As my relationship with the Lord grew more intimate and authentic. My longing for His presence also increased exponentially. A longing many times left unfulfilled on Sunday morning.
Increasingly, I was receiving less and less revelation from the messages. Many sermons were simply a rehashing of sermons I had heard many times. A growing dissatisfaction with Americanized Christianity was birthed.
After my husband went home to be with the Lord in October of 2004. I soon discovered that being single in a church culture where marriage is the norm is not easy. No wonder so many single people never go to church or abandon it.
But unlike my 20s when I abandoned God. I continued to passionately pursue Him. I often tell others that I am wildly in love with Jesus in spite of Christians and Christianity.
The Jesus I met that morning in June of 2000 had captured my heart. His love awakened my heart. Thawing the hardness that had been slowly growing over the years.
In November of 2012 I attended Fire on the Altar— 50 hours of continuous live worship. It was a life-changing event! To awaken in the middle of the night hearing songs of praise and to be in an environment with others whose only desire was to encounter God was heaven on earth.
Making much of what I experienced in church irrelevant and offensive.
- Christians exaggerated concept of self-importance and effectiveness.
- Building a man’s kingdom, not God’s.
- Refusing to deviate from the written in stone schedule.
- Ignoring the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Replacing Truth, the Gospel with self-help and humanistic teachings.
What we see today in the Americanized version of Christianity had its beginnings many years ago.
- Until sometime around 327 A.D., believers met in homes for church. It was a Roman emperor, not a body of believers who erected the first church building.
- With the emergence of full time professional clergy in the second century. The participation of lay— non-clergy people decreased. Ceremonial rituals became more prominent within the church service.
- The preaching of a sermon was integrated into church services sometime during the second century. It was an adaptation of the monologues that Greek speakers used to influence public opinion.
- Used by Greek professional speakers during public debates. The pulpit was introduced into church service in the mid-third century.
- Celebrating the Lord’s Supper was the primary component of early Christian worship. Before the late second century it was a communal meal surrounded by fellowship and festivities. Spiritual leaders were participants only.
So, within a span of less than four hundred years a major paradigm shift had occurred.
The Church was no longer a body of believers but a building.
Clergy, not the congregation heard from God.
An intimate relationship and worship of the Lord had been replaced with traditions and rituals.
Jesus did not come to earth to create a religion but to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins. Allowing us to stand in the presence of God no matter where or when.
It is relationship, not traditions or rituals that bring us into His presence.
I want to be the Church— the living organism— the vessel for the Kingdom of God. Which is far more important and transformational than simply attending a service.
I love Jesus. The Jesus who loved me into wholeness. I want others to know this Jesus, not the Jesus of religious, hypocritical people.
Although I have attended church services since November of 2012. In March of 2013 I officially stopped routinely attending Sunday morning service. A decision I have not regretted.
Be a VOICE in the deafening sound of sameness!