Thursday, May 19, 2005

What's Really Cool

I've been a Christian since I was four years old. I received Jesus one night when my mother told me about Him during the bedtime prayers. That was 53 years ago; I am 57 now and can still remember that night when He came to live in my heart. Of course, I didn't understand what had happened completely at the time, but looking back over the years of my life, I can see the hand of God protecting me and His presence guiding me all the way.

The church I was raised in taught me the Bible. By the time I was in high school, I was well versed in both the Old and New Testaments. I knew all the stories of Moses and David and the Kings of Israel and the Prophets. I was familiar with Joshua, Ruth, Samson, Esther and Jeremiah. The teachings of Paul, Peter and John were all part of who I was - and at that time I believed everyone around me had the same knowledge. It was an era when everyone went to church, but I could not have been more wrong about the biblical education of others; in fact, by comparison, I've found that most people are ignorant of what the Bible is really all about. So my appreciation certainly goes out to the teachers who guided me in those days and gave me the biblical foundation I have today. For this I am indebted to the "Organized Church."

But it was the believers of the "Body of Christ" that were gifted to preach and teach who, in response to their calling, gave me the instruction that I received. They acted in the capacity of the offices they held at that time in the "Organized Church." So the "Organized Church" acted as a conduit, connecting those with nurturing gifts with those who needed the nurturing. And so it is today, the true "Body of Christ" ministers through the auspices of the "Organized Church" to reach those in need.

While this arrangement seems naturally accomodating - it does not always work smoothly. The "Organized Church" sometimes trys to over control and regulate what the ministry gifts of the "Body of Christ" are doing. What's really cool is that despite the efforts of the "Organized Church" to hinder the work of the Spirit - it will continue to manifest itself as needed to bring the nurturing ministry to those who need it. A good example of what I mean can be found in Nazi Germany when the "Organized Church" was coerced into bowing the knee to the dictates of Hitler; forced to vomit his propaganda of hate. The "Body of Christ," however, continued underground to minister redemption, freedom and the love of God.

Today, the same conflict exists. For myself, I find that I am constantly challenged to compromise my message to fit the political culture of the "Organized Church." The ministry that God has given me will not be heard by the "Organized Church" because the culture that exists right now is not that different from Nazi Germany - the predominant message coming forth from the "Organized Churches" is one of hate and intolerance, while my message is about unconditional love of God for every person.


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