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Stirring The Deep

Why Leave the Church System??

43 Comments

Why Leave the Church System??

In this society, we’ve been conditioned to be handed things with instant gratification. (money – credit cards, food – McDonald’s, necessities – Walmart, relationships – Facebook, success – network marketing). We’re being taught and conditioned to this mindset. This mentality has become foundational to the church system – people tell you who God is and what God wants from you; then you do it.

Being a part of organized religion is often a first step for many of us, because we don’t know what else to do. So we follow what others tell us to do. But some of us come to a place where we sense there is “more”. And a restless awakens our hearts to seek after that “more” we are being called to and often that means moving beyond the boundaries of organized religion.

In organized religion as a whole, instead of you seeking to deeply know God, you are handed a pre-packaged God; a package deal of say a prayer, join the church, serve the church, and go to heaven. The church institution tells you how to pray, how to worship, how to tithe, and how to serve God. Instead of being lead by the Holy Spirit; you are led by a human. Each week you’re instructed by others on who God is, how to act and what He wants – instead of seeking Him yourself. However, seeking is foundational to a life with God. This is the one act that should be done above all others; yet it is deemed optional and not necessary. That slight in error has a grievous ripple effect.

1 Chronicles 16:10-11 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually

As God (and what a life following Him entails) are “handed” to you, seeking isn’t necessary. The act of spending time one-on-one daily with God seeking His face and the instruction of the Holy Spirit isn’t deemed essential to eternal life; therefore that’s why most don’t do it. However, in reality you gain the essentials to true life through seeking. Seeking leads to knowing, which leads to trusting, which leads to a true belief, repentance of self, dying to self, true surrender and a love for God that puts Him first. In addition, there is often a fear instilled in believers by the church in seeking on their own. They are warned to be careful to not go astray – in other words, the church will protect you from going astray. This false fear breeds the blind leading the blind mentality. Matthew 15:14

Since we’ve been conditioned by the society at large to be “handed” things it doesn’t cause us to pause when it pertains to God – though it should. God is not calling us to a religion but to a relationship. The church structure today is like giving someone a distorted painting of a place verses travelling there and experiencing it yourself. The church hands you a picture of the kingdom, a relationship with God, yet prohibits people from entering in by this plug and play mentality. Matthew 23:13 As one is captivated by the spoon-feeding, because it does have a temporary high as all instant things do, no “personal” relationship is developed by the believer. There is only an engagement to a structured system telling you who God is and what He wants from you. The relationship is with the church, not God.

With this pre-packaged God, people can’t hear God. It’s not part of the package because all they receive is from a person, not God. They aren’t connected to God. They only have a faulty image, and haven’t walked, talked and gone through life with Him. Thus their beliefs are in the system and not God. Their trust is in the words of people and not God. They’ve gone through life with an image and praying to that image, because they haven’t spent time seeking God’s face to know Him as He is, something no one else can do for them. Because they haven’t sought; they don’t see the difference. Only in the light, do you realize the darkness. Therefore they aren’t listening to God. They are listening to people talk about God believing they have a relationship because that is what they are told. This “receiving” and not “seeking”  is how many are and will be deceived.

This ever increasing mentality is one reason why those who are seeking are leaving the church – they see it for what it is; an offering of pre-packaged God. They aren’t into following people but God. They don’t want a faulty image handed to them. They want a real relationship. They want true fellowship with God and others. They see the idolatry of it. They see the damage of it; the plug and play that leaves souls starving and bound in affliction, pain, and loneliness as they once were.

As the church system is structured – individual seeking isn’t necessary. It’s optional. Yet, that is the one act that is to be above all others for a believer. Seeking leads to knowing, trusting and abiding with God in truth and spirit. It isn’t instant. It’s a journey that most are kept from walking by this erroneous mentality.

Like the other instant gratifications in our lives that have brought more problems than good, quadruple that and you have a taste of what this mentality does to a soul as it keeps them from an intimate union with God. Matthew 23:15

God loves us more than we can imagine. He wants us to intimately know Him, not live in some substitute reality of Him. Seek Him and you’ll find true life.

Pre-Packaged God

Come and see what we have to offer thee
A God of instant play, don’t delay
A ticket to heaven, come eat the leaven
No time to waste, come in haste

We give all you seek, we are humble and meek
Worship with us, as us, be us
One of our kind is a path for the blind
Say a prayer, live without care
Be good to your brother, love your mother

All is fulfilled with only a small bill
Your soul to keep, to own, to reap
We’ll fill your need, we’ll stop the bleed
Look no more, serve the board

Grow our club, to one blood
By a pre-packaged God to give a lost mob
Count the numbers, rejoice in the plunder
Souls trapped in lies, bound by disguise

In us you can trust, listen to us you must
No need to seek, we have the answers to keep
Don’t seek in private, don’t even try it
You’ll be taken away by evil’s sway
Stay with us, be us, trust us

A pre-packaged God, the path to trod

~Rachel DiPaolo

Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

43 thoughts on “Why Leave the Church System??

  1. Great poem, Rachel. And as for the entire post, alas — too true. We can only thank God for waking us or we’d be sleeping still.

    • Hi Cindy — I indeed am beyond grateful for God stirring my heart and opening my eyes. I had no idea the extent of my own blindness, but as I experience my life now and my relationship with God – it’s a powerful testimony to me. This gap of where I was and where I am, even with so far to go, is the passion that fuels me to address these tough topics. I desire for all to know and experience what I have.

  2. Rachel,

    Great post. So much truth in this. I still feel like I’m on the fringes of understanding these things. Just this weekend, I actually attended an institutional church. One man was praying before the sermon and said, “Lord, we know that this message is going to change us. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong with our hearts.” I wanted to ask him if maybe it could mean that something was wrong with the message or maybe the message just wasn’t going to touch the heart of each person there. But, in institutional churches, you don’t ask questions…especially during the sermon. :) Anyway, thanks for the great post. Let’s continue seeking.

    • Hi Captain Quaker – ever since I was called out I’ve been seeking in this area. God has taught me so much through His Word. As you said, let’s continue seeking – for there is no end to learning God’s truth and will. And to assume leads to blindness. I feel especially as the end draws near that the Bible will become more “unsealed” to those who seek. It is a tremendous time.

  3. I’m speechless. You understand.

    • Hi JoDee, there is so much to learn and know. I see why God tells us to seek with all our hearts and to seek continually. :-). A flood of lies is upon us.

  4. Powerful message and poem Rachel.

    It takes courage to step back and look examine our churches to see what the focus is–too often it is on safety in numbers and selling a bill of goods rather than higher aspirations.

    Thanks for the challenge.

    • Hi Slamdunk, it does take trust and courage to truly examine what we’ve always assumed. We don’t like change. We don’t like uncertainity. But we are to seek God’s will and let Him guide us wherever that may lead. When we do He gives us all we need. How faithful He is.

  5. Gifted writer, gifted poet. What a blessing you are to us who are on the same spiritual page, Rachel. Thanks for these truths. Thanks for waiting on God. May He turn many to your work.

    Roger

    • Hi Roger, your testimony is a great encouragement to me. Though the internet is used as a potent carrier and penetrator of the enemies lies – God uses it to connect those who are like minded and for that I’m exceedingly grateful.

  6. Those are some powerful and tough to swallow words. At one point you said, “The church structure today is like giving someone a distorted painting of a place verses travelling there and experiencing it yourself. ” It may be crude but this reminds me of what pornography does to people. You get a twisted picture of what intimacy is and never have to have a real relationship with the person. It is sad that so many people fail to see the need for true intimacy with God and it comes through a real relationship, not an institution.

    Godspeed,
    Christian

    • Hi Christian – that is a tough analogy – though a good one. Both offer and deliver a thin distorted replica to the real thing. Both are damaging.

  7. “The church institution tells you how to pray, how to worship, how to tithe, and how to serve God”

    It is by the WORD OF GOD that we are taught how to pray, how to worship, how to tithe and how to serve and please God. It is in HIS word. And the shepherds annointed by Christ to lead the flock not to manupulate them. For sure, not all churches are good. But to lump the whole structure set by Christ as evil is just plain wrong. The heretical evangelist, Harold Campy, also encourages people to depart the church system. He says the church age is over. He also says the end of the world is coming May 11th.

    Rachel, for you and anyone else, I just pray that you carefully seek God on this matter. It was Jesus Christ who set up the structure for us to follow in the church. Do you really believe that he changed his mind on that? For the life of me, I do not understand why you can’t have a close relationship with Christ if you go to church on Sunday and hear the word of God????

    • Hi Marianne, I’m very glad you commented. Christ came preaching the kingdom, which is God dwelling in us now, union with God now, eternal life now. It wasn’t about an earthly kingdom or institution. He came to reign in people’s spirits. The “church” referenced the gathering of believers wherever they were. A believer anywhere is the body of Christ, the true church. It is those who hold God’s spirit. People did gather to hear the message of “the Way” to encourage and support one another. But just as the original Tabernacle set up by God became corrupted by people, the institution that grew out of those gatherings has become corrupted. Look at how Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of the day. Yes, the Bible is referenced in churches but, but even Satan references the Bible. That’s why we have to be taught by the Holy Spirit to truly be able to discern between the holy and the profane. A little leaven affects the whole loaf. Galatians 5:9 Further, there is much written in the OT and NT about the end and people turning from God and doing their own thing in the name of God.

      I know your heart is of true concern. I have sought with tears this topic for 7 years now. And what I’ve felt the Holy Spirit teach me has only grown in that time as well as I’ve seen many things come to pass as He showed me in terms of others hearing this call, the direction of the church system as a whole and the spiritual state of those inside. It’s a tough, hard topic. But as the end approaches, things aren’t going to stay the same. But the encouragement is God’s mercy reaches the clouds. God is in control. All is working according to His plan that is perfection and mastered from a great love for us.

    • If I may add something in reply to Marianne’s comment, I would like to point out that if we talk about “structure”, the “structure” that Jesus set for His Church was with HIM as head, the shepherd, the Pastor – a church where members have a function NOT a title (apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers) “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”. Their function is supposed to be for the perfecting of the saints UNTIL we all come in the UNITY of the faith – what has happened now is that all these functions have become nothing but TITLES where their only job is to spoon feed members thereby restricting growth. In the Church that Jesus founded, all members were supposed to grow from “milk” to “meat” and not be spoon fed week in and week out with tidbits and anecdotes. What’s more, these “titled” members are only encouraging rifts between churches – since when have you heard a “pastor” tell his congregation to go visit another congregation and listen to another “pastor”? If all these so-called churches are truly founded on HIS Word then each of them will be preaching the Pure Word of Truth and not doctrines of men and all these pastors will have no qualms with letting another pastor preach to “their” congregation. Too many “pastors” now think of “their” congregation as theirs alone – not God’s…of course, it wouldn’t do to let them go listen to another pastor – their tithes might go to that other pastor’s church…

      “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
      I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
      For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
      For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
      Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
      I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
      So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

      8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

      9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

      • Hi Dandi, thanks for your comment … what stood out to me as I read your comment was how we’ve been unindated to put the church system above all else so that the verses regarding proper fellowship and the ones you mentioned are largely “overlooked” and “rationalized”. Truly this backward justification is the testimony that the doctrines of others are presiding over the doctrine of God.

  8. I like this new poem Rachel,

    This goes along with the falling away that I have observed in history, when the “church” was made legal and necessary under Constantine the “church” system moved to the forefront of all things Christian, replacing the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.

    The split between the laity and the more “holy” clergy was solidified at that time, and to us it seems that that is how it always was back to the time of the Apostles, because most of our accounts of the early church were from 4rth century writers who were members of the hierarchy.

    Rachel what you are describing is the natural outcome of centuries of a system where doing “God’s things” were the sole property of a small group of powerful people. So whenever God raised up someone with the Holy Spirit. They were crushed because they were a threat to the hierarchy, and frankly for no other reason.

    That is why I believe that a large proportion of people who were burnt as heretics and persecuted were really people sent by God, and they met a fate similar to the prophets in ancient Israel.

    God is not mocked, He will always bust out in new places and in human terms He is unpredictable. But bless Him, He doesn’t give up, and He cannot be stopped.

    Great post Sister!

    Nathan

    • Hi Nathan – thanks for sharing your perspective on this, quiet interesting isn’t it? Man always wants to play the role of God … you see it on every level of humanity as in our individual lives. In a lot of ways that is the source of our greatest individual struggle.

  9. I’m very encouraged by your post and your responses. I just started writing out my thoughts on “the church” and all the ways we try to control God. I feel as if I’ve found a church home that exists for Christ and for the world, and encourages me to stand on the word and also be lead by the Holy Spirit.

    • Hi Andy, keep up the writing – writing has a way of unveiling our deepest thoughts. By the way, I like the subtitle to your blog. I look forward to reading it. :-)

      • Thank you! yes it does. I enjoy reading your thoughts on issues that everyone seems to have an opinion on but never really takes time to back it up with anything.

  10. As with Marianne, still not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are some good churches out there. I go to one of them. But I wholeheartedly agree there are some that aren’t so good – that do what you are saying here. Enough on that.

    Kind of related is a thought I had this morning. Some try to teach people about God, while others try to hook people up with the Teacher.

    • Hi Mike, for me personally and others I know, this call out is from the Holy Spirit – not from the individual. Tt’s not about the individual’s will but what they believe is God’s will for them to do and they simply obey. It’s a tough reality to face because it is so contrary to what we have been taught by the churches. But in the end as judgment comes there is going to be a separation of wheat and tares. Things won’t stay the same, not by the will of man, but by the will of God.

      Lamentations 2:7 The Lord has spurned His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has given up the walls of her palaces Into the hand of the enemy. They have made a noise in the house of the LORD As on the day of a set feast.
      Lamentations 4:12-13 The kings of the earth, And all inhabitants of the world, Would not have believed That the adversary and the enemy Could enter the gates of Jerusalem 13 Because of the sins of her prophets And the iniquities of her priests, Who shed in her midst The blood of the just.

      We are so used to thinking about God in terms of the church system. But God is calling His people out to protect them from the enemy who is taking over as a part of judgment.

    • Articles like this just make me want to visit your website even more.

  11. I don’t disagree but have a question…Although I have not studied this as you have and my “church” experience hasn’t been all bad. I do wonder where I would be in this relationship that I have now if I hadn’t been brought through the door initially by the church. I too have come to find that is true that my relationship with God has deepened mostly outside the church and only through daily seeking to know Him. However, my heart struggles with the fact we should be there to help people to see the light versus abandoning them. I hope that makes sense. If we are not welcomed with this gospel at the “church” then that is a place we should knock the dust from our sandles. We should seek to find those that are lost and share our experience with them don’t you think? We can not help correct and change the souls of those still blind if we abandon them. Could this be a mission field where we defeat the enemy? Just saying, I would hate that there are young believers in your community that will not experience you and learn and grow from your experience unless they catch you here on the net… nothing is hopeless in Christ and He can use us to take the training wheels off and share our souls…can’t we stir the deep there too? Maybe we can meet people there who are seeking and welcome them into our homes and meet daily like the early church…just some rambling thoughts…Thanks Rachel!

    • Hi Tom, you bring up an issue that is close to many of us … I truly believe God is all powerful. He is able to work His plans and provide. Can people be saved outside the church? Do people need the church to be saved? Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. His spirit knows no bounds. If we show them the gate but keep them from entering … what have we really done? Matt. 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (A picture of how God sees many efforts … )

      God is close. The way He connects people is astounding. He can make a way; and does. He is the Creator. We far limit God – giving the “system” more power than Him.

      I did a video addressing this concern… http://stirringthedeep.com/2009/10/10/foundation-for-young-believers/

  12. I should clarify that the traditional church system is not evil in itself – but is it the system that God intended? It is true, we cannot and should not lump together all “churches” when we criticize many of their shortcomings – many have truly sincere members and pastors who try to do their best to live for Christ. Their sincerity is not in question. However, it still becomes a case of “zeal without knowledge” as in Romans 10:2-3 (“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”). Yes, many “churches” have been instrumental in bringing people to the knowledge of Christ – but what is so prevalent in the traditional church system is that everyone’s growth is stunted. Almost all members remain “babes” and instead of spreading out and sharing to others, need a pastor to keep sharing to them…”For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

    Too many churches all throughout the world are very active in all sorts of ministries – music ministry, church building, medical missions, outreach missions – but they have neglected to ensure that their own members are fully mature in His Word and fully equipped with His word. A gathering of believers was intended to encourage one another, exhort one another, build each other up, admonish one another – that is no longer the case. In the traditional church system, ONLY the “pastor” preaches, nobody else is mature enough to admonish and exhort – and in cases when the pastor makes a mistake, or preaches something unbiblical it is considered bad form to question him. Members are usually discouraged to question what a “pastor” teaches from the pulpit – especially if it is a “pillar” in the doctrines of that denomination. Even Paul and Peter didn’t consider themselves too “righteous” to be questioned or exhorted. Take for example the Bereans, they didn’t just take Paul at his word – they checked the Scriptures to make sure (“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”).

    Every member of Christ’s body is supposed to grow to maturity every day and not remain in the same state when they first accepted Christ – we should not neglect His warning about spitting out those who are “lukewarm”.

    “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
    And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
    These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
    But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
    And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” – Yes, He actually tells us that we don’t need anyone who studied in a seminary to teach us about His Salvation. Yes, he appointed “apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” to encourage us and exhort us – but NOT to lead us or to permanently spoon feed us. Christianity has been depersonalized and has become institutionalized.

    It has become a sad fact that anyone who wants to become a “pastor” must first attend a Seminary. Since when did Christ make attendance at a Seminary a prerequisite for preaching His Word? Were not most of His apostles fishermen with no education? Is not a righteous life lived in accordance with His word a much better basis for someone to be a “pastor” than a certificate or document from a seminary? Aren’t ALL Christians called out to grow in His word and preach His word? If we are supposed to preach the Pure Word of God, nothing taken and nothing added, what difference does it make if it is heard through a teenager, a professional, a waiter, an old man, a maid?

    • Hi Dandi, thanks for your comment — It brought to mind something I was thinking about just this morning … your statement … “the traditional church” is not evil in itself” — what is evil? Evil is anything not God’s will; whether it looks “good” or not by our definitions. While I agree that certain religious leaders may not consciously be trying to mislead, they are. Many believe they are doing a good thing – but isn’t that the art of deception? If you know; you’re not deceived. The whole world is under Satan’s sway; that “sway” has entered the church system. But more … as jugdment comes upon us, the enemy will take over the sanctuary … and you see that happening. So do you want to stay in the system and to be consumed in the flood of lies – or flee to the mountain of God – the true sancutary without walls? We are to be bound to God, not the church system.

  13. Rachel,
    Like the post. I understand what you are talking about completely. I grew up in the “church system” and as my relationship deepened with God, so did my understanding. About two years ago, God led us to a different “church.” (You understand why I put the word church in quotes.) This was different than others we had attended because we weren’t “fed” at all. We dug in for ourselves. The people loved Jesus but couldn’t stop playing games. God showed us things from His Word and gave us dreams about what was happening and eventually we just stopped going. For the last 6 months or so, my wife and I have been, what we call, “seeing the Body.” We do as God leads us to do. We have fellowship with numerous different “types” of fellowships. Most wouldn’t fellowship with each other simply for the “names” they carry. We don’t care about the name they have, it is about Jesus and His Body. We have found that we have been growing astronomically in our walk simply because we being around different parts of the Body of Christ provokes us in different ways. We need the whole Body just not all the division and control. Much of the division comes from two things: a disobedience to the Word concerning the command of love and a desire to control the “flock.”

    I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. BTW, I did get your email. I’ll be responding to it after I get done with this comment. I’ve been busy working on a self-hosted domain. Thanks again.

    • Hi Eric – thanks for sharing your thougths on this topic. One HUGE misunderstanding about leaving the church system is that it is leaving God and true believers. In reality, the opposite happens – you dive deep into God, your walk grows because you are following God not man. You push into the true body of Christ. Your fellowship, as God gives and dictates, with others is real, open, honest. God is faithful. If you follow Him and eat the pure manna of heaven you’ll have all you need, you’ll be the “body” by His design, not by humans. And that’s a powerful reality.

  14. Hi Rachel. It’s a primary aspect of the great falling away, as folks slip into what amounts to a market-tested format with no surprises, no discomfort and no room allowed for the Lord to work according to his will. Folks will join a church, get comfortable in the church, and then conform to the church; oftentimes at the expense of hearing the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.

    Three things come to mind. First is something that another blogger once mentioned. She had been away from an orgainized church for roughly two years. It was a time of incredible growth in the Lord and imparting of revelation from on high. (She still blogs and the information that she presents gives evidence to this) After two years, she visited her former church for a specific event and made an astonishing observation. Everyone seemed to be at the exact same place spiritually that they had been at two years prior.

    Another report I heard today while listening to pat Holliday. She mentioned the somewhat recent revelation of a pastor with a congregation of 30,000 engaging in homosexual activity. She discussed the members of this congregation, who sat there week after week and year after year. Subtly the messages changed as the pastors descent into sin transpired, but nobody noticed.

    The third is my own story. Of all the churches that I’ve been a part of, the majority of them seemed to be stuck in a predictable format. You always knew what was going to happen and when. Only one stands out as a place where this didn’t seem to be a problem. It was in Virginia and they had a real heart for the lost. I remember an all-night prayer meeting that took place unexpectedly, after an evening of sharing the gospel on the beach front in Virginia Beach. I still miss that fellowship.

    We are in a season of separating between those who follow after Jesus and those who prefer the comfy confines of familiarity. I pray that this post will cause all who read it to serioously seek the will of God and respond accordingly; even if the brethren unanimously disagree with their actions.

    Sorry for the long comment. So much of importance is contained in this post. Blessings always in Jesus name.

    timbob

    • Hi Timbob – I like hearing your thougths on this issue … I agree we are very much in a season of separation and who we trust and what we trust in is being tested and refined. It’s my prayer above all that people would seek for themselves the truth deeply engaging what’s been given to each one of us to know truth — the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

  15. 2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

    • Hi Marcus — this is a powerful verse and a good reminder to us all – thank you. It is for each one to cultivate a relationship with God; not just follow the crowd or the majority.

  16. I haven’t read all the comments, so what I’m about to write may have already been addressed. Your post addressed two main issues – the church and spending serious quality time with Jesus.

    I am finding so many churches are lukewarm. I recently left a church in which the pastor asked people to pray together during service. But because it made them uncomfortable and they started to leave the church, he quit doing this. The assistant pastor, along with another leader, told a group that they wouldn’t encourage a believer to marry an unbeliever. Because they were afraid of offending anyone, they refrained from saying, “The bible says it is wrong.”

    I find it very hard to truly seek God in a lukewarm church, and seriously, I long for more of God. For a few months, I started visiting other churches referred to me by “christians.” And as you stated, we live in a “fast-food” society. I think it’s also hard when you have serious circumstances going on in your life and you want to see more of God in that situation. So I went to these churches truly seeking God.

    Most recently, God gave me a wake up call, and thankfully, in retrospect, he protected me before I fell deep into the hole. One of the churches that I was visiting and was seriously thinking of making it my “home” church, is connected with a cult that is heavily into witchcraft.

    You’re probably thinking – wow, you should have seen it straight away, but no, the enemy is not like that. It was very deceiving and nothing “odd” really happened whilst I was attending. But that was the catch – they pull you in – and then you’re in so deep that you could seriously lose your life (from all the research I’ve done on this).

    But this brings me to your second issue that you address – spending quality time with Jesus. It is imperative that we do this – so we can test each and everything that is said to us instead of accepting whatever is coming out of the preacher’s mouth. Even demons know the scriptures better than most Christians. Without having that face time with the Saviour, we can be easily deceived. All of us. The holy spirit will lead us into all truth.

    Had I been digging in the bible and sitting at Jesus’ feet more, would I have caught on to it faster? Probably. I am just thankful that God protected me and opened my eyes through another believer before it was too late.

    We are in serious times, and there is a great falling away. It’s even more important now than ever to stay close to Jesus. Thanks for your post.

    • Hi code — you made some powerful points. Drawing near to God comes from a passionate heart search. It doesn’t come from going to church, but from seeking God from the depths of our soul through the Bible with the instruction and counsel of the Holy Spirit. God wants us to know Him as He is in spirit and truth and not following some image that is handed to us by a person. And deception isn’t obvious – that’s why it is deception. And it is the truth that protects us and delivers us from the deception these days. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  17. It all comes down to the individual’s relationship with God. A relationship that is cultivated through a decision on the individual’s behalf through motivation to seek God personally. Bloggers sharing their message and perspective based on their relationship with God is no different than a preacher in many churches doing the same. Granted there are denominations that are very organized and share the same message thread throughout the country on Sunday morning based on where they are in the church calendar, but the bottom line is this. You, the individual are responsible for your relationship with God. Whether you seek perspective from a pew on Sunday morning or from your sofa on a blog site, you are still responsible for seeking your own personal relationship with God. I like to say that my journey with God is as unique as my fingerprint. It is mine and his together. I enjoy going to church and hearing a perspective from my peers in class and in church led by a speaker. However, I recognize that he is a man or she is a woman and that I must take that information and speak with God individually regarding what I have received. The same as I enjoy reading this blog and the same as I enjoy reading my Bible and the journey’s of the many that wrote the books of the Bible.

    Ultimately, however, my relationship with God is going to be whatever I make of it. He is there, the same God always, it is me that allows outside influences and interferences. It is me that must seek to know him and his desire for me. If one is going to seek God completely on their own, then not only should they consider leaving the church, but also consider leaving the blogs. Do you get my point?

    I think you would serve better to insist that readers take responsibility for their journey, their relationship, and their future by taking the information they receive in church or on a blog and then delving further on their own and outside of the church or the blog. If you desire to fellowship in church, so be it. If you desire to read blogs, so be it. Please just don’t stop there. Take it further…..spend time on your own with God, read his word on your own, ask him for guidance in your reading and meditating. Seek and you will find. This is the stance I will be taking.

    • Hi Anonymous, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I agree it is about each one’s individual relationship. The problem with the church system as it is structured is it doesn’t really foster this, but in my opinion deems it ok if you aren’t in a passionate seeking relationship with God – it’s more about making sure you are in church. Some can go and hear someone speak like I am reading your words now, but let’s be honest – the church system really isn’t about that. On the outside, some may appear that way, but all the underlining messages and motivation tells a different story. But more so … if you are constantly putting yourself in the path of what isn’t true those lies will affect you. Weare very much influenced by what is around us and need to use great discernment in what we read in hear … discernment that comes from abiding in the Bible and listening to the Holy Spirit. And as you said, it all comes down to the individual’s relationship.

  18. With all these people agreeing (I too agree with most of what you have written here) and being of one mind, I wonder what 10,000 of these like minded individuals would look like gathering together multiple times a week. Just an interesting thought. :)

  19. Pingback: Seeing without Blinders: The Church System « Stirring the Deep

  20. Pingback: Seeing without Blinders: The Church System « Stirring the Deep

  21. Love, meekness, gentleness, self-accusation, forgiveness, patience, compassion, reproof— these are the works of the Spirit. THE flesh flatters ; the Spirit reproves. The flesh blindly gratifies; the Spirit wisely disciplines. The flesh loves secrecy; the Spirit is open and clear. The flesh remembers the injury of a friend ; the Spirit forgives the bitterest enemy. The flesh is noisy and rude ; the Spirit is silent and gracious. The flesh is subject to moods ; the Spirit is always calm. The flesh incites to impatience and anger; the Spirit controls with patience and serenity. The flesh is thoughtless ; the Spirit is thoughtful. Hatred, pride, harshness, accusing others, revenge, anger, cruelty, and flattery—these are the works of the flesh

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