A Challenge

Recently I filled in preaching in a church where I have filled in several times over the last couple of years. This was the sermon text:

What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:3

I’ve never had anyone complain about a short sermon, and this one was under 20 minutes, so it was well-received. It was purposely simple in its message about faith.

Afterwards, amidst the usual “lovely sermon Father’s” a man for whom I have a great deal of respect commented something like this: “You are clear, simple and consistent in your message. So why don’t we believe you?”

I think I responded by saying something like; “Well maybe that’s a better question for you than for me.,” and shook hands with the next person…

In the days that followed, that challenge kept coming to mind; yes, why is that? You see, I know they don’t believe me when I speak there of faith, trust, belief and relationship with God; they are looking for hard, complicated and philosophical answers. At one point, one of the leaders told me that they have been on “survival mode” for quite some time, and I must admit that I wasn’t surprised, but it was heart-breaking nevertheless.

“Why don’t we believe you?”

I know that it isn’t really possible to persuade someone to have faith, for faith is too deep a thing to be persuaded of. This is a much deeper issue  for so many churches today, for so many are like this one, they believe they “do church right” and that should be good enough. Yet the result is that they are finding themselves in survival mode because their people are no longer growing; something is holding them back. Why?

My quick answer was that they don’t believe me because they don’t want to, but that answer is way too simple even for me. Why don’t they want to believe in the idea of Biblical faith beyond believing in God and His Son? Oh yes dear reader, they believe in God, but they don’t believe God.

I gave this a great deal of thought…

Believing God is counter-intuitive; it goes against everything we have been taught and everything that is going on in our world. Believing God is a risky business, for it carries with it certain implications, among which are things like the altering of lifestyles and behaviors. Consider Abraham: God told him to pack up the household, the wife, all of his stuff, servants and flocks and head out of town to a place God would show him when he got there. Now just before he left what do you suppose Abraham told his family and friends that he was up to? What do you think they said in reply?

“Oh Abraham (actually he was still Abram) what a wonderful opportunity for you”?

More likely they told him that he was an idiot! Yet off he went, because he believed God. You see, this believing God thing is a huge risk when viewed through the eyes of this world. Faith is when we believe the promises of God, and then behave as though they had already been accomplished, and the record of both Scripture and history shows us that most people have a very hard time doing that, at least at first. Having said that, I also know that for some, it isn’t hard at all and they move forward in spiritual understanding very quickly. If we are called to make disciples, then how do we help a group of people get from “Why don’t we believe you” to packing up the household and going “wherever God leads”?

The only way I know of to help our brothers and sisters move forward in the faith and come out from where they are comfortable is by personal relationship over time. The dilemma is that there are so many congregations out there where there is no mentor to get the ball rolling. Oh they have pastors (or whatever they might call the preacher) but they have no mentors because their pastor is the product of seminary that didn’t teach them to do this…

Yes, this is my dilemma; what about those congregations?

I have never thought of or heard anyone else give a viable answer to this; have you?

I know of congregations where awesome things are happening for Christ, and I have participated in congregations that have been transformed when there were a few who could lead them though the developing of relationships, but what about the ones that have no such leaders?

Any ideas?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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44 Responses to A Challenge

  1. paulfg says:

    Don – I was sitting here with a few thoughts:
    a) get them on the blog
    b) discipleship happens here
    c) relationship begin and grow here
    d) “living stuff” takes a back seat – the essence of Love and God is here
    e) “Outliers” are here – ones who forage further – ones who are “normal” – one who make God safe yet alive
    f) Love lives here
    And I thought – should I email Don, it is a bit “out there” to post as a comment. And then that gorgeous inner voice asked a simple question: “How has Don brought your this question?”

    Yep! That loving gentle voice. Don asked here, I answer here. Here goes …

    So: I looked for what I have found here. I look in church, in bible study, in socialising, in house-groups. I never found my fertiliser there. I almost gave up on “church” – and did a bit of writing.

    Two years on: why should my local “church” be the provider of all my needs? How can the local church be the be all and end all of my individual uniqueness? Why was I so arrogant to think it should and would?

    Two years on: I have not been writing. I have been growing. I have not been blogging. I have been connected. I have connected with those who carry labels I would never meet locally. I have conversed with those who would never have conversed with me locally. I have explored my relationship with God and found similarities and differences – all unencumbered with shopping, meetings, diaries, others’ family priorities, bills to pay, dogs to walk. I have found sanctuary and community. I have found mentors and teachers, I have found a congregation without any doors or windows or organ to upkeep. I have been freed to find God in a way that changes me in my local church, local living and local relationships. I listen more “locally”, I accept more “locally”, I fear less “locally”.

    And I am not advocating a bloggy “Church” – that would be the deathknell of all I have found. I think I am advocating drawing people to this church. Allowing others to allow themselves. To experience “outliers” way off in the distance. To experience a safe God of desire. To encourage collaboration. To foster involvement. To encourage taking steps I would never take “locally”. To grow in an arena and community that embraces growth and freedom and – Love.

    And to take that growth back into our local living, our local churches, our “surviving God” – brighter, more loving, more forgiving, more accepting. A thriving God, not a surviving God.

    Just a thought or two!
    🙂

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you Paul for some really interesting thoughts. I’m glad that gentle voice had you put them here for all to see, because of all the things you said about blogging. Smart people are likely to see your comments, and others, and chime in, people who have different ideas and insights, and maybe most importantly of all, different experiences than I have, and who knows who will say the one thing that causes that pond of your to ripple!

      So, a question: When you tell your friends in “real life” about your blog, what is their reaction?

      When I tell my “real life” friends about mine, I get snickers and the rolling of eyes. That is until I moved away, and then some started reading it, and a few are regulars in the comment section. Naturally, the ones here where I am now snicker and roll their eyes 🙂

      • paulfg says:

        Real life – common comments is a “hobby” or an eccentricity. Writing seems to be the stumbling block. You have to be a “writer” to blog. You have to have “time” to blog. And (locally) everyone is busy doing living, and church, and meetings and committees and volunteering – living and God stuff.

        For myself, I regard this as my facetime with my Lord. And over the week it can take up to a full twenty fours hours (usually less). Which I regard as a gift – a true and free gift. Because I am contributing to church locally, maybe globally, and certainly personally in the relationship burning brighter and deeper with my Lord and Father. My trust in Him now outflows to “real life” – all because of sitting here at a computer with others, words, music, pictures and a loving community. I have found a spiritual mentor (LM), and I have a bible specialist and guide (you), I have different facets of love shone bright from all directions. This is a stretching gently, a growing in safety, and a deepening of what love and the Lord really and truly is. This is life changing in the best of any and all definitions.

        But locally ….?

        And then – oddly – that recent post about “cups” saw a delivery out of the blue of a news set of cups (from our daughter who almost never talks of these posts), and then a comment later in the week from our minister when we doing something out and about (and who I never realised read any of these).

        How to raise it from a curiosity to a place of fellowship and learning … ? Maybe … just maybe (sigh!!) … it requires some “legitimacy” – the “worldly” kind of legitimacy with a name, a label, a “home”. And with that comes membership, and exclusivity and all that divisive stuff.

        Here is another gentle whisper: a “Challenge Day” (Secret Santa format kind of thing) – because I feel a post rising deep inside. You have stirred something that was always there. Maybe for others too.

        • Don Merritt says:

          I think you’re right, something to “legitimize” it all more in the traditional sense. I have kicked around the notion that I should take things I have written, or write something new and publish on Amazon, and make this “an author’s” site so it sounds less eccentric. She Who Must Be Obeyed says I should sell my stuff anyway… my political stuff. Oh my there are a few bucks in those boxes in the basement!

          But that won’t build the Kingdom of God, only the Kingdom of Me.

          Glad you got some proper cups old buddy, now you can make the good stuff… and I’ll be interested to see what comes forth from the fertile mind of Paul!

          • paulfg says:

            Don – one post stirred not shaken. Written and not proof-read. One email Word Docx on the way to you. Because I am not Little Monk – and 1500 words is a Little Monk comment! 🙂

            Watch your inbox dear brother.

      • paulfg says:

        Just ticking the “notify comments via email box” – keen to stay in touch with all the comments here.

    • Melissa says:

      Paul this is a blog post!!!

  2. Good question, one I’ve been asking myself. ..I will soon be publishing my thoughts under the title of “What does God want?” Please watch for it and give me some feedback.

  3. John says:

    As you touched on, many find it hard to be led by the Holy Spirit. It seems many don’t know what that leading is even like outside of an emotional response they interpret as the Holy Spirit. We tend to see the same or greater response at sporting events, concerts, and movies though. Some congregations I’ve been part of were about laws as the way to God’s heart. Others were about a feel-good experience.

    The congregations that seemed the most authentic were the ones just starting out. There was real intimacy of relationship and spiritual growth. Somewhere along the way though, politics and control kicked in and the same results reoccurred as had been with the other congregations we were refugees from. It’s a cycle that seems to repeat itself eventually.

    My conclusion would be to just let church happen with those God puts near us. Forego the buildings and permanent control structures, though temporary admin structures may be fine when a group wants to pursue a specific goal for a short time. This seems to have worked well in just letting the Holy Spirit lead where he may. Much of Christianity is about binding people to a time, place, agenda and template that only stunts their spiritual growth and places the entire fellowship into survival mode. Instead of equipping people, then letting God lead them where he may, we subdue and obligate them into a rut. As long as we continue to insist that’s what Christianity is, we will always get the same result.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Yes John, I think you’re right; there is a cycle to it that seems to run its course before it gets messed up by humans being humans. That cycle can be broken from the inside by the right leader or leaders and started over… but they can only be in one place at a time, sadly. I wonder how we can do it from the outside, in multiple locations at the same time… Maybe there isn’t a way to do that, I don’t know… yet.

  4. Wally Fry says:

    Good question you posed Don. I remember 8 years ago when I was saved. I didn’t even own my own Bible and knew no more than a child really. Just the facts maam as they say. The funny thing is, nobody really came out to teach me either. One day looking in the back of our Sunday School book I discovere our Doctrinal Statement and was amazed to discover there were truths we believed other than just the dribble I knew. What a shock. Even more shocking was the inability of many to explain what some of these things are.

    Mentorship and discipleship is critical to new believers to break this cycle. Another fellow and I now conduct an actual class on basic doctrine and also individually work with some of these new folks to the faith to help them understand what we believe and why, and also what their new Christian life should consist of. Seems to make a difference in what happens to them down the road.

    Thanks for getting the thought processes going!

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thanks for chiming in Wally! You really demonstrated the relational need within the church. How often we dunk the new believer and then send out on their own, thinking everything has been done, when we’ve only gotten the new to the starting point! It’s a great work to have a “newbie” class, way to go! Now, what about the guy who learns the stuff, can get it right on a test, but who can’t yet see how it applies to him in life?

      Relationship is the bridge there, and it doesn’t need to be any very formal, just being a friend who can give someone a hand or help they see something beyond just as a concept or abstract, and you are probably doing that as well.

      So, any ideas how to do that from afar, or from the outside, when you can’t be on the “inside” in a church?

      There has to be a way; with God there always is…

  5. Bette Cox says:

    “I know that it isn’t really possible to persuade someone to have faith, for faith is too deep a thing to be persuaded of. ” Don, the words persuade, faith, believe all come from the same Greek root and so I disagree with that statement. Faith / belief / persuasion comes by hearing God’s word… if that is what comes out of our mouth when we preach / teach / share, then faith comes. Sometimes it hits a closed mind. Jesus told the disciples, Have faith in (of) God. I visualize Jesus holding out his hand with “faith” in it, like a coin perhaps. He was persuading them by speaking the truth, confirming it by miracles, signs, wonders, healings, deliverances, etc. He didn’t force faith on them then, and he doesn’t force it on us today. The speaker’s responsibility is to know what God wants to say by way of our voice, and to say that. It is the responsibility of the hearer to believe it, or not believe it – be persuaded or not persuaded. I agree, it’s disheartening to see some folks go out the same way they came in, hurt, broken, deceived, hardened. (Romans 10) But God is patient, and so must we be. Sorry this is so long… 🙂

    • Don Merritt says:

      You raise excellent points as always Bette; I wouldn’t dispute any of them. My frustration comes from the likelihood that I could probably persuade most of those folks to buy ocean front property in Utah if i wanted to; but they don’t want to hear the message from the Word if it means they leave their comfort zones… and I think you addressed that point very nicely.

  6. Wally Fry says:

    Hi Don

    And Paul

    And all

    I don’t really have any more thoughts yet, but just some on some of what you and Paul were talking about in terms of blogging and “real life” Not that I wish anyone misfortune, but I am glad somebody else has had the same issue; the reactions to mention of blogging are generally not treated seriously. We have a special prayer meeting Sundays before Sunday School and Church and we try to pray for specific needs. I often mention by name people I have interacted with, good and bad. For some…ahem..reason I seem to have a fair share of bad to pray for. Anyway, folks seem to sort of dismiss the concept somewhat. Rather sad, because the people I know here are as real to me as the guy next to me in the pew Sundays.

    Now, your question. I think I lost what you were asking actually. Were you referring to people outside the church structure or did you mean as a person who is not on the inside track in their own church? I

    • Don Merritt says:

      Funny you should ask that Wally; the conversation is so interesting, i had to remind myself where it started, and I think I started it! 🙂

      It was about how we can influence a congregation, to bring people to believe God’s promises and be willing to leave their “comfort zones” from outside of the congregation; as someone who is not actually a member there.

  7. ephesians413 says:

    In a lot of congregations people don’t believe God because the words they hear from the pastors are hollow. They are hollow because they haven’t been lived in the pastor’s life. Words that are lived become alive and real and they touch people’s lives. The words are feelable. Lives are changed by words that are real.

  8. paulfg says:

    Reblogged this on Just me being curious and commented:
    Don Merritt has verbalised something dear to my heart. Something dear to a lot of our hearts. Something that goes to the heart of our hearts.

    “The only way I know of to help our brothers and sisters move forward in the faith and come out from where they are comfortable is by personal relationship over time. The dilemma is that there are so many congregations out there where there is no mentor to get the ball rolling. Oh they have pastors (or whatever they might call the preacher) but they have no mentors because their pastor is the product of seminary that didn’t teach them to do this… “

    The conversation has started. Why not head over and join in?

  9. Wally Fry says:

    Ok, before I run off to work, I am going to add, not a solution, but a realization. You have made me really think about the condition of our churches. My particular denomination is very “local church” centered. Just the mention of anything resembling ecclesiastical authority or central governance will get you taken out back. But, at the same time we have churches all over that are, as was commented on earlier, in survival mode. Great question here you have posed…what could I do as an observer of this to help them move beyond that to actually thriving and advancing in our work? Hmmm.

  10. realchange4u says:

    I will attempt to weigh in on this subject from my own perspective and heart. If I am reading this post right then we are faced with a issue of folks from many different denominations and backgrounds not being fulfilled and or believing all they hear in the place of worship they attend. A emptiness or lack of being filled when they attend services.

    I believe that this is a very deep subject with many different facets. I would love to participate in a brain storming session on this matter as it is a topic close to my heart and many other folks from many different denominations hearts as well. I am not sure how effective I could be in my input on a blog. The typing hinders the passion and dialogue.

    I will try though. Basically in simple terms I see the problem being that the denominations have moved away many many years ago from who and what they are. The people today have no connection to the jewish people or the actual way God intended for it to be. Their views are from a manmade doctrine and plan or and programs. The body of believers today need desperately to go back to their roots in order to find what they are missing that leaves them so empty and unfulfilled.

    You know its about the jewish people. In the end God will restore them. Right now he is making them jealous if you will. They are his favorite ones. Yes we have been grafted in to that root and are entitled to all of what God offered the jewish people.

    However for us to understand and be fulfilled today we must go back to our roots. There is a great hunger in the church today, God’s church. I don’t believe you will find it inside the doors of every building and denomination you visit. Some are on target though and some serve a purpose. More are just a meeting place,a social event. In the days ahead more people will move away and out of the buildings. Some of these folks will be confused and lost still others will be solid men and women of God who will be a lamp and salt to the earth.

    True followers of Christ must return to their roots and must spend time in prayer with God. This is the only way we will ever hear from God. Develop solid prayer life’s. Build relationships with others bathed in love and sound biblical principles. Research and discover where
    the church began to move away from their roots and return there and you will find your answers to the problems you face today.

    All these issues are not going away and man will not solve them although he continue to try. Jesus is the only one who will bring about healing and restoration to the church. It has always been evident in my life when I am confused or perplexed about man that I have taken my eyes off Jesus and need to go back to my first love.

    In closing this is a condensed version of my thoughts on the matter. I will pray for you men who search for God and the answers you desire. For I believe a man searching for God will find his answers.

    Much Love Tom

    • Don Merritt says:

      Tom you have really gotten to heart of the question; nice job my friend. This is a challenge that pretty much every church group, denomination, affiliation… or whatever you want to call them, has these days. I’m convinced that God works in and through each of us to accomplish His purpose, so I tossed out the question and gather the insight that comes from all of us in the hope that we might begin to see a pattern developing. Maybe I’m too bull-headed or set in my ways to get His message on my own, and maybe you or Wally or Paul or …? Will have just the right insight that breaks the logjam either in my head, or someone else’s to share an answer so His Kingdom can move forward to God’s glory. Great thoughts, Tom; thank you and feel free to share any others you may have either here or over at your place… Thanks again!

  11. Pingback: Surviving or thriving | Just me being curious

  12. Little Monk says:

    If I read your challenging question aright:

    “‘Why don’t we believe you?’”

    …..

    “My quick answer was that they don’t believe me because they don’t want to, but that answer is way too simple even for me. Why don’t they want to believe in the idea of Biblical faith beyond believing in God and His Son? Oh yes dear reader, they believe in God, but they don’t believe God.

    “I gave this a great deal of thought…

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    With a heavy heart this response forms in me.

    As you know, much of my own teaching and ministry deals with God healing broken lives. Time and time again, the “answers” to these terribly convoluted situations of unspeakable pain… come down to some extremely simple steps. (1) Release the bitterness and anxiety of trying to do it all themselves; (2) Understand that the past, and all its pain, (whether generated by them or by another), is all as nothing compared to the Light, the Love, the Grace, the Healing… available by expectant focus on Him right here right now; (3) Trust that He’s not out to “get them”, and they need not fear His touch; and (4) Ask Him for healing, wholeness, peace… and get out of His way as He delivers…

    Wow… that’s the most incredible oversimplification of a “counseling ministry” I’ve ever seen… but you get the picture.

    Anyway, sometimes a person gets it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, they don’t “get it”, but in desperation they “reach for it” and He grabs them perfectly well. (Happy endings). And sometimes they “get it” perfectly well, but refuse… preferring their own process of what I call “archeology”… digging over and over into the past, and all the hurt and anguish there, seeking control. (Not happy ending.)

    One day, after a series of “not happy endings”, I found myself exhausted with Jesus… reviewing all my words… reviewing all my prayer… wondering if I had messed up, mishandled, whatever. Why were these particular people so clinging to all their painful, acid-etching, thorny trophies of fear, despair, darkness, shadow, shame, guilt… It was like watching people clutch desperately at a teddy bear filled with sulfuric acid… I felt like shouting… “Drop that blessed thing! It’s killing you!” But that would only have frightened them more. I needed to keep handing towards them the healing balm, and gently point at the acid bear, seeking that they “get it” and make the exchange.

    So, as so many times, I questioned myself… my process, technique, words, insights, discernment… all of that.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Jesus was so kind. He seemingly flopped down on the couch nearby, as exhausted as I was. (He does that, takes much of my day’s weariness). And as we relaxed there…

    He said, “You can only do what we do. Put the words out, speak truth with grace, listen, hear, embrace, and then pray over them and release them to the Father, as we move to the next.”

    “AM I getting the words right?” I asked. “If so, why don’t they HEAR?”

    “Of course you are,” He responded. “They’re MY words! Besides which, your spirit tells you clearly when you’re losing My voice…” (and I knew that was true.)

    I just sat, puzzled for a bit, wondering how, if the words were right… if the session had gone right… how could the outcome fail to come out right? But I didn’t say anything, I just thought it. (As if that mattered to HIM, lol).

    “Little Monk… you DO realize, of course, that *I* ALWAYS ‘got it right’ in your terms, when I walked the earth for those years, right? I NEVER messed up, spoke less than the Father’s words, did less than the Father’s will or works, right?”

    “Yes, of course I do.”

    “Well… LOOK at the Gospels. Only a very small percentage of the people who ‘heard’ Me… ‘got it’. Some rejected outright. Others pondered, went home, and decided against My truth later. Others pondered and believed. Some believed and followed. Now, bearing in mind that I ALWAYS got it right, you cannot expect to do better. I’m as good as it gets.”

    I saw the truth of this. I felt a little better, at least a little more confident. But the niggling thought remained… “But why won’t they hear? Why won’t they be healed and set free? When they hurt so much?”

    Jesus seemed very sad as He leaned close, in a very comforting way, and said,

    “I have bad news for you, dear Little Monk. They don’t hear because they REFUSE to hear. It’s all about My Voice… My words. Some hear, and take them to heart. Others refuse to do so. The truth is, when you hear My Voice, you realize it calls you to surrender absolutely and without condition. Bonhoeffer put it, ‘When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die.’ Ultimately, that’s true.

    “Many people,” the Lord went on, “lots and lots of people, including people sitting in churches, hear My words, even hear My voice, but realize that to come will cost them their lives. I will not be constrained by their rules, their ego, their plans, or even their religion. I will not be boxed, or taken on their terms. When they realize this… that to follow Me means to trust Me with their lives, at the cost of their own control… they become afraid, and they shrink away out of that fear. They prefer to ‘work out their salvation in fear and trembling’ on their own… rather than trust to the Father’s Love, My Forgiveness, and the Spirit’s Presence.

    “Pride, and fear, Little Monk. People do not ‘hear’ My Voice because of fear, and pride. So, they ‘play church’ and say all the right things, dress the right way, give the right amounts… all according to their own human customs, verses they can ground those in, as they make up New Law… and as long as they score well on their own handwritten report cards, they feel ‘godly’.

    “Still, they remain ’empty’, and can become so accustomed to that, that when My Voice speaks through a pulpit, or in your study, they ask…

    “‘Why don’t we believe you?'”

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    There you go, Don. (and Paulfg). Don’t know if it’s 1500 words, but ya’ll asked for it. 🙂

    Grace and joy to all! — LM

    • Don Merritt says:

      I can tell you, LM, that you topped out at 1,070 this time around 🙂

      This is a great answer, one of insight, feeling and great value… (here it comes)… but… it’s a great answer to a different question. The question here is how do we get the transformational ball rolling from outside the congregation. Once the ball is rolling, then everything you said applies. You see, my question, when you get right down to cases, is essentially the one you asked me yesterday, even though it’s set up and phrased differently. Your question centered around the preacher/pastor, while mine did not. Incidentally, in the story I told you about transformation of a church, I may neglected to mention that it was done in spite of the preacher, not through him, and ultimately he found another congregation to serve in. We replaced him with a “kid” who talked a little rough, dresses rough and loves to ride motorcycles and go shooting. After a little mentoring, he has done a fantastic job of presenting Jesus to real people in a real way. The only thing is, that in that case, we had mentors on the inside. which brings us back to my (and your) original question…

      You are a treasure, LM; keep on chiming in… please! (And you still owe us 430 more words) 🙂

    • paulfg says:

      And there was me worrying about blog-bombing!

      I am not sure if I am now missing the point, because I am reading “discipling” and how to in all of this (exclusive/inclusive of the “paid help”). How does the Joy become joyless, and how do the joyless become Joyful. How do those “saved” become brave rather than bereaved. And how does that work with or without the paid help (who is often the most starved of all).

      And (to repeat the obvious) how to get loving conversations like this out of blog-world and into bricks and doors world! 🙂

      I so love the energy, the love and the community here – I have added my 1500! 😉

  13. dawnlizjones says:

    Wow! You set us up for so many important questions. I’m thinking how important it is to first define ‘beiief’ as you mentioned in your post (mere mental assent, or pack ‘n go trust), then WHAT I truly “believe” as well as WHY (apologetics,Paul Little, et al.). That gives me a solid basis for relationship with God on a personal level, as well as a mature understanding that the health of that relationship is up to me, not my pastor. We Americans are, let’s face it, pretty lazy when it comes to relationships, or anything else really. John Bunyan puts this in perspective in his amazing “Pilgrim’s Progress.”

  14. Oh, wow. Just came across this today. How filled this is with a love for God and for discipleship. I can only add my few thoughts after reading the post and all your comments.

    I thoroughly agree belief requires absolute trust and a willingness to abandon control. For our human race, particularly in Western culture, those are most difficult things to embrace.

    I’m so grateful for this online gathering of Christ followers. This is the body of believers with whom I bare my heart and soul about my love for God. This is where I share the gospel. This is where I feed my hunger and thirst for the Lord. And where do I take this filling up? I take it to my neighbors. I share all the overflowing love, compassion, mercy and grace I find here and pour it out the people I share conversations, coffee and walks with.

    The people who live in my apartment complex share a lot of things – hugs, groceries, service, gas money – no one goes without here. The light of Jesus shines brightly, and the Holy Spirit abides in this place. Relationship thrives here as we walk out daily compassion. I find much opportunity to glorify God in all of this.

    Do I go to a brick-and-mortar church? Yes, when the Spirit calls. But I consider my church to be here, where I write and where I live, because I see it in action and feel it in my heart. And it is real life in both places.

  15. I’m feeling you, Don! And like so many have said, many blog posts on the Internet seem to do a better job directing people to The Word and Relationship with God, rather than being in a religion that doesn’t believe Him.

  16. Pingback: In Love We Trust… | The Postmodern Mystic

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