Archive for July, 2010

Jul 28 2010

Newspaper Article on Church of the Living Word

A reader from the Northwest recently sent me this article from the Friday, February 2, 1963 edition of the Van Nuys News. The article is about the new church that John Robert Stevens was founding in Northridge. It would eventually be known as Church of the Living Word, in North Hills. Here’s the article:

NORTHRIDGE—The Living Word, a fellowship of Christians under the pastorate of Dr. John Robert Stevens, met for the first worship service in the Northridge Women’s Club, where the services will be held each Sunday at 8:30am.

Due to lack of separate rooms a unique Sunday School program is being instituted which will encourage and require family participation, an official said….

The response to these meetings has grown so that the quarters are fast becoming inadequate.

Dr. Stevens is also a pastor of Grace Chapel in South Gate, and may be heard on “The Living Word” broadcasts over radio station KHOFF-FM 99.5, Monday through Friday at 7a.m.

Public is invited to attend the Sunday morning worship service at the Northridge Women’s Club, 18041 Lassen St., the Tuesday prayer service and the Wednesday Bible study at 7:30 p.m. at 15453 Lull St. Van Nuys.

There are a few things about this article that are so interesting to me. First is the title “Doctor” given to Stevens. I had heard that he had a Ph.D., but it really proves what I’ve heard from many people: he decided to be more informal in the later years of his ministry.

Second, I love it that this article discussed how the church was growing so fast, certainly by God’s anointing. I attended Church of the Living Word for ten years when I lived in the Los Angeles area, so it’s fascinating for me to read about the beginning formation of it. It was only the year after this article was published that the property for the current church building was purchased in 1964!

And third, I’d really like to know what kind of children’s program John was experimenting with! I can’t even begin to imagine what that means. If anyone knows anything about that, please email me.

 

Jul 24 2010

Thoughts on Taking a Little Step

In the last quote I posted, John Robert Stevens talked about how the preacher that prayed for his healing took a step of faith, and God did the rest. But I think it’s important to realize that the people who received healings in the Scriptures did so on the basis of their own faith. Jesus didn’t have to have faith to heal people as much as the people who needed healing had to have faith. I believe that it was John’s childhood faith in the Bible—a simple belief that what it said could actually be true in his own life—that caused the healing. Yes, the preacher needed to kneel and pray, and thank God he did, but that was only the catalyst for John’s faith to receive a healing.

What a great testimony for John Robert Stevens to have in his heart in every difficult situation he faced. I’m sure it was one of the proofs to him that God truly does interact in the lives of men. And out of that experience, John had a hunger to continue to see God move in his own life and in the lives of those around him. That was something he expressed for the rest of his life. In every Word he spoke, in every person he laid hands on, and every time he prayed, he knew that God would respond because he had seen it first-hand since the time of his youth.

 

Jul 20 2010

As a child, I was taught James 5:14 in children’s church. Once, when I was seriously ill, I asked my parents to bring the preacher so that he could anoint me with oil. My father went to see the evangelist. He said, “I cannot come because I have a service; but I will pray for him right here.” I believe that saved my life and brought my whole family into a walk with God. I was never anointed with oil by the evangelist, but he knelt and prayed. One step was taken toward a promise. God fulfilled it, even though the act of obedience was only partially done and could not be completed.

Performance is not what God is looking for; He is looking for that first gesture of faith. He looks for someone to “touch the hem of His garment” (Matthew 9:20–22). God does not wait to see what kind of ritual you go through to get an answer; He wants to see your hunger. Take a step toward God, and He will “draw nigh” to you (James 4:8).

  • John Robert Stevens, "Take a Little Step," 1980
    John Robert Stevens, "Take a Little Step," 1980
    Excerpt from the This Week "Take a Little Step" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1980 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jul 17 2010

Thoughts on Submitting to One Another

The previous quote by John Robert Stevens proves to me what a great leader he was. I love it when he says: “A ministry of authority … finds himself becoming submissive to everyone to whom he has given a Word from God.”

It’s one thing to give a Word from God to someone about who they are, and it’s quite another to submit to that Word. What strikes me here is the integrity that John had. If he was going to speak a Word over someone’s life, he believed it enough to submit to it!

I’ve read quite a bit on the topic of leadership recently—especially regarding pastors—and one of the biggest principles of leadership is to lead the strengths of those around you.

Poor leaders try to do everything themselves, and are insecure around other people’s strengths to the point where they suppress those strengths.

Good leaders allow room for each gift to function to create a result that is bigger than the sum of the parts. Talking to many who knew him, this was how John functioned.

As a pastor of one of the churches founded by John Robert Stevens, I am committed to this same attitude. When I see one of my elders or congregants through the Lord’s eyes, I determine to submit to who they are in God—even if they, themselves, are unaware of it!

But this isn’t just the attitude that pastors and leaders must have. Ephesians 5:21 says that we are all to submit to one another in Christ. This means that we should actively seek out a revelation from God about one another, and in submitting to that, we create each other into the complete vision God has for each one. This is the practical way in which the Body of Christ is built up in love! (Ephesians 4:16)

 

Jul 6 2010

We must be submissive to one another. The brothers whom I have commissioned sense my submission to them; they are aware of it. When I have a part in commissioning other men into the will of God, and they receive that commission by the revelation and authority that God has given me, then my submission to them begins at that moment. My whole life is given to the apostolic commission and to those who have been commissioned under my hand. A ministry of authority labors to be submissive to those who have commissioned him and are over him in the Lord, those who watch over his welfare and over his ministry. Likewise, he finds himself becoming submissive to everyone to whom he has given a Word from God. It becomes a matter of being subject one to another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

  • John Robert Stevens, "How We Relate To Commission," 1980
    John Robert Stevens, "How We Relate To Commission," 1980
    Excerpt from the This Week "How We Relate To Commission" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1980 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.