Post details: Skipping Church


Permalink 03:32:14 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], By Pam, 221 words   English (US)

Skipping Church

I looked into the clouds today; I was looking for Jesus.

I know all of the right words, all of the encouraging things to say, Jesus lives in me, but today, I was looking for Jesus. Not the shrink-wrapped Jesus packaged in human intellect. Not the Jesus of theological debate and doctrinal stance. I was looking for the Jesus that will return for all to see, fully in His power and might. With the power that shall stop the mouths of men as for the faith they contentiously contend.

I am weary of steeples, of pulpits, and polyester. I can't bear meetings, seminars, and pie socials. Christian duty and pretense and denominational loyalty are but poor substitutes for fellowship around Jesus. Jesus is outside knocking but He can't come in. I long to be gathered with two or more in His Name and be honored by His presence.

I didn't go to church today, I couldn't bear it. It isn't just them, it is also me. I've mouthed the right words for so long, that I'm no longer sure if they are real in me. This isn't crisis of faith, I know Jesus is holding me;but am I who I say I am? Are the words I speak reality?

I looked into the clouds today; I was looking for Jesus.

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Comment from: Jason Friesen [Visitor] ·
Awesome. As an ex youth pastor of 12 years i am SOOOO burned out by religion. Its refreshing to read this and know there are others out there.

I am now resigned and doing something TOTALLY different. I almost chucked my faith in Christ but was able to hang on to a thread. And now i am on the rise to a more personal raw relationship with Him.

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 10:03
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hi Jason,

We can chuck Christ but He will never chuck us. No matter how disillusioned the organizational church can make us, Christ always remains.

Part of it, I think is the times we are living in. The Bible speaks of a great falling away and it seems that much of the church is falling away from faith in Christ alone. Religion is much less offensive in this present cultural climate because religion can always be conformed to man as it is wholy of him. Christ however, conforms us to Him to the extent that we may be asked to die for our belief in Him. Just as it was religion that put him on the cross, it too is religion that persecutes most heavily those who truly are His and seek Him out above all things.

I'm glad to be an encouragement to you, Jason. Knowing that also is an encouragement to me. Fellowship is important and as things on earth grow darker still, we can exhort one another to keep looking up because our redemption is drawing near.

Even religon can't thwart the purposes of God. I know His purpose for you will be completed no matter what you are doing to earn your living. Ministry is living Christ not vocation.

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 10:19
Comment from: Kansas Bob [Visitor] ·
As long as you stay at a church where you have to 'bear' meetings, seminars and pie socials you are part of the problem.

My advice is to chuck your fear and denominational loyalty. Don't be afraid to try a really different kind of church - you might come back to your church/denomintion with a new perspective ... if youcome back :)
Permalink 09/15/06 @ 10:54
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hi Bob,

You know there are just days when the Spirit says go to the mountaintop and spend time alone with me. Last Sunday was one of those Sundays. I don't know where the Spirit will lead me next week.

I'm really going through a time of questioning me more than the chruch or God. I want to be loyal to Jesus where-ever I find myself, where-ever He puts me. He hasn't moved me yet but He has given me a hunger to be conformed to Him and not to other believers. He has also given me a hunger for more than the forms of Christian religion. I have searched scriptures and can find no real scriptural reason to leave a church. I think I have to wait for God to move me if that is His Will. Otherwise, I think I have to wait on Him and hang on.

I have an old article written along those lines. I'll try to post it later today. It will do me good to look at the scriptures that inspired it again, anyway.

Have a great day, Bob.:0)

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 11:20
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey Bob,

I'd like to add to what I said in that, I fear I may truly be a part of the problem. In fact, I'm sure that I am. That isn't my desire. I don't want to replace Jesus with religion and all of its social trappings. I desire to live Jesus and sometimes, that requires time given only to Him and careful self examining and patiently awaiting His return.

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 12:11
Comment from: Steve [Visitor] ·
Pam, I can relate. Been there and asked all of the same questions. Probably you are just realizing that it truly is all about Jesus and what He DID....not about "meetings, seminars, and pie socials" or anything else that we DO.

Sometimes the best way to reflect on that is to simply get away from it all and listen to the awesome still small voice as I imagine you are doing.

Hang in there kid(even if you are one of those kids, like me, who is well along in years). We are never to old to learn how to better hear the Spirit of God for ourselves.

ps: I loved your comment to Jason...
"We can chuck Christ but He will never chuck us".
Permalink 09/15/06 @ 12:24
Comment from: Pam [Member]
:0)Hey Steve,

I'm definitely going through a transformation but I think much of it has more to do with me than them. I started my Christian faith with just me and Jesus and felt no real need for church nor did I understand chruch. I have not had a typical life and I am not like people raised in traditional Christian homes. I know the church could not have handled me as I was when Jesus saved me. I spent ten years of one on one time with Him. When I did get into church, out came all the old insecurites about my not being good enough and I began conforming to other Christians rather than relying on what Jesus was saying just to me. Right now, I just want to be what God wants me to be and I don't want to conform to anyone but Christ. I haven't given up on church but I don't want to give up what is genuine and living for what is artificial, dead, religion. I want to be true to Jesus whatever that costs me, where ever I am. I want to be so focused upon Jesus that rejection of human beings can't cause me to alter what I know to be true. Does that make sense?

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 12:50
Comment from: Kansas Bob [Visitor] ·
Hope I didn't come across as too harsh. I think that I was reacting to the 'bear meetings' phrase. So many bloggers (and others) have literally chucked the idea of community because of what church has become for them. Your comment about being 'part of the problem' is true about everyone - in a sense we are all part of the problem ... but we still need each other. Here's hoping (and praying) that church becomes something you don't have to 'bear'.

Blessings, KB
Permalink 09/15/06 @ 14:15
Comment from: Pam [Member]

No, you weren't too harsh and I know what you mean but I also think what the organization has become is missing the mark and that comes from focusing on all the wrong things and I'm as guilty as anyone. I don't want relgion, I want Jesus. I don't want entertainment, I want Jesus. Church is hard work no matter the form and sometimes it takes taking a break and spending time alone with Jesus to have the right attitude. We are so rich in America that we tend not to depend on Christ to make our fellowship sweet. We are so rich that we are spiritually poor. I'm not abandoning church but I'm not going to blind myself to what is wanting either.

I think I'm babbling now that's was why I was trying to keep it short and sweet. I don't think I'm the first or the last Christian to struggle with church. It wasn't perfect in Bible times, it isn't perfect now, but Christ will one day, present His bride spotless.

I'm going to shut up now. Have a good weekend and a Christ filled Sunday!

Permalink 09/15/06 @ 20:06
Comment from: lisa [Member]
Wow, looks like I've missed a good conversation!

Pam, I, too, have been there, done that. When I first started embracing the FULL Gospel of what "Christ in me, my hope of Glory" REALLY meant, it became harder and harder to "go to Church" each Sunday. I wanted to learn more about Jesus, not more about the hobby horse of the day. I wanted to listen to Christ, as CHRIST spoke to me, not as a preacher SAID that Christ said...I got tired of talking churchianity, and like Bob said... staying there was part of my problem. It was wierd, the first time I ever simply didn't go to church. The kids thought I had lost my mind, and my hubby was puzzled for sure. It's like being in a crowded room, trying to zero in on one person trying to talk to you, and being interrupted by a gazillion other people. I just had to get away from those other people, so I could learn from Christ.

I still worried about "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as such..." because, yes, we DO need the encouragement of other believers in Christ. I'm not saying that folks from the old church aren't my siblings in Christ--but I sure was getting the life sucked out of me. Eventually, God led me to an online fellowship, that listens to a favorite preacher on Sunday mornings (I'm going there Wednesday!) We listen to Bob George out of Carrollton, Texas on Sunday mornings, and just kinda chat while we listen. It's not the same as fact to face, but I feel that these people I fellowship with every Sunday online are just as real and close to me as anyone I've ever gone to church with. God does provide what we need--it's just not always as we might expect it LOL!

talk soon!
Permalink 09/16/06 @ 00:40
Comment from: steve [Visitor] ·
I find tremendous fellowship with other believers completely outside of the traditional idea of church but that is me not any of you. of course one of the reasons that He is in our midst when we gather together is because He is in the midst of us...each of us. He shows up because we take Him with us. He is so good.

Hi Bob, all you are doing well my friend.
Permalink 09/16/06 @ 15:19
Comment from: steve [Visitor] ·
Oops. Sorry Bob. I meant to say HOPE you are doing well.
Permalink 09/16/06 @ 15:24
Comment from: lisa [Member]
Bob? Are you the Bob from Lifestreams?? I keep trying to make it back over there, and I can never seem to find the time...if you're not, just ignore this lol

Steve, I wholeheartedly agree in finding fellowship outside the traditional go to meeting churches. I don't discount the sunday go to meetings, but they no longer hold the reverence in my heart as they once did. Because, like you say, whereever two or more are gathered, He is in the midst--like you say, because He is IN us. I've had a grand time at 'accidental' gatherings as well. Of course I don't believe they were by accident at all!

Sometimes we Do have to just step back and listen. I stepped back almost 4 years ago... haven't gone back yet. But then again, it's not where God has led me, so it's okay. I suppose He knows what He's doing ;)
Bed time... g'night!
Permalink 09/16/06 @ 22:50
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey Guys and Gal,

It's almost Sunday again and I can't help but smile at the little chruch that my little post gathered this week. I struggled with posting it because it is so personal but I'm glad I finally did.:0)

I'm not sure what I'm doing tomorrow. I'll see where the Spirit leads when I wake up but all of you have encouraged me so much by letting me know that the church is still kicking and that there are folks who live and breath, Jesus.

Keep watching those clouds!

Permalink 09/17/06 @ 01:28
Comment from: steve [Visitor] ·
I honestly think Pam, that the more personal we are as we share the more hearts we can connect with. Most of the time I just write what flows out of my heart, a heart established in HIS grace. It has taken quite a while to learn to trust my heart more than all the stuff my mind has been filled with.

There are a lot of hearts eager to know how much they are loved and we know One who loves them with so much intensity and unlimited faithfulness.

Hang in there kid. I am sure that our Lord will be with you today regardles of where you go or who you are gathered with.
Permalink 09/17/06 @ 08:32
Comment from: Lisa [Visitor]
Good thoughts, Pam and Steve, about sharing one's heart..... I feel a blog coming on... ;)

So what did you do Pam? Did you attend the local assembly or opt to stay home, or do something totally different? How'd it go?
Permalink 09/17/06 @ 16:00
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey Lisa,

I was a good girl and went to church and it was fine.***shrug***I saw a young man who grew up with my boys and he was there at the end of his parent's manipulative techniques and he was miffed. I don't blame him, he's much to old to be coerced into church attendence. We had a good talk and I think I was able to encourage him a bit. I guess that's why I was there, for him. Otherwise, it was cold and that is sort of at the center of my miffedness, maybe. I have a blood disorder that requires me to stay warm and to sing in choir, I have to wear a dress and I can't wear a dress and stay warm enough. It tics me off but as Paul learned to be content in all situations, I too desire to learn contentment and I will just accept that God doesn't want me to sing in the choir right now. I belted it out in the pew though!!!!:0)

I just have a craving for simple and true fellowship and God provides that for me too it just doesn't always happen at 11:00 on Sunday morning. I'm just taking it an hour at a time but I want to do what the Spirit leads me to do each day and that includes Sunday too and on Sunday I'm not going to trade in my freedom in Christ to become a slave to religion...I just won't!

Can't wait for your new blog, Lisa. It starting to look like I'm back to my very verbose self around here. The rest of you guys need to get busy and catch up!

Permalink 09/17/06 @ 19:03
Comment from: lisa [Member]
One thing you said really stood out to me, Pam...

"God provides that (fellowship) for me too it just doesn't always happen at 11:00 on Sunday morning"

How TRUE that is!!! You know? How sad would it be, if we only had fellowship with our loved ones--spouse, kids, whoever..on a certain day of the week, and the only reason we did it was because we were scared they'd..... I dunno... withhold love from us or something...

And yet, so often, I found myself attending a local assembly out of sheer obligation of, "God did such and such for you, the least you could do is make an effort to attend church one day a week for an hour!" I can't tell you how many times I heard that. I really wanted to say, "But... I don't want to be there with YOU!!" LOL!

Yeppers... the Body of Christ is taking another growing spurt, I do believe. We're learning that fellowshipping isn't just a local assembly one day a week thing--although it's certainly fine TO have a scheduled day--as long as it doesn't become a law to us. Kinda neat to see things transform in a believer's life in general. God knows what He's doing--I'm excited to see what happens next!
Love ya!
Permalink 09/17/06 @ 20:45
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey Lisa,

Maybe through all of this we will learn that each of us needs different things for growth in Christ at different times and not judge one another for church attendance or nonattendance and so many other stupid things that Christians judge one another for. I too am excited about Christians really getting their hearts and minds around the fact that Jesus lives in us and when we get out of the way, He also lives through us. That is so awesome that it truly could bring the church that is stiffle so heavily by the traditons and pragmatisms of man back to life.

Did you know that Paul walked 20,000 miles on his journeys proclaiming Jesus? Can you imagine how we would be changed if we undertook such a venture, walking and talking Jesus where ever we go? That's the kind of Christian I want to be.

Permalink 09/19/06 @ 00:33
Comment from: Kitty [Visitor]
You know, I've noticed now that I've stopped going to church regularly (I've been on staff or volunteered at churches for the past 25 years), I'm a lot nicer to everyone else in the world around me - the people who take my order at the drive-up window, the cashier at the grocery store, the kids trespassing in my yard, etc.

Permalink 10/02/06 @ 11:18
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hi Kitty,

I don't know your particular situation but I've read that the typical church burnout happens at about ten years. I don't think that means that the average person loses their faith in Christ but everyone who belongs to Jesus will eventually lose their faith in churchianity. Religion is Satan's favorite tool for rendering believers as useless. The Christian religion is a very clever counterfeit for a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I'm still going to church but I pray that Jesus will keep me steadfast in resisting churchianity, the christian religion. I want to live Jesus and I also find, that without religion and it's constant demands for presenting my flesh as perfect, that I'm a much more accepting person too.:0)

Permalink 10/02/06 @ 14:13

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