We walked into the church hopeful. We had looked for a long time and we were getting discouraged. Within a short time we knew we had hit the ‘religion’ jackpot. There was an active ‘amen’ corner. The lady that sang the solo had no talent and was chosen for her hair style and lack of make-up. The reverend was very loud and pointed an accusing finger at the congregation who seemed to be used to the berating. He talked of the devil and condemned each of us to our own private corner of hell UNLESS we repented from our sin. I could think of no reason to repent but only had a desire to flee. If this was ‘church,’ we wanted no part in it! We quickly delivered ourselves outside to the fresh air and blue sky. It was not our first disappointment and would not be our last.
It must grieve God’s Father heart that we can be satisfied to sit under this oppression and call it Christian. Being abused every Sunday morning by a leader who has never even have had an encounter with the Living God. There is a good chance that s/he is not even a part of God’s family. This person is what the Bible calls a ‘hireling,’ not a shepherd. He found a career and used his public speaking skills to try to scare people out of hell, but I think he may just have succeeded in convincing them that if this was what church was about, they wanted no part of it.
Other leaders may not be so overt, but they are all about psychology, or they are a friendly social club that only teaches the easy parts of the Bible There are so many ways that the church has been infiltrated by the devil and the world.
When we were first brought into the family of God, we were zealous and accepted everything we encountered as coming from Heaven. After several woundings and our son walking away in disgust, we realized that there must be more to the church thing than what we had first thought.
So, we continued our search to find a place where the Spirit of God actually showed up when we came together. We love the Lord and spent time with Him on a regular basis. We really did come into His Presence from time-to-time, but it seemed that the more we hung around certain churches, the less we encountered Him. Finally we gave up and stayed home. This was really not a solution either. At home, we began to drift. I started reading Christian Fiction instead of the Bible – a voyeur into the lives of people who actually seemed to get it. My husband just pulled in and his wounds isolated him. Every so often, I would venture into another ‘church.’ If I could persuade him to come, he would give me a list of why everything was wrong, and he was right!
But I was starved for fellowship – the kind the Bible speaks of – koininea – a coming together in unity and oneness. Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father were One. I wanted that and I wanted it with my husband.
I attended a small 7:00 AM fellowship in my small town. There was a young man there that changed before my eyes. He went from being a good denominational man to a radiant expression of the Presence of God. He kept inviting me to come to a small church he attended. He assurred me it was different. I was intrigued.
When I went, it was definitely different – totally different from church as usual. The leader claimed to walk and talk with God on a daily basis and taught the Word of God with authority. Not completely convinced, I went several times before I asked hubby to come with me. He came but not with a happy heart. I could tell he was impressed but sitting for a long time is hard on him and the guy could talk! After two and a half hours, the meeting broke up. My dear man told me that I should go to this fellowship, but it wasn’t for him.
So with his blessing, I continued to go. I changed so much that he knew something was up. One day, he decided it was time to visit with the leader and he found a man-of-God who not only affirmed him but drew him into a friendship.
We began to attend as a couple. God has done amazing things in our lives in the last six or seven months. Now we sit through sermons that can last much longer than two hours and still be hungry for more. We are learning to enter into and abide in the Presence of God. He is not just Almighty God to us anymore; He is now our Papa – Abba – Father God. He loves us and we know it. We love Him because of it.
This fellowship has become our family. We are now involved in going to the streets to invite people into His Presence. It has changed our lives forever.
If your church doesn’t have the Presence of Father God in their services and if it doesn’t show in the lives of those who attend, find a place where God is present. It makes all the difference.
Is your church abiding in His Presence. Are you?