Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sick of church? Good for you! But don't stop there!

I hear a lot from people – Gay and straight – who no longer attend any church. They mention a lot of reasons, but all those reasons boil down to this:

They are tired of the garbage.
  • They're tired of "pastors" and "apostles" and other church "leaders" whose primary "call" is to pursue, demand, and soak up adoration and obedience that only belong to God.
  • They're tired of "Christians" who salute themselves as belonging to Christ, yet who resemble Paul's description of the "deeds of the flesh" far more than the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:19-23).
  • They're tired of church "services" that are full of material doo-dads (pews, pulpits, pianos, etc) but empty of Spirit.
  • They're just tired of showing up to shine for God, only to find themselves once again sitting in a hyped-up mud hole of human self-congratulation and religious pretense.
So they don't go.

And who could blame them, when all that and more is plainly true to anyone willing to see it?

Well, many of those still in the churches want to blame them, of course. They say things like, "Falling attendance is all part of the Great Falling Away!", and "God requires you to come to church each Sunday!"

But that's all baloney, too.

The "Great Falling Away," for example, refers to people's hearts falling away from Jesus – not to the numbers of people sick of showing up in spiritually evil and/or spiritually empty buildings each week.

And while the Bible requires us to continue in loving relationship with those who love and serve the Lord, it says nothing about forcing ourselves to participate in the local "hobby-God club".

So, despite what we may hear, being sick of church can actually be a good, healthy thing in our lives – like giving up a nicotine addiction, or no longer drinking soda pop.

The problem comes when we stop there, though. When we pull out the big, thorny thistle from our spiritual garden, but don't plant something good there, instead.

See, Jesus wants to grow there. In fact, Jesus is the one who sent you the message, the one who gave you the discernment to see the truth about the "white-washed tombs" so many today call "churches."

And Jesus wants you out of the false church.

But Jesus also wants you in His real one.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.

"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’"
(Matthew 7:15-23)
If you are sick of "church," be happy that you aren't being fed by a church organization that – in God's eyes – "practices lawlessness." You'd be in far worse shape if you were being fed!

If you are sick of "church," be glad that you are tired of the thorns pretending to be grapes. The first step in anything getting better is to realize that it's not working now!

If you are sick of "church," feel good about yourself and your relationship with Jesus. You're practicing the discernment that Jesus requires of us all, and listening to what He has to say.

And if you are sick of "church", find other ways to maintain your relationship with Jesus – things that speak to your spirit and that keep your faith strong and fit. And that includes if you come across a local Christian assembly that feeds your (real) faith in Jesus Christ – love and keep those wonderful brothers and sisters! But never forget:

You don't need a "temple" or a "church", or a "pope" or a "pastor," or anything else in this world to get and keep Jesus. Rather, you get Jesus by wanting Him to be there, and you keep Jesus by trusting He's getting you where you need to go.

And that's it!

Keep growing in discernment, love, and strength in the Lord!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely, and sadly, right on target!