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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beginning of Our Journey

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Our family has taken some hard hits from some critics over our decision to follow God in our ministry. It's a new direction that some are not agreeing with and thus it has put an unnecessary burden on our friendships. My husband and I both have felt God pulling us in a new direction and once we answered him in obedience we felt fulfilled! I figured I would outline our turn of events for those who have questions.

1. Our Calling: In the Rescue Ministry God has placed us in for the last ten years, we have traveled to present the ministry in various churches in California. We usually only travel during the time we prepare for our fund raising banquet, but we felt God asking us to do this all year long now. By doing this we are no longer in any one particular church membership. When the Lord placed this on our heart we began to study in the Bible about 'church' to be sure we were hearing from God. We wondered why God would ask us to do something that would take us out of our church, a place where we have grown and served Him for 14 1/2 years.

2. What is your covering?: Throughout this journey God has shown us what The Church really is. Someone made a comment to my husband about not having an ecclesiastical covering. So we looked up what ekklesia really is. The ekklesia is The Church and The Church is The Body. The Head of The Body is Christ. So do you need the Body to be your 'covering' or Christ? Just what is a covering?

As we studied through the Bible we see the disciples and Apostles traveling from city to city, preaching the Gospel. Not one of them were a 'member' of any one 'church'. They simply preached the gospel. Jesus Christ is our covering, just as he was for them.

3. Church Attendance: Another question that was asked is, "So are you in a different church EVERY Sunday?" No, we are not in a different church every Sunday. This is one that has brought more criticism. Some people believe that a Christian needs to not only be a member of ONE local church, but also that they MUST be in every Sunday Service in order to be protected by and right with God. Since we are no longer in any organized religious institution we are completely responsible for our own walk with Christ and for the upbringing of our children and their spiritual life.

I can not find in scripture where it is a Sunday School teacher's responsibility to raise our children spiritually. I'm not against another godly adult investing in my child's life, but it certainly is not required by God. As a matter of fact, although I think hearing God's word taught is good, the Sunday School isn't even in God's Word. It was never commanded by God to begin a Sunday School in the first place. Therefore, we see it as optional.

4. Our Children's fellowship:When we do travel, we most certainly enjoy allowing our children to participate in a class with other children their age. We do plan to have them join in VBS in a few different fellowships that we trust. They are very much looking forward to it! We also are a part of local home fellowships with other children who are thriving in their families and in their relationships with Jesus Christ. There are a few youth groups that meet faithfully that do not place any pressure on our children to get our family into their 'church membership'.

5. How do we tithe?: This is an interesting question and we thought about that right away. If a believer is not a 'member' of a 'church' then how do you tithe? We decided to find out exactly what God intended for our giving as a New Testament Believer and follower of Christ. Just what does God's Word say about tithing? This was rather a fascinating study for us and we discovered that tithing is an Old Testament Law that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ's victorious death and resurrection on the Cross. We studied every scripture we could find on NT Giving and found that in 14 1/2 years we were not fulfilling what the Apostles taught the early Believers about how to give and who to give to. So we revamped our giving to be in accordance with God's Word. I am posting the study, 'New Testament Giving', in several parts on AGMinistries.

6. Who is your Pastor?: Another intriguing question that we knew we had to have an answer for so we could understand what it is that God was asking us to do. We knew what God had called us to do, but how do we follow through with this if we don't have a Pastor? So we got into The Word again to see what He had to say about this. We know that in the NT, Paul explains the office of a Bishop and the Deacons. We found the verses that talks about the gifts God gives us in ministry as well. What we found is that the modern day pastors in most churches today are not what we find in scripture. The role that many church pastors have in the lives of God's people are not Biblical.

I'm not saying having a pastor isn't Biblical, I'm saying that the MODERN day PASTOR is not Biblical. God has shown us in His word how the Elders and Bishops behaved and lead the people. Some argue that the Elder and Bishop is the same person but we have not found that to be accurate in accordance with scripture. Hence our Pastor is the One and ONLY Great Shepherd of our souls, His name is Jesus Christ. HE is the ONE that God wants us to go to in our times of despair and burden. Our Heavenly Father wants us to seek counsel from Him alone. We have been given the Promise of The Holy Spirit, He is our Counselor.

We believe this is exactly how God had always intended it to be. There are men and women in our lives who TRULY care for us and are in faithful fellowship with us, that look for our spiritual well being. As a NT Believer we have the right to choose who our accountability is to. We do not have to keep our family under any leadership that is not genuine in their endeavors in our lives.

7. Who teaches you God's Word?: Well that is another fascinating question. We each have our very own copy of God's Word and my husband is a gifted teacher. Yet the most important teacher we have is The Holy Spirit. God's Word promises us that He will teach us all things.

1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Other than this we have fabulous brethren and sisters in the Lord who fellowship with us weekly and we all participate in thriving Bible Studies to learn together. This is NOT, however, a 'church'. We do NOT have a 501c3. God's people never did need one in order to meet together. Establishing a man made church was not commanded in the Scriptures. When a person trusts Christ as their Saviour they BECOME a member of the ONE True Church. It's the one that Jesus Christ himself established. We do not believe in more denominations being created. We feel this has confused far too many people and lead them away from what Jesus Christ established over 2,000 years ago.

Man can not 'start' a 'church', Jesus Christ already did this. Why should we attempt to copy that on our own? All man can do is imitate what Jesus Christ already did. We pesonally feel that getting involved in a copy of what Jesus already gave us would just mean that we have a copy. We want the original. :O)

Men call their buildings a 'church', but that term is not a Biblically correct term. At best their buildings and meeting places could be called worship centers or fellowship halls, but not 'church'. Yet we do enjoy gathering with other believers in their fellowship halls and worship centers for fellowship and worship. God gets the glory for that.

8. How do you win souls?: The same way Jesus did! Did Jesus Christ threaten people with Hell if they didn't choose Him? We are in the middle of a study about this very thing. Jesus Christ offered The Living Water, the Bread of Life, and forgiveness. He spoke about Grace to those who would listen.

Keep in mind however that a Christian is not judged by how many people THEY get to repeat the 'sinners prayer', but rather how we obey the Holy Spirit when he says "Tell that person about Jesus." If the person refuses to accept Him, it's not our fault. Our job is simply to tell them. If they listen, keep sharing. If they choose to trust in Christ, GOD alone gets the glory, not us. If they reject Him, walk away. Luke 9:5, "And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them."

1 Corinthians 3:5-9, "5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."

9. What if someone wants to get Baptized and who will Baptize them?: Our city is full of creeks and rivers. Isn't that how the early Believers got Baptized? My husband is an ordained Recovery Pastor, but I don't think that it really matters who Baptizes you. I haven't found anywhere in scripture that it is appointed to anyone in particular.

10. How do you observe the Lord's Supper?: Good question! We also started studying just what that is. At the upper room, the believers and Jesus were observing the Passover Feast. We began researching what breaking of bread really is and what it means to fellowship in the name of Christ. We actually 'break bread' together on Monday nights with any believer who would like to come. ;O)

There is a lot to understand about the difference between what Christ really did with the disciples that night and what 'churches' actually observe today. We look forward to observing a Biblical Passover feast, we have friends who were once Jewish, gloriously saved, and now teach others how to partake in that intimate observance of His Supper.

As we began this journey we wondered if there were others who lived this way and there ARE! You see, God knew what he was doing when He called us to this direction in ministry. He is also calling many others to do the same. This is a fabulous natural Church life that we believe God always intended for us to have. We are thankful that he has led us to live in His Grace, rather than by the traditions of man. There are millions of other believers who live this natural Church life and you can find them by the term 'Organic Church'.

Recommended Reading:

School of Christ by T. Austin Sparks

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola

Reimagining Church by Frank Viola

Beyond Radical by Gene Edwards

Blogs:

School of Christ, Debbie's Journey by Debbie Stidham

Bring on the Rain by Charlene

Frank Viola's Blog by Frank Viola

The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ by David D. Flowers




Also see:
My Recipes
My Homeschool Posts
My Homestead Posts

The HomeSpun Life

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5 kind words:

Martha June 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM  

Oh my, you managed to answer every question that I've pondered during the past few weeks. This experience is all new to me, I've been reading the Bible to validate this new perspective, and my eyes are finally opened! I feel like I can finally breathe :)

Thanks for explaining this to us!!

Clara Van Nattan June 11, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

Very interesting post - it is incredible to see fellow Christians going against the tide. Since I was a child I have wondered why churches are becoming so different from the Biblical example - it is refreshing to read of others being convicted likewise.

I've never believed in denominations either, I guess the only advantage is that having different schools of thought and belief under a "name" helps us to recognise what that group of people believes so we can easily discern who might be false teachers and have false doctrines without having to sit through a service with them. At one point we attended a church group that demanded we have a membership with them if we wanted to be 'anybody' amongst them. When we refused (because we are members of only one group - the body of Christ), they refused to allow us to take part in any ministry in that church group, and to not even be allowed to talk about Biblical things with younger people there! We left the group even though we had made some great friends there.

We have never believed in sending our children to Sunday school as their sole way to be taught spiritually - we always believed that we had the first responsibility to teach our children. They sit through services with us as a family rather than attending childrens' church, and we teach them from the Bible at home, and there raise them spiritually ourselves as God intended, and as you wrote. It's great to read of others believing likewise.

Regarding tithing, I have wondered for years where churches got that idea from? The Bible is very clear (in the New Testament) that we are to give from our hearts - in liberty to give as we are blessed - there is nothing in the Bible about bondage to money pledges! I totally appreciate what you wrote here about tithing!

I grew up going to services with a group of believers who did not believe in the modern trend regarding pastors. When you look around at the way so many churches make their pastor also their oracle, it is sickening - I enjoyed what you wrote about that also!

I'm interested to know what you believe about a woman's role in the church (body of Christ), and also what you believe about headcoverings for women, if you have time to write about those subjects?

Thank you for this interesting post! :)

Sisterlisa June 11, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

I will write about women in the church at AGMinistries soon.

As for head coverings, I had a very interesting talk with a friend who is a believer who used to be Jewish. She testified to me that our hair is our covering. Some believe the covering is mandatory for obedience to God. I personally don't wear one, although I am not against anyone who does. I think they are feminine and look nice on women, especially little girls. ;O)

I may look more in depth on that at a later date. I believe that the entire Bible points us to Christ and as such I am interested to see how a head covering could point to Him as well.

I am not an authority on the scriptures, but as God leads me to understand something I begin to apply it as He directs me.

Coming out of a major denomination, I can look back now and testify on how the modern pastoral role usurps Christ's authority in our lives. When a person knows God has spoken to them about His gift to them in how they may serve the Lord, and the pastor declines your gifting and refuses to allow you to use that gift, that is wrong. When people frequently go to the pastor for counseling, when they are not directed to look at Christ for that counseling, then he usurps the authority of Christ. When at any time a Member of the Lord's Body says "God spoke to me about a specific area of my life to follow Him in" and the pastor says "I don't think the Lord said that, You should not do that." then THAT is wrong. When a pastor disagrees with you moving to another ministry and tries to stop you from going that is wrong.

If your steps are toward Christ, the pastor is not in a Biblical place to thwart God's calling on your life.

We don't mind our kids attending Sunday School at the places we go to for ministry outreach. We feel it's a nice time for our children to fellowship with other kids their age. Yet I do not lean on that alone as their primary source of Biblical teaching. That is our role in their lives.

When we found out the tithe is NOT NT giving, we felt robbed.

Sisterlisa June 11, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

I'm glad to hear that Martha. This new journey is such an adventure! Like finding buried treasure!

Cassie or Cassandra June 11, 2009 at 8:56 PM  

this is all so wonderful I wish we had seen it sooner but I know that all things are in God's time and not our own!!!

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