My wife and I watched a Christian movie the other day: “God’s Not Dead 3” – “A Light in the Darkness”. Another very good movie. I’ve enjoyed all 3 so far. But from my personal perspective, with the things God has spoke to me about and changes that have occurred, because of such new knowledge I’m now responsible for, I must say there was one thing that bugged me, and I see it so very pervasive in American Christianity. We talk big, but our actions don’t follow, and sometimes, perhaps even most times, our actions actually contradict the words we have so boldly spoken!
So what’s the deal? Do we not see we are actually sabotaging the very message we have worked so hard to send forth? Is the message of God or not? I just spent 3 weeks listening to 3 messages a Pastor preached to his Church. I was put onto these messages because a friend knew I was very into the subject of “The Early Church”, and his Pastor had just preached a message about getting back to the start, and did some teaching on the early church. So he let me know, and I began listening.
The Pastor began by saying there is a movement “out there” of people leaving the church because it is not “perfect enough”. It has problems, and these folks say they want to get back closer to the early church. Then he began explaining how Christianity is not a “Church building”. The people are the Church. He wanted to make sure his people were not hung up on the “building”, of which they have a very nice one, and plenty of debt with it.
He said the church is not perfect because it is a place for the sick to come. It’s like a spiritual hospital. This is true, but to that I say, just because the church takes care of sick people, that is not an excuse for the church to be sick! Are we giving them what they really need? In some cases yes, but in many, no.
Anyway, sounded like he opened a big subject, (which it is), the early church fathers, and I thought sure he was beginning a series. He preached very hard about revival and getting back to what the church “ecclesia” means. However, rather than continue this very vital message that most the church is ignorant concerning, he dropped the subject like a hot potato and followed it with two weeks of sermons about people “struggling” with their Christian faith! (Whaaat?) What kind of menu is this?
Not only that, but the one message he did preach, taught nothing new, had no real depth concerning the church Jesus started, and even taught that Constantine was a Christian! He made it sound like a Christian Roman Emperor heard the will of God and that is how we left home churches and moved into large buildings! He made it sound like there was no debate or concern, and it was the natural leading of God, and all was perfectly well! Nothing is further from the truth!
There was no educating his people of how Constantine lived as an unsaved man who should not have influenced the church, nor of any debate concerning these big changes after 300 years of small group ministries! His people walked out completely uneducated concerning getting back to the beginning, which was what he said in the beginning about his message.
(And my friend seemed unconcerned about this very misleading message. All he did was make excuses, and probably regretted making me aware. Evidently, like most people, this was not any serious problem to him. This is my perception of the conversation we had. What else can I surmise from his lack of concern? As far as I know, he still does not read the articles I write, in which if he were concerned, he could easily verify if I have a point, or not? Please let me know, friend, if you’re reading, so I know you’re taking anything I have said seriously enough to at least investigate?)
So as I anxiously awaited his next messages, I was greatly disappointed, because I cannot see that his actions in any way support what came out of his mouth that day. Except he put that personal slant to his message because he really does still want big building ministry. His church will not function without a big expensive building. He really is not interested in getting back to the “start”. That was a message of empty words, followed by two messages of struggling with your faith. No thanks. Not the kind of food my spirit is hungry for. But that’s just me. For all those who crave such spiritual food, there are plenty of places to find it. There is no lacking of these messages. This is not the spiritual food we are starving for, as if a famine in the land. But there is a famine!
So, as I was saying, my wife and I watched “God’s Not Dead 3”, and as you probably now realize if you have seen the movie, you know where I’m going. They did such a good job of revealing a serious problem. I mean, that Pastor was really stuck inside the box! He could not seem to envision how many ways true Christianity could invade that campus. It’s like water! If people are on fire for God, it cannot be stopped! It does not need a building! It targets hearts! It needs tables of fellowship! But he was stuck in the same thinking God seems to be shinning a spotlight on!
This seems to be the message of the hour! So many people are seeing it, saying it, preaching it, even making movies of it, but how many are actually DOING IT? I hear their words, but the words are instantly swept away by their actions! They do not mean what they say! Their living in a virtual reality! Nice words, great movie, but you fail to follow through! They ease their conscience with great words, and then go right back to the same stinking thinking! Do they think they have done their job? Do they think they have obeyed God? Do they think they have alerted their people, and been a good shepherd? Do as I say, not as I do?
In our last article we talked about the visitations of Christ in the garden, and how he came to his 3 disciples; Peter, James, and John. He expected them to pass on the words of his visitation, but they simply fell back to sleep. Are we doing any better? Perhaps we are passing on the word before we fall back to sleep.
After the great climax of the show, when the Preacher finally realizes how far off base he has gotten in his representation of the meek and lowly Christ, he makes a great speech to everyone about how Christianity is not a “building”, but almost the next thing you see, and the way the movie ends, the Preacher turns over the first spadeful of dirt to build the new building! Wow. I’m sorry. Like I said, I enjoy these shows, but does no one see how stuck we are in this box? We are so blind to it that we do not even see when we completely contradict the message we have worked so hard to preach! All that work “undone” in a moment! And Satan laughs the whole time, thinking how easy these people are.
I turned over several spadefuls of dirt this week, because my Teepee continues slowly growing, is debt free, and I try to match my actions to my words. I am now putting in a wall and door! The small group atmosphere in this place is awesome! Getting stronger every day! By next summer this spiritual get-away, this prayer garden, this school in the wilderness, should be ready. It has not been easy, but no matter how slow it has been, my actions are in harmony with my words. And maybe…just maybe….there will be a people who see the truth of that… and they will come hungry for food to make a soul strong in the Lord…so there is not so much spiritual struggle in God’s body. Is the body of Christ unhealthy? Is it sick? Why so much struggle? It ought not be so!
As I said before, just because the church helps sick people, is no excuse for the church to be sick! This Pastor accuses others of leaving the church because it is not perfect, but then spends the next two weeks preaching messages confirming the problem! Am I the only one who sees confusion here? God is not the author of confusion!
Yes, we RESIST the devil. We war against him! But we are strong in the Lord! Our faith is strong, not doubting and struggling! God has not given us a spirit of fear! Oddly enough, this place to build healthy souls has also made my body strong and healthy as I have dug in dirt, chopped wood, drank water from a deep fresh well, and built this Tipi. Everything seems to confirm and be in harmony. We are not confused in our simplicity. We do not function as a business, nor do we have the stress of such operations. I simply want to move with God, and stay under his shadow. Here’s a couple more pictures.
I’m afraid all the hard work wore Shadow out. Supervision is a tough job.