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One Foot In and One Foot Out of Babylon

December 11, 2012

Greetings,

“They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives even as unto death.”  Revelation 12:11

Sunday morning I visited the fellowship that my cousin helped start several years ago.  My cousin is the best drummer I have ever seen and the rest of the musicians were excellent too.  Their praise was sincere and  it seemed absent of the manipulation that normally occurs Sunday mornings in most “churches” across the land.  I must admit that I enjoy corporate praise with many instruments and voices, but not so much that I would abandon simple relational home fellowship.  Simple and sincere has me hooked and I would rather do without  “Big Sound” than sacrifice the intimacy and reality of gathering together without any props or gimmicks.

My cousin knows and understands simple relational church.  His parents opened their home throughout the 90’s and into the 2000’s for informal Spirit led fellowship.  However, he is still young and naive enough to believe that you can merge the best of traditional big “church” with relationship based, Spirit led simple fellowship.  To be totally honest in over 35 years of serving Jesus in relational fellowships I have never seen a merge like that work and I really don’t think it ever can.  Imposing structure on something meant to be organic and free flowing never works for long.

Wanting to remain free and open my cousins “church” is doing a few things right.  Every week they have open testimony time where anyone can share as The Spirit leads them.  Also the leadership of the fellowship does not take any pay for ministry.  Instead they work for a living as “tentmakers”.

On the negative side they pay for and maintain a building.  It is such a burden that they took over 20 minutes to take up the offering.  The appeal droned on and on.  They have two big baskets upfront and one must take their offering up there and put it in.  It turns the offering into a show that and everyone gets to watch who gives and who doesn’t.  That portion of the service really bothered me in my Spirit.  They also have two 5 gallon water jugs upfront.  These are there so people can give spare change to a missions project in the Sudan for the needy.  That’s right the needy just get spare change while the building gets the big bucks.

Other than that their leadership are still using the title of Pastor.  And try as they might to be informal those titles still create a huge division in the body that is hard to overcome.  They also still have a monologue or sermon as the centerpiece of their service.  Dialogue is much more effective and biblical, but old churchy habits die hard.

That all being said I still went to support my cousin and as “church” services go it was still much better than most.  I will also be giving him my feedback and criticism.  Still the most difficult part of the show for me to swallow was the sermon.  I would much rather see active participants than a passive listening audience.  It is just healthier for the body.

Even the sermon would have been much more palatable if the Pastor would have used all of Revelation 12: 11.  I have heard that passage preached on a number of times and EVERY time they leave out the third reason for overcoming.   They stress the blood of the Lamb and the importance of our testimony, but they always leave out… not loving our own lives even as unto the death.  The last time I looked denying ourselves and taking up our cross  and following Jesus was still a very important part of being a true Christ follower.   I know it is unpopular to teach self denial, but sharing anything less than that just falls way short of a true Gospel.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

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10 Comments
  1. Karen permalink

    Chris no one can sing the verses of Our God is an Awesome God like you can!! Sounds like you experienced some freedom in spite of seeing the problems clearly.

  2. Thanks for your honest appraisel of what you experienced. I personally could never go back but I do understand and support you decision and reasons for doing so.
    Instead of merely trying to prove others actions as wrong from the scriptures, I prefer to ask others questions. They have to listen to their own answers- as silly as they often are. Like, ‘Why are these things necessary?” (church, pastor, building, band etc) and what are the drawbacks of them? The answers people offer reveal a lot about their true motives and intents do they not? That’s what I’m after, not just getting others to do the right or biblical thing, but I’m after them, and their increase to the glory of God.
    People rarely remember a negative conversation in positive light. That said, they never forget the soul who truly exemplifies Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. That man is rare indeed!

  3. Soon many of the building centric institutions will close. I have often said, and architect specializing in turning these buildings into something practical could make a great deal of money. : )

  4. Another good post brother!

    Blessings!

  5. Negative comments . What Good does it do? Wow. What do you think your ministry is Chris to try and run down brothers and sisters in Christ who love the Lord and have ministries that serve him and their life reflects that love, Why ? because they have a Building where they meet to worship and serve him. They take up Tithes to help every area of the ministry including feeding the poor and bringing lost people to Christ. these Brothers and sisters are filled with HIS Spirit. Its no wonder you suffer so much personal torment, I’m sure God is not pleased with the way you talk and treat his loved one, These are people that he died for. untill you wake up and understand that Jesus does not have a cookie cutter that defines how and where his people worship him, Its my opinion that you open the door for Satans attacks when you attack and talk about Gods Family even if they worship and do things different than you do. I love you but you are wrong. I just hope you wake up and stop running down Gods people and his Church. Your comments remind me of the verse in the bible about the speck in your brothers eye when you have a log in your own! Post this on your blog please.

  6. Hello George and all, Attack? Sincerely, where did I attack anyone. I shared my observations, both positive and negative. I would even visit that fellowship again. Like I said it was better than most out there. If I thought I was attacking anyone why would I do this to someone I dearly love and make the attack public? Try reading the blog again through neutral eyes? I wish I was still naive and not jaded by the church “system”. My cousin’s fellowship is doing some groovy things and I am glad to visit there. But that style is not for me and I also do not believe that it is best for God’s people. I have already called my cousin and apologized if I went too far. I intended no hurt or harm to anyone and if I indeed did harm anyone I am sincerely sorry. But where would the church be if only happy, smiley observations were allowed? What should I do cover my eyes, ears and heart and never speak for total freedom in the body? Where do your comments about my “personal torment” fit under the umbrella of only saying nice things? I believe in total freedom so much that I even posted these negative comments of yours towards me. I love you George, but personal attacks will not stop me from sharing the truth in love.

  7. Reformed by the Spirit permalink

    George, I don’t know you, but you really need to relax. You have made comments that basically condone Satan attacking and tormenting your brother in the Lord. You also told Chris that God was not pleased with him. Who gave you such authority? What next, will you deliver Chris to Satan for punishment? All I read was mostly positive comments about his cousin’s church.
    I believe that what Chris shares about today’s traditional church is a message from God. There is a lot of error to be found…you just gave an example of the misconceptions people carry and act out on.

    I see the log in your eye…..you are no different than any of us. You basically proved Chris’s points in one posted comment. Thank you for helping us to see that what Chris is saying is from God.

  8. Hummm – Reformed by the Spirit . Nice name! Funny how things can be turned around .I have to laugh, ” mostly positive comments” Oh that makes it OK to say the other negative comments about other believers and Family and the way they worship.. never once did I say I condone Satan attacking anyone. I personally don’t believe we should say negative things about other brothers and sisters. Maybe I’m wrong for pointing out the things I read and disagree with. Yes I believe we open the doors for being rebuked when we step out of line from what a loving God wants. I happen to be more than a brother in Christ to Chris. he’s my blood Family, and I happen to know a lot about Chris. I disagee with anyone including Chris attacking the way other brothers and sisters in Christ choose to worship and serve the Lord, You Have never heard me attacking the home church even though I don’t personally like the idea. but I do see believers being able to grow and learn in those type churches as well as attending a church service. Why would anyone want to say negative things about brothers and sister who have gave there lives to serving Christ. they are doing what God called them to do, Feeding the poor, Providing shelter for the homeless, healing the sick, ministries that send people and money all over the world to help spread the Gospel. They give there time to serve others and the fruits of the spirit are evedent in there lives. Does it really matter if the meet at a church building or at someones home as long as they are preaching the gospel and leading other to Christ. You say – Helping see what Chris is saying is from God ? I don’t believe what Chris is saying is from God. God does not need Chris or anyone saying negative things about his people. these are the people God sent his Son Jesus to earth to die for! As for the speck in my eye. I do have a few specks. but none are from attacking my Family or Brothers and sisters in Christ.

  9. George, if Martin Luther and the other reformers said only nice things about the Church, we would still all be Roman Catholics and not free believers. I made no personal attacks, but spoke freely about what I saw happening. The average traditional “church” gives less than 3% of the money they take in to feed the poor and other hands on actual ministry. 97% is normally spent on buildings, institutional maintenance, and Clergy salaries. If the “church” was never challenged or criticized it would never make positive changes or be as effective as it needs to be in helping others. I attacked no brothers or sisters, I just commented on their actions, BIG difference!

  10. Chris,

    There’s an old “Peanuts” cartoon that I have taped inside my old Bible and it shows Charlie Brown talking with his friend, Linus.

    Linus says, “When I grow up, I think I’ll be a great prophet! I’ll speak profound truth, but no one will listen to me.”

    Charlie Brown asks Linus, “If you know ahead of time that no one is going to listen to you, why speak?”

    Linus replies, “We prophets are very stubborn!”

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