Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Facebook Post

            Yesterday, I posted the following message on my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/prov3110hiswoman) and it received quite a few responses. I believe that more and more of us are finding out that church, and the way we do church, may be missing the mark. The women’s group that I host in my home will be starting in the book of Acts in a few weeks. Most of us who come to this study have experienced some pretty bad situations at churches. We have faced criticism, we have been judged and even had some Christian women we thought were our friends, turn their backs on us and treat us like lepers.
            Since publishing my last book, the Lord has been speaking to me about my next venture in writing. I have been praying for direction, and wondering where exactly He wants me to begin. The other day, I believe the Lord spoke to me and told me where to begin. I believe the Lord wants us to get back to what Church was meant to be, and what He desires the church to look like. I have met and spoken with so many women and men, and youth that have been hurt, judged and treated like lepers by the church that it hurts my heart, and I believe it hurts the heart of our God. The following is the post from my Facebook page, I would love to know your comments and hear what you think about all this. God bless you all, all of us The Church.

“I just read a post by a friend of mine that has got me all fired up! I get so frustrated at the "church" today. I get frustrated that we have used scripture to justify the judgments we pass upon one another. Taking it out of context and using it as an excuse to make one superior over one another! Why, why cannot we not just love as Christ loved? This has been on my heart for some time, ever since I too had a similar experience with "church". Why do we get so caught up in the "social" aspect of church but forget why Christ created the Church? This has spurred me to write my next book. This is what I have written so far. If you agree/ disagree, please feel free to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts! 
When someone says the word “church”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it a building full of people worshiping the Lord? Is it a group of people gathered together praying? What if our idea of church is wrong? What if the way we do church is not what the Bible intended? Is church something we do or is it a place we attend? Is church a place we gather, or are we the church? These are questions that I have been asking for a while now.

Not very long ago, my husband and I had an experience with a church that kind of put a bad taste in our mouth. It’s not that this isn't a Bible believing, Jesus loving church, but what happened to us made me stop and think about what Church really is, how we as Christians play a role in the church and what the role of the church is in the lives of its people. Being raised Catholic, I was not really aware of what church was. I was raised to believe that you went to mass on Sunday, confession on Saturday and sprinkled your head with holy water before going home. For me, Church was a routine, a ritual that we as a family took part in every week. (Sometimes begrudgingly took part in when I became a teenager) 
After I became a Christian, church changed. It became a place where I went to worship the Lord. I would sing, lift my hands, praise the God who saved me and listen to someone tell me about Jesus. It became a social event for me. I looked forward to going to church because that is where all my friends were. I went to a building and fellowshipped with other believers, and it was good. But there always seemed to be something missing. I was not always sure what that was, but I knew deep down inside that there had to be more to this Christian walk than just bible studies, worship songs and fellowship. For a few years after becoming a Christian, I sat and grew under the teaching of my pastor. Then, after the Lord had grown me, I began to serve. I served in the cleaning ministry and in the children’s ministry. I gave my time, my gifts and all that I had to the Lord, but yet, something was missing. Even though I was serving, and fellowshipping and growing, I kept thinking there was more to church than what I was experiencing. It was not until certain events took place that I realized there was more to Church than what I was experiencing. 
My husband and I found ourselves being judged harshly by the leadership at this church. The people that I once called brothers and sisters in the Lord were now putting us under a microscope and instead of finding grace, we found pointing fingers and accusations. All of these same people that had known me from the beginning of my walk with Christ up to this point, the ones that I thought loved me, knew me and knew my heart for Jesus, they now looked at me as if I was a leper who needed cleansing. I would like to tell you the whole story, but for the sake of my own wounds and the sake of those who were involved, it is best left to the Lord. But what I can tell from this experience is that judging is not a function or a responsibility of the church. 
However, had none of this happened, I would not be where I am today. My husband and I would not be in the place we are at, and so many of the blessings that resulted by us breaking fellowship would have never come to pass. All that happened to my husband and me, I am sorry to say has happened to many of us Christians. We find a place to call our church. We get involved, we begin to serve, we grow bonds with other Christians, and then the next thing you know, you are being tossed out on your ear because the “Church” has issues with your walk before Christ. Is that really the role of the church? Is the church the judge and jury over the lives of Christians? From what I am learning, it is not. 
There are many out there I am sure that will disagree with me. They will bring up many instances where the Church must take a stand against sin. I agree with that. The church must take a stand against sin. But is it the Church’s responsibility to point the finger and pass judgment on that sin? God is my judge and Jesus is my jury. Many Christians have taken particular parts of scripture, completely out of context, and used them to justify their judgment of another brother or sister in the Lord. I have seen and spoken to many Christians who have been hurt to the point that they turn away from Christ because of the Church passing judgment, as well as the people they thought were their friends. 
When the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to write a book about the church, I was not quite sure what He meant. But, after what happened to me, and so many others, I believe it is time we, as the body of Christ, wake up and stop going to Church, and actually become the Church He has always desired us to be. That is what this book is about. It is about us becoming the Church. Church is more than just a social setting where we can hang out and have fellowship. Church is not a place or a building. Church is us, Church is who we are. Let’s stop going to church, and let’s Be the Church. Amen?