Friday, May 16, 2008

23RD ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND CELEBRATION!

Sunday, May 18th is our 23rd Anniversary Celebration at Church In The Now, and it's going to be an awesome day. I want to see a full house ITB @ 10AM, so please be there and BRING A FRIEND! For information about the Kim Clement meeting, see the article for May 15...

We're leaving for Washington D.C. very, very early in the morning and will be back tomorrow night, and then we leave for Nashville right after the Sunday Celebration, so I'm starting this article now, and will add to it throughout the weekend as I find the time. You can go ahead and start adding your comments now...

Even as I write this I am posting your comments pertaining to the last article, and I want you to know that I feel your faith. Thanks for making BLOGINTHENOW much more than just a blog...

This is what I'd like to hear from you...What part of CITN are you celebrating this weekend? What does this Anniversary mean to us as a Prophetic Community? What creative words do you have to speak over the next 23 years? What is the Spirit of God saying to you right now about the role of this church body in the world, and in your personal life?

I'm posting this on Friday night, and will continue it, as I said, over the next two days. I may not even be able to finish it until Monday night after we get back in town, so this is going to be a different kind of post, but it's going to be important. So, let's get started...

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF EMBRACING “THE NOW”!

The name Church In The Now is a prophetic name...it is our mandate from the Holy Spirit, Who is the Divine Officer of Protocol, to always stay in the now, because God is always in the now! God is the "I Am" (Exodus 3:14), not the "I was" or the "I will be". God is eternal, and eternity is best defined as "the now". CITN is a place where you can always experience the "presence" of God ("God is our refuge and strength, an ever-PRESENT help in trouble" - Psalms 46:1 TNIV ). Many people miss the miracle of the now because they are too distracted by regret over the past, or fear of the future. But at CITN you are encouraged to "forget what is behind" (Philippians 3:13), and to stop worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), so that you can say THIS is the day that the Lord has made! CITN is a community of faith, and faith is always "now" ("NOW faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 TNIV) In the natural we are 23 years old, but in the spiritual, we are totally IN THE NOW!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL!

While we embrace all people of faith around the world, and honor and respect their beliefs, whatever they may be, our own theology remains decidedly Christian and orthodox. The dictionary defines orthodoxy as the quality of being orthodox (especially in religion) a belief or orientation agreeing with conventional standards. The word is from the Greek ortho ('right', 'correct') and doxa ('thought', 'teaching', 'glorification'), and is typically used to refer to the correct theological or doctrinal observance of religion, as determined by some overseeing body; those beliefs which reflect the faith of the whole Church since the time of the apostles; a term used in a number of senses, of which the following are the most important: (1) Orthodoxy in the literal sense of 'right belief,' as opposed to heresy; (2) Orthodoxy in the sense of the forms of Christianity which are dominant in the East. We honor the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and other historical and foundational Christian statements of faith, because of their relevance to our ministry. The message of Reconciliation that we preach is organic, original and orthodox Christian theology…the Gospel of the Kingdom!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF THE EXALTATION OF LOVE!

Everything that we preach…indeed, everything that we stand for, should and must be potentially summed up in these three words: GOD IS LOVE. This and all gospel preaching/teaching must meet that criteria – if it doesn’t demonstrate and exalt the love of God, it’s not the gospel. More than anything else, we at CITN must always strive to be stewards of that gospel, the definition of which is simply: the good news. The true, eternal gospel of God is positive, proactive and life-affirming, so we never want to be labeled as a church that doesn’t believe in something or who is “against” a particular doctrine. We cannot reconcile that kind of negative posturing with the constructive nature and life-giving essence that is required of authentic gospel preaching!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX!

The Conyers and Rockdale County that I first encountered in 1985 was quite a different place than it is now. At that time I was a very idealistic young man, and I came here, full of faith and attitude, to establish a local congregation that would be more than just another local Charismatic church. I didn’t want to lead and pastor an established church body, because I had a vision for a different kind of place that would be built upon the words recorded in Psalms 2:8 (KJV), which says Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Better translations use the word “nations” rather than “heathen”, but either word was a prophetic stretch for mid-80’s Conyers, GA. But the revelation of that powerful Scripture manifested, as a diverse group of people met together for the first time in May of 1985 in a little storefront on Royal Drive. The county then was 90% white, very religious, and extremely conservative, but we were eclectic and multicultural from that very first day.

But CITN (then Word of Faith) was about more than just multiculturalism, it was about the creation of an alternative to irrelevant, traditional church, and religious “business as usual”. And 23 years later, my faith is stronger, and my ideals are higher than they were then. And even though I am no longer a young man, chronologically (although I feel younger now than I did then), I am definitely more out of the box than I was 23 years ago, and I show no signs of moving toward the safety of mainstream mediocrity. Two decades plus of leading a church like this in a community like this has convinced me that anything is possible!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF WALKING BY FAITH!

This ministry has been an adventure of faith from the beginning, and twenty-three years later we are still learning to walk in the fullness of our unique destiny. It is written that the just shall LIVE BY FAITH, and so twenty-three years later, this house of worship is still discovering new ways to overcome the growth obstacles that exist for a truly multicultural church. Twenty-three years later, CITN is still attempting to create a real sense of community in a church that was not birthed out of an established community or a denomination. Twenty-three years later, the leadership of this church is still trying to instill within this body a sense of ownership among the people, and a comprehension of the need for them to be investors in it. And so this weekend we celebrate how far we’ve come, but we also take inventory of where we are on the journey. We've come this far by faith, but we’ve only just begun. We call those things which are not as though they are, because we’ve been called to do what hasn’t been done before!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF VISION!

I am, and I believe that many of you are, totally committed to the ideal of 100% participation among the membership of CITN…the realization of a vision to reach the goal of Everyone Actively Contributing and Helping. (E.A.C.H.) In the natural, it appears that not everyone who attends the church understands this yet. The Scriptures say that where there is no vision, the people perish, and a better translation is “where there is no prophetic revelation, the people cast off restraint”. In other words, a real commitment to discipline only comes through vision.

I refuse to believe that the manifestation of a workable E.A.C.H. program – a mindset among the people that causes full community commitment – is a goal that is unrealistic or unreachable. Because I believe that there is nothing more powerful in the world than the power of vision...and becuase I am convinced that the vision of this ministry is God-inspired...I am fully persuaded that, eventually, everyone connected to this ministry will become an active part of it, a real asset to it, and a actual contributor to its success!

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT!

As we enjoy the fruit of our labor on this anniversary, I believe that now is the time to make real the promises of every prophecy that has been spoken over this ministry in the last twenty-three years. And, as many of you know, it has been prophesied that CITN will do something that hasn’t been done before. On one level, I believe that that means that we will move from some of the people doing all of the work and all of the giving (as is typical in many if not most churches), to the new possibility of everyone pulling their weight and making a real contribution to the greater good. Now is the time to lift our church from the quicksands of mediocrity to the solid rock of being a successful megachurch, so that we can do, in the larger world around us, what has never been done by a church before. What all does that entail? I don’t fully know at this point, but I do believe that now is the time to make this ministry be all that it can be. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy!

____________________

SATURDAY NIGHT: BACK FROM WASHINGTON...EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME...TELL YOU ABOUT IT TOMORROW!
____________________

ON THIS CITN ANNIVERSARY WEEK-END WE CELEBRATE 23 YEARS OF COMMUNITY!

I said under #5 that we were still walking by faith when it comes to creating a covenant community, but I need to clarify that statement. Although we are still growing into full megachurch/metron reality, there is, without a doubt, already a very strong and vibrant cross section of CITN, too large to simply be called a core group, which is literally a church within the church. And that “inner church” (and you know who you are)…that wheel in the middle of the wheel, if you will...is already pulling its weight through called and responsible Kingdom people who are actively participating in every way. And so I speak to those of you who comprise that part of CITN, and I exhort you to not look down on those who don’t see the vision yet. You must love them, set an example for them, and encourage them to see the benefits of becoming a part of this body that is fitly joined together. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed those who comprehend what this church needs to be must not lead us to reject those who stay on the periphery, for they are our brothers and sisters. Let us pray that they come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny…that they will see and believe that we might not have it all together, but together we have it all!

20 comments:

dgm2007 said...

wow i think im the first person to read this.. how cool.. um what does CITN mean to me.. well whats so cool is that as the curch or part of it i enjoy the title of the establishment.. ppl in the now. going where ever God takes us. as a group thats who we all are.. i think that alone is awesome. I dont know where anybody else gets there word.. the HS is so present with us i wonder how he spreads out so much.. that was a joke... since being in this ministry I have grown so much and been able to take the word you give us and spread it to my friends and today a class from my old HS. I love how much were all growing and how real you are.. God really keeps you and p.Debs... yep i just made that up.. but its okay. thats what ive learned that its okay to be myself be full of the spirit and assessable.. all my faults and all my awesomeness. God is always lifted up and i love that.. Live laugh love.. right!

were all just Swimheads.. anyone who reads this.. :)

Anonymous said...

As we celebrate these 23 years of faith walking, I am very thankful to be connected with CITN. I have never felt so connected before and my spirit rejoices.

Happy Anniversary CITN and all the people that make it a great place ot live and worship!

May flower.

Laura said...

First Off Bishop I pray safe travel to you.
What does this celebration mean to me. Sharing good times with friends and spiritual family. I have been so blessed to find a ministry that treats me like one of the family. Bishop & Pastor Debye you have showed us how to be like Jesus. My heart right now is heavy. I know that the relationships I have made here will pull me through. Please just keep the family in prayer. What is the Lord saying today PEACE. At least my stepmom is no longer in pain. This Sunday let's celebrate like it the first day for the rest of our lives.

Ebony said...

I think the part of CITN that I celebrate the most is the preaching of the gospel, and the fact that in one church, you have a body of believers from different walks of life, ethnicities, even theological views coming together to worship God, the lack of judgment and threat of punishment for what we do, balanced with the exhortation of personal accountability and consequences. Hearing the word spoken, in song, in dance, and being ministered too all around. There is something that happens here that is really no where else. I've been drinking store bought milk for years, unitl my best friend had me try Mayfield because it was just better because it was processed differently. I thought she was being silly, milk is milk right? Until I tried it, and she was right. That extra processing made all the difference. Now that I've tasted something better my palate is used to it, and while (if necessary) it'll accept others, it's just not the same, and it's not what I want when I have the choice. That's how I feel when I attend other churches now. I can receive from the pastor and get a good word, but it's just not the same as CITN. Why go back when you the store brand when you can have Mayfield all the time? Bishop forgive the analogy but it's the only one that fits. I know you and Pastor Debye will be safe as you travel. and as far as CITN goes, we ain't seen nothing yet!!!

mayam said...

My personal destiny is tied to the destiny of CITN. We will move forward and prosper together. For several days I have received the same directive..."as one". I believe this is a strict indication that we must remain unified in our commitment to common purposes...seeing prophetically and walking in faith as we wait in earnest; applying our individual, anointed talent unselfishly to corporate objectives; contributing to an atmosphere of love, support and reconciliation; speaking through life's travails as well as in tongues; being there - being a part of the shifted sand marking the safe shore; and, ever becoming the kind of water God wants to turn into wine.

Anonymous said...

You
ain't
seen
nothin'
yet.
(E.N.)

DoubleBack Alley said...

Sahib,

Wow 23 years. Nearly half my life. Put me in mind of famous
23's…

23rd Psalm
Proverbs 23 “As a man thinks, he is”
Enigma of 23
Michael Jordan
23 Skidoo
23 Years Ago...

• In Hollywood, California, the charity single "We Are the World" is recorded by USA for Africa
• The first British cell phone call is made
• "New York, New York" becomes the official city anthem of New York City
• Mike Tyson makes his professional debut in Albany, New York, a match which he wins by a first round knockout
• Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and de facto leader of the Soviet Union
• Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke
• Route 66 is officially decommissioned.
• Commodore launches the Amiga personal computer at the Lincoln Center in New York
• Microsoft Corporation releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0


What shall we be in 23 years?

Ain’t God Good?

Anonymous said...

The
battle
is
the
Lords!
(E.N.)

Anonymous said...

He's
uncorking
the
best
wine
for
last!
(E.N.)

linda said...

Good Morning Bishop and family
I don't know if I can fully express what CITN means to me. I am a totally different person now than before I found CITN. Bishop your words are life to me. ( I know that it is God working thru you, but you know what I mean) I quite simply LOVE CITN. I know that the words that come out of the pulpit are rhema to me and that I am to apply them to my life. As far as CITN being a prophetic influence in my life, that is so true. I was reading my "prayers that avail much" book and it tells in there that if someone comes to you for advice or comfort you need to know the word or whatever you tell them will not be sound or bring life to their situation. Whenever I tell what I have heard at CITN life comes and people are ministered to.
I wish I could articulate what I feel better than this but so far I can't.
I love CITN, I support CITN and I believe in CITN
Love
Linda :0)

nancy said...

"I't has been prophesied that CITN will do something that hasn’t been done before. Now is the time to lift our church from the quicksands of mediocrity to the solid rock of being a successful megachurch, so that we can do, in the larger world around us, what has never been done by a church before. ...
(That statement makes me want to run!!)
.....Above all that we can ask or think!!
Bishop and Debye,
If you are not a part of CITN--we call you from the North, South, East and West
I'm speaking in tongues because words alone will never help me express what this ministry means to me.
This is our tenth year at CITN. A decade that has brought LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY in every area.
So thankful, so inspired, willing to serve
Nancy

Erik said...

Hello wonderful people reading the blog posts !

If there is anyone who reads this regularly or somewhat regularly, and is not a contributor, maybe you are still wondering is this where I fit in? Can I trust that God really brought me here? Am I still trying to figure out what my deal with God is? I suppose these and many other things may keep you here, but not fully here. I can tell you if you come back, week after week, then this is your place. CITN is not a place you can be ‘just because’ even if you keep the walls up for whatever reason. This is a place that you are only here by choice and the pull of The Spirit. This is a custom brew, this is not off the shelf, it is Haute Couture , if you are here for any length of time, you cannot buy off the rack.

For me, I have had a great life, was great before The Holy Spirit brought me here. I had favor, blessing, protection, revelation and guidance, and all the while, I knew this place was somewhere. What I have gotten here is clarification, honing, deepening, more in the flow, expansion. Maybe that applies to some who are involved, but hold back. Go for it, give it all you think you have saved of your Spirit for ‘The Time’ . It really is now. Be in the spirit place where you dive in, support this as it is tied into you, because it is if you keep coming back and keep reading. If you are , then what you have sought, you have found, believe and live. Live in the reality of no wall, raw life, giving. It will change your reality, but it is really wiping away the dust . Trusting what comes from your effort (time and money) from your heart, from what you do, trusting The Holy Spirit more than you trust that wall of holding back, you will love it.

Contributing is an expression that you receive what is offered, that you enjoy that this is provided. We are family, the more that do their share, the more there is for the family.

mayam said...

Yo Eric, Nancy, Linda, anonymous (all), Doubleback Alley, Ebony, Laura, DGM2007, and last but not least (in fact, LEADING), Bishop and Debye...you guys ROCK!!!

Avatar said...

Hello ALL.
This weekend I’m celebrating the Hope and Promise that CITN represents and manifests. As newlyweds and new graduates embark on new lives filled with hope and promise, new adventures, new jobs, everything seems possible to them. I celebrate THAT NOW-newness—the place that we are often reminded is the place of Life. This weekend is a new beginning for CITN--the new butterfly roars!

This weekend I believe The Master Gardener, as only He can, has supernaturally prepared the soil at CITN to test my faith in and trust in His logos and rhema promises. He provided what I thought was bread, but now think is seed. I AM a sower.

In the next 23 years, I see the Body of Christ at CITN developing into a city of Hope. I see a unified whole, not building a tower to God, but knowing the real God is within real people and creating a miraculous horizontal “tower” of healing and restoration that is able to release the gifts given to each one who enters, so they are equipped to do what they are destined to do on earth.

Beth said...

This makes my eleventh year at CITN and even though I knew the minute I hit the door that this was my home it took me some time to discard my junk and move into THE NOW. Religion has long tenacles that try to keep you dreading the past, fearing the future, hating yourself and believing you are hanging over an open hell ready to drop at any moment you screw up.

Oh how liberating to find out it was all junk and God really is LOVE. This place, filled with its diversity and "I'm OK, You're OK", sense of acceptance, grace and mercy is like Heaven on earth. As the world continues to find this house and to hear this message and to let it transform their life as it is mine - WOW! I believe there won't be room to contain those that will come and hopefully to emulate the Christ they finally, really see here.

Dennis Caldwell said...

Good evening BITN Family,
I am so excited about tomorrow at CITN. I feel like this is going to be a major step in my service and walk with the Lord. One of those spiritual landmarks that cannot be moved. Also I feel it is a great honor being ordained by someone I respect as much as bishop Swilley. It is such a peaceful relief to know that I am going to be in fellowship and covenant with a ministry that is not going to kick my aside just because I believe that the bible meant it when it said that “Christ Jesus is the Savior of the world” Just being back here in Conyers and getting to come worship, and fellowship with everyone at “my church” is a great thrill for me.

I am relatively a new comer to CITN, but in the three years I have been in fellowship with the church it has blessed me beyond words. Just to know that there is a church that is boldly sharing the good news of universal reconciliation on the scale that CITN is accomplishing is very exciting for me. Bishop Swilley is a man of God unlike any other that I know of in his honesty, sincerity and boldness to share his heart and his faith with the world no matter what the cost. With an integrity as strong as steel; a man you can trust to be tomorrow what he said he is today. Because I believe the Bishop is a man of the Spirit; I also believe that CITN is a church that is truly Spirit lead, Spirit empowered and Spiritual light to this community the nation and the world. And we shall see that come through more and more in the coming days months and years. This church and ministry is a ‘city set on a hill that cannot be hidden”. I believe CITN is the forerunner of many other like minded ministries that will come to the surface through the encouragement of the success of this ministry. Building up their faith in the awesome, all powerful, all loving , all knowing, never failing God we serve.

See you tomorrow !!!!

Peace,
Dennis

Anonymous said...

Dear Holy Spirit,
Breathe on us the vision and heart of God. Breathe through and out of us the love of God. Raise us up to the place of new beginnings where we hold nothing back and we live in the now. Shower down..let us bathe in your renewing rain while you raise us up to all we are called to be.

Dear Father, you have said in your Word that "whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:18) I bind the spirit of poverty and lack on the earth and loose the abundance of wealth on the earth and all of your children. Amen.

Tomorrow's service is going to be off the chain! Come Holy Spirit and fill our lives to overflowing.
Love to all,
Overcomer

G8TRGRL said...

"We are family, I got all my brothers and sisters with

me! We are family--get up everybody sing!

Living life is fun and we've just begun

To get our share of the world's delights

(HIGH!) high hopes we have for the future

And our goal's in sight

(WE!) no we don't get depressed

Here's what we call our golden rule

Have faith in YOU and the things YOU do

You won't go wrong

This is our family Jewel!"...

Like Bishop said Wednesday night, instead of asking "is there anything you need, or is there anything I can do", just DO IT! Not to be all Nike-esque, but especially when it comes to giving,E.A.C.H, etc, we need to embrace and take care of our FAMILY!!

Blessings and can't wait till tomorrow!

Donald said...

#8: Well OK then I guess. I have to admit you're right about that.
Y'all know how us rednecks from Mississippi are. When we get chapped we just get out in the gravel and rassel (wrestle). Famous Mississippi saying: "We'll just take it outside and I'll whup yore tail dad burnit!"
If jealousy is cruel, I guess I'll be a pretty cruel guy tomorrow because I am certainly going to be jealous of everybody that is going to be ITB.

Erik said...

Hello Beautifuls,

We are drinking and eating from the Holy Grail. I thought of a better way to express what I wrote about. It is like we are all on an expedition. (Following the cloud by day and the fire by night). On this expedition, there are tents to move, clothes to carry, clean, general maintenance, generators to keep going, on and on, and of course, food and drink to nourish and grow us. Absolutely, every time there is a meal, no one that comes to eat is turned away. Whether they carried a bag, set up a tent, cleaned some veggies, cleaned some fish, baked some bread, sewed some clothes or not. It seems the majority walk along without carrying, gathering, preparing, maintaining, or hunting, yet ALL eat. That’s OK, no one is turned away, however, the more that carry, cook, clean, supply , ( in this case help keep the lights on, people paid, doors open, mortgage paid) the more fluid this expedition is. The best part is, anyone that has not supported previously has no guilt to bare,


By contributing, carrying, we build a different appetite, and receive the meal very differently, and more deeply than if we only follow and eat. The appetite that builds in the contributing, makes the meal even more satisfying, nutritious, and real. Working all day makes dinner so much better, and metabolizes it more deeply. That is what happens spiritually when we contribute, we receive the word more deeply, because our appetite becomes keener through the engagement. As we engage, expectation increases, and what is received expands. Contributing is not bout guilt or demand, it is about depth of experience. All that we hope for, is met and more in this engagement, this entwining, contributing and receiving, eating at the table set. Enjoying it so much you want to do what you have in your hand to do so it continues to be available to those here and those to come.