The Shining One: 100 Things You Only Thought Were In The Bible by Jeffry L. Smith

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Hey Lily! The issue is when our hurt or offense or whatever is making us feel we should leave causes us to walk away from THE Church all churches because of the reason he shares in this post. We each have such an important role to play in the Body of Christ and I think this post is getting at that point and encouraging people to not give up and walk away!

We the Church need you. The church needs more Life, Light, Faith, and Spirit; not for the Sunday morning hour, but for every hour of every day. In the U. From what I read and hear, the church is vitally strong and growing in many other parts of the world. Jesus never commanded us to GO to church, but He did say go into the world and take the gospel with you i. My opinion is that most church attenders, even those who claim to be born again, rarely share the gospel of grace.

Perhaps they are too self-absorbed. Are they serving Christ or themselves? How much time do we devote to activities that enable us to successfully implement the Great Commission? Jesus said He will spit out those who are lukewarm, so we need to be passionate, red-hot servants ministers to the world. This comment is exactly the point Dallas Willard devoted most of his ministry to addressing.

All I have to say to most of the people who commented is this: Remember the part where Jesus commands that we love others as we love ourselves? This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Too small to lift a pound woman? Get someone else in the church — someone much stronger — to do it. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that you have to harm yourself Or risk harm to yourself to serve someone else. Do some reading and dig in your past with a therapist. Take responsibility for your own boundaries and stop blaming the church.

This comment is not helpful to the people on this thread nor does it provide any great insight to the issue being discussed other than revealing that you are part of the problem. I have been guilty early in my walk with Christ of thinking stuff like this too until it happened to my family. So, I offer you grace and an opportunity for forgiveness and right relationship in the community of Christ. As a pastor, that is what I am called to do even when people throw rocks and want to kill me.

True healing and forgiveness requires reflection in the light of Scripture, repentance and in a situation like this a public form of taking responsibility for your actions and going to those whom you have murdered and asking for forgiveness. Yes, that is Scriptural and contextual. PS: I have had Christian therapists advise me to abandon the church because they have seen this sort of stuff before. So, I hope this heartfelt response was a statement of ignorance and not something more sinister.

If so, as a sister in Christ, prune your heart. Scripture is suppose to be lived out not just quoted. Quoting it is easy. Living it is hard. Try it. Repent and try again. What a sad legacy the church is leaving. And now we expect to bring in the unsaved so that maybe they can eventually be abused as well.

It almost sounds psycho in nature. It is sad so many who faithfully serve are serially abused. It is sadder yet that they are still leaving the church in droves. I too, feel the same way. We have been in church several for almost 40 years and have tried to faithfully serve. Our current church is filled with entitled millennials who have total disdain for the elderly traditionalists who feel they own the church they finance. Yet they have no problem with singing about Christian love for one another. I am done, and ready to quit serving altogether.

It is not worth the beatings we take. My wife is ready to quit church permanently. I love to fellowship, but it rarely has had a positive return on investment. My health has been affected multiple times and I need to be there for a growing family. It certainly can be directed at many churches today. What a sad commentary. No wonder Jesus threatens to take away their lamp stand in Revelation 2 unless they repent. If we attend in the future it will be on a rotating basis without getting too acquainted or involved.

A sad ending to a life of ministry. The saddest legacy is the corporation model that IMO we should all leave behind. Sometimes church leaders just feel burned out and are in need of rest and renewal. Sometimes a person has done all he can do in dealing with so-called believers who never seem to learn or practice anything the Bible teaches, and one should realize that disobedient Christians have made their own bad choices. Even the Lord Himself found it necessary to shake the dust from His feel and go elsewhere. There is so much more, but some of the last straws were when I fell ill and my weight fell to lbs, I was asked to go to a nursing home and pick up a pound women and bring her to church.

The church did not provide a handicapped van. They made me use my car. The nursing home refused to assist. So me and my husband picked up this large woman and put her in my car and trotted off to church with her where we placed her in a wheel chair to move her around the church. I had informed her that when she got back, I would be leaving on my vacation overseas. I wrote to her and told her I am still on vacation!

She said that, Oh I thought you were gone last week. Du, she was gone last week! One Sunday I woke up and decided that I was never going back. I am not well still from my illness that struck me, but I sleep in every weekend, I care for myself, I cater to myself, I am determined to get well. But no church will ever take away my ability to care for them over myself again, when all they wanted was a free ride from someone who loved serving so much that I served sick until I was so sick that I nearly took my life.

I went through the same expletive and the only option I had left was to snip the cord and keep it moving. I almost 8 years in various types of ministry. I left because I just got plain burned out. I was mostly going out of respect to my wife. Today, when I try going, I do not mention my ministry background or really anything about me for that matter. I meet up with a few guys I know well and trust for accountability and fellowship and really prefer it that way.

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Attempted to enter into vocational ministry. Earned M. Volunteered in a variety of different leadership capacities. I even was an associate pastor for a year trying to help revitalize a youth ministry that I later found out the senior pastor had previously tanked on purpose five years before I was called. That was a weird experience.

I just show up anyways. How funny is that right. Thanks for being honest. Hang in there dude.

The Shining One: 100 Things You Only Thought Were in the Bible

This is a very interesting article and the comments as well. I was raised in a Pentecostal church from birth, to parents who were extremely overly involved, that also had the family name that was looked up to at the church and by the pastor. The same was expected of me. I grew up learning how to serve, work in church. With this type of upbringing I was never taught balance.

I was not taught to say no, but to always say YES, because this is what the Lord wants from his children. To say no is being disobedient to God, and to your leaders. I left that church when I was 33 and joined a sister church where I get in way over my head. Because of my known skills, I was pushed to the max.

It began to wear on me, break me down.

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When I would ask to step down, the pastor would beg me to stay. When I would try to take a leave from music ministry, the first lady and minister of music got together to gang up on me to tell me how this was my gift from God and I owed God to do it. Long story short, I left that church last year, 3 years after I got there. I started visiting a church where no one knew me.

I just want to sit and be ministered to, because 38 years of my life was spent serving only and never being ministered to. I want to be chosen because the Lord moved upon my heart, and not because the leader asked me to and I feel obligated to. I think you are ready to do good to people in need of the precious word of God. What a story you have sister.

I hope that you find a place where you can call family. The church is a family, where we all share the responsibility to serve, love and help each other. I see the one thing is mostly missing is love. We are so preoccupied in building bigger churches, that we forget the people matter more than buildings. I really understand where you are coming from. I am in your same position now as well.

Keep praying and God will guide and lead you in His direction for your life. I am praying for the same for me as well. My family began attending a church about two years ago. We really liked the church, but started to notice that there was room for change or allowing to update to get younger member to come and join. If someone did not like or could not commit to what she had planned she would make you life miserable.

I have not been back at church since the drama has started. Its had to enjoy the word of God when I feel like I am sitting in a a middle school cafeteria. There are a few items that struck hard on me. I was part of establishing a church some time ago with two other men. I knew at that time that we were all called to serve and not to just sit and take up space. The others eventually just let me do the preaching as they were often unavailable. A year after pastor 1 left, God showed me that it was time to call a pastor.

Myself and 5 other men outside the church had submitted and one of the others was hired. I maintained my role as supporting the pastor as I had with 1. The membership was small but got smaller. To avoid the confusion and appearance of instability, I volunteered to take care of the preaching and teaching.

All agreed. A year later, we called for another pastor from applicants. I chose not to be considered and just stay long enough to select the pastor through a committee. Once pastor 3 was called and established I met with him and told him my intentions to leave as I did not want to be a stumbling block. The are several in the body that felt that I should have been selected for 2 and that caused some ruffled feathers. Well, 3 encouraged me to stay and he and I taught for 5 years and I became ordained under him.

The church eventually closed due to lack of funds and the leading of God. We took our knowledge to other churches and everyone became good humble servants. This has caused a lot of cynicism in me and a desire to seek out opportunities to target certain crowds with strong messages from the bible to wake people up. Me without purpose is not a good scenario. I need prayer. Grace And Peace. Why Romans — Philemon? I think you have some very good reasons listed here and you have seen a large representative of the wounds that the church institutional church leaves and in very large part creates over and over again without reflection or repentance.

The current systems typically are structured on power of the temple. I think it is pretty clear that Jesus spent a large portion of his ministry calling the Temple and the leaders within to task. His ministry confronted the sins of the Temple organizational church. I continue to serve my church but there was a time when it was more joyful.

That was a time when I loved God and had not been wounded by the Temple or this physical manifestation we call church today. Now I serve God not the Temple. What I mean by that is that my wounds enabled me to see the people of the church differently. I see people as people and that includes the pastors and the administration. All of us need to be held accountable to someone and there are people who build or use structures to insulate themselves from being held accountable to the detriment of others.

Our denominational structures are established to establish foundations upon which to build. It is a broken system from the start because of the foundation. The physical, mental and spiritual anguish of these people are very real. I myself had to suffer though symptoms that reflected PTSD in light of the wounds I received at the hands of pastors and leaders. They are designed to create others who will care for the wounded and needy outside the doors.

As long as we have to have power and financial constructs to make that system work. Money will always be needed and it will always be a temptation to shape ministry around it. Who will hold the leaders to account? We will always need other people in our lives. We will always need Apostles, Teachers, Shepherds, Prophets and Evangelists but to define it in such narrow ways like denominations and party lines like we do today is not only dangerous.

It is essentially trying to put new wine in old wine skins. It is a waste of time and energy. When the wine skins burst the wine is wasted and the skins ruined. That is what is happening today. People I find are usually unable to defend their faith beyond their own preprogrammed denominational responses which tells me that it most likely is a faith mimicked not manifested. All that being said, and despite my own wounds. I have learned that I have to be willing to be like Paul who was willing to lay his life down over and over, facing dangers of all kinds knowing that it would likely kill him in the end.

The greatest thing to fear was the loss of the hope he had found. That is what living for! If we truly love Jesus, it most likely will cost us everything! A hard lesson to learn. A hard message for everyone who claims to follow Jesus but if you are feeling beaten up by the church or are angry or outcast or rejected.

Remember you are probably closer to being a true disciple having traveled that path because of it. Jesus can turn those ashes into beauty. Look for Jesus to heal you on that path and remember you are not walking in unfamiliar territory alone. This was the path of all those who followed Jesus in the first few hundred years. Believing that takes spiritual courage, strength to look beyond what currently exists, seeing what can and will be coming when all things have been refined and purified in the light of something better to come. When we see that light, we will see our wounds and those who wounded us in a different way and will be able to lay claim to a new joy and new refined hope, eat hidden manna, and drink of wine better than we ever new possible.

Judgment is yet to come and healing is on the way. Please believe that…. I was an active member of Metropolitan Community Church. So I found this inclusive and affirming church and I thought I had found a place I could explore Christianity. I never felt comfortable just sitting in the pews, so I started volunteering right away on the MultiMedia Team.

This particular church broadcast their services at first on local public TV, then on YouTube and later streaming on their own website. For 17 years, I volunteered an average of 3 out of 4 Sundays per month, two services per Sunday, mixing house sound, broadcast sound, and running the cameras and video switcher. I am not too humble to say I get really, really good at what I did. The technical aspect of the services I worked were absolutely flawless. Whenever there was a concert or special event, or holiday events, I was always asked to be in charge of tech.

I really loved what I did. The ushers were always praised and thanked. The musicians, music director and choir, were always given special accolades. So the way you knew you were good at your job is when you were completely ignored sitting in the tech booth at the back of the sanctuary. Make a mistake though, and heads turn around like Linda Blaire from The Exorcist to give you a dirty look.

I guess I learned to live with that. I took great care of that property. I actually fell in love with the building. I would try to organize church cleanup days and nobody would show up. Then a BOD member would do it and 30 people would show up. There were holes in the roof, and for 4 years, I begged and begged them to get the roof fixed, and every single time it rained, I had to get up on the roof and tie down tarps to keep it from leaking.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. After that experience, it was like seeing the Great Oz was nothing more than a man behind the curtain. Honestly, I think one or two weeks after I stopped going, they completely forgot I was there or who I was. I tried to force myself to try other churches, but it all feels so unauthentic now. I am not sure you intended to reply directly to my post but I will accept the invitation to do so. What I hear in your note is that you felt important in how you were serving the church and that you feel like you did a great job.

I suspect that you were very much in the right on this point. Welcome to the club! I am sure that most of the people who worked alongside you felt very much the same way. Even the pastor! Churches try to get people plugged in to places of service right away to help them invest in the church and make relationships for a variety of reasons.

First, we want them to create relationships. Second, we want them to realize that they can make valuable contributions to the mission of the church in big ways no matter who they are or where they serve. It also sounds as if the principle under of servant-leadership was never fully understood. I would challenge you to seek a real spiritual growth aspect in your discipleship in Christ.

It is unclear what you mean by this. Are you expecting people to not be people? We need to be honest with our own stuff first if we are ever going to be able to expect other to be honest with theirs. Were you serving to glorify Christ or were you serving to glorify yourself? I think your note is pretty clear on that matter. Mature Christians are focused on glorifing Christ even if that means we are not. In either case, it was probably a good choice for you to leave your role. Instead of expecting the church to fill that emptiness you are feeling look for a deeper relationship with Christ, it sounds as if you are looking in the wrong place for that fulfillment and recognition.

People will never fill that emptiness. You need to go deeper in understanding yourself and why you needed it in the first place. This experience should be a mirror, what did you learn about yourself? Does that teach you something about people in general? What do you see that you need to repent for? How can you love them better in realizing that they have weaknesses like yourself and make errors just as you do as well?

We also fail to grow in our relationship with God. If the way of the cross was easy, everyone would do it. Growing is hard and painful work. Jeffrey — I totally hear what you are saying. I was in that position for 4 years — I could go on, but I am healing and there is only two people that I can to dig up that past with, besides God, one is the therapist and the other knows who she is. You are not wrong — I am beginning to see that many pastors have narcissistic personalities and often use gaslighting to control.

You are not crazy!! It is much safer to worship at home, and serve my community in His name. I feel very close to God, and I am more aware of what the needs are in my own community. Something I never paid attention to, in the confinement of a church building. A year later, the pastor who let me go was let go.

The church struggled for quite a while and is now in a place of rebuilding. Many of them are hard to admit, but they are true. I attend and serve in the same church I was on staff in, but trust, me it has not been easy. I believe my involvement says more about the faithfulness of the God I serve, than it does about whether or not I am there. I have to choose every day to forgive those who never came to my aide, who never said they were sorry about what happened to me; who never responded the way I thought children of God should respond when someone who had faithfully served them was treated.

But, I realize each and every day, that none of it is about what I think I deserve. I continually have to line myself up to the scripture and choose to believe what He says about me. I was the Office Manager for 9 years and was forced to resign about 5 years ago. After untruths were told about me and rumors spread.

I am still attending this church. While working I was not allowed to serve on committees, but could serve on a few other things like VBS, solos, etc. But now I am not asked to sing. I have been mentioned to serve on some committees, but then passed over. I have been a member of this church for more than 30 years. I try to get involved, but I am turned down or simply not asked to help.

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I am considering leaving this church. But I keep hoping that things will get better. Because — they use same vocal music — people are shit! I believe the church is here to fear ppl and the fact that everything is a sin In the eyes of the church and the truth of the matter is there just is period no right no wrong we all were put here on earth for a reason and a purpose we all have a path and not one thing happens for no reason!

But the church puts fear into ppl rather than spread the word of love which God wants! It is also interpreted in many different ways by all different ppl rather than try interpreting what man has put in words why not listen and talk to God for themselves! I believe myself that the church is the most hypocritical place on earth! I also believe that they are full of crapt with their nonsense and what they try and make ppl believe about God!

He loves everyone in one sentence but the next just the opposite so which is it does he love everyone no matter what or does he not? Good day folks and God Bless and hopefully one day the whole world can awaken and see for themselves but until then you have a bunch of ppl sitting around listening to what someone other than God tells them to believe and what to do and how to live, and how they tell them is the way!

I have a very close relationship with God and until the day the church was outta my head I never could understand anything they ever tried to teach as nothing made a bit of sense at all but now I get it finally and not from a book a man wrote but God! Jean Mikhail.. Try Truth For Life. He is from Scotland, and has an accept that is soothing to the ear. He starts out with a Bible reading and then a prayer. After that, he speaks to his congregation. His sermons are Biblically sound, but far from boring. It is so easy to listen and follow along with your Bible, and everything can be applied to your life.

Give him a try. You might change your mind about all tv preachers being boring. God bless you. If it is either one I totally understand. Each of them has a distorted teaching rooted in the catechisms which is a product of man, not God. My advice is to read the bible and try different Christian churches. But also realize that no church is perfect. The are some that are better than others, but you need to feel welcomed at the church. Notice I said that YOU need to feel welcomed, not hear from the church that you are welcomed. There is a difference. God does us that love is something that is known by the actions of the ones that are giving love.

This article is truth. I am in a struggle right now. I absolutely adored my church until I started serving, attending meetings, and fellowshipping outside of Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Is this what I really want. I even missed two Sundays if serving in hopes of them sitting me down so I can just merely attend or kick me out so I can freely attend elsewhere…..

Interesting article. Thank you for taking the time to put it in writing for us! There are so awful, mean, manipulative and conniving leaders out there who are extremely self-centered and narcissistic. This group of leaders drains the last bit of energy out of hard working Christians. The transition is a lot! God bless you and thanks again! This is sooooo on point. I wish leaders would acknowledge this in sincere truth. Many of us are just tired…. My love for God is sincere. I want someplace where God is the center of everything…. Thank you Carey!

I really appreciate this article. Culture shock, new school, new house, new neighbors, etc. But by and far the greatest challenge has been finding and attempting to acclimate to a new church. It has not. And I have been devastated by this reality. As I read your article, what resonates within me is the issue of identity. Your 1 reason — identity — is probably my greatest struggle. What a painful realization. But iron sharpens iron so I thank you. Their Pastors or leaders want to be dictators instead of teachers. When they get up to teach their desire is to impress you with their degrees or with a degree they want you to think they have.

Now there is why no one wants to support one of them. There are a few good pastors left, but the organizations behind them are crocked as a snake, well that is a serpent and we know who that was in the bible. Also the spirit of God only gives one an understanding of the scriptures not some university.

If one was illiterate and a true believer told them what the scriptures says the spirit of God would draw a true picture of what the scriptures are truly saying. Church in the USA is a business run in the mirror image of corporate America. Having been on the inside, this lie is embraced by many if not most. Pastors cling to the age-old human frailty of having to feel significant and successful. We all struggle with God accepting us simply for love because we accepted Christ and not because of what we do. I have attended services in third world countries where churches earnestly struggle to display the Truth that American churches take for granted.

Old people, in China, will stand by windows on the outside of the building leaning in to hear any Word from God; listening for a whisper of any hope that there is something more worthwhile than this existence. There should be no payment for services rendered and no one should have to depend upon a sick and misled church to support them and their family. Churches need to be smaller, more local, in homes or other meeting places and tithes should go to minister to all less fortunate in knowledge and wealth.

When churches get Too bureauratic and start putting restrictions on talented and gifted believers. Thats when it gets messy. When the Church just takes takes takes and not give. Why do We have certain rich churches help out other poor struggling Churches from other denominations.

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After all its God universal church. Thats messy. When leaders get big egoes or get abusive messy! Where is God in all this. He s not allow in and the holy spirit leaves until forgiveness, and true love returns to the believers in the Church. Well, comments and a few years after you wrote your original article, this is all too real and it is tragic in my own life. The difficult thing is the humility, the ability to be OK with change and allowing others to use their gifts.

I recently became a mom and all of my energy has morphed into motherhood now. I ran everything, lol! And I loved every part of it!! I breathed leadership. The roles are filled and there seems to be no place for me. God is using me in other capacities at home as mom, but I just refuse to believe it. I always identified myself in the leadership role. But the struggle is real and it is hard to get myself out the door on Sunday morning. A friend told me recently that my thinking was flawed.

That includes church. I just want to serve where I am needed. Do I become more assertive or more patient? Jean you are doing the most important ministry that you could ever do and that is being a mom. The best way to make this world a better place is by investing in our kids. You can be just as much of a servant outside the church as you can inside the church. You are on the right track by letting God form your identity. I have spent many years doing good works for God because I was still trying to get my Fathers approval and I put that on my heavenly Father.

Partner with God and pursue that unconditional love that He has for you. It will change you and all the relationships around you for the better. God Bless! I think this was a great article. It definitely caused me to take a look at some decisions made in my own life. I believe that I have to love myself properly before I am able to love someone else and sometimes loving yourself enough to walk away is the best decision.

Unfortunately, because I believed that statement for so long…. I did stay…waaaaay too long. This article is HUGE. I have seen glimpses of him in small churches, where the pastor held a secular job, AND served as pastor. In this church type, everyone contributed and shared responsibilities evenly.

There was no need for jockeying for salaried positions. Let me now share that I am a professional vocalist and musician. I sing with bands every week weddings, corporate, etc and make good money doing it. I have seen musicians idolize music, as well as becoming idols, so I was reluctant to mention my gifting. Once it was discovered that was multi-talented, I was offered a role on the worship team.

My issues driving me away now:. I have many beloved friendships that hang in the balance of me just wanting to drop everything and leave. I think this should be number 10 on this blog if you want to capture everything. I think what often happens is that someone characterizes one bad local church as the universal norm. There are some great local churches.

I wish I had read this article a few years ago and been able to discuss it with my Pastor. Maybe things would have been different today. I did the power point for church for 4 years and just left the church, to try and heal. I had served on the board during this same time, and ended up as treasurer. I got the rathe in the end — but she got her money due. It really was the beginning of the end. But, I was doing the weekly power point and enjoyed working with the Pastor and doing some incredible things for Christ.

I tried to explain this to the Pastor and a fellow board member. Not until a week ago, after she had taken a new job, did I once again express my loss of not being able to worship on Sundays, when I so desired to do so. But, this time, she shared what she does — look for the little things during worship. I am not sure when or if I will return to church. I grew up in a fire and brimstone church.

Had to find my self spiritually in Los Angeles. A church should be the church of many, not the church of a few. I have so many gifts to give and freely do so — but I went from giving my all to the church, to giving none. It is so sad. I know I am not alone. I know that there is a journey ahead. This article is one step in healing. Thank you! Many who have a long intimate personal relationship with the Lord and commune daily in the Word of God and love Jesus our Savior grow weary of the commercialization and business only component of the buildings called church…we take to the family and community needs right under our noses and become involved where we make and see the evidence of a difference…seed and tithing does not always have to be about money…it gets old and empty hearing that by so many pastors…then here comes their children and grandchildren…really?

I can relate to all the comments. Thank you everyone for your vulnerability and I send you all love. We saw too many things to mention including Pastor misusing funds, a leader embezzling money, affairs at leadership level, abuses…. I feel the worst, was the treatment of the people in the pews. All these broken people came to the church, only to be further broken.. We experienced more love and kindness from atheists. I feel closer to God away from all that toxicity. The church is no longer a light.. It seems worldly things have taken over. I never had much of my inner healing or sanctification carried out within the church environment.

It was when I came out of the church that I drew close to Jesus and He was able to sort out my mess, heal and deliver me. Going back into a church environment for me now would be suicide. Here is where the problem lies, looking to church leaders to act as mediators, the Holy spirit and the voice of God to us.

If we seek God with all our hearts we find Him. Not in the church, at home on your knees and on your face. Getting rid of sin and getting sanctified. The worst thing about reading your post is that hardly anyone will understand what you are talking about. They build using their own hands and call it gods work. What are all these denominations? To look in awe up to a holy god and look back down at the church system and services that take place and then call it gods willI needs to spend a while longer looking upward.

Nobody can build gods kingdom apart from him. It is not built by human hands the Bible states God is not man as if he needed anything, Jesus said apart from me you can do nothing. I see more than most people perhaps and after many, many thousands of hours of seeking God I have come to the conclusion that that I would probably not join his church either, anybody who thinks they would should consider just where their really at…..

Consider this — Would you leave everything to follow him, leave everybody? Have you turned your back on all in its entirity what the world has to offer? Did he not give you gifts you from heaven? Did he not give you power by his spirit? Did you bear the fruit of his spirit by the might of your own arm? Did you save yourself? Did you bear the agony of the cross for your own salvation? Was it your blood that washed away your sin? Get rid of the cliche, stock christian answers that you might want to retort with. Does anyone really understand just who it is that we are trying to serve?

The god of gods king of Kings, perfect, flawless, sinless. There was a time that men trembled at his word, but not today. Will man never stop with his boasting and pride will he never stop trying to make God in his own image? Do people not realise that only good comes from God? I could keep on but what would be the point what do I know.? May God bless you Rachel. Stay blessed!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Oh my goodness I feel u on such a deep level soo much on this.. Attending church is physiologically too difficult for me. Everyday I think of the times that I was sexually abused as a child. Seeing a church from the road gives me anxiety and going inside I break out in sweats and get the shakes.

I know God is everywhere and I can talk directly to him without attending any kind of church service. I wish there was somewhere children could go to for help if they are sexually abused by an adult. The thing is, some children do not know that they are being abused. I was sexually abuse by my cousins n brothers n I kept it inide of me for years. I started attending a Christian Church n started going to woman retreats n God has shown me his love for me. Chris Tucker Hello. This is absolutely evil and unconscionable. I, too, was abused as a child, but not in church.

There is help out there for PTSD, and recovering from sexual abuse. I hope and pray you avail yourself of it. Another reason for not going: …I was 45 years in music ministry. It just feels weird to sit in the pews after so many years of being actively involved in worship and sitting at the front. No glory, believe me! But I enjoyed the process of being involved. Now that illness has forced me to retire, I just do not feel comfortable going to church, except on the occasions where I am filling in for the current musician.

It is a dislocation kind of thing! I really think the today church totally is not what God head in mind, people run from church to the world because of the confusion u find. I have been saved for 10 years, called but nobody cared about my calling, rather was only used for something else. Today I just want to go out there preach to non believers and come home. I no longer have that joy of going to fellowship.

I really think we should only use home sells to fellowship not church that needs more than Faith. Today church feels like jail. Something is wrong. Listen to all this people hurting so bad, because of today church. Something is horribly wrong. There for we have to change and work with the church to make it better, when they will let us. Regarding point 5. This is not exclusive to us, as God uses many people in many walks of life to be three-dimensional thinkers who become great innovative achievers.

I have spent time both in and out of the church. My first 6 years out of the church was the most spirituality productive ever. I drew so close to God and He taught me all sorts of things about Him, laid a solid foundation in the scriptures, how to get healed delivered set free from strongholds, addictions, bond ages, receive miracles and breakthroughs in my own life.

Things that I never ever learnt in all my 12 yrs in the church. Church is for spiritual babies and people who just want to play and have their bottoms wiped by others. I am so much more happy and stable outside the church walls and being much more productive as a believer in reaching the lost, discipling and changing our world. That is not to brag but its the truth. Rachel, I very much appreciate this, as I in some ways find your experiences corresponding with my own. Blessings to you!

Because of what I now do i spend a great deal of time on my own, I believe it is a price we have to pay if we want to be close to Godand really know Him. I do love it this way because I have less interference and less persecution. The loneliness and isolation can be hard at times but I am finding that if i stay in worship daily, ask God for the right people to fellowship with during each week then I can strike a good balance.

Churches to me at the moment are a place to visit but not to live if that makes sense? Rachel, spending time with others in fellowship is church. I think for the most part it has to be people who are authentic like the people you are asking God for to come into your life. I know people are going to get offended by this but church should not be number one in your life.

That pursuit of really pouring into God should be number one in your life, that relationship with Him. Let Him eventually give you the desire to attend a church someday. The only way I can attend church is by taking my eyes off of people and completely focusing on God. If you are not there yet that is okay. What I am reading in a lot of these posts is that people are looking for something outside of themselves when they should be looking on the inside and let God fill whatever we are missing.

I believe that is what you are doing. This article is terrible. It is pretty much telling hurting church leaders to get over their pain. What a joke. Great read!! Raised Roman Catholic, I attended a private nun-haunted school. Although there are a few okay nuns, most were elderly, mean, and not suited to dealing with young children. That said, I did not attend mass for many years, feeling I was unworthy. When I married a lapsed Lutheran, we decided to joint an Evangelical church.

Then, finally, we joined a Lutheran church in our Minneapolis suburb. The others were okay. We left after two years. I think of churches as man-organized businesses. My relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal. At least most businesses in the private sector throw a little money your way if you work for them. Megalomaniac I think not. Do you forget the opening statement in the BOM? Please be very clear that when Christians defend our faith against that of the LDS church, we are not attacking you. The LDS church claims that Christians do not have the full gospel and that what they do have in the Bible was corrupted as soon as it was set down in writing.

The LDS church claims that Christian beliefs are wrong and that they are the result of a great apostasy. It is very dishonest of you to claim that you would never attack another persons religion or beliefs. I have long removed myself from going to church because of a couple of different reasons.

I do not support the church of the LDS nor fully support the Christian church. In , he got the leaders of various factions of some of the branches of Christianity and together, they decided what would put into the Bible and what would be removed. Now, I do understand that the early church wanted consistency and that some of these gospels and books did not fall in line with their dogma, the whole story is not being told.

He did not form the Catholic Church- that was Theodisius. Read some actual history rather than taking the word of internet rumors and conspiracy theorists. Scripture was considered scripture long before official big wigs were around to influence the matter. The belief is that a Greek theologian was the first to put the Bible together the way we know it today. But all agree that the Second Council of Constantinoble agreed to the books officially. Many believe that books were excluded and destroyed, but who really knows for sure?

No, all do not agree that the Second Council of Constantinople agreed to the canon. That council happened in AD- long after the formation of the Roman Catholic church. Heck, that council was long after Patrick spread the gospel to Ireland and the Celtic Church emerged. Who really knows for sure? Anyone who bothers to read actual history. Most of the notes from those councils have been preserved.

Only by the Spirit of the Lord can we know what should be considered as inspired of Him or not. There is no other way. Anything can be considered a gospel; anything can be considered as a legitimate component of the canon of Scripture, but what does God have to say? Jews went to temple. They observed holy days and feasts, and did sacrifice. They went to synagogue or at least the men did, and they learned Torah orally from an early age. Church is a newer concept, and even before Rome got involved it was nothing like what accounts for church on American soil. Apostacy is the definition of Joseph Smith…he was an apostate in every sense, which makes me chuckle….

I think it not a stretch to believe that any historical documents that supported his view would have been destroyed also. This was the established method of the Roman Catholic church. At the beginning of this mess, someone suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities. And it did. This is why, since I began to think for myself, I have never felt closer to my Creator than when I was in the midst of a forest or a vast desert, deep in meditation, and usually alone.

As long as there are individuals. There will be differing opinions. Americans are taught to be free thinking from early on, much of the other cultures are more conformist than those on our soil. Fess up, I know you knew…blessings on your alone time, may you be enlightened sweetie! Do I have to write provocative articles to get a response from readers? Look it up, go to library go get books on Masons, and compare the ceremonies. Read anything written about the Book of Abraham outside church approved documents.

Be bold, be brave, and look at the information outside church explanations about what kind of life Joseph Smith actually lived. And then if you want people who were like you, go read some of the stories that put your religion in context and why many have left. Stand alone and be their own deal and not try to say they are something, or present that they are something they are NOT. That is where the conflict is, not with you personally. If the LDS church would stand alone, and say we have a different take on how to get to heaven and how to live.

Joseph Smith is the basis of the religion, his dreams, his books. Most of the Christian Protestant denominations only differ on a few points.

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  • No more temple rites, no more priestly activities, ceremony. LDS follow the prophet, you sing, follow the prophet songs. Who cares about a prophet, mere mortal, too limited. I am heart sick over how many are duped, why they are duped, and how they continue to be duped. But if you talk to those who left, or go to exmormon. The betrayal the deception really harms. Talk to the missionaries after their 2 yrs, most are so disillusioned. In the book of Revelations And I John looked up and saw a multitude of people I could not count, from every tribe and every nation…….

    You dont know who are true believers. Only God know that. I believe GrimEngineer was talking about the governance and organization, not necessarily the doctrine. In either case, perhaps one should not be so quick to cast the first stone. Bible and book burning coming son! Via 3rd party statistics also. The ancient Christian churches do that too. Well, it is not the SOLE job of the preacher to pastor the flock.

    That is the job of the elders which he may be one of them. Secondly if the pastor preaches a mess with the Holy Spirit it is very good , and thirdly I believe a church is there to use its gifts to reach out to the people and outside and lost and the church must train them to disciple. There are only two churches, the true and the false, Do you truly know to which church you are referring? Can you tell? Get your butt out of the pew and start teaching yourself, read your bible! As for the Apostles, they lived a harsh life and gave their life for the gospel, certainly far from Pastors of today who live off the backs of the flock living in cribs in upscale neighborhoods while single parents struggle..

    Palease, wake up! I left your faulty brand of church a long time ago!! The scriptures written by the apostles taught them to take care of one another needs, and one of the churches hugest problems is they have become the pastor only church instead of a living organism they became an organisation instead. The care one for another in the church has basically vanished out the door.

    The overwhelming amount of churches in America, are business ventures. Men and women attain professional degree, that they may open a church for profit. Jesus says in Jeremiah , that they went out and he did not send them. They have run with their message and prophesy, but I did not speak to them. Again, their are many false prophets who have gone out in Jesus name for profit.

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    People think the church does not have expenses or responsibilities to the government. Do you think all pastors just suck up all the money??? No, some pay the bills and even have to come out of their personal pockets to help the church stay alive so that the lights are on when YOU do decide to come to church. How about trying this on, go to church because you need it.

    Not about anything else. I personally think each church organization HQ baptist, catholic, methodist, etc should collect the offerings and ensure all in the church are taken care of — including the pastor. There is nothing in scripture to support this teaching that the church is responsible for supporting a pastors lifestyle … it is pure pride and arrogance and misinterpretation of the scriptures. Like it or not, you are not in line with scripture, Mary. It should be the other way around, the leaders living lavishly ought to be caring and meeting specific needs of the poor … where and in what church is this occurring?

    Taking scripture out of its context, using it as weaponry, misinterpreting and using half truths are the tools of deception and profiting is the goal, period. There is simply no other justification for money to even play a part. God knew what he was doing when it came to money. The early church understood this and provisions like food and shelter were provided as there was need.

    Not this ridiculousness we see going on today. A collection was taking up once for the poor and sent to Jerusalem … today the church, which is billions rich and tax exempt, begs for money repeatedly week after week after week. Go educate yourself about the Jewish Apostles and the way. Ancient Israel and the early church did not run the church like it is ran today.

    They were a true family, inclusive, caring, loving, discerning. I believe if pastors truly cared for God and his people, he would gladly get a job like the ones who have a job and volunteer for free, while a pastor draws a salary, how arrogant and entitled for a pastor to do this, they just wanna be a God themselves. Then they would delegate and everyone would have purpose … oh, the pride of some men. I believe any pastor drawing a salary and living off the backs of the week is no man of God at all but a man of self!

    Now go get a job! Thank you soo much for explaining this. I always wondered how that was to be. Now that I realize it is of the increase.. You do not know how much of a burdon has been lifted. I always felt so bad for not tithing properly that I often simply did not. I always made sure my kids I am a single mom have offering and I would put in a love offering but the tith was such a burdon that I could not do and always felt so guilty. GrimmEngineer you will never know what that information has done for me. Thank you. I encourage you to study all the Scriptures that deal with the commanded tithe.

    If you do, you will find that God never commanded anyone to tithe his or her money to the Temple. You will also find that in the New Testament, tithes were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the Church. God does not want tithe of money, and He never required people living on Gentile soil to tithe. Your tithe is what you want to give to God.

    Whatever you do decide to give to him should be given cheerfully and without resentment. And remember, it is optional, but this is the only thing that Jesus ever said to test him on. Pray about it, search scripture, and then give what you are led to give. I hope that in turn you will see those storehouses opened up and poured out upon you for faithfully rising up.

    As far as criticizing a church for paying their Pastor — he not only works for God, but he works for his people. It is only fair that he is paid so that he can provide for his family. Would you work endless hours a day, 7 days a week without an income?

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    • Almost everyone produced something. Whether it be cattle, or plants or other goods. When you paid your tithes you gave your best cattle, or sheep, or produce etc. For example, Alma seems to pretty clearly indicate that tithing is from all that you posses, same as the KJV. Nephi compare to Malachi My view is this: Old Testament, you owe a tenth of your first fruits to God who has supplied; New Testament, you were bought with a price and every dime, resource, or minute in your possession belongs to God who supplies your needs in order to expand his kingdom and glorify him.

      Why limit it to a tenth? To give to the churh is not just monetary. Share your money, time, talents, and resources. It is like any community, you should give as you receive. It is about being in relationship. Its not a monetary relationship… that is not Biblical. You give to God in faith… not out of expectation that you will receive anything in return. God already gave His life for you… He owes you nothing else.

      Yet you offer no counterpoint. How is anyone to know if YOU have any scriptural understanding? Without keeping his promises. Words as in words in the Bible are cheap. God broke His promises to me, if there were any promises at all. Do they ask for your salary slip? Why do people fight here about what the tithe is? Tithe is not a tax! It is a free will offering. They also know that no one can out give God. Unless Saint Peter is expecting all of your check. John have you not read the Bible lately? Never saw a miracle in the bible where Jesus gave money to the poor beggars. They knew in their knowers that they need the bread of life to survive.

      Muslims boast they pray 5 times a day. Christians pray without cease. At least we pray like Jesus pbuh , with our faces to the ground.. Check out how Jesus pbuh prayed in Matt. Tithing is a covenant giving by individuals who foremost have a relationship with God and by grace, understands the principle behind it. It is possible for someone to love God deeply but just happen not to accept tithing. No amount of argument can make anyone to accept the principles of tithing. Jacob promised God he was going to give it. No one told him to do so. Jacob never said God asked him for it but probably he learnt about tithing from his own father.

      In almost 40 years of my work experience I have found out how it works. I can speak for myself. I owe no obligation to anyone on this matter to disclose whether or not I am a tither, it is an issue between me and my God. God has been very generous to me over the years in many ways. More than issues about money, my everyday desire is to please God by the help of the Holy Spirit.

      Actually, God does not need my money but many people around me do. My attitude towards money can reveal a lot about the content of my heart. Please, I hope you are not offended? Who cares, tithing doesnt save. Faith does. God does not condemn us,Usually its christians quarreling amongst them selves, how better than others one is because you tithe? Huh what Bible do christians read? Feed orphans weekly etc etc not not to pay for a building,pastor ,lights,smoke screens etc etc ,entertainment,extra ministries like coffee shops ,blah blah blah. Its Grace my friends no matter where you are with God.

      All fall short of Gods Glory, you aswell no matter how much you tithe. No, no one needs to tear anybody down. It is a matter of explanation based on observations, and personal experience derived from many years of active study and application of the Word of God in a personal life. Perhaps you have read in the Bible also that faith without work is dead? What gives you the impression that those who tithe do not give to the homeless and support widows and orphans? How did you come to the conclusion that those who tithe do not obey the instruction that they should love God wholeheartedly and love others as themselves?

      Who told you to compare people on the basis of whether or not one pays tithe? I think it is also a generalised assumption to think that all Churches where there are faithful tithers the money thus generated by the Church goes to the ministers alone or spent on fanciful buildings and frivolous expenses. As I mentioned in my last post, not even all those who are genuine believers accept the principles of tithing.

      That being the case, what chance then does an unbeliever has of receiving sound teaching on tithing? This is not to suggest in anyway that you are not a believer it is just that at this point in time you have not yet accepted the teaching on tithing. It does not follow that you cannot receive it in the future if you are already a true believer or become one in the future. No one can earn any favour from God on the basis of good works alone but surely God rewards obedience, faithfulness and service.

      Tithing was widely practiced in the old testament as suggested by Malachi — There is absolutely nothing to suggest that those who gave tithe in the old testament failed in their duty to take care of widows and orphans. In the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ He did not say people should not give tithe. He only condemned those who failed in their duty to take care of their parents under the cloak that gave their money to the temple service and as such they had nothing left to give to their parents.

      We can talk about tithing from now till the cow comes home without coming to any reasonable agreement. That is what God said. Just obey and see what happens in your life. You may find out that that will be the end of all argument on the issue as far as you are concerned. Of course it is inclusive! In conclusion, as someone rightly pointed out on this forum, we should all go back to the Church and support the work of God in the Church and not look for excuses about faults in the Church.

      I hope you understand where I am coming from on this? Before anyone can please our Holy God, we must receive his Holy Spirit as it is written in John 14; Acts 2; This is what Jesus wants you to know and have Peter. Jesus is calling us into repentance and into a covenant with Him through the Holy Spirit which He pray to God to sent to those who wants it. It is a teacher and a guide and to have true worship with Jesus. John 4; We must ask Jesus for His Holy Spirit to live in us.

      We must surrender to Jesus and be obedience to His will not our will. Those receive His Holy Spirit and seeking Him, He will open your eyes and mind to the real fellowship with Him until his return for His chosen people who were obedience in receiving His gift of the Holy Spirit.

      Jesus was the living sacrifice to redeem man back to Him and to fulfill the the promise He gave to Israel and redeem man from their sins, which Adam sin. Lets receive His gift to man Acts 2;38 and than seek Him about how we can financially help in spreading the word of God all over the world, in mission field, etc. We live in a world now that it takes money to paid for mission work. We have to let God guide us to the ministry He want us to work in and is truly called by Him. If we do our parts as Jesus disciples than let Jesus deal with the wick ministry and people, they are not getting away.

      If we are struggling, let fast to help someone in more need, or help in the church, cut the grass, pick up trash along the road to your church and community and watch God turn your situation around and cancel outstanding debts we owe. He will show His people favor with man. Acts 19; So Instead of us fussing our paying tithes we need to focus on having what Jesus said we need to have to return back with Him when he return. I will not hear from you Peter but I pray that Jesus will open your eyes from being a debtor against His chosen people and be a Disciple of His word.

      Love you in Jesus Name my brothers and sister who will read this message. You seem to suggest that people who pay tithe love others less and turn blind eyes to the poor. Tear you to pieces? Why is that? Look my brother, this is not a theological debate or intellectual argument. It is about faith, commitment, level of grace, and depth of relationship with God.

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      It is also about experience and exposure. The end of all arguments over this is to try God and see. I agree…. NOT what God wants of us. He is very specific in that as He states…. I feel that means f the r us ALL to make a heart felt decision to do what is right …. The tithe is an OT Law, 1 of If we are to honor 1 we are to honor them all. The tithe was instituted by GOD for his chosen people, the Israelites. God instructed his chosen on how to handle the tithe, who would benefit from it and that it was to be eaten before the Lord. Do pastors today eat the tithe bf the Lord?

      No, they live lavishly off the backs off their own flock. They are liars and deceivers. The tithe was not for preachers or christians, it was for the Levite priests and the people of Israel, the Jews and it was also to be brought to Jerusalem for the celebration held there, it was a covenant arrangement. Any man today teaching tithe law keeping is a false teacher! Thanks, but I do not see it that way. Nonetheless, I also know that there are many other genuine men and women of God out there.

      My offering is part of my worship. Once I drop it in the offering bowl my obligation ends. I trust God to be able to hold accountable those who thereafter handle the money. In fact, I do not loose sleep over any offering that I hand over after I have done it. Faith in our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ and to love our neighbor, enemy, and alien is stressed in the New Testament.

      Certainly the gospels speak of not judging or condemning others, to forgive, and freely give to others is of upmost importance because the measure we do so, will be measured by Him. There is no rule about giving a particular amount, but to give to another in need is suppose to be done without being selfish or subjective. It is not wise to immediately condemn or judge the other person. Tithing is an immense burden and stress to single parents, abandoned by their spouses, and who are raising their dependent children alone.

      When you are hungry, and without a secure shelter over your head, it is a horrible pressure, and a horrible guilt. From a human point of view you are right. Any service that is done involuntarily would naturally be burdensome. When a man truly falls in love with a woman there is no telling what he can do for a newly found love. When the motivation is borne out of love and desire for service, people can for example walk a thousand mile from Europe to Jerusalem under inclement conditions just for the desire to do it.

      Others can go to places to preach the gospel even when they know they may not return alive. Precisely, that was what Jesus did for us. He gave His life for us so that we can live. We cannot give more than what Jesus already gave us. You seem to care about poor single parents. There is one very poor single parent I read about in the bible. She wanted to cook for her son and herself their last meal and thereafter there was no hope of any more food coming their way.

      Then a prophet who I do not envy his position came on the scene and asked for a share out of that meal. From a human point of view that prophet would have been condemned as a heartless man. The poor single mother was willing to share her last meal with a stranger and then a miracle followed. If you cannot give when you are poor you are most unlikely going to give even if you have plenty. I have found out that those who are willing to give the little they have not under compulsion always come back smiling with a testimony to share.

      The church is always complaining about us not giving when they refuse to hold up their end of the deal. Sorry my ignorance about you here, have you approached your family? I help and give the the person standing in front of me at any given time, whom G-d sent for me to help.

      G-d never demanded a communist system. In fact no system, since we are not of this world, only in it. Tithing of time and talents skills and gifts are worthy tithe. But when did the Lord ever accept anything as a tithe that was different than animals and crops??? Why must we become children in our understanding? Such are no so abundant upon the earth that there is just no money to go around anymore. That sentence of yours I see hundreds of times in all forums. There is plenty of money, it is just in the wrong hands. There is also opportunity to change ones financial future, and it is not god who makes that happen.

      I have been able to see my situation much more clearly since I left religion than I ever did with any of the Pastors, teachers, and advisers I had in my life as a believer. I was always taught to spend less not like I had much to spend rather than to learn how to make more. There really is a failure in the American educational and religious systems when it comes to money. God will not provide! We must provide for ourselves. So governments print dollars or whatever other fiat denominations, we need our Father for our to give the increase for our living in HIS way. The church as you see it inthe building with a bell tower or not, consists of people such as yourself, hapless people who sit with lots and lots of worries.

      Most of us now no longer have the means for any extravagance, our increase is in the safety of our children, parents, husbands wives. So sorry, I know you have so many needs. Judy, I think you missed my point, and where I am coming from. The church is an organization of people. It reflects their desires. While every society is different, there are similarities; I must pay for food, clothing, and shelter; I assume you do as well. We must stay alive, because no one can see beyond the grave- is there a life on the other side?

      No one has seen that. There are many stories, both Christian and hundreds of other traditions; none of them agree on what it is. We only know of this life and this dimension. If you are depending on an invisible being, then prove your trust is valid by waiting for food and clothing to come to you miraculously, and leave your doors open. Otherwise, your vain claims are meaningless. Tithes were never from firstfruits. Not sure where you heard it was, but wherever you got it from was wrong. Nehemiah And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

      Nehemiah And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. Notice the firstfruites were taken by the children of Israel to the House of God and into the chambers of the storehouse. But the tithes, they took to the Levites. The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God into the chambers of the storehouse. Tithes and firstfruits were not the same… they were taken to two different places.

      Also, the Old Testament says tithes were given at the end of the harvest, while the firstfruits were from the beginning of the harvest. The pastor is not a Levite Priest and has no authority to take the tithe. My Bible says bring the tithe into His store House. These modern day con artist pimpsters equate their churches to the storehouse. That too is a lie and false doctrine.. This is just a play on words and a method of deception to trick sheeple into giving. Second, during Old Testament times, a storehouse was just that, a storehouse. The children of Israel took the firstfruits to the House of God, into the chambers.

      The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God, into the chambers. It is quite clear that the two, firstfruits and tithes could not have been the same thing. One went one place, the other went to another place. Also, firstfruits were nothing more than a basket or handful of fruit from the beginning of the harvest. Tithes were always paid at the end of the harvest. These two verses alone prove that tithes and firstfruits were not the same. They reveal that the children of Israel took firstfruits to the House of God, while the tithes they took elsewhere.

      One might feebly attempt to say that the Levites were at the Hosue of God to receive the tithes from the children of Israel, but the text proves they could not have been. LoL The argument fails in light of the clear text of the Bible. If you are supporting your family and living a good and honest life, and giving what you can to support the church, then I doubt it matters. Perhaps you all are the problem… ya think? He is a God of multiplication. He took a lunch for one small lad and fed 5, with it.

      And they were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the New Testament Church. The commanded tithes were for the children of Israel only, and then only once they crossed the Jordan and entered into the promised land. Leviticus ; Deuteronomy ; Hebrews Who cares? That the church expects so much more from a woman I have my own story to tell about that. This is the BIG stuff that others are ignoring and so are losing many in their congregations. Oh, I agree. The Church is not listening. Many are leaving for the very reasons Pastor Pavlovitz has written.

      Sometimes, it is because of a spirit of rebellion, hating all that has to do with God. Other times, it is because the leadership, those who should have a heart of compassion, do not show the heart of compassion to those who need it. And so, those who need to feel loved and cared for, often return to the world where they at least had seeming friends. I was the organist, pianist and soloist at my church by the age of I was told that god had a special place for women in this world and I was doing a great job of it and to stay where I belonged.

      There is nothing wrong with a woman getting a religious education. Well this was WAY back. Here are the passages to which I was referred. I Corinthians I Timothy I Timothy I had already read those verses many times, and I saw no connection to the church until the pastor brought it up. I saw it for what is was… and still is. Ome only need flip to the 1 Corinthians 11 to prove the pastors wrong. Says a woman can prophesy if her head is covered.

      To prophecy means to bring forth the Word. A woman can indeed bring the Word. I have heard many a woman butcher the Word, but I have also heard many shuck out the corn when preaching as well. Women who are educated in the proper way to minister can be just as effective at preaching the Word as any man… if they are Spirit led. Someone earlier in this thread suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities, and it did! I have never felt so close to my creator as when I was in the midst of a desert or forest, deep in meditation, and usually alone.

      Sorry about that Art Dickinson. It is sad that the church may not be what we hope it should be but with its many problems there are no alternatives to the Church. We should stay back to put the wrong right. Staying in the desert occasionally to enjoy a deep meditation is perfectly okay because Jesus did the same thing but He went back to the temple to challenge orthodoxy. The leaders engineered His death for his effort. We should stay put to right wrong. It could take time. With genuine interest, intention, love, understanding and patient we can get there. Every fortune teller can say some stuff is going to happen.

      Guess what. Guess what…. I am an atheist now and was then too. I spend every waking moment trying to save people from religion. Your gods religion. I will not rest until christianity is shelved in the same place as voodoo and people realize that there is not one true god but thousands of imaginary gods. What is it to u what we believe. There is absolutely no way you could ever convince me god is not real…i know without a shadow of a doubt he is absolutely real.

      I know he is real more than I know my parents were real. And if u put a gun to my head right now and gave me a choice…live or die. To Thomas Everroad….. What a poor pitiful place for you to be. To be your own god must be hard work. What happened to you or what did you see that made you so cynical? Just because people have not lived up to your lofty expectations does not mean that God does not exist.

      But God is always here. He does not force Himself on anyone. And that statement about religion…I totally agree with what Mr Twain said that religion is foolish. God hates religion more than we do. Jesus said the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. That shows that He knows that if we fulfill those two commandments we will be fulfilling the first 10 completely. If we love people and God we will not steal someones money, we will not murder people, we will not have affairs with their spouses.

      Nor does it make Him nonexistent. How do you know this to be true? Is that not just another religion you are preaching? Do you know what you are talking about or is this just your imagination? What you learned growing up was nothing but vain religion. I learned it to. Take a read here.. You are equating religion and Christianity together….

      Christianity is about a relationship between the Creator and the created, to restore all things back to its original state before sin entered in. Proverbs A fool says in his heart there is no God I would dare to suggest the even the late Mark Twain can now say without the slightest hesitation…. The Church has committed many gross sins and errors over her long history. God bless all of you. People walk all thru the service speak out. One brother must be seen and heard takes.

      The church only opens on Sunday. I really. Your opinion does not mean that it is truth. You have not given proof that he is wrong only your opinion. Darrell, it is up to the person who made the assertion to provide proof, not the listener or the person who disagrees. Now, try to follow this… Words, stories, interpretations, verses in books, etc. That is who we need to question. Why does Paul SO drastically differ from the words of Christ? I can certainly understand you leaving that church, but you seem to have left all churches. Do you think that pastors are the only ones who can be hyper critical?

      Perhaps you need to mature before you take up ministry.. The reason? It fascinates me. Religion has influenced cultures and societies for thousands of years, and vice versa. It is internally diverse and is constantly changing and redefining itself. They are passed down according to the beliefs of the parents and the country in which one was born. Born in India? Yet, some people cling to those faiths and attempt to elbow their way into governments, schools, personal lives and the lives of our children. The two worst offenders in this respect are Christianity and certain factions of Islam.

      No, pastors are not the only hyper-critical beings — definitely not. However, there are those critical people who suggest that others mature before they know a thing about that person. What is it to any of you reprimanding strangers. Pastors do have a lot of influence for good and sadly some times not so good. Endurance is a test of our allegiance and commitment to God not to men. A church and religion not faith are the biggest money making schemes ever foisted on a believing people. Oh, he changed his mind all right. That pastor is dead. I think people have decided to model god after themselves rather than the other way around as is stated in Genesis.

      Nothing else matters, Alethea, nothing! In spite of what this article states, there are tons of good churches out there where the people love God and would welcome you. But if your mind is made up about stepping into a church, as you say it is, then it still comes back to John 3. The Bible is the final authority, not man and what he may say. Thank you for your concern Michael. The kindest, most generous, gracious, loving, supportive, understanding and charitable people? They have just as much, if not more, morality than Christians. What matters is my relationship with my creator.

      I wonder why that is? I think it has more to do with the fact that they are afraid to have their faith shaken. People need to feel a sense that they will never die but live on forever. Fear of ones own mortality is the biggest thing religion has going for it. There is religion, Thomas, and there is the Truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth, not a religion.

      With religion you get to keep your life, but with Jesus Christ, you will lose it. Then death not just physical, but the loss of all things in this life no longer threatens you because you are crucified with Him and truly free. Jesus Christ is the Truth, Alethea.

      He is alive, not the Bible, although He inspired it. Without Him, all are dead in their sins and unbelief. I was certainly there and He, not a book, brought me out of death and hell. I was terminally ill with cancer, Paul. I was not and am not dead. Far from it. People will believe whatever gives them the strength and the fortitude to fight. It was a Hindu hearing the voice of Lakshmi that gave him the will to fight. It was the power of Quan Yin who saved the Buddhist from death. You have absolutely no idea about the truth, Paul.

      Neither do I or anyone else living on this earth. Did you read my story, Alethea? I asked Jesus Christ to settle the matter for me and He did. Yes, I read it. And, that is what I believe it is…. THAT is true. Happens all the time. People of Christianity have had near death experiences and see angels, their loved ones, Jesus and heaven.

      People of Hinduism have had near death experiences, too. And, they see Lakshmi, Ganesha, Shiva, even Brahman. Any verses in any religious books can be quoted to support ones personal beliefs — the is MY belief. I know and declare that one can know the Truth, because I know Him. And by Him I can judge the experience of another. He is the Mediator between God and man, bringing us into the Kingdom of Heaven, His spiritual dwelling place of light and life. I judged you? Of course hell is real, RN. You have religion, not reality.

      You need to get your own oil. They have some correct knowledge, but nothing from the Tree of Life. You are assuming that a book written by fallible humans more than hundred years AFTER this imaginary christ even was to have existed is true. There is no truth in this book. Let me give you an example of just how ridicules your faith is.

      YET if you are a thinking person and find all this silly stuff impossible to believe , this same forgiving, loving god will torture you for eternity. There is absolutely no truth in a book that claims the entire universe was created in 6 days god was pooped and had to rest on the 7th when there is undeniable evidence to the contrary.

      Not one single thing in that book is true. However it has been sold to the uneducated masses for centuries. I weep for the blind masses that have bought this lie. Your life would be so much more fulfilled if you realized that there is no boogie man in the sky who is so fickle and murderous. Personally I would never want to spend eternity with such a god who is subject to destroy you for having an independent thought. Death does not scare me. You know why? That is the most evil thing you could do to a young impressionable mind.

      Why do you lie about us, saying we promote such blasphemy? And what sins do you love so much that you feel compelled to impugn your Creator and Savior with lies? Bitter and unrepentant, you lash out at Him by setting yourself on fire in front of a crowd. How smart is that? Read liberally from our website, RN, and get yourself the nutrition of the Scriptures. Paul, how do you know god is a HIM? Did He tell you that? If he did then you are hearing voices in your head and need a Psychiatrist.

      If you just read it in the book then you are just a misogynistic douche. So I hate women because God came in the flesh as a man? Most have been indoctrinated by our parents as a young age when we needed food, shelter, comfort to be provided… so this great faith many have to me just goes back to wanting to feel that love as a child. Remember how guilty you gelt when younger and lied to your parents for the first time? Now compare that feeling to the guilt you might experience if you start to lost faith in the existence of a higher power.

      I have found our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be faithful in providing what we need. As a young man of 23 moved to Israel, and in the middle of the Negev desert, He sent someone to speak to me about His will for my life and the path I needed to walk on.