I and the Church, in general, is going through changes – we have been for some time now. These events/changes affect each of our lives differently. For some, mainly the people who don’t care, the changes make no difference. These are the kind of people who think the world revolves around them. (The problem with thinking like that is that if you call yourself a Christian, then your mentality is one that does not align with the Word of God. We are talking about the Word which describes the calling that is upon all of us who follow Christ.)
Let’s make a quick distinction here.
Everybody, especially when it can make them an extra dollar, claims to be a Christian. An example of this might can be seen in the music industry, or when a televangelist is trying to sell their latest book or album. One thing is for sure; when labeling yourself a Christian becomes a death sentence, you will see this trend come to a screeching halt, as only those who know Christ, and are sincere, will risk being killed.
The events that surround my life have occurred over the last couple of months. I have wanted to talk about them, but I struggle with insecurities about telling you all about the problems I go through. So, in a sense, I have been sitting on this, halted by the Holy Spirit. But now I feel I have the freedom to share it, and, I think you need to hear it, and consider your own lives.
What kind of changes have I personally been experiencing?
A clash in Church
A brother in Christ decided to give a somewhat, angry Word to the body recently. The problems that transpired in this process were many. Having been raised in a Pentecostal, charismatic, holy roller atmosphere, myself, I am accustomed to people presenting “words from the Lord” like this, and it was not uncommon for some to sound downright hostile.
The brother that gave the “unexpected” Word that morning started in a very theatrical manner, and others thought the same thing. It seemed as if he was presenting his credentials in the third person, just like a movie, proving that God had ordained what we were about to hear. (There was a “brother” at this Church, years ago, who had an earned Doctorate in Theology. I tried talking with him on several occasions and he was little more than rude. In spite of his rudeness, he did admonish me with some advice, that I have clung to. He told me, that when you introduce the Word, which may be from the Holy Spirit, as though it is “a Word from the Lord,” you are adding an element, that in theory, says, it is mandatory that everything I am saying, is appropriate and must be accepted at face value, and that is inappropriate.) And that is precisely what this brother in Christ did.
As he began to read the scripture that was motivating him, his presentation turned ugly. He was now using very angry tones, and it was his tone that seemed to set off alarms in the Pastor and his missionary brother – who happened to be there that day. The pastor’s brother, having spent time in third world nations, has seen peculiar things, and the manner in which this man tried to give the word to the church body, was no different. Together, the Pastor and his brother asked the man to sit down, to which the man loudly replied, No!
Several seconds passed, and now the man and the Pastor are telling each other to be quiet in Jesus name. Scripturally, we have authority over demonic activities in the Name of Jesus. Assuming that what we were seeing was demonic, hence the commands in Jesus name back and forth seemed appropriate, but what happens when what you are experiencing is coming out of the desire and heart of the speaker. (Everything contrary to the Word of God is demonically oriented, but as Christians, we are not supposed to be possessed, and therefore telling what you think is a demon to stop, is a futile exercise.)
Since the man giving the Word would not sit down and has now turned his attention exclusively against the Pastor, saying, “you are a false teacher, and I can prove it,” the Pastor retaliated by saying, brother, now it’s time for you to leave the building. Another lady, who had been sitting nearby, jumped up and shouted into the man’s face, “you shut your mouth in Jesus name.” At this point, he shut up, and walked toward the door – escorted of course. His final gesture was to scream out, “your blood is not on my hands,” and that ended it.
Merely telling you this story grieves me, as we lost a good brother in the Lord that day. I am not asking most of you to understand what I am saying, but I am telling you that giving Words to the body is and should be considered a biblically sound practice; as long as it is in order, and this man was not.
Men’s groups are shutting down.
A group that I was invited to attend had chosen to use a video teaching series of a well known “faith” teacher. I used to be heavily involved in the “faith” movement, but I no longer believe that God has any interest in what kind of car you drive, or, how big your house is. Keep in mind that I went to see if there was a mutual fit, and there was not. Several times, I was asked for my opinion, and so I gave it. (My neighbor calls my delivery as one of being “matter of fact.”) My comments were accepted by some and chastised by others, and so, after three sessions, I left that group. Subsequently, I was asked by the leader to attend the last meeting of that group, as he wanted input from the men about what they wanted to see and hear in the future, should the group reconvene. Because I felt that I needed to show my respect for the man who was leading it, I returned for the evening.
Another instance of groups shutting down would be one I have been a part of for several years now.
Recently one morning, one of the men announced: “Today, is my last day here.” His reason: because we don’t spend enough time in the Word of God. The disturbing aspect of this decision is that we three had been a part of a, church-sponsored, men’s bible study, that incessantly wasted our time, espousing ridiculous themes, and never developing them. In other words, like the man that got tossed out of Church said, the leader of that Monday morning group, was a false teacher.
Disgusted after several years of learning nothing from this man, we pulled off to form our little group. (This small group formation was not an overnight thought process; and, it turns out we had all been thinking about quitting, but where to go next was a problem.) I was one of the primary persons that pushed to have these meetings so that we could get into the Word of God more adequately.
My friends reasons for leaving, according to him, had more to do with how much time we wasted talking about feral hogs and people hunting them. Strangely, this friend that accused us has spent more than his fair share of time talking about his life as an outlaw biker, the bars he went to, and the people that he hurt. Did we shut down the group because of that? NO.
I didn’t say a word in my defense, as the Holy Spirit pointed out to me, that my mouth, would be doing little more than pointing fingers and tattling.
But, let me explain something here. On a previous occasion, I had mentioned how neuropathy was keeping me awake as my the nerves in my feet attempt to come back to life at night. In response to that statement, a brother says to me, what are you watching before you go to sleep at night, because that can keep you awake with your mind racing (obviously he wasn’t listening.) So, at the previous meeting with the guys, before this guy quits on us, I showed them what I look at before I go to sleep, just to get a laugh – feral boar hunting videos. Well, as usual, this went far beyond what I intended, with conversations about how we could go on helicopter hunts and shoot some ourselves. Yes, it turned into a waste of time, but, the idea was that we, could do something together.
You see, for two years we have been sharing our lives and the associated pains, with each other, as we integrate our lives into the Word of God. Well, thanks to one man, the dynamics of the group changed.
Just in the last few weeks, our worship leader’s daughter quit. She got a full-time job at a church they used to be a part of. Her leaving shouldn’t be a consideration for most people, but I was there when her father first got hired to be the worship pastor. And, I was also there when the new Pastor fired this same worship pastor a few years later. Since the old Pastor had been asked to come back three years ago, he rehired the former worship pastor back again.
Leaders getting caught doing illegal or immoral acts.
This is more like saying, I pay attention to news sources; not all of which make the headline news. But it seems like every week there is a pastor embezzling the church; molesting some innocent, or changing the Biblical standards and making some act, that God calls bad, into something he wants us to accept. This kind of activity is a part of what constitutes apostasy.
Well, enough of my rant. I just needed to talk I suppose. What is important, is how you deal with issues like this. We are called to love; called to forgive the unforgivable, and to generally demonstrate the love of Jesus to people; that is so hard to do when we are acting out in rage and anger against someone, who we think deserves it.
The two us that remain have dealt with this brother that left differently. I am not going to lie to you, I was furious. But the man stills sends messages asking his foolish questions. I was constantly admonishing him to change his bible study habits but to no avail, as he still jumps from front to back, taking things out of context, in order to make them fit whatever new doctrine he is trying to develop. My remaining friend, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with him. So he gets to ignore the brother, and I get the Holy Spirit saying to me, “I won’t let you ignore him. You are going to answer his foolish questions in the most logical and sound manner that you can.”
So while it is the flesh’s desire to bring wrath upon people, I hear the Holy Spirit saying, “Don’t you understand, Christ took all the wrath upon himself; if that is the case, then who are you to try to put it back on people.”
Folks, we need to figure this out and lead people to the real Jesus of the Bible, not the religious one.