The Lord woke me up early this morning and begin dealing with me about the lack of discernment in the Body of Christ and the great deal of cynicism for which there is no accountability. Who caused this? How did we get here and how do we get out? We have a lot of folks tired of church who don't go anymore, or folks who are tired and still in church as we know it. Most of them love God and want to be saved, but many are unhappy and often hurting from church. The old cliches of "maybe the problem is you" or "you only get out what you put in", and guilting and intimidating people into following or giving is not working and hasn't for some time. Folks are either burnt out or beat up, and leaders are fed up. The leaders seem to always blame the people and the people blame the leaders. No one wants to take responsibility or be held accountable for this, but everybody is playing the "blame game". The modern church has become a revolving door where new folks get saved and veterans leave. Is this prophecy being fulfilled or are we over spiritualizing it when the answer is much more practical? Maybe folks are tired of getting beat up over the pulpit, on phone calls, in meetings, in their pocket books and bank accounts, and being embarrassed when they start thinking differently or have legitimate questions that displease the leaders. A few of my writings may be liberating to some people but often reviled by leaders because it challenges our traditional positions and the structure of church as we know it. When people get tired they rebel; it's called a revolt or a revolution.
I don't have anyone that can shut me up or controls me like a dog on a leash, and that is probably the most annoying aspect of what I and others like me do in the eyes of those who oppose this line of reasoning. Sometimes I feel like a freed and educated slave who is sneaking onto plantations to teach other slaves how to read and empower them to gain their freedom from an oppressive system of religion. It is annoying to some because we've been taught a slave-god mentality that has convinced us of the concepts of "clergy vs. laity" and "absolute authority" based on titles and delusions of self grandeur. This has only created a division within the Body of believers and led to problems we are facing now. As leaders, true freedom for our followers is scary because it means we have to actually teach the Bible the way GOD wrote it and we can no longer dictate and control how folks live, or be served by them in the manner we were taught and have become accustomed to. Without this system of "serfdom" that we've inherited and continue to propagate our economy and mini kingdoms will have to truly rely on the LORD like we preach to the people. We like the system as it is and have no vision beyond it so we say it's YAH's doing, but have never really followed the Lord's blueprint and built according to His pattern. When I think about it like this I'm reminded that Yeshua the Christ was crucified by the religious establishment because he challenged these very things. Have we become the Pharisees and Sadducees of the current system who are so bent on protecting our place that we will crucify anyone who gets in our way no matter how anointed they are or who they are? I wonder.
I'm not hurting from church, angry at church, or against the Church and not even against what we accept as the modern day conventional church, but I believe it needs an overhaul before Christ returns or very few of us will go back with him. As Christ said in MARK 7:7; "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." We're trapped in tradition and lie to ourselves about being "cutting edge", because to leave the traditions we've created would take us to far out of our comfort zone. It would force us to do more than just go to church but actually "be the Church"; a living organism empowered by God Almighty with all parts treated equally. Pure religion as defined by the scriptures tends to the needs of people and doesn't feed the greed and prestige of the leaders. JAMES 1:27; "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Being "cutting edge" or innovative as many of us think we are is actually worldliness and ungodliness in most cases I've seen, and it misleads the masses by appealing to their carnality while driving them further away from the standard of holiness and the LORD. HEBREWS 12:14; "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord". The Gospel that Yeshua preached liberated people with good news, but the one many of us preach and are hearing is full of financial promises, false prophecies, and bondage. We too often sound more like politicians, motivational speakers, and rappers rather than gospel preachers.
I seriously doubt that what we are doing and have been calling church is the same thing Adonai Yeshua had in mind when he established the Church. I'm not really sure anymore but I know something isn't right and there has to be more to it than this; no more cliches please. The greatest opposition to change comes from leaders who want to keep the status quo. We love the attention and assumed privileges our titles and positions have brought us. Some have waited almost all their lives to get to their positions and feel offended that a group of us come along and say "NO MAS" (NO MORE). They invoke their titles with decrees, declarations, and even curses at those they deem foolish enough to challenge the system or question their authority. I ain't scared. I'm too tired and have had to heal from too much hurt to be worried or scared anymore of some puffed up preachers or their groupies. If they were "King Kong" or "Godzilla" I would feel the same way. I love the LORD; I really do, and I love the Church. I just wish those with the big titles they love reminding everybody of loved the people of God as much as they love themselves. The last I checked I think Christ said that loving others was tied for being the greatest of all commandments with loving YAH himself. Let's check... hmm... Oh there those pesky scriptures are:
MARK 12:28-31; "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Yep, that's the one. We teach it but we sure suck at doing it. I'm going to go pray about what I can do better on a personal level with intense self-examination, and also how to help improve things in the Church of the Living God. I got a lot of work to do on me if I'm going to help others, but working on me doesn't negate my right to discuss "US". WE are the Body of Christ and the citizens of the Kingdom of God TOGETHER. There is no me without you nor you without me in the true Church of Yeshua the Messiah. Ah, never mind me; these are just the private thoughts of a random dude expressed publicly that I probably should have kept to myself. Oh well, I'm just musing. ~ I.J. West
ISAIAH 6:5; "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."