Podcast: Download (2.0MB)
Our Mission Field
5 October 2013
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
(M) You know, y’all, I wanted a mission. I wanted contact with missionaries. God closed down two missions. So God does not want me to have a mission as I envisioned it. As I’m brooding on this this morning, I realize our ministry is this. This is our ministry. It’s not street preaching. It’s not a whole lot of travel. What I really want is to be able to write. That’s where, that’s where I am. And you are coming in and contributing in the podcast and in your blogs, so your voice is going out. But this is our ministry. This is all we have. This is all we’re called to: to proclaim and publish and manifest the praises of God. And so I really want us to… From John’s e-mail I got a passion to want us to be, to have a heart for this. This is your fruit. This is your investment. This is what you’re giving your life to. So give your passion to it in prayer. And I’m begging God for passion in prayer for us, because that’s where it’s going to take place. And so anyway, that’s my contribution is and this is it. This website is what we have, and so it’s been reduced to this, then we can give everything for it.
(J) I think it’s really fertile ground. I think it’s amazingly fertile and it’s accessible. And it’s accessible to anyone in any country. Basically anybody can come to this content and eat and enjoy. And, you know, we lay our hearts out there. We lay our energy and our time and everything like that, but you know, you’re not getting a bunch of cold, standoffish teaching. You’re getting heart. You’re getting Christ’s life as it’s birthed through each of us, and I mean that’s amazing. I’ve looked for that personally. I’ve looked for that in churches prior to coming to Shulamite. And this, you know, it’s living impartation. It’s living heart. It’s living life.
(M) Someone wanted to come and spend a week with us and see how we do life, and I thought, “That’s not possible.” But how we do life is on the podcast, because that is an expression of our Body life. There’s a lot of things that we don’t put on the podcast, but we do put our heart out there. I ran into Lori Thomas yesterday in Dawsonville, and she’s sort of set apart with the Lord to pray and be alone. And I was just kind of exuberant to see her, and I just blessed her in that and told her I envied that. And she said, “I want to be with people. When I’m with people I don’t want to be with people. I want to be alone.” And He has set apart her alone to pray. I said, “Lori, you’ve always, always been an intercessor.” But she lit up about the podcasts and the blogs. She said, “Oh, it is life.” I said, “Really?” She said, “Yes, yes.” (John is laughing.) She said, “I live on it.” And it’s apparently her, I think she’s going to church somewhere, but it’s her church, and so that’s an expression of how people see it. And Vicki’s the same way. It’s a lifeline. And I think it’s Gaby in Austria has said something like, “It’s the only place I know of that’s real church.” Somebody has said that to me, “It’s the only place I can go.” And many people consider it ‘their church’.
(Carole) Jen and I were talking the other day. Its, the podcasts, I believe, are a battering ram to open up the relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and their people, His people. Because it’s real, it’s real, it’s real struggle. It’s real coming to. It’s not, it’s not rote. It’s not religion. It isn’t jumping from A to Z. It’s A-B-C-D-E-F and everything in between to get to that relationship that the Lord so longs to have with His people. And that’s why it’s real. It’s just real. And it draws because that’s, that’s what God put in us, (John: umhmm) deep in us, in every single one of us is that longing to have relationship with Him. And it is a ‘how to’ without the ‘how to’. And it is the picture in living Technicolor, (John: umhmm) of relationship, the reality of relationship with Him. And oh, you know, what better, what else do we want, in all of life, but that? That’s what we’re hungry for, even if we don’t know we’re hungry.
(J) So Jen, you were looking over there like you had something major to share, so…What is it?
(Jennifer) When I saw John’s e-mail this morning about the app, and it launching and all the rest of that, I just had such a picture, and I think I’ve been on it a little bit. One of Martha’s really to me, just rare and remarkable gifts, is her, not just love of beauty that the Lord’s given you, but the Lord has actually made you a vehicle for beauty. Your presentation of Him, that’s one of the rarest elements I think in how you present the Lord, is it’s not just that He is magnificent, though He is. There is an element of beauty to Him that I think is not always put out there. We don’t think of God as beautiful, though it’s, I don’t know why not. It’s just not something that comes through. Powerful, yes. Kind, compassionate, all these things are well covered ground, but the beauty of the Lord in other people, in His heart, in how He comes, it’s, it’s just such a gift that you have. And for those who are willing, that love of His beauty, that vision of His beauty, that heart for His beauty comes down and comes out to people who come under your authority, to people who, read your books and your booklets. To me, “Consider The Lily” is the epitome of… I still remember reading it and it was the most singular experience that I’ve had of anything that I’ve read of yours. From start to finish it was literally like floating on a river. I’ve never had that experience reading anything. And it was the, the simple and uncluttered beauty of, not just how you wrote it and simplicity and of the language that allowed Him to come forth, but the beauty in how He presented Himself through what He gave you was just astonishing. So I, you know, from time to time I mull over that, and I was thinking about that because Carole and I got together and talked about some things. And when I saw the e-mail this morning what struck me was that all of these new web sites and the app, that is, John, that is because you have received that gift of beauty. And these websites are not just incredibly functional, which you know I get stuck on so much. (Jennifer laughs.) But they are unique and beautiful, and each one of them is a little bit different, just like He’s a little bit different in each thing. The blog, He’s a little bit different in the blog. And Martha’s on-line library, that’s really more of a… That has a beauty that’s very specific to Martha and Martha’s person. Living Christian Books is beautiful in a completely different way, and now the podcast, which is very much you, John. John has had a passion and the podcast has rally been Johns ‘baby’. And it’s the perfect marriage of technology and the Lord, which I can’t pull off, (Jennifer and John are laughing) which is a gift that, that John certainly has. And so, the podcast to me reflects very much on John. There’s a masculine elegance to it, and so I just was thinking about all of that this morning, and just so appreciating you, John, for you being willing to go outside yourself and to allow the Lord to pull out of you. Because you are, you know, a poet warrior anyway. You do photography. You have, you are an artistic man. So there weren’t, you know, a ton of barriers that the Lord had to break down like He might with, you know, the rest of us. But it’s just, it’s just this… I don’t know. I appreciated it at that moment with all the things that the new app is going to be bringing in, and this final piece that’s going in. Just the, what that represented in terms of your relationship with Him, and Who you’ve allowed Him to be in you, and it’s just amazing. And it’s such a picture to me of where He, He takes His children and what He wants for them. And we are, I will say for me, that one of my struggles has been believing that the bare essentials are all I should aspire to, and that anything beyond that is greedy, and that the bare essentials are… That’s the main, and anything God gives beyond that is a gift of kind of a lavishness. And that’s not Who He is at all. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think that, that ultimately that accusation of God as some sort of a miser is a hideous, creature that’s out there. But I love that this ministry is such an assault on that, on that lie in every way. I love that, because it is, it is a pounding, and I know that even if I’m not able to see the fruit of it the way I want for Him, not even for me, although I definitely do want it for me. (she’s laughing) The fruit of being able to be a vehicle for His beauty is just… And maybe that’s why it’s rare, because we view beauty as kind of an afterthought, humanly. And it’s, I believe, the heart of Him, and if you look out on nature He spared no expense with beauty, none. And I love that this ministry as Martha saw it of our websites, that that is, that He’s still within that with what should be a very cold, you know, technology and pixels and bits and all these things that so inhuman, so very inhuman, that He has made them beautiful, and He has given you a vision that so speaks to Who He is through this ministry. I just, I just was rejoicing over you, and what He’s done in you, and what He’s done with this ministry and all of it. And so, I’m just really excited right now. That’s all.
Oh, you reduced ones, I wish one day I could wash your feet as you do to me.
I too agree that there has been no reduction .. I so appreciate the absence of worldly clutter in everything about this ministry … what impacts me the most all the time is the evident, real reverence for God, His Son and Spirit. I am deeply grateful for the “out there” connection with each of you … I read earlier today “religion is learning about love: relationship is living loved” …Shulamite ministry is all about living loved and it is contagious …. I weep in quiet awe ….
Amen to Douglas’ response. When I heard you, Martha, say “. . . it’s been reduced to this . . .,” I thought, no, no! it’s been ENLARGED to this! The way that Shulamite Ministries proclaims Jesus Christ, reveals Him, demonstrates Him in ordinary living through the different websites, is so unique and, as Carole said: real; it’s rich beyond measure. Your mission is vast — rather than reaching out to a specific country, it seems that His intent was global, unrestricted, which is so like Christ: anyone and everyone is invited to this banquet. Jennifer, no one could have said it better about the element of beauty. And John: just “thank you” (which says a whole lot more than just the words). Friends of the Bridegroom – all of you – continue to show us Chist in you: in the breaking, in the giving, in the serving . . . His love coming through each of you is so infectious, Lori is right: this IS [His] LIFE! Very grateful!!
Words of a warrior-poet:
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple. [Ps. 27:4 NASB]
Your “reduced” mission is so rich–dwelling, gazing, meditating in Him, expressions of His house, His beauty, His temple. It is life-giving–thank you.