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Posts Tagged ‘humility’

I am no prophet.  I claim no wisdom.  I am nothing.  However, I believe the call to repentance is so quiet around here.  The church needs to humble itself and repent.  We should not pray for revival.  We should not pray for our kingdom to grow.  We should not pray seeking God’s purpose for our lives.  We should be face down in our own tears and drool, dirty and breathing only dust and not mantras.  We should be ashamed for our part in allowing the church to turn away from God. 

I speak from personal experience.  I have been too comfortable.  I have been blind, been sitting and nodding away as the pastors have spoken from the books of men.  They have woven a story about God and tried to sell it to me.  I ate it and I am ashamed.  I do not think I was worthy to see the truth, do not think I was anything wise or special.  I did not trust when I was given warnings.  I did not confront soon enough. 

Read and study the Bible, God’s word.  Do not trust even the most famous pastor, the most kindly servant.  Watch, listen, and be a Berean.  Pray for your leaders and pastors.  Pray for humility on your part and on theirs.  Pray for unity and love in the right way and not in a compromised way.  Pray God will discipline those He loves, and they will soften their hearts and return to Him.  Most especially, pray for guidance and wisdom…in dealing with this current generation and in church.

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Impressed with William Tyndale who stood against King Henry VIII.  At his execution he prayed “Lord, Open the King of England’s Eyes!”  He did not pray for his own rescue, but for the very enemy who forced his execution.  This is the attitude we need to have when we speak the truth, and then are persecuted.  “Lord, open their eyes!”

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My husband called an elder and left a message after we heard the sermon online.  Last night, he called back when my husband wasn’t home.  We discussed the open pulpit comment, and the elder was not comfortable with that at all.  I kept saying I could understand the pastor’s position in some ways (and I can) in that he wants to likely let the person who said something about overhearing know he means business as well as he thinks we’re wrong and wants to make it clear.  He did define emergent, said it was bad (yay) and said their church isn’t emergent.  Again, maybe not overall, but there still are connections that need to be dealt with.  I told the elder this.  I also mentioned that the connect the dots comment really was something said to us in a meeting, so I am not suprised it came out (we connected dots from one author to another to make a weak connection to emergent according to the pastor).  The conversation kept up and the elder ended up boiling down what he thinks the issue is…that we claimed in our letter that the church has shifted focus from Christ and from giving glory to God.  The elder said it was the only statment he felt we came up with that wasn’t okay to say.  This was a bold statement, I know.  However, my husband and I believe the church is focusing more on man and man’s methods than just on the plain thing of glorifying God.  Messages (even now) don’t have Christ as the focus, but on “kingdom building” or on fund raising for building the church.  Scripture is used as a means to some sort of end.  Yes, the thought is, we’re paying all this staff to preach the good news, we need audio visual because it’s better for our congregation and brings people in, this or that program will bring people in.  I could go on and on as to why they justify the way they do things.  The plain truth is the congregation (when we were there) was not being fed.   I stated this to the elder in so many words, and he stuck on the point that we wrote something in our letter we surely didn’t mean.  He’d been with the pastors overseas on short term missions, even speaking recently about this specific letter with the pastor who quoted the emergent leaders (not the one who mentioned us this weekend, but another).  The pastor said he couldn’t understand why the first time he mentioned contemporary authors someone began to pick that sermon apart.  Now he felt he couldn’t just quote anyone and had to watch every word because people were scrutinizing what he was saying.  (uh, aren’t we supposed to pay attention to what people say from the pulpit?).  He said he could easily quote from someone and embrace one idea without embracing all of emergent.  Yep, true.  Still…would we quote a Mormon from the pulpit because we agree with the ideas but don’t embrace all of the emergent?  No, we would not at least without some sort of disclaimer.  The elder kept coming back to the point that we needed to examine whether or not the church had Christ at the center.  His point was that it wasn’t actually church if Christ wasn’t at the center.  Yep, that’s why we left.  Using 40 Days of Purpose like it was something magical, following the P.E.A.C.E. plan, getting into Dallas Willard, doing children’s church with much video, much filler activity, focusing on seekers, and on and on. I told the elder I felt that though the scripture was used, and even now whole passages of Nehemiah are read outloud word for word and preached on, that scripture can be mishandled.  I brought up the speaker, Stephen Smith, who spoke of Lazarus and reworked it for a pop psychology purpose.  The elder commented, (and I laugh as I write this) that the speaker was off his rocker anyway.  What?  Why was he speaking from our pulpit then?  Why in our final meeting did the pastor say he would not have this man in the pulpit if he didn’t endorse his ideas.  In fact, the pastor had recommended his book and tried to personally promote it.  So I guess the elder and the pastor don’t see eye to eye on this speaker?  Who knew. 

We had been learning about God for a while, and felt we were okay in this church over the years.  At some point we realized that some of what filled us was small group because we had Bible study there.  We  had friendships that filled us, and kept us feeling like we were being fed.  Church was our social place, and there is nothing wrong with socializing with believers.  I believe the other believers did help us and we learned from them.  We took from messages what we wanted to and we left the rest sit.  If you are a Christian, you can grow on a little and you can grow on what you do on your own.  However, and this is key, people who are in other churches who have left our former church tell us that they didn’t realize how much they weren’t growing until they went elsewhere and found themselves actually fed and actually growing more than they would have.  One family left our former church because they worked in children’s ministry.  They didn’t like what they were seeing for their children, they couldn’t settle anymore.  They left, and a byproduct of leaving was that they grew at their new church.  It wasn’t just their children, they weren’t being taught enough, fed enough. 

Everytime I begin to wonder if we’re crazy, I sit down and think about it.  No, we’re not crazy.  We saw what we saw.  The reaction of the pastor was almost word for word what we read would happen in a church affiliated with Rick Warren.  The pastor’s reaction to us shows us a LOT.  The elder (we love this man) who is very sincere still is putting almost all of this on us, we are in error (not sinning according to him, not needing to confess a sin).  He believes we need to revisit this in time, and somehow work it out with the church and the pastor.  This probably means we will have to recant on what we said, give in.  Mean time, the church leadership had to deal with us, and now they have to deal with what is left since we are gone, since we spoke up.  They have to either dismiss us or agree and then open that can of worms for themselves.  One friend who left before we did said that at least they didn’t ignore our concerns as they did his (for TWO years).  The pastor mentioned it from the pulpit, and he’s likely to get more questions from it then he ever would have.  Maybe some others will investigate.  I can almost bet some out there will too.  This isn’t the end of this topic for our former church.  They will have to deal with this until God lets them go. 

And still, I’m thankful for being confronted on gossip or on my attitude when speaking about our former church.  I need to be truthful, and need to also be loving.  I do not have to love what has happened, but I do need to pray for the church, the pastors, and need to pray for the flock there.  I need to, when speaking, not feel proud of my self like I am anything.  I am nothing.  I was in it, I nodded and let it go when I could have spoken up earlier.  I wasn’t responsible and in the Word enough.  I didn’t have enough nor use discernment wisely.  I believe I was selfish and that’s why I didn’t see.  The drama is not something to relish in, to focus on.  The time is always fresh for focusing on Christ, and next on my family.

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I never want to get pride when it comes to my status in Christ.  Though I see error in our former church and it’s leadership, I also can see myself easily loose focus on Christ and the scriptures.  I can easily see how prideful I could get, how easily hateful.  I question myself often, examine myself, and pray God show me where I am wrong.  I have found this issue of what has crept into the church to be very complicated.  There are those who are saved, but who are currently caught up in all this.  There are those who I thought were saved, but who are misleading the flock.  There are those who have puposely infiltrated to change it all, who may even know they aren’t really Christians so much as they are “making this religion” better…fit in with some outside plan.  I was one who was caught for a while, deceived.  One who knew something was bothering me, and it took a while to see it.  Immature despite my years as a Christian. 

I pray so much in my heart for those who are in churches and are not seeing it right now, hearing candy when they need meat.  Sadly, there is a form of meat being brought forward, but it’s not for human consumption.  I’ve noticed my former pastor is very focused on mentioning how opposition will come if you are doing the right thing.  This is at least two messages in a row now, he’s very strong on it.  We are the opposition to his right thing.  We’re not the only ones.  Read this paragraph, see how strong the message…

” And this one will become painfully obvious over the next

weeks. Look with me at 2:9-10. READ. Remember those names. You are going to read them a lot in the weeks

ahead.

 

 

 

Nothing significant… will ever fly unopposed. Nothing God calls us to that is eternally

important is going to fly on this earth without antagonism and conflict. Get ready. Prepare. Gird your loins.

Anything the people of God seek to do that will advance the King’s Agenda will be opposed. Nothing of lasting

significance is going to be accomplished without opposition. In our church, in your life, in my life… nothing that

will count for eternity is going to happen without the opposition of Satan or the friction of a sinful world system.

Count on it. Nothing you long to do for God that is of eternal value and will bring God great glory will happen

without hostility and resistance.”

So, in perspective, the pastor is saying resistance to what’s going on in their church is Satan’s opposition….friction of a sinful world system.  Yes, the church gets resistance.  Yes, it gets downright persecution.  However, two people who come to you with concerns that we had are not automatically from Satan, not necessarily lax Christians who don’t want to follow God’s will, not necessarily sinning.  Is it possible you can get resistance from some members (a certain percentage) within the church who are actually NOT of Satan?  The ones I know who left before us do not seem to be acting from sin, but from a serious concern of actually sin in the sermons…or in the actions  of the leadership, or in the focus of the church, etc. 

 

 

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Wow.  I have a comment on here telling me that:

“sometimes the best thing that can happen to a church trying to move beyond the evangelical-cultural understanding of “bible-based” teaching and into a more meaningful expression of what it means to live the “with-God life” as a community – is to have people like you go somewhere else and critique some other pastor from your pedestal.”

Wow.  Ouch. 

I will say that if I were just about critique this comment would be fair.  We are to respect those God has placed in leadership over us.  I absolutely do love and respect my pastors.  I grieve, grieve, grieve the fact that their focus is off the gospel lately.  They (and I would say not all ) have begun to focus more on mission rather than on the gospel, on Christ.  It’s not okay to take the foundations for granted.  I am not just being critical.  I’m not asking that we get rid of the screen at the front of the church during music time, I’m not asking for us to take communion more times a month or less, or asking for us to change every little thing.  I am asking that my pastors do not bring another gospel or a different religion into Christianity.   I do need to share my struggles and concerns with the church pastors.  I should do this in love.  I am not free of sin, free of pride.  I am no one, only Christ is supreme, and is perfect.  I have to walk humbly.  I do believe though, that in this case, I am dealing thougthfully with my church.  I have not intentionally written my pastors’ names here, not interested in tarnishing their reputations.  I also believe what I am writing can be helpful to others, so I am sharing my thoughts here.  I may sound critical, but I see that I am being like a Berean and taking what is said back to the Bible itself.  Does it match up?  Not all the time.  That is what I’m taking to task.  I thank my critic for the reminder, I need to tread boldly and carefully in love.

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