God & Church are Not Synonymous: Pt 1

I think it’s taken me near 10 years to realize, that despite the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, most people assume church and God are synonymous. They are not.  They never have been.

It took going back through the memories of being inside the church system to realize I believed it once. It was never spoken out right, but it has always been implied.

When I started weaning away from the church system my brothers had really critical things to say to me over the smallest detail. Stupid things that have stuck with me like thorns under the skin since that time. But I think I get it now. I think they saw the way I acted at or towards church was synonymous in their mind to how I was acting or respecting (or lack of {in their mind}) towards God. Not even that  it was connected, but it was a directly linked together in a full embodiment. If I didn’t mark the sign-in sheet correctly I was mocking God, not the sign-in sheets.

I never realized that this side of Protestant Reformation that there was still such a direct correlation in the minds of the masses of church goers. I mean I know that’s how masses of pastor think. I know the people are trained to associate the two. However, I just didn’t realize how much that is the reality within the church system.

There has long been this thought that if someone leaves their local church building and gathering times, that they’ve walked out on God. For many this does happen, because there is no separation between them.

I can’t emphasize enough that God and church are not synonymous.

Sometimes it takes looking at history to realize, that something that holds a scared title isn’t always what it seems. For me, the most simplistic words that really spelled this out for me was when Jesus said: “If you were Abraham’s children then you would act like it.” (John 8:39)

God judges someone by their heart, what’s on the inside, the true character which we develop within ourselves, our true motives and intentions. God sees that clearly. If that’s how God judges us, is it any different for an institution or an assembly of people?

God knows that our true intentions and our heart cause for us to do all things that flow out of us. All of our actions. The way we perceive people comes from our heart and our inner being. I believe this is also true for any system, corporation, community, assembly.

Now in a matter of speaking, a system has no heart, no inner being. Therefore those who align themselves with any given system become the heart therein. Yet so often we trade our minds & hearts for a go-with-the-flow mob mentality. We create a system to unify and drive us to our intend goal, but often it’s not long before we sacrifice our own goals, our own drive for the sake (health and sustaining) of the system.

I see this is still the reality of something called church. I too was part of  that once.

This is the strange thing about “church”:
It starts by saying that you can have a personal relationship with God. But then the whole time is spent telling you how to interpret God, how to serve God, how to do these things through more solidly aligning yourself with the local “church” and its “ministries”.  This happens so much so, that for those who actually do learn to grow and interpret on their own, they do not become the prize pupils, but instead are consider the ones who need to be corrected, or even broken in.
My husband and I have heard multiple stories like this. We’ve both been in these situations. We know it happens everywhere. It is not an isolated event.

We also know this isn’t God. This isn’t how God works. This isn’t the relationship that God had in mind.

A healthy body works together. Period. A body with auto-immune disease attacks itself. This is not consider healthy or normal. This is considered to be something that is in need of cure and of treatments, as there is often no known cures for many auto-immune diseases. Maybe especially spiritual ones which go unidentified. 

This thing calling itself church attacks itself. Am I to believe that is the resemblance of the body of Christ?

500 years ago (and more) there was something that was calling itself The Church. It was taught that this was the one way to know God, to honor God, to get to heaven, to be safe in this life, to be a responsible admirable citizen of your country. The Church was the guardians to Truth, or so it was taught.

But there arose men and women who disagreed with this thing called The Church. They disagreed that this system was not doing what it said it was meant to do. They disagreed that this system was honestly, openly, freely leading people Truth and to God.
To them the cruelties of the opposing a well-established system were unleashed. There was no mercy for such trouble makers. We are not too far removed from this history.

As a matter of fact, we maybe standing in the middle of an era where history repeats itself. We maybe at a crux of guarding and regarding the sacred words and descriptions back unto their true intentions. System or no system, when a people want to know God and want to know truth, there is an unquenchable thirst for the authentic thing.

Yet we have seen in history that the artificial thing will defend it’s stolen/assumed throne. The price for truth is high. Very, very high. Yet for something so priceless, we’d be fools to settle for anything less than the whole truth.

We can no longer bow our necks and bear this a little further in history. We cannot continue to plow for a master who is not our God. We must consider who and what we are truly serving. What do we truly fear? Whom do we truly want to serve? Are we interested in God? Or are we interested in our own rewards and security?

God and church are not synonymous. They never have been.

But woe to you … For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
– Matthew 23:13


Afflicted on All Sides: Church and Isis

“We want more than the wars of our fathers” are some lyrics from Switchfoot’s song We Were Meant to Live. They stick in my head as news media proclaims ludicrous clips. It seems like there’s a lot of stories on the news about how people are “trying to join Isis”. Unfortunately it seems like many who are claiming to make this attempt are Millennials. Every time I ask myself why? In America, thankfully, we don’t know too much about growing up with a war being a norm of life. Personally I hate the thought that any child grows up in land were war is normal, and certainly God didn’t make us to be a hateful killing people. But it does happen, and this is hard to understand.

I think we need purpose.

Jesus clearly says that the enemy “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” and this is not what God is about. Instead Jesus make the statement, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Life being the very opposite of the one who comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But it goes on from there.

Knowing that not everything goes perfectly in life, Jesus continues to explain, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep

Too often I find myself asking why those who call themselves Christians or even church leaders, don’t act according to how the Bible describes God’s people or act similar to God’s own heart. Too often Jesus is right, the hired-hand runs away and leaves other Christians to face all kinds of attacks alone. Some are utter devastating and fatal to our faith, and this just isn’t the reflection of Jesus… or at least it shouldn’t be. Yet for some of us, this is what we’ve come to know as Christianity.

There are horrific articles, blogs, books, seminars, and other public gossip about how the Millennial generation is lost to the church, and how the church mildly mourns this loss. But I mourn these articles, blogs, books, seminars, and general public gossip which seem to make it ok and a cultural fact instead of grave news that brings us utter sorrow. The more I hear of it, the  more accepting people of it, as if it’s merely how it is at this time, and there’s nothing to be done to change it or even to slow the loss of life.
These are hired-hands which flee in the time of our need. This is not how Jesus works. Yet too often this has become the representation of Christianity to our modern world. So much so that the news frequently reports that Millennial-aged people -who the church doesn’t care about anymore- flee this land of freedom to go unto Isis who comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

That thing that is claiming to be “the church” but does not act according to the ways of Jesus, and does not reflect the heart of God is liar!

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me … and I lay down my life for the sheep.” This is how Jesus conducts changing the world.

Jesus also makes the statement that, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

I say there is a reason that modern day mainstream church can’t get Millennials in or to stay in their system. I say they know of voice of the Shepherd and what they’re hearing from modern churches isn’t it, and they scatter. and the hired-hands let them scatter because it’s not their sheep, they don’t care. Because you can’t actually pay someone to care.

But I do care, because those sheep are part of my flock. It’s not okay to say that the Millennials have left “church” and oh-well we’ll get em next time. It’s not okay to watch a generation be discarded and think that changing music or sermon topics is “the golden key” to making a difference. Sing what you want, preach what you want, that still ain’t the voice of the Good Shepherd calling out, and I for one am not coming to it. I don’t think anyone else is either.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Shame on any of us so-called Christians, who allow a generation to scattered then watch them get snagged into a death-trap. Shame on any of us who tisk at some young life that would “attempt to join Isis” but never pray for a generation that’s been left out on a hillside to die because we thought they weren’t perfect enough. Such things are obviously not the work of the Good Shepherd. Such attitudes are never heard from the voice of God. As a matter of fact, this is indeed the one thing that God said “never entered my mind“; Sacrificing one’s children for the sake of prosperity is never something a Godly church would do.

I want more than the wars of our fathers. I want life, and I want it to the full. It is not okay that Millennials refuse “church” who are suppose to have the words of life, but flee to Isis, a culture of death. I fear for the elders and leaders of the modern mainstream church. How will they answer God when they’ve allowed or even endorsed such things? That is NOT the church.

We live here & now on purpose. We Millennials are not a mistake. We are not a kink in time or in church fluidity. We will not find our purposes fulfilled in politics or surfaces scratching. We will not be distracted when the Good Shepherd calls to us, and we will follow his voice. We do not follow the voices of strangers, and we will run from them if needed.
I will pray the for leaders who knows the worth of the flock is in each of the individuals, and in them being together.  I will continue to pray for the confused scatter flock of this generation, but I will not for sake them to the wolves.

This is my generation.
This my Jesus.
but that thing isn’t church.

You’re not Nothing

“We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.”
― Mother Teresa

It’s possible you’ve come across the religiously-associated articles about how the Millennials are leaving the church. This always gets me all cranked up, and I wish I could make myself stop reading them, but haven’t stopped yet.  People who write these things often are still in the church system, and many times aren’t even Millennials.  …And WE are being misrepresented.

– Just so that we’re clear Millennials often refer to the youngest generation, which would start with births in the early-mid 1980s and go into 2000s or possibly modern day if you like fudge-room. –

But here I stand… God help me, I can do no other.  (a Martin Luther quote)
You need to know, the Millennials still hear the voice of their Shepherd. Unfortunately this hasn’t lead us into all unity with the corporate “body” that already exist. We hear the calling of the Shepherd and many of us have come out to the wilderness to be led by the Spirit, though uncomfortable it may be, we follow the Shepherd.  Deep calls to deep and we are compelled to respond even if that means we are outside the religious system. We must seek Truth even when people tell us that we don’t even believe in “absolute Truth” anymore.  What we do believe is something inside us hasn’t silenced itself yet, and we need answers!

Is this really so different from other generations? It’s time to stop implying it’s merely bad children who do not follow the system and feed the machine, and it’s time to start noticing that there is more than just “some hope” left for us. This generation has already shown it can be intuitive and discerning, and these are much need traits in these times.

Let he who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying.
You’ve got what you need. Let’s just talk about how to use it.

College debt is despised for all the right reasons. The Millennials aren’t just complaining, their spirit inside them is crying out “This isn’t how it’s suppose to be!!” and they’re right.

Let’s nutshell this problem down to make it quick:

One has to go to college if they want to find a “good job” to make “enough money to live on” let alone to prosper a little bit. So you need a “temporary loan” because college cost too much to afford, but if you don’t afford it you won’t ever afford anything because you’ll not have a “great job” and you’ll get left behind, because the system only accepts people who have a paper (a degree) which say they will bend over backwards and do what they’re told, when they’re told, and that makes them intelligent because they did what they are told to do without asking questions about “why”.
Never ask why. It just is this way.
However sometimes the system might slightly burp and it doesn’t have as many jobs as maybe indirectly implied (but not promised, of course), but it’ll definitely be back up and running in no time just keep trusting the system and press forward.

Did I miss a few things? I’ll work on it.

But let’s talk about these things and the different ways in which the Bible talks about that were just mentioned:

Ask why!
God actually expects people, particularly children to ask “why?” and God has made provision for these children to ask “why” and has given reason for that which God does because God loves children and he loves those who will seek & learn for the sake of knowing Truth at it’s core.

Loans that are never cancelled, until every last penny is paid, are not temporary loans but a form of slavery and God does not endorse slavery or the perpetuation of it.

Depending on others to hire you isn’t really mentioned in Bible except for prostitutes, prodigals, the poverty stricken (servants), and foreigners. Originally (which I believe is foundational for understanding) God calls us to tend to his creation and work the land, every man from his vineyard, every person from their flock or ingathering of their field (garden), each of us to make that which we need –clothing, food, shelter. These things were a given fact of how life was to be. Can we now say that doesn’t apply in our modern time of trade, specialization, and luxury?  Or…

Is it possible that God actually expects use to live sustainably and to take care of one another? How will that help us to get-ahead or become more powerful than others (nations) around us? Could it be that we’re so far sold on the modern corporate society that we don’t even think about what we are contributing too? Or where this all is going?

Could this be the reason the modern job market isn’t working as well as we had expected it too? Is God giving us a chances to wake up, look up and realize that as Christians we are not building up a Christian-like nation at all, where God blesses America, but much instead a tyranny run under the ways of the principalities who come only to steal, kill, and destroy? Is God waking up the youngest generation first because we are the first to go into the days of tribulation?

I think there’s a possibility there.

I definitely think we need to start asking the “whys” instead of just noticing things aren’t working exactly right and waiting for them to become magically fixed again by society. I do believe that God does still give us signs for the seasons, but we have to look at them to see them and notice a bigger picture context.

It seems to me this generation has some really, really healthy signs to it. If this youngest generation can merely intuit these things are wrong (don’t work and don’t bring what’s promised) and be willing to protest these infactuals, and even make note that we’re living in a mechanical system that forces us, living organism, into oppression with no known alternative, then that’s awesome! I’m so proud of my little brothers and sisters! Like little sea turtle babies make their way into big ocean all by themselves. They’ve got this!

“You are not nothing.”

This is possible my favorite quote from the movie Walk the Line (which is not appropriate for children in the least bit), a story about Johnny Cash & June Carter.  I wish could say this over and over again to this youngest generation, “You are not ‘nothing’.” “You’re worth more than this” “You don’t have to live like this”  I could spend the rest of my life with myself & husband taking in this generation one by one and telling every last one of them, “you’re not nothing

I know some people just choose to be bad people and can’t be dissuaded, but who, please tell me who, would throw away a whole generation and shrug it off, and then say to themselves, “well we’ll get just wait for the next one”?  Who does that?

I’ll tell you who never does that: God.  A Living God never, ever, ever ask for you to throw away or burn (in so many ways) or abandon on some hillside or purposefully harm or make a sacrifice out of your living children with whom he entrusted to you. As a matter of fact God says it never would even cross his mind to make such a request (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, 32:35).

If we choose to be Christians, then we are a part of the family of God and in that center-source is where we find our core and identity. Church politics, rules, regulations, attendance won’t suffice for identification as Christian, one must find their identification in the family of God. We must know the Triune God, we must know the Bride of Christ, we must know where and how and why we fit together in all this.  These things can be found, but we need not scavenge through theology, philosophy, or culturally relevant dogma, but we must scour through the Bible, hear the voice of the Living God, and be in communion with the saints. It’s always been this way, through all of history and so it will be to the end of time (or end of the age).