No church? NO church??

This blog may be a slight continuation of my previous blog, or maybe not, that remains to be observed.

I ask for God’s heart and wisdom as I begin my dance with words today.

Within this last year as part of my re-journey into the gospel of Jesus, I had a vision.

I’ve not shared this vision with too many as it impacted my heart quite deeply; I’ve not known quite what to do with it, save that it became part of my journey back into the roots of the gospel.

Today I think that it will be shared.

I was fully awake yet resting, stretched out on the floor with my eyes closed when I found myself upon the back of a large eagle flying over both a grievous and hopeful sight upon earth.

What I was being shown was a solid, tightly bound, large circle of grayed out roofs; they looked as though they had been sprayed with ash. I understood that I was looking upon the roofs of multiple churches huddled together. The churches were dead, wiped out, there was no evidence of light whatsoever.

Around this circle of grey was yet another circle, a ring of “believers” fighting each other with blunted wooden weapons; I could see that they were poking and prodding one another, and then with what looked like an overtake of boredom they would quit fighting with one and turn to fight another; this circle of people was deep.

And then a most curious sight, a child dressed in white began to walk out from the center on a straight, brightly lit path towards the outer circumference of which held the most unimaginable beauty; green pastures surrounded a broad river flowing from what was inexpressible light, and beyond the river, on the far shore was a mountain, large and majestic in beauty…the child was journeying there; the curious part? The fighting stopped cold and weapons dropped as they observed the child’s journey “out”.

Vision over.

Hmmm…

I could weep.

Weep for what?

For the hypothetical number of those who have become disillusioned with church, who she is, and why she exists, and who have walked away tired of church politics, of talking about and dealing with things that keep the church locked up, sealed, self- absorbed and deaf to the many outside her doors crying out to be loved, accepted and encouraged, hungry for the real Jesus; those tired of being part of an institution that has quenched the Spirit of the living God by dabbling in “acceptable” ongoing discussions that have little to no impact of the life and love of the transforming power of Jesus Christ through His Bride.

For the hypothetical number of those who do love Jesus, who have literally grown up in the church (“church rats”), and who need the truth of Who Jesus us and Who He is not; who need the power of the truth of the gospel all over again.

For those hungering and thirsting for more, for more of the deep mysteries of the Word of God, desiring preachers and teachers who are no longer afraid to live by the truth in order to deliver the truth, Spirit led and filled prayer, lamentation and joy; for skilled, trained Spirit filled worship and instrumentation. Those who are thirsting for simplicity, for God’s intended purpose of the proclamation of the gospel and the equipping/disciple making and encouragement (O the encouragement!) of the saints.

I also grieve for how long it has taken me to “de-church”; this mid-life awakening is a result of my own mind finding itself fully before God, to drop the fear of being incorrect and march into the fray with faith that God has me, He will course correct a heart and mind that is truly His; and “the Church”, He knew, had become a place of dictation and method, a programic time machine to me (in case you are wondering, I’ve been in church since I was born 53 years ago, 22 of those I was a pasor’s wife -wife to an amazing pastor I might add!).

Sunday after Sunday I had wondered what would happen if the Spirit showed up and 10 random people walked forward in the middle of the structure and needed prayer, salvation or even desired to be baptized.

This post is growing arms of distraction, but I desired to share a fraction from my own journey lest anyone would gather an impression of self-righteousness and piousness; I can grieve for the Bride not only because of the vision but because I myself had become discouraged and disillusioned of her purpose…I HAD FORGOTTEN.

Redemption sure is sweet when one has wallowed in the mud and lived to climb back out.

The church IS the Bride of Christ, perhaps we (I) have not taken her visible presence on earth seriously enough, nor the clarion call of her beacon to the entire world. If the present climate of world attitude toward the Bride is hostile, (though we are fore-warned of this coming reality through scripture) what does this mean for her future? What does this mean for each of us now?

What would the world be like with NO CHURCH?

The hope of Jesus is that we are a forgiven people, a loved people, an accepted people, a redeemed people, a called to holiness people, lives that look and fragrance like Jesus the Son of God people, we are family, God’s daughters and sons, that makes us sisters and brothers, there are no outcasts in this family, not a single one…this is the gospel, this is the inescapable fragrance and beauty of the Church.

I’m praying for a broad sweeping crush of conviction that leads to true repentance, and a keenly felt spiritual hunger for the more of Who our King IS and Who He is NOT.

I’m praying for sight upon the level ground at the foot of the cross and the restoration of the joy our salvation.

I’m asking not for revival, but rather desperation for the Son of God, for hope to rise before those who walk in spiritual disillusionment and unbelief, and that they would hear the whisper of God beckoning them out of the shadows into His glorious light.

I’m asking for broad sweeping courage as eyes are filled with the fixation of King Jesus; that many will suit up and stand up to love a broken and lost world, whatever that may cost each of us.

Revival is an old word, used to describe a mass turning to Jesus at significant points in history, I think this word has not only lost its “sound” of significance but it has also led our focus foolishly away in our prayers…it is not revival we now need, it is repentance at the deepest level of our souls.

We have forgotten the King.

We have forgotten His “Why” of Jesus.

We have forgotten.

“If my people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron.7:14).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The De-Churched Chronicles…

I have been stopped, halted, cemented and tucked away into the “Secret Place” of learning to listen to God; I’ve been stopped from doing and asked by the King to remain before Him for two years now.

Probably the greatest plunge of freedom I’ve taken in my almost 53 years; I said yes to God and no to the voices of condemnation and shame and no to the faces of disapproval for my absence at church, my absence of doing and showing up and following because “that’s what we do”, no to guidelines and rules and opened the door wide to my own voice before God.

I began asking some hard questions.

O dear! Did I really just confess that to Lord knows who?

Yah, I kinda just did that…

Who knows if the “voices” or “faces” were even real, apparently they were hanging around for a long time hidden in the shadows of my heart and mind; kept at bay by my pursuit to know and love God, by my busy-ness to be all and everything that I could before my King of love…but sadly blinded and deaf to how often the voices and faces dictated how I lived, what I wore, and even what and how I spoke.

It started with a cry for “more” (after a little ride in the ambulance), an awakening of sorts, and God taking me back to my roots (literally) to re-reveal who He had formed me to be; and, like, wow, she was so simple, pure, lost inside her conversations with God and creation and creating (THAT girl sure LIVED).

Surrounded by people one can never quite escape the impact of relationships whether good or bad, nor can one escape the impact of our primary mode of communication…words.

Like the sunrise, God had decided for me that it was time for the sun to shine on my hidden shadows (hidden to me), the hues changed the more the light caught my deep inner reality.

I lived and feared “man”….I had given years of my life to worry and angst and the word “sorry”; yielding my movements and conversations around a sense of proving that I was in fact a valid Jesus child…WHAT? REALLY? O man, (head down and shaking back and forth like a wet dog- hand up to smack the forehead).

I say freedom begins with truth (hey! Didn’t Jesus say that? “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you FREEEE!” ).

It started to look like a ball of yarn unraveling, strangely I was not unnerved, it was as if my soul had been waiting for this day; I was ready, and so have spent the last two years unraveling, rediscovering and discovering, tasting and feasting at Aslan’s table and finding Narnia actually exists (hi, I’m Lucy by the way).

Being reestablished into a child’s heart has been the most incredible adventure; learning what my voice is for and what it is not, learning the simplicity of hearing God in my heart, I have danced with Him and been touched by Him and wept before Him and rejoiced, I have pounded my fists at the air and cried out in exasperation and sorrow and repentance and then discovered joy, I have sung at the top of my lungs and shouted silently into the darkness, I have had many sleepless nights of tossing and relenting, O  how can I possibly describe this? It has been an incredible adventure of yielding to the deeper leading into God’s heart.

I prayed and searched to know the deeper secrets of understanding of the gospel and found myself being led to the donkey.

I used to think that my life was like that of a great Black Stallion waiting for the race gate to open so that my life could “begin” with promise and dream, and, let’s be even more truthful here: power and leadership and seen (finally validated). That progressed somewhat backward when I began to develop the voice and ears of a donkey, even had my hand up in the air to be the one to carry Jesus through the crowds, but now? Now? I am content to be the one in the stable looking after the donkey who will carry the King (and just in case you’re wondering, I’m not talking about my husband!).

O the beauty of discovering Jesus all over again like it was the first time: my heart burns and deep peace holds me still.

This is my great awakening, and it is not for the purpose of shouting and ranting and preaching and teaching, but rather for conversation. God has been de-churching my mouth, mind and soul and heart.

I have not been given my life to please man, I have been given my life to live engulfed by Jesus, to be His girl, His daughter…to come out of hiding and excusing and “sorry” and fearing man to daring to be all that He created me to be, even if it rattles predictability, structure and “the way we do things”.

Even if it means my almost 53 year old body running in a white dress down a long beach with my face and arms lifted heavenward.

God is wild and free. He is love. By His Spirit He raised Jesus from the dead and He promised to make His home WITHIN me…what kind of LIFE does this mean?

Wild and free and full of joy, even as the barnyard produces brown stuff I can still lift my eyes, my feet and my heart because I know that my King knows me and loves me and desires me…ALWAYS.

Freedom reaches into every shadow and leads me into His marvellous light…and I must go with Him there…He has given me glimpses and it leaves me full of the wonder of a child; it is like Narnia,

I just have to walk into the wardrobe.

It was JESUS who said:

“I AM the way

THE truth

THE life”.

I think I’ll listen to Him.

…..

A perfect song to end this write today is Ellie Holcomb’s “Living Water” (from her album “Red Sea Road”).

The Eyes of a King

A scene emerges in my mind’s eye…

A skater dressed in perfect white emerges onto a lake covered by ice and dense fog.

Her eyes can see nothing, but she can hear a sound…

What is this incense of sound?

Music,

Sweet music…

It surrounds her, calling to her, beckoning her to begin a dance within mystery for the Divine.

Impulsively she begins to move; the blades of her skates are sharp, she can hear them cutting and marking the ice beneath her.

She feels strong, like a Stallion released from captivity back into the wild, she cannot stop; her soul is on fire with passion for the One who created her.

Stroke by stroke her skates lead her deeper and deeper into the mystery of Eternal love and Truth. She is intense and free, dancing for the eyes of The King, her King.

The fog symbolic of what she cannot describe or see, the unreachable depths of the heart of her King of love.

The music, His gift to awaken her soul to His presence and life.

The skater moves unhindered, she is beyond grasp of stopping hand, the ice her borderless place of expression.

Freedom.

Beauty.

Passion.

For the eyes of a King, her King…

The King of the whole earth.

 

“The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting . Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth” (Psalm 50:1-2).

The Voice of God

Our cries to hear the voice of God must become less about our desire for sight and touch of the obvious and more about the positioning and conditioning of our soul to hear the sound and message of God’s low whispers.

“(Elijah)…came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him,”What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your alters, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE WIND. And after the wind an earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE FIRE. And after the fire the sound of a low WHISPER. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said…”
(1 Kings 19:9-13).

Language of Heaven

How silent the heavens would be if all the stars suddenly disappeared…

“To whom will you compare Me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up our eyes and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power NOT ONE is missing.” (Isaiah 40:25-26)

Today

The birds were all “twitterpated” today! It was as though the sunshine and spring blossoms pumped their wings and beaks with steroids! Their chirping choir was music to my ears! (I think birds must be part of the music of heaven).

There were no complaints comin’ from this gal as I trudged around my city in my oversized wool sweater, jeans, desert boots and back pack! My heart was so full of wonder and praise of my Creator; thankfulness was bouncing off my tongue like raindrops on a leaf.

What a gift one day is to an awakened soul…! Thank you God for life! Thank you for a sabbath day, for permission to lay work aside and celebrate a day like the birds!(Does that make me a “bird-brain”?).

Days like today serve as a tangible reminder of a few things (okay four)…

One: thankfulness and praise to God for the little things bring great peace and joy!

Two: A Sabbath rest is a commandment given by God and not a suggestion!

Three: Sunshine stirs a song in birds.

Four: The visuals of the earth giving birth to new life are symbolic of the hope of new beginnings (how do flowers know when it’s time to burst forth? How do leaves know when to “pop”?? Who set the alarm clock for the hybernating bear to awaken and make babies?).

Just some thoughts from my today!

I am so thankful that I am a created being; I was thought of and planned and designed; my life is not random “plop”, I was God’s intention for a purpose of His own shaping…how INCREDIBLE is that?

Makes me want to skip…or fly and chirp like a bird! (okay maybe not chirp).

I close off with inspired, life changing Words:

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; For He is our God and we are the sheep of His pasture, the flock under His care” (Psalm 95:6-7).

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness:
come before Him with joyful songs… (maybe that is what the birds are up to?)
KNOW that the Lord IS GOD.
IT IS HE whe made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100).

The Tomato Plant

I was sitting on our couch one sunny morning looking out our patio doors, when I noticed a peculiar sight.

A large ceramic planter boasting a very brown and dead tomato vine, from which hung 3 very red tomatoes.

How does that work I wondered?

The question motivated me to get off the couch to take a closer look.

Another question emerged onto the scene of my fuzzy morning mind: what becomes of the tomato if no one picks it from the vine?

The fuzz disappeared as my heart was jolted by the words of Jesus:

“Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is PLENTIFUL, but the laborers
are FEW; therefore PRAY EARNESTLY to The Lord of the harvest to send out
laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37).

In other words…there are SO MANY RIPE TOMATOES OUT THERE BUT NOT ENOUGH “PICKERS”!!

I was reminded also of what Jesus said about the ripened harvest in John chapter four:

“Do you not say, ‘There are four months, then comes the harvest’? LOOK, I
tell you, lift up your eyes and SEE that the fields are white for harvest”
(vs.35).

The harvest is ready…

Where is everyone?

What happens if there is no one to pick the fruit?