And his wonderful comment below the post on “Surviving or thriving – a question” –
I read Tom’s words and could not leave it in the comments all tucked away.
Tom has a backstory (as we all do), some of which I am privileged to know.
Reading these words wowed me.
Reading his words within the context of that knowing Blew Me Away.
church IS church IS me IS you
(let’s not survive – let’s thrive!)
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“I would like to be a encourager this morning. After reading these posts I would say to all of us. Never say never. Never give up what God has put on the heart and in the mind. After all it is God that put it there then it is God that will see it through. The task at hand for us would to remain faithful, patient and prayerful as God moves things along with each individual to do his will. In an endeavor to share with the folks in these different denominations we all serve and are members of. The churches or (building’s) folks meet in are relevant and paramount in getting God’s work done. Many are being fed and discipled through the different denominations that make up these churches. They all are a vital part of God’s Holy Church. We need to lift these folks up and be in prayer for them. Not forsake them and walk away. That is never the answer. The churches, these places we meet in all belong to God. It is never wise or good to criticize or cast them out.
We have to remember that the church is full of folks being sanctified. They haven’t arrived yet. No one has and we all have lack and sin in our life’s. Many time I have almost walked away from church these denominations only to be pulled back by the Holy Spirit and reminded that their was a purpose for me there. It is not always like we want it to be at church. However we need each other. We all belong to the body of Christ and as such should never give up on each other.
Prayer changes many things. Mostly us. A individual that is in a deep prayer life with God. Will hear from God and stay the course with God and his Church, of which all these denominations belong.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel so to speak. It is already there . We just need to humble ourselves and pray that God would heal our land and life’s.
I love this community of bloggers and would always encourage all of us to stay faithful to our churches and denominations. We need them and they need us. If there were no churches and we left them because we felt like they were not getting it right then who would reach the lost. I would have to say there would not be enough of us to do that like God wants it done. When we become frustrated with the church then let us bend our knees and heart to the Almighty and repent for we have sinned against God’s church. None of us is above the other. Their is a purpose for this body of believers that share here on these blogs. That pray for one another and lift one another up. We need to keep doing what we do. Write and share and encourage one another.
I would go on to say if God is pulling you towards starting a blog or internet church. Then pray about it and if you believe this is what God wants then follow His calling and you will not fail.
I want to share with you a journey mine that might place hope and strength in your hearts to stay the course. I to will remain faithful as God leads to come along beside this precious group of bloggers.
Seven years or so ago a mens’ group I met with on Tuesday mornings prior to work became very close. As we met we began to open up our hearts about the disappointment in their experience in church. This lead to many deep and thoughtful discussions all which grew most of us in our relationships with one another and God. One suggestion that came up was what would it be like if we just started on our own to say have a cook out at the house and invite our neighbors who most of us rarely spoke to and some strangers off the street as well. Then just have a good time with one another. No formal church program no agenda to share the gospel and tell these poor lost struggling souls about Jesus. Just food and drink and a good time with a good heart.
Let’s take it a step further. What if while doing this one of the folks there began to share about there illness or struggle or troubled child or finances. Now here was a opportunity to pray with them hear them care for them. Hey maybe help them with there finances out of my own pocket. Well we started a ministry of our own and began to meet and minister to some folks. After some time it died out.
I would say at least two years went by. I continued to pray and my heart became more and more in tune to no division in the body of Christ. That group of men dissolved and we all went different ways yet remained in contact and each still working and starting up ministries in the name of Jesus. I was in and out of the church (building) for a couple more years. I still remained faithful and pulled to this one heartfelt desire. To unite my community of churches as one like mind in Christ Jesus.
Fast forward about three years later. God began to speak in our community to different individuals, some pastors some lay people . He placed on their hearts a burden to bring folks closer to Him. One word he gave me was division and how much he disliked it, after all he is about relationships. Then he took it a step further and said he wanted the churches in our community to work together to reach the lost and dying world. He wanted us to work together as christians and disciples of Christ Jesus to come together as one body of believers instead of many different ones divided by pride and envy and doctrine.
Ha that blew my socks off I said to myself never happen. You will never get different denominations doing anything together. Jesus would have none of that. Now remember the Holy Spirit is working in the background with other men who had ears to listen. Well I heard God when he said start encouraging the pastors in your community. So I called all of them and spoke with there receptionist and asked for there email addresses. I got some cooperation some not. Never the less I began to send out weekly emails uplifting and encouraging them. This went on for some time and I never shared it with anyone that I can recall except my wife who probably thought he is on another journey! 🙂
After about two years one day when I was in the office of a brother in Christ who is a worship leader I shared with him my burden for and my journey of seeing churches united in Christ. I told him I had begun to visit pastors in the community about what was on my heart and praying and encouraging them as I went along. He said wow he to had had similar thoughts and was in fact thinking about going over to visit with one of the pastors across the street from our church. I told him to get up and go to that. I am not sure how much on fire he was about it but he did go and the dialogue they had was good and encouraging I am sure.
Yes all this grew me more and more. All my faults and shortcomings came to the surface and it was if though God was refining my life. He still is sanctifying me today. Well I was asked by a pastor to come to a nine at night to midnight prayer meeting. We were all from different churches and different backgrounds. He himself was getting ready to leave and go to Africa for a year or two with his family in the mission field. We prayed for revival in our community and our own hearts, for the pastors and leaders the churches that they would unite and meet with one another. Help each other and hold each other accountable to there calling. That God would speak through them that believers could be nourished and led the way God intended. We pray for their families and every aspect of their life’s. We prayed for purity of heart and too hear God when he spoke to us, we prayed for a deeper and more manful prayer life and the anointing oh the Holy Spirit on our life and our families life. We wept for and lifted up the lost in the world and the persecuted people of the world.
There was about five of us who met and remained for around a year praying and seeking God to move in revival in our hearts for our pastors and the community. Almost two years have gone by since that first day this group met and seven years since God first began to speak to me about division in the body of Christ and his church.
We are into our second meeting at a different church each time and denominations. We meet all from different churches and lift up the lost and pray for revival in our hearts and community as well as the world. We pray for many topics. So you see it took almost seven years for all this to line up. We are on our way to Gods church being united instead of divided in our community. We are doing something unheard of and unnatural to the world at large today. We have set aside pride and self for a bigger cause. To be obedient to Jesus and live in harmony and peace, working together and praying together with God’s church as it was the way he intended for it to be.
We are in great expectation of what God will do in our own life’s and the life’s of others and his church at large. This is just the beginning for us. As we have gotten out of the way God has began to work in all of us.
Well that my friends is my encouragement to you. Never say never, never give in remain faithful at what you do and to Jesus who has called you to the task at hand. The rewards are amazing. To be able to watch and see God’s calling on your life’s unfold is joy unspeakable. He is faithful and he will go before you.
Much Love Tom”
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Much Love Paul