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Posts Tagged ‘sheep’

We Like Sheep

I’m starting to mull over people who attend church and how they follow after.  I admit, I’ve blindly followed at times.  I want to be lazy, I want to sit and relax.  I want to just eat and not study.   I clump with others at times, and this causes problems when I line up with the wrong crowd.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people react and run.  If things are revealed to be wrong, we can leap wildly in the other direction.  In college, I recall a man who went from a charismatic style church group straight into Wicca, and then into another church group.  He jumped from one thing to another, or the guys I knew who jumped from a controlling group into the gay lifestyle.  But it doesn’t even have to be that extreme.  I mean, it can be that one might jump from one denomination to another, or from one leader to another.    It is easy to abandon one whole set of beliefs or people just because of some bad things/bad people and not really think about why.  I’ve done it, I’ve seen it.

I think the key is to remember that we people are sinners, our reactions can be prideful, can be sinful, even if we are right in realizing a bad church, a bad situation.  It is not wrong to point out the error, and to run from it.  When doing so though, I need to keep in mind where I am running to.  (this is not to say the church I am in is bad or that our family ran to something bad.  I don’t believe we have…just that it is very easy to react rather than to stop, pray, and think about things.  It is also easy to paint everything with a broad brush because I don’t see the whole picture).

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Despite our family’s circumstances and decision to leave our former church, it is not that we believe all are lost.  We cannot know the hearts of men or what God knows about their individual faith or salvation.  For this reason, I am sure many in our former church are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Leadership may be as well…pastors, staff.  I would say it’s not likely that any church has 100% who are chosen believers, there will always be tares.  I would also say that a pastor can still be saved and yet mistaken in his preaching in some areas.  

I believe God opens the eyes of His sheep in His time so they can see the teaching of wolves, whether it’s sheep unaware who are teaching or it’s wolves who will push the agenda forward.  I personally struggle because one particular pastor has fruits that indicate possible wolf status.  It’s hard for me not to write him off completely.  I do think some of the elders may also be in this category, though I don’t know enough of their personal fruits to see it.  Sadly, there are also likely some in the church we know who believe they are saved but aren’t due to improper teaching.  I don’t know if it’s our role to do more than point out error in teaching, confront sin directly as it’s seen.  It is for God to judge the hearts, we can only judge the fruits.    

I do believe though assuming a pastor or leader is actually a Christian saved by grace through faith in Christ is not wise either.  Just because one says they are a Christian doesn’t make it so.  Where to draw the line in my own head?  I don’t know that I need to know so much as I need to just listen and see where a teacher/pastor is coming from based on their teaching and their fruits.  If I point out the fruits, the error, and pray, what more to do?

I have so much to learn!

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I’m just a Christain woman with no leadership really in my family. I’ve really had to dig and learn for myself, and have trusted pastors and leaders to teach me truth. I spent time in high school being a girl who was basically a “goody two shoes.” I cussed, rarely went to parties but did go to a few. I was worldly, I knew nothing much else. I couldn’t really figure out how to grow until I got out on my own. I did study the Bible at times, prayed every day, and just learned as I went. When I got to college I found other Christians, and could attend church where I wanted to. I was in Navigators, and we were encouraged to study the Bible and memorize scripture. I wasn’t so great at the memorization, but I did attempt to do it. I really have always had a relationship with Christ as far as I could remember, and have had knowledge that I am a siner in need of my savior. Once married, my husband and I sought a church we could raise a family in. In the “Great Northwest” we found a non-denominational church we enjoyed. We continued Bible study weekly as we had from the first days of our marriage. We learned, we grew. We moved back to the Midwest. We found another non-denominational church. I recalled that Hank Hanergraff spoke there once and so I thought it would be good to try. I believe we had actually visited before we moved to the Northwest, and we knew we’d go there when we came back. We interviewed the church leadership as much as they interviewed us. We didn’t know enough to ask better questions. We joined small group, which I always called “Bible study” because that’s what I wanted it to be. We did study the Bible, we also used many little books and I know we always tried to get back to the Bible. We thirsted to know the scriptures and not something else. Not that we didn’t enjoy learning our spiritual gifts (which changed over time by the way) and learning how to handle our money or marriage tips. We did learn things, but did the things we learned have much to really do with the scriptures, with Christian living in the way Christ intended for us? We eventually figured out there were problems, partly because we became leaders of small group and were being trained about transformation/spiritual formation. The church changed the sign out front and the word “transformation” took a large part. A Christian in the wild wood saw danger. This Christian took to studying and figuring it out. My relationship with God has remained, Christ has not ever let me down. People and leadership has let me down. They have hidden their true agenda, (I have to say this…the weasles), and yet I have not been alone. My husband has been my support, noting that discernment is one of those spiritual gifts he believes I do have based on experience. When it comes to my fears when someone is teaching me, if I am bold enough to speak out I have often been right that something is wrong. I may not know enough to figure out WHAT but I can just say, “this doesn’t seem right.” I am generally good this way with men too, sometimes I just know this man is ego oriented…is up to something shady. (of course, not always, but many times I can do this). Now, I often push those feelings down, try not to judge. However, when it’s horrible and I feel I’m being warned by the Holy Spirit over and over again, I cannot ignore. I am not adrift with no hope, with nothing to guide me. I have God’s word written in scriptures. I can study. I have others I trust, and I can still ask their advice. I have prayer, I have the Holy Spirit. I have my husband who has a better memory than I do and can say “yes, he DID say what you think you heard.” There are many snares out here in the wild wood, many wolves to eat a lost little lamb. I am not a lost little lamb. I have a shepherd that will come looking for me if I go astray. Thank God for His Shepherd.

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I try some times to step back from “discernment” ministries and from reformed theology, from emergent web sites, and the like to try to figure this out. What exactly is happening in the church? Is it like the New Testament people who were splintered segments of the Jewish population? You had Pharisees, Saducees, Samaritans, Nazarenes, and the many other factions and groups within the Jewish faith. They bickered over this part or that part of scripture. Is this the state of many who claim to be Christians today? I do not think this is completely true of the Church. I believe there are Christians who are sinners just like everyone, but who are saved and are part of the Body with Christ as the head. Now, there will still be some things unclear, some things unknown to this group. But, what of all this error that is so destructive? Are these people part of the Body too? I believe it’s possible some of them are, and yet are deceived. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who are tied down when they need not be. Am I sure about this? No. However, I was in a church I feel was off track and yet I believe I was saved then as now. Even when I didn’t see the error, I believe I was still saved. Kind of like a child, who cannot see the adult that is bad. The child is not necessarily responsible for their lack of insight although they will suffer from the adult who is doing bad things somewhere.

I am just still trying to figure out the truth of where the true Church, true Body is and where the lines are exactly. It’s hard because we are told there will be wolves among the sheep, weeds with the good plants. So, it’s quite possible that the false church sits inside the true Church…and it seems will later be seperated and judged. Obviously, there are churches that are not at all part of the Body.

Ah, if only I could always manage to see clearly. I like to know things. I guess I just have to be aware that I am saved only by the grace of God because I know on my own I would be deceived so easily. I am nothing, but thanks to Jesus I am saved.

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