Monday, June 15, 2009

That's Not Grace!!!

The other morning I heard a message by a wonderful pastor that I love and respect very much. The message was about Elijah and some of the miracles that God had performed in his life. As I was listening to the message, I began to think back on many of the messages that I heard at my former church. Many of these messages were about what I had to do in order to get God to move on my behalf. I was instructed to "Sow a seed if I had a need". We were always hearing about what we were supposed to do in order to move the hand of God. If we needed a financial miracle, we were to sow a huge financial gift into the church, if we needed a personal miracle in our lives we were to serve and serve in the church, and things like that.

In the course of this message, the pastor brought out the fact that God performed miracles and provided supernaturally for Elijah even when he was not moving in faith. God didn't look at Elijah and say, "Well if he does this then I will provide a way for him", that God moving on our behalf is not contingent on whether we tithe or not or whether we "do" something to earn it or qualify for it. That's not grace!!!

The dictionary defines grace as the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. This grace comes to us not because of any thing we can do but because of the blood that Jesus freely and willingly chose to shed for us when He chose to make the ultimate sacrifice and gave Himself for us. Grace does not mean.... "if you do this, then I will do this"!

Since the time that I left my former church, God has done so many awesome miracles in my life and blessed me so abundantly it is almost beyond belief. Yet I did not do one thing to merit or deserve any of these miracles or blessings. I actually made it a point NOT to do anything that I had been taught I was supposed to do in order to be blessed by God because I needed to remember the God that I knew before I allowed myself to be manipulated into trying to be some kind of "faith giant" in order to receive from God. He does it because I am His, because He loves me, because I know Him and because my savior, Jesus, purchased it for me with His blood. I asked Him to forgive me for ever belittling what was purchased by His blood by thinking that I could get something from God because of what "I" could do. Thank goodness I realized that I don't have to perform my way through life, I can just look to Him and live a life more wonderful than I could have ever hoped or imagined.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dentist Drama

Today I was remembering an incident at my former church where a staff member gave a testimony that occurred at the dentist office. This person went to the dentist and was so consumed with the realization that they had a "pastor" that they began to cry in the dentist chair. The testimony centered around how awesome the pastor was and how they were moved to uncontrollable tears at this realization. This person cried so much that the dentist ( unable to do any work on this person at this time) had to wait till the deluge of tears subsided before they could continue the appointment. All this over the realization that they had a pastor?????? I found myself wondering if they had ever had to delay a dentist appointment due to tears over the realization that they had a SAVIOR?????

I began to think back on how twisted the priorities at mfc were. There were many services that centered completely around the pastor! Not Jesus! The pastor's, achievements, anointing, family problems, successes, desires and agenda. There were many services that people walked away having never heard anything about Jesus, just about the pastor.

Many church members now sport bumper stickers on their cars supporting the pastor. Not one of these has a bumper sticker supporting JESUS! WHEN DID THE PASTOR BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN JESUS?

It sickens me to realize that I was drawn into such a farce and allowed myself to be so monumentally deceived! I have my focus on track now and Jesus and righteousness are number one! If you are in a church that "promotes and pushes the pastor" get out. The church should be promoting one thing, JESUS!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Does It Ever End

In the past seventeen months, since I have realized the truth about what had gone on, was going on, and is going on in my former church, my life has changed enormously. Once all the control, lies, deception, sin, greed, corruption, and crime began to surface and continued to surface, a very rude awakening began for me. Not only did I realize a pastor and his family that I had served faithfully and sacrificially, were nothing of who they portrayed themselves to be, I discovered that they would stop at nothing to perpetuate their family ministry no matter what level of degradation and sin they had fallen to and been involved in. Along with this stark realization came the earth shattering revelation of the vast number of loved ones in my life that had been used, abused, violated and scarred for life as a result of this ministry.

Since this realization of the atrocities that have gone on over the years has come to light, there is not one day that goes by that I do not think about all the loved ones that have been affected and the horror that they live with on a daily basis. I keep thinking that one day I will wake up and this will not fill my thoughts. I will admit that it has gotten better, however, that day has not arrived. Even now that the ones who committed the crimes have been arrested and it looks like justice will be served, for the victims, it will never end.

Since making the choice to stand up on the side of righteousness and refused to be controlled and ultimately leaving my former church, God has shown Himself stronger to me than He ever has in my entire walk with Him. He has brought me through day after day and blessed me so abundantly above and beyond anything I could have ever hoped or imagined in so many ways. Even in the midst of all the twisted and deranged things I have been told and all the questions I still have I have about how people like this can be allowed to commit such atrocities and continue to do so even after being exposed, I have made a conscious decision to move on with my life and focus on the wonderful blessings that God has put in my life and trust Him to somehow help me to one day live free of the constant thoughts of the nightmare I have seen my loved ones live through.

On that note, I want to say that there are wonderful churches out there that are truly consumed with a desire to actually minister the love of God in action to a lost and hurting world. There are churches where the pastor is interested in all people, not just the tithers. There are churches whose members don't sever lifelong friendships because someone left the church. There are churches that address and handle correctly rampant sin in the church and church leadership instead of trying to cover it up, excuse it and lie about it.

I am currently attending a church that the main goal is to love people and minister the love of God to them regardless of where they go to church or if they tithe or not. The desire of this church is to minister to the community as a whole, and to love people with the true love of God. I thank Him for this opportunity to do something for the kingdom of God after so many wasted years in a church that did more harm to people than anything else.

No, I don't know that it will ever end but I do know that there is hope, purpose, joy and happiness after the nightmare of a controlling, manipulative and abusive church. Thanks to the love, grace and mercy of an ever loving and faithful God!