Follow Us

Andrew & Seth dream about church

While the church around the world is booming, in the west, we often find ourselves back on our heels wondering where we went wrong.  But the church is God’s instrument for bringing hope.  It’s doing much better than we realize around the world.  God’s glory is breaking out all over…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

While the church around the world is booming, in the west, we often find ourselves back on our heels wondering where we went wrong.  But the church is God’s instrument for bringing hope.  It’s doing much better than we realize around the world.  God’s glory is breaking out all over the place.  Andrew and I talk about what the church could be here.  These aren’t the wistful musings of a guy on the sidelines.  What Andrew describes we WILL see within our lifetimes.

Comments (27)

  • Key point in there – it’s not my body, it’s Christ’s. It can all look pretty hopeless sometimes but Jesus knew this would happen. I think that’s why He committed so much of His last prayers on earth to praying for the church, for oneness, for His glory “to be in them.” I don’t know how the change will happen, but I do believe Jesus is more than capable of taking care of His own body and bringing it to the place He always dreamed it would be. I see more than a glint of determination in His eye. Like the day He “set His face like a flint towards Jerusalem” and wouldn’t be put aside from where He was heading.

    Sometimes we think it’s down to us to fix it. We get ideas about the way it should be and try it make it happen. I think maybe the way to do it is to keep looking to Jesus, one on one, listening to Him, obeying Him, letting His heart live in us day by day. He’ll direct our path. He says so. We’ll look around one day and think “wow! This is really something – none of my plans could have brought us to this place!” because His vision is always so much bigger and better. No mind has yet conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. Bring it on!!

  • Last night we had some friends over for dinner.I stood in the kitchen after a while apologising for my lack of organisation. The potatoes weren’t cooked on time and I miscounted how many places I would need to set at the table. Kids were coming and going from the kitchen and my eldest son’s friend had also joined us for dinner ( another mouth I hadn’t calculated to feed). After apologising again my friend said “dont worry about it. This is really lovely, I feel like I have just walked into your “home” with all the hustle and bustle and feel part of it”.

    After dinner my son and his friend, instead of disappearing onto computor games, joined us in hearing about all the stories of God. How He is healing people, making arms and legs growing, dead people beeing raised, people being delivered.Account after account from around the world and what God is doing.Stories of many personal encounters with God, conversations we have had with God. My son’s friend sat there wide eyed and occasionally chirped in “thats mad that is!” The stories that were beeing told were by people who have not “been approved of by the church as teachers, preachers or speakers” of any kind.

    A few days ago I went into my kitchen to start dinner to find that my leldest son was in the garage (he has a large graffiti wall in there) with 6 of his teenage friends.I asked for a show of hands of who was staying for dinner then proceded to cook for a mulitude of mouths (we already have 5 kids of our own).It was so good to stand in the kitchen whilst cooking this meal, chatting to these young people, finding out where they are going in life, building bridges, forming relationships.

    A few months ago whilst out on the streets we encounted a group of teenagers and we chatted about the Lord. All of them asked for prayer so we prayed for them. Every one of them recieved a touch from God yet we do not have permission from “church” to do this neither are we on the “ministry team”.

    I stopped going to “church” about 6 months ago. My husband still attends every few weeks but strangely enough not one person (including the leadership team) has asked where his wife is.No one has asked after my welfare, for all they know our marraige could have failed or he could now be a widower. He only goes to church because the 2 younger children like the kids group and see their friends. We see it no differently than taking our kids to a play area for an hour for their entertainment.

    The purpose for writing what I have written is for 3 reasons.

    Firstly, I hope anyone in “church” will start to recognise the control of what church has become on a christians life.

    Secondly, the Bible says “do not give up meeting together”. Our door is open to any of you out there who want to share, pray and be encourage by the REAL life of living with Jesus (and we mean that!Seth, please give my email to anyone who would like to come round for coffee, a meal, pray or just REAL fellowship and building of relationships in the true sense of the church)

    Thirdly, please be encouraged Seth and Andrew that this word you have brought is spot on! Be encouraged to know it is happening.

    Our kitchen table may be small.

    Our kitchen table may not always beable to fit every one round it all in one go.

    But our kitchen table is full of the blessing of God and all our welcome to sit there.

  • Definitely going to meditate and chew on that one today! Here’s the bizarre part (or not ~ God), I literally woke up with my previous experiences in church on my mind this morning, and TWO of the key words on my mind were used in this video! Now that will surely get your attention!

    Thanks, Seth, for not be a structure minded, systematic bound, but Cross focused and Kingdom minded leader!

  • after putting on my last comment I felt the Lord wanted me to elaborate a little as to what being a REAL Christian is.Two more stories He asked me to share about living the kingdom life were as follows.

    A few weeks ago whilst doing my weekly shop, a lady next to me by the fruit and veg counter was struggling to open a plastic bag to put apples in it. “could you help me” she said ” I have white fingers”. I looked at her fingers, and indeed they were as white as a sheet. I gathered from that, her circulation is non existent in her fingers and she cant use them properly. I felt the Lord prompt me straight away to ask if I could pray for her but I didnt. The shop was busy and we were standing in the way of the fruit and veg. “what would people think” I thought. So I opened a bag for her then moved on.

    Whilst in town shopping with my kids a drug addict came up to me and asked if i had any money I could give him to buy food. As I knew it would more than likely go on drugs I said he could come and join me and my kids for a burger and chips if he was hungry.He came along but just took his food and left, not joining us to eat. I didnt mind that. I was not buying his time but just being obedient to God.

    The difference of the 2 stories in my life shows me clearly of the times I die to self and when I dont. When I die to self, Jesus can use me in my daily life. When I dont die to self my own agender takes over and life becomes a series of missed oppotunity.

    Jesus says tat if we dont love Him more than our own life then we are not fit to be His disciple.

    Jesus wasnt lying.

    My big question is this, how many people going to church these days are really His disciples? Are they really hungry to let God live through them on a daily basis or do they live THEIR own life and get God to fit in it, which includes their weekly treck to church.

    The parable of the wheat and tares was a description of the church.Not the church and the world. When Jesus told the disciples that one was going to betray him they didnt all turn to Judas and say it was him. They had no idea.Only God can see who is His own and who isnt.Whos Heart is really for Him, those who would lay down everything for Him, and those that hang on to their lives.

    Satans deception runs so deep. It is so intwined in the church today most christians do not know or understand what it is to be a true disciple of Jesus.Christians play a very dangerous game by trying to “humanise” satan and pull him down to our level so we can “understand” his games.He is not human and only by the power of God by submitting ALL of yourself will you see the true decption.

    The parable of the 10 virgins also talks about the church. The Bride of Christ. The door was shut on half of them because they werent ready. They missed the point and so they missed salvation.

    My prayer is for christians world wide to be ready. This is a game you cannot afford to lose.

  • Seth:

    It’s funny, but I too awoke this Sunday morning with ‘church’ on my mind. We intend to invite some saints to read and discuss Viola’s latest salvo, “Reimagining Church.” More to the point, and Andrew nailed it, is our deep longing to EXPERIENCE being the Church as the Father intended, to honor Jesus’ sacrifice to make us so, and the Holy Spirit’s current trumpet call to come out of the institutions we’ve created, and move into life! Kathy says, “thank you!” for posting this interview with Andrew.

    Finally: for any saint reading this blog and you live in our around Hendersonville, NC, consider yourself invited to the church that meets in our home.

  • Seth, These are the things that God showed me back in college. The truth about the church and what it truly is vs what it’s become, has kept me from simply using my Youth Ministry degree to getting a “job” in a church. I refuse to continue to support the “system,” or the “machine.” I’m not saying we should abandon the institutionalized church, and to try to re-vamp it from the inside out. It will not only take years, but also require creativity beyond what i can come up with now. I believe strongly in the life on life discipleship… wherever you are, whatever you do, that’s where your ministry is. Small Groups are not enough. Even Jesus focused on one person out of the 12 disciples, and He’s Jesus!

    The Institutionalized structured church needs examples. They need to see the “radical Christians” and work together. They both have the heart, one has the funds, and the other has the understanding of how to live it out. We need each other.

    Lets not abandon the church buildings or people, but use them in creative ways to not just “bring people in,” but to more importantly “send people out!” Our once a week Christians have not seen or heard the truth the way the radicals have. It’s time to stop Going to church, and start Being the church!

    – Adam

  • There is a sentiment of bailing ship that troubles me. I love what Andrew is saying in this video and I love the kitchen table/home church model. It rocks. But I am troubled that these wonderful new church models can come at the expense of the old church.

    I’ve grown up in a culture that says, “If you don’t like it, get something else.” You don’t like your car…get a new one with no money down. You don’t like your wife anymore…get a new one. You don’t like your church…start shopping for the coolest model on the block.

    The “church” as we know it today is definitely screwed up, but I feel like it’s so much easier to abandon than salvage, and that bothers me. It smells pompous to me. It seems lazy and selfish. Like, “I’ve got God figured out and the rest of you can call me when you’ve caught up.”

  • Jen,

    I don’t see that attitude at all. It’s not REMOTELY about getting a new church! It is about getting in step with reflecting Christ in the world as the church universal rather than designing models of ministry.

    I loved the “The world is not post Christian… it is post church” We need a reflection of the body of Christ where people who are like this can blossom into abundant life in the context of a serving community!

    Seth and Andrew,

    Thank you!

  • Jen,

    This is not a question of “bailing out” of church. The bible says that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The true church, made up of people world wide, those who are passionate about being in Gods presence by living a Holy Life no matter what the cost, a life so obedient under the leading of the Holy Spirit, a life that is burning on a daily basis in the all consuming Holy Fire of God that convicts on the spot and keeps you in check,that church is thriving.

    And that church is hidden within the “church” you see today. A church made up of people who are seriously believing they are christians yet do not walk in the amazing power of God on a daily basis. They think God is just resting or something. They have not grasped the true meaning of repentance and a hunger for holiness. You can try talking to them but they will say “we are all under grace sister, we are all forgiven and no ones perfect” etc etc etc.

    How many “christians” do you know who are not totally gutted when they mess up with the slightest thing? They think in “their eyes” it wasnt so bad, not such a big deal, lets just say “sorry” to God and move on. Even the slightest things that are less than perfect should have the awesome power of the Holy Spirit convicting you so you truly repent….daily….with everything that has fallen short of God.

    How many “christians” have had their hearts seared and set apart by a Holy God? or how many are Judas’s? Christians who at one point in their life said “yes Lord I want to follow you”. They then changed their lives and started following Jesus. They attend the meetings even go off on missions and do LOADS of things for God leaving their old life behind……just like Judas.They can talk the talk and sound just like the real thing and just like the other disciples couldnt recognise the difference (they had no idea it was Judas when Jesus said someone is going to betray him)christians cant tell either.

    God is Holy and calls HIS people to be Holy. Those who HUNGER and THIRST for RIGHTEOUSNESS will be filled. Do “christians” REALLY want to be like their Jesus? Totally pure, Holy and without sin. Do “christians REALLY want to be in the company of an awesome Holy God thats burns sin on a daily basis?Do “christians” REALLy want to lay down their life and be obedient to EVERYTHING the Lord asks?God sees the heart that is so passionate for Him, He sees the heart of a person who does not hold on to their life or tries to reason about sin.He knows who are His for His sheep hear His voice and follow.

    The Church, the Body of Jesus, the Bride of Christ that is being made spotless and pure for the day of His return is doing fine. The gates of Hell WILL NOT prevail against it.

    As for the rest of “the church” God will begin seperating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares.Like I said in my previous comment the deception is so deep from the enemy.

    My husband takes the kids to church to socialise, we havent “bailed out” on church we just recognise where it is at.

    God will not pour out His new wine in the old wineskins. They are dirty and will taint the wine.

  • I agree with you Kevin. What bothers me is the process of how it is sometimes done. I’m referring to the actions and thoughts of people I see around me.

    There is a family that I know that is a good example. They weren’t happy with “church” the way it was being done, so they bailed ship and started their own home church to delve into the question of “What is the church really supposed to look like?” They got a group of like-minded families together, and for a few years met regularly to form a community. The problem is, that the community died eventually because it became so insular in its growth. It happens.

    Meanwhile, the “church” that they had left was experiencing its own renewal, looking more and more like what the Church is supposed to be. This happened from a core of individuals investing and growing people within the original community.

    The family’s decision to leave in the first place was based in a kind of arrogance and a deep place of judgement. And the people they left felt judged. Currently, everyone has come back together and it’s pretty neat. But this is what I’m talking about. It’s not just this family, it’s a trend I’ve observed.

    Sue, when you say something like, “God will begin seperating the sheep from the goats” in reference to the “church” it makes me skin prickle. That’s the sentiment that troubles me. God’s Church happens in countless wonderful forms, without model and predictability…it’s quite awesome. I agree with you all.

    But we have to watch ourselves for the judgement and arrogance that can creep in. It’s like a poison that gets let into the wonderful things that God is working in the “church” and the Church. The danger of thinking that we have the ability and right to judge who is the sheep and who is the goat, and that they should be culled from the herd.

  • Jen
    There are many scriptures in the bible that christians like to ignore like Hebrews 10 v 26-31. It doesnt fit into the “churchs” christianity that is being fed today.

    Because God is pure love He cannot be anything other than a judging God, you cannot have one without the other.That is why having a hunger for a holy life is the only option a real christian must have.

    I will make it very clear that I am judging no one, I am just warning people of the deception satan has fed the church today. God WILL seperate the sheep from the goats because He wants a Holy Body of Christ,and He knows the difference. Christians cant tell the difference, therefore we can not judge.

    I can only share with you what He is showing me.

  • Jen,

    I do agree that the judgment can be such a pain in these times. I also believe that God has a calling to some to stay inside the system and work toward that renewal! Others he is calling to be salt and light to those in the world that are post church! If people “bail out” with grace and dignity, rather than with accusation and innuendo this can be a very Spirit led thing!

    It is exciting to think of how God worked in the situation you were referencing!

    It’s all his! Kingdom Power and Glory Forever!!

  • I think we’re talking about two different types of people here. The first is the type that I believe Hebrews is refering to. They are the people who go through the motions of following Christ without any real repentence or honesty. They’re playing it (and God)like a game”What can I get from this?”in a selfish heart. God knows the heart, and will call them for what they were in the end no doubt.

    Then there’s the people who earnestly want to know God and trust and follow, but get lost and waylaid along the way. These are the people I’m talking about. They had that touch with God and wanted to follow, but maybe got discouraged or confused. Those are the people that should not be judged, abandoned or sorted or culled. This is where most people in “church” get stuck.

    They are obviously coming to a building once a week because of something. They felt the truth at some point and started going to that building because it’s what you do in our culture and society. And they’re told that they could really serve God by joining a committee or organizing activities or something and they get sucked into a life of “doing church” instead of “being church.” It happens…it’s a product of where we’ve put church as a society (and that’s ALL of us at some point)…nice and neatly in the corner of our lives.

    Those are the people that I feel are being judged. And I used to be one of them. Thankfully, God sent me out into the wilderness for a year to get my attention, and then he put AIM in my path to show me it could be different, and then he led me to a church that doesn’t even have a building and is continually showing me how living in community and following God works. It’s a process and God has a unique and wonderful timing for everyone.

    And you could be a part of that. Instead of washing your hands of “church”…you could help God grow his Church. Not with any models or battle plans, but with exactly what you’re doing right now at the kitchen table. Just put a couple leaves in the table. There are people in that building on Sunday morning who could really benefit from someone like you to stand up and say, “Hey, let me show you something really neat and mind-blowing.”

    I liked how Adam put it in an earlier post:
    “The Institutionalized structured church needs examples. They need to see the “radical Christians” and work together. They both have the heart, one has the funds, and the other has the understanding of how to live it out. We need each other.”

    There are wolves in sheeps clothing in the church, the Hebrews type…so what? We don’t have to worry about them. God’s in control. When they show their true colors, call it like it is and move on. They aren’t the real threat to the church anyways.

    We can get into a separate discussion on whether loving and judging ultimately go hand in hand.

  • Kevin,

    I totally agree that God calls people to both areas: a calling for some inside the current system and to others out to the post-church. But I think it’s too easy to get fed up and frustrated with the current system and believe that we’re called out to the post-church, when God might be calling us back into the system.

    It’s a heck of a lot easier in some ways to just bag the whole deal and start something new. And I think it’s reflective of our culturepeople are only too happy to divorce themselves from the current systemand maybe miss out on a calling to stick with it.

    But absolutely, God calls one person to stay, and another to go.

  • Jen
    That was a really good comment and I would love just take it a step deeper.

    You have talked about the 2 types of christians in church which I agree with you. But you have then gone on to describe the difference…..in your opinion.

    Now let me give you an example of how our opinion is nothing like Gods when it comes to His church and seperating those who are serious about Him.

    There was a guy at church who was having an affair, he was a really nice christian guy who had just got himself mixed up with something he shouldnt have. He was now in love with the woman and he was very honest and said “I just love her, I know its wrong and I really dont want to be doing this, please pray for me”

    The church leaders obviously saw the “heart” of this guy. He “really” wanted to follow God but just needed to get some prayer and support.Many of us would view it in the same way. Many of us have met christians like that, many of us have ended up in messes like that.

    God then spoke into this guys life……”If you see her again I will take your life from you”.

    The guy never saw the woman again.
    He repented, surrender and now has a new respect for God and stopped playing games.

    God could see in His heart that He was lying to himself. Even though he was saying he wanted to do what was right the truth was he didnt.He HIMSELF did not even recognise that lie until God gave him the options, and boy was that his wakeup call to stop sinning.He was fooling himself into believing he couldnt stop. The TRUTH was he could stop….he prooved it by doing it.When it really came down to the crunch, despite everything he was saying to the leaders, despite his crying and “brokeness” in his spirit, the truth was he wanted to keep seeing this woman.That was the real truth laid in his heart, thats why he felt he couldnt let go even though he was convinced he wanted it to stop.

    So even in our own understanding of who we may think the sheep are compare to the goats, we are so far off the mark.These church leaders saw a good christian guy who had just got himself into a bit of a mess.What they saw was no different from what the majority of christians would see today.I think its only when christians stop reasoning things out in our own way and start understanding that God is not like us, His ways “are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts” , then we might begin to see life diffently.

  • Sue,

    When I read your comment back to Jen the Spirit brought to my mind the beginning segment of Romans 2. Paul warns people that they are not qualified to be the judges, since they too are caught in patterns of sin themselves. Yet, God is rendering to each individually the discipline necessary to be brought to repentance.

    I love your story of how God spoke into that man’s life, my wife has a very similar story with alcoholism where God told her if she touched it again she would die.

    The pastor in you story could not know the true heart of the man. Would he not be in violation of his own conscious if he judged the man, the way God did.

    Relating this back to the post at hand. I am a fully on board with listening to the Spirit and ministering to the Kingdom wherever the Spirit leads you to do that. I get sketchy when the reason for bailing out is based on our judgment against the individuals in the church, rather than being based on following the Spirit in the best means possible.

    Am I mishearing you? I know “forums” like this can sometimes make us seem like we are saying something we are not. But I seem to be hearing that you judge the members of the church as “goats” and so for that reason you are opposed to the church? Yet from your example I would say that man was a “sheep” since God took to disciplining and redirecting him.

  • Kevin

    I am not judging the church just warning people of the deception that has gripped the church.The example I gave of this man could be broken down even further.

    This man was asking God to take away his desire for this woman rather than him surrendering his life (including his feelings) to God.Can you not see, In the eyes of an awesome Holy God how huge this difference is?

    When we look with natural eyes and with natural understanding a guy who is asking for help with sin seems like an OK guy to us, someone who is after Gods heart but in REALITY he did not want to surrender to God at all. He did not want to lay down his life and follow God……isnt that what makes us a christian? Isnt that the true christian calling? and to do it on a daily basis? I believe this man was a goat but became a sheep when he TRULY repented and gave his life to God.Thats why you have scriptures like I gave in Hebrews. The hallmark of a true christian is a passion for holiness and obedience to God. This man had neither……until He gave his heart to God.

    The original sin is the reason for this understanding. We are constantly “judging” and seeing the world through our own eyes. This guy, I hope grasps just how lucky he is that God did not leave him with a heart that was not surrender to Himself.As I said previously, God sees the seared heart for Him the heart set apart, the heart that detests sin and will not walk its path.

    As for the “Church” I meet all the time with christians. Christians from all different churches I have been too and christians I have met along the way.We pray together, share meals and encourage one another. If God asks me to go to a particular church meeting I will go.Some times I have stayed in a church 7 years, 4 years etc but sometimes only a few months. I go wherever the Lord sends me.I love the people of God but weep on their behalf because many are still in prison even though they think they know the truth.

    How many christians do you know who know its the truth but are still saying “there is more, I just know there is”…there is an unsettled feeling in their spirit.The church is full of people like that today.

    There is more, so much more but people will not get it if they still see life through their own eyes and their own understanding because it is enveloped in the original sin.Our judgement on all things is so way off beam.But it is so hard to tell someone the DEEP truth when they believe adamently that they already have the truth.( I hope this is not getting too confusing)

    I love the people of God passionatly.God has moved me to weep in front of meetings before as His heart cries out for all those to REALLY know Him and know His heart but our own understanding gets in the way.I just pray that you will see the deep truth in the words I have written and lean not on your own understanding. Let God give you a revelation of the true christian life, a life that is so dynamic you will not feel that feeling most christians have of “I know there is more than this”. You will have it, you will know it, you will live and breath it on a daily basis.The power of God will be flowing through you so much you will feel every move of the Spirit and you will be homesick for heaven.

    I hope I have answered your questions?

  • Great video, guys. I also love the “It’s not my body” comment. Andrew truly wants to see church in all its fullness come alive – and I believe that he is living and modeling that dream for others to follow.

  • Sue,

    I really think that you are wrong about this one, and I want to address it as constructively as possible.

    A man asking for a stumbling block to be removed does NOT make him a goat. We are weak, and those who are closest to God do not always ask for the right things. Jesus himself asked God to “take this cup from me.” And clearly Jesus submitted himself to God’s will, but as a fully righteous human being, there was a point when he asked God to not have to go through all that pain and suffering.

    Becoming a person after God’s heart is a process. The Bible is full of David’s laments of people and situations that he wanted out of. The man in your example knew it was wrong, and he started off by asking for the temptation to be removed. Paul did that, Jesus did that, David did that. During the whole Bathsheba debacle, there were times when David really didn’t care what God had to say on the matter…but God still calls David “a man after God’s own heart.” God never mentions whether he’s a sheep or a goat.

    We should all strive to match our desires to God’s desires…but it takes a lifetime.

    I believe that you are indeed judging people like this man you have shared about. You have judged his heart to be unworthy when it is searching and struggling, and that you are only willing to accept him as a true brother when he gets it all together. I believe that God loved him when he asked for the temptation to be removed just as much as he did when he stopped seeing the woman. And to judge someone’s worth as a sheep or a goat while they are in the midst of that struggle is wrong.

  • Jen

    I never knew this guy in church, it was an example God gave me to show something much deeper. Seth and Andrews original video is talking about the church today and why it isnt working.

    I was trying to give insight into why it isnt working. The wheat and the tares are growing together and God will not remove the tares until the end harvest because their roots are too intertwined with the wheat.

    You said in one of your previous post that you understood the difference between the sheep and goats but what I am saying is do you really think the difference is that obvious? Do you really think Satan is stupid enough to sow tares amongst the wheat that stand out like sore thumbs? This is why I am trying to challenge your thinking. Satan is not human. Satan is so so deceiving, and not a deception in human terms either.You cannot see this without God showing His light on it.

    Satan has moved the bench mark as to what it is to be a christian.It is so far from the original calling to truly repent,lay down your life, hate sin and be obedient to God that in churches today it has now become a watered down version of the truth.

    Satan has moved the bench mark more and more away from a persons heart. I cant really explain what I see in the spiritual on this subject.I just know that many who are struggling and have struggled alot are actually struggling because they havent yet reached the true bench mark.And because Satan has fed them a lie they cant understand why they struggle.

    I am not judging the church Jen, neither am I judging anyone in the church.I am just raising an alarm to why the church as we see it is where it is. I want to see it the way it should be, the pure spotless bride of Christ radiating His Glory but it is hard to do that when it is full of tares….even harder when you have no idea who the tares are because it is only God who can see and judge the heart.

  • Sue,

    In all humility, it is my opinion Sue, that you believe that YOU make the choice to surrender all to God, but it is my belief that YOU actually don’t. What about “You did not choose me but I have chosen you”…what about your righteousness being as filthy rags. You did not make the choice to follow the “true christian calling” on a “daily basis” because of your brilliance or discernment Sue…you made and continue to make the decisions you do because He has given you the grace to make those decisions. The fact that you believe that you (or this man) can possibly “TRULY” repent by sheer will power tells me that you believe that you have the desire to choose God all on your own and that is in direct violation with scripture. That wreaks of the pull yourself up by your bootstraps deception that has the American Church in such bondage.

    He allows you to spiritually discern who He is because of His overwhelmingly deep deep love for you…and if He loves you like that Sue, than He loves everybody else just like that…and that is what it means when in I Cor. 15 Paul says that He is reconciling the whole world to Himself…He is doing that Sue, one person at a time…and most of the time His timing doesn’t look anything like yours.

    I am the alcoholic wife my husband mentioned earlier and because of the experience I have with my beautiful Savior I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I did not choose Him but He chose me and that it is only by His grace that I chose Him at all and that I actually had nothing to do with it. He found me, He revealed Himself to me in a way that was undeniable and then He kept revealing things to me that were instrumental in my healing so that I could not possibly deny Him…that was His grace that did that and no discernment of mine. I would argue that I was never a goat and neither was this man you speak of because Jesus tells his disciples that He still has lost sheep out there and that they need to be on the look out for those lost sheep.

    What I think weighs you down Sue is that you think people must make the decision to follow Him in this life, but He has revealed to me through scripture that He has all of eternity to reconcile the world to Himself and that is exactly what He is doing…starting yesterday with the shoulders that you stand on, on through today with you and I, and continuing on into the future where His thoughts are most definitely not our thoughts.

  • thank you for your comment Christi

    You are so right in what you say, I also know without a shadow of a doubt that He chose me and not the other way around.I could give you many stories of my life that would explain how deeply I believe that statement.

    I do feel however that many people are missing the point as to what I am saying.

    There is a problem with the church today, that is what Seth and Andrew are talking about. Many have put comments as to whether it is right or not to “opt out” of church. As i said in one of my previous post, as long as I am obedient to God I am not fussed either way, it is not the church I follow but Him. If He wants me in church for a time, any church, any denomination I will go but if He wants me to stay out of church (which He has asked me to do in the past) then I will also do that.

    What I have tried to do, which no one else has, is tried to describe WHY the church is where it is at.I am not picking fault with any individual just trying to explain the overview of things.

    Jesus says in the parable of the wheat and tares “The KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is like”…He did not say “the kingdom of heaven AND the kingdom of darkness”. This is not a parable of the christians and non christians. Likewise in the parable of the ten virgins “who took their lamps to MEET THE BRIDEGROOM”.

    These are serious warnings to christians.

    As I said previously with the wheat and tares, He will not seperate them until the end because it will uproot the wheat. Can you imagine if Jesus came to the disciples one day and said “I am sorry guys but I have asked Judas to leave because he is not one of us”.

    The disciples would not have understood it, they would probably had been annoyed with Jesus and start questioning His judgement! To the disciples Judas was one of them, he was struggling with sin just like the rest of them! He was out preaching, praying following Jesus and thats why even around the table the disciples STILL did not know who would betray Jesus.

    It was all a matter of the heart, and only Jesus could see it.

    I am not judging you Christi nor anyone else, I am not Jesus. All I am trying to say is please make sure you are one of the 10 virgins who was ready. Shorly my message on repentance should not cause such a response in christians? If someone told me that Satan had moved the bench mark on what true repentance was I would be on my knees seeking God to make doubly sure I had the real thing, not try and defend my christianity.

    I would love to hear if anyone else has insight into why the church is where it is at? I can only give my point of view, would be nice to hear others.

  • Sue

    I don’t know anything…more and more I understand what Paul is saying when he said he refused to know anything but Christ and Him crucified.

    To me that says that Paul hung on every word that He heard from Jesus and that was the reason he existed. Paul had discovered what it meant to be one with the Father and the Son as Jesus was one with the Father.

    To know nothing but Christ is to hang on His every word and only you know what He is whispering into the deepest parts of your soul and only I know what He is whispering into mine. It is our responsibility to test those things and to discern and that I believe is what the Bible and an awesome community of people is for.

    It is my belief that is where institutional church fails. It has been my experience that many of the people who attend appear to be very unwilling to listen to what Jesus is saying…maybe it is not that they are unwilling, maybe it is because of eternal purposes that I know nothing about that He hasn’t whispered into there ear yet and so they have no idea that He even wishes to speak to them. Maybe He whispers all the time and they have yet to understand how to listen…again I don’t know.

    I don’t know if Jesus was whispering to me at all times or if at the time He came for me to reconcile me unto Himself because of His grace I heard Him. Because of my experiences I tend to believe that when Jesus comes for you you know it. He has come to me twice to get me out of something and both times I heard Him and acted on what He said without a doubt in my mind…and both times like Abraham it was a message of get up and leave this place. After He spoke that into me the first time I left and for a year He engineered circumstances outside of my control and then to me it seemed like He stopped…then 10 years later He did the same thing…and at this point He has not quit speaking.

    It is my belief that 10 years ago He was bringing me into a safe holding place where I could continue to rage until it was brought to completion. For 10 years He let me rage while He stood silently by waiting for me to recognize that I was in total darkness which was hell and that I could no longer get myself out…at that point He gave me the grace to totally see where I was at. He knew why I was there. He understood. I believe He understands why everyone is int there own personal hell, and I believe that He will extend the same grace that He extended to me to everyone in His time and He does not have to answer to us when that time will be. He has revealed to me that He has all of eternity to extend that grace to His creation.

    I also believe, because of my experience, that nobody can stand against that grace and that is what reconciling the world to Himself looks like.

    Like Paul I consider myself the worst of sinners. I have done some pretty horrible things in the name of selfishness and I know that on my worst days i am capable of so much more. I have faced my demons and know that without Him I am capable of the worst of all evil. Because I know this about myself and because I know that I could not help but fall at His feet when He came for me, I cannot help but believe that all people when given that same opportunity will respond in just the same way. The Bible says they will…it says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

    I believe that at some point even the tares will no longer be tares…He will reconcile them too. The Bible says again that He is reconciling the world unto Himself and the tares are apart of this world. He says that every knee will bow and every tongue confess and the tares are a part of every knee and every tongue.

    I think that your usage of Judas is a great example of this. It is my belief that Judas walked and talked with the disciples and Jesus because He loved Jesus as much as everyone else did. I think like us, Judas’s actions were the product of disillusioned human thinking. Like a lot of others during his day, Judas believed that the Messiah would take over Rome and reestablish the Kingdom of Israel. Because Judas was so close to Jesus Judas had the unique opportunity of forcing Jesus’s hands. In essence Judas was saying, much like Abraham and Sarah…let me help you along with this in the timing that I have deemed appropriate. Satan used that and took up residence in Judas. But because God is the Great I AM, He used satan for His eternal purposes. I laugh when I think about how much that must piss satan off.

    Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

    Jesus knew that satan was using Judas’s carnal thinking to his advantage…that is why Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

    In Matthew 27 we know that Judas repented: “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders”

    God does not violate His own code…and His own code for repentance is forgiveness…

    Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

    Luke 17:3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

    Luke 17:4And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    It is my belief that Judas is loved by God. Even though Judas could no longer feel that love that does not mean that it was not there. Revelations 3:19 tells us that the only reason that Judas could repent was because he was loved by God and because he was loved by God He was rebuked and chastened…

    I say all this to show you that I have some pretty unorthodox views all given to me by Jesus. This is where I think denominations fall short. They do not allow for unorthodox views. Each individual denomination believes that they are the revelation of Jesus to the world. If you no longer connect with the views that a certain denomination subscribes to well then you need to go find yourself another one. No one attributes unorthodoxy to the revelation of Jesus…there ears are unwilling to hear and they are to quick to denounce you, and therefor Jesus, as a heretic…but being called a heretic is nothing new to Jesus.

    I have asked Him why He reveals things to some people and to others He does not see fit to reveal them. To me that seems counter productive…but God’s foolishness is wiser than mans wisdom. Some others tell me that He has always seen fit to work through a remnant…from where I stand it seems to give the remnant an uphill battle. How can I fight 1500 years of church history. I can’t…but that reminds me of the wise words of Aslan in Prince Caspian…that is how He knows that I can.

    As I write this Sue, I am overcome with love for you and that is from the Lord. He is letting me know how much He loves you and because he loves you I can’t help but love you…the love of the Lord is what makes us brothers and sisters. That is so neat.

    I love this quote by Frank Viola in Reimagining Church:

    “We gather together so that the Lord Jesus can manifest Himself in His fullness. And when that happens the body is edified. Note that the only way Christ can be properly expressed is if EVERY member of a church freely supplies that aspect of the Lord that he or she has received. Make no mistake about it: The lord Jesus cannot be fully disclosed through only one member. He is far to rich for that. (Eph 3:8).”

    If denominations would gather so that the Lord could manifest Himself through His people, than they would be the Church.

  • thank you for your comments Christi

    it is true that only I know what Jesus is whispering in my own heart and only you know what He is whispering in yours.For that reason I agree to disgree with some of your comments.

    The God I know is an all consuming Holy fire, that is His nature. And much like a natural fire, if you put wood in it the wood will burn. Likewise, if you enter Gods presence, anything unholy will burn. God does not send anyone into eternal punishment, He just cannot change the very nature of who He is.Man has been appointed once to die and then the judgement. Standing in the presence of a Holy God with a lifetime of sin will make you fall on your knees and say “you are Lord”. The pride of man will be burning along with all the other unholy aspects of the human nature, man will come to know just who God is, but his sin will be burning, the unquenchable fire, no escape from it. God knows this, thats why He sent Jesus.We have a choice to escape wats to come.

    The Holy fire of God is discussed all through the bible. The bush didnt burn with Moses because it was Holy (take off your sandles Moses for you stand on Holy ground) When Elijiah called down fire from heaven it burnt everything, including the stones…why?….because he hadnt sanctified it, it was unholy. When Aarons sons died in the presence of God their tunics were still intact…why?…because they had been sanctified. When Shadrack, Meshak and Abendigo went in the fire the guards died…why?..cos they werent Holy, the guys in the flames were met by God, the all consuming fire and their faith was credited to them as righteousness, so they didnt burn.

    You talk of a God that will not judge sin…..but will “reconcile all man to God”. A God that is so loving and gracious but will make sure we are all free from sin at some point or other.I dont agree with that thinking.It doesnt describe the God I know.

    Judas did not repent but felt remorse. I know of people who are remorseful when they see the consequences of their actions but that is not repentance. They are sorry for the results, they are sorry they got caught, they are sorry that they might be punished but they are not sorry they did it. Jesus himself said “it would have been better if he had not been born”.

    You do have different views from the church and bless you for them Christi! I am glad that you can share them and believe them but unfortunatly I personaly dont agree with them. From that I would say either God has not shown me the deeper truth that you know or vice versa. Either way, I am sure one day God will bring us into line as only He knows the truth and will lead us forward.

    Your comment on the church quote :”It is my belief that is where institutional church fails. It has been my experience that many of the people who attend appear to be very unwilling to listen to what Jesus is saying…maybe it is not that they are unwilling, maybe it is because of eternal purposes that I know nothing about that He hasn’t whispered into there ear yet and so they have no idea that He even wishes to speak to them. Maybe He whispers all the time and they have yet to understand how to listen…again I don’t know.”

    Again speaks to me of the tares. Jesus said “my sheep KNOW MY VOICE and will follow” so surely there is a problem if they are not hearing God? or if they are hearing but unwilling to follow then again I question have they really surrendered their will to God?

    Seth said in his video about “this church having no vision or this church not having this or that etc” as I said in my previous comment I go where God sends me. About 5 years ago I felt God stirring me again to attend church. I knew of one within 5 mins from my house that started at 10.30. Instead He told me to go to the other side of town to a Church of England church that started at 10am.I went to my 1st meeting there. It was something the Queen would have loved! I sat there and said “Lord, you must be joking! You realy want me coming here?” I went their for 4 years, met some wonderful people, encouraged the leaders and still have a heart for the place. I only left when God moved me again.

    Going to church is not about me, how convenient a church is, how good the worship is etc. It is all about obedience. Jesus said “He will build His church” How can build it and place bricks where He wants them if the bricks are sitting there saying ” I aint moving God! I don’t wana go to that place I prefer it over there! ”

    Are you seriously telling me that these people are christians? that they have GIVEN THEIR LIFE to the Lord? That they have surrender their will to his? This to me again speaks of the tares.

    Too many tares and not enough wheat. That is why I see the church falling apart.

    I can only say what I see. But thank you so much for your comments.

  • I love this.
    Just having the same ongoing discussion with my good friend in England. He just started a church in a Pub!
    The body of Christ is alive and well, but maybe the buildings we have built are becoming redundant.
    The best churches we have attended are under a tree somewhere in the bush.
    I could go on for a long time, but you get the point.

  • “These aren’t the wistful musings of a guy on the sidelines”.

    That is the understatement of the century!! To any nay-sayers out there…these two men are the REAL DEAL! I have met them both, sat under the teaching of Seth, had a blessing prayed over me by Andrew and my life has not been the same since! The Lord has a hold of these men; He is leading them and working His kingdom out through them (and others). Their passion is contagious…help to spread this message and cover both Seth and Andrew in prayer. : Peace :

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap