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Archive for the ‘Ekklesia’ Category

by Jim Gordon

Since doing the article on abuse in the church I have come across several people who have left the church system but not because of abuse. Unfortunately, abuse does happen and it is terrible especially within a place that should be known for its love.

Yet, even more than stories of abuse the one comment that seems to keep being said is that ‘I left because something just did not seem to be right. I felt there had to be more’.

I think this is a common feeling among those of us who have attended church for some time and have seen some things that just do not make sense. Sitting in a service once a week looking at the back of someone’s head does not make a lot of sense when in the bible we are told when we come together each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. Yet that does not happen. We all sit quietly listening to one person participate.

BetheChurch

God said he is building his Church from living stones, or in other words from us. Church is people. It is not a building nor an organization. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and if the Spirit of Christ lives within us, why are we just sitting letting only a few participate?

Many people are coming to the realization that the organization we know as church is flawed and not what God intended. We seem to be putting our focus on the pastor and the organization rather than emphasizing the Spirit of Christ who lives within us. We are to allow him to love others through us as we go about our daily lives. People are getting tired of just sitting along the sidelines when we can walk daily with the Spirit of Christ walking with us.

The Church that God is building is a living organism, many people making up one body under the headship of Christ. The church that many attend is an organization made of brick and mortar, doctrines and denominations and led by human beings. Many good things happen in the church building but the body of Christ is an active, living body where everyone has an equal part to play. Rather than attend a pre-planned service once a week we are to be living daily under the guidance of the Spirit. It is by his power from within that we can show the love of God to everyone we meet.

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by Jim Gordon

Have you been hurt by the church? Have you been abused within the church? I know many have and that is terrible, but there are many more who have not. My wife and I are a couple of the many who were never abused or hurt within the church but we still left. There are many of us who have left the system, not due to abuse or hurt but we have come to see the system as flawed. We have come to find a better way to express our love for God and for our fellow mankind. For us it is walking outside the walls of religion yet following the example of Jesus by loving God and loving people, all without an ulterior motive of getting people to church. Do you have a similar story? If so we would be glad to hear about your steps to leaving the system. Feel free to post your comments below.

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by Jim Gordon

So often when I mention that my wife and I have left the organized church, people assume something happened to hurt us or make us mad or we were abused in some way. Just to be clear on this subject neither one of us have ever been abused or hurt by the church. Neither one of us are mad about some event or some person at church. I know there are people who have had bad experiences which sometimes includes abuse and I think that is terrible. Fortunately for us that is not the case.

Today we seem to hear much about sexual abuse and the catholic church although this can happen in any church system. We hear of people in power within the system taking advantage of their members for various reasons. Fortunately this is not the norm in most churches but is a real and terrible thing that happens way to often.

I actually had some very good times while within the church system. I made many good friends, learned about God and his love for me and had many fun and enjoyable experiences with the people who were part of the church system.

It is certainly not out of abuse or being hurt that my wife and I decided to leave the system. After nearly sixty years in the organization and after the last fifteen of those years feeling that something is not right with the system, we made the decision to leave and follow Christ outside the walls of religion. To be clear, this was our decision and we certainly do not expect everyone to agree or do the same thing. Many people are part of the organized church who truly love God and want to serve Him. After all, the religious system we know as church is all we know.

We believe the Church is a community of people and not a building nor a service held one day each week with paid professionals leading the service. We believe the Church is each of us who follow Christ and see him as the head. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and each of us are equally functioning members making up his body.

WhatisChurch

We believe forsaking not the assembling of yourselves means we need one another. We live each day having fellowship with those God brings our way no matter where it happens. We never truly found real fellowship when we sat in an organized service for an hour looking at the back of the head of the person in front of us. We believe true fellowship is not just sitting together with other people in a room but it is daily loving, encouraging and praying for one another and meeting the needs of those we are able to help.

The temple in the Old Testament was only a shadow of what was to come in the New Testament. God now lives in us as his temple and he is our leader rather than another human being we call pastor. The only mediator between God and man was Jesus. He repaired the separation between God and man and we now have direct access to the Father without anyone in between. There is no hierarchy in the Church. Each of us are equally important parts of the body and able to teach, encourage, build up and pray for one another. It is truly a priesthood of all believers and not a one person show. Those with specific gifts for helping the Church are not better or more spiritual than the rest. They are brothers and sisters who walk along beside those who need encouragement. They are those who have learned a spiritual lesson and are there to help those who are still learning. They are servants among the body of Christ who are there to help and encourage.

So when I say that we have left the church it is only the building and organization I am talking about. We left not because we were mad, hurt or abused. We left because we believe the religious system most people call church is flawed and far from what God is building. He is building a group of people who will daily follow Him outside the walls of religion and organizations of men, loving God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, loving their neighbor and accepting all they meet along the way.

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by Jose Bosque, Guest Blogger
https://godsleader.com

I can’t begin to tell you how important it is for you as a believer to find freedom from the religious system.  What I am about to share is not just another teaching for the Body of Christ to read. It is the squeezed and pressed nectar of almost 30 years serving my King. This teaching was organically (by the Holy Spirit) produced in much fire, testing, and trials. I say this not to exalt myself as a great overcomer, but to give glory to God whose love and favor was predisposed towards me before I was in my mother’s womb. Many preachers talk about the high price they paid to come to maturity and wisdom. I would rather say like Paul that everything I lost looking back was rubbish compared to the excellency of knowing Christ. This is my journey; it doesn’t have to be yours. If in sharing these crossroads you find that there are similarities, maybe the Holy Spirit will bless you to know that you are headed in the right direction. Here are the 12 steps to finding freedom from the religious system.

  1. The Lord dwells in His people not in buildings.

There is no greater idolatry in the religious system than human being’s fascination with buildings. While God is looking at the internals (a pure heart), we are busy dressing up the externals (Sunday clothes and lavish buildings). Most Sunday morning church-goers have heard that we are the temple of the Lord, but they continue to say they are going to church or the House of the Lord. They ask me all the time, “Where is your Church, and where do you go to church?” It just breaks my heart. That explains why people act totally different when they are inside a church building than in their regular life. It’s that their God lives in a building they call the church. So they act like one thing in the church building and something else when they are not “in Church.” Shamefully for many believers the masks come off even before they make it out the back door. The church The Lord Jesus is building isn’t made of brick and mortar. God is not impressed with our elaborate sanctuaries, stain glass windows, golden altars, and 30 million-dollar arenas. All the lighting, mega stages, and expensive sound systems with dry ice clouds doesn’t do anything for Him either. He is not interested in people who just come to worship Him for an hour or two on Sunday. He is looking down at a people in whom He dwells and who release His fragrance wherever they go daily in this fallen world.

  1. The Church is about the people, not my Ministry goals.

This particular focus helped me take my eyes off the ministry and my personal goals and begin to understand I was there for the people; the people were not there for me. I was trained to attain goals. I used to tell people, “The few cannot affect the good of the many.”  My translation to that was no one was coming between me and my goals. In my heart I thought I was doing the right thing, but many were hurt on my road to achieving the success and the values of the religious system. I had no trouble loving the many because those ideals usually lined up with my goals. It was the few I had trouble loving and being patient with especially when something they did came against my idol “the ministry.” If you messed with the ministry, you messed with me, and to my shame, I had no trouble laying hands on you. Another problem was most of my church leaders had the same sickness I did. So rarely did someone call me out concerning my sin. Even the spiritual fathers I had at the time had an agenda to keep me close, so they wouldn’t rebuke me either. I suspect that birds of a feather flock together, so we chose each other according to what was in our hearts. If I had to put the spotlight on the greatest problem in the Lord’s Church today, it is the lack of authentic, no agenda love. That is why it is so important to get freedom from the religious system. It rewards performance and breeds a lack of love.

  1. His presence (The Holy Spirit) is always with us.

I spent most of my 16 years as pastor trying to conjure up the presence of God inside of the four walls. Everything we did was about calling down His presence, whether it was with our modern worship and high praises or my “super anointed” preaching. We worked hard for it every time we met.. Today we claim to be even more “advanced” because we have digital sound systems and lights, giant screens, and dry ice to move people emotionally. In essence we teach people that we live in hell and heaven is inside our church buildings. We even tell the people that it is “in His presence” where they can get their healing. A study of the New Testament will reveal no example of a Christian gathering searching for His presence or teaching about how to get His people in His presence. The Holy Spirit is with us 24/7 and never leaves us nor forsakes us. The Holy Spirit is not some goose pimple, emotional, ecstatic feeling. He is our friend and comforter that comes alongside us to lead us to Christ.

My friend Don Nori Sr. founder of Destiny Image press says:

“The glory of ‘Union with God’ IS His presence Whose final resting place is within your heart. This is where He IS. “This is My rest forever. Here will I dwell. For the Lord has chosen Zion (you and I), He has always desired us for His ultimate habitation. (to live within us!) Worship doesn’t bring glory from the sky. Prayer does not convince glory to come. Fasting does not capture glory’s attention. Glory is Christ within. Surrender consumes the soul with His Life.”

Notice this verse about a gathering of the church:

But if ALL prophesy, (profess Christ), and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. 1 Cor 14:24-25 NKJV

He worships because he is moved by the love, peace, and unity of the saints. Saints you don’t need to get in His presence! This isn’t Star Wars and “may the force be with you.” He hasn’t gone anywhere. If anything you have moved in your heart away from the Lord. Jesus Christ did all the work necessary for us today to constantly be in His presence. This in no way rejects a sovereign move of God or advocates for boring gatherings.

You can read more on the subject from Steve Crosby’s Book on New Testament Worship

http://www.stevecrosby.com/Praise-Worship-Presence-New-Covenant-p/pwpsc.htm

  1. The Clergy-Laity division is a worldly invention.

When I pestored (that’s not a misspelling) I didn’t know that I was teaching this lie because of “how we did Church”. The system feeds the system. I was always calling “our” people to go deeper, to be holier ,and to be more committed. They would answer me, “You’re the Pastor, and you get paid to do nothing but that. We have a job and we have a life; we just don’t have the time you do.” How did we get like this, or why does this perspective exist you ask?

As soon as the bible came into the hands of the public in the 1500’s and common people began to learn to read, the Catholic Church instituted this teaching to protect the office of the priest and the existence of the religious system. The Protestants and evangelicals also jumped on this bandwagon. They too needed to maintain the existence of a religious upper class so they could authenticate before their governments their qualification to exist apart from the Catholic Church outside the rule of the State.

What good are the Charismatic renewal and revivals if we never deal with the foundational problem that keeps Christians from seeing themselves as priests unto God? Christ is the Head of the Church, not Pastors and Priests. The church gives lip service to the Priesthood of every Believer but then denies it in practice. This article is too short to explain how the religious system twists (today we say Spin) two words to get their desired result. Suffice to say, many leaders have put on very faithfully the religious system given to us by our predecessors since we have never seen anything else. Unlike David when confronting Goliath who told the King Saul:

38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Sam 17:38-39 NKJV

If you have a calling from the Lord, do not compromise and don’t let them put the religious system on you!

  1. Every Christian is a minister of the Gospel.

We have invented church membership even though the bible clearly outlines that we are all members of one Body. We are told that some of us are paid ministers, and the rest of us are just members. Members attend (to be counted), and they give money to support buildings and staff (professional ministers) salaries. We are challenged to share the gospel and invite others to our buildings once a week. That pretty much sums up the spiritual life of a modern Christian believer. If a believer is part of a mega church, it’s even easier to get lost among the crowd so you can enjoy all the benefits without having to be responsible or accountable. Until we begin doing things biblically and return to the Lord’s definitions, we will be fostering weak, shallow, and immature Christians.

Here is a couple of verses;

6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 NKJV

10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 NKJV

Imagine the power available to the Body of Christ and to each congregation if the 80% who consider themselves weekly spectators ever wake up out of this error? The problem will come when on-fire Christians outperform the paid staff. Then the question will have to be answered, “Why are we paying paid professionals to do what every Christian should be doing?” Oops, but now we will have people out of work and much more money to help the poor, widows and the orphans.

  1. There is no such thing as Spiritual and Secular time.

My greatest joy as a Christian came when I realized I was a 24/7 minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. My work at my company improved because I began to do everything unto my God, not for my employer just as scripture says;

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Col 3:17 NKJV

This concept of dividing things into secular and spiritual is a concept right out of hell. This is probably the number one reason most Christian ride the roller coaster of ups and downs in their Christian testimony. When they are in the church building or doing “church things,” they wear their “goody-two-shoes” mask, but when they are away, they live like and act like devils. What good is it to sit in a weekly service without fail Sunday after Sunday and then whenever you get behind the wheel of your car, you fight with and curse every other driver on the road? This concept of dividing time between spiritual and secular breeds hypocrisy in God’s people. There is no such thing as secular time for those who carry the living Christ in their heart. If you want to find sick, demonized people who are in denial, there is no better place than the church. Weekly religious observance has no power over the flesh, but works great to deceive God’s people concerning their true spiritual condition. Some day we will give account for every second and every breath here on earth.

  1. We congregate whenever 2 or 3 are gathered not once a week.

When the Lord began to wake me up to get out of religious system, I began to read revival books. Having almost no examples around me, I feasted on the stories and biographies of great men. I remember reading about John Wesley keeping a record of His daily sermons which had numbers like “67 sermons today” in his diary, and I would wonder what is he talking about? In those days I traveled much to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, and the most sermons I ever preached in one day was 6, and by the last one I was dying. The more I read the more the emphasis on daily instead of weekly came alive to me. Also these men considered any meeting anywhere if two or three saints gathered to be a gathering of the church. I hear you saying yes, but that is not a service. Who says and where do you find it in the New Covenant that God requires services? Do you know why Christian pastors and priests do not consider you to be congregating if you are not in their weekly services? Do I have to spell it out for you? The religious system must come down hard against anyone or anything that is subversive to the continual existence of the status-quo.

I could run a congregation of thousands today if I would just play the religious systems games. I could do just like many of my peers who live a very fat, happy, and prosperous life. The problem will come on judgment day when I face my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On that day many mini-kingdoms will go up in smoke and only that which was really built upon Christ will stand. Real Christian leaders know they will give an account, and they walk with a Holy fear of the Lord.

  1. Christianity is a daily lifestyle and was never a Weekly Observance.

Christianity today is such a far cry from what Christianity was in the first century. Today the church is in the world, and the world is in the church. Every religion that exists compels their followers to worship a deity in a building or sacred place. Every religion that exists demands that rituals be done to maintain in good standing with that deity. Only Christianity passes the believer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light by faith in the once-for-all work of Jesus on the cross. Scripture says we are pilgrims and strangers just passing through this world on our way to Eternity. That means nothing in this world controls us, and we don’t live for anything permanent down here. Check your life and see if it reflects a just-passing-through lifestyle. If Christ is your life and you have a daily growing relationship with Him ,most likely your heart is focused on pleasing Him. If your Christianity is a “punch the clock” once a week observance or service, you probably have your heart focused on self and your desires. You only attend the slotted time because you think it keeps God happy. This is not confessional time, but Christianity as you have found out doesn’t work weekly. Either Christ is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.

  1. Christians are to feed daily on His Rhema not on Bible verses and Sermons.

Are you aware that more than 95% of people in the 1st century could not read or write? Are you aware that books (including the Bible) did not get into a commoners hands till after the 1500’s. So if people could not read and write and most of the church including its leaders were poor and at the bottom of society, how did the church exist without Bible verses to quote? There were no seminaries until the Catholic Church built the first one in 1567. How were leaders trained for the first 1500 years of the Church? Let me just quote one Bible verse that has been misquoted for years and has mislead many to prove what I am about to say. Millions of tracts and Bibles have been printed and distributed based on just this one verse;

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Rom 10:17 NKJV

As a normal every week modern church goer if you were asked “What is the word of God in this verse?” you would respond “the Bible.” Well, guess what – it isn’t the Bible! It’s the Greek word RHEMA which means a fresh word from God. RHEMA is what the Lord is saying to us through the Holy Spirit. This word RHEMA is what guides and directs His children daily. This daily communication is the basis of our intimate relationship with God. It’s what kept the church going for the first 1500 years and what allows true Christians to walk with God today. The Greek word used for the Scripture/the Bible is only found twice in the entire New Testament. Today when people talk about a “Word from God,” they are talking about a sermon or a Bible verse. The early saints had a personal 24/7 relationship with Christ the LOGOS, so when they heard a RHEMA in their Spirit, they obeyed it. The religious system has created a Christianity that cannot exist without the system. If Christians are taught to relate to God themselves instead of getting their truth through a mediator once a week, the religious system of men would come tumbling down and Christian maturity would multiply.

Want another Bible verse that has been misquoted? Believe me there are many. You heard said that as Christians we are to put on the full armor of God from Ephesians 6:

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Eph 6:17 NKJV

You can die saying the Sword of the Spirit is the Bible, but you would be wrong. It’s RHEMA! Memorize all the Bible verses you want, but if you haven’t received a fresh word from the Lord, you don’t have your full armor on. In the Spanish world they leave an open Bible in the house to ward off evil spirits. The devil laughs at goofiness like that. My brother’s house is full of wooden crosses in the design, and the floor planks are lined underneath with pages from the Bible so the preacher who built it could “walk on the word”. None of that helped him when he got caught in adultery with his secretary and lost his home, wife, family, and his ministry. You say the number one need of the Church today is we need disciples. Make them the way the Church did for the first 1500 years. You don’t make them pointing them to a book; you make them pointing them to a relationship with Christ their Lord and Savior.

  1. Unity in the Body is based on Agape Love, not Doctrinal Conformity.

In Seminary I was trained to teach people doctrine so they could get into right standing with God. The problem came when I began to teach what had been taught to me by the religious system. I found that believers were full of Bible verses and head knowledge about what was right, but somehow it didn’t always translate into their daily life and character. First, the truth without love is not the truth. It doesn’t matter how much truth (Bible verses you can recite) you think you know if you don’t have the character to obey them you, will fail time after time. I confess to you it is a strong deception, and I was blind to it for a very long time. No more, I am free and getting freer every day.

When I saw the division created by denominations, race, language, and people coming from so many varied backgrounds and levels of maturity, I asked the Lord how could we ever come into agreement?  He revealed to me that it was the bonds of His love that keep His people together and not our uniformity and conformity to a set doctrine. Everything improved when I taught what the Lord had revealed to me. The Bible speaks of only one test for true Christianity

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV

I love the words of this old gospel song:

I come to the garden alone

While the dew is still on the roses

And the voice I hear falling on my ear

The son of God discloses.

And he walks with me and he talks with me

And he tells me I am his own

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known.

For the record; I am back in the garden! JLB

  1. Mature and Tested Relationships are the backbone of the Church.

I have always been impressed by the testimony of the first disciples. The example of how they cared for one another, how they shared their belongings, how they cared for the poor and the widows among them is truly extraordinary

32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. Acts 4:32 NKJV

How can we do those things today with the shallowness of relationships of so-called Christians today? How do you go from looking at the back of someone’s head to knowing what is in their refrigerator?

I have watched hundreds of leaders and diverse Christian groups working together over the years. I observed them in their highs and lows. I watched how they operated, what kept them together and what caused them to blow up. Sometimes I see myself as a Christian Church sociologist because I love to dig deep and see what causes things to work as they do. Real relationships are formed by the Love of Christ. Relationships can’t be hurried or legislated from a pulpit. The best a leader can do to help others is to model the power and strength of true relationships before those who watch them. I can tell you this, only those that see the church as a family and actually make time to allow life to create mature and tested relationships will be able to stay together in the days to come.

It is not easy but today I maintain new covenant relationships with a handful of men and women. I am convinced that at the drop of a hat we would move heaven and hell to come to each others aid. This is not an “apostolic” network, or a religious society. This is family, the foundation of the New Testament church.

  1. Jesus Christ performed the last service unto God the Father 2000+ years ago.

No more services are needed nor required. We don’t come together for Christian maintenance. We cannot add anything to the final work of Christ on the Cross. We are justified based on His final work and purified by His blood shed once for all. No amount of man-made rituals can improve your position before God. The Lord is not impressed with your weekly attendance or the amount of money you give. Jesus Christ did all the work necessary for us today to immediately and constantly be in His presence. See below;

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, Heb 10:19-21 NKJV

The idea of services is a copy and leftover of the Protestants who protested against the Catholic idea of working for salvation and performing rituals weekly to be found right with God. Every seminary spin of the present biblical record in scripture for the existence of services is a lie and a twisting of the truth to maintain the religious system.

So you say you come to worship Him. Don’t you know that you began to worship him the moment your feet hit the ground this morning. You worship as you care for your family or work hard in your business. Washing dishes with a glad and thankful heart is worship. Real worship doesn’t need one of those professional celebrity christian cheerleaders. The greatest worship comes from simple thankful believers who raise their song to heaven in the midst of loneliness, suffering, and persecution just like in the first century.

The New Testament reason to gather is for Agape. Agape feasts were for the establishing of relationships and the caring of one another as they were moved by the compassion and the love of Christ. These were not scheduled or calendared, and certainly were not weekly. So what would happen this Sunday if the only reason people could attend would be as described above? No performances, no entertainment, no showing off, no business networking, no getting the word from the preacher, no rituals ,and no self-anything. I think we would have a lot of almost empty buildings.

Freedom from the Religious System

You have a chance to be a pillar in the coming revolution of the Church as she breaks free from the bondage of the current religious system of men. Simply speaking, what is coming will bring Christianity to its knees and only that which is His will remain. Already the exodus has begun and we have only been feeling the early tremors. No man can lead it since the Head of the Church is just taking back what belongs to Him. The greatest days of the Church are ahead of us, but for many it will not look like anything they have seen before. No, the church is not leaving earth like a wounded puppy with its tail between its legs whom the Lord had to pull out of the fire. The Kingdom of God reigns and King Jesus is preparing His Bride to shine like the stars in the sky. Her brilliance will come from her being purified in the fire like Gold. She will have the fragrance of the King upon her which will dwarf the incense of men. And she will be draped in such a Cloud of His Glory and Splendor that no dry ice machines or digital light shows will able to to imitate it.

Be a pillar in the coming revolution!

Much love,
Jose Bosque

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by Jim Gordon

I have become more inclined to follow my feeling that the church of today is way off base from what God intended. The church being the building many go to on Saturday or Sunday, the man-made denominations, the organized religious services led by a pastor.

Why do we get so caught up on being in a building each week, sitting quietly listening to one man (or woman) telling us what God is saying or what the Bible says. God’s word says we have the Holy Spirit to teach us and no longer need a middle man. God says we are all kings and priests and able to have a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.

churchisnotabuilding

Am I saying it is wrong to go to church? Of course not. I do believe the modern-day organized church is not in line with what God intended. I do believe we do not have to attend any organized church. Some will say the Bible says do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. That is true, but it does not say you have to assemble together anywhere in particular or on a set day. We can meet up with other believers in a restaurant, a park or invite them to our home for a meal and time of fellowship. That is the Church I feel the Bible is talking about, the people not an organization.

In our day and age, it is time to get over man-made religion and the church building being the center of our Christian life and realize there is more. Most churches today are more of a social club or a big business than anything. We should focus on Jesus and build our relationship with him and realize that WE are the Church and the Holy Spirit lives within us making us the dwelling place of God. We are the temple of God.

We are to build our fellowship with God and with one another. This does not need to be done in a building during an organized service, but in spending time with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Living life daily under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, encouraging one another, showing love to all people, helping those who need a hand.

People should be able to know that we are Christians because of the love we have for God and for one another, not because of an organization we belong to or a denomination we follow.

Share your thoughts in the comments below

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by Jim Gordon

So often when we talk about leaving church, people usually misunderstand why we made such a decision.

Many times, christian people who remain in the traditional church system automatically think we have left our faith, gave up on God or are in a backslidden spiritual condition. Rather than listen to our reasons and trying to understand, many are more interested in proving why our decision to leave was wrong. They try their best to encourage us to come back to God by going to church. Unfortunately, many just write us off as someone to avoid and forget.

If they would only watch and listen a while they would see that we have not left God. We have only left a system that we feel is flawed and not what God intended. We have left the man-made system to follow God in what we feel is a more natural way by putting our dependence on the guidance of the Spirit alone without the middle-man known as a pastor.

We feel we no longer get much out of the weekly organized service. We feel one person doing all the talking in a building where only a select few have anything to do with the pre-planned service is not what God had in mind. We feel that when we gather with others each of us should have a voice, some word of teaching or encouragement.

For those who are followers of Jesus, most of us grew up in the church system. That is all most of us have known. Yet it seems the Spirit is drawing many out of the system and into a more organic way of gathering. Church is no longer seen as a building or an organization based on traditions and doctrines of men.

churchnotabuilding

Church is community. It is people living daily under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. It is coming alongside other believers for fellowship, encouragement and building one another up in Christ. This can happen anywhere on any day in any place. We can come together with other believers in restaurants, parks, pubs or houses. Anywhere two or three gather in Christ is a place we can participate and be used by the Spirit to encourage others.

For those still in the traditional system, please do not worry about those of us who have left. We have not left God. There is no reason why we cannot all accept one another and the choices we make in regard to attending a religious organization or following Jesus outside the walls of religion and traditional ways of gathering. Whether in or out of the institutional church, each of us in our own way are trying to follow Jesus in the way we feel he is leading us. Our goal is to love God and love one another.

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by Jim Gordon

I recently listened to a YouTube video by Richard Jacobson and in it he mentioned veal crates. I had never heard of that before so I checked it out a little. It was interesting reading about veal crates and it got me to thinking about another type of box.

What I found was that veal crates are a close-confinement system of raising veal calves. Veal crates are designed to limit movement of the animal because meat turns redder and tougher if the animals are allowed to exercise. In some veal crate systems, the calves are kept in the dark without bedding and fed nothing but milk.

Veal crates seem to limit the calf from being able to move about and roam in much larger areas thus getting exercise which would cause the animal to strengthen. It also keeps them from contact with other calves and under the control of the person raising the calf.

VealCrate

Personally, this makes me think of the institutional church. Before we go any further, I want to point out that I am not an enemy of the church. I was part of the institution for over fifty years and very involved, so I can speak as an insider rather than someone who knows nothing of what I am saying. I do believe the institution confines us and limits the freedom God intended us to have.

I also realize that people cannot just up and leave because someone else says they should. It is a choice between the person and the Spirit. I believe there is specific timing as to when and if someone leaves the religious institution. I know for me it took fifteen years or so of being dissatisfied and thinking there had to be more. As Barbara Symons mentioned in her book ‘Escaping Christianity: Finding Christ’, “There is a need for all of us to experience restriction until Christ is formed within—like a pearl within an oyster, closed tightly until the time of harvesting. Before I understood this principle, I tried to convince others to leave the system as I did and in retrospect, it was before their time. I felt like a cage fighter; only my opponent was the cage itself. I was battered and beaten by trying to dismantle the religious system from the inside out as I tried to liberate those still within its grasp. I now understand that people will remain within restraint as long as they need to”.

People are brought into the box of religion and kept there to support and grow the institution. Once inside the box they are taught what that particular denomination believes or how that specific pastor thinks. Sometimes they are kept in the dark and only fed the milk of the word rather than the meat that gives them strength, knowledge and the ability to hear the Spirit for themselves.

Many times, people are restrained from being free to serve and use the gifts they have been given. Therefore, due to lack of exercise of using their talents they become weak and have no confidence to do anything other than what the institution says.

Most of the time they are only having fellowship with those within the box and usually encouraged to avoid fellowship with people who see things differently or do not go along with their way of thinking.

Outofthebox

Rather than enjoying the freedom God has provided outside the box and a life of accepting others and loving others, they are kept inside. By doing so they learn to exclude people, avoid certain people and are only fed the knowledge the institution and pastor wants them to know, all with the purpose to keep them from leaving.

It seems to me that breaking out of the box and being free to follow God without the rules, regulations and expectations of religion would be a much better way of showing the love of God to others. Being free to fellowship with all people, accept and love others with the love of God no matter who they are or what they believe.

We are not meant to be confined within the walls of institutional religion. God has set us free to follow Jesus wherever he leads. We are free from the rules that religion puts upon us for the purpose of making us better Christians. We are the Church that Jesus is building, a people who love and follow him not a building or organization.

Rather than live within the confines of the box religion puts us in, break free and live in the world God has created. Love people, accept others and show the unconditional love of God to everyone.

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Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace that the Lord provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our own personal growth to take place.

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