Uh….we have a problem within Religion. What is it? It’s that most organized religious leaders confuse purpose with recognition. Whether we think it comes from God or from people, we are driven by recognition. And why wouldn’t we? We are all bombarded by the idea of success and we pin the “favor of God” to it when we achieve it. So we go out looking for something to do and when we achieve that goal, or good works, the first thing we do is demand recognition….all in the name of progress. In turn, we see our purpose as being satisfied. We want to be noticed for what we do, not realizing that giving sacrificially with no recognition is what Jesus spoke about. Instead, our left hand brags of our right hand. According to the dictionary, purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. This speaks to who we are. And who we are is to love. And love is other-centered and self-sacrificial….meaning that we see ourselves as second to others around us. Therefore, if we see our purpose, we will then see that we are not it…..but that we are to make others know that they are the purpose of God’s love and affection. We exist to love others in a relationship centered on God’s definition of love. On the contrary, when we seek recognition, we are using others for our own gain and that is not our purpose.
We are in interesting times here in Christianity. There are more and more people starting to wonder if what they have been doing on Sunday mornings (along with Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and youth nights) is really the point or pinnacle of their walk with God. The lack of relationship and community with others has stirred discontent among many. Along with several reasons, one aspect of why more people are starting to question the traditional organized church is they see that it is just like a worldly business. You know…CEO’s, board members, employees, salaries, retirement funds, vacation time, and so on. So the question is….should churches be run like business’s? I will tell you, that is the million dollar question because evangelicals will respond with….”how else is there to run a church?” Being so ingrained with the American Dream and pastorpreneurs that need to succeed because of “denominational seed money“, we can see why this is attractive. Not to mention that most people see prosperity as “favor” from God (of course the opposite is considered a curse), so whatever model, usually meaning a business, an organized church can use to look prosperous will usually be used to appear as “favor”. With most evangelicals these days being taught that building wealth brings financial peace then I can see why religious leaders want to run their organized churches as business’s and make a profit that can be used to expand the empire. But the real question is…”is this American approach to religion anywhere near the heart of the Father?” ……I would say no. Continue reading
One definition of the word Syndrome is, “A complex of symptoms indicating the existence of an undesirable condition or quality”. Along with that, the definition of Symptom is, “a sign of the existence of something, esp. of an undesirable situation”. So, a Syndrome is a bunch of Symptoms combined to make an undesirable condition. I have heard over and over again phrases like, “My Church does it like this”, or “My Church doesn’t do that”. Or, the big one, “If you want to really hear God’s Word, come to my Church”. These phrases are the symptoms of a great disease called the “My Church Syndrome”. It’s very dangerous, contagious and very much alive today with in the Evangelical world. What we are doing, and I recognize that a lot of times it is done with good intentions, is we are declaring and believing that God is more in tune at “My Church” than at another… or that God is more accessible at “My Church” than another… or that God is working in us at “My Church” more than another. This is dangerous to believe because it is the way the world thinks. However, we live with this syndrome every week, and we show these symptoms every day. It is divisive and contrary to the Kingdom of God.
Originally posted on Red Moon Rising - Hawaii:
The greatest heresy raging within the church is one of which most are unaware. This ignorance should not be a surprise; destructive heresies are prophesied to enter the church secretly: ”But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words” (2 Peter 2:1-3).
The technical name for the heresy is antinomianism. Antinomianism comes from the Greek word anomos, which means to be without or against the law. The word and its cognates are used twenty-five times in the New Testament. Antinomianism can be defined as selective or partial obedience. The Antinomian typically finds certain commands unpalatable or too difficult; those commands are ignored or explained away. Despite the selective obedience, the antinomian still professes allegiance to Jesus. They are convinced they are Jesus’ followers.
Near the close of Jesus’ longest sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a chilling prophecy that many who think they are His followers will be condemned because they are antinomians: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! [literally, antinomians]‘” (Matt. 7:21-23).
Excellent words from and excellent blog. Read this and reread this many times.
Originally posted on The Better Thing:
It’s been far too long since I sat down to write you. You’ve been in my thoughts very much and I’ve prayed for you often.
Well over two years ago I was inspired to encourage you through this blog with the idea that if I could tell you just one thing, what would it be? Well today it’s that there is so much more! More what? Would be a good question but we’ll answer that later. Here are some other questions to consider first: Do you have the feeling that there’s something lacking in your life? Do you feel less “spiritual” than many of those around you? Could God be more “real”, more present to you? Do you get pressure to religiously perform up to others expectations but when you do it’s rarely fulfilling? If you answered yes to any of these questions don’t be discouraged. God is inviting you to put all of that behind you.
Each of us spends far too much of our lives looking for love in all the wrong places. The more that we are looking for, the more that we know is out there for us, is God Himself. He truly is everything we need and He wants us to quit trying to manufacture a relationship with Him or maybe more importantly to quit manufacturing the appearance of a relationship with Him.
Check out this blog called Of Sheep and Shepherds about Jesus being the perfect Shepherd. We need to not look at any other man as our shepherd…only Jesus.