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Stirring The Deep


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After I left the Church System (not True Church)

After I left the Church System

(not True Church)

Out of the Church System

Being new to California, most all my friends and social life was wrapped up in the church we were attending – besides people I interacted with at work. My husband and I had met some nice people and were very plugged in to the church life. Leaving wasn’t easy but we knew what God was leading us to do. The more we read and sought in the Word, the clearer it became to us what would become of the church system (not true church) and we started to see it happening around us. It wasn’t our reasons but God’s leading through His Word. On the flip side, He was drawing us deeper into His Word. In brief this is some of what we read and saw, the church system as a whole is leading people to depend on the system not God, to cultivate and nurture a relationship with the system not God, to trust in the system for spiritual nourishment not God. The church often tries to play the role the Spirit should be playing in people’s lives.

Once I started to see what was happening in the church and how blinded I had been to it all, I had to follow God’s lead to another fellowship. As an old church goer, but fairly new true follower of Christ, I needed to establish God as my foundation, something the church always had been. I had trusted the church for my spiritual growth, to “feed” me, my source of truth, and so on. I thought God was my source, but honestly my relation to Him was through the Church. But now a shift was occurring in my life. I had been greatly influenced by others, but now my influence was God’s Word. I was new at cultivating a relationship with God, but I was on the path to building a foundation in Him, something I desperately needed, we all need.

After we left, there was one woman who beside my husband and family was my “fellowship”. It was that way for several years. I prayed about being in the fellowship God desired for me, but nothing manifested. I resolved to trust God that He was able to lead me where He wanted me. During those years, God and I developed a tremendous relationship. He truly became my Rock, my Teacher, comfort and counselor. I needed those “alone” years so that He truly became my foundation, not someone or something else. Over time, my beliefs shifted from being grounded in human teachers words to God’s Word – and that changed everything.

Once that foundation was established, then God started to bring into my life other godly women for me to “fellowship” with. It wasn’t the formal gathering of being inside a church, but souls hungry and desirous coming together real, open and honest. We talked about the tough issues, scripture, what God was teaching us. In that environment encouragement, prayer, exhortation, praise, and worship from the heart came alive. I began to understand what true fellowship was about. I think we get too locked in to how we think fellowship should be and we don’t trust God to truly lead us to what is best for us and those around us – and that various for each one of us.

Many of us have been so ingrained about what fellowship is that we are blinded to other true fellowship that God has in store for us. We get wrapped up in being in the “right” one because of what others have said that if we aren’t in the church system we’ll fall away. We don’t trust God to protect and provide. We push, seek and all the while neglect to trust God and develop a relationship with Him. People are often more concerned about being in the right fellowship than cultivating a real relationship with God grounded in truth – crazy how backwards everything is.

Our life is one of faith and faith is all about trust. The question is who is our faith in really? Those years alone with God put all that to the test as well as refined it. God knows what we need. But we need to follow His lead not man’s “should dos” . We need to abide in His Word. We need to trust that He can provide and protect us no matter where we are – and that level of trust comes from taking time to develop a relationship with Him.

This is a bit of side note, but relevant. I’m having an emotional morning . . . last night I had a horrible dream. It was weird and futuristic, but the basis is there was an earthquake and I was separated from my two cats. It was days before I could get to the place where they were. My heart felt like it was torn in a million pieces. I went searching for them among all the madness as everyone was trying to take care of their own. I finally found Malcolm curled up sleeping in a corner. I hardly recognized him. Dirt covered his white fur. I picked him up. He was much smaller because he hadn’t eaten or had water for days. He was weak and limp in my arms. I was trying to find him some water, but couldn’t find any and at the same time find Sophie, his sister. She is the more frightened one. I looked everywhere. I found a cat I thought was her, but wasn’t. I carried Malcolm around running looking frantically for her and I woke never finding her.

My heart is still aching in my chest. Its amazing how dreams create real emotions in you. But the thought of them so helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing me to care for them and not being able to was overwhelming. Even telling my husband about my dream this morning tears started to fill my eyes. I love those little guys.

The love I feel is a nit compared to the love that God feels for us, and this is where this is relevant to this topic. We are just as helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing His to care constantly. God loves us so incredibly much. But so often we doubt His love and don’t trust it. We trust man and those around us more. We don’t trust that He will really care and protect us. So, in our beliefs, we never fully step into that place under His wing. It was a hard dream, but reminded me about the depth of His love for His children.

I know many are struggling with this whole church situation. God loves you so much. We can trust His lead and that wherever we are He will guard and protect if we seek and abide in Him and His Word. The end is upon us. These days are tough. Things are changing just as Christ warned us. But God promised to always be there and protect and provide and He will not let His promises fail to His children who He loves beyond words. The journey God has lead me on has been exactly what I needed. It has been incredible. But I needed to trust Him and I was able as I understood His love for me, which came from abiding in His Word and cultivating a real relationship with Him.

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Out of the Church System – Into God’s Arms

Out of the Church System

Into God’s Arms

 

As I read and hear about all the unrest around this issue, I felt compelled to share part of my story with you. This is a difficult topic to talk about – no doubt. My prayer is that you will listen with an open heart and that you will get from it whatever God has for you.

This second video is my thoughts on an issue that is often raised when people mention leaving the church system – the assembling of believers mentioned in Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Some Unhealthy Fellowship Verses: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Psalm 26:4-5, 1 Timothy 6:5, 2 Timothy 3:5

I’ll be posting more related videos in the following weeks.

First Video Transcriped . . .

Out of the Church System – Into His Arms (Video Transcribed)

Hi, I’m Rachel with Stirring the Deep and I wanted to talk to you about what has been happening in the church community regarding people leaving the church system – not the true church, the body of believers, but the system, the institution, the business.  I see a lot of restlessness occurring, so I wanted to share with you my story.  Now, I know this topic brings up an lot of different questions and issues. I want to address some of those – not in this video but in a later one when I have more time. For example, the verse Hebrews 10:25 where it talks about not forsaking the assembling together, issues about young Christians, fellowship and those sorts of issues.

But here I want to tell you about my story.

I grew up in the church. Like a lot of us that grew up in the Church, there comes a time when you have to make God your God and the faith your faith.  God brought me to a point in my life where He basically turned everything upside down. Where I was just tired of my life. I wanted God to take over. It came to a point that I wanted a relationship with God that was real. I didn’t want a religion. I didn’t want to go through the acts anymore. I wanted a real relationship with God.

So I started seeking Him in His Word. But now when I read, I was reading on a daily basis getting to know Him – asking God who are you? Show me who you are. I want this to be real because that is what a real relationship is, right? It is communication back and forth. It’s really getting to know somebody.  And God started to open up His Word to me. It was slow . . that development of a relationship with Him because I had a lot of things I had to let go of. It was a process. But that is what started to happen in my life, this relationship developing.  I was no longer reading to do a Bible Study or to “fix” myself. I was reading to build intimacy with God.

Around this same time, I was involved in a church, highly involved. My husband and I would go to Bible Studies and small groups. We helped out at the church, and built a great sense of community, friends and support. It was wonderful what we had. But over time, a gap started forming between the cultivation of our relationship/intimacy with God as we spent time in His Word one-on-one, listening to His Spirit in our life AND our church involvement. It wasn’t just that we disagreed about different truths in the Bible. It was more than that – it was a bigger gap happening underneath it all. This gap created a restlessness in us that at first we really didn’t understand. As this restlessness continued, we decided to take a break from the church. Whenever you are so wrapped up in something it’s very hard to hear clearly. We said, God we just want to be still and be with you and give ourselves time and not be influenced by all these other things, including our own thoughts because we had enjoyed all that community, all the social aspects and all that it offered.  We had to honor that restlessness and figure out what was going on.

We sat with God day after day seeking, reading in His Word – old prophets, Revelation, reading everything. Over time, from His Word and the prompting of the Spirit, we felt that God was calling us out of the church, not the true body of believers. We’re always connected with them, but the church system, the business, the institution. This was a radical thought, because I had grown up in the church. I had always been in the church. It was a part of my life. Can this be? But the more I prayed and the more I read, I felt YES, this is exactly what you’re hearing. I started seeking around and other people where feeling the same thing and had already left the church. It was incredible.

Having been in the church for so long, we decided to go back and see how we felt in our spirits. This is now we often are – we ask God and He answers us in His Word, confirms it in our spirits, and through other people, but we still say, are you sure God?

Leaving was such a big deal and it was hard because we had a community of friends. But when we went back, it was like the spirit was pushing us out the door. It was undeniable that we weren’t supposed to be there.  We haven’t been back since, that was 2004. It wasn’t to go find another church that is also something else that was very clear. It was to come out of the church system.

It was difficult and I continued to pray, why, is this right? Because I have friends and family in the church. But the message has only grown clearer and stronger over time. The basic message was, that I’m reading from God’s Word, judgment is coming upon the church. And part of that judgment is that the sanctuary, the house of God, will be given over to the enemy. It talks about this in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and so on and it all connects back to Revelations – it’s incredible. That’s prophecy and that’s what is going to happen, I believe. God is going to call His people out and He will protect them. Those who are really listening to Him will follow Him, His voice wherever He leads. He will be their sanctuary, their Shepherd, and protect, guard and provide for them in every way. This message is what I’ve been seeing happening exactly. You see what the church is starting to and has become. How the enemy is taking over the sanctuary. How people are giving into a big delusion. The church has become the center and not God. People are trusting in the church and man for their provision, protection, comfort, and teaching. Everything is really centered on the church. They can’t pull away from it because they wonder what’s going to happen to them. That kind of dependency means that is where your trust is thus your idol.  And all of this is exactly what God’s Word talks about. Our trust should be in God. God can use different things, but who is the source of our trust – our dependency will tell us.

Anyway, God continued to unfold His Word and lay out this plan. It has been hard because being outside the system isn’t where the majority of people are. But the choice really came down not so much leave the church or not, because you can give all these reasons why church can be bad or good, but it was about whose voice was I going to listen to, man’s or God’s?

I hope that my story encourages you to seek God’s truth in this, not anyone else’s like your church’s, but what is God saying to you. What is His will? And give yourself time to really listen to His voice – that still small voice. If we truly seek and we really want to know the truth, then He will open up His Word to us. He will lead and show us His will for us. But we have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to truly follow Him. It’s my prayer that you would have that seeking heart.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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