In my last blog I wrote about the Spirit, and that it’s anything that is void of self, yet glorifies Christ, edifies Christ, points towards Christ, and magnifies Him. All of it is designed to bring Christ into focus and to take ourselves out. My pride wants the credit for something well said in Christ. My need to be right and to please my peers has to be taken out of the equation, otherwise what began as the Lord’s voice will turn into whatever circus train the herd has jumped on.
When there is a risk involved in our lives, in what needs to be said (in love, and with the mind of Christ) or what needs to be done, self-denial is involved. As I’ve mentioned before I have been afraid to mention how I feel about serving others or about pastorless churches for risk of offending different groups. I believe that my original statement, that the Spirit glorifies and edifies Christ, I fully and wholeheartedly agree that serving others falls into the realm of glorifying Christ. Not out of works or religious duty, but strictly selfless, Christ edifying, fully in the moment serving the down and out. Buzz (my anonymous author/mentor) has written some really neat stuff regarding this. He goes on to say that when we go into a restaurant we never reply to the server, “Let me pray about it” when asked what we would like to order. “Yet, when it comes to some of the simplest things in life that are presented to us- if some level of risk or self-denial is involved- many Christians are quick to shroud the ordeal in religious jargon.” End quote.
A few years ago I may not have known what he meant, but I think I understand what he means. After a long, painful, religious detox, serving others and spending money and time helping people is not an optional matter. I no longer will ask the awful question, does God want me to serve people? I know that the mind of Christ is always with serving others above myself. Should I belong to a tight-knit church one day, the same would go for the church. Anything less would be only expressing a small portion of Christ.
I have wanted to start a homeschool group for the longest time now. Not secular. Not Christian. A group in which everyone is invited. Do you know how hard this has been? I have heard women who have appeared to share the mind of Christ express that they don’t “want people outside the group coming in and think it should be just our church.” I understand there are seasons we go through individually and in a group, but seasons pass and we never stay in them permanently. If I notice I am in a season and have stayed there for too long, it’s no longer a season, but I have become a “naval gazer”. I am not against bringing vital matters to the Lord’s attention and waiting on Him for days if need be, but there are tried and true facts that can’t be disputed.
Reaching out to a lost world is a part of the equation that can’t be dismissed. Brother Paul, in the Bible, says it. Christ Himself says to love each other, not just our closest friends that we click with. And to confirm, wisdom from my mentor himself was dropped on me. I have been religiously detoxed. I no longer have an excuse to not express Christ’s life in this matter. It is no more or less important that the meetings I have with other Christians. Note that I said “meetings” and not my place in the Body of Christ. My first place, my identity, is in the fullness of the Lord, with others, not under the thumb of a more spiritual person (i.e. pastor). Next, as I go through life expressing Him with other like-minded people, I am also to reach out to people who are not like-minded. To exclude whole groups of people because they are not “us” (as a former friend once said when I wanted to open a homeschool group to all people) is not where I am at and not where I’ll ever be again. I am fully detoxed religiously and free to serve.
That is the season the Lord has moved me into, no longer detoxing, I am sharing the mind of Christ on this matter. This blog is written with the movement in my heart and the intention that the Spirit has placed in me. It is in no way a conviction on anyone else. My former churches don’t keep in touch with me and I keep in touch with Sisters individually and we don’t talk about serving others… so in no way am I backhanding anyone while sharing the strong conviction to serve, and the season I’ve moved into. The former friend who refused to be in a group with outsiders is one who stopped speaking to me one day, without warning or explanation. I have nothing but love for the friends we were, but she is anonymous and no longer in my life, so as my mentor Buzz often does, she is used to provide a very important example, one which stuck with me.
I have noticed a trend lately as pastors are realizing more and more that people don’t want the business model shaping their church body. So as a lot of these leaders who felt called to be a teacher see this, they are beginning to slowly point back towards the Lord, while still keeping a tight grip on the Pastor-congregation hierarchical chain of command. The thing is, to lay a foundation of Christ, the pastor must step down and allow others to express Christ as we are equally called into the Priesthood. Christ wants to be the Head. I believe that most pastors want to be teachers and feel led to teach, but the only position they can fill in the church to express their portion of Christ is the man-made position of pastor. Paul mentions pastor once, but never says what a pastor is. He mentions Christ being the only Head of the Church over and over, but that gets thrown out in favor of the one-time word pastor. Chris and I have visit a church led by a pastor while living here in Missouri. Christ has been “welcomed” in as said by the worship director during a moving song that tells the Lord it’s Him we live for. To me it seems a little turned around, it’s Him who lives and dies for us. Whatever. I have decided to suspend my disbelief and to ignore the fact that Christ is not the head of this particular building, because in truth he is the Head of His Church, no matter where I am. The church is on a full-time serving mission, which is NOT a bad thing. But, the most important part of serving is that we are filled with Christ and sharing ourselves through Him.
We need Christ as the Head of His body. Life without religious duty has brought me unspeakable joy as I get to know the Christ that lives in me and in others. It’s Christ in me that accepts others and has no fear of saying that yes, we can spend our lives serving others and no, we don’t need a pastor. Christ dies so that we could know Him personally and would no longer have to go through someone else, more spiritual than us. We were not set free so that we could judge others. In fact, judgement reveals motives in our own heart. When I write a post inspired by a book I just read, or a conversation with a Sister, or time with the Lord, and another takes it personally… that’s on them. It’s rare that the movement in my heart that the Lord is bringing me through is cause for correction. I know that there are a million Scriptures and rebuttals why serving isn’t at the forefront of the Christian life. I know what they are. I don’t want to be scolded for sharing that serving is good. I also don’t want to be scolded for sharing that the pastoral position is not the foundation of a church, Christ Jesus is. I could write a book on it, but another has and if you want more info on that, I will pass it along.
The truth is, Christ is the Alpha and Omega and everything in between, which means all things that are not edifying, glorifying. or pointing towards, or pictures of, Christ are not necessarily bad, but they aren’t the Spirit. Cutting out entire blocks of the gospel is not the Spirit. Slice it up any way you want, throw some human knowledge at me, but I have seen Christ in others and I know my Lord’s voice. He is not “for” one group and “against” another. Anytime we shut others(including groups) out, we reveal the elitist in our own heart- Buzz’s words.
I am not able to say that I fit into any mold right now. I am not in a church body, although I do attend a church. I am connected through others through Christ, not my address. I don’t believe that any Christian is above or below another. I don’t believe that evangelism or human need is why Christians exist. We were thought of, loved, and created before human need ever came into play, yet the Spirit in me has passed through the season of religious detox and I am ready to serve others unto the glory to God.
I hope you have a wonderful week and thank for letting me express me long, needing- no, dying to share portion of Christ. It has been long overdue.