Jim Wright is a church sower, public but unassuming, thinker, mentor, teacher, local church elder, motivated by redemption, foe of tyrants, friend of the dispossessed, retired international attorney, entrepreneur, former private pilot, and so-so bass fisherman.
Marianne is a retired public school teacher, private but strong, heart, skilled counselor, knows deep intimacy with God, a comfort to others in the Lord, wise, motivated by mercy but has strong resolve, gardener, and a bridge to healing for many.
Together, we have been part of a community of simple, participatory fellowships for many years in our own home county - some of which we helped start.
Our blogs and devotionals spring from firm roots in those local fellowships.
Four years ago this month I left organized Christianity. Fortunately for me, Jesus said he would be with me always, so I’m good. Sunday I attended services at my old congregation, one of a half dozen times I’ve done that when my son’s were leading / participating in the worship services. It was good. No goosebumps. One guy did appear to fall under conviction and accepted Christ.
Then it was time for the sermon on Ephesians 4. Oh it was standard preaching on the subject, enter the hand prop where the Apostle is said to be the thumb, touching all the others, the prophet, the pastor, the evangelist, and the teacher. Yeah, in my mind my eyes were rolling back in my head, but it get’s worse. After discussing each and every gifting to the church, the real purpose of Ephesians 4 was barely mentioned.
What is that purpose? It’s in verse 12: To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. 13: Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. It goes on but that is it in a nutshell.
Ironically, I was never given an opportunity to share. No surprise. “Until we meet again…” Okay God I’m ready for that house church…. ha ha, do they really exist?
It is a source of continual amazement that what you describe is so prevalent. I presume the level of control is to avoid having “false doctrine” slip in unawares. Surely it is far from the implication for the Corinthians.
I tried it one time – 20 years ago I was given a prophetic song (which has since materialised, by the grace of God) – and gave a testimony out of obedience to the Holy Spirit**…… both of which were “rubbished” and, well…… no further details about ‘rejection’ need to be explained here….
**Too threatening by half to “the way we do things around here” (which of course, bear no resemblance to Acts anyway).
It is even more frustrating in assemblies that claim they are open to the evidences of “the gifts” and somehow manage to quench most of them.
I love the cartoon! My husband and I have been saying the same thing for years, but people get a glazed look when we try to explain our passion for real Church, not institutionalized church. We shared with at least four pastors in that last few months through friendship-relationship the need to release the believers. The Alpha Course helped bridge traditional churches to the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, now we need a new course to help bridge the institutionalized churches to guiding believers in their roles as priests and kings.