IT’S BEEN A WHILE …

I don’t know if anybody’s noticed, but it’s been a while since I’ve written anything original here. It’s not that I don’t care, or have a lot of stuff welling up within, because I do – on both counts.

It’s just that my wife and I have gone through several serious life changes in the last six months or so – including a job loss and nine months of unemployment (and counting), a painful separation from our church of 16 years, significant family issues, critical health challenges, and a general re-evaluation of everything I’ve dedicated my life to during the last 30 years.

However, a few things have remained constant:
1) God, and His unending love for us, in spite of our many failings.
2) Our kids, who have been constant rays of support, hope and light. Boy, do we love you!
3) Faithful family and friends. Thank you to the few who almost daily pray for us, talk with us, challenge us, encourage us and love us no matter what.

I can honestly say that it’s during these times we discover who really loves us. We find out who our friends really are. We experience the sacrificial love of God through people (usually the poor, because they empathize), and what’s better than that?

For this, I’m thankful. And I hope to start writing more soon. The Rich Man and the Prayer Warrior has been sitting too long, and needs to develop. I can’t wait to see how Chris and Ming’s journey to Kaifeng goes. Did you know that Jews lived in Kaifeng for almost 1,000 years? Are there any left? I want to find out.

If anybody’s actually reading this, thank you. I’d love to get your comments and hear how this blog has been an inspiration to you or provoked you to think about things in different ways. Ways that open you up to revolutionary avenues of service in the Kingdom of God.

That’s what it’s all about: Serving God and helping to expand His kingdom in the earth. Let’s join together in reconciling the world to God through Jesus Christ, but let’s break out of centuries of self-serving thinking and building monuments to men.

Cast your eyes outward, outward to those around you who have needs, who don’t yet know Jesus. That’s where God wants us to go. That’s where we should pour our time, money, labor and tears.

Why waste all our strength, ideas, talent, empathy and love on an inwardly focused fiasco? That’s what “church” has become for the most part. That’s what we’ve made it through the centuries, and it will be difficult to think in new ways without being called heretics, backslidden, traitors, compromisers and sinners.

Believe me, I know. Because the ones who now make big salaries from the work I helped freely build for 16 years were “blindsided” when we left their church, even though I spent the last two years sharing my anguish and frustration with them. I was stifled. They just weren’t listening. Shouldn’t church leaders listen to the people?

My inability to accomplish the vision God was pouring into me arose because there were no “acceptable” avenues to carry out this vision – it would have interfered with the self-absorbed nonsense that passes as God’s will. Do we really need teaching after teaching after teaching, and endless prayer meetings and altar time? We sit there week after week, month after month, years upon years, and what do we have to show for it?

A bunch of fine teachings, powerful prayer times, sweet fellowship, a new burning and a desire to grow closer to God. And what’s wrong with that?

It’s all inward.

If we’re being honest here, we’ll admit that after our twice-weekly church meetings, men’s or women’s Bible studies, morning prayer meetings, ushering, greeting, tithing, donating and giving, we just don’t have any time left for those ugly, stinky, needy, selfish, greedy people all around us who are lonely, scared, abused and lost.

C’mon now, would Jesus just be a regular church-goer today? Would you overhear Him saying during fellowship hour: “That was a great teaching today – I can’t wait ’til next week.” Then saying virtually the same thing most weeks after that, and never putting those teachings into practice.

Being a good teacher doesn’t make you a good discipler, and what did Jesus command us to do right before He ascended to the Father? “Go, and make disciples of all men.” And when He said “go” He meant “in your going.” He wasn’t telling us to go – He was assuming we’d go. He knew we’d go, constrained by the love of God for the world.

But He does expect us to make disciples as we go. Not just teach people. Not just feed people. Not just pray for people. But make disciples. Train others, lead them by example, give them plenty of opportunities to teach, preach, lead and fail.

Fail? Yes, fail. How else do we learn anything of value without failing hundreds of times first? Maybe it’s just me …

Advertisements

Posted on July 29, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I have been feeling since JMD posted that I have needed to clarify some things that I wrote and things that I didn’t say.

    First off what JMD posted was heartfelt and very encouraging. I also contacted her via Facebook to let her know how much she means to this family and her support and love is felt.

    Now that there has been more posted since that, I have a few more comments and this is not to blast anyone but to set things right.

    Secondly, newmission has never veiled his identity. Since he has a blog named newmission that is the name he uses. Just like others on this blog are not using first names. Dennis knows who they are.

    Third, newmission apologized in “speak the truth in love”, for anything he posted that may have offended anyone. Also a blog like this is for people to come again after they leave a comment and continue to speak on their experiences and life. To have a group of people that are leaving their comments on this blog, again and again.

    Also, we are the church, whether we attend a church or not. To be truthful we are attending a church, worshipping with fellow believers.

    I think some don’t understand what our family is saying.

    Also many great things did happen to our family in the last 5 years, things that have grown our family and have made us to be who we are today. Not all things are negative.

    We are getting over the hurt of what did happen and are looking to see what the next step is. To make sure what did happen never happens again. To be accountable to what we put our hands to. To keep our live in balance.

    Also the things that I agreed to, to make my life out of balance, is not anyone’s fault, not even the church. It is my fault to not say no or to say yes.

    So our family is taking the good and bad things that we experienced and making sure that we change ourselves. That we make sure we look at things differently.

    That any church I attend, I no longer look at them and replace my family. I already have a family, that needs me. Needs my encouragement and love.

    Also, that we have disagreements or see things that are wrong, we will no longer go with the flow. Shouldn’t we make our leaders accountable? Even with our youth, we the parents need to make sure they are learning properly. It is our responsibility.

    Love to all and God Bless…

    thanks Dennis for your encouragement and love…

  2. How many roads must a man walk down
    Before you call him a man?
    Yes, n how many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?
    Yes, n how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before theyre forever banned?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
    The answer is blowin in the wind.

    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    Yes, n how many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    Yes, n how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
    The answer is blowin in the wind.

    How many years can a mountain exist
    Before its washed to the sea?
    Yes, n how many years can some people exist
    Before theyre allowed to be free?
    Yes, n how many times can a man turn his head,
    Pretending he just doesnt see?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
    The answer is blowin in the wind.

  3. Dennis,

    Thank you for being so open and using a well-composed forum to communicate your experiences and views. Lots of people, I’m sure, appreciate what you are doing.

    Commentary is of course an important part of that process. I agree with you when you say, “we should provoke, not inflame; challenge, not accuse; reveal, not shame.” I think you are doing a great job at respectfully presenting and moderating some delicate discussions.

    I would love to contribute more, but sadly I feel (as, of course, you have already recognized) there is a lot of hostility here. One particular poster, whose attempts to reveal his identity are thinly veiled, has jumped on almost every other poster with aggressive, not-so-loving language. A few quotes that struck me as I scrolled through this particular comment thread:

    “Lovely comment from a person so stuck in the sub-culture of ‘club’ membership that they cannot see what is really going on around them.”

    “Please oh wise one… tell me, who has forsaken…”

    >>This one is ironic:

    “These tones create an idea that this people group is evil and anti-American”
    followed by:
    “Any mindset against this march is simply un-American and should be dismissed as a communistic ideal”
    Hmmmmm…

    And more:

    “Profound Ignorance has a stronghold on many people as they follow the leader.”

    “…No planning or vision skills, leaders that admittedly fly by the seat of their pants and leaders who call ‘programs’ discipleship.”

    “hurt by arrogant leaders who think they do no wrong, dont take responsibility for their actions and dont tell the truth.”

    “Found freedom in not serving a system built by man to support himself and the few who receive salaries…. Freedom to not support a system built upon an error in doctrine that promotes the ‘office’ of a gifting over the gifting itself.”

    This same poster also expressed, in agreement with you, that “It is vital to have ‘open’ communication and be able to dissent without the fear of judgement or condemnation. We are a passionate bunch and need to express the passions that God built us with. I hope that this venue encourages people to challange the status-quo and challange leaders to be accountable for their actions and their words.”

    The difference between your approach, Dennis, and that of newmission’s, is that you are encouraging people.

    Newmission spoke of John, Simon, Andrew, and James, saying “I think they just went on doing what they did….. loved God, worshiped in the Temple and took care of daily things with family and neighbors just like we do every day.”

    Well, that’s what I do to – including “worship in the Temple.” But, as pointedly as if I had not even expressed any views on this thread, I along with many, many others have been called “ignorant” and “stuck in the sub-culture of ‘club’ membership” simply because I attend church. And since we’re NOT NAMING NAMES, one can assume these insults – let’s “call a spade a spade”, after all – are directed to those who attend any church.

    Dennis, it is true that we all have hurts. And each individual person’s own hurts often cloud their perspective, myself included. Remember – 11 years – what a precious lesson I learned from you and Sharon on forgiveness, open communication between our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not allowing bitterness to take root in our hearts.

    Take JMD’s post, which was not really directly responded to by those who so greatly feel that other’s hurts and experiences should not be “swept under the rug”. She speaks for a lot of people. And those with a truly loving approach could see into the points Tammy was making without being so easily and openly offended by certain terms and phrases.

    I love you and Sharon, and miss you dearly. I can thank you for showing me the never-ending well of Living Water that I am privileged to drink from daily, even moment by moment. God used you both to change my life.

    It seems to me that there is hostility coming from newmission and some others against those in a “club” mentality (read: churchgoers) that is actually meant to tear down those who are not express members of their “new club”, so to speak – the “club” of non-churchgoers.

    Many, many, many of us were not privy to details on any level with regard to what happened. And we can’t be blamed for not reacting to situations we don’t know about. And I mean, DON’T KNOW ABOUT. I don’t mean, “know about but only care to listen to leadership I chose to be controlled by.”

    I miss you guys, I miss newmission and his family – who, by the way, were tremendous people to serve along side of, and obviously love God tremendously and care for people deeply.

    I’m just living my life here. I appreciate and respect the need for discussion, and it’s great to be invited to read and participate. But “wink-wink”, passive, small leaks of detail here and there ARE divisive, both within the church walls and on the World Wide Web. Frank, open commentary with a name and a firm intention/agenda casts a different light, but I don’t want others’ hurts to become mine just because people feel entitled to spread it around.

    PEACE – yes. And God bless you.

  4. I will continue to serve the Lord and question the things that I feel need to be questioned. I will continue to gather myself with believers, I will question the things I need to question, I hope that I will never be defined by judging others in doing so I am not defining them I am only defining myself. (UK) I will keep my eye upon the Lord. God made us to be social people so that we have the love and support of each other. I will continue to praise and serve the Lord.
    To you Vagabond,I have had people tell me to move on after my son died. I did not tell them how ignorant they were or tell everyone how they treated me. I prayed and prayed, because I didn’t know why they said the things they said. To them I guess they thought it was the right thing to say. I guess because we are human we do and say things that other will never understand. I have not heard any doctrine that is not in the bible where I go to church. When I do I will question it. I was certanlly not trying to make anyone’s concerns seem petty by what I said,Life is to Short, and it is. They are people that need the Love of the Lord those are the one’s we should be seeking and loving. So that is what I will do. So if I offened that was not my intent. For me life is to Short and I want to do as much as the Lord has for me in this time. God bless you all.

  5. Thanks, Vagabond for your well-reasoned comment and your reminder that we need to really listen to one another in this discussion, and in life. Why do we always try to “shush people up”? We need to be able to listen to other people’s experiences and try to empathize with them, not over-spiritualize what they’ve gone through and our remedy for them. Keep talkin’. And thanks for serving the Lord.

  6. I no longer seek because I have found.
    Found freedom in not serving a system built by man to support himself and the few who receive salaries.
    Freedom to not support a system built upon an error in doctrine that promotes the ‘office’ of a gifting over the gifting itself.
    Freedom to understand that my life is in Christ and Christ alone.
    Freedom to realize, yes realize that this is not a ‘rally’ call or a ‘militaristic build up of warriors’ but a daily effort to build relationships and bridges to those who don’t know Gods salvation one on one.(discipleship)
    And finally I have realized that I have the freedom to understand that this faith is based upon Jesus and Jesus ALONE. There is no more, there is no less.
    May God bless you FYA,
    May His face shine upon you and keep you and add greatly to your days.

  7. hi FYA,

    that’s one thing that remains true in all of these discussions…that each of us has gone through our personal “hells” and none of us can take that away from the other. you have experienced a pain i have not and i have experienced pains you have not. we’ve all got our personalized pains for sure. so we must all respect that.

    but, that still doesn’t correlate to our discussion about what’s goin on in the church today. “life’s too short to figure out why people do what they do and say what they say?” “for me and my house we will serve the Lord???” do these statements presume that those of us who do question the way things are being directed don’t serve the Lord?

    Jesus spent his whole “career” questioning the leaders of his time and putting their wrong actions into context with the way things should be done. they were an example of how we SHOULD NOT live our lives! life is definitely too short… too short to sit on the sidelines, stick our heads in the sand and ignore the pain and hurt being caused by our leaders and the ignorance of the blinded church!

    i’m not saying all christians who go to a church are blind or misguided. i am saying, however, that NOW IS the time to question and become AWARE of the things certain leaders or other believers are doing and saying!!!

    it is a slap in the face to other posters here, who’ve opened up about their pains and how they have been treated by specific pastors and leaders, to tell them that “life’s too short to try to figure out…..” that’s like calling their pains and their VERY REAL experiences “petty” like another poster did earlier. what if someone called your pains of losing your son petty? unreal? or said ignore it, move on!

    again, each of us here has our own “hells” that we’ve gone through and still go through, many which have been brought on by others’ lack of judgment and foolishness and pride. so let’s not call each other petty please. let’s all give each other the credit that we are intellectual individuals and not take away or dismiss each other’s experiences.

    for me and my house (me and the mountains, forests and seas around me) i DO serve the Lord.

  8. I know about pain and hurt.My son was killed and there could be no greater pain. I forgave and God healed me of that pain and hurt. I still miss my boy everyday. I guess life is to short to try to figure out why people do what they do and say what they say. I’m sure you heard this one too. “For me and my house we will serve the Lord”
    I pray that you find what you are seeking.

  9. FYA,
    Nice comment. Heard it from the pulpit before.
    Where do you get that there is un- forgiveness ?
    Can you see into my heart?
    We are talking about pain and hurt that has been caused by many in leadership positions.
    I for one hold no resentment or grudge, that will fester into a wound that wont heal.

    Further, we are only speaking truth here about being hurt by arrogant leaders who think they do no wrong, dont take responsibility for their actions and dont tell the truth.

    I wonder if there are any little ‘sayings’ for them?

    How about this one? A true Pastor knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”

  10. I don’t know what to say. I know that Jesus loves me. And unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for someone elae to die. God is good All the time.

  11. blackedoutconvict FTH

    As far as im concerned Dennis has stayed a good friend to me , looking past all my shortcomings and my bad choices a true christan friend who has forgiven me and helped me to move ahead in life, not holding a grudge against me for my sin. Something to be said for that. Thanks Big D for all your support Peace to the 10th power my brother!
    (feeding the hungry)FTH!!

  12. Thanks Dennisup for the measured post and the call to keep this going. I hope that the people who have opined continue to read and post, but, my experience with ‘blogging’ has proven that it usually does not happen. I hope that this does continue because as you said, this is just getting started and we cant stop now.
    It is vital to have ‘open’ communication and be able to dissent without the fear of judgement or condemnation. We are a passionate bunch and need to express the passions that God built us with. I hope that this venue encourages people to challange the status-quo and challange leaders to be accountable for their actions and their words.

  13. An open letter to Vagabond,

    As far as removing your acronym: While it reflected the valid feelings of many, it just seemed to be a bit over the edge, so in the interest of keeping the discussion going I removed it. I don’t like doing that, but I had to edit some other comments as well for the sake of peace.

    I think we should provoke, not inflame; challenge, not accuse; reveal, not shame – so I just want to make sure I’m walking that path as the moderator of this blog. My intention is to provide a place where people can get hot without saying things they regret later, so if I erred on the side of safety, I’m unapologetic, but don’t want to offend you or cause you to think you can’t honestly share here.

    You know more than anybody how upset I can get, and that I’m also unafraid of a “vibrant” discussion, so doing this was not easy for me. I guess when I saw how hurt JMD and Ken sounded, I thought we should all scale back a tad — but we need to keep going.

    We can’t stop now.

    Let’s not walk halfway down this road – let’s travel all the way to the end. That’s where we’ll find unity, as well as deeper truth regarding our hurts, feelings, revelations and gifts.

    Vagabond, continue to provoke us all and speak about how the “world” views the Church – and how the Church should look to those who are outside of its walls. You certainly have a unique perspective, so please continue to contribute and help lead this vital discussion – I treasure your input and thank you for your love, and personally know that nobody in this world supports us more than you. You are a rare individual who needs to be heard. Your voice is strong and necessary.

    With all my love and respect.

  14. sorry, “acronym” not “anagram” …just correcting myself. 🙂

  15. hi ken,

    i guess the “church anagram” i posted has been deleted…i’m assuming that’s what you’re commenting on. maybe it was too harsh for this bog, but i have to say that i only wrote that from my own experience, the experiences of my friends (christian and non-christian, i.e. “the world”) and the countless amount of people i’ve encountered around the world and discussed this very same subject with, who feel the same. not to say you’re experiences mean nothing. i know you have a great amount of experience and i respect both you and sue and always have. i’m only speaking of my own personal encounters.

    i’ve met WAY too many people from “the world” who feel exactly that about “the church.” so, when i hear those things, i begin to wonder “why do non-christians (AND christians) feel this way?”

    there’s a reason people feel…whether it be from personal experience or what they’ve seen demonstrated publicly from “the church.” therefore, i feel compelled to post what i posted. we should all be asking ourselves, “why do people on ‘the outside’ see us this way?” maybe we should spend some time ‘on the outside’ and look inside the bubble.

    i, too, have been offended to hear these things, but maybe it’s good to be offended every now and then to help us realize that CHURCH has become those things i listed…or, in the least, is perceived that way. (i lean more to what it has become.) so now since i’m ‘on the outside,’ i’m sure i’ve offended some by saying what i said. but there’s always a reason why people feel. there’s always a reason why people (inside and outside) are becomng more and more disillusioned with what “church” is and has become.

    let’s question not only ourselves (because i think there are PLENTY of good and real people within the church – you guys are some of the most real people i’ve known within “the church”), but let us REALLY question the establishment and those we follow. that’s all….

  16. “Do we really need teaching after teaching after teaching, and endless prayer meetings and altar time? We sit there week after week, month after month, years upon years, and what do we have to show for it?”

    “A bunch of fine teachings, powerful prayer times, sweet fellowship, a new burning and a desire to grow closer to God.”

    I, for one, have sat and listened to teaching after teaching, and spent countless hours in prayer meetings and have spent many hours on my face at the altar before God. And here are the things that I have gained from each.

    1. I have learned how to “go” and “do”. And I go and do!
    2. I have listened to His heartbeat and heard His call on my life. Therefore I go and do!

    I am not a pew dweller. I am an active participant in bringing people to Christ. I love the smelly, unloved and discarded. And right about now, I am extremely offended. Not everyone that is in a leadership role, or in “membership” fits your model. To those of you that have written posts above, I’d like to address you:

    I love each and every one of you with all my heart. I have prayed and cried many tears over each and every one of you. How many times have I received phone calls early in the morning or very late at night for prayer? And how many times did I not answer the phone? How many nights have I interceeded for you or your kids because they were in major trouble? How can you say that “People who are so wrapped up in ‘church’ that they have no clue whats going on in the world around them….” I am very well aware of what is going on around the world. I am part of the church and so are you. We are all in the body of Christ. Instead of cutting down and trashing your brothers and sisters, how about the idea of working together to touch the world. Just because I “do church, does not mean I don’t do the will of God. Trash me all you want. Critisize the work that I do. I don’t do it for show. I do it for love and compassion for Christ’s sake. If my brother or sister in the Lord needs prayer so that they are able to “go” and “do” I will pray. I do church so that I am recharged to carry out my mission. I am sorry if you have been hurt and felt you had to leave. I pray that if I’ve offended you, that you would forgive me. Vicki put it very well. “Balance, we have to have balance in our lives.” I will not apologize for “doing church” if it enables me to go and do, but I will do it with balance. My heart is broken. I have reached out and some of you have responded, but I will not force myself on any that don’t want to respond. Some of us have been friends for 16 years and my love and admiration has never waivered.

  17. Hi Dennis,
    Had no idea, no clue and now just left feeling sad. We just assumed you and Sharon were called elsewhere. Sorry we did not make it our desire to love you and Sharon while you were in such pain. Glad to know your zeal for the Lord is strong, just sorry for the frustrations and hurt.

    Sue and I continue to grow in our faith and have found ways each day to disciple by our actions. The leadership of our church continues to challenge us and provide opportunities for us to look to others and we thank God we have the strength and breath to go. We have prayed for you and will continue to do so.

    To Vagabond:
    I have only lived in a few states in the United States, so my world perspective is EXTREMELY limited. But I do not think it is at all even close to the truth to the say the “world” thinks of “church” as those things you listed above.

  18. From another perspective, from another family that left a church, only after 4 years of being involved, not 15 years. You think that is easy. To feel like these people are your family, to realizing no I guess we were wrong.

    From pouring into something so much, that our children had to sit us down and tell us we were messing up. No, I don’t think people understand or really get it. To leave somewhere and maybe get 1 call.

    To realize that the last few years my oldest was a teen and was home, while I was pouring into a ministry. That those years are gone and I can’t get them back. To realize that after we left, no one cared.. A few called just to see how we were. The rest are gone.

    I guess they dont know how it feels to get a call from your sister, saying I missed you. So busy that I replaced the family I had. Wrong, that was so wrong. I was wrong. Balance, we have to have balance in our lives.

    You aren’t supposed to replace your family. How do you sit in your pew and show God’s love to others, if all you do is sit.. Never again..

    God is all around us, in my kitchen, in my house.. everywhere. So I dont have to sit in a pew to be closer to him. He is in me..

    If I dont’ go out and do, then he just sits in me, doing nothing. How dare others talk like they know how it feels to leave a place that they have poured their heart, soul and all their time.. They never asked for anything in return.

    Petty, how can a person be petty when they are saying what they went through. Did you ever go through this?

    Our family does worship God and with like minded believers. But our perspective has changed, without change, no one changes..

    What is your perspective?

  19. Hi Dennis,

    I am glad to see that you are still on the job for Jesus. Please keep releasing “stuff welling up within”. We can only be healed when we realize that there is & what the problem is.

    Remember that the Church is made up of people like you and I. People with issues, that need Saving, Prayer, and God’s Help & Healing as we grow in Him.

    Thank you so much for the encouragement on taking God’s Word to China. You were right. It was amazing! We take so much for granted here in America; to be able to speak God’s name or reference Him or His Church, to worship Him freely whenever you want is a great privilege.
    It is an experience that I won’t forget.

    Keep writting and I will keep reading.

  20. Vaga, Got ya…..I am on the same page… was just agreeing with you in a sarcastic fashion. I did not bring the point too well……

    These last days…. wow… I think John, Simon, Andrew and James were saying the same thing… or were they?
    Jesus told them that He did not know when He was coming back, so do you think they even bothered themselves with it ?
    I dont, I think they just went on doing what they did….. loved God, worshiped in the Temple and took care of daily things with family and neighbors just like we do every day….
    Nothing new under the sun…
    peace

  21. i’m pretty sure we’re on the same page, new mission… misunderstanding maybe? not sure i get what you mean? i was quoting the other poster using her “these last days” remark sarcastically. my end point was what you said too…”I will stick with the Rebellious, non’s, sinners and Muslims…at least they call a spade a spade.” funny how there are all these labels for anyone who’s not in “The Club,” especially “in these last days.” maybe my point got messed up somehow? no offense taken, just our wires gettin crossed i think.

  22. No offence Vagabond, but what’s all this “THESE LAST DAYS”. Is that suppose to mean something? The last I remember our Great Imam, Jesus told a few that ‘even He did not know’ when he would return. So, whats up with this?
    Its like people are making excuses for their poor and unspeakable behavior because its the ‘end times’ or the ‘last days’…..
    People have a civil and moral mindset and cause themselves to live a certain lifestyle and then justify it as Christian. For instance ‘lets not be petty’….

    Profound Ignorance has a stronghold on many people as they follow the leader. Leaders that have no planning or vision skills, leaders that admittedly fly by the seat of their pants and leaders who call ‘programs’ discipleship.

    I will stick with the Rebellious, non’s, sinners and Muslims… at least they call a “spade a spade’

  23. Tammy S.:
    “It’s so hard when you think you have a friend and then they just take off and leave you. It’s hard to pick up the phone and ask how they are, when you feel like they abandoned you.”

    But what if they didn’t just “take off and leave you”? What if they spoke of the warning signs of an unhealthy and TOP heavy church for years? What if nobody listened to them? What if almost everyone blindly follows the chosen leaders and doesn’t do their part to question and listen to the warning signs?

    I wonder how it must be for THEM to have to leave such a place and everyone they know and all they’ve worked for, based on their God-given gut and moral instincts…and that maybe THEY feel abandoned when nobody picks up the phone and asks THEM how THEY are doing?

    “We need to stop the pettiness and bring the Body of Christ together in these last days.”

    Pettiness? Is that what it’s called when someone follows the Moral Law of Jesus (not the Law of the Leaders) and starts looking outside the walls of the “Men’s Clubs” and “Women’s Clubs” and all the other “Clubs” that aren’t doin a damn thing to reach out the “‘Non-Christian’, ‘Rebellious Christian’, ‘Sinner’, ‘Muslim or other DANGEROUS Faith’ Clubs”?

    Yes, let’s stop this pettiness. We can start by gettin our heads straight! Instead of wastin our time “bringing the Body of Christ together” in these last days, shouldn’t we be concentrating more on actually bringing people INTO the Body of Christ in these last days? And if doing so means that some (too bad not most) believers leave the ranks of the “safe church” to reach out and bring people into communion with God, then let it happen! Bring it on!

    Nope, let’s just all stick together in our clubs instead. Keep the doors shut. No one gets in. Just us and our fellow brothers and sisters! That’s a great idea! Sign me up!

  24. Vagabond, my love for you grows deeper and deeper……
    Asleep in the light and wont listen to anyone. Just sure of themselves in light of a mass exodus.
    PEACE

  25. to understand and not ‘do’, is not to understand.

    Being that I now dont do ‘church’…. I guess I dont understand.

    Brother Ron, Why did you use the word perfect when there was no reference to perfect in any of the above postings? No one has ever asked for or expected perfect. What is expected is accountability, honesty and transparency at leadership levels, thats it.

    And as far as the wake up, and the march on Washington:
    I recently received a couple of e-mail’s regarding the Muslim march on Washington, D.C. that alarmed me greatly. There is a strange and unfamiliar spirit coming out of the “Christian Right” and it is like a virus penetrating the very fabric and essence of Christian faith.

    Words like “pray against, mighty army, a force against” and comments that are clearly slanderous directed at the President of the United States of America and Muslim Americans are now common in most discussions.

    These tones create an idea that this people group is evil and anti-American.

    Looking at this from a civil point of view, a march on the Mall is a protected freedom under the Constitution of the United States and should be encouraged not discouraged. This is the exact expression of freedom of religion that our fore Fathers fought and died for. Any mindset against this march is simply un-American and should be dismissed as a communistic ideal.

    Now I must speak only from an experiential point of view.

    While on an ‘immersion’ trip into the Muslim culture I was able to touch, see, feel and hear a ‘right-christian’ point of view and a Muslim point of view. On one hand I spent time listening to a ‘christian’ feeding people ‘anti’ Muslim sentiment and encouraged people to ask argumentative questions in order to ‘prove’ the Christian faith.

    On the other hand I was able to listen to and spend time with Muslims who were gentile, courteous and kind. One of the men was watching over his children and I could clearly see his devotion to his family coupled with a clear gratitude toward community and the freedom afforded him in this land.

    At every stop we were greeted by everyone with one hand over the heart, a slight bow and a verbal greeting of “Peace be with you”. These were more ‘Christ-like’ than the ones that called themselves ‘christian’.

    I must again quote Gandhi: “ your Christ I like, your Christians I don’t like, because they are not very Christ-like”. This is a strong statement and one that should be carefully pondered.

    This is not a ‘CALL TO PRAYER’ but a call to action. A call to extend the love of Christ, not with words, meetings and spiritual warfare rhetoric, but a time to extend a ‘cup of cold water’ that I heard so much about but never saw.

    A true Christian response to this gathering in the Nations capitol should be two fold.

    1. Thousands of bottles of water should be passed out freely with no ulterior motives, tract’s or soap box preachers. ‘freely you have received, freely give’.

    2. Christian churches from around the country should inform the D.C. public works departments that they will be responsible for the clean up of the mall after this gathering.

    How better to “SHOW” the love of Christ than to love and go the extra mile?

    I firmly agree with both of the e-mails that I received that stated “its time for the Church to wake up”. Your right, its time for the Church to wake up to the call to love and not hate and cast fear, doubt and hate toward any person no matter what faith they ascribe too.

    Your Christ I like, your Christians I dont, they are not very Christ-like.

    Peace to you,
    Praise be unto the God of Abraham.

  26. Is today’s American Church perfect, No, long way from it.

    Are today’s American Pastor’s perfect, also, no a long way from it.

    Are today’s Chiristians perfect, certinaly not.

    Regardless of how and where you worship none of us can come close to to the Christians we could or should be. Is it possible to have a perfect, or even one remotly close to perfect Church in America? I don’t know, every Church has it’s faults, it’s triumphs and failures, it’s good and bad people and Pastors. (When I speak of Church I am including everything from a mega Church to a few people meeting in a home Church.)

    Sure it would be great to have a Paul as a Pastor here, but in a Country like America, with so many people so spoiled on “things” would it even be possible.

    How many of us, me included, would open our home to and support a Pastor to live in while he spreads the word. Would we take care of his neeeds, his food his health care?

    It is easy to look and say, “they should be more like Paul”, but let’s face it, this is not that time, that place. We complain when a Pastor is paid $87,000 including benefits, but i’d love to see a breakdown of the hours a Pastor puts in. I would guess none see anywhere close to a 40 hour work week. Compare that to the auto worker, or just about any other profession and I am sure that you would find a Pastor is on the low end of the hourly wage scale for the number of hours worked.

    As for the Church itself, I still consider myself a “new Christian”. For me Church works, I have attended a number of classes and learned from the “Teachers”. I have met some very good and close friends that I can call on for help and support. When I look at my life befoe and after I don;t know if it would have been possible without my Church family.

    People leave Churches for a number of reasons, the same as people are drawn to them. Just look at the number of Church denominations in this Country alone. If we are all following the same God, why all the differences?

    I believe it is going to take a major event in this Country for the Church to wake up. Maybe more events like the Muslim march on Washington will be the wake up call. At this event Mr. Dwidat, who presently serves as the imam of the Islamic Center in New York, quoted an imam as saying, “The White House will become the Muslim House.”

    On a personal note to Dennis and Sharron, I just returned from my third trip to China. You have opened my eyes and heart to that Country and I owe it all to the two of you. My only regret is that I never was able to enjoy the experience with you, hopefully that is still possible. You have also opened my mind to thought. Thought about myself, religion and the world outside of my tiny little part. God bless you both.

  27. Lovely comment from a person so stuck in the sub-culture of ‘club’ membership that they cannot see what is really going on around them. Pastors paying themselves $87,000.00 a year with full benifits, retirement programs, housing allowance’s and a vehical allowance. Associate pastors being paid in the $50,000.00 to $60,000.00 range including benifits all the while asking for more, more, more, more……. Give me a break… This is why I agree with Ghandi COMPLETELY !!!!.. your Christ I like, your christians I dont like, they are not like Christ.
    Furthermore to the comment of not forsaking fellowship with the brethran, who has forsaken? Please oh wise one… tell me, who has forsaken…. as for me and my house we have had sweeter, deeper, true’r fellowship around the table of the Lord (my kitchen table) than ever experienced in a “CLUB”…(church).
    It also sounds to me like someone’s feelings got hurt because someone else ‘left the club’, so sad poster that you have no clue as to the reasons the leaving took place and are so controled by the leadership in the ‘club’ that you wont ask, dig and hold leaders accountable for their actions.

    And as far as “I know we are to pay those who teach the word”. What bible are you reading ? Paul, one of the greatest teaches to walk on the face of the earth stated that he WORKED day and night as to not be a BURDEN on the people. So where are we directed to Pay Teachers…. If these so called ‘leaders’ had to make ends meet just like the rest of us the ‘church would be in a very different state than it is in right now.

    Sorry if I sound a little harsh, but WAKE UP…. the church in America is loosing people daily, not becuase of the devil, but because of the people…. People who are so wrapped up in ‘church’ that they have no clue whats going on in the world around them…. and Leaders that have no accountability….

    Funny, stop the pettiness… that one is funny… yea, lets just sweep all of the dirt under the rug and not talk about it…. what a crock !!!!
    Yea, lets just be diplomatic and gloss things over, not tell the TRUTH, make things sound better than they are… just to keep the peace, keep the money flowing in on Sunday…..

    Just my mind on it….
    PEACE

  28. Hello Dennis, I understand what you’re saying about the poor always being among us. Even the poor have to do the word of God. That is to take care of the poor who are worst off than them. The Lord is bringing all of us to this awareness as we enter into the end times. This is why we are housing the homeless at C3 this week, through MCREST, (Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) to feed them, care for their needs, house them, pour the Love of Christ into them. The peacemakers teams are planning an outing with the crew there, to continue to pour into them. I’m sorry you have been going through so much in your lives. Everybody is taking a hit, we have had pay cuts and still threats of more cuts. Friends have lost jobs, homes, etc. in the church as well as neighbors and family, and we have to be there for them as much as we can. If either of us losses our job, we will be on the forecloser list as well. But that’s okay, because I’m not attached to these material things of this world. If we have to live in a small apartment, then that’s what we’ll have to do. “I have learned to live with much and with little” But the word also says “do not forsake assembling yourselves together”. We must continue to encourage and build up one another not tear down our brothers and sisters. It’s so hard when you think you have a friend and then they just take off and leave you. It’s hard to pick up the phone and ask how they are, when you feel like they abandoned you. We need to stop the pettiness and bring the Body of Christ together in these last days. As the day approaches, When our Lord Jesus Christ returns for His Bride, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, we need to draw strength from each other in these last days, with the Holy Spirit flowing through us with cords that cannot be broken. “For the world will know we are Christians by our love toward one another”. We still love you and miss you guys. We will always appreciate all that you have done and what we have learned from you. You guys are extremely talented and gifted from the Lord. I pray that all that you did do was done as unto the Lord and not for a job, as we lift Jesus up, He will exalt us. I know we are to pay those who teach us the Word and I pray the Lord finds a way for that to happen for you, but as the people are taking hits financially, so are the churches as a result of it. They can only give what they can. I hope you understand what I’m saying. I certainly don’t want to offend you anymore than you already have obviously been. May God Bless You in all you do. Keep up the great work!

  29. Agree with you 100%. Our last regular church had good bible teachings (in my opinion in lieu of a sermon), which, sad to say, was a welcome change from other churches we had visited. However, as time went on, it became painfully obvious our church was an inwardly focused, *club for nice people* that we felt a need to separate ourselves from and received some very un-Christian reactions to our decision from some of the leaders. We are hesitant to join another church and I am saddened by that.

  30. Kathy Cristoforo (Lalka)

    I very much agree with you on your perception of the “inward” focus of the Christian Church. Good quote from Gandhi to check out.

    “The message of Jesus as I understand it,” said Gandhi, “is contained in the Sermon on the Mount unadulterated and taken as a whole… If then I had to face only the Sermon on the Mount and my own interpretation of it, I should not hesitate to say, ‘Oh, yes, I am a Christian.’ But negatively I can tell you that in my humble opinion, what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount… I am speaking of the Christian belief, of Christianity as it is understood in the west.” Mohndes K. Gandhi

    You are lovely people Dennis and Sharon.

  31. God bless you and all of those who have been judged, hurt, brainwashed and burdened by the “church”. I love God with my whole heart and it’s so good to hear someone else express it from the depths of their soul without any fear.

  32. My brother and friend.. you are so right. You nailed everything that our family has been feeling for the last 6 months or so..
    That we are too busy doing the church stuff to notice the people around us that need our time, our ear. Forgive us for being so time-consumed with the me menatility.. No more. No more will I be so busy, that i dont even have time for my children, or family.
    Also there is no agenda that if we hang out with these family members that we will help them to change their ways, to start living their lives going to church and doing what we do.. No, no agendas anymore.. share our love for them whether they believe in God or not.. Whether i can give them encouragement or not… or say God’s name, doesn’t matter.. it’s about loving your neighbor, without any expectations…. I am honored to be you and Sharon’s friend and to be one of those that consider you a part of our family, no matter what we do or say.. how awesome that God puts people like that in our lives.. to just love each other, even in our failings and faults.. Vicki

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: