4 Questions to ask before joining a Church

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8

This post is a response to this article by the “The Gospel Coalition”:

Link:  4 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Church

1. Is this a Church where my family will be safe from sexual predators? Is this a Church where my family will be safe from deceptive pastors who will do anything to cover up evil in order to protect and preserve what they have worked so hard all their lives to build?

2. Is this a Church where I am convinced I will not be lied to by the endless false doctrines and traditions of American Churchianity?

3. Is this a Church where my family will experience truth and freedom and love, and not shame, bondage, lies, oppression, condemnation and shunning? (And disenfranchisement if we question anything or speak truth?) Is this a Church where the PASTORS have accountability and do not circle the wagons in “good old boy” fashion to protect their kingdoms (Churches/ministries) and reputations, fame and income, at all costs?

4. Is this a Church where I am allowed to use my gifts and serve Christ and the saints by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, as led and directed by God, without having my work and service nullified, shamed and disallowed by the Church Clergy hierarchy? Is this a Church where I am allowed to obey Christ above the Church leadership and not submit my service to Christ, my conscience and very soul to the “Clergy”?

Important final note: You and your family must understand that it is Christ who is your Lord, not the Institutional Church, not the “Clergy” (self-appointed pastors) and not the religion and hierarchy of Roman Catholic based Hierarchical Christendom. You must understand that you are accountable to Christ Jesus who leads you by His Spirit. You must understand that you are not under the authority of “local shepherds” you are under the authority of Christ. And understand that YOU, saint, also have authority in Christ not just the “Clergy” which is a man-made construct of the Roman Catholic Church, based in ancient paganism and religious Old Testament Judaism. You have authority; you are a priest of God, yes you. This wonderful truth is brought to you by the Kingdom of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Kingdom of God is within you.

You must understand this hierarchy, with men lording it over you, is not of Christ, that you are all brothers, equals in Christ and free in Him to love God and neighbor and serve according to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. You must all submit to one another, it is not about the lowly “laity” submitting to the higher ranking “Clergy”. You must understand that men requiring you to be under them in an authoritarian hierarchy of lordship over you, is sinful and not of Christ. Watch out for men who want you to submit to their “shepherding” (control and dominance and suppression) of you.

You must understand that it is being IN Christ that makes you part of the flock, not attendance at an institutional, man created, 501c3 Church business franchise. You must understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the real Shepherd and you all are the church (ekklesia, the called out assembly) and wherever you are, with other saints, there is the church, there is the people and flock of Jesus Christ. You may meet in a dirt floor shack, a coffee shop, an empty lot, at a kitchen table, on the street corner or in a prison cell. Christ is with you and in you (Christ in you hope of glory) and there you have the church, wherever YOU are, dear saint of God. Do not let the hireling “shepherds” lord it over you, shame you or stop you from being who you are in Christ.

Do not let them lie to you and deceive you. Do not let them shame you. Do not let them turn your joy of your first love (Jesus Christ) into a lifetime of oppressive bondage to serve them and maintain the existence of their man created, business marketing managed, flesh powered organizations. Do not let them turn your first love joy and Christ Life into a lifetime of serving, slaving for and financing a “Thing” to keep it going. (The man created Church System is a “Thing”, an “it”.)

Therefore friends, do not join a “Church”, join Jesus Christ and stay joined to Him. Listen not to Churchmen who are NOT focused on Jesus Christ, they are completely focused on The Institutional Church, especially THEIR CHURCH and making it “successful”. Jesus Christ is your Shepherd and you are in His flock. He will lead, guide and teach you. HE will care for you. Listen to Jesus Christ and continue in His word. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free. Peace in Christ, my beloved brothers and sisters.

lots of little churches

and to the church in your house… Philemon1:2

What Church do I go to? I don’t. I don’t “go to” the ones on the corner with wood, stones, mortar, steeples, pews, lobbys, offices, classrooms, donation envelopes, ATMs, liturgies, confession boxes, “prayer rooms”, membership contracts, State-incorporation, power-tripping Clergy, Spirit-squashing Church traditions, mics, stages, sound systems, lighting systems and elevated pulpits.

But I am a part of lots of little churches, and we are all united; one flock, with one Shepherd.

What do my lots of little churches look like? Where are they located? Who are the leaders? Is there a liturgy or order of service? Do we meet on Sundays?

I had dinner out with J.; we are a little church. My friend K. came over and we sat in the living room; we are a little church.
My daughter and I spent time together; we are a little church. My daughter’s girl friend spent the evening at our kitchen table.
We talked for hours; the 3 of us are a little church. I chat with my blogger friends online, we are a little church. I chat
with many friends via email; we are lots of little churches. One Facebook friend came thru my city on her way across the country and
she stopped by for tea; we were a church of 2 sisters. On Skype, i meet up sometimes with 2 or 3 friends, we are a little church. I talk on the phone to one
dear sister who lives in another state, we are a little church.

I find the followers of Jesus all the time out in public. We stand there on the sidewalk together, we are a little street church. Out in the parking lot
with a girlfriend, we are a little church in the sunshine. I send a letter in the mail…. the postman delivers “love one another” to my far away friend.

P. comes over for dinner, we eat, share, cry, read scripture and pray. We hang out in the backyard sitting in lawn chairs near the vegetable garden, just being together. We are a little church every time he comes over.

My FB friend sends me an encouraging email. We are a little church thru the miles.

My little churches, “gatherings” really, happen wherever I happen to be with another saint, and we are sharing time together, and sharing encouragement together. Jesus is with us. The leader is the Holy Spirit and there is no clergy, no order of service or liturgy, there is no “Hierarchy”, no power- trips, no committees, no board and definitely no “proper Church clothes”. There is no required day.

There are only a few of us at a time, with Jesus, together with one another. We are a little church in my house.  When we communicate with one another in any way, we are together and we are a little church. One body, one Spirit. Lots of little churches.

It’s Over

Guest post:

It’s Over

by Steve Dines

Behold, your house is left to you desolate! Matt.23:38

It’s over. The relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the group of people who are called “the church” is finished. And if my life is as prophetic as I have come to believe it to be then look out, because fire and death will come upon us suddenly.

Church by church, assembly by assembly, the Lord has been visiting those who say they belong to Him, and church by church, assembly by assembly, each has fallen short of His evaluation. We have failed to hear His voice, we have turned a deaf ear.

Some people try to tell me that there are some good churches out there, but I don’t believe it. To my mind, to my whole being, there is no such thing as a “good” church.

It is with our beloved churches that we, like Old Testament Israel, have defiled the land; we have brought to ruin our promised life in Christ.

That’s because our love for that “sacred cow” we call local church has replaced our love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have come to believe that being in church is the same as being in Christ, that listening to church leaders is the same as listening to Christ, but they are complete opposites.

The difference is something that is of vital importance to us, it is a matter of life or death.

I saw a news item on a popular “church” news TV program last night, a church out West in Canada had burned to the ground and was completely destroyed. The Pastor and the congregation were wondering what it was God was trying to tell them. Perhaps the message is plain enough, “the second death is by fire”.

I know I keep on banging on about it, but I can’t keep quiet. This is my message:

Wherever you see hierarchy, formal use of power and authority, routine or mechanistic ways of getting things done and a predominance of one-way communication, then this is not the Lord Jesus Christ at work but men.

It is the work of men that has defiled our Holy Land, our Canaan, our promised life in Christ. It is our human thinking and our human ways that have set Christ aside and caused us to turn a deaf ear to the voice of the Lord. For years He has been calling us to repentance, now the time has come where He is giving us over to what we want. And what we are going to get will eventually destroy us.

We are going to get a radiant, beautiful church that has power. You want a transformed church? You’ll have it. You want an influential church? You’ll have it. You want a church that will unite all “believers”? You’ll have it, and then some. But you won’t have Christ. Because it’s over. The Lord is not going to suffer our insults any longer.

Since coming to Canada, I have come to learn there are two areas of my life you can’t touch, my intelligence and my integrity.

Insult my intelligence or question my integrity and you will see a side of me that you won’t think is very Christ-like. Perhaps the Lord built me this way so that I have a better understanding of how He feels about our churches. Not that I am excusing my sin or my sinful nature, I am having to face up to the fact that I need the life of Christ more than anyone.

But we have to face up to the fact that with our churches we insult the Lord’s intelligence and question His integrity. How? By organising and planning, by directing and controlling, by “leading” the people who are called by His Name. The Lord is quite capable of doing that without our help.

Is not putting ourselves in the place of Christ the work of anti-Christ?

Stay in church long enough and you will get the turnaround you have been asking, seeking and knocking for. But be warned, destruction will follow and you won’t see it coming. That’s because the Lord is testing your ability to hear Him now.

Look through scripture and tell me when there was an occasion where the Lord did something without announcing it well in advance first? Tell me when the Lord allowed people to continually turn a deaf ear to His warnings of destruction without eventually hardening their hearts such that they could not escape His judgement?

Church has brought us to the point of delusion. The time to leave church is now before it is too late.

Since writing “Too dark to work” I’ve been deeply troubled. The Lord speaks, we should listen and respond (willingly cooperate) accordingly. Failure to do so puts us in great danger. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” because those that do harden their hearts will perish.

God is not speaking to His people today through Pastors or Evangelists or so called Apostles or Prophets. He is speaking with His people directly. This is how He is sorting out the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats and the live branches from the dead ones.

Those of us speaking out about what we believe act as a means of ministering to the saints. We speak to encourage those who are hearing the Lord for themselves…………..

>>Finish reading the article here!

Steve Dines articles here.

Podcast Audio of Steve Dines speaking more on this topic of “It’s Over”.

Waking and Watching

What are you watching? I’m watching the Church. It’s far more interesting and and I believe, more significant than what is happening in “the world”. One can’t even keep up with it all anymore. The flood of apostasy is overwhelming. Here’s a recent news item:

In response to public outcry over the Ground Zero Mosque and other mosque projects in the United States, the Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League has formed the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques. The panel’s self-described purpose is to support Muslim’s right to build mosques around the United States.

The group includes clergy from all faith traditions and one of group members is the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Executive Director Richard Land.

Land says the purpose for the ADL’s Coalition on Mosques is clear.

“To help support the First Amendment for all Americans—we have the right to the free exercise of our faith without the interference of the government. For over a hundred years, the Supreme Court has ruled that’s not just the federal government, it’s all government,” Land stated.

“We agree with that as Baptists. We believe that people have the freedom to worship and to express their faith and to have houses of worship in the places where they live,” Land added.

Article link here: http://www.centrepointnews.com/?p=8942

I’m trusting you see the point: Land, who is is the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the public policy entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, is on an Interfaith Panel. Interfaith panels exist so that people from different religions can dialogue (Diaprax) until they come to a unified group consensus on a matter. Compromise of Truth (denying Christ and His Word) is required to do this. Denying Biblical Truth for the “common good” in society is the planned end result of the Interfaith panels.

Another interesting situation is the fact that the SBC’s ERLC is a UN-NGO. According to UN Resolution 1996/31, the NGO must support the principles of the UN Charter. The NGO must support the activities, initiatives and programs of the UN. The UN is an antichrist organization with the goals of destroying the Christian faith and setting up a global interfaith religion. Read the Millennium Goals of the UN. UN-NGO’s must be in agreement with the UN agenda. Are you surprised to find Evangelical Church Denominations with UN-NGO status?

Land is also apparently a member of the CFR, as is Rick Warren. Land is a member of their Religious Advisory Committee. Here is an interesting talk Land gave at the CFR. Here is Land giving an open forum Q & A discussion at CFR on “U.S. Foreign Policy and the New Evangelical Agenda”. We cannot watch unless we are awake. Brothers and sisters, are you waking up yet?

Related article: Gospel-less Haiti Relief, which discusses the statements of Richard Stearns, President of the UN-NGO organization, “World Vision” . Stearns is also on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a government Interfaith discussion group.

Government to Enlist Churches via “Partnership”

What does the Government (and Rick Warren and the UN) have planned for the Institutional Church? Social and economic Communitarianism through Church-State partnerships. According to the research I have previously done on “Faith Based Initiatives”, participating churches are NOT allowed to preach Jesus or in any way evangelize, when “in partnership” with the Government and receiving government money for carrying out government programs and goals.

We, the called out ones, are married to Christ, not to the antichrist Beast Government which has an agenda that is of the world system and of the kingdom of darkness. We are part of the Kingdom NOT of this world. We heed the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, not the earthly “powers that be” that are against Christ and His Gospel. We cannot have two Masters; Jesus and the Government. We must choose Whom we will serve. God or mammon. Christ or Belial.

News article from the Weekly Standard: (emphasis mine)

The Green Shepherd

BY Meghan Clyne