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Archive for the ‘Jesus follower’ Category

by Jim Gordon

John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

We have read this verse many times, but it is so easy to pass over how important this verse is. Jesus is our life source. It is in Him that we live, and move and have our being. He supplies all we need. He provides us daily with the requirements for life and what we need to truly live a life of sharing his love with others.

Jesus has done all that is needed for us to be forgiven, made new and have a loving relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is by his grace we are free, and all the spiritual things we think we need to do to put us in right standing are so unnecessary.

Jesus is the one who has done everything needed to restore our right standing with God.  It is Jesus who takes our burdens, frees us from guilt and guides us daily as we follow him. All we need to do is accept his work and rest in Him.

Our main focus should be on Christ, not on things about Him. He is our life. He is our all in all. We are to give Christ the preeminence in all things. He is the Vine, we are the branches; apart from Him we can do nothing. Rest in him and enjoy the peace he gives knowing we are in him and he is in us.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

After being in the organized church for well over 50 years, and seeing all the different denominations, beliefs, interpretations and opinions, there is one thing that makes me sad. That is to see so many followers of Christ fight and argue over the different paths we take in our Christian walk.

I am not saying all-roads lead to God, but while trusting in God and following Christ we are going to take many different paths during our life here on earth. They are going to be different from other followers of Christ, but we are following the same Christ.

Those of us outside the institutional church should not divide and separate ourselves into the ‘in church’ and ‘out of church’ groups. In the same manner, those who are part of the modern-day church should not look down on and separate from those outside the institution. We need to accept that we both love God and are following Christ along the path he has for us.

I think this is what working out our salvation means. Not that we have to work to earn our salvation, but we continually learn as we follow Christ in our salvation. We, as Christ followers, will take different paths in our walk with God. We should not expect everyone to walk the same path. By using the term Christ follower, I mean that Christ is living within us, and we walk with him and let him live through us. We are following him and the example he set that we read about in the gospels.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to love one another, encourage and build up one another. We are not to be continually expecting everyone to act like us and walk in the same way we do. We are to be accepting, loving and kind to all we have contact with each day, and especially to those who are fellow believers.

It seems we are more concerned about every Christian believing and acting the exact same way and when they act differently, we want to fight, argue and separate ourselves rather than accept that God works in each of us in different ways. He made each of us differently, and he leads us along different paths as we walk toward a common destination.

Rather than expect everyone to be just like us, we are to love one another the way Christ loved people while he walked the earth. Different interpretations and ways of walking with God should not be a stumbling block to a loving fellowship with one another.

Besides, we are not going to lead anyone to Christ when all they see is arguing and disagreements among brothers. We are not going to draw people insisting they conform to our way of thinking and following our rules and interpretations. The only way people will know we have something worth checking out is when they see brothers and sisters in Christ caring for one another and building one another other up in love.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

It seems intuitive a loving Creator would love the way we were created to love. It isn’t too presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions, our consciences. Christians may argue we should trust “biblical truths” about God and the future, but scholars don’t agree if the Bible suggests God does or doesn’t know the future. We have to think intuitively what a freedom creating God would know about the future in order to be perfectly loving.

Freedom requires that God can’t know the future

It is natural to think an all-powerful God knows everything including the future. But freedom is necessary for perhaps the highest good in relationships – authenticity. Freedom has possible consequences such as suffering but if God didn’t create freedom, we could accuse God of not creating the “most loving” world. It isn’t that God keeps themselves from knowing the future. It’s that an undetermined future is unknowable. God may know all possibilities, but the future must be open if we are truly free and God is truly loving.

Why it matters that God doesn’t know the future

It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. But God can’t tell you if the person you want to marry won’t end up betraying you or the job you take won’t end up being phased out. A human parent would warn their child if they knew ahead of time of heartbreaks. God isn’t hiding a “known” future for important decisions. God joins us in an open future.

Freedom allows not being anxious about making “right decisions” or missing God’s will

We already know the mind of God when it comes to moral decisions; otherwise, God supports us in making best decisions at the time that make our lives and the lives of others better. Joy and good is achieved by taking any number of paths and avoiding immoral paths. The good news about God not knowing the future is that we can feel God truly want us to feel free without strings attached. God seeks only to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can.

Uncontrolling love can explain why God can’t intervene more with evil

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in and following is a perfect, loving God. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because love doesn’t manipulate. We hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gain. God can’t control evil because God’s very nature is love and true love is uncontrolling. Ask any adult child! A God who can control evil leads to asking “why or what is God punishing me for” or “God, do you really love me?”

Uncontrolling love can explain why God doesn’t answer our prayers 

Let’s be honest. More prayers are unanswered than answered. God can’t wave a magic wand without accounting for freedom. We can talk to God for self-examination, for sharing our concerns, and not feeling alone in a chaotic world. We tell others to seek influence from the right people to make wiser choices. It isn’t that you didn’t beg enough or have the right attitude. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. God though is always doing all they can in a free world before, during, and after our prayers.

A God who doesn’t knows the future is more relatable 

A known or set future suggests one isn’t truly free to choose otherwise. Even the Bible speaks often as if God doesn’t know the future. God hopes Israel would accept God’s guidance, but Israel often turned against God (i.e., Jer. 3:19-20). We don’t have to play mental gymnastics by assuming God is only pretending to not know future decisions. When the Bible says God grieves with us in our suffering, we can know God agonizes with us each step of the way and deters any suffering possible without violating freedoms or acting controlling. God joins us in our joys and sorrows.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

 

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By Mike Edwards

My fellow blogger recently posted on this subject Is It Our Duty to Convert Others? After reading I wanted to share some thoughts that came to mind about God-followers/Jesus lovers/Christians trying to convert others.

The Bible doesn’t say about evangelism what you may think

Jeff Banman shared some thoughts about the Apostle Paul, who is known as the primary evangelist/starter of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus: Wise Evangelism | Jesus Creed |  Paul’s emphasis wasn’t as much going out and preaching the gospel but living out Jesus’ ways that can attract others to reasons behind our ways. There don’t have to be forced but natural conversations if others are interested.  Relax and simply be loving!

Does the Bible really require certain beliefs to be saved and go to Heaven?

When Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. Jeremy Myers says it best: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.”  See here.

But few what to talk about God

Some may avoid spiritual discussions because they are only interested in pursuing a self-centered life. This isn’t most of my friends. One reason many avoid spiritual discussions is because they can smell a hidden agenda a mile away. It’s wrong to engage in friendships with others for the purpose of converting them to believe as you do, without advising upfront your agenda. I have huge regrets about some of my past actions. Parents or bosses inspire because of who they are.

What does evangelism look like in my life? 

In my twenties I felt that I had to convert others to accept Jesus as their Savior or go to Hell. Turns out the traditional understanding of Hell isn’t biblical in my opinion. See here.  Wouldn’t we be shouting “FIRE” from the rooftop if we believed Hell was real? Then, I begin to accept that God draws others to God, and I stand ready to share. When conversations take a natural tilt toward spiritual matters, I see if others want to discuss the influence God has had in my life.

God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. If others see something in my life they desire in their life, I can’t wait to share what God can do in our lives. The only outward thing I may do is at the end of my email is a list of my blogs and books written. I view as an invitation to others who may desire spiritual conversations, and they think I may be safe.

Confession

Honestly, I would be lying if I said God conversations are often. They are rare. It is why I started blogging, so I had some way to discuss thoughts about God. People know I am into God because I am often asked to say the prayer at gatherings, despite not being a church guy. (I pray they don’t burn in hell of course). Actually, I just have a conversation with God in front of others out loud. I consider myself now open-minded and non-confrontational when it comes to God. Say something racist is another matter! Still such conversations are few and far between with those I know.

Relax!

Each has to decide how they think best to share their relationship with God with others. I am convinced there is a Creator who desires a loving relationship with each of their creations. But I respect those who aren’t convinced or have doubts a Creator really exists. That doesn’t make me more moral. Conversations should be natural and mutual. We don’t have to convert people. We don’t have to feel guilty because we aren’t convincing others about God and their love for them.  God can take care of themself!

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

As followers of Christ, I feel we should be able to accept and love everyone. No matter what we believe, what our faith or doctrine is, no matter our religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we should try to see each other as Jesus sees us. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us.

We want to love, accept and care for people. It is only natural that we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas of difference and love each other in Christ. This seems to be the way that others will come to see the love of God; not through condemning and bashing one another nor in trying to prove we are right and everyone else is wrong. Love does not mean seeing eye-to-eye, it does not mean we agree or even like some of the things people do. It does mean we look past the differences and we love and respect each other as Christ loves us.

We all have different opinions, views and interpretations of things. We all come from different backgrounds and beliefs. Yet, no matter if we are LGBTQ/straight, Christian/atheist, Republican/Democrat, American/foreign, white/black, male/female or whatever label people put on us, the fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. Each of us should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being judged and condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on others.

If we could look past the labels we wear and see each other as people who overall want the same things. We all want to be happy, to find love, be healthy and enjoy life. If we could do that, I think showing godly love to one another would be easier, even in our differences.

We need to look past the labels and see each other as human beings who have feelings, and who want share love and friendship. We want to be people who can get to know one another, learn from one another, share thoughts and ideas and accept each other as being created in the image of God.

We are all different, we all wear different labels, yet we are all the same. We are all human beings created in the image of God. Let us each try to focus on the common goal of loving God and loving one another.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Mike Edwards

Believing God exists or doesn’t exist requires faith, but it seems intuitive a loving Creator would love the way we were created to love. We can examine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions, our consciences. Christians may argue we should trust “biblical truths” about God, but differing interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here. Also, we can’t prove if biblical writers always understood God perfectly. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but we know that we or a Creator ought to love others as we want to be loved.

What does the Bible really say about God and gays? 

Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) list unnatural male same sex activities as an abomination. Unnatural in OT times could be sex not for procreation. We can’t be sure what activity the writers had in mind. Are lesbians safe because nothing is said about same sex women activities? The OT also lists as abominations lying lips, arrogance, etc. Are straights screwed? The word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in some English translations before 1946.  In passages such as I Cor.6:9-10 and I Tim. 1:10 the translation often wasn’t homosexuals” but “boy molesters.” Big difference! And the passage says wrongdoers don’t inherit the kingdom of God. I guess we are all screwed! 

Many growing up in church only condemn gays out of devotion to the God of the Bible. Let’s assume it could be proven God controlled pens and minds of the writers so every word in the Bible came from God. The truth is literature requires interpretation, even if ever word written, edited, or translated was inspired by God. We mustn’t claim our interpretations are infallible when being wrong has tremendous consequences. Scholars, who accept Scriptures as authoritative, don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.

Why would anyone choose to be gay? 

How could a loving God possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? If you are a straight man, don’t you naturally have to fight not looking at naked women than men? Ask gays their battle! Who chooses to be gay when one has to hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility? The mental health damage is tremendous!

Parents often only condemn their gay children because of a supposed correct interpretation of a Book. It is impossible to feel loved and accepted when someone says “I love you but I hate your sin.” But we tell alcoholics we hate their sin! Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. Hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse really is harmful. A parent need not reject a gay child according to the Bible.

What do our moral intuitions, consciences tell us about God and gays?

My moral intuitions tell me that God is not bias against females, people of color, or gays. Shouldn’t we choose the least harmful view? We don’t know why one has feelings for the same sex or opposite sex. If you think there is a .0001% possibility that science proves sexual orientation isn’t a choice, why would we judge? It’s a myth that sexual choices are always the result of some trauma or rebellion in our lives. I am convinced the Bible is silent on monogamous same sex relationships, while supporting relationships that show love and concern for one another.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Growing up in church, we were always told it was our job to go out and convert others to our faith. We were often threatened with the statement, if we do not convert others their blood will be on our hands.

Looking back on it, is this really what God expects of us? Is it our job as followers of Christ to convert the unsaved? Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God?

Today, my answer would be a definite no. It is our job to follow Christ and love others, and the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead people to the Father.

We cannot convert others; we cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

Jesus said in 1 John 3:23 – ‘And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us’. Apart from that, we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us.

Also, we are told in 1 Peter 3:15 – ‘But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear’. To me, this says we are to live a life of love and service to others so that they will notice a difference in our lives. When they ask, we should be ready to tell them that it is the love of God within us.

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as a professed follower of Christ. We are to be there to encourage and help one another into maturity in their walk following Jesus. This is done by regular fellowship (read more about fellowship here) and getting to know one another so that we can encourage, build up, and lead by example.

We are also told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel being the good news that God loves us, has provided freedom from our sinful nature and has restored fellowship with us. Again, this is done by loving God and loving others on a daily basis. It is showing God’s love by example. It is not by being judgmental, pointing fingers, using guilt and other means that are sometimes used to try to force others to accept Christ.

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are, people will be drawn to Christ through love rather than by using condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences, but we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him, we should do the same.

Share the good news of God’s love to those you meet by loving them. Encourage and make disciples out of those who have come to Christ by loving them. Stop trying to force salvation on non-believers out of obligation, guilt and condemnation. Just love them. Love is the answer. God is love.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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Where I found connection after I left the church

by Jim Gordon
As published at Backyard Church

Photo by Suzanne Emily O’Connor on Unsplash

The word ‘fellowship’ is just another one of those Christian buzzwords that you almost never heard outside of the church. We hear the word fellowship often and we all have our ideas about what it actually means to fellowship with others.

For me, growing up in the church world taught me about the need for fellowship with other believers. Of course, this fellowship was reserved for the weekly gathering inside a building on Sunday. I remember thinking that real Christian fellowship was sitting there each week, listening and watching others perform for God, then shaking hands with someone while on the way out the door.

For many years while within the institutional church, I never thought about fellowship in any other way than what I had been taught. Fellowship was with people who believed just like me. I always felt it may be dangerous to associate with people who believed differently or did not believe at all. After all, they may cause me to fall or backslide in my faith.

Now That We’ve Left The Church, Where Do We Go?

After many years of an uneasy feeling and not being satisfied with our church life, my wife and I decided to leave the organization and live outside the walls of religion. After leaving the church, my wife and I wondered where would we go for friends and ‘fellowship’

I found an answer in an article my friend, Rocky Glenn wrote entitled ‘Fellowship and Community’ in which he talked about fellowship within the church and leaving that church fellowship. He says:

“Two of the most common questions asked when others learn you have made the conscious decision to live the Christian life outside the walls and confines of a traditional church building are “Who do you fellowship with?” or “Where do you find community?”

These questions show how conditioned we have become in the institutional church to speaking our own language and seeing the world through the lenses of our stained-glass windows. The two terms — fellowship and community — are rarely heard outside the context of church. For example, have you ever invited a coworker to dinner or for a drink by asking them if they wanted to fellowship? When you are sitting in the stands at the high school football game, do you often lean over to the guy sitting next to you and explain how happy you are the two of you can experience community together? While each of these examples, by definition, constitutes the term used, we do not speak in such a manner on a normal basis and to do so would actually be quite silly. To fellowship with another is to have a friendly association over shared interests.

Rocky’s statement shows that fellowship can and does happen outside the church walls. It can happen in a restaurant, a bar, a football game, or on a street corner.

Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

Once my wife and I began to realize that fellowship happens anywhere, it did not take long for God to bring people across our paths in places and at times we never expected.

We were sitting in a local café one morning relaxing and drinking our morning coffee when we noticed two men at the next table. One was a young long-haired hippy-looking guy talking with an older gentleman. We could not help but hear their conversation at times and we kept noticing that they were talking about God and life in Christ.

After some time of listening, we decided to politely ask about their conversation and found that the younger guy was in a Christian heavy metal band. He had left the traditional church a few years ago and was living outside the walls of religion like us. This was an encouragement to us because it showed us that God can provide people for fellowship at any time and in any place. We just need to be alert and ready.

What Is Fellowship?

Fellowship, according to Merriam-Webster is a company of equals or friends; the quality or state of being in a comradery. Over the years of sitting in a church service, I never saw fellowship take place that matched up to this definition.

For the usually meaningless talk that goes on at a Sunday morning church service, there is no way that meaningful fellowship will happen.

Fellowship is more than listening, more than having similar beliefs or doctrinal views. It is getting to know people for who they are, even if it means they see things differently. It is being yourself and having people accept you for you. It is caring and responding in meaningful, respectful ways.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, ‘Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing’. As this verse tells us, fellowship is to encourage each other and build one another up. It is not totally agreeing or seeing things the same way. We are to be a positive help to our fellow human beings.

In our world today, people seem to want to stay separated into like-minded groups. We see it in all the various denominations in church, we see it in all the various interest groups and social groups. Everyone wants to fellowship only with people who are like them.

Finding Fellowship In The Wrong Places

Looking back on it now, I can see that I had more fellowship with my non-Christian friends in the backyard or at school than I did sitting in a religious service each week. I passed up many opportunities in the past to meet with people and in places that had nothing to do with church or any religious activity. Due to my religious upbringing and understanding that fellowship took place in church, I felt a little guilty about enjoying fellowship with others outside of church and with people who were not always so like-minded.

Fortunately, I have found that fellowship can happen anywhere and anytime. It does not have to be within the confines of an organized service in a church. In fact, it normally does not happen there. God brings opportunities each day to talk to people and share love and acceptance. What we need to do is erase the concept that fellowship only happens in a church service. We need to be alert to the leading of the Spirit and ready to greet people with the love of God.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

It seems that people just want to be heard and accepted. Even those who are quiet or a little introverted will open up and talk when they find someone who is genuine, caring, and truly listens. Often, one person listening can bring about the most meaningful times of fellowship.

A Religious Man, A Morman and A Truck Driver

(and no, they did not walk into a bar)

Just the other day, my wife and I heard about a young man who was returning to his military base after leave. Unfortunately, he was involved in a serious car accident and died due to his injuries. Our local town was honoring this young soldier by having residents line the streets as his hearse and small motorcade passed by.

While we were standing on the street corner waiting, we met a few people we never thought about running into. First, there was a man who was obviously religious. It was interesting talking to him knowing we had some commonalities in our faith. Yet at times it was obvious he had some beliefs that were very traditional and strictly religious. The good thing was we were outside the walls of a church and were able to talk and express ourselves without getting into a big debate over doctrine or denominational beliefs.

While we were talking with this gentleman, two young men came walking up and stopped to talk a minute. They were both dressed in white shirts with ties and the same style of pants. It was very obvious they were Mormon missionaries. It would have been easy to ignore them or tell them we were not interested and get them to move on.

Fortunately, we did not do that. We were nice and accepting to them and talked about a variety of topics. I think they were a little surprised that someone would actually carry on a conversation with them without debating or arguing over their beliefs. We actually had a very nice talk for about fifteen minutes and learned a little bit about each other apart from our differences in doctrine.

Not long after the missionaries moved on, an older gentleman walked up and asked what was going on with all the people lining the streets. We told him what was happening and he decided to wait and pay his respects also. He started talking a little about himself and told us he used to be a truck driver. Once he noticed that my wife and I were really listening and paying attention, he suddenly opened up about several personal issues and the pain of losing a child when he was younger. We ended up talking another twenty minutes about his family and his history and hopefully made his day a little brighter.

What Does Real Fellowship Look Like?

The purpose of talking about these encounters is to show that God can bring people into our lives for the purpose of fellowship when we least expect it. Who knew when we stood on the street corner to pay respects to a person we did not know, we would have personal encounters with three separate people and enjoy times of real fellowship with each of them?

Fellowship is no more than listening, responding with kindness, caring, and showing the love of God. We all can do it if we take the time to pay attention to the needs of others and show them we are interested in what they have to say.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Fellowship really is not hard to do. Be yourself and allow other people to do the same. Be respectful, kind, and share the love of God in a way that makes people feel they matter.

The Last Word

Fellowship can happen anytime, anywhere, and more often than not, it does not happen within the confines of a religious service. Fellowship is not just a Christian happening; It is for all people.

There are so many people in our world who are hurting or confused and just need someone to listen to them. Be ready, be alert and follow the leading of the Spirit to show love and accept people for just being themselves. Something so simple can mean so much to someone who needs a little fellowship.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Mike Edwards

The short answer to what belief God requires is none. We can only compare a loving God to what a loving parent may require. Such a parent requires nothing. They love their child unconditionally in hopes the child will choose to return their love. As a child gets older, love doesn’t interfere as we often only learn through the consequences of our actions. God created freedom so God is required to be uncontrolling.

Doesn’t God in the Bible require belief to get into Heaven?

Many claim that the Bible was written to instruct people what beliefs avoid God’s wrath and Hell. Many scholars now recognize that the Bible’s main message is expressing God’s desire to have a relationship with each and every individual in this world to face inevitable challenges. See here.

Jesus didn’t talk about escaping torture after death. Jesus replied to simply love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37) when asked how to have eternal life. Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. Jesus’ message wasn’t about requiring certain beliefs but avoiding making destructive choices. This is the message of any loving parent!

Doesn’t God at least require belief in God?

God isn’t a God of chance! The majority of people born into this world never had a Bible? The truth is the majority of people accept or rebel against a certain religion based on the family born into whether it be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. A child who was sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God who is most often betrayed as our Father in Heaven. Do you really think a loving God is going to judge all based on their beliefs during a short time here on earth influenced by so many random factors?

Surely you have to believe in the mother of all beliefs?

Don’t you have to believe at least Jesus resurrected from the dead? I know even asking this question is offensive to many, but I care more about those who want to believe in a God but struggle with certain requirements as opposed to those who are already convinced a loving God is real. Jesus told followers He was coming back from the dead and they didn’t believe Him. And they supposedly witnessed miracles beforehand to have less doubts such a claim was possible.

I would like to think more of us if we witness a man or woman coming back from the grave after being killed that we would be convinced of their message. But none of us lived during biblical times, so we will not have such an opportunity. I happen to believe the historical evidence is credible that Jesus rose from the grave, but God can handle doubts or skepticism.

God only hopes for what every loving parent desires

I am convinced God only wishes for all to consider the possibility of a loving God who desires to help you in your journey of becoming the person deep down you want to become. Loving, human parents don’t require certain beliefs from their children before hoping they will consider if they love them. Are we better lovers than God?

Do you want to believe more in God? I am not sure there is anything to lose in beginning a journey of faith if the desire is to live life with fewer regrets. Personally, the biggest reason for being a God-follower is the inspiration and encouragement I sense in striving to be a better human being. If God is real, they should be able to make their case with each individual.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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The Spirit of God Lives in Us

by Jim Gordon

1 Corinthians 3:16,17 – Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

The Old Covenant days of the temple are over. According to the New Covenant, we are now God’s house the Spirit of God lives within us. So many people say the organized church is where God lives, but this verse tells us that God is more personal than that. God can no longer be contained within a building. We are His dwelling place.

The church is not God’s temple

Each one of us who are saved by grace are now the temple of God. It is so hard to get away from the thought that God is up there somewhere, or that we have to go to church and wait for God to show up. This kind of thinking is now obsolete.

These verses point out that the temple of God is holy, and that is what we are. We are His temple, and that makes us holy. Not by any works we have done or can do, but by the work that Christ has done. It is hard for us to accept the fact that in Christ, we are holy and righteous. We are kings and priests. We were sinners, but the old sin nature was crucified with Christ on the cross. It is now dead and we are new creatures in Him.

We are Holy and Righteous

We need to stop being so negative and depressed because we feel like we have let God down and unable to live a holy life. Actually, we cannot live a holy life, but God, through the grace of Christ, makes us holy. We are the righteousness of God. It is Him, Jesus our all in all, living in us.

Our spirit is now holy and righteous. Our mind is still being transformed and our body is still a work in progress, but thanks be to God, our spirit has been made perfect.

Let’s start focusing on the fact that God is right here within us through His Spirit. We do not have to go somewhere looking for Him, we do not have to wait for Him to show up. Right now, we are in His presence. He is the vine, we are the branches. Rest in Him and allow the Spirit to love those around you each day.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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