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.