I believe I am part of a growing phenomenon in America: Christians who are gathering together in small "home churches" to delve deeper into the Scripture and gain a more profound understanding of what our God wants us to know.
I also attend a weekly women's Bible study, and occasionally host a small group of people in my home; all of us are hungry to know God on a more intimate level. And I relate this because it is my humble opinion that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the Church, and we are not finding our sustenance within the customary walls on Sunday morning.
Now, I know that there will be many who see my remarks as irreverent and sacrilegious. And, by no means, am I condemning all churches and pastors. There are many godly men who seek to reveal the true God, and what it means to be a Christian, to their flock. But I know for a fact, that there are many churches who have abandoned their calling to make disciples for Christ. Too many pastors "soft sell" Jesus's message. Instead of calling us sinners to repent and turn from our sinful ways, ask Jesus to become our personal Savior, and imparting a very real responsibility to grow in our faith, they preach a painless and trouble-free doctrine. Because to pick up His cross demands something of us, and most people simply don't want to make the sacrifice.
We Christians are supposed to be radically different from the world; in how we live, work and treat each other. And our churches are supposed to exhort us to be that "light" that points the way to Jesus. Instead they too often try to assimilate and blend in to the world, somehow hoping that the world will be drawn to us. But the Church seems to be drawn to the world.
But I sense a simultaneous and spontaneous movement throughout Christianity. There are those of us who have become dissatisfied with the "feel good" message, and truly want to serve our God. We are no longer satisfied to sit in the sanctuary for one hour each week and hear a verse or two of Scripture to help us relate to this world. And we are tired of listening to the latest invention to capture the attention of this sensory generation, the Praise Band. We are longing for more ..... our hearts have a deeper longing; for heaven and to know the Father. And we are not finding Him in our churches. We find a religion of prosperity and grace, with no consequences. And it leaves us feeling empty.
That brings me back to my original hypothesis. I truly believe that we are returning to the concept of the original first-century churches. We are gathering in small groups, in individual homes, and with "one accord and singleness of heart." We are united in the Spirit and truly attempting to live our lives according to the Gospel. We may have dropped out of "organized religion", but we're dedicated to carrying on the Message and the Call of our Lord.
Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
I dropped out of organized religion years ago when I couldn't get simple doctrinal questions answered. My Pastor, at the time, finally told me out of frustration that all my questions would be answered in Heaven. I have always thought that God gave us the bible to be understood now not in Heaven.ReplyDelete
So many churches today are more interested in the "dog and pony show" than doctrine. They want to entertain instead of teaching the word of God.
There are some very good Pastor-teachers out there. They may not be in your area but DVD's, MP3"s and now the internet are available. I've been learning this way for over 40 years. It's been a great blessing to me and my family.
JM --- I, too, am amazed at the number of Scriptural teachings and podcasts there are on the internet. I left a church I had attended for over 20 years because their priorities did not seem God-centered. When a church goes down a path that is mandated by a million-dollar donor, then something is wrong. I prefer to listen, and to be taught by men whose only authority is that of God. And I have been so blessed by all the home study groups I've been involved in. We are not perfect people, but we are all searching for a more intimate relationship with God, and are being fulfilled in ways that are lacking in our church buildings.ReplyDelete