When did your Christian journey start? Mine started forty-five years ago when I met my soon to be wife. On many, many of our dates, the discussions always came full circle to if I believed in Jesus as my Savior. My only belief at the time was that if you died there was nothing. You flipped the switch, it was lights out, and now your worm food.
It’s not hard for me to believe that I thought this way given that my parents must have thought you learned about Jesus and salvation by osmosis. Our family was pretty much two season Christians even though I attended eight years of Catholic grade school. This, in reality, was a blessing in disguise. There was not too much baggage to be a stumbling block in my wife and my discussions.
The beginning was simple, childlike faith. Yeah, I believe that. In retrospect, wow, I went through many stages on this walk. It would be an understatement to say I was stiff-necked like the Jewish people. Self-righteousness and emotional thinking ruled my heart. I was in bondage to the traditional systems of religion. Little has changed over the centuries and the system remains the same no matter what denomination it is. However, what has changed is me.
Even though I left denominationalism and matured through research and study, I still had to rid myself of a self-righteous attitude about meeting in the home as the Apostles did. It finally came to the point that the Holy Spirit showed me that I had to lose the attitude and I am working on that. Now, even though I don’t go to the traditional church, I don’t press the issue of meeting in the home. I know that God can work even in the traditional setting. I am simply going to walk as a simple disciple and be obedient to God and Jesus, my Savior.
I’m pretty sure that most older adults have some pleasant memories from their childhood that they revisit from time to time. For me, childhood memories are like “secret friends” that I can call on without anyone knowing they are there. One of my favorite memories was our families road trip to “Grandma Mac’s cottage.
My every moment from the time we left from home was consumed with our stop in Fremont, Wisconsin. This little town was a quaint little slice of Americana with it’s one-pump gas station and a mechanics repair shop. The intensity of the journey started to overwhelm me as we rounded the corner passing the one-pump gas station and headed down mainstreet. I thought I entered Mayberry, USA as our old”Merc”rumbled down main street and slowly pulled up in front of the Rexall drug store.
Ahhhhhhh, the Rexall drugstore! It was like the appetizer before the “big meal.” The moment my foot hit the threshold, the distinct, soothing smell of the drugstore took control. I was like a zombie as I stumbled my way over to the comic book racks and stood mesmerized by the rows and rows of comic books-So many books, so little time. All my favorites pulled me to them like a magnet-Superman, Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Green Lantern. Pick-em quick, we were on a schedule!
Now, I thought I was in Heaven as I stood planted in front of the racks and racks of comic books in that Rexall drugstore, but, boy was I wrong. A few short steps away from where I was standing was the ultimate, one-of-a-kind, A-number one, the main event, “The Fremont Cafe.” Be still my heart! As I opened the dilapidated screen door, it hit me! Summer after summer, my senses were assaulted by a delightfully, euphoria- inducing combination of smells-sizzling sausages in the skillet, pancakes plumping up on the griddle, and the aroma of maple syrup wafting through the air in that little hole-in-the-wall diner.
Our waitress, old Suzy what’s-her-name, who doubled as the cashier, seated us at a square table with high backed, booth type seats. It was always the same for me year in and year out. I would pick up the menu, my eyes being immediately drawn to the plate-sized, monster pancake. Don’t give me some shrimpy, three-stack number with a little butter and fake maple syrup, No, not me!
It would never fail. When that monster pancake was placed in front of me, bells and whistles would go off in my head and my eyes would be fixed and dialated. I slathered that baby with fresh, creamy butter and smothered the cake until it was saturated with “real” maple syrup. Every buttery bite was like water to a parched man. I savored every morsel until my plate was wiped clean. We jumped into our “57 Merc” and started the second and final leg of our journey to Grandma Mac’s cottage. At forty-five miles an hour, I had plenty of time to dream of next years excursion to the “Fremont Cafe.”
What I had in my mind when I started this blogging site was to address the state of the Institutional Body of believers as well as sharing my research on how I came to see it’s ineffectiveness for believer’s today. Well, I won’t throw away my research and beliefs. They will be contained in my prior posts.
However, I believe the time has come for a change of direction. Instead of only looking at issues about the institutional body, I want to share music, childhood stories, poetry, photos and at times topics about faith. It is my hope that I can refresh your hearts and minds through my words. All of what I share will be as Paul the Apostle said, pure, right, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, admiral, noble and true. Additionally, I will be changing the name of the blog, but I haven’t come up with it yet. It will be soon.
It looks I can’t figure out how to change the site address so I will stay with the same one.
This is a great post that I came across on Facebook.
“The collapse of the barrier between popular culture and decadence has released a toxic mudslide of vulgarity into the nation’s family rooms—and just about everywhere else. There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity.” – Albert Mohler
* * *
Watch the Gospel message fading
In a hazy maze of grays.
Watch the strait and narrow vanish.
As we preach “the broader ways”.
Watch the mudslide, sir, continue,
Idol Progress take her bow.
Watch the children numbed to numb-er.
Scripture all but disavowed.
If you watch foundations closely,
You may spot The Missing Link:
When God’s Word is not uplifted,
You will see the culture sink.
You will hear discourses coarsen,
Witness bloodshed left and right…
You’ll hear scoffers mocking scripture.
You’ll see sinners dodging light.
You’ll see human sacrifices
Designated quite “humane”.
Least among us terminated…
Consciences that know no shame.
* * *
When the Gospel’s taught as truthless,
It will soon be toothless goo…
After toothless turns to couth-less…
Ruthless will be stalking you.
* * *
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”- 1Timothy 4:1-2
(dot, dot, dot…..see also Romans 1:18-32)
7 THOUGHTS ON FORGIVENESS
1. Forgiveness means tearing up a debt. It means you abandon any expectation of change or restitution from the offender.
2. Yes, it’s difficult. The more severe the offense against you, the harder it is.
3. Forgiveness can be unilateral. You can forgive someone even though they never seek it or change.
4. Forgiving someone may never change them. Be content if it at least changes you.
5. A gospel world-view is essential. Knowing the Father fully forgives you is the divine motivation for you to forgive others.
6. Forgiveness is healing. To go a step further and seek the restoration and encouragement of the offender is liberating!
7. The Christian church is intended to be a community of believers who breathe the air of forgiveness and cause forgiveness to flourish in their midst.
Here are some scriptural guidelines from Eric Carpenters Blog when it comes to meeting in the home as believers.
I believe the best answer to the above question is that as we come together as the Bride of Christ we should be following principles set forth in the New Testament. While we may have some freedom in the details, we must follow the principles that God has made clear and unavoidable for us. Those principles include, but are not limited to, the following (in no particular order):
Jesus Christ is the unquestioned Head.
Gatherings are to be Holy Spirit led and directed.
Everything that occurs is to be for mutual edification.
Meetings are to essentially be family get-togethers.
The body eats together (the Lord’s Supper).
Group participation is the norm.
Each person uses his or her spiritual gifts to benefit the body.
Children are present and active.
Meetings are simple, preferably in homes.
Gatherings are a time to carry out the one-anothers.
Leadership = service.
Elders come from within the body.
Meetings are free-flowing and generally unplanned (unceremonial).
Reading of scripture takes place.
Giving is to meet needs.
Decision making comes through consensus.
It just seems to me that looking at this list is a good way to start discussing meeting in the home as the body of Believers.
My road of faith and it’s hills and valleys have been many through the years of my Christian walk. Since I left the institutional congregation of believers, I feel as if I have been wandering in a desolate wilderness while stumbling over rocks and boulders strewn along the landscape. My connections with like minded-believers, who have found the same path, have been few and far between. Sometimes, I feel like a man without a country, but I know that there are others of you out there who are in similar situations on your journey.
My journey has been filled with research, reading, and reflection on numerous authors who have been on similar and more extensive travels through the home church wilderness. I have concluded in my mind after all this time and research that the way that the early New Testament believers met is the “better way.” However, I believe instead of saying a better way, it should be the “Original Way.”
A few weeks ago or maybe months, I came across a listing of what one home fellowship sees as a thread weaved through the fabric of their meeting together as a body of New Testament believers. I believe that as I have read through this listing that it fleshes out what I see could be foundational to a body of believers meeting in the home so let me share it with you:
Jesus is the head of the body of believers.
Understand that Jesus’ desire for believers is that together they will conform to his image and be prepared for mutual ministries to each other and outreach to the lost world,
Believe in the “priesthood of all believers” for the work of the ministry.
Enjoy prayer, praise, worship, bible teaching, the Lord’s supper, testimonies of the Lord working in the believer’s lives as a common practice in the home environment.
Encourage teaching, learning, and sharing times that are open to questions and discussion
Include children as part of the gathering and ministry time.
Enjoy practicing all the one another’s listed in the scriptures
Let elders have a functional mindset and emerge naturally over time.
Make decisions for the body by consensus (Acts 15:22,25) looking to Jesus, the head, allowing the Holy Spirit the opportunity to bring the whole body of believers into one mind.
If you can think of more let me know.
- They believe everything a pastor says or preaches from their pulpits.
- They think their “pastor” is a man or woman instead of the Lord Jesus.
- They think they have to tithe to the local “church” and the pastor.
- They think church pastors have authority over their lives, in contradiction to what Christ taught (Matthew 23:8-10).
- They let the pastors tell them what the scriptures say, instead of proving ALL THINGS for themselves.
- They let the pastors interpret the Bible for them, without studying on their own what the truth is.
- They think the church pastors have a right to a life-time of free money (welfare existence).
- They think they cannot have a personal relationship with the Father/Jesus Christ, without “going to church”.
- They think that Sunday or (Saturday) church attendance is the the major part of definition of being a Christian.
- They think that following Jesus Christ means going to church every week and hearing another sermon.
- They believe pastors are infallible and inerrant and must be obeyed.
- Their lives revolve around church, church activities, camp meetings, revivals, conferences, seminars and endless meetings, even when Jesus Christ lives in them 24/7 through the Holy Spirit, and it is NEVER NECESSARY to go here or there looking for Christ, when He lives within them all the time.
- The focus of their lives revolves around listening to pastors preach, rather than hearing the voice of the true Shepherd.
- Their vocabulary is about “church” and “my pastor” this and that, rather than about the Lord Jesus.
- Their lives revolve around churchianity, rather than around Jesus Christ.
- They believe it is rebellion to question the teachings and practices of the pastors and churches.
- They think the “Word” of God is the “Bible”, when the Word is really Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3).
- They never research issues for themselves, but leave all the research and thinking to the pastors.