I was at church recently speaking to a man named Jerry. Like me, he is an outside-the-box kind of person who tires of the “normal” church way of doing things. We were discussing conversations we each have had with God recently about not really fitting in at the church we attend, and how God was showing both of us that the reason we feel like we don’t fit in is that, in fact, we don’t.
Sounds sort of obvious, right? Well, it was, but there was more to it than that simple fact. Jerry started telling me of a number of other people in the church who are much more Kingdom-oriented than Church-oriented, and who are basically there waiting until the powers-that-be catch up and head more directly in the direction God wants to take the place. We were also discussing how God wants to be far more interactive with us and equip and engage us all at a meeting instead of this top-down leader-follower mentality that has been cultivated in churches for centuries up through the present-day.
I felt encouraged after the conversation, but I felt that there is more to this idea than just a conversation between two men on the fringe of a church service. The truth is that many of you reading this are in a similar space. There are those of you out there who are saying, “God, why in earth am I here at this church or with this group? I don’t fit in at all. I am on the outside, not the inner circle. I am not appreciated or understood. What are you doing?”
What I suggest is this–like me, you are sitting on the edge of the church system because you are diving headlong into the Kingdom, and you can’t flourish well in both the church system AND the Kingdom realm.
It is time that we Western Christians detoxify from the American church system. We are too used to sitting in a pew listening to someone try to force-feed us their latest or greatest scripture verse regardless of whether it speaks to us at all. We have turned church into a weekly production instead of an ongoing interaction with like-hearted lovers of Jesus. We have become cookie-cutter Christians, emulating the newest Christian trends as a substitute for “mainstream culture”, forgetting that we have simply created a mainstream Culture of our own but attached a different label to it.
Believers as a whole are not healthier or more problem-free, and the weight of keeping The Machine going continues to wear on those in leadership, at times drawing their focus from the true goal of equipping the saints for works of service in everyday life–in our jobs and lives in the real world, not in creating our own insular culture.
We can’t afford to follow the mindless church-machine system any longer, nor can we afford the mindsets that come with it: relying on science in place of divine healing and miracles, throwing money at the homeless to make them go away, attempting to legislate morality instead of working for heart change, and finally perverting God’s word to ensure that people keep “tithing” to the church system, a practice which died with Jesus and the end of the Hebrew sacrificial system.
God will have a reformation in the Western church, and he will do it under whatever conditions we present Him with. While conversion tends to increase when people are under pressure, He doesn’t need to cause an economic collapse, persecution and FEMA camps, or a massive natural disaster for us to open our eyes and ears and turn our hearts toward him in a fresh new way, asking “What is the way you would have us live, Lord?” and then living it out with radical obedience.
In the midst of the inner struggle we each face as we look at the plight of the Church as we run towards the Kingdom, there are those of us who can take heart. We who have already said, “Lord, have your way, whatever the price,” those of us who are sitting on the fringe waiting for those “in power” to get it, know this:
There is a new day dawning and a new sun arising. The hopes that you have held out in days past, and even in years past, waiting for things to change, they soon will. Prepare your hearts and minds, prepare your homes and lives for Suddenlies, for I am the God of the Breakthrough and I am poised to break through. Do not say “I have heard this before,” for while you may have heard it, you have not seen what I am about to do. This is no longer a time of waiting, but a time of active preparation for what I am manifesting in your midst. The miracles of the past, the healings of the past, the salvations of the past, and the deliverance from bondage in the past will be as a drop in the bucket for what I am positioned to do. A Great Wave is rising up and about to crest. See that you catch it and rise to the top.”
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