Separating TRUTH from FICTION.

What the Bible Really Says!

Who is JESUS?

Learning to Live like HIM.

Did CALVARY Matter?

Where would we be if He was as motivated as we are?

What does Worship Mean?

Love without limits.

How Do WE Treat Others?

For God so loved the world that He gave.. what do we do?

Feb 22, 2009

Do They Know I Am One Of Those?

While browsing the internet today, I came across a story on CNN about people who wear their faith on their sleeve. You can read it here for yourself.

It got me to thinking about my own life, and the lives of those around me.

There was a time when you could go the grocery store and pick out the Pentecostals or Apostolics. Not just because you saw them in church, but everyone knew who they were. We acted different, talked different, would walk away if someone started to tell a dirty joke. Our hair was different. People knew we didn't watch television or movies, and even though they thought we were wierd, they treated us with respect.

Even if we were not over the top witnessing, those around us knew what we believed, and had either visited themselves, or knew someone who did. They had heard the stories of how we did crazy stuff, shouted in church instead of sit there solomnly, and while it was scary it was a bit intriguing. We had them curious.

In church recently, I overheard a couple of pew-raised youth talking about the "awesome special effects" in the movie they just saw. When I go around town, I don't even always recognize those from my own church, because they don't look the same.

I have been told its the change in generation, but we have blended in with the crowd. We don't look different, except at church. I hope we still talk different, but I have my doubts. Our conversation should still be holy, but with television in most of our homes, video rentals (it doesn't appear so much like we are part of the world that way), how can everything that proceeds out of our mouth be something Jesus might say? It used to be popular to wear those WWJD bracelets, but now .. if it doesn't have some garish logo or something that looks grunge, our youth won't wear a shirt that says anything about Christ.

Our older generation for the most part seem complacent with things being as they are, because after all, 'we are praying about it.' Everybody prays, no one does anything.

I have a young friend who is a charismatic preachers daughter. You know the ones. They don't act like we do, they can't possibly have the same holy ghost, and well.. you know. Last fall, she was beaten and nearly raped by the son of preacher. She was missing for two days, and we worried she was dead somewhere. She walked home barefoot, with torn clothing, all battered and bruised, and no one stopped to help her. She walked more than 15 miles like that, and tried to rest on the street when she was too tired.

I talked to her and her sister the other day, and she has forgiven the guy who did it. Not only that, she became friends with him. My first reaction was how could you? Are you crazy? You know he has been abusive to you. But she told me, "that yes he grew up on a pew, but he doesn't know the Jesus I know. Maybe somehow, I can lead him to the truth."

Part of me thinks she is playing with fire, but part of me is ashamed of myself. I am not like that. When I hear what she went through, even I want to get a bat and send the guy straight to hell. But she has completely forgiven him. In her voice, you can hear she is christian. I wonder if my voice says the same thing?

But, I keep thinking to myself, do we still live the life we used to be laughed at for, or have we mutated into something that still looks the part, but only when its convenient. Do they still know we are different?

Just yesterday, someone who I had a lot of trust in, told me about things that have happened at National Youth Congress, and he was bragging about it. I am still in shock about it today. I honestly don't know if I would allow my daughter to go because of what he said to me.

The bible says "by their fruit, ye shall know them." On the CNN article, those men are abused, laughed at, criticized for their faith. Yes, they don't know God like we do, but can we still say the same about us? The bible also says we 'are a peculiar people.' Are we still?

Do they still know we are the ones to run to in a time of misery? Do they see Jesus in us? Are we still the shelter, the hospital, the cleansing station?

I haven't heard the songs that used to bellow out from our pews in years, about the blood, the cross, the sanctity of our worship. The other nite at the end of service, people were in the altar, and I felt the old standby song we used to sing, "Here I am Lord, Here I am." It used to be a call to worship and pour ourselves out before the Lord, but instead it was replaced with something with a beat, and no real submissive spirit to it. The worship lingered for a bit and was gone, and then off to the local eatery.

I feel sad tonight. When I look at the chaos the world, the financial ruin we are headed for, it truly feels like the end to me. We hear the stories of this one or that one takign their lives or the lives of their family, because they don't know how they are going to support them. Our government is taking over everything it seems, and those in real need are left without.
When it gets really bad, who will America's hurting turn to? Who are our children going to turn to? Will they even be able to tell there are some of us who still believe it like we used to? Will they be able to see the Christians who truly wear Jesus on their countenance?

I need to do better and let Jesus be on my sleeve.

Feb 15, 2009


Sleep has been fleeting lately; partly because I haven't felt well, partly because there are things that are disturbing me. My nights for the most part leave me with more questions than answers.

For many, I am sure the situation is very similar. There are decisions we have to make in our lives, and the thoughts we are bombarded with have grown astronomical in size. It seems impossible to go on, and yet, impossible to keep up the fight. My soul cried out in anguish in the middle of the night. The loneliness, the feeling of rejection, and the doubts that can enter our mind in the midst of the battle.

It seems there is something different in the air, and while I cannot place my finger on it, it troubles me deeply. I am sure could attribute it to my health, my family, or perhaps the changes that are about to take place in my personal life. But to me it seems like more than that. I find myself tonight questioning God.

Why does this or that happen? Why does it seem like some with little thought for God prosper while others whose main desire is to live for God and do his will, seem to be bashed around like driftwood in the sea?

I am bewildered at the precipice my life seems to be hanging on, and yet deep inside me I know I have to hang on for just a little while more. I do not understand why God doesn't come with a vengence. I do not understand why he lets the righteous suffer, while the unrighteous seem to get away with everything. It seems like the entire church world has gone cold in spirit, including us, and yet instead of banding together and praying as a body, we go our seperate ways standing alone in the midst of it all. It isn't supposed to be like this.

I know I am not alone in my feelings. I know many are struggling with the why me's, the please Lord's, and the hopelessness that seems to be abounding. We are told in our churches that we just need to pray, hang on, hope, or some other cliche, while in our hearts we are emotionally bleeding out. We don't want to continue going to church. We don't want to fellowship with each other. We don't want to try and help a brother or sister out. We have become shallow in our respect for each other, and it is filtering down to our children and their respect for us and God.

But, no one seems willing to step up an do anything about it. Everyone seems afraid they will get their hands dirty if they stoop to lift a brother. The bible says if the righteous scarcely be saved, wherewith shall the unrighteous. Yet, we have closed our hearts, our minds, and yes our wallets to the work of God.

And it seems God has walked away from us as well.

Tonight I remembered a song Sis. Mickey Mangun used to sing. I tried to find a copy of it online but was unable. But essentially a few lines say;

"Only the sound of the trumpet
keeps me from going home
If things had been left up to me
I'd have been gone a long time ago
I am ready to fly away,
oh so anxious for the rapture day,
everything is in order
my record is straight,
Can't anybody understand?
I just can't wait . . ."

I truly feel that way tonight. I do not want to be a part of this anymore. I want to go where I am welcomed with open arms. I want to know that when I am in the supermarket, that friendly christian faces smile when they see me. I want to hear my phone ring when I am missing service, or even when I am not to someone inviting me to have dinner at their house. I want to hear laughter and joy as we gather together in fellowship with those who believe the way we do. I want to come together in God's house in one accord and see the mighty masjesty of his anointing fall. It never seems to be that way though.

We go about our lives to preoccupied with where we have to be; what we have to get done; how we must succeed in our jobs, schools, lives, until there isn't room for anyone else to feel welcome.

And yet, some do not understand why I want to go home? I am tired of the lonely nights. I am tired of pouring myself out on the altar only to find just a few days later it wasn't enough for the trials I must face that day. I have been in this fellowship of believers for entirely too long to feel unwelcome. I am tired of politics rearing its ugly head in our ministries. I am tired of a little praise and worship being enough. And I am wondering if I feel this way, then what about the new convert? What about those struggling who have only been in church for a little while? What about those who have been longing for God, yet cannot find him?

We used to be the storehouse of mercy. We used to be known for friendship and fellowship, when fellowship wasn't about just going to Applebees after service. We used to be looked at as peculiar in our dress, mannerisms, and worship. I remember years ago a message being preached, and the speaker spoke of going with some of the saints door knocking. He knocked on an elderly lady's door to invite her to church, and her question to him was "Do you still preach it like you used to?"

Now we are more caught up in personality and programs. It is about whose (pastor) church we go to instead of where we worship. It is about hearing this one or that one preach and the excitement we feel when they come to where we are, when the bible says the gifts were poured out to all who believe. Are they the only ones who still have enough faith to see God move. Do we need to take another offering to support this or that cause, when we have people going to hell on the church pews?

I am certain some would think I am too critical, or that I have lost touch, or my burden isn't where it ought to be. But my heart is grieving for what we were. My mind is overwhelmed with the ground we have lost in our desire to do the right thing. It seems like we have lost our focus on what really matters, and yet you wonder why I do not want to be here anymore?
I have heard for almost fourteen years how no one really understands the trial, but that somehow I have to find faith to believe that this battle I am struggling with shall pass, or at the very least, when I see glory I will understand why I must endure. I have heard the accusations of lack of faith and even rebellion when my body was writhing in pain, and when my spirit was broken, if I questioned the situation I found myself in.

I know it is not about the trial. I know it is not significant in the greater scheme of things. I know that someday things will be better. However, I am also looking at the destruction of those I hold dear to my heart. I am seeing those who at one time were strong in faith, falling like flys who have been sprayed with a toxic fog. I am hearing the cries of backsliders in the night, and the calloused echo of 'if they really loved God' makes me want to hurl.

We have to find some way of getting back to where we need to be. I know that all the past was not good, but there were many ministries we did just a few years ago that worked. Now they are tossed aside as not in keeping with today's world. We have become focused on the technological aspects of church, more than the pure and undefiled worship of almighty God.

So I am asking God, why? How much longer should you tarry til we all are lost? How many more have to slip from the bounds of grace until there is no hope left and they go out into eternity lost without you? How much more shall we endure before you step in and say "enough?"

Can these bones live? Lord, only thou knowest. But please bring the wind again, or blow your trumpet, so we can go home.