On the Outside Looking In?

Friday, September 20, 2013

by Pat Holloran

Are you standing on the outside away from what’s inside the church? 

One of the aspects that I encounter more and more in my travels is the amount of people who approach me to say, “I’ve quit going to church.”

The problem is that it is becoming such a frequent statement by blood bought people that I have to ask them, “Why?”

I don’t always believe statistics that are sent to me from people, but one that I have been able to confirm is that research is showing that 83% of all American adults consider themselves to be “Christian’s”, but not surprisingly the majority of them are “unchurched”.

Again the question arises; “Why?”

According to those who organize these surveys, the reason that many people who call themselves Christian avoid church is because of the pain, the wounds, and the shame that they have received within the church/the brethren/the ministry. 

Has that been what you experienced?  Is that why you are staying away from the organized fellowships, the church gathering places on weekends?  Is this why you avoid direct contact with “God’s people”?

I can understand your feelings for sure.  Having been a pastor for many years, I have discovered that some of the cruelest people on this earth are in our churches.  I was never able to comprehend the amount of betrayals, gossip, ungodly fault-finding, even manipulations that can be inflicted on one another by “church members.”

One thing that I found out from all of those who are standing away from the church right now is that these people are not trying to get away from God, Jesus Christ, or the Spirit of God; but in truth they are wanting to avoid the people who behave in such an ungodly manner in these places.

And in truth, Jesus Christ our King knows all too well what these people are going through.  It has always surprised me in the past, and even today, of how some of the most vicious people, those with questionable character and integrity, some with violent tendencies, and an attitude of quick to accuse, come from the very people who say they are God’s children.  But you know, this is what happened to Jesus when he was brought before the Priests of the temple and Pontius Pilate.  I find it interesting that the ones who did the accusing, who gave false testimony in order to have their way, and those who sought to destroy Jesus were in fact, not the Romans, but the Hebrew people.  As the bible tells us, “He was wounded, bruised, and whipped (scourged)” by the people who were considered by others to be the children of God.  That’s right! Abraham’s descendants, the ones that God Himself had given the blessing of stewarding their country and walking in deep intimacy with Him, were the very ones who could not accept (for the most part) God’s Son as a Redeemer and a King for eternity.  And of course we know that the betrayal that Jesus Christ suffered from one of His own associates lets us know today that the Lord Himself understands why many people would reject being in an institution of Church.

I believe that one reason why so many people who have elected to stay away from Church have not lost their belief/faith principles is because they know that Jesus Christ understands what they are going through.  And that is the enigma that we face today.  While many people know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the only way to come to God the Father, and that his death and resurrection have opened a door that all mankind is allowed to go through when they commit to Jesus Christ, these very same people have a difficult time “hanging” with those who are calling themselves “Christians.” 

In over 20 years of pastoring with my wife, I have discovered that almost 100% of those who attack the saints in the name of Jesus Christ are actually pretenders, and not only wicked in their thinking, but they themselves are full of sin.  Yes, full of sin.  How else can you explain the lack of the fear of the Lord, the lack of obeying the command to “love one another,” and the acts of conspiring that I have personally witnessed when there is division in the brethren. 

Try as we may to avoid confrontation in the church, we are gong to see that it will continue as long as there is selfish ambitions and motivations in some of those who attend church.  I am sorry to have to say this will continue, but it is only for a short time more.  I believe that there is coming a massive move of reformation that will bring about repentance, reconciliation, and old wounds being closed and the doors of the past sealed shut by the Lord in order to have His people move into knowing the Kingdom of heaven on this earth and to also become part of a strong foundation for it to happen. 

You see, perhaps the greatest gift that people of God can have is to be led by God’s Spirit in all truth, and to also become so strong in their knowledge that what they have in a personal relationship with the King of all kings - is that it is valuable, intimate, and that He is always there for us.  That knowledge will never remove the gift of being with Him and recognizing that it is a permanent relationship, an eternal covenant!

And it is because of this that I know (even in my own life over the years) the people who currently are on the outside of the church walls will come to a determination to continue to live out what they believe and that belief will bring them back once again into fellowship, contact, and relationship with others who are like minded.

And watch as they will all start to join together in order to get more understanding of living with the King, and trying to know more of His word and His teachings than ever before.  And you and I will see the light of the Lord come into these times of seeking understanding, as well a new freedom that will not permit the love of the Lord to be cast to the side.

So to everyone, let your focus come back to God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost, and away from looking at those who think they are God’s choice.  As we used to say when I was growing up, “the proof is in the pudding.”  That means the thing you and I are to look for is fruit of a person’s life.  And to be truthful, if we look at the fruit in our life as well, we will discover if we truly are of God, or of ourselves. 

To everyone that is inside and outside the four walls, let’s start to try God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost again and see if we can find an answer to remove the old curse that is spoken of “we shoot our own.”

God is on the throne, and His Son has commanded us to love one another.  I would submit to you today, that if you cannot love (not like – but love) the blood bought, blood covered saints of God, then you may not even be born again.  Whoa!

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