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Posts Tagged ‘glory’

We’re doing a verse by verse of Revelations in our Sunday School classes at church.  All the children are also studying this in their classes (except the youth for some reason, I think I’ll have to find out why not because I would love for them to be on the same page as the rest of us but they are talking the Sermon on the Mount so that’s good too).  We’re in the sweeping overview stage right now, and so we’re not in real depth yet. 

Despite the depth, it’s not your usual yada yada yada study of Revelations.  Typically, in my past, we would study this in small groups or have a quick sermon or set of sermons for a few weeks.  There was always a timeline, there was always discussion about the future.  There were even scary movies at camp.  Anyone out there subjected to those B (or C or even F) movies about the end of the world where they were cutting off people’s heads?  I recall a guy with dark hair and eyes was the main character, and as a little kid this whole thing scared me.  Kids were talking about end times and saying there were micro chips in Proctor and Gamble products. 

With my experiences with Revelations in the past, I have avoided the book.   I did read it several times on my own as a teen/young adult, but then rarely go back to it anymore.  I thought it best for me to focus on things I could grasp better.  I heard Hank Henergraff’s more recent comments on the book, and am not sure I agree with the bits I’ve heard from him.  Is it that he believes it has ALL happened already?  Not sure, but I know he’s marketed a fictional book about it.

Our assistant pastor was different in his initial presentation of Revelation.  Nothing was sensationalized, there’s not an ad outside the front of the church for the series.  There was really not much announcement the study was coming.  It’s just a study like any other study, and it’s being treated as such.  We’re in the first part of the book, so I am not sure but do doubt the charts will be coming. 

The best thing I’ve heard the pastor say, and he says he’s going to remind us over and over again, is the answer to the question, “what is being revealed in Revelations?”  Hmmmm.  How to answer this one?   He made it very clear that to find that answer you have to READ it.  Open your bible, read the first words.  You’ll find, as I did, the book’s main purpose not the future revealed, not the scary judgement revealed, and not the end times revealed.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Yet again, Christians (or so called Christians) and especially the secular world misses the point.  The point is to reveal the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It shows His magesty, His dominion, His sacrifice, His love, His judgement, His glory.  He is worthy.  He alone is worthy.  It’s not an oracle for us to see the future, it reveals His plans as the ruler of the universe, but it’s not about the plans.  It’s about HIM.  The pastor did such a good job explaining this, it’s shocking to me how I’ve missed the obvious all along.  How many people have died early deaths because they read too much into that book?  So many cults twist it to place their leaders into it.  So many people search the newspapers for proof they are living in some special time and that the anti-Christ is coming.  Books are sold, and men propped up.  Who is the book supposed to glorify and prop?  The Lamb that was slain, that’s who!

I am looking forward to getting into this book and not missing the obvious any more.

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I have not told the pastor left behind more than, “I don’t think we did well in the meeting.”  He would not like to hear how the lead pastor put things, I’m sure.  I don’t know if we should tell him or if there is some sort of confidentiality thing.  I want to be fair, and want to give the feel of the meeting should I share.  I mean, we weren’t getting yelled at.  It was a calm discussion, and I believe the lead pastor honestly thinks we are in sin, and we aren’t teachable anymore in his church.  I believe he is in error for sure, and how he handled that last meeting was wrong.  Defensiveness, I could understand as it’s human.  He doesn’t see his errors, and our letter was pretty stinging.  It did not directly address his sermons, and his sermons were less obvious anyway.  However, in the meeting we tried to focus on his responsibility as leader to study what the others speaking from the pulpit were saying and redirect their sermons to what the Bible teaches and what the church claims to believe.  In the few things we asked him, I could tell this pastor has gone into spiritual disciplines and said when I was concerned with the little Christ term, “you are a little Christ if you have Jesus in your heart.”  Some of that scares me.  So, there’s a little family with a husband hired as pastor in this church who sees the emergent popping up at this church and who encouraged the letter, and what he’ll hear of the meeting was that we did not listen and aren’t teachable.  He’ll hear we’re going to a good church now.  That’s maybe it.  Maybe even he’ll hear that we are extreme?  Maybe crazy? 

We have friends left there too.  We’ve spoken to one couple who knows all this, and was helping us to decide if what we saw was real.  They weren’t concerned, didn’t buy what we saw at Lighthouse trails.  They really know the ins and outs of the church in different ways than we do.  It took a while, but eventually, they could see it too.  Because they had been out of church for illness, they really hadn’t seen the changes that were happening.  Once the pastor started inserting “new age” style terms (the associate, not the head pastor), this couple could agree there’s something amiss.  Outside sources, for example, long conference speeches we were able to link to our friends showed them what a few leaders emergent/even missional were thinking and the direction it looks to all be heading.  It was this combined with the words of the pastors that really convinced them.  They have chosen to stay, and help out in the children’s ministry.  I’m told they see how Christ is a part of the curriculum for children in messages and training for the instructors, but somewhere it’s dropped by the time it’s given to the kids.  They, along with the pastor of children and others working with the curriculum are putting Christ back in.  This is good to know, that the younger ones in church, the children up to 6th grade, are still hearing the gospel in children’s ministry.  So, though our friends are left behind (as is another woman who often works in children’s music ministry)…I believe God has them there for a time.  Their teaching is likely reaching the children God intends for it to.  God has mercy, and I believe may still have this church in His sight.  The lead pastor and others in leadership may have their plans, but really, there is hope that things can get better….or if things don’t get better at least the children haven’t been left without some truth.  The minister left behind also speaks occassionally from the pulpit, and has a visual role in the church almost every week.  Therefore, I believe he is one reason people are hearing the true gospel focused on Christ rather than man.  I do not feel the leaders intend for the focus to be off, but it’s just happening because they are following so hard after faulty men and faulty plans. 

God save them from themselves!  I pray for our former church, that the leadership see what is wrong.  Not what we presented, or what we believe is wrong.  I pray God shows them what HE sees is wrong, and there is repentence and humility and a turning toward Him.  We may have some areas we are picking on that aren’t as bad as we make them, we’re not sure.  However, obviously, there’s something going on if people are jumping ship and we haven’t even talked to them…people were doing it in the months and years before we left.  We had nothing to do with any of it as we were clueless.  God please bless our former church, whatever that means…

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