Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Charles H. Sprugeon quote

“I have little confidence in those persons who speak of having received direct revelations from the Lord, as though He appeared otherwise than by and through the gospel. His Word is so full, so perfect, that for God to make any fresh revelation to you or me is quite needless. To do so would be to put a dishonor upon the perfection of that Word.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hello I'm back...Church conversation

Well I took a little break from writing. Really for no particular reason at all. But I'm back for the time being...hopefully :)

But I recently had a trip back to my alma mater (It still sounds cool being an alumni), for homecoming, and I had fun. All I basically wanted to do was see my friends since most of them are down there and many from other states were coming as well. We lost our football game and I was not pleased with that, but overall it was a great time. I praise God I had the finances to go. My contract job is now up so I'm looking for jobs again, but I may be looking out of state this time.

But anyways, the highlight of my trip came when I was able to talk with two of my brothers in Christ who still attend the church I resigned from. It was actually funny how we were able to meet.

It was a Sunday and since I wasn't going to church that day for obvious reasons, I woke up and decided to randomly take a drive to Virginia Beach to see the boardwalk. After going to college in the Hampton Roads area for five years, I had never went to VA Beach to see the boardwalk. So I get on the highway and right as I am getting off the freeway, I get pulled over for speeding. 70 in a 55...yes bad I know. But God has a purpose you see. I also have to thank God for grace because I didn't have my rental car contract with me and the officer could've clearly had the car towed.

So I get a ticket and I'm frustrated and I'm not even in the mood anymore to see the boardwalk. So I turn right back around and head back to my hotel room. So earlier in the day I tried contacting one of the brothers that also left the church to see if he wanted to go eat. He didn't answer so that's why I decided to go to VA Beach. As I'm coming out of the tunnel right before I pass the campus, he texts me back and I pull into campus. He wanted to listen to a football game so I said I would just stop by his room and hang out and talk. Well right as I am getting out of my car and walking to the dorm, here comes one of my good friends that still goes to the church. He was the one who actually brought me into the ministry. So we stop and say hi and everything and he says call him so we can go out to eat later on.

Now I had been trying to get in contact with him for awhile and couldn't get an answer so I believe this was a divine appointment by God. Even if he had to use a speeding ticket for us to actually meet up.

So after I see my friend at his dorm, he said he wasn't interested in going out to eat later so I called my other friend who I have mentioned here on this blog who also left to see if he wanted to come along. He said ok cool.

So we all meet up and I was glad to see another friend from the church along as well. We get inside to eat and after the usual how's everything talk, we get into a loooooooooong conversation about why we left, our views on scripture, and how we think many of the things practiced at the church don't line up with the scriptures. I mean we went for about 7 hours debating, discussing, sometimes getting very heated but still in love about the things we were talking about.

A pastor even came in and just happened to sit down next to us and he even got into and was agreeing with many of the things me and my friend were saying.

The main issues they had were our positions as having a reformed view and also claiming new revelation is still being given on par with scripture. That's a big no no in my book because there is nothing to test it by. We also talked about prophecy, word of knowledge, and I even told them about the things with the false prophets but ultimately it did not get through.

Eventually after 7 hours and a restaurant become empty with us the only ones in it, we eventually came to agree to disagree but still as brothers in Christ. I mean on our end we're praying that they would see the truth and just have confidence in the finished work of Christ instead of seeking after new revelations and knowledge from God, and on their side they are praying that we see that we need more than just the Word of God to live this faith. They still think we need more knowledge and the hidden things of God.

One thing that me and my friend felt awkward about was when we closed out in prayer. Me and my friend both wear glasses and one of them wanted to pray that we get better vision. No problem. The problem came when the claim it terminology came into the prayer. You know declare it and it will happen and he wanted us to say it and we would not do it. Again just another testament to why we cannot return.

But as I said before, we are still brothers in Christ and we still talk and I love that. Again I've read stories of people leaving churches and the people just outcast them but the church I left, you will never find a group of more loving people. The pastor even called me on my way down to see how I was doing and I really appreciated that. But again you can be really loving and be totally theologically wrong.

So I'm back in Michigan planning my next steps in life, but knowing that God will probably derail those plans :)

God bless.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ahhhhhh!!!...the election

I've taken a little break but I'm back for the time being. On Friday I will be heading back (Lord willing) to Virginia for my college homecoming. It's my first homecoming as a college grad!! woohoo!! I'm looking forward to hanging out and talking with a couple of my friends who left my former church. I sense a VERY long conversation in the works. And it'll be very interesting if I run into anyone from the church. I don't expect a long conversation.

But ANYWAYS...this election stuff.

I am really at wits end on this election. First I have christian friends voting for Obama and christian friends chastising the christians voting for obama.

I can understand abortion. It's horrible.

I'm not in favor of same sex marriages.

But I am sick and tired of christians acting like these are two HUGE sins greater than any other sins in the world. It's never brought up among the christians who tout Obama as the anti christ or w/e, that McCain committed adultery.

On a forum I check in on from time to time...I don't post there because it has gone so far off the deep end, almost 50% of the threads are about Obama and how he is the most evil man on the planet.

I still don't know who I'm voting for but please I am tired of all this stuff of "Jesus wouldn't vote Obama" or "Jesus wouldn't vote McCain", because truth be told, I think he wouldn't have voted for either one. His agenda wasn't to advance the law on everyone and take over the politcal offices of His day, but it was to bring salvation to God's sheep whom He was sent to save.

I'm not saying we as christians don't care about politics or what's going on in the political realm, but the political realm is not meant for us to advance our own christian agenda on the whole country. God's Kingdom is not of this world. Use wisdom in your vote if you haven't voted already and pray about and go with your own convictions. You want abortion to stop? Spread the Gospel. That is what will really change lives.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback...Church 13 years ago

You know this process got me to thinking during these last couple of weeks and I had never thought about it before.

For 8 years I went through the same thing I am going through now, only one, I was younger, and two, it was much worse. At the age of 10, my mom married a pastor who became my stepdad and he had just started a church.

The church I just left, wasn't controlling or abusive, but still the teachings, emphasis on feelings, and small aspects of church structure were damaging. But my former stepdad's church was very controlling.

There were very few charismatic aspects to it but my stepdad had a very controlling personality and basically wanted to control everybody. This caused people to leave the church over the 8 years I was there until ultimately when I left for college in 2003, the church had moved from the building that my stepdad bought, into his house with him and 3 other people.

I couldn't tell you how happy I was to leave for college. I could tell even back then that there was something wrong in the church because of his controlling personality. Being the pastor's kid, I was at every single church event and I even had to do the sound for the church.

Church eventually became a chore and if you knew me back then, you would not be able to tell as I was a christian. I was cussing like crazy and could care less about church. Oh I believed in God and thought I was a good person and being a "good christian", but was far from understanding what true christianity was all about. This was in itself a testament to the condition of that church.

I know even my mom had discernment about some things because a "prophet" came to the church and he was going around trying to heal everybody and make legs grow longer, etc. And my mother told him beforehand that she didn't feel right about inviting him to the church.

People who left were told that they were going to come under the judgement of God or whatever and in the end he still could not see that it was him that was damaging his own church that he started. Eventually it started taking its toll on our household as well and the year I left for college, they separated and ultimately recently divorced.

After that fiasco I didn't go to church until my fourth year in college which is when I started attending said church in this blog. But the year before that I had went through a bout of depression as a lot of my friends transferred colleges and again that feeling of loneliness was a lot to bear. But in that, I feel this is when GOD started reaching out to me. Sure I started to read my bible more as the depression I felt drove me to desperation and the only one I could turn to was God. But I'm 100% confident God was moving upon me Himself even for me to start seeking after Him.

As I look back on it, I can see first off why I wasn't as "excited" as everyone at times (at my most recent church). I mean just by the title of this blog implies the type of personality that I have. But the point I'm making is that I had been through a lot of the experiences before. The speaking in tongues out of order, the apostles (my dad called himself one and everybody in his church called him that), slain in the spirit, etc.

A lot of my friends at my former church come out of traditional baptist or catholic backgrounds where the church seems dead and it's very religious. For them to come out of that environment into the church they are at now is a whole new experience and with the excitement, activities, and "spiritual stuff", of course people are going to flock to it. It's new and the church seems alive and not caught up in denominational tradition yet I think that non-denominational churches are just another denomination just without a name.

And even my former pastor acknowledge that the reasons listed above can be harmful at times and he plans to educate people about some of the things that go on. My problem is not the education of the things but the notion that you will educate people on the things, only to continue to allow them to go on.

But looking back, I feel that God has always had His had upon my life and the situation with the church in my youth, I think was preparation for these recent four months.

Imagine if I had come into the stuff all new like most people, and not knowing why I may have had checks in my spirit about certain things or not know. And it's funny how you can see how God works His purposes out in your life. I keep bringing up the fact that my church in college wasn't controlling or abusive because if it was, I would've been out of there swiftly. And I look at it now and I believe God knew that that church would be a good covering for me for my last two years. Just enough so that I wouldn't get any further into any foolishness because I believe I was really headed that way. He knew if I saw any signs of what went on at the church in my youth, I wouldn't have stayed.

He put me there to get me started on the right track towards Him, and at coincidentally all this stuff came out right after I graduated and has ultimately led me to truth and simple faith in His Son and knowing why I have faith.

Interesting huh?

God bless

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I've been reading other blogs about people's different stories and how they've left their churches and the one common thing that I can relate to is the loss of community.

It's been a little over a month now and I still have my times where things will remind me of my time there or even dreams from the night before.

But along with where and how God has led me up to this point, doubts, questions, and fears will still come up because of the awful loneliness and loss of community that comes from it.

I mean that church was my life. This past school semester, I was at the church or performed in some sort of church activity 6 or everyday of the week.

Sunday - Morning service with the occassional 4 o clock service or deliverance session
Monday - Prayer with the brothers (which I actually enjoyed)
Tuesday - Bible Study
Wednesday - Men's Bible Study
Thursday - Life Group
Friday - All night prayer or other events that were scheduled
Saturday - Events...usually conferences or college nights

Rinse and repeat.

Don't get me wrong, I don't find fault with anything said above other than the extra things that would go on at a lot of them described in other posts on this blog.

I make this point to say that I was in contact or in fellowship with someone from the church everyday of the week. Other than school I had little time for anything else. At most of the weekend events I was usually one of the primary people working behind the scenes at one of the events to make sure everything was planned correctly.

But now.that I've left...nothing. I'm not even talking in terms of actually hanging out with the people from the church but the fact that no one has called. Not everybody knows that I've left and these people have contacted me a few times and had some enjoyable conversations.

But there are several people who either know that I have left or have not seen me or talked to me since May. With my two friends that left, it's the same as well and they actually LIVE on the campus with people from the church. They've not heard from one person on where they have been or anything. I don't know if people know or what but I just find it odd.

And I don't think of the people from the church as people who would shun other people.
So I guess I'm just confused.

But one thing God is showing me is that yes fellowship is important but will you still be strong in your faith if your church was gone? Have you turned your church into an idol? If the church was to just disappear would you survive?

And I'm talking about a building, a specific ministry with a name, not THE church which is the body of people who believe on and have faith in Christ.

But if so and so church were to disappear, would your faith dry up?

Yes activities and events are fun, but are they what fill you up? Is your faith based around how many activities you went to in a week at the church, and if you went to 5 that week, you had a pretty good week? And if next week you only went to one event at the church, you would be in a spiritual pit?

I know I was. I needed an event every weekend to make me feel good about my walk or faith that week. I needed more and more experiences to make me feel good. What I didn't realize or ask myself is why do I need to keep coming back for more like a drug?

Why am I still finding trouble for even basic faith in Christ? Where is that even keel in Christ where even through tribulation and storms in life, you still have the peace of God?

I didn't have it because I was letting the church dictate my faith by DOING.

I think I may have run off on a tangent so let me get back to my original topic...uhh :P

So yes, I miss the community and now I realize that this is actually making me step outside of my box to meet new people everyday and also use these new opportunities to reach out to people. Again I am an introvert by nature so this is a little more difficult for me, but I've prayed for God to create situations in my everyday life where I'm able to talk and meet new people.

I think another difficult thing for me is knowing that nobody has called me except for a few, but not being able to call them. I say that because if I were to call someone from the church, I am 100% certain that the question will come up of "So when are you coming back!!??"(for the people that don't know)...that will just open a whole can of worms and I am actually trying to avoid the conversation at all costs although I believe I will eventually have to have it.

So yeah, that's where I'm at now. Lonely. I have friends, but long distance. I think I'll be cool though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hearing from God?

This subject has been on my mind A LOT even before this summer.

From my experience from what was taught to me in church, hearing from God was something very hard to do. If you had an important life decision to make or even a minor decision, it required hours of prayer, pressing into God's presence, and making sure there was absolutely no sin in your life...basically going down a checklist in your mind of making sure there wasn't one sin left uncovered. You were to listen for that still quiet voice in your head after you've cleared out all your thoughts or listen for the first random thought that came to your mind as it would prove to be from God.

This was what I was taught from pastors and books or websites I would read on the internet.

So applied these methods and more often than not, ended up frustrated, confused, and wondering what I was doing wrong when I could not "hear from God"

This post kind of has a tie in to the will of God, but I won't be going in that direction. I want to talk about the unseen danger of teaching this method of hearing from God and making decisions based upon these methods.

First let me say something...

- I believe God is leading us by His Holy Spirit daily
- I don't believe in some kind of deistic God that is not involved in our personal lives in any way
- I do believe that God leads us when we walk by faith on His Word, pray on decisions according to His Word, and trust that He knows what He's doing
- I do believe we come to God in prayer with repentance in our heart and confessing known sin that we are living in

Now first of all I find something very odd. We have all these men with books and teachings about how to hear the voice of God. I have a problem with that because I realized that none of these methods can be found in God's Word.

So where do they get it?

In all the Bible, there is not one teaching from God, Jesus, or the apostles on how to hear the voice of God similar to what we see in books and teachings today.

Secondly, for people who are claiming to get direct revelation from God, even if it's just as simple as what turn to make at the next light, they are claiming that those are God's words and whether they believe it or not, those words are on par with scripture. And if they claim they are not, that cannot make sense because are some of God's words less authoritative than others or less important?

The question is not whether or not we hear from God, but how do we hear from God? Is it by sitting in quiet time and prayer and writing down thoughts during this time or listening to your inner impressions? Or is it by sitting in prayer, quiet time, and reading of the Word over a decision or what to do and making a wise decision that is not authoritative and binding.

Because that's a huge point. if you claim to say that you heard God tell you that this is the right thing to do, or that is the right thing to do on something that is outside of scripture, then you are binding yourself to that word because well you said it is from God.

But in my case and many other cases of people I've talked to, a lot of times we would seem to hear God incorrectly. This would happen to me many times. This would only leave one possibility. Since God cannot lie, the problem was with us in that we did not pray enough, have enough faith, or press into God's presence enough.

See the subtle danger?

It creates another type of works based mentality. Since we did not do the said things above either correctly or enough, we've made what seemed to bad decision. To think that God relies on US and what WE do to hear Him correctly in order that He can work in our lives is crazy.

Notice in the Bible people seemed to hear God loud and clear. I think God knew that the fallible human beings He made would have problems trying to discern which voices in their head were from Him, themselves, or Satan. So He spoke like He was face to face with the people.

But we hear no more of that today. Why? Well we have His written Word which is Him speaking directly to us. But that is not enough for a lot of us and we want more. We are not satisfied with the simplicity of what He's already given us.

Also take notice that God did stop giving revelation to people for 400 years after the Old Testament. This is my own personal opinion, but I believe He has done that same thing again for the past 2000 years.

And again, not saying God is not leading us throughout our daily lives. The point I'm trying to make is, we don't need special revelation in order for God to guide us.

One more point I want to make on the danger of this is how it can lead to people falling away from the faith. I remember reading a message board in which one person who was raised in church had been taught how to hear the voice of God, but in using all the methods, he could not hear God's voice. He ultimately gave up and stop being a christian because since He could not hear God's voice, he decided that there was no God or that if there was one, he wasn't directly involved in people's lives.

In conclusion, I believe that there are three types of people when it comes to this subject. The people that will have no problem with these methods and even though they continue to hear from God incorrectly with these methods, they will continue to try to hear Him better by praying a fixed amount of time or a certain way, etc.

Then there are the people like the man in the story above who will just give up and think there is no God because they know that listening to the voices in your head makes no sense and since they are looking to hear an audible voice and they don't, they give up altogether.

Then finally there are the people that will realize something is wrong with these methods by God's grace and stand on His Word and it alone as God's voice and allow the Holy Spirit to guide them, whether they are conscience of it or not, by the Word working through their lives.

God bless

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've Left My Church Pt.4.....Conclusion

So I've packed my stuff up and I'm heading back to Detroit. I'm telling you I woke that morning around 9:30 or 10 am, and that was the fastest I had packed anything. I've taken whole nights just to pack two bags for flights to golf tournaments around the country.

As I head out, and begin the 14 hour drive back (not all at once...7 hours to cousin's house in WV, spend the night, and finish the other 7 the next day), thoughts run through my mind of "Am I making the right decision? Am I disobeying God? Am I going to get punished by God for not staying over the summer like I said God told me to?...and I did believe God told me those good ol impressions and voices in my head, as well as pressure from other people in the church to show my dedication to the ministry.

Now this is interesting as well but as I was standing in my room at the ministry house, looking over the room to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything, I distinctly remember a thought go across my mind saying "you won't be back"...well I just threw it out of my mind as I thought it was "the enemy"

It was at that time, now that I have reflected on it, that this was God leading me, even though I didn't actively know it. I had thoughts that I was disobeying but it seemed that I had come up with excuses to to my pastor as to why I was leaving. Remember, I had no knowledge at this from the Word and other resources as to the things that were going on that seemed to bother me. I actually came up with a good reason that I was just coming home for three months to save up some money and to get my wisdom teeth out and I would be back. And actually, I really intended to do that (and I did get my wisdom teeth out...not as bad as I thought it would be).

So as I'm on the first leg of the trip, it was actually relaxing in a way. I tell you driving through those mountains of Virginia and West Virginia is truly a beautiful sight to see. I had worship and praise music on and did a lot of praying and thinking.

But I just felt like ok, I'm doing the right thing.

So I get back home the next day, and I was so happy to be back home, you wouldn't know. Here is where the journey REALLY was about to start.

After getting my wisdom teeth pulled and recovering from that, I started looking for jobs. I was committed to my plan of saving money and going back to Virginia. One thing that stuck out to me that may have confirmed I wasn't supposed to stay in Virginia was that I couldn't find the simplest of jobs so I could stay in the ministry house and pay rent. I couldn't get hired as a waiter, dish washer, ANYTHING.

But anyways, while looking for a job in Detroit which is so hard, I realized I had A LOT of free time. This is when I began using this time to get in my Word more than I had ever gotten into before in my life. I had no job, no money, so even though I didn't spend all day reading I spent 1, 2, 3 hours at a time a lot of days and also a lot of days I would just open it throughout the day, read a chapter, come back later and read again.

I believe my first step in coming to where I was now was this "will of God", that seemed so elusive and hard to find for me and my christian friends. Now in all my reading of the Bible, the only instances I hear of the will of God come in the form of something that implies that we already know what it is and that we are to do it. These verses are perfect examples:

John 7:17

If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Acts 20:27

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

Acts 22:14

"Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his

Colossians 1:9

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Colossians 4:12

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Hebrews 10:7

Then I said, 'Here I am&emdash;it is written about me in the scroll&emdash; I have come to do your will, O God.' "

Hebrews 10:36

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

1 Peter 4:2

As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

1 John 2:17

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 5:14

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Now these verses explicitly make statements about doing the will of God. My question came as, ok the God never tells us how to find it. There is no method in the BIBLE to find out what God's will is for our lives. What I did notice that many MEN claimed to have formulas and steps to finding the will of God. I started coming to a conclusion although I wasn't completely sure of it. I concluded that the way I was being taught how to find God's will for my life wasn't in the bible at all. We never read about Paul or Peter or anyone in the Bible trying to figure out what God has planned for their lives. Second, I concluded that it is selfish and puts the focus on ME.

What am I supposed to do next?
What college should I go to?
Who should I marry?

Now this seems all fine and dandy, but first of all, with this view, we are basing the view of God's individual will for our lives in terms of it turning out good. For example, if I ask God who to marry, and I believe God has told me to marry Susie as it is God's perfect will for my life, and later on in the marriage, Susie becomes severely ill and now I have to take care of her 24/7 because she cannot move or anything, was that God's will? Did I make a mistake? I would hope that wouldn't be the thinking but how do you test whether or not you're in God's will? There are sooooo many instances in the bible where God's will for a person's life was to suffer aka Job, aka Hosea.

Third, I realized there is a will of God for believers and that it can be found right in God's Word and it's not lost. I heard of Gary Frieson's book "Decision Making and the Will of God" as I had started reading other people's thoughts on this subject on other blogs. It was a good read and everything was backed up scripturally. After this I firmly believed that God's will for the believer is to be saved through Jesus Christ, that believers be sanctified, that they be submitted, spirit filled and spirit led as in Ephesians 4, and suffering for His name. If we are doing all these things and making decisions according to these things and using wisdom as well, then there is no agonizing over what to do next as if you are doing these things, God is the one in control of your life and controlling your desires, and He will lead you where He needs you to be and you're walking by faith knowing that He's doing that.

So after this breakthrough I obviously now saw that I disagreed with the common view at our church that WE have to find out what God's will is for our lives or we could miss it and just throw God's plans off. Actually that now sounded funny to me that we, the created by God for His glory and purpose, the clay so to speak, could derail God's plans because we didn't search hard enough or pray hard enough.

Even with this new outlook on God's will, I wasn't gungho to leave the ministry as it was just a different viewpoint.

So step forward to around early July. Still reading more people's thoughts on the will of God, I was somehow led to where Pastor Bob Dewaay had an article on Personal words from God. I read some more articles about common problems in the church today and how we need to get back to sola scriptura. I was also looking for info on Todd Bentley's fiasco and I was led to many sites talking about this Charismatic movement that I had never heard of.

So I do some research on what the Charismatic movement is, and I was stunned that a lot, not all, of characteristics fit my church. There was no gold dust or anything, but the people in the church were adamantly excited about Todd Bentley and the couple in Atlanta I found out are part of several organizations which have people like Mike Bickle and Lou Engle at the head of them. They are part of the Latter Rain Movement and that is such a long topic to get into so please look into it for yourself.

So I notice all these characteristics and it started clicking and making sense as to why I would not want to do stuff in in the past or I would get feelings of nausea or nervousness when things like spiritual warfare would go on or the mis speaking of tongues and basically all the emphasis on the spiritual realm. Also the high performance driven culture at the church. It was always taught that we are not saved by works, but it seemed exactly like what we were doing.

I felt like I had to go to every single event and help out at everything or I was missing out on God. When looking at other people I felt I wasn't laying my life down enough.

It was a relieving feeling but at the same time I didn't want to fully accept it because well, I loved the people at the church.

Now this church wasn't abusive with power or hungry for money or anything like that, but again it felt like everybody was sold out to the ministry. The ministry was everything but of course God is at the head of the ministry so we're doing all this for Him. The ministry, the ministry, the ministry. I began to wonder, if this ministry decided to leave or disappear, would we feel like we are serving God? Would we be able to live out this christian faith with just fellowshipping with one another?

Don't get me wrong, I believe church to be very important, but it seems like America's church culture, serving God, pleasing God, and "fellowshipping" revolves around activities and events. As long as you're busy for Christ, you're doing fine, when in actuality, you could be doing everything you wanna do for Christ, and still not be anything and miss the whole point of this Christian faith which is God conforming us to the image of His Son.

So as I'm finding all this stuff out and how similar my church was to charismatic churches, I then have a talk with one of my good friends and somehow he stated that he had some questions about some things as well at the church.

I couldn't believe it. Finally somebody I could talk to about this!!

I wasn't totally sure though yet so I let him continue and it turned out we were definitely on the same page. I found out that my other friend in the church was also talking with him and he had the same questions and concerns as well. The teachings on salvation, the extra biblical revelation, the misuse of the gifts, etc.

It also turned out we had been reading the same exact websites for references. These two also left with me about a month ago and you wanna know another odd thing? We didn't consult each other about these things, but during the school year, those two were always the ones riding with me in my car to all the church events. I now know that God had a reason for us becoming good friends during this time as our support for each other has been so helpful during these past four months.

So we continue to just gather more and more info, just in our Word more and more and I finally hear that one of them had talked to the pastor and officially resigned. Two weeks later, the other one did. A week later, I did. I went through a couple of phone calls and email exchanges with the pastor and he said some of the stuff I was concerned about like Atlanta for example was valid but that was for people who wanted more of God.

More of God? I thought the closest we could get to God was being saved through His Son. Was His work not complete? Do we have to add more to it? Now I'm not saying we just get saved and chill. Salvation is a lifetime process in which God sustains us and gives us the strength to work it out. But do I have to do other things to "get more of God"? It subtlely creates levels of christians. The ones in ATL are definitely getting more from God than someone who is not there. It's not stated but that's the only logical conclusion one can come up with. Also the pastor allowing them to continue to be part of organizations with false prophets was just not acceptable. And I can't forget about the experiences that I had which so messed with my faith and my spirit.

So ultimately after hard and agonizing thinking over whether I should stay or not, I resigned. Again the pastor is one of the nicest people I've ever known and there were no hard feelings or rudeness or "you're going to get judged by God" talk. I realize that with a lot of stories I've read, my exit could've been a lot worse.

And you already know the story with the girl which was the hardest thing to do. It seemed I had been praying and asking God for a godly woman, she came, and then it was over just like that.

So here I am now. Recovering...sort of. My recovery is in terms of getting over the feelings of absolute loneliness and making sure my faith is grounded in Christ, not a church or experiences. Oh and yes I am a reformed christian now. I believe salvation is totally of God and not of man's own power.

I know God has led me to this point even though these feelings of isolation and loneliness seem to much to bear at times.

I'm glad I will be heading down to my school's homecoming to see my other friends for a weekend. God has also blessed me with a $20 an hour job in my field (Graphic Design) in one of the toughest job markets in the country.

I have a church here, but not many people my age so that is difficult although I plan on asking my pastor if it's ok if I can lead the young people's group (the few there are...18-25) as the former leader has moved out of state.

But my confidence is in the Lord as Proverbs says, and let's see how things have turned out in a year or so.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

God's Calling

I thought this to be a very good post from Jeff over at Rethinking Church.:

"This might come out more like a paraphrase, but there's a quote in Wild at Heart by John Eldredge that goes something like this:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

That concept has stuck with me ever since reading that book, because it's a paradigm shift for me. So many people run from their "calling to the ministry", for example, because they're terrified that God will demand that they do something they don't want to do. And yet--perhaps we're looking at this all wrong. Maybe the seeds of desire in our hearts--the things that make us come alive--are actually a clue to what God might want us to do. I'm not talking about the fads and fleeting fancies; I'm talking about the deep-rooted passions that just don't go away. Why would we think God would put those desires there, only to deny them down the road? Maybe those deep passions are a clue to our "calling."

This is significant to me because in this period of deconstruction, a lot of what I thought I was called to do is now having to be re-defined, because it was based on an institutional structure that I no longer find either Biblical or helpful. And yet--the Bible makes it clear that God's gifts and callings are irrevocable, and won't just go away. Ergo--I must have misinterpreted the nature of my calling. I have been thinking of this much too narrowly."

Continued here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

God is sustaining and blind faith

This blog has completely taken over a new face in th past month if you could not tell. I've been primarily writing about my leaving my former church because this was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my life and this past week I had to really ask God to help quell some anger and upsetting moods this week. I feel really alone right now as since a lot of my former friendships are cut off and my friends from outside that particular church are scattered throughout the country. I sat and reflected some more during this long work week and I just got angry because I know what some of the things I experienced did to me and how they affected my spiritual walk. I always felt as though I was "working" to gain God's approval and not resting in His grace, not resting in His finished work on the cross, and not resting solely on my faith in Jesus Christ that I am saved.

It angered me that I truthfully believe that there are more, not a lot, but more in there who have ad the same feelings as I have but won't say anything for fear of questioning God. And I refuse to contact anybody from the ministry purposefully to tell them these things because it will look like I am just trying to cause division.

I mean just reflecting on so many things. One of those things that I recalled was what I like to call "blind faith". Just stepping out on faith on anything as if to get God to act on your behalf.

For example, if I decide to sell everything I have and move to Miami for the sake of spreading the gospel, even when I have had no notion or desire to do so, that is blind faith. I am doing it just to have God act on my behalf in terms of blessings that I may receive from doing so. Now don't misunderstand me here. If you sincerely have a desire or a burden to do something like that, then of course there is nothing wrong with that. There is a difference although subtle between that and my first example.

In my case from hearing it so much, it caused me to do the same thing. When I was done with school, I really had no desire to stay down there without a job and I didn't think it would be wise to do so. But I was so committed to the ministry that I said to myself, well I'm going to step out on faith and keep my stuff down here and move in the ministry house....even though I don't have a job or money to pay rent...God will be obligated to bless me because I stepped out on faith.

My question is...stepped out on faith on what? The only thing we are to have faith in is God's Word and what He said He would do and what He commands us to do. God said He would take care of us but does that mean that a believer goes out and sells everything he has under guise of being faithful or serving God as a means for God to work? Or do I use wisdom as the book of Proverbs fully emphasizes so much in all my decisions. I fully believe that if God needs you to go somewhere and be a missionary or to be a farmer in Nebraska, He will put that desire in your heart and you can trust and have faith that God will take care of you either way.

This brings me to when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. The Devil tried to tempt Jesus in to "proving God" by asking Him to throw Himself off the mountain. Now of course He could save Himself if He did so, but you shall not test the Lord your God.

If you step out on faith as a means to get God to act, it is testing God.

With that said, I will say it has been a real blessing to find other bloggers who have had similar stories and experiences. I will say that reading other stories, mine was not that bad. I would not call my former church a church full of "bad people". I still hope to be friends with them and I will def say that the leadership was not abusive in ways I've been reading, but the practices were abusive to me and my walk. Check out Discernment4truth in my blog list for another fellow believer who is currently on the same path that I am on.


God bless.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Atheist demands holiday

Florida Court Sets Atheist Holy Day

In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter & Passover holy days.

He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews & observances of their holy days. The argument was it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s).

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, 'Case dismissed.' The lawyer immediately stood, objecting to the ruling saying: 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter & others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur & Hanukkah. Yet my client & all other atheists have no such holidays.'

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, 'But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.'

The lawyer said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.'

The judge said, 'The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day.' Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.'

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've left my church pt.3


So after I've manifested "tongues", I continue to speak in them for the next 3 or 4 hours. I had never understood the gift of tongues and their purpose in the church, all I knew is that it was in the bible in the book of Acts, and we all want to get back to being a church that exemplifies what the church of Acts was all about right?

A few other people including two of my closest brothers in Christ, one of them being the brother I told you all about in my "Feeling better post" who have also left the ministry, also began speaking in tongues as well. So everybody who has manifested "tongues" is admonished to continue speaking until they prayed for everybody else to get the same gift. Not everybody started speaking in the tongues which I think I stated before, they highly admonished us to speak in tongues, but you weren't going to be looked down upon if you didn't.

Also came the laying on of hands for people to fall down under the spirit. I was the first to be prayed for and even though again I felt absolutely nothing....I fell. Looking back on it many times, afterwards especially during this summer, I had to repent because I was being so fake and I felt less of myself for being persuaded to do that.

Afterwards when everything had settled down, people were laid out all over the room, crying, etc. and well that was that.

The next day a brother who didn't speak in tongues was so excited for me and was asking me how it felt and everything. I didn't quite know what to say because well, I didn't feel anything. I was in the flesh plain and simple. But I forced myself past this because I didn't want to question or doubt what God was doing. Plus it was the last day, and I didn't want to feel like I had been feeling the other couple of days during the week.

So the last day was pretty relaxed in which we did go downtown to the Underground mall in ATL and witnessed for the only time that whole week. We also went out to eat which was good fellowship.

The next day when we are to depart, everything is running cool. We have a little praise session in which we danced and had fun. We hit the road and I'm in the car with one of my good brothers in Christ and two of my sisters in Christ. Other parts of the group were in two other vans.

So during the drive back to VA, in our car we were just talking and listening to music. We make our first stop and hear that everyone in the other two vans have been praying in tongues for the whole time.

Again, I find myself asking...for what? What is this accomplishing? Nine people in a van, speaking in tongues, with no interpretor, can't understand each other, no unbelievers in sight to spread the gospel to...why are we doing this?

We are then admonished to do the same thing in our car. I didn't feel right about it but everybody else was so hyped up so once again, I move past the check in my spirit and begin speaking in the syllables I remembered from the night before. So again this continues for the whole trip when as we're approaching Virginia, my friend who is driving the car says "be quiet be quiet!! you hear that?!"

I'm like no. And then he was like "don't you hear the angels singing?". Again, I'm like no. The two sisters in the back don't hear anything either until after my friend admonishes us to continue to be silent, one of them says "oh yeah I hear them!!" I STILL can't hear anything. Then the other sister starts hearing as well. I'm still sitting there dumbfounded as I can't hear anything. They ask me if I hear the angels singing and I say "No". And they say "ahh you hear them, you hear them, you just don't know it".

Now, did they hear something? I don't know. Are there angels around us? I'd say so. I've heard stories of people seeing and hearing angels. But again, I feel that something is wrong with me because this is the second time I have not heard the angels that have supposedly come into our presence during this trip.

So we get back to the church, and I'm back down again on my faith and just in a funk again. Since this was the day before dorms opened back up, a lot of us spent the night in the church. I just felt miserable laying on the seats trying to go to sleep. I was thinking what was accomplished during this trip in my life? I didn't seem to grow at all, but everybody else seemed to have grown substantially. I now could never feel comfortable around the couple that led the trip especially after one of them said that they could sense anything without faith or with sin within a two mile radius or something like that. Me being immature in my faith subconsciously had me put them on the level of God in the sense that whenever I'd be around them, I'd be sure I wasn't thinking anything bad or I made sure that I had my faith up to par around them. Not saying that was their intention, but that was the effect it had on me.

When these leaders came back to the church right at the end of school in which I had intended to stay in one of the ministry houses over the summer as showing that I was dedicated to staying apart of the ministry (even without a job so I could pay rent), it was at a time in which our pastor had declared "War" on the enemy and that we would begin three days of prayer and fasting. I have no problem with prayer and I have no problem with fasting, but again this notion of warring with the enemy on unbiblical terms (Ephesians 6 tells us how to do this and this will be another aspect of my story for a later time)

Anyways, this couple had come back for these three days and I had just talked with my pastor that day that I had changed my mind on staying. I realized it wasn't smart to just leap out on faith on something that God has not commanded and that I would be going back home the next day to work and save up money to come back when I'm more prepared. He said ok, but try to wait until a week later after Sunday when he would be officially declaring war on the enemy. I said ok. So that night, there is prayer at the church and I head down there with the brother I was staying at the house with.

We get there and there is worship going on led by the couple from Atlanta. Worship then stops and the guy goes into how we need to pray for revival in this country, etc. He also goes into the Todd Bentley "revival" and how God was moving down there with gold fillings and everything. I already had my notions about Lakeland and this immediately produced another check in my spirit. And I mean these feeling or "checks" are like the worst feelings ever. I can't even explain them, and I'm being dead serious. So after a little more worship in which I already had to go to the back to the bathroom just to get out of the room, I come back and one of them says ok we're going to pray in tongues until 8 am.


That was my immediate reaction and he knew some people would look at this like he was crazy but he assured us that God was going to move. So then everybody seems to be calm and he admonishes everybody who can speak in tongues to begin to do so. Obviously that included me since I spoke in "tongues" at the missions trip, although I still felt wrong when I did it. So everybody who can speak in tongues, does so while everybody else gets into this loud prayer mode. Oh yeah we are also holding hands and again this feeling of something is NOT right here. It was the worst ever. Thankfully, the brother I rode with had to be at work the next morning and we had to go back.

When we got back, he went to bed and I lay in my room and I was like "I'm outta here tomorrow". What I had experienced just before had so messed with my spirit, that I was just gonna tell my pastor that I had to go back home the next day to take care of some things and I couldn't wait another week. Here's the funny thing though, I realized I didn't have my cell phone. I had left it at the church so I had to go back and get it!! I quickly went back and got my phone and quickly left. They were still praying in tongues, but just walking around the church now.

The next day I woke up early, packed up all my stuff in less than a half hour, and drove back to Detroit...where my journey into the Word of God leading me up to where I am now began. I didn't tell anyone but the Pastor and the girl that I was courting.

To be continued...

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm leavi....I've left my church Pt. 2

Ah where to start in part 2? I have no idea how long or short this will be so I'm just going to flow with it.

One of the primary things that led to me leaving was a missions trip that was held for the college students to Atlanta. The main church had sent a few people down tehre to plant a church and they were the ones that were going to be leading it. Now during my time at college, I had always come back home and then come back a couple of days early before the break ended because I was on the golf team and for some reason we always had a tourney scheduled right at the beginning of the week classes started back.

So now that my tenure on the golf team had ended, I figured I would actually go somewhere and what better way to spend it than a missions trip to ATL? I had never been on a missions trip before so I was looking forward to it

*sidenote...I believe that missions doesn't always consist of going to countries across the world because there are some neighborhoods and areas right here in the U.S. which need the gospel just as badly*

Anyways everybody is excited and we make the drive down and the first night we're down there we have a little bible study and then we get into deep worship for about 2 or 3 hours.

Now I was used to this style of worship a few times know where a specific phrase like "yes Jesus loves me" is sung over and over for an hour or more. I never quite understood as I was like ok, this is worship, but it reminded me of the vain repetition prayers Jesus talked about. And looking more into it, this actually sends your mind into and altered state of consciousness where you will be more willing to go along with what one says. To tell you the truth I would lose my focus on God more often than not and it felt more of a pressured or controlled worship type of thing.

After the worship the leaders asked if anyone heard the angels singing and playing the flute. Now I know I clearly didn't hear anything but nearly everyone said they heard it. Now I was looking at myself like ok what is wrong with me? Was I concentrating on God enough? How come I didn't hear them? This would not leave my mind for the whole night and into the next day.

So the next couple of days, we have some bible study sessions which I enjoyed more than anything during the trip, and cleaned up a neighborhood. On Tuesday or Wednesday we have to get up early to meet at a college campus for morning prayer with someone else who runs a church down there. We had a very loud prayer session with speaking in tongues and everything and then afterwards the people that led the prayer said that they heard from God that there were some bad spirits in the place concerning some of us(the college students). Our leaders then decided to tell them to name them and they only said one, but they said that there were two people with a "Bad attitude" spirit or something like that. So now I'm checking myself wondering "is it me?"

Well afterwards I really did think it was me because I was in sort of a "funk" for some reason but I couldn't figure out why. Nobody had done anything to me, and I didn't experience anything that I knew of to cause me to be this way. Come to find out, for some reason EVERYBODY was like this after the prayer and the leaders could sense it. So afterwards, we get back to the main house and they let us know, so we get into another prayer session where we prayed for everything from abortion to the black community for about 4 hours. Now once again, I have nothing against prayer or long prayer, but it's this type of prayer where we're commanding God to do stuff and not praying according to His will. Now I'm not saying God does not answer our prayers, but it was the way these types of prayers were done. That if we pray THIS long, and THIS loud, and THIS way, then God will be forced to answer and cause revival in the country.

So after the prayer, everybody seemed fine, but I felt even worse. I felt like my faith had just been shattered, but I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT WHY. I'm like what has happened to make me question my faith? Looking back on it, I remember feeling inferior because I questioned the style of prayer in my mind, and I didn't have the same passion it seemed as everyone else.

After the prayer, everyone was scheduled to go feed the homeless. I had decided to go off on a walk by myself with bible in hand to this little pavilion down the road where I could be by myself and literally just talk to God. I was in Hebrews for awhile and just immersed myself in the chapters and verse on faith. I was literally crying out to God like "why I am feeling this way?" I stayed down there so long, that I missed the trip to feed the homeless. When they got back, I had felt a lot better after reading Hebrews and the night ended with a bible study and worship.

So the next day while in the men's bible study, our leader noticed that when he said "pray in the spirit" none of us did anything. We told him we didn't know what that meant, so he got hyped up and was like "you guys don't know how to speak in tongues? Oh we're gonna change that tonight!!"

So that night, we all gather at the house and begin worship. Worship lasts for about two hours and then we proceed to move the chairs out of the way and stand in a circle. Our leader tells us to start singing the song "Yes Jesus Loves Me" over and over again. I kid you not, we sang this song for 6 hours. The same words over and over again. While people were singing, the leaders began laying hands on people to get the gift of tongues. Some people began manifesting tongues and some didn't. So he gets to me and admonishes me to feel the "fire". I don't feel anything but after 15 minutes, I just began speaking whatever came to my mind and was like ok I'm speaking in tongues. But I was aware of everything going on around me and even had thoughts of "I'm hungry" come to mind.

I'll continue tomorrow if the Lord permits as I am tired of writing lol.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Feeling much better

I'll get to part 2 of my story tomorrow. Just saying that I'm feeling much better right now. This verse from Ecclesiastes really stuck out to me and to tell you the truth it really doesn't make sense...nonetheless it really helped me:

Ecclesiastes 7:3 ""sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance, the heart is made better"

Also one of my friends who has also resigned from the ministry called me last night (there's three of us and no we didn't get together and influence each other to leave...that's a whole 'nother post lol), but he told me that he had just gotten back together with his girlfriend.

This sparked my interest as it was pretty sudden. What was interesting was that the reason they first broke up was because she didn't understand the things going on at the church we are currently leaving and my friend thought she would be a hinderance to him moving forward in God under the ministry. So they mutually decided to end it.

The irony is that the issue about the church was brought up during a conversation they had and long story short, they are back together now that my friend understands her position on the church not too long ago.

I say all that to say that the reason my courtship ended was because she said the same thing. She said she wouldn't feel comfortable and she wouldn't be able to express herself freely in God around me (you know the charismatic types of things) and basically I would be a hinderance. I'm glad God allowed him to tell me his story because it really lifted me up yesterday as I see that who knows what's down the line. We may get back together, we may not, but I AM CONTENT knowing that God is leading me....praise God.

Be back tomorrow....Lord willing of course ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sigh...Breakups suck

Just to interject in my story, the biggest thing that hurts about this whole thing is that the girl I was courting at the church ended our relationship because I was leaving.

Now turning from that for a quick second, I talked more with leadership and they agreed that some things that I experienced in the church were out of order and they needed to inform members better about how things should be in operation. For one, I thought they believed that a true believer could lose their salvation...they don't. Second, they agreed that some of the gifts that were being displayed were in the flesh at times. Me and two other people who are leaving for the same reasons are planning to have a meeting so we can talk and make sure on what we believe and to make sure that we are leaving for the right reasons and that there is error going on. All I have to go on is my experiences and what the Word says, and a lot of stuff didn't line up with the Word.

Anyways as I stated above, the girl I was courting ended our relationship because I left which seems odd to me. I'm still a believer in Christ, she's still a believer in Christ, our personalities clicked, and we have a great friendship base...what is the problem?

I talked to her and she said that she felt because I was leaving, we weren't under the same church covenant or something like that. Now this type of talk sounds like some stories I've read of the Mormon Church where marriages have literally been broken up because one spouse decided to leave the Mormon Church. Now that's an extreme, but in the body of true believers, where does it says in the bible that two believers in Christ have to go to the same church? But she's under that impression. I also talked exclusively to the leadership of the church and they specifically told me that they don't say or believe that whoever goes to the church has to marry inside the church...that is a classic cult mindset if a church does. So I wonder where she is getting this from. I mean it's good in the sense that she said she is going to use this whole year to read her Word more and make her prayer life better because she said she needed to work on it, but like I said...I haven't abandoned God, and I wouldn't have shunned her from attending the church if she desired. I mean if we are both headed in the same direction, towards Christ, and there were no other problems in our relationship, what's the problem...end it over a church?

All in all, I figure, I know what I had to do and she said be honest and I was. Some of the things that I experienced in that church really messed with me, but now I'm finding out that my pastor agrees with some of the things I have talked about when I thought he didn't (I assumed, so it is my fault). We will see how the meeting goes whenever that happens. In terms of the ex relationship, I mean it hurts because she didn't end it over me or something about me like I changed or something. And if someone in the ministry talks to her, then fine...I just have to try to accept it and move on. It's just so hard to find a true believer seeking after God these days!! Who you also have to be compatible with, etc. But I trust that as I continue to seek God, stay in His Word, and pray, God will send a righteous woman my way when I least expect it, whether it be this current one if she decides to try to reconcile, or someone else (may be right under my nose). But I won't be actively keeping my eyes open for at least a little while. Breakups suck.

See ya.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am leaving my

This has been one of the most difficult summers I've had in awhile. I mean, in the beginning of May, right after my college graduation, I was part of a great church fellowship in Virginia and had a great circle of friends. I was going to forsake coming back to the comforts of home and stay and be apart of the ministry.

Oh how God derails the plans of man.

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Now some of you may ask, what would cause you to leave your church. I'm one of those people who agree that church membership is not something to be taken lightly and it's not something that you can just hop from church to church because "the pastor made you mad" or "you don't like the songs they play". If someone is going to leave a church, and renounce their membership from a particular ministry, there has be things going on that clearly do not line up with the Word of God and it is clearly affecting your walk with God. Or of course you should leave if plain outright heresy is being taught.

Well in my particular situation, I realized that my church although non-denominational, fit into the charismatic movement. It was a very difficult decision for me because although they fit into the charismatic movement like I just stated above, they have not been touched by any of the Toronto Blessing, Latter Rain, etc. type of things (If you are not familiar with these things in your church, praise go and do some research so you can have discernment if it tries to come)

But the other things such as the way spiritual warfare is taught, speaking in tongues, teachings on salvation, new and direct revelation, claiming that true believers can miss the will of God if they are seeking Him, slain in the spirit, and drunk in the spirit, it was enough for me to say that I cannot return. Another major things for me was that one of the churches that was planted by the main church which I fellowship at, was indeed very interested and exhibited some of the same characteristics of the Latter Rain and influences of people like Mike Bickle and Lou Engle. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a cessationist or anything. I believe that if God choses to do so today, tongues can still be spoken but it is VERY rare and more the exception to the rule...but that's a post for another time :)

No I know some of you may think I'm overreacting, and I thought so myself. During the whole summer when I was finding these things out, I said to myself that I could still continue to be apart of the church, but just not take part in these things. But the Lord brought back to memory many things during my two years at the church (mainly this past school year) in which there would be times when I would get "checks" in my spirit about some of the things going on.

People listening to "God" telling them to step out blindly on faith or do something as if it were a direct command at times would bother me and I didn't know why. I'm not talking about you know how at times we as believers may get a burden or desire to serve such as a particular place to witness to, or a desire to serve full time in ministry. I'm talking about these words were taken as binding and direct commands from God, that if they didn't do them, they would be out of God's will, or even a slight judgement on them. Eventually I started thinking the same way. I would be sitting down, reading my Word or maybe even just walking around campus, and I'd hear all sorts of things like "Don't walk that way" or "Go to Wal mart at 5 pm to witness" Now again I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit doesn't give us leadings and promptings, but to take thoughts and "voices" in your head as well as subjective impressions as authoritative and binding from God is not cool.

God has specifically laid out the commands and guidelines we are supposed to follow in His written Word. THAT'S how we hear His voice and stay in His will. Again, this goes back to my previous posts on the will of God.

Now even with this, it's still not enough to leave a church fellowship. But this was just a starting point where I believe God started to lead me to discover other things that didn't seem quite right. Come back for part 2 of my story.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take Time Out

Do you ever just take time out to just look at God's creation? I mean the little stuff like clouds, grass, wind....yeah you can call me crazy if ya want, but it truly is amazing. What's even more amazing is that you see what it says in Genesis, man was created in God's image. That means not physically but all the characteristics you see everyone you know with everyday. Laughter, sadness, anger, happiness, and INTELLIGENCE.

I capitalized that because looking at thing such as plants, you see patterns. Looking at animals and other things in nature you also see symmetry along with the patterns. I mean just looking at animals and ourselves as well, you cut the body in half and it's the same on both sides. Plants are a little more free but you can still see distinct patterns. And patterns are especially prevalent with the fish (esp the the tropical ones)

Now look at everything man creates. Cars, phones, televisions, bottles, computers, shoes, ships, etc, etc. What do you see?

Patterns and symmetry. It's just very humbling to know that with all the inventions and things that man has created, I believe the ideas came from and were inspired by God and his even greater intelligence. This is why it says in the scriptures that people have no excuse for saying there is no God (in reference to creation). I mean, it seems pretty blatantly obvious to me. Man, who was created in God's image designs and creates stuff an awful lot similar to what you find in nature in regards to design.

I mean, even the universe. Our galaxy alone is what like 100,000 light years across? And then there are millions of more galaxies of the same size, if not larger? It's crazy. As I said, very humbling indeed.

God bless.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Prayer Life

Prayer is the most important part of the Christian life and I know for myself, it's the thing I neglect to do the most. I know this can be said for others of you as well (maybe, maybe not).

Recently I have been getting better about my prayer time because it's our direct connection with God. It's how we build our relationship with Him, and I know this has been said about prayer many times, but how much do we actually pay attention to it?

There are some things I have always wondered about prayer, and have had questions about. Of course, the bible is th primary source for questions on prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13 "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

This is the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples. I always find this interesting because I was reading someone else's blog (can't remember :p) and they said the disciples asked him this because obviously they had never seen Jesus pray. Every time Jesus was recorded in the gospels praying, he was off by himself in the wilderness pouring his heart out to the Father.

You know one thing that cleared my mind up about prayer lately has been focusing on that one thing. Communicate with God. Conversation with God. Acknowledging his awesome power and mercy.

But far too many times, I found myself getting aught up in praying for THINGS all the time.

"Father I need this"
"Father I need that"

yes we are to make our requests known to Him, but what about just TALKING to Him. Which brings me to my next point.

Where did "prayer language" come from? What I mean is, if prayer is our communication and conversation to God, why don't we talk like it is a conversation (by the way where we should do most of the listening)? Why do we all of a sudden take on this sort of, prayer accent, when we no longer sound like who we are? I would say that it is our passion and desire to be closer to Him, but everybody sounding the same?

God is the creator of this universe and he deserves all the praise, so I am by no means saying we should just come any ol' way, but when you have a conversation with someone, do you say their name 100 times in a paragraph?


Father God, in Jesus name, I just ask that you protect Sister Susie Father God, and Father God, I just pray that you continue to keep Brother Bob on the good track and Father God I just ask that I pass the job interview tomorrow Father God, and to open doors for my other brother Father God

Would you talk to your friends or relatives like that?

How ya doin Susie? Everything alright Susie? I just want to make sure Susie because things are crazy around here Susie, and I'm just looking out for you safety. And oh yeah Susie, did you still have that lawnmower you borrowed? That' be great if you could return it today Susie. Well bye Susie!!

And I just call it an accent because, mostly everybody does it. I guess you could say it's like being raised in West Virginia for the first five years of your life with a distinct accent, and then moving to New York City and you start saying things like "caw-fee" and "tawk" (no offense New Yorkers). By being around believers, do we just automatically pick it up?

I've heard several instances from other believers who never want to pray in groups because of the pressure in a sense, to pray this way. One person was even told that they didn't know how to pray. Me in particular because when I do pray, I always try to come straight from the heart, and talk to God like he is the loving Father that he is. When praying alone, I try to talk, like it's a conversation, and then listen, but when I'm called on to pray in groups (which now I know why I dislike), I'll be the first to say that most of the time it's not the way I pray, and I fall into the prayer mode above because that's what would seem acceptable. Also there is the fact that thoughts in my mind tend to get jumbled before I speak them out, so I constantly get tongue tied and out of words. To tell you the truth, if I really prayed the way I normally pray when alone, the people I'm praying with would be there for days lol. I will overcome this through Jesus and just not care about how I sound though anymore. But I have to admit, it is hard most of the time.

I mean think about it. If we were to actually talk to God like I mean really talk to Him and not at Him, we would feel kind of dumb in front of all those people (idk maybe it's just me)

Now these are in no way condemning anyone's way of praying. These thoughts just came to me as to where did this style of praying come from? I have more on the subject for later posts, so I'll just call this part 1. :)

God bless

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the introverted christians

The great thing about the body of Christ is that it's diverse. People have different talents, abilities, convictions, etc but we all share that one common trait which is we are believers in Christ redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross.

But there is always two groups in the church and this even extends out into the world. The introverted and the extroverted. I'm an introvert, and seeing as only 25% of the general population is introverted, it can be pretty hard sometimes, and this is true even in the church. Whereas the extroverted get all their energy and thrill from the spotlight or being around people all the time, introverts get their energy from being alone (not to say that we don't like hanging around people). I also notice that many Christians would think that being an introvert is some kind of sin, or demonic oppression because you're not wailing and flailing about all the time in church service. People express their excitement in very different ways (and no I don't even get that excited and football and basketball games...people who can shout at football games but be quiet at praise and worship is a problem...but that's for another post ;)

Especially in my beginnings in my walk with God, this was very difficult for me. I'm all for preaching the gospel and sharing Christ, but I'm not the type to go for all out street preaching on the corner/ramming the bible down people's throat approach. There's nothing wrong with this method of course, but I more so chose to share Christ through deep relationship with people (which is an introvert's nature anyways). At times I would feel that I'm not as good a Christian as they are. I mean look at how easy they can just shout at the top of their lungs. Also a few times when I told someone this, it made me feel that I was a "bad" Christian when they said well it's not about you, it's about Jesus, which is totally true, but is that saying that God cannot use the introverted as well? Is there one standard form of evangelism that everyone has to follow?

I have gone out many times witnessing and I guess you could say that is really was a sacrifice because I really don't feel comfortable with the "hit and run" type of evangelism. I mean you get to talk to a lot of people walking by and I ask them if they know Jesus, but of course many may say no, and you never get a chance to speak to that person again.

Here is a good writeup from Joanne Brokaw about "Evangelism for the Rest of Us" at her website:

It’s unusual to find me writing a book review. My “to read” pile of novels and self-help tomes is a mile high, but if I had my way I’d be making a list of books to avoid wasting your money on rather than reviewing something you should read.

Ironically, the book that’s got me writing this month is one that I actually plopped down hard earned cash to read.

Evangelism For The Rest of Us (Baker Books), by Mike Bechtle is worth the cover price, if only to remind Christians that not everyone is cut out for the in-your-face, win ‘em to the Lord, street witnessing pushed onto us by more vocal, extroverted Christians.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not afraid to talk about Christ or share the gospel. And as Bechtle emphasizes, God uses both introverts and extroverts to further His kingdom. It’s just that He uses them in different ways.

According to Bechtle’s personality quiz, I’m probably an introvert with short bursts of extrovert-ness. Rather than trying to ram the Bible down some stranger’s throat, I’m more suited to long term relationship building.

On my last mission trip, for example, when half the team was falling over themselves to go stand on a Mexican street corner and share the gospel with total strangers, I was much happier hanging out at the campus with the construction workers, trying to converse in my limited Spanish about what we were having for lunch.

And some people looked down on that. Oh, they don’t say it out loud. But you introverts know what I’m talking about. The folks who lead dozens of people to the Lord in an hour brag about their numbers and tell you what a blessing you missed while you, who stayed back to peel potatoes or clean paintbrushes, believe the lie that they accomplished more for the kingdom of God than you did.

“God never asks us to be successful,” Bechtle writes. “He only asks us to be faithful.”

Amen, friends. Finally a book that doesn’t outline a ten-step program guaranteed to win the world for Jesus and cause guilt in the hearts of Christians who have a panic attack just thinking about approaching a stranger to outline the five spiritual laws.

“The biblical model for evangelism is primarily a process, not an event,” Bechtle writes. “The pattern involves meeting people at their level, developing a relationship, and moving them along a notch or two in their spiritual journey.”

If you’re not comfortable with street witnessing, or if the thought of drive-by evangelism makes you sweat, this is the book for you. You’ll learn that while you need to sometimes step out of your comfort zone, God gave you that comfort zone for a reason - and He loves and uses you just the way you are.

Another good blog that I like to read is The Introverted Church

Check it out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Decision Making and the Will of God Pt.2

Ok I'm about a quarter of the way through Frieson's book. It's still pretty good, and he's clarifying some things that he spoke of in the earlier part of the book.

One thing I always look for when getting into reading Christian books and making sure everything is backed up by the Word. I mean people can always write books but the number one source over all of them are the bible. Well in this book, everything is backed up by the Word and just emphasizes what I was thinking before.

Right now I'm at a part where he's dealing with "inner impressions". This is common and crucial among the church today in finding God's will for the believer. These inner impressions often hold the same weight as using guidance from the Word of God, but are inner impressions as a way of finding God's will found anywhere in the word?

There was a point in the book where he talked about how if many of us relied on our feelings or inner impressions, most of us would've quit serving in the ministry a long time ago.

There were a number of stories about believers who relied on inner impressions too heavily and missed out.

I think a lot of danger comes into play when we start thinking of our inner leadings or impressions as direct instructions from God. Do you know how many "inner leadings" I got concerning certain calls into he ministry or (I know a lot of brothers in the faith can relate to this) I just feel this inner leading in my spirit that she's the one I'm supposed to marry!!

And also if I say that God told me to do something, who are you to say that I didn't hear from God!! (an example)

I'm not saying God can't speak directly to our spirit. For example, my mom was driving back home from work one day and took a short cut. She came to an intersection which when you make a right turn, it is hard to see who's coming from the left. She had planned on making a right turn (this was a green light), but something in her spirit (I know this was the holy spirit) said "Be still". Now who sits there at a green light?? Sure enough, seconds later, a car came speeding down at over 60 MPH
, clearly running the red light.

I think one of the main ways God speaks to us is by bringing his Word back to our minds.

"Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against you."--Psalm 119:11

Our inner impressions can come from God, ourselves (trying to weed out our own desires), or even the Devil.

This can also translate into thinking that everything that we like or desire is against God's will. Oh we definitely have bad desires that can go directly against God's will, but where does the thinking come from that if I have two decisions (such as where to go to school) that the one in which I don't desire MUST be God's will. In making decisions, especially ones directly related to service in ministry, we should always set our desires aside so we can be directly led by God. If there's service needed to be done at church, and you're available, you can't say "Well I don't feel led to do that. Moving tables is just not my thing and I don't feel any peace about it."

Using the parable of talents, God has given us many desires and abilities to use for his glory. If you like baseball, and have the aspiration to play professionally, and you have the God given talent to do so, you shouldn't feel guilty that you're not servicing God in a great way. The recent story of Josh Hamilton is proof of that. Just think about his testimony and how many people he has touched. God used his baseball talent and his story of coming to Christ and overcoming drug addiction, and God is glorified in the process.

In the end, there must be a balance. We can't cling to experiences we have (which can happen) without lining them up with the Word. On the other side, we can't just cling to what is written in the bible without expecting God to speak to us and fellowship with us.

Anyways, I've really been fascinated by this subject lately because I'm at a point in my life where I'm just trying to figure out where God is leading me. You know what I got? Although this subject is fascinating and as I continue to talk about it, seek HIM and know HIM above all things. Everything else will pretty much take care of itself, including God's will. Don't worry about it ;)

Well I'm out for the day. I'll be back again Lord willing ;) I probably won't touch back on this subject for awhile. Any thoughts?

God bless.

Love this video

Check out this video. Does it get anymore plain than this? :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Decision Making and the Will of God Pt.1

Lately I've been reading a book called Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Frieson.

First let me give you some background on why I picked this book up and how I found out about it.

Today, in most Christian churches, a main point of concern is finding God's will for our lives, mainly his individual and perfect will for our lives. We are taught to go about finding this individual will by going on counsel from other more mature believers, inner leadings or impressions from the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and other "signs" that you may see as significant.

The problem is, it isn't always this simple. I can't tell you how many times I've used the methods described above when it came to making an important decision. The more popular questions are "Who to marry?, "What college to go to?", and "What career path or ministry to take up?"

All of these are very important in our lives. But is there ONE path that we are destined from birth to take? In Proverbs it says that a man plans his way, but the Lord Directs his steps. But does this mean that there is a specific road map that God has set for us to take, and if we are to deviate off this path in a major decision, are we out of his perfect individual will? Will we just have to settle for God's second best?

Things to make me question this view or mindset were many situations in my life, as well as other believers in my life.

In Frieson's book, he makes the case that wisdom is indeed the scriptural way to go rather than the "traditional view"

For example if there truly is an individual will in which when we are faced with major decisions, there can only be one choice, then this must also apply to minor decisions such as which shoes to wear, which brush to use, or which hat to wear. The problem is that the traditional view seems to abandon an individual will in these cases which contradicts itself.

Instead, in his book, Frieson suggests that the Word of God is sufficient enough to make all decisions and that when making decisions, we are free to chose USING WISDOM within the moral will of God (which unlike the individual will, has been fully revealed)

Of course there are instances where God directly told someone to do something such as Moses, Abraham, Jonah, etc, but these were not normative experiences. These experiences especially the ones in the New Testament were needed to further the Gospel at a crucial point in history.

I must say that after reading halfway through this book, it speaks right to me and makes more sense. Now of course this isn't an excuse to just "wild out" and make rash or sinful decisions based on "My decision is honoring God" or to get out of service in the ministry, but it is more so saying that in major decisions of what calling to do or what ministry to serve in, you don't have to feel paralyzed or anxious about making the wrong decision and "falling out" of God's will and missing the bullseye.

This is also not saying that God is left out of our decision making process. By using the Word of God, which is filled with his literal words, we are using wisdom as it says in Proverbs. "Wisdom is the principle thing"

We can make our decisions knowing that God is leading us, even though it may not feel like it and that his Sovereign will will be accomplished no matter what.

I will probably have more on this subject as I read through. What are your thoughts?


Well let me just first say welcome. As the title implies, I'm a laidback fella, and I'm a christian. I really couldn't come up with any other titles, so I guess you could say I was lazy :P

But anyways a lot of what you will read here will be my expressions and experiences of my daily walk with Christ and my thoughts on other issue in the Christian Community.

Lately I've been asking questions which I will get to. So sit back and come by every now and then and let me know what you think.