Just a few weeks ago I visited a church organization with my mother one Sunday morning (a rare occurrence for me these days). In case you’re curious, my mother doesn’t quite hold the same conviction about church world that I do. She sees glimpses of what I have expressed to her and she listens to my heart and often nods in approval concerning the things I’ve shared from my personal experiences, but church remains an important activity she enjoys participating in (and it’s often been important to her to experience it along with family). Recently, mom relocated from her home across the miles to move in with my wife and myself due to some health issues. You can imagine the challenge here as we are not “church-going folks” these days and here we are with mom who is and she wants to find a place to attend and we’re just not in that mode or mindset at all. I’ve suddenly found myself in a position where I’m taking my mom to church because this is important to her, though I (quite honestly) detest it myself. I share this because I know many of you have found yourselves in similar predicaments and I want you to know that I understand and I hope I can encourage you with something today.
I know the feeling of thinking that if you happen to sit in a pew after which the Lord has opened your understanding about the errors of churchianity, that there might be a concern that you’re somehow endorsing it and compromising by being there. If any of you are anything like me, it’s no longer an enjoyable environment for you, but there may be times when (for whatever reason) you find yourself back in that environment and it’s unsettling. Perhaps some of you have felt a conviction that churchianity is full of error and you’ve wanted to distance yourself from it, but (in the honesty of your heart) you still enjoy and crave the experience of fellowship with other believers, or singing the songs, and sometimes just being in an environment that (for the most part) seems to at least intend to encourage people to seek the Lord and you’re a little torn by these contrasting feelings about involvement with it. You’re not alone. Lots of folks have struggled with these same concerns, including myself over the years. These days the kinds of things I struggle with concerning it have transitioned a bit (quite a bit actually), but I still relate to the many letters I’ve received about this because I really have walked through this as well and my heart goes out to those who are working through this.
The whole thing reminds me a bit of the movie the Matrix; and the thought of the “Matrix” as being “church world”. Those of you who have seen the movie might know what I’m talking about. Church world (“the Matrix”) isn’t real Christianity, but for those still inside it, they don’t seem to know otherwise. Yet some are awaking and others will find themselves “plugging” back into it from time to time (though they are no longer a part of it). It can pose a real mind trip for some of us.
by Devon Leesley
In my christian experience of many years, you have to look long and hard to find another believer you can really connect with in the Spirit. Even with those who have escaped Christendom, many of them still hold to pride and jealousy, even as in the church system they escaped. Thinking they have improved on their walk with Christ by leaving organized religion, they have taken on a new form of arrogance; that of seeing all things “church” as being hopelessly inundated by paganism… and rightly so, but their sin of pride is disgusting.
I’ve tried connecting with certain brothers on the matter of all the falsehoods only to be snubbed and rejected still. Sounds off topic but I don’t think so. It all goes back to the same old sin… the pride of life. Esteeming oneself above others. I believe in order to be part of the “remnant”, truth and true humility must go hand in hand. So easy to gain an insight and miss the ooze of self importance seeping in to your spirit.
What a battle! God has ways of keeping us small. That should be a constant prayer… if you want to belong to that remnant.
Jesus was called a friend of sinners because; He was! It was not meant as a compliment but as a slur. Who would say such a thing? The religious folks of His day.
Hello to all my family in Jesus out there… I want to thank all of you for visiting the website and, more than that, thanks for the letters of encouragement and the prayers. Thank you for letting me know that God has touched you in some way through the articles we’ve put up here and the heart to give freely what the Lord has given to us.
One of my desires has always been that God would use this website as a testimony to those still overwhelmed by traditional religious mindsets that it really is possible to share the testimony of Christ and His truth without charge. I have so often heard professional pastors say that they couldn’t continue serving the Lord in the capacity they do without receiving a full-time paycheck and collecting donations besides so they can carry out “the world of the Lord.” That’s when I have the privilege of telling them about a certain website that has reached hundreds of thousands of people, blessing them with free articles, ebooks, and resources all without ever asking any of them for a donation or charging a fee, and the website author works a full-time job and has a family besides. It’s true I take great joy in being able to show even this one small example of how it really doesn’t take a mega church with millions of dollars in expenses and a professional pastor who begs for money from the pulpit each week and sends out newsletters each month with donation envelopes asking for “love gifts” so that they can effectively share God’s message with people and see folks receive a genuine touch from God wherever they may be. I absolutely LOVE proving that religious stereotype wrong.
Over the years I have received so many emails from people, sharing how God has set them free. I’ve also received letters from pastors that were encouraged by something they read on the site and actually sought to allow the Lord to transform their heart and mind and then put that into practice – no matter the cost to them personally or to the churches they are involved with! That encourages me greatly. I’ve seen at least two church organizations completely drop the false doctrine of tithing and many others, even those who are still involved in institutional religious organizations, open up their hearts to allow the Lord to set them free in their thinking and infuse their lives with the joy of the Lord and a new conviction to turn their hearts fully to Him and yield to His process of transformation in their lives.
I am sincerely humbled and amazed as I watch God work so incredibly through willing vessels who just simply yield to Jesus. I’m telling you, all the religious programming in the world cannot mimic or produce what God accomplishes divinely by the power of His Holy Spirit.
That’s my friends Johnny and Lynne Johnson in the picture to the right there… More about them in just a moment…
It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to post anything. There’s been a lot going on in my household over the past few months. First, my wife and I bought our very first home! What an experience! While it has been fun, it has also been a little stressful but God has been so good through it all. Then, this last week, my wife and I have been incredibly ill with some kind of flu bug. This was no ordinary flu either. We have literally been bed-ridden for a week! No energy to even sit up in the living room and do something so mundane as watch TV. We’ve just been in bed the whole time. With God’s help though, I think we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel here. Today is the first day I’ve felt a little strength coming back. Thank God for that!
I know everyone really gets on this New Year’s resolution stuff and “God’s given us another year” and all that (and I’m not meaning to necessarily downplay those good notions) but sometimes, often times in fact, I am thankful for just another day! Who really knows whether God has given any of us another year… We’ve barely started it yet. Every day the Lord puts breath in my lungs and gives me the means to take care of the things I need to take care and that includes my wife, job, and other responsibilities (as well as the joyful things like this website and contact with friends and family and my awesome little puppy), I am just so thankful to Him for that. Every day is cause for praise. Every breath is cause for joy! This is something I have really been thinking of while lying sick in bed this week. I had to get up today to get to the grocery store for some food but every time I’ve tried I would get dizzy and almost collapse. Finally, after praying for about 20 minutes (sitting on the edge of the bed because I couldn’t even stand up) and asking God for His strength in the midst of my weakness, I was able to get to the store and get home successfully. I really credit that small task to His strength because I’ll tell ya, I did not have it in me. I can’t remember ever being this ill any time in recent years. It has been a miserable week in terms of not feeling good, and I am also reminded that there are others who are in worse shape than us and needs God’s strength and love to continue on as well. May be we be more mindful of others as each new day passes and may we be quick to respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He calls us to act.
Most all of you who visit this site know that I make a pretty big deal out of “Truth for FREE” (emphasis on the FREE part). It gives me great joy to never have to ask for money or even donations for myself or for any aspect of this website, and that’s still the case today. But I am going to share a need related to some close friends of mine, Johnny and Lynne Johnson, who are going through a very difficult time financially right now. Johnny and Lynne are free believers like us and in need of some love and support from the Body of Christ. Rather that repeat everything I’ve already written for their donation page at Pledgie.com, I’ll just invite you to read it at your leisure and pray about whether or not the Lord might have you share something. I know they have been praying for an answer from the Lord for help and trusting Him and this was an idea I came up with, just before Christmas. My friends did not ask me to do this and have not asked anyone for money in this time of need. I originally posted this on my Facebook page as well and a few people have already responded and they have already been able to cover a couple of immediate bills that they had nothing to pay with.
If God has blessed you with anything on this site and if you have a little extra you can part with, I do not ask for it for myself and certainly do not intend to offer any guilt trip to do so, but please consider blessing someone else today that is in need… even if it’s not my friends… Whomever the Lord may put on your heart, I encourage you to follow through in the grace of God and share God’s love in a meaningful way.
Thank you!!! Well, I’m still not 100% back to health yet, so I’m going to return to my pillow. God bless you guys!!!
In His Grip,
by David Y.
How frequently have we all heard this question (“where do you go to church”) asked? Unfortunately, for many (in church world) the question tends to be a sort of “qualifier” that will determine whether or not we (who are not longer part of that environment) are allowed to enjoy continued fellowship with them. Those of you who have found yourself outside the traditional four walls of church world know what I’m talking about.
I remember an occasion a few years back where I walked into the local Bible bookstore and ran into an old friend. We started talking about life and about what the Lord had been doing in our lives. It was actually a great conversation… Until another friend from my church days walked up, surprised to see me, and said, “Hi Dave! Good to see you! Where are you going to church these days?” I didn’t have a clever answer, just an honest one. “I don’t go to church anymore,” I said… For a moment, no one said a word. The once joyful environment of fellow saints sharing conversation about the goodness of Jesus in their lives changed to an awkward silence. The person who asked me the question just said, “Oh.” After a few more seconds of awkward silence and nervous smiles, the conversation changed from talk about Jesus to everyone wrapping things up because they had to get going. I was left standing there in total amazement how one simple question could utterly destroy fellowship!
by David Y.
Several years ago I was with a close friend of mine, traveling up north to Victoria B.C. (Canada). We were headed up to see the late, great Christian rock and roller (and religious rebel), Larry Norman. At the time I didn’t have the most reliable car (especially to put it to the test on an 8+ hour road trip), but we hopped in, asked for God’s blessing on our trip, and headed out. (By-the-way, that’s not really us in the picture – hahaha)…
About 60 miles out of town, a loud grinding and scraping sound started in and I felt the tire vibrating. We pulled off the highway and into an auto shop. After the mechanic looked it over, he said, “This is bad news boys… You got a bearing out, amongst other serious problems. I wouldn’t drive this another mile and you’re lookin’ at about a $400 bill at least to have me fix it.” Like a dummy I asked, “Do you think it will hold out until we get to Canada and back?” He laughed and said, “You’re lucky you even got this far!” I didn’t know what to do. We had our hearts set on the trip and I had no money to get the car fixed.
My buddy said, “Let’s just ask the Lord to fix the car and we’ll go from there.” Now, while my faith (which wasn’t really as strong as I’d like to pretend) told me “God can do anything,” my brain said, maybe we should just take it slow and head back home. This was my only car and, though I wanted to go to Canada to see Larry, I knew I couldn’t afford any more problems right now… My friend said, “Well Dave, you know that sometimes there’s a fine line between faith and stupidity… What do you feel the Lord is telling you?” In my heart of hearts I really felt like there was something important about this trip and that we needed to go. So we prayed…
Site recommendation by David Y.
Hi all! I wanted to recommend a very cool blog site that was shared with me recently called “BELIEVE”. The woman who created the page, Mercedes, has some wonderful insights and encouraging material that she shares from the heart. Below is a link to the first post I read on her site about Spirit-led outreach, unfettered by organized religion. The post was just awesome and really encouraged me! I’m sure it will encourage many of you as well. Check it out! The link is just below…