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.'