January 28, 2006

The New Exodus

As trends take a hold of churches, attracting the lukewarm uncommitted professing Christians, the real believers are fleeing and being pushed out by the scores. Hereís how it might go. Letís start with an imaginary couple, John and Jane.

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John and Jane Logan are both born-again believers. They love the Lord. They love each other. They love their two children. They love people and are gracious and hospitable. They study their Bibles together and are both very discerning since John was saved out of Catholicism and Jane was rescued from a cult. They donít want to be led astray again.

When Johnís company transferred him to another state, they had to find a new place to fellowship. A thriving Methodist church was the closest church to home so they decided to go there. However, the co-pastor turned out to be a lesbian and when they asked the senior pastor about it, he told them they were intolerant, and they were asked to leave.

They found a conservative church a little further away where the homosexual agenda never entered in. They were making friends and their children loved the Sunday School, but then the church brought in the Alpha Course and didnít appreciate the Logans handing them a packet of information about it. The Logans overlooked that, but then the pastor wanted the men to go with him to the prayer breakfasts with all the other area churches, including the one they just left. John stayed home. The pastorís teaching went downhill and he started proclaiming that God is through with Israel and the church has replaced her. He would ridicule those who read the book of Daniel or Revelation saying that it canít be understood anyway and it is just allegory about the Christian life and not to be taken literally. When the pastor started promoting ecumenism with Catholicism and looked at John like he was crazy when he objected, they made the decision to leave.

These committed believers fled to the other side of town to a contemporary non-denominational church. The Logans, now a little more cautious, began making friends and entertaining them in their home. Then one day the pastor announced they are going to go through Rick Warrenís "40-Days of Purpose" and these believers expressed their displeasure. The pastor was not convinced by any of Johnís objections and refused to read the packet of information John handed him about Rick Warren Ė calling it gossip. The Logans felt as though there was no place else to go and stayed on until the church grew so big and the sermons became so watered down that they started hunting for a place that shared their zeal for the Lord.

Another church down the street from that one seemed to be more on fire for the Lord so they tried there. They had a very good worship team. Jane was thrilled to be able to worship the Lord again since the last two churches had such dry and unfeeling music, it put her to sleep. But now she could really get into the worship, lifting up her hands in praise and getting so caught up in her adoration of Jesus. She prayed in her heart, "Oh Lord, please let this place be one that is true to Your Word." It didnít take long for the Logans to pick up certain phrases the pastor used that put their antennae up. He would say things like, "plant a seed for your need," or "weíre the head and not the tail." But Jane was so happy with the worship time that she pleaded with John to let it go. John complied since Jane was finally happy with a church and was getting close to the women there. One Sunday a guest speaker was introduced. The pastor introduced him as an apostle and a prophet. The guest told the congregation that their pastor was their prophet and he told the congregation to "obey the prophet and live" or they would not be right with the Lord. He told them the pastor was their covering and that he would prophesy over their lives. From that time on the pastor became much more controlling and the joy in the worship music began to fade and was replaced with songs about taking dominion and stepping on the devil. When they expressed their concerns to the pastor, he responded, "If you donít like it, leave. But you will be out of Godís will until you repent and submit." So they left and their friends from the church avoided their calls.

The Logans finally found a thriving Calvary Chapel in the next town over. They would just have to commute to find a church that put the Bible front-and-center. The pastor taught verse-by-verse and the worship team was musically very talented. The only problem is that some of the song selections were not biblical. Good songs were mixed in with bad ones that addressed  the Holy Spirit to come in more power and the Jesus songs took a back seat. The female vocalist couldnít be followed because she sang in five octaves and held her high notes for 30 seconds or more. The songs were more about us and less about Him. The Logans spoke kindly to the worship leader about some of the song selections that came from the Vineyard songbook and he didnít take kindly to being informed. He accused them of being "church hoppers" and judgmental and not filled with the spirit. Though they sought to use their gifts to help out teaching in Childrenís Church and the Youth Group, they were never allowed to. Though very grounded in the Word they were looked at suspiciously and not allowed to be in any sort of leadership function but could only help out caring for infants or handing out bulletins.

They met another couple at Calvary Chapel, the Bakers, who shared their concerns and decided to come together with their two families every Saturday night and study the word together. Jane brushed up on her guitar skills and sang her favorite worship songs and John and Bob brought the teaching. Betty cooked and taught the smaller children their Bible lessons. Both families still went to their church on Sundays, but they got so much more out of their little home fellowship and it was beginning to grow with other like-minded outcasts from local churches.

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This testimony can be heard from born-again believers all over the world. They are beginning to feel like outcasts from their churches, even though the Bible gives us the imperative: "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

The Day of the Lord is certainly approaching. The biggest sign is the rise of the church of the Laodiceans to whom Jesus said, "because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Rev. 3:16).

The virgins with the oil in their lamps certainly donít want to assemble with the ones targeted for that destiny. But they have a dilemma Ė where are the others who are not marked out for this condemnation? They are being forced out of the churches by the droves. And all the marketing ideas that man can create in his efforts to fill the pews wonít bring them back.

Abba Father, renew our spirits and strengthen our feeble hands and hearts as we see the decimation of the visible church and feel powerless to stop its decay. Hold our heads up in joyous expectation of Your Sonís immanent return and protect us from being swept away by all the deceptions and tactics of the enemy. We admit we are too weak to resist him in our own strength. We need Your intervention in our lives to keep us on the straight path when so many detours hinder our progress. Help us to die to ourselves and put on Christ even when He sometimes seems so far away. Go after the little ones of Your flock who have lost their way and have mercy on us for we are weak in and of ourselves. Be strong on behalf of your lambs. We love you. Keep our ears tuned in to Your voice so that we wonít follow after strangers. We look to You now Ė We give you all glory and honor and praise. In Jesusí name. Amen!

 

Responses:

FROM BEVERLY -- "That is us!!! but we could add more. Our church was a good church till a group of new people came in and then things changed. I could write a book on that one. Then they had a prophet who came in and tickled the ears of the leaders brought by these same people. The organist the pastors wife and anyone in leadership had their self fed at the hands of this man. He even prophesied over a gal and a guy who were with their families in the church he prophesied as if they were married and they were only just dating. Well lo and behold everyone thought" well that is for them when they get married." I said no that was a lie in Jesus name. They didn't! Many more, like this one young boy ,the prophet ( so called ) said was going to be a missionary and the young boy started to think this way and his family too and that was another mess. Sad to say he ended up with a married gal and the story goes on and on . I think that was the beginning of the mess. Then it went to the Gold dust and laughing and etc. I had run before most of that.

Then I did the same thing, changed "churches" and the story goes on for the same reasons almost exactly like the Logans. Yes, in another church the songs got to be about situations and not about the Blood or Jesus, or Calvary . Nothing! He was left out.  And then the one song about "I went to the enemies camp" and I took back what he stole from me. He is under my feet under my feet Satan is under my feet.. Can you imagine singing that??? Singing about Satan in the church !!!!! Satan is under the feet of Jesus not me, you or the church. That is taking the place of Jesus, a bit like "little gods". I told someone ( in the choir I believe), and they said: It is biblical, in the Old Testament David went in and stole back the things taken from the Israelites. I said I am not in the Old Testament I am in the New and I want to sing about Jesus. Some in the choir knew I did not like it and they looked at me when they sang it to see if I would sing it . One other song also I commented on. The songs were catchy and there certainly was a drawing power behind each song . They were glad to see me go! They are doing their own thing! Like around the golden calf! But we have to pray for them.

Then the war and Bush and the churches were promoting Bush as a Christian and also Ashcroft. I had enough of that. We visited many and they were all political even the Baptist and the Methodist. We were not going to be caught in the charismatic stuff we thought in those . How wrong! I was not going to get into the politics and the building programs again.

The next one had a very Godly man, we miss him, and after a year he left. They voted in a young man who seemed so sincere, and he is sincere, but sincerely wrong. He brought in the Purpose Driven and we left after about 4 services, and we realized where that was going. You can see on most of the out side signs in front of churches that a lot of different denominations are into the 40 days of purpose etc. It is very obvious! Big time!

Most of the places I called and asked about the music, and they are all contemporary or split services one for Contemporary and one for Traditional.. AKA known as the old people and the young ones. Forcing the old ones out so the new stuff can begin.. One Assembly of God has a Wednesday service for the older ones and gives them a lunch so they can have their own, but Sunday is Contemporary.  Buy me with a lunch ?? Don't think so!! But most of the older ones do not know what is going on.  They know something is very wrong, but don't know the basics of the situation. Pray for the elderly who are content in their ways. 

Each church I went to they are big into entertainment now and they are really entertaining the youth . Everything is for the youth. Open Gym, ski trips two states away, concerts, you name it and it is money ,money, money for the youth.. Building Gyms and fellowship halls buying busses etc. Are the youth any better for it? No!  They are all getting pregnant or questioning their gender. What a surprise when after I left one church an out standing young boy came back from Texas from an Acquire the Fire school, and said he was having problems with finding out his sexuality . That opened a series of kids confessing they were too. Some were having relationships . Long story there!! The pastor was kinda shocked and the church too when he stood up and announced it to them . The pastor had said " Do you have testimony?? "

There was no help there for this lifestyle, we have become a church with a form of godliness. I get sick when I see we cannot help anyone . But if the church continues in its present form, it is disaster. Never ending things to speak out about .

Then ,there is the one with Cleansing Stream studies.  I could go on about that ! What happened to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?  Yep we are home and meeting with 3 others and it is getting ready to add more when the Lord wills.  People I know have asked me to come to their "special place" and are so concerned about me. I am concerned about them.  One belongs to a church that built a garden behind the church and remodeled and I wonder if it is a labyrinth the way they talk and it has music piped in . They had the pastor picked up and brought to the church in a Limo and had a party when it was finished and open to use.. they lined the driveway and clapped as the limo came! Narcissism?  Lavish isn't it.

When the homeless and the widows and the fatherless are out there some where and the drug addicts and the prostitutes and the alcoholics are left out there we lavish ourselves.  The church has become a big failure. Do I want to bring my grandchildren into that NO WAY! There is no help for them in church sad to say. We are going on the street to the bars etc., and pass out tracts soon . Our little group only wants street preachers that tell the truth . WE need a new generation of street preachers or Like the old Salvation Army !! Give us the old time religion any day!

That is just a little bit from here. "

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