Many things that God shows me and teaches me, I don’t openly share. I hold them close – just for me.
Today, I thought was one of those times…but when we were done, he told me to share it with you.
It’s no secret that I have a difficult time lining up scripture with the way we do church today. I’ve taught that message from the pulpit more than once.
Today, what He said just pounded my heart.
Here it is….
There has and always will be a war around the idea of church. In it’s purest form, the church is unstoppable. It’s the wild, provocative, battle hungry bride of Christ.
SATAN HATES THAT PICTURE.
His strategic plan is to disarm, dismantle and strip it of all authority in the world. He’s done a good job.
His plan is to create a counterfeit version of what was intended. A church that looks just close enough to the real deal that it isn’t recognized or easily identified as false.
He wants his version to grow – become powerful in it’s own way -but never walk in the full power God intended.
When those who hunger for the real church rise, they become quickly marked to be snuffed out. Quieted, stopped and forced into submission.
They are told to be quiet. They are told, that’s just not how we do it. They are told they are too much, too weird, or too “out there”.
The interesting thing is, those who are up-front in church, those who are groomed in the church, rarely become forerunners of his actual church.
It’s usually the ones who find Him in secret. The underdogs, the less-polished, the ones who aren’t religiously groomed. They don’t follow people – they’ve learned to only follow Him. This makes them a terrible threat to the counterfeit church.
They are viewed as uncontrollable, wild, unpredictable, loose cannons and ones that you just aren’t sure about. These men and women are different from the rest. They stand out.
Not always in the most comfortable ways.
They often feel like outcasts.
Outsiders of the “in crowd” at church.
They view the happenings in the counterfeit church and don’t understand them.
They don’t relish traditions of man.
They relish the ever-changing, wild, ferocious power of His presence.
When the rare occasion of the demonic appears, they are the ones who remain unafraid and unmoved. For they know the spiritual realms well. They walk in discernment. They confidently run towards the fire instead of away from it.
They don’t understand the purpose of life groups or homegroups where it’s more about a social club and a few bible verses and prayer requests, rather than a group who gathers together with a hunger and expectation for a life-changing encounter with God.
These men and women are often loners in the counterfeit church, but they tend to find eachother. They can sniff eachother out. For they carry the presence of Him. And for those who can see it, they quickly recognize it.
In the words of Francis Chan, if you were going to go into a cemetery and try to raise someone back to life, who would you bring with you?
(Crazy scenario, but this is what the church is supposed to be doing spiritually)
I can promise you it wouldn’t be the counterfeit church.
It would be the crazy lady who walks the streets of her city worshiping and praying day and night (who you think is totally NUTS). It would be the firecracker prayer warrior who prays with such intensity that you feel super uncomfortable when they pray. Because it’s just TOO MUCH.
It would be the few men and woman you have encountered who carry a presence that’s different.
In actuality, the gospel – the message – is an active war for wounded souls.
Those who are in His captive audience recognize the battle they are in every day. They may not do things the way they have always been done; they may make others uncomfortable at times when they talk about their love affair with Jesus and the time they passionately spend with Him.
The way they love those who the church would often turn their back on may make you uneasy. The way their presence changes a room may cause you to feel uncomfortable.
Although they are not always understood or welcomed inside the church, ironically these men and women are craved by the world.
The words they speak that the church finds so uncomfortable, the world finds comforting. The presence they carry that rattles the church, is hungered by the world.
In many ways, it’s the story of Jesus all over again.
Hated by the religious institution.
Loved by the world.
Jesus did not bring peace into the religious establishment. He brought peace into hurting souls.
And there isn’t anyway to do that without it getting messy.
Counterfeit churches don’t like things that are messy or uncontrollable.
Jesus had to cast out demons.
He had to heal the sick.
He had to jump into a stoning situation with a woman who had committed adultery.
Sadly, the very place that should have embraced that, fought it.
And still does today.
Having that said, I love church. I am for churches – BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN DO BETTER.
My hope is that you would seek Him for yourself. That you would passionately run after him instead of the idea of what church should be.
I can promise you – HE IS SO MUCH BETTER.