You can’t lead people to the Lord
You can not lead people to the Lord, effectively, if you are only preaching to the choir or by surrounding yourself only with those you see every week and hoping that some will come in who have not been scarred by Christians who prove to be unsympathetic, unemphatic and arrogant.
<Disclaimer: all verses in this post are KJV- sorry if it’s not the easiest to read but can always be looked up in your choice of translation>
Jesus told his disciples, in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Amen.”
What he said was to go out (be proactive), not (as we are inclined to do today) sit in your church, week after week, preaching the same tired message to the same tired church, get their tithe (because giving outside the church is apparently unthinkable) and go out the door into the world, promptly (for most) forgetting what was preached (and not too worried about it, because after all, I’m saved, therefore I’m SAFE). Best not be too arrogant!
It’s no secret, to those who know me, that I’m anti-denominational, though I must confess this is the first time I’ve actually written this particular sentiment in this particular way. That’s right- ANTI-DENOMINATIONAL– why? Because when Jesus went out among the people; he went to everyone, he didn’t discriminate about whom he kept company with. Harlots, beggars, liars, party people, Pharisees, etc. He healed the Roman Centurion’s son just as quickly as he healed the man in the temple with a withered hand. Please don’t misunderstand me, I understand WHY denominations occur- that’s not the issue. The issue is that the Church, as a corporate enterprise, has become so obsessed with their doctrines and therefore the errors of the other’s doctrines (when doctrine becomes more important than SCRIPTURE, there’s a serious problem- the evidence is in the infighting). How can two churches say they love God but apparently hate each other? There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and IN YOU ALL” Ephesians 4: 4-6
A friend of mine shared this picture with me today, a quotation by Charles H. Spurgeon that seems very applicable in what I see in the church today:
I suppose it could be argued that this is the way it’s supposed to happen; but is it? Yes, Jesus is coming back- that’s prophesy and therefore unchangeable but does that mean that we’re supposed to just sit back and let things happen because, after all, it’s inevitable? Of course not! What kind of sense does that make? We’re to keep working- keep going out amongst the wolves, to have God bring the lambs to us for safekeeping and training to go out and replicate what we’ve (through the training, Scriptures and most importantly, being a living example) taught them.
Sadly, that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening, since the Church got in bed with the government, is that more and more Churches have lowered their standards- performing same sex marriage, backing one political party because it’s “pro life”, etc.
Remember this is a secular world- so the rules that the government go by and the rules the God’s people go by are going to collide-it’s inevitable. Within the WORLD, none of those things are considered WRONG if they are LEGAL- nor should they be. According to faith in God, the church should not be promoting what God has, through Scripture, made plain is sin- homosexuality, murder, etc. Nor should the church be promoting political parties (nothing wrong with personal views- that’s nature and would make us automatons if we didn’t have some view point) based purely on a single subject, the favorite seeming to be the pro-life aspect.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m pro life all day long. I do not believe in abortion- I’m diametrically opposed to it for any reason but I’m not going to sit here and tell others not to do it. In my view, the resulting baby from any sexual encounter, didn’t ask to be concieved and it’s murder to kill it no matter how many ways hairs are split to explain away conception and viability of life. Put into a position to witness to one struggling with this, I would have to curtail my own feelings and views on it and encourage the mother to think about it from all angles and not do anything in a rash manor, but, in the end, I don’t answer for them, only for what my part is in whoever’s path I cross-or that crosses mine. If I do that and they opt to abort their child, it’s not on my hands- that’s their decision and it’s still covered by the grace of God if and when that woman comes to saving knowledge of Christ. As long as there is life, there is breath, there is HOPE. We, as people, have a terrible propensity for thinking that we have it all figured out, the problem being that the Scriptures are so much bigger than that. I Corinthians 6:12 says, “ALL things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any“. I find it very interesting that I’ve been listening to sermons for some 30 years now and have never and I repeat never heard this section preached. If there’s a sermon out there with it in it, it’s either glossed over, preached incorrectly or not preached at all. Why? Because that takes power of the individual life out of the church’s hand. Preachers are paid to preach just as welders are paid to weld. It’s a job; perhaps a “higher calling” job but a job nonetheless.
Let me tell you something- there are people in this world called to preach…and there are people in this world who preach every week, sometimes for years, who have no business being behind the pulpit and who are standing with their backs to their true calling, whatever it might be. A monumental problem with this world is that we’ve been programmed for years to believe that this preacher MUST be qualified because he went through Seminary and learned Hebrew and Greek and can recite Bible verses and Catechisms and drop Jesus name every Tuesday and it simply is not that way in too many cases. I hate to be the one to bring this up (actually not really- time is too short for cow-pucky) but the DEVIL believes in God, he’s more active in the church than anywhere else and he knows all that stuff too. James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”. At the core of everyone on planet earth’s souls, there is a war going on- God calling; people either accepting or denying. Right now there is grace but a time is coming, and (in my view) now is, when the “lines of demarcation” are being drawn and the wheat is starting to be separated from the chaff.
Our mission, as people of The Way (I have gotten to the point where I shudder at the term “Christian” these days), is to go out, to, “Preach the gospel at all times and, use words when necessary.”(Words of Francis of Assisi). I think that’s fairly self explanatory but maybe it’s just me. Our mission is to help those who can not help themselves, particularly when children are involved. There’s no excuse for children to be homeless and hungry, not if the church is doing their job and paying attention. There’s enough money- that’s not an issue. With pastors driving around in brand new cars and bragging about it (“pastors” like Creflo Dollar and Frederick Price, for example), sucking money from people making minimum wage in their jobs and trying to raise a family on that, there’s no possible way you can convince me- much less God-that there’s not enough money to take care of those who need to be taken care of. If I, who am homeless, can do my best to help any in need whether it’s convenient or not (not just money- time, a listening ear, whatever I can give) what is their excuse? I should be able to run to any church and tell them my situation and expect it to be dealt with- I’m not talking about people with mental illness and bad decision making (though they need Jesus just as badly as I do, if not more), I’m talking about a bad economy and job loss and unemployment running out- materialistic type of stuff I had no control over. And my situation isn’t even unique- thousands of families across the country are going through the exact same thing as we are-and having just as hard a time; most of whom are totally ignored by the church, no matter how many times they are contacted and why? Because I’m not a “member” of any of them- the fact that we’re supposedly members of the CHURCH (the BODY of CHRIST) is completely ignored. Shelters operated by “Christian principles” who separate fathers from their kids, husbands from their wives- what kind of crap is this? What part of “What God has joined together, let no man separate” is hard to understand? Mark 10:9
The church building should be like a train station: we’re (as individuals) the conductor; it’s our job to go here and there and live <and all that entails as we come into contact with people daily>. The church building should be used as a stopping point for us, as people who’ve lived and healed and given of ourselves all week, to come, get refreshed, get the physical materials needed and go back out and continue our work. Imagine the Red Cross’s effectiveness if they didn’t go WHERE THE NEED IS and just stood at one location and expected victims of natural disasters to COME TO THEM- and they’re on the other side of the country or out of immediate range. What kind of sense would that make?
This isn’t what’s happening. While people were looking the other way or swept up into materialism, conforming to the world, and worrying about fashion statements and robes and who’s choir is better, they stopped paying attention, which is precisely what the devil likes-exactly why I said he does his best work in the church- why does he need to go out into the world when they are in alignment with him? No, his prey is the weakest among us, who claim the name of Christ. We, who have stopped bowing to Christ and started bowing to each other, holding this preacher up or that preacher. Idolatry is rampant in the church- it’s ridiculous how much. Obviously the Catholic church is the biggest pariah of this particular sin but nearly every church is guilty of it. Scripture tells us very clearly, not to have any graven images of “things in heaven and things on earth or things under the earth“ (The 10 Commandment, Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5)
What’s this mean? We, as Christians, if we are to remain faithful to this, shouldn’t have images of Christ- at all; we shouldn’t have images of angels- at all; devils either…think about the verse- can you argue that what I say is wrong?
I’m sure by now you’re asking, Who is this and why is she ranting on and on and on? I’ll tell you who I am. I’m a child of the Living God, hopefully the same as you. I’m Heidi Joy Hameed, sister of Jesus the Christ. He gave me authority, he gave me the “gift of gab” and he gave me writing ability and for me not to use ALL of those things are 1) contrary to my nature, 2) a sin not to utilize and 3) make me responsible not only for the content of the things I write (or don’t write) but answerable to God, the Father, if I do not preach what he’s given me to preach, plaque on my wall be damned.
Jeremiah 23:1 says this: “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord“. See, it’s a dangerous thing to be a pastor (not that I am calling myself a pastor- that job is God’s though it seems to be the way I’m heading) because a pastor carries a lot of responsibility, which is precisely why I said earlier that you have no business being a pastor if you are not CALLED to be a pastor-why have all these innocent lives in your hand- their growth as children of God, leading them in their spiritual life (leading not putting yokes on their necks telling them what they can and can not do), if you do not have to?
Jeremiah 20:9 says, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name: But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” This is me, rolled up in a nutshell.
The most important thing that people have forgotten, those who claim to represent God, is that they can’t do anything- they can’t save people, they can’t live their lives, they can’t make them come to God through Christ. All they can do is keep putting their spiritual fishing pole in the water and ask God to bring the people He’s chosen to them. It’s God’s job- we’re just the rod- He’s the Fisherman.
I’ve been charged with a message and, to the best of my ability, I’ve delivered it. I feel I should say (though it’s obvious to me, having lived my life and made my mistakes and learned through those mistakes <eventually>) that I’m not coming to anyone as one who has all answers and is now perfect. I’m a stubborn, hard-headed child of God who loves her Father with every breath of her body because she has made so many mistakes, has tripped and fallen over and over again; is whiny and anxious about her homeless situation and STILL believes that her Daddy can do anything- and deliver her as He will.
Peace be to you; I pray that God the Father will give you comfort in your despair, assistance in your troubling environment, whatever it curtails, and fierceness to ride out the storm of life- to navigate the stormy seas of life and to walk determined and strong just as Jesus did so long ago. Learn Jesus. Meet Jesus. Meet the Father who sent Jesus. He’s your brother and coheir with you if you are in him. I hope to meet you in Heaven where we will “know as we are known” 1 Corinthians 13:12.