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Posts Tagged ‘rapture’

Like being intwined in seaweed, or brambles in the forest, we Christians are often entangled in things that make it hard to walk the path of truth.  We get into men’s teachings, and follow men.  We get into the world’s ways, become woven together with these ways.  Soon, they become a part of us, like barnacles on a whale, entwined and braided, the thorns have broken off and splinter inside.  Cutting ourselves free will hurt.  I can say, when I read about influences in the church these days I see this entanglement.  Entanglement with the mystics and the belief that it is supposed to be a part of Christianity.  The claim that to be deeper with Christ we must pracitice spiritual disciplines.   I thought Christ was our mediator, and that nothing we do can save us.  The sacrifices desired are a “broken and contrite heart….” and not contemplation. 

From personal experience, I saw entanglement coming from my very own pastors.  If writers like Nouwen, Willard, Hybels, and Warren are producing good fruit, then why do pastors who are following after them continue to loose long time Christians who are serious about following after God?  It is not the numbers that are the measure of fruit, but I believe (and I am not God so anyone out there can correct me on this) that wise people will stick with a wise pastor if God doesn’t call them to something else.  If you are loosing elder members, you might consider why.  If a church looks like the world, then it might as well be the world. 

The entanglement is confusing.  I have asked elders and pastors about contemplative prayer.  I’ve gotten some interesting answers. 

“Do not let terminology frustrate you, the Bible speaks about contemplation” (this also included transformation and meditation).  My question further would be “does it include spiritual formation?”  We didn’t ask much about that as we had enough issues…

The lead pastor of our former church said, “If you are referring to lectio divina, it’s been around since the Reformation.”  Interesting.  Many things have been around since even before the Reformation, and that doesn’t make them right.

I have heard other unsatisfactory responses when it comes to such entanglements.  “Why would you attack a ministry that has done so much to advance the kingdom” and there’s always the “you’re being unloving.” 

It hurts when people pull on the tangles, no one ever likes the rats brushed out.  It can pull and hurt.  Cutting out the cancer and treating it hurts.  What is hard, is that we were warned the weeds would grow among the fields.   We are to snatch some from the flames, but we will not be able to untangle all the knots until the return of our risen Lord.  This hurts all the more.  We can do our part, and it will not be enough but we are still called to do it.  It is finished in Christ Jesus.

Sadly, I have to admit I am entangled too.  The world is on me, though I am cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.  I pick up a thorn here, a barnacle there.  I get caught up too.  I am sure the first thing that will happen after I rejoice in seeing Jesus is sheer on my face mourning.  At least for the second He allows it.   I so long to be untangled. 

Maranatha.

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So many things swirl in my head since looking into Purpose Driven Life and Spiritual Transformation in our old church.  I’ve learned a great deal more than I ever wanted to know.  I was quite content with my church.  Still, I was noting that the small group model was failing our family (back when we were doing 40 days…they split our group).  We were not making the connections promised, and the growth we felt was stagnating.  But, we were not blaming the church and were blaming human relationships.  Of course, Christians are going to fail to be perfect, and therefore, it was human sin in small groups causing the problem.   Ahhh thinking about all the things that lead up to our leaving, all the dissatisfaction, the time we wasted thinking we were doing something good…all the warning signs…it just sits in my head and I cannot believe it. 

Now, as I wrote, I know more than I want to know.  I feel so inadequate, so duped.  I also feel so helpless, and am so aware of my sin and my weakness.  This thing is very BIG.  Very big.  Some days I think, “is all this we learned just a farce and was our old church really okay?  Are we exaggerating this?”  Then, I think back, remember, and look around at the Bible studying/humble/respected Christians that left before us.  I look at what our former church was clearly promoting, and I know at least one thing we’re right about, their focus is off of Christ and onto man.  They are into things we didn’t ever learn about in the past that this church is into.  The deception is so subtle.  Really, it’s hard to know the sheep from the wolves (except the overt ones).  Honestly, if someone came to me and said last year this time, “your church is into some things that are new age” I would have wondered what they were talking about.  In truth though, I am the type that would have not scoffed at them, and I would have researched.  I’ve learned though, when bringing up the issues with people who attend, we get those that trust us enough to research, those that cannot see it, those that don’t want to know, and those that deceive on accident, and those that do it on purpose. 

In speaking with an aunt, uncle, and cousin this weekend, I got more to think about.  My uncle’s very faithful Christian mother and father refuse to attend their Nazarene church any longer.  They objected to much of the things going on.  I think it was a “Purpose Driven” church.  The pastors brought in rock style music, and multimedia presentations.  When the elderly of the church…and more conservative came forward, they were basically told that there was no going back and the youth were being reached.  They tried to form their own church, but the Nazarene church wouldn’t allow it.  This faithful woman is distraught and cannot attend church anymore.  She’s also now dealing with a homebound husband at a time when she’d need the church the most.  They are in their 80’s.  The calousness shows the fruits well in this case.  It also shows how far reaching this problem of church shifting has become.  Long time solid members of churches are being cut off.  When they speak for truth, they are being ignored, abused, and shunned.  Fruits are showing themselves as rot. 

Looking at how the world has changed, makes me think it’s possible we’re ever closer to loosing freedoms as many have said we would when things came closer to the return of Christ.  It feels this way.  I know people have believed the world was at it’s end many times before.  At the same time, I do feel that if we turn to our Father in repentance things could turn around.  It’s really up to God’s will.

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