Friday 14 September 2012

Facebook Interrogation : How was Church for you?

Here are a selection of Church and meeting related conversations all on Facebook in the past few hours.
Obviously a hot topic.

Paul Noble
Some people are not going to like this very much but I'm going to say it anyway: talking to or with other Christians on Facebook & even on the phone is not church.

Why? Jesus isn't present + your not gathering together in Jesus name.

Now I may be wrong but if you look at what Jesus says there are three qualifications for ecclesia or assembly or church.

(1) You have to be at least two people.

(2) You are gathered together or assembled (physically I believe)
(3) Its done in Jesus in JESUS name which simply means your gathered FOR him not yourselves. So christians together down the pub isn't necessarily church - but it could be! Christians gathered together "at church" may not be church either by the way if the reason they are gathering is not really for Jesus.

Matt 18 :20For 1063 where 3757 two 1417 or 2228 three 5140 are 1526 gathered together 4863 in 1519 my 1699 name 3686, there 1563 am I 1510 in 1722 the midst 3319 of them 846.

Anyway thats my take!
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  • Paul Noble By the way I'm not saying Facebook and all the other things is bad or wrong I thing they are great but I think we need to keep to the BIble. In Hebrews it says don't forsake meeting together!
  • Eliya Ferguson I agree in part, however You have not taken into consideration those who are housebound and can't get to church, those for whom going to church is a huge risk and in this day where Christians are being slaughtered in some nations I think that condemning those who do Facebook church or phone church as something second class is unfair.
    Also, starting a post with you're not going to like this but I'll say it anyway shows no grace whatsoever.
  • Paul Noble Hey hold on .... I'm not talking about getting "to church" ... Paul & Silas in prison are a good example of both your objections ... but I'm provoking a bit and as graciously as I'm able but scripture stands and my point as well (i I'm right).
  • Eliya Ferguson Paul and silas were in prison together so not such a good example. Jesus used whatever was available to him. If he was here now I'm sure he'd have Facebook church.

Chris Welch: There really is no "solution",well, in a leftbrain sense to the perennial conundrum in the church of "going out" and preaching the gospel...and "going in to your inner room" or going monastic or "mystic". Fact is...Jesus was both...but only after spending an intense 30 years of finding His identity. Most new Christians have spent all their lives doing the opposite, so find they are detoxing.

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  • Chris Welch The monastery answer is probably overkill.The church should have a culture of changed consciousness....but they don't, so we have to start where everyone still is, which is preaching teaching praying and worshipping in "separation" as if Genesis 3 hadn't ever changed. Jesus however took a scruffy bunch of nobodies through into consciousness WHILE holding down a ministry to a multitude alongside his disciples....which is as far from monastic as you can get!!! Pop evangelists today fake it, by trying to impose Kingdom realities over the top of Genesis 3 cages, and hope no one notices. Ofcourse...the problem is prophets and creatives notice their solution to them is to throw them in cages and carry on preaching a half-assed attempt at a gospel of works.
Frances N. MyGene Ashcroft
  • Hello dear ones....I would like to share something on my heart here, and I would sincerely appreciate you to speak the Truth in Love to me regarding what I'm going to say. Okay, here is what's on my heart: More and more lately, I simply don't want "mixture".......and if I may be completely honest here, I sometimes wonder if I've gone WAAAAAAAY over to the EXtreme......What I mean is this > Very possibly I need to be more tolerant when it comes to "church gatherings", whether they are actually in a "church building" or even in someone's home gathering...... I find that when it comes to "getting together" for any "church" kind of purpose, I get so skeptical. It's like I have an antenna up........and I'm always wondering if manipulation and control are subtly lurking in the background... I find that I would rather get together over a meal and then watch Holy Spirit do HIS thing in and through us all, rather then get together for a specific purpose of "having church".........Oh my, .......I'm not sure what's going on in me....I've been invited by some friends to go to "their church" or their "home gathering"...and I've offended several personal friends whom I really do care for, by telling them what I'm sharing here......all I know is I long for CHRIST to flow through us all, I am so longing for the manifestation of the sons of God......and for His Glory, the fullness of CHRIST, to be revealed through us......Please be honest with me, do you sense that I'm being too critical?......or maybe impatient with others?

  • Jim Vissers
    Jim Vissers
    • Frances, I can not offer any advice or direction here. Just my own feelings. All I can say is that you have expressed our situation precisely. I have been attending a home church on occasion (my wife less often) with people we love dearly and who in many ways have had similar experiences as us with organised church. I think they too are looking for the authentic expression of Christ flowing through us. But I have had a difficult time negotiating these meetings because it seems like there is a tendency to fall back into patterns and formulas. I found I have even fallen into what seemed OK at the time but then have had second thoughts after. It is such a subtle thing because I want to be sensitive the Spirit and I know I don't have the corner on HS. He speaks through all of us. So in that setting I have to allow others room and leave it up to the hosts to choose the direction.

      So how do we get the Spirit without the formulas and expectations. I think it is a matter of realizing we are the Church and we don't have to 'put on' the church when we get together. I feel caught here because I want what others have to offer and love getting together with those who love the Lord. Honestly, I get excited about seeing these people and being with them but I do not get very excited about what happens at the meetings. Maybe the only way to get completely free is to get completely away and wait for others to catch on.

      Now on the other hand we have a few dear friends who we get together with socially. They believe in the same way as us and when we meet it is a blast and an encouragement in the Lord. We don't try "to have a meeting" we just experience communion. We pray for each other and just share stuff. It would be great to see this happen with a larger group. I wonder what a corporate anointing would be like in this simple expression. I don't know if this is the way it is supposed to look. Maybe this is the nucleus of something new or just a waiting and renewing season.

  • Joan Reilly
    Joan Reilly
    • Hi Frances. I belong to a bible study group. All young women in their thirties. There are around nine of us. I began attending the church that is connected with this bible study a couple year ago. Keep in mind that I hadn't been in a church for over twenty-five years. I was in the message of Union on my own with one friend but didn't entirely grasp the ramifications of Christ in me as me until coming to Gracebook a couple years ago. Well, since then, I can barely stomach church at all. In fact I have quit going altogether. But I've come to love the young women in the bible study and our leader who is in her fifties. When we share and study the Word, I patiently listen and love the girls just as they are. I have complete acceptance of them and where they are in their individual walk with the Lord. However, I cannot keep quiet in my enthusiasm of Oneness and Union with Christ and I speak it out when asked my interpretation of any particular passage. I do not always receive the patient acceptance I put forth and at times I even feel I am a thorn in the side of the leader. I am dismissed as "older" and therefore bitter and burned out in my relationship with God and now He accepts my sacrifice of love as unconditional. However, they feel they want to keep doing what they can to please God by tithing and bible reading and setting aside time to be with God> When I share I am always with face In God, they just gaze into thin air and wonder what I am talking about. I love them still, but am expecting to be invited to leave at any time in the near future.

      I don't think we can soft peddle this Truth. Jesus didn't try to be kind to the religious leaders of His day. He spoke plainly and they wanted to kill him. I think we need to speak plainly as He wishes and leads from our insides. (Chris's word "insides" lol)

  • Joan Reilly
    Joan Reilly
    • In fact In God

  • Éilís Liberty
    Éilís Liberty
    • I hear ya ... i havent been going to church for the past few months. it was not a deliberate decision but circumstantial due to my car accident in june. i went to a bible study on revelation more often than not and probably went to a service 2 or 3 times all summer long. heres what i found when i went. i disagree with the seperation. god is with me always. i dont have to work to go get him. i dont have to strive to obtain his company, hes right here with me. i am already his and as his vessel, he fills me. i get annoyed hearing it too much yet i understand that newbie christians who said the prayer may need some direction on how to get close to God or spend some alone time with him or how often they should read their bible. Yet i know we all are where we are in our walk with him. so for some, this may be excellent guidance for how to come to know God intimately. i also am of the opinion that the pastor(s) of my church are not responsible for my relationship with God so i dont think i expect much anyway.

  • Éilís Liberty
    Éilís Liberty
    • It is difficult to listen to some stuff n think, thats just wrong.

  • Cathy Rheeder
    Cathy Rheeder
    • Hi Beloved's, I've read through your posts! I'm feeling the same way! Irritated in church! They're not awakened yet! Sure I love them all! Fran u are really right! I'm going thro the same here! Love to u all!

  • Facebook Friend
    • Ditto Fran. I stop attending church regularly years back. The Holy Spirit spoke in my ear very clearly to leave asap. I have learned so much lately since leaving. But it was not the actual attending that stunted my growth, it was what I was hearing and believing. I would fall under law and works and condemnation everytime I attended. Soon, I would be sick at the teachings that my baby sisters and brothers were taking in. It was like I was seeing a baby being fed poison and I stood by and did nothing. I was not strong enough to stay and Father knew that. I was feeding myself more guilt. I loved my brothers and sisters in Christ and miss the joy of seeing them and being together. I am just starting to get my daughter in wed. night program.... not sure on that one... she seems to be already speaking law. I have tried several churches and bible studies and yes it seems like law, numbers, image, position, or merchandising is always in the mix. Left pretty empty from sermons maybe some great motivational tidbits to improve my self or finances or image. , but filled with joy when gathering with those who love Christ. In my honest opinion, I believe it is so important to listen to the Holy Spirit during these times. There is no telling who God will use where and when. If God wants someone in the midst of this setting he will protect their ears and eyes and give them purpose for his body and it will produce fruit for others to see. I have learned that a body has all parts, a foot and hand will never see, an ear will not walk, a finger does not speak, the eyes will see, the ears hear, the feet walk, the hands touch, the heart liver ....etc are keeping things moving on the inside.... and the mind knows and controls it all. If the mind is Christ and the body abides it flows. If that which is controlling the body is not the mind of Christ then it is something else and the foot can be fooled into being hand, or an eye into being a foot.... and the body does not function fully and can do more to damage the body then grow it to perfection. Sometimes just one small voice spoken from the mind of Christ helps the foot realize its a foot and function fully for the body, and the eyes realize they can see and so on.... someone may be called to be that voice. Whether doing Gods work within a religious organization or the local park or job or park or doctors office.... its still doing what God has called one to do. I couldn't be a nurse for my weak stomach, but somebody else could and go into sickly situations and not be phased and they wouldn't ignore it and take precautions so that they did not get infected.... they would be strong and bring healing. So in all my rambling.... I can not regularly visit an organization or gathering that is top heavy and being taught poison at this time. i would do more damage to myself and others. If and when God calls me I will know it. But believe some are given that calling and have peace about it. I was given many signs that I was not that person I followed that lead. I have more sorrow now, at first I had anger and bitterness, now I know it is all in his hands and he has given me good christian friends to fill so many needs for fellowship. And yes.... just the gathering with others to eat, pray, or watch a movie or study the scripture is so helpful. I want to be the church not go to it. I want to gather as a church not gather to a church. I can be hard and works deep down and causes the spirit to bring out things that were so hidden. I also found my relationship with my Lord in a much deeper way since leaving. Hope this makes sense.

  • Annalize Mouton
    Annalize Mouton
    • It is about a very real, very intimate relationship with our Abba Father, knowing Him, His ways, His voice and leading, resting in the victory and glory of His Word made Flesh, being fully engaged with Father and our spiritual reality, where our Father works and because of that we work. We only do and say what we see and hear our Father doing and seeing. I believe this is a time of "coming away" with the Lord, pressing into all of Him and let Him do His work in our hearts, because He wants to present us to the world as His fully mature sons whom He has paced in His body (not the church organizations) but the place in Him which He had prepared for everyone of us from the beginning before even the foundations of the earth was laid!!!

      I have been out of organised religion for almost 15 years now, and could never ever go back to it. But, that has never been what Father was about!!! We have to come out from Babylon, confusion and double-speaking and worldly teachings and desire the pure milk and the meat. And the meat according to jesus is doing the will of the Father only, ever!

  • Annalize Mouton
    Annalize Mouton
    • I would urge you – everyone of you to fully trust Him who is now our life. We have no other life – our only life is that of the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. He will never lead us astray. We are raised from the dead along with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms because we are united (one spirit) with Christ Jesus. Trust Him and go where he leads you!!!!!! He is within you and like with Elizabeth and Mary He within you will "jump" when in the presence of Jesus Christ within others. Make them your companions for now! And when He comes forth of full age/maturity within all of us, He Himself will do the greater works and people will come to the light and life streaming from without you, and say: hey, we want to go with you, because we have seen that God is with you!!!!!!!

      Chris Welch:So to summarise,this new way of seeing on our insides turns the old way of seeing upside down. Many Christians have indeed asked Jesus into their hearts. There is no doubt and the love that is in God shows...but really apart from that,the way they live is still Genesis 3 unchecked. Actually very little has changed, and many realise,if pressed, they actually "hate" themselves.
      Like · ·
      • Chris Kimmell likes this.
      • Paul Noble Thats cos they don't understand Christ in them - Paul added a very important qualification when he spoke in Romans 7 when he said no good dwells in me ( that is in my flesh). Many christians are looking in the wrong place!
      • Chris Welch We're not preaching some new fad that will go away in a few, the third level is the very thing Jesus promised :1.If you abide in My Word 2. You shall know the Truth....of how Genesis 3 works and turns everything inside out,the wrong way round, and 3. And that very Truth shall set you free. Our very new found freedom will, and already is, finding you out. We don't like your meetings. We don't like the way you pray. We don't like the "heavy" way you practice your Christianity and then burden everyone else with your overworked systems. To know Jesus is to know Life. It's that Life that sets us free.
      • Paul Noble As long as your preaching Christ crucified then your on track anything else is a false gospel. Nothing is ever new just hidden. Thats why Christ in You the hope of glory is a mystery.
      • Chris Welch Good comment Paul...mine crossed with yours
      • Paul Noble I'm just excited about the whole new birth thing because its really the core of what Jesus did & yet we skate over it at 100mph and get on to the gifts of the Holy Spirit Etc like the charismatics not realising that its abut maturity (christ being revealed in the church) Ephesians. Yes we are to eagerly seek his gifts (thats where the evangelicals lag behind) but the sad thing is they don't appreciate righteousness either making it all so technical and boring!
      Chris Welch:We are a brand new Order. We do not function by "remote control".
      We live from the Son of Man within. There's a difference between the Orders.
      Like · ·
      • Sammy Bilyeu You got that right Chris!
      • Martha Gisela Domínguez beautiul, thank you!
      • Chris Welch Bet you're not remote controlled Sammy :-)
      • Chris Welch Jesus wasn't baptised in water to turn from sin....but to fulfil all righteousness....and this is the difference between Old and New Covenants. The one refers to sin....continually...the other creates a priesthood and "fulfils ALL RIGHTOUSNESS". Boy, I'm gonna stick with the New Order eh? To have the Fulfiller of ALL righteousness actively living IN US!!!! You kiddin? Why would I hang around anything else?
        2 hours ago · Like · 1

         Daniel Yordy
         You stirred up a good discussion, Frances. I really appreciate the heart in what everyone shares. 
        There is a real desire for the true gathering together of church life because that is Christ and that's who we are. Yet for some reason we can't find what our hearts long for. The problem is that, knowing that Christ is our life, when we hear the other stuff, now, it sounds so awful. I can't stand most churches, not because we do not love the brethren, but because Christ Himself is not their gathering. For some amazing reason, we have found Lakewood church as a place that gives us life and encouragement and uplifting. Joel and Victoria, though they don't see the whole picture, always point in the right direction - Christ without limitations. But I would switch in a moment if God would raise up the fellowship our hearts long for. Blessings to all.

  • 1 comment:

    Pieter said...

    Fully concur with the 'restlessness' that others seem to experience too in longing for meeting with 'Life' with a Risen Savior NOTHING else. I wonder if this is a time we need to pray to the Father for His will to be done, His kingdom to come and His bride to be joined together supernaturally like the bones and spirit prophecy in Ezekiel. Love to you all, Pieter