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Posts Tagged ‘God’

I think the time is here and past.  I am no one, not some prophet crying out.  I’m just a Christian lady, but I have to say this, I agree with those who believe churches in America are bringing judgement upon themselves.  I am not speaking of the true Church, mind you, though there is still a remnant here in our nation.  We will be walking through this judgement too, but it’s those who have twisted scripture and lied to us that will be judged, and those who want to remain in the lie that will be judged.  It’s going to likely cause more persecution for the true church actually.  It will be hard to find truth in all those mega church wanna be buildings out there.  It will be harder to find comfort for the souls sitting in those numbered chairs.  Sure, they’ll feel good on Sunday morning when they sing and raise their hands, but what of the rest of the week?  Numb to the decay in their souls?  Numb from prescriptions taken to hide the pain?  Numb from socials and planning and work to be done?

I know an easy way to numb yourself….screen time!   Meanwhile, our nation is being taken over and when we do wake up, we’ll find our liberty gone.  Those who stand for Christ and who really want to be Christians, well, we’ll be quite unpopular around here.  The Christian nation will become something else entirely.  Muslim, atheist, whatever…these will be used to futher judge.  There will be a time of seperating.  There may not be an America left for hiding.  We may be a small lot, we may be a secluded lot.  We may end up underground. 

Of course, this is just an opinion and I am not speaking from a direct knowledge of anything.  I do know feelings (and they cannot always be trusted)…but in my gut I sense a terrible darkness.  With all that’s going on in our government, and all that’s going on in the church, it’s like God has turned from our America and is letting it go.  So now there are Christians sitting in the USA who are going to have to cling to Jesus, read the scriptures, and pray.  We have to wait to see what else needs to be done.  We have to choose not to compromise.  We have to teach our children well, they’ll need the strength that only God can give to stand when tested. 

This is not the world I knew when I was a girl, it’s not the same America anymore.

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A dear woman from our church is dying.  She has leukemia and has fought with every medical treatment possible.  About a year ago things looked bad.  They thought she was going to be dead before Mother’s Day, but she rebounded.  God blessed her with time, and she had ups and downs for months.  Little by little hope would grow for her life to be cancer free…but that hope is now dashed.  Tests show cancer is back, so now she’s living the long goodbye.  She has been an example of faith in the midst of trial, illness, and death on the door.  Her family, especially her husband, has been beaten but has always turned to Christ.  The church has been circling round this family, serving and praying.  They have been strengthened in weakness, and their faith is not broken no matter the terrible circumstances.  This time is no different, this news has not changed things.  Yes, this mommy is dying.  Yes this family is in pain, and they want to beg God for a miracle.  However, they are taking God’s will and are hoping to glorify God in life and in death.  It’s a hard thing to do, but so much grace comes from this life end testimony.  This mother, wife, and friend of many points to Christ.  She doesn’t try to be some sort of strong witness, she just turns to Christ.  The husband, daddy, and friend of many points also to Christ.  He leans on Christ and His church.  He begs for prayer, he also always says, “but God’s will be done.”   This little family just wants to walk in God’s will no matter the cost.

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I believe the church is splintering for a reason.  Something is up.  It’s not just fights about carpet color either, it’s about whether or not prayer styles being brought in to church are of eastern root and are biblical or not.  It’s about whether churches should follow plans of men like Warren, Hybels and if they should follow men like Pagitt or Maclaren.  Are authors like Dallas Willard leading us to a closer relationship with God or into works based faith and pagan practice?  It seems like there is a lot of fuzziness in Christianity, a lot of cirlces and rings that overlap.  Some churches are just beginning to use these authors, and preach these methods. 

 

In congregations everywhere on Sunday (and Saturday for some) warnings are popping up in the heads of believers.  Did the pastor just say that?  Really?  Is that what he meant?  What is this new program?  Who is this author?  How annoying to hear quote after quote.  How annoying, we’re using this term again this week, didn’t we have a sermon over this five weeks ago?  I sure wish we’d do a verse by verse study for a change.  Does this passage really mean what he says it means?  What do they mean I need to practice this way?  Is that works?  Did they forget something, like we need to repent? 

All over Christians are finding themselves lost in the church.  What is going on?  Why do we feel like we don’t belong anymore?  We cannot always put a finger on it, but something is wrong.

Then there is the other side.  Some of us have figured it out, and we float from church to church.  We are no longer trusting of men’s tongues.  We know that when you ask questions, things can be worded in a way that is meant to cause you to stop asking questions about the church and begin asking questions about yourself, your loyalty, your obedience, your willingness to change.  We find common ground online with people we do not know, or with distant friends who have gone through this and share a letter or email about their experiences.  Pastors have preached strange doctrines, new things have come up, or grandparents pushed out because they wouldn’t reach the youth.  Church changed quickly and when people asked what was up, and began to point out error, they were ushered out the door.  Some were encouraged to stay a while, but were told their decision to leave was good because they were no longer teachable, no longer with the plan.  “It’s your perception that matters really, so going to a new church where your family is comfortable is best.” 

So now, these people have to watch out for evil in their own approach.  Do they broadcast the problems to the world?  Do they share what they know in public?  Pride may creep in, and these folks have to watch for it.  It’s possible a reactionary church splinter may come off of this. 

It is easy to get trapped and tripped in a “we’re better than them.”  If *they* are telling lies, and are spreading false Christianity, we are still no better.  We are all sinners.  However, how do we approach this without sinning?  We must speak the truth in love.  We must share the Gospel, we must warn others of the dangers.  We must watch for evil that wants so much to make us ineffective.  The world is watching, the church is watching both apostate and true.  Our children are watching.  We need to proceed with wisdom.  Our mouths need to say what God would have us to say, no more, no less.  This is so hard.  If ever we needed to pray, to be close to our God, the time is now.  Draw near to Him, dear saints, draw near.

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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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I have a link to a prayer site by the youth camp corporation or organization I am concerned about lately.  This certainly doesn’t seem right to me…

http://www.sacredgateway.org/02_default.asp 

If you click through the “prayer guide” a window pops up that tells a definition of God, then has breathing exercises and the like.  This is NOT prayer, but clearly some other practice as it doesn’t even pretend to have a person focus on God but themselves, the sounds around, etc. 

The thing is, the leaders would claim this IS prayer, and this is how to get close to God.  I don’t get it at all…

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I spoke with one carefully selected pastor today.  He was amazing.  He first prayed, and asked God that I would speak in “truth” with “clarity” and “boldly.”  I cried before I started, but got it together so that I could speak at all.  He agreed with me that the “emergent” themes are popping up in our church.  He agreed that the youth organization camp (YF) outside of our church is emergent and that the emergent is linked with the New Age.  He also feels that our church pastors have historically been focused on Christ and are saved, but that they are trying to replace language with new language and it’s not just the language that’s the problem but the meaning behind it, and the focus.  He believes this church’s focus is now just off enough that they are no longer focusing on Christ, on the Word of God, and it’s subtle, but it’s truly there.  He says he’s spoken to pastors about his concerns.  One pastor even brought a book from lighthouse trails research to him and asked him to read it.  He said he did, but he’s also reading another book much more technical and looking at theology and emergent.  I am facinated to hear this.  He really almost begged us to stay, that we would share our concerns carefully in love.  He did say he understands though if we really feel called to leave because our children are important.  He was glad I came to him and am honest, and he feels our family is rooted in the faith and loosing families like ours is bad for our congregation.  Many have already left, he’s spoken to them.  He suggests before we make our final exit, we write to a few of the pastors and outline our struggle specifically, telling them truthfully what we are seeing and where the message has gotten off.  He says to wait for their response.  He says he prays they will admit their mistake, and that they will put their focus back on Christ, the gospel, and reaching people for Christ. 

I feel for him, I really do.  He says he is not “a warrior” in this church trying to be on a high horse and change them back.  He does feel he’s welcome to speak the truth here (and I’ve never heard any of this stuff from him).  This is very good to hear.  He says he doesn’t feel he needs to leave and then he added, “yet.”  He wants to stay in contact with us, and really is concerned with things I brought up, and made it clear he has seen it too.  His hope is that the church will get off of man centered focus and back to focus on glorifying God.

I believe him.  I don’t think he’s playing any games.  He might be let go if he does push forward, and may have to find another job someday.  However, it’s possible, maybe, the church will be brought back.  Now we are back to square one, almost.  Actually, my husband has released himself from the area of ministry he was involved in.  He let the pastor of that area know we were leaving.  Of course, if we do decide to stay, we will not hide anything at all.  We will stay with the hope that our church does change back.  We can still participate in missions, service, and arts worship.  We just have to START with the focus on God.  The works can flow from this.  Oh, I believe there needs to be a humility, repentance, call for forgiveness, and then maybe a pruning, and then we’ll see what God will do.  Of course, I only spoke with someone who “got” what I was saying.  I think we’re going to come upon resistance like we’ve never seen if we really push forward.  At least we’re not in any positions of power, we don’t have anything to loose.  I am nobody.  I am not worth anything.  I am just a sinner who is saved by the mercy, grace, and faith given me by Christ Jesus.  Period.  That’s what I got. 

 

So now it’s to prayer, and talk with my husband to see what we should do.

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