I am about to step out into the unknown.
This post will be the first time that I’m publicly expressing what I’m about to write. I’m feeling a bit trepidatious, but I know that so many of my dreams lately are centered around the theme of risk-taking and bravery. and that alone convinces me that I should take this next step.
So here goes nothing…
My continuous prayer as of late has been to ask the Lord to show me how to obey Him rather than man. My second book, Unadulterated, centered around this prayer. I mean, man doesn’t always get everything right. Our divided nation seems to be proof of this. So I am asking God to tell me what is right and what is wrong. I do this lately even when I’m pretty sure that I know. God has been faithful in answering my sincere search for truth. And because of this, the last few years have been a time of immense change. At the end of 2019, I prayed that God would use the year 2020 to give me perfect vision. I asked for His perspective and that He expose any and all lies I’ve believed. The first two months of the year so far have been intense. I am continually surprised at what He is showing me.
In January, I found myself reading the book Identity Theft by Ron Cantor. I would never have purchased it had I known it was fiction. Yet God used it to open my eyes to the immense sins of the Catholic church. As I contemplated the ways of the church I grew up in I couldn’t help but think how closely the protestant churches I’ve attended resemble their parent. Five hundred years ago when the first reformation took place the difference may have been more profound. It seems to me that the enemy has slowly made all churches, all denominations even, seem quite similar to each other but quite different than the biblical, New Testament Church.
At the same time as God was teaching me this, I found myself learning to make artisan sourdough bread. I fell in love with the bread-making process. It feels right to make bread the way it’s been made for thousands of years. This long-fermented bread is real food that my gluten-intolerant family members can enjoy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever heard the term “bread is life.”
Strangely though through the process God began to show me more truth.
Bread, real bread, must go through a long, specific process in order to become a wholesome, nutritious food. To me, this process is a picture of the Christian walk. It’s good to know where you are in the process, but regardless, it’s imperative that we each submit to the process. The starter like the gospel is alive. The starter once introduced will eventually mix through the whole loaf. It changes the molecular structure. It’s what makes the bread rise. The starter is necessary to make the bread nutritious and delicious. The full process requires a number of stretches and folds to work the starter in. Then a bulk ferment, where the dough is left alone at room temperature to allow the starter time to grow the dough. Next, the dough goes through a shaping. Then the cold-proof where the sour flavor is developed. This is done is a dark, cold refrigerator. After 48-72 hours of proofing, the fire is applied. This is what makes the dough into something others want to partake of but not before it is marked/scored by the baker/artist. The heat turns the dough into bread; it becomes a beautiful work of art. During the entire process, the artist is attentive and watches over the dough to make sure he/she is creating the perfect loaf. Every loaf is unique. We, like bread, must then be broken to feed others. Christlike, we become the bread of life to those around us who are hungry for more than this world can offer.
In most grocery stores what you’ll find is commercial bread which is made with yeast. It’s a quick process that produces a multitude of bread loaves that are pleasing to the eye, not very unique, and not very nutritious. They are far from being ancient, artisan bread. They are edible but not really good for you and definitely not works of art. Kind of like a commercial Christian, one that might actually look good to the world but not a true Bible-believing, tongue-talking, fully surrendered disciple of Christ.
“…Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Commercial christians are produced by commercial churches not by the Artist Himself. These commercial churches are ones that are run as businesses. Imagine, churches that have made a business out of the body of Christ!
Don’t go to church, be the Church!
All of today’s churches are really ministries. Ministries started by a man or men. They are organizations with man-made structures and hierarchy. They own, earn, and produce. The founders of these organizations are in charge.
When we choose a “church” we are actually choosing a ministry and it’s leadership to become a part of, serve under, and build their vision.
The true Church does not own or earn. It grows as God grows it. It spreads the Gospel, baptizes, delivers, heals, gives, and disciples all for free.
Commercial churches are set up to run like the heretical catholic church more than the first-century (Acts) church founded by Holy Spirit through the Apostles. I believe that it’s time for true believers to come out of their commercial church.
Some believers do seem to be waking up to the lies of these commercial churches that have whether knowingly or unknowingly kept them bound and oppressed.
WHAT IS A COMMERCIAL CHURCH?
Here are just two unbiblical practices that are widespread today.
- The Bible tells us that God created the seventh day and set it apart as Holy. Nowhere in Scripture will you find this changed. Saturday, not Sunday, is His day and a day of rest. The apostate catholic church declares any church that worships on Sunday is under their authority because it was the pope who declared Sunday the church’s new holy day.
- A church that sees itself as a business is not a biblical church. I do not believe a church that uses its congregation to pay the salaries of a few special people is run by biblical principles. Nowhere in Scripture do we see tithes being used to build one man’s kingdom. It’s poor or persecuted Churches that should be receiving our tithes, not leaders who can easily go get jobs.
The Bible is our authority on what the body of Christ should look like and how it should operate. The first-century church was not an institution and it did not own, borrow, or earn. It was a community of people that did life together and cared for each other. They met daily. They were a priesthood of believers where every individual and their spiritual gifts were imperative, not just a select few.
Listen, it would be far easier for me to ignore all that the Lord is showing me or keep my mouth shut and just go to a large, quite pleasant commercial church down the street every Sunday. I see writing this post as drawing a line in the sand. To turn back would now be incredibly hypocritical of me. I won’t take the easy way because time has shown me that the easy way always turns into the hard way. I know that I will be held accountable by God for what I know as will you. For me, there’s no turning back.
My prayer now is that God’s true Church, His body, awakens and boldly rises up in a final and truly biblical reformation.
And to God be the glory!