Kingdom that belongs to the little children will take shape all around our childlike trust in the simple things of God.


Massive update to TOM and the Goldfish Bowl

TOM-front-cover-300TOM-back-cover-300I first wrote TOM and the Goldfish Bowl back in 2009. I wanted to share a simple allegory on how to understand the difference between the Kingdom of God, the Church, and the traditions of men. It was a good idea, but after re-reading it this year, I decided it was not simple enough, and was not kind enough for folks asking these questions for the first time. Many people want to know if the Church and the Kingdom are the same, or how they relate to one another. Many want to get a better grip on why Jesus talked constantly about the Kingdom, but why we talk constantly about Church. This book is written to bring quick clarity to those questions, and is now it flows with a little softer tone, and much easier to read style.

I re-wrote it this year to make it smoother and faster to read. It is about 10% shorter, and is written in a more casual and personal style. If you have the previous version and liked it, then you will love the tone change in this book, and you will want to buy this one for friends … even friends who are new to the faith. The really great news is that it is finally in ebook form as well! You can find it for only $3.99 at all these retail outlets, listed below, so please go download a copy today! The paperback version is now only $6.99 and is available at my own website, and in a few weeks this new version will appear at places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

free free free free
free free free free

Back to Basics eBook Release!

Back to BasicsBack in 2009, I invited Doug Roberts and Tim Thornton for a weekend retreat in the mountains of Colorado so we could fish, spend time together, and write a book! Doug has some great foundational teachings on following Jesus, and we though we could just have him pull out his notes, and we could have an open conversation together on each one. There were 8 teachings, 8 conversations, and now there are 8 chapters.

You will love this book because it has storytelling that is wrapped in a normal conversation between people. It is not a teaching book, in the strict sense of that idea, but it does contain the kinds of basic teachings that will set you on a solid foundation in Christ. It is one of our most popular resources.

Please consider the links below were the ebooks are available for $3.99 or less! The paperback is at our own website, as well, for only $6.99 for a single copy, and you can, as always, get a 10 pack for only $4.99 each!

free free free free
free free free free

The Healing Path eBook Release!

The Healing Path, Robin PasleyI know that I am married to Robin, and I have a natural bias, but I still have to say that her book, The Healing Path, is one of the best books on walking in confidence sonship I have ever read. Now it is available everywhere as a eBook for only $2.99! Yes, it covers some of the basics of the spirit of slavery and the spirit of orphanhood, but it spends much more time giving you the basic tools to overcome those voices and move into your rightful place as a beloved son … every day. This is not an intellectual work, it is a practical “how to” guide for anyone who wants to find healing in the Father’s love.

Trouble forgiving others or releasing bitterness? The Healing Path is for you.

Can’t shake those negative voices that circle your head? The Healing Path is for you.

Struggle with knowing the Father always wants to be close? The Healing Path is for you.

You can always find more recommended reading on walking in our sonship at our recommended reading page, but right now I recommend you click a link to your favorite ebook vendor and pick this book up for only  2.99! No kidding, $2.99!

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free free free free

 


Kingdom IQ: Fall Challenge for Leaders

iqAs part of an exercise in growing in Church leadership, I challenge you to re-purpose some portion of the Kingdom IQ series for a small group, or your entire fellowship of influence, this fall. I am calling on all leaders in my sphere of influence to take up the responsibility to teach others the simple ways of Christ and his apostles, and to try and use the foundational teachings in the Kingdom IQ series as a resource. I don’t care how you shape it, or what you call it, or how often you meet. What I do care about is that you teach with enthusiasm, sponsor discussions, and promote a culture of learning in your sphere. It is time that the simple things of following Jesus be shared with our families of influence in the simplest, most foundational of ways, and you are just the leader to do it.

Plan the Bible study and invite your people now. I suggest something inside of 6 weeks. Who else is going to do it for you? I also recommend, as a related resource, the First Principle series of teaching booklets published by BILD International (if you can find a way to order them or have them on hand already), if you prefer, which are closely related to the content and spirit of the Kingdom IQ series.

Reminder

Kingdom IQ is a learning experience for followers of Jesus. It is an overview of the basics of learning to live in the Spirit, and practice the ways of the eternal kingdom of God right now! Presently, it is exists as a series of Learning Guides and related audio podcasts that can be accessed all from this page. We have enjoyed a wonderful learning season in 2014 where hundreds of people joined us from all around the world to receive the same Learning Guides via email, or the podcasts via iTunes–but that season has come to an end. We are now evolving. We are presently working on very important upgrades to serve you better in the coming season…

  1. We have organized all the previous Learning Guides and Podcasts on a single page to give you fast access for review and learning anytime, forever. Enjoy!
  2. We are rewriting the material and learning resources in a more physical format to allow you to lead Kingdom IQ learning in your village, with your people, around you table, in your own schedule. Look for the new “boxed” release for small groups in early fall 2014. Subscribe to my email streams to stay up to date, and subscribe to my podcasts via iTunes if you like the audio versions of my posts.
  3. Special thanks to all the participants, cohort leaders, and teachers who helped us in the last season. Special kudos to Tim and Laurie Thornton for their amazing help in developing the Learning Guides, and Joe Steinke for his irreplaceable leadership in providing more apostolic anchoring to our relational connections and our launch retreat in Colorado.

 


Summer Savings: Get A FREE CD with your Order!


Hi, Worship Circle friends and fans, I wanted to let you know about a great new feature at our online store. If you purchase more than $20 worth of anything at the store we will ship you a free CD! Just include ANY CD in your total order, apply the code at checkout, and it will be free!

We recommend you get a FREE copy of Tim Coon’s amazing work on Chair and Microphone, Vol. 4. If you haven’t heard it, you are really in for a treat. Read more about Tim at his site.

One of my favorite songs on this album is This Ring, because it reminds me of the warm confidence of Johnny Cash, and sounds like a song that was written 50 years ago. But if you want to learn a song to share with others, please consider learning the song The Cupboard’s Full. It is in the key of C and super easy to play. In an age where everyone feels that everyone owes them something, and when we are immersed in a culture of wanting, and wanting, and wanting … this song lifts my imagination to the eternal kingdom of God that never changes, never lacks, is always full, and always satisfies! It is one of the few worship songs in many years, that I have heard, that is completely given to a commitment to be deeply satisfied in God, right now, in this exact circumstance. Here is the free PDF chord chart and the lyric sheet! Buy the album here and even get great deals on multi-packs.

Paul encourages this same contentment in Philippians 4:8, and as well in Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)” I can hear Paul singing Tim’s lyrics, “Make a song of gladness, ’cause the cupboard’s full. We were running empty, now the table’s set…” Our deep satisfaction must come from somewhere besides this world or we will always be in lack. The facts of this earth must not be allowed to try and tell us what the truth is! We are always rich in God’s love!