Letter to the Elders in Liberty - 2/22/06
I'm writing you today to plead with you that we would all stop and consider the state of the Body of Christ in this town and consider carefully how we will proceed.
Over the last year I have visited many of the congregations in the Liberty area. As of today, I have worshipped with or talked with around twenty-five of them. There are many, many great people in Liberty and I found Jesus present in every worship time. I also found many duplicating services and resources and a widespread lack of communication. I know of at least two ministries that have been told to target Mosby with a relief and rebuilding effort this Spring and Summer but I have no idea how many others may be hearing the same thing and there is no coordination between them. (I would urge you all to pray and see if the Lord would have you work on the disaster areas inside our own school district this summer instead of sending mission trips elsewhere!)
I believe that if we really pray to be like Jesus, we need to understand that He will likely put us in a position (as He was) of saying things that will force people to one of only two possible conclusions: either you're hearing God or you're nuts. Being a deceived, but nice, guy will probably NOT be one of the options. Toward that end, I'm going to say some stuff here and maybe force you to pick a side.
Starting about a year and a half ago, I began to write about the state of the church and the need for urgent change in our model. In February of 2005 I wrote the Apology to the World and it began to circulate all over the world. We've seen over 200,000 hits on the website we put up for it and have seen much good fruit as people begin to realize that there is something wrong and see their own place in possible solutions.
In July of 2005, the Lord began to make it more and more clear that what He wanted was a city church in harmony. There are LOTS of scriptures that went into this understanding that I'd love to discuss with you but don't have room here. The short of it is that the Ecclesia are those who are called out and all live in a particular locality the church of Ephesus, the church of Laodecia, the church of Jerusalem, etc. I can find no other model for body life. (Read more here www.TheChurchOfLiberty.com/citychurch.pdf )
On August 13th of 2005, the Lord called a meeting for the specific purpose of repentance on behalf of the Body of Christ in Liberty. A handful gathered, but they were the ones God chose. They wept and mourned and repented for the state of our town and the sins of God's people and laid everything on the altar if only God would forgive us. (See Exodus 31:31-32, Joel 2, etc.) That seems to be the recipe when you want Him to turn from bringing calamity and restore the land. (Much praying and fasting and repenting preceeded and followed this date.)
(We ARE NOT asserting that this was the only praying going on it town! There are LOTS of people interested in unity and revival. I know of several of the congregations in Liberty praying for unity for a long time. People all over the world have been praying for Kansas City and Liberty. This is just MY testimony.)
On October 31st of 2005, we believe that the Lampstand of the Church of Liberty was lit. I don't have room here for a full explanation of the Lampstand and why it's important. Please note in Revelation 2 that Jesus threatens Ephesus that if they don't behave, He'll remove their Lampstand. The fastest way to loose your Lampstand is to allow division within the Body of Christ. Every town in America has multiple feuding churches, therefore it's not surprising that there might not be any Lampstands left in America. A ministerial association or ecumenical movement is NOT the same as the Body of Christ being directly under HIS headship. It doesn't require everybody to be on board, or even know about it, it just requires that SOMEBODY repent honestly and fully on behalf of the town and commit to letting God direct our paths.
Throughout this period of time, and following, as the hub of this effort has been at my furniture store (for lack of any other place), we have seen many people fed and clothed and cared for. We have seen people saved in my furniture store. We have seen people healed of physical ailments and instantly and completely delivered from addictions and strongholds of bitterness and anger and fear. We have seen miraculous provision with jobs and relationships healed in amazing ways. We have seen people come in with a little Jesus in their cup and leave filled to the brim and overflowing. Volunteers show up at just the right moment. People are told to quit their jobs and come help. Missionaries from other countries show up. Donations of food and clothing and furniture and household items are pouring in faster than we can distribute it without more help. We have supplemented and strengthened the heroic efforts of Hillcrest, InAsMuch, LoveINC and others that have been doing the heavy lifting for a long time now. We have been blessed to have been a part of some amazing things. None of this was our plan, we are entirely at His mercy. (We have also regularly seen members of Liberty congregations come for help because their congregation wouldn't help them. We've received the blessing for meeting lots of needs that someone else should have and probably could have been meeting.)
We've also had people from all over the world contact us. Some want help with restoring their local body. Some want us to publish the amazing books the Lord gave them. Some - as our dear brothers in Kenya, India, Ghana, and Nigeria - are desperate for a few dollars for food to care for the orphans under their charge or treat refugees. (By the way, Christians are starving. Around 200,000 of them at any given time.)
Over the last few months I have had the great joy to watch from behind the scenes and see pastors that didn't used to talk begin to meet for prayer regularly. I've heard from church members that more congregations are praying for all the others in town and preaching regularly on repentance. I've seen a hunger for unity in the people and the leadership that wasn't there a year ago in this kind of scale. I've heard from congregations that have felt for awhile now that a massive revival is coming to Liberty, but none of the individual congregations can seem to quite figure out how they are going to get it to happen.
I've also seen some things that perhaps no one else has seen. I'm aware of dozens and dozens of people being sent by God specifically to Liberty, Missouri from all over the world. A brother came into my store about three weeks ago. He and his family had just moved from Las Vegas. He had a really sweet spirit about him and I asked him, So, did God tell you to move to Liberty? Oh, yes, he replied, specifically Liberty. I asked, Do you know why you're here? He responds, Because revival is coming and we're here to help. He is one of MANY that I know musicians and artists and authors and evangelists and youth workers and computer experts and many others who are being moved here by the hand of God. And most of them are on pause until just the right moment to launch. I'm aware of close to a hundred like that and more on the way. And those are the just the ones that have happened to find me somehow.
A revivalist I know who has been in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi ministering and rebuilding homes since the hurricane sent me an email and said that he was specifically told by God that he needed to be in Liberty in April to help us. What will we be doing in April? I don't know - probably street evangelism, maybe rebuilding Mosby. I know he's bringing a big tent with him. If he puts out a call, there will likely be many others who will come to help as well. We also have a pastor from Kenya that we'd like to get over here and need help with finances and lodging for a couple months. There are many others that are telling me God has told them to be here in March and April for something big. We're going to need beds and shuttle buses and food and supplies and trailers. Perhaps you are hearing something is coming this Spring and have more specifics? That's why we need to be talking to each other.
I believe that if we are going to continue praying the Lord's Prayer (Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven) then we should stop arguing about any secondary issues that we're not going to talk about in heaven. If we say we love Jesus and yet there remain unanswered prayers of His (John 17 Let them be one as I and the Father are one), then we should probably all stop whatever else we're doing and pray that ONE prayer in agreement with Jesus until the Lord answers it.
I think the Sheep and Goat stuff in Matthew 25 is pretty high up on the list of stuff we're supposed to be doing, so maybe we could just focus on that without arguing? In New Orleans all the pastors stopped fighting about Calvinism or when the rapture is or whether to clap in church or speak in tongues and they just started feeding and clothing and visiting and caring for and all it took was a hurricane. All I want is to see Liberty learn what they learned only without the hurricane. I think we're kind of getting to the end of the Book, you know?. If there was ever a time to be One Body, now might be a good time to start.
What's going to be required is for all of us to hear the Lord really well, get as full of the Holy Spirit as we can stand, and start to focus on what HE wants instead of what WE want. It's likely to involve the poor somehow the poor financially and the poor in spirit. And we have lots of both in Liberty despite having more than forty congregations. I'm not convinced that if there were twice as many congregations we'd really have half as many poor people, so maybe we need to try something different.
I want a pillar of fire to show up over Liberty. I want to see people healed and delivered and raised from the dead. (You may not think that stuff is for today, but it's happening all over the world whether you like it or not. And if that stuff starts happening here and you said it wasn't real some folks that listened to you might just want to come punch you in the nose. So you might want to be REALLY sure.) I want God to show up in the biggest possible way and transform lives and break chains and lift yokes and open eyes. I want revival and I want restoration of His Body to unity and harmony. I want HIM to prove to the world that He is alive and well and victorious. No more reasoning with people and talking them into church - I want HIM to prove Himself in a great big way and teach them relationship.
And I know that I know that if a pillar of fire shows up over any ONE congregation in town it will probably take ten seconds for it to go to their head and they'll use it to prove they were the right ones all along. So I want a pillar of fire over the whole town! I want people to find Jesus at the dry cleaners and the furniture stores and the houses and the schools and the church buildings and out in the streets. That way nobody can claim it and we'll ALL have to give Him the glory.
The Church of Liberty is not an organization. There is no budget, there is no building, there is no recruiting to go live in some walled compound somewhere. It has always been here and will always be here so long as even one Christian lives in Liberty and if you love Jesus with all your heart, then you're already a part of it. But wouldn't it be nice if all of those who say they love Jesus were all pointed the same direction and stopped fighting about stupid stuff? That's all I want.
Please, I beg you, pray for the unity of Liberty. Pray for restoration of His body. Pray that we would all be led by Christ alone and not any man or system or program or curriculum or tradition.
I'm extending a specific invitation for you to come and talk and/or pray on Friday (2/24) at 9:00am and/or Saturday (2/25) at 2:00pm and/or Monday (2/27) at 5:30pm. And I'm extending an open invitation for you to contact me at any time or stop by my store and see what's going on. If I am part of the body of Christ and I'm in error, then you have a solemn responsibility to lovingly correct me. Please bring your Bible and come talk to me. If I'm wrong, I want to get straightened out before I do any damage to the Body of Christ. But if I'm right, you might want to hear me out.
With or without me, something is coming and I don't think it can be stopped. I think we're into sovereign will of God territory here and this is all pre-arranged. If this is of Man then it will fail and this will fizzle and maybe you'll never hear from me again. But if it's of God, nothing can stand against it and you might just find yourself fighting God. That would be bad.
Please pray and see if I'm telling the truth about all this. Please pray and see if you're supposed to help. As always, whatever God tells you, do it. Just make sure that you're hearing Him clearly.
Bless you all. No matter what comes, He's in charge and it's going to be a fun ride!
May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you in whatever way He thinks best.
Doug Perry, President
www.TheChurchOfLiberty.com - firstname.lastname@example.org