I woke up this morning with these thoughts.
A bit of history behind this:
The main thing that has changed since I deconstructed a lot of my beliefs has been my view of God’s attributes.
When I still went to church what is it that we did there?
1) We corporately sang songs as worship to God which generally made us feel good.
2) We put some money into a basket that was passed around. (To keep the Church running)
3) We then listened to a sermon by someone who was trained to do this.
4) We prayed for each other.
5) We had refreshments together after the sermon and then went home.
Some more background:
Jesus taught people about the Kingdom of God and how that kingdom works.
He called people to follow him and start doing what he taught. He even sent a whole lot of his followers out to do the same. At the sermon on the mount, he taught specific actions that we should do. these activities lined up with God’s attributes. He concluded that we should, therefore ‘Be Perfect like our Father in heaven is Perfect’. The typical response is “We can’t be perfect. Only God is perfect”. However, when we truly love someone, that is a perfect action. When we give someone who is thirsty something to drink that is a perfect action. When we give someone who is cold something warm to wear that is a perfect action.
Most sermons in the church teach us not to sin and if we do we must confess our sin so that God can forgive us. They don’t tell us how to not sin, but they are very sin focused. They focus on doing actions that will prevent God from punishing us. We need His forgiveness even though it is stated very clearly that God does not keep account of our sin.
Now, this was my waking thought this morning:
If we do the things that Jesus taught by following His example then we would start taking on His attributes. Remember that He is the exact representation of God the father.
When we practice doing these acts of love it becomes part of our nature which is like God’s nature. Thereby sin becomes less relevant to us and it loses its power over us. Jesus’ example is radical in that even when people despised and hated Him in the most extreme way by killing him He still forgave them. There was no retaliation at all. Actually, His retaliation was “peace be with you”. Oh, how wonderful God is. Absolutely blows my mind.
Now some people will say that by not going to church I’m not accountable to anyone. I am accountable to whom I follow and who is that? It could be a religious leader like my Pastor or it could be myself or it could be a book or some or other impressive character that I like. Jesus is my choice as He is the most impressive character I know of. How do we do this? By doing what he taught. When we do what he taught he will talk to us and prompt us and lead us because we are following Him.
Anyway, what a glorious day it is. Bon voyage.
Why do churches (gathering of believers) need to have a pastor when the One they believe in said that He (Jesus Christ) is the head of the church and they (the gathering or church) are his body. Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’. ie the gathering of believers hears.
So the church hears Jesus’ voice but the church has to listen to the Pastor each work give his/her lecture or teaching.
Why not listen to what Jesus is saying to His body directly by letting the body share. Surely that should be the major activity of the church when they gather and not only 10% of the time. The pastor gets 40% of the time. Worship and other activities get the balance of 50%. These percentages are just an example. Your church may have a different ratio.
It looks like in reality that the pastor is the head of the body. Take the pastor away and most churches can’t operate anymore. The main activity will be to find a new pastor to lead the church. Eish!! something is wrong.
Jesus did not say ‘When you gather together listen to the leader interpret the Bible’ .
The apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians 1:14 that when you meet each one should bring something to the meeting in the form of words, teaching, song etc.
I believe that pastors stop the flow of God in the gatherings by being the dominant speaker. Why do we meet? To hear from God to be equipped to do His work till we meet again where we can share again. Then the fruit will flow.
People today are anti-religious but deeply spiritual. 21st century culture is filled with people asking for direction, some with feet on the ground, others stuck in the mud, still others with heads in the clouds—but all scouring the horizon for hope, wonder, genuineness, and a way out of their mazes of aimless living.
If I say “I’m a Christian” to these people, many of them will flee for their lives. If I say “I’m a disciple or follower of Jesus,” they are prepared to hear more.
Why is this?
Most people have heard some of the following :
Jesus is the light
Jesus does not condem the world
Jesus came to save.
And much much more…
Who in the world has bad things to say about Jesus?
I don’t know of any. Do you?
I, who profess to love Jesus, should naturally be moving towards the same things he did.
Do I notice the person on the side of the road?
Do I engage with the beggar?
Do I help the poor by acknowledging them, engaging with them, looking into their eyes, actively loving them?
Do I go to dark places to shine the light?
The best way to know love, is for me to do the loving.
I have lots to think about today.
PS. Some of this content and ideas comes from AquaChurch by Leonard Sweet
I suppose this seems a very generalized question and the answer could be very complex and long winded.
Some of the thoughts I have here are from some writings I read somewhere on the web:
Modern Christianity has often reduced the Gospel to a question that never appears in the Bible.
The question goes something like this:
“If you died today, do you know that you would be in Heaven tomorrow?”
If we are really going to be true to the Gospel that’s described in the Bible we would have a more kingdom approach to the question.
The question goes something like this:
“If you knew you would be alive tomorrow, who would you follow and how would you live your life?”
The true gospel involves a daily process of taking up our cross and following Jesus. It is a gospel for life, not just for the day we die.
(Remember when Jesus carried His cross He was on the way to be crucified).
Maybe many of us and I know I’m included here have wasted many years on our walk with Jesus focused on the wrong stuff. Jesus has been too much “Savior” and too little “Lord“
A question Jesus often asked people as recorded in the Bible was something like:
“What do you want me to do?” or “What do you want from me?”
Think about this for a while. It is not an easy question and may reveal our true hearts to ourselves.
- If I answer: “Show yourself clearly to me” He will probably say: “I’ve done that already”
- If I answer: “Give me a pure heart” He will probably say: ” I’d love to but you won’t let me”
- If I answer: “Give me wisdom or understanding” He may say “Follow me”
Now that is another huge question. How do I go about following Jesus?
I Know he is alive. I know he talks to me. I know his teachings are recorded in the Bible. Here lies a huge problem. Many Theological fundis are saying all sorts of things that we need to do. Pastors and books are saying do this, do that. The seven steps to freedom is Blah Blah blah… and they give me a list of things that burden me so much that I could finally get so disillusioned that I want to give up.
Statements like “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” from Matt 5v48 are very confusing. What do we do with that. Wha wha sob sob. I can’t do that. My heart and mind is too messed up.
Oh Hang on a bit: I recall somewhere that Jesus died on a cross and paid for my sins. Maybe if I give him my imperfection he will make it perfect for me and present it to our heavenly father as my representative. We will talk about this later in another post.
What about one of my favorite Scriptures recorded in the Letter to the Galatians church. Chapter 5 v 1 says ” It is for freedom that Christ set me free….”
Did Jesus not say in Matt 11 v29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. v30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I know I need to follow Jesus and want the above to be true. I want to explore more how to do this.
Help me Lord Jesus….
1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
Love never fails.
The Result of Practicing Love
The fruit of the Spirit is
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
To Maintain it
Finally… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy
think about such things.
How do we do all this?
Worship God and Enjoy Him forever