Years ago, when I worked for the street mission in Hamilton, Ontario, I met a man one day standing in front of the mission. He said he was a Pastor from another city and that God had told him to leave his church and come to Hamilton because God was going to bring revival, in part, through Hamilton, and through something called a Love Triangle with Buffalo and Rochester making the other two points of the triangle.
I have heard the same prophecy from at least three other sources on both sides of the border. It was said that this revival would be different than the one Toronto had experienced starting in 1994. During that time, as many as 5000 people every night came to experience what a British newspaper called the Toronto Blessing. About half of those people had flown in from other countries to experience the phenomenon in which participants reported healing, incidents of personal transformation, uncontrollable laughter, tears and a greater awareness of God’s Love. The next revival, it was said, would be different in that instead of people coming here from other countries, this one would go out from here to other parts of the world.
I believe this to be true and have been waiting, hoping and praying for some time now. Please join me in praying for this to occur; you will never know this kind of intensity of Love from anywhere else than you will from the heart of God. It has been shrouded from us for far too long.
The first Church, the one we read about in the book of Acts (a history of the original Church) turned half the world upside down in under a century. It was a dynamic, loving and miraculous group that met from house to house, shared meals together, encouraged one another, and no one was in need of anything because everyone shared everything. The sick were healed, the dead were raised and God’s Spirit drove the whole thing. No wonder half the world was changed. Something happened to drastically slow down the progress of that early group. 20 more centuries have come and gone we still have not yet reached the other half of the world. We have been too busy with buildings, budgets, programs, doctrine, and dogma. We have lost sight of what was and so much time has past, no one really knows what it should be, but many of us have this burning in our hearts for something more, something we can barely define, but something we know is real. We got a taste and now we long for more.
I believe that God has showed me that everything that the Church once was and everything that it was meant to be will be realized through the next generation, those who are now in their teen and early twenties. That is why I decided to work with young people. It’s not something that I wan’t to do, but God showed me I needed to do, to help to usher in a new era of Church. One that will begin to change the world once again. One that will be miraculous, dynamic and on fire with God’s love and power. This needs to happen! It will happen! It’s just a matter of when. Oh, Lord help us to get out of our own way and to realize our real lives that have been waited in the shadows for a long, long time!
It was not the followers of Christ who started calling themselves Christians. It was those outside of the church in a place called Antioch. I am sure the term was used in a derogatory fashion. The believers referred to themselves as “The Way”.
That is not what most concerns me however. Names matter little. It’s the categorization that worries me. What happens when the Jewish people come to a realization that Jesus Christ truly is the Messiah that they have been waiting for. Are they to start calling themselves Christians? Their Jewish heritage is richer than ours. The Jewish believers in Christ’s day were just that; Jewish believers in Christ. You were either a Jewish follower of Christ or you were a Gentile follower. Now we have this new designation that I think is a barrier to those who might otherwise embrace Christ.
We had a couple a Muslim foreign exchange students with us two years ago. We had some amazing conversations because they were fairly familiar with the Old Testament. By the time they went back home they were calling themselves Messianic Muslims, seeing how Christ connects in their faith. As I said in the previous post, Christ didn’t come to start a new religion. He came to save the whole world. Let’s not put up barriers with our institutional mind sets.
You don’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says, “Hey, why don’t we just scrap Judaism and Buddhism (The Muslim faith had not started yet) and let’s just start a new religion called Christianity”. No, instead He came to save our sorry butts, and He did it in love. His mission was far greater, and by relegating Christ to a religion that goes by the name of Christianity, we seriously hamper His mission. Thankfully, He will get the job done one way or another despite those of us who call ourselves Christians.
Why do we as humans always seem to default back to religion anyway? It is like we always need an idol to worship. When we come to faith, we surrender our idols, and as we look for security in our faith, we gravitate to anything within our faith that we can touch, taste and smell, instead of closer to the One who created all that there is.
Christianity has been buried inside the walls of churches and secured with the shackles of dogmatism. Let it be liberated to come into the midst of us and teach us freedom, equality and love. – Minna Canth
Let me tell you about a vision I had some years back. I call it the vision of the two brides. For those who don’t know, Christ referred to the Church as his bride. The first bride was beautiful, dressed in a white wedding dress and made up to perfection. The impression was that she had done her own make-up and had dressed herself. You could say that she was a self-made bride. The second bride came crawling into view on hands and knees. She looked like she had been beaten as she was covered in bruises and scares; clothes torn and dirty. All at once something came into her and she became raised up off her feet as though some force where picking her up. She began to be transformed from the inside out and a bright white light shone out from her and clothed her in a brilliant beauty from head to toe. She far out shone the first bride, paling in comparison to her. I then saw Christ approaching, coming to collect his bride. As he approached, he was immediately drawn to the second bride. I did not see him rejecting the first bride, but he was definitely more attracted to the second.
What would you find more attractive, a church that is attractive because it has a beautiful building, kickin worship music, great preaching, a fantastic children’s program, and professional, strategic systems of operation; or one that is being lead by a drug addict in his home and has had his life so transformed that he just shines with the love of Christ, so much so that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the presence of God in that place. The best soil for planting is soil that has been broken up; otherwise the seeds just sit on the hard ground and don’t take root. The best soil for churches is soil that has been broken also. That is why God showed me the image of a broken bride. We have become very consumerist in our approach to church. We go where we are offered the best features rather than where lives are being transformed on a regular basis.
I look at church as being a very integral part of the community. I see it as a place where people are not put off by all the religious trappings. A place where you can share your deepest, darkest stuff and others will love on you with a genuine intimacy. I now am also looking at it as something that is simple and easily reproducible, so that new churches can be started by just about anyone in any place in the community; coffee shops, parking lots, car, home, office. You don’t have to be ordained to start a church. If you are a follower of Christ, you are a Priest! 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
John 9:11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
This site is for all those who love the church, all those who are disillusioned with the church, and all those who just think it’s a croc.
I am a Pastor who for years has been heartbroken over what the church in North America has become and passionate about seeing it become what I know it could be.
I hate to be critical of the church and try not to be, but it has become very difficult for me to set foot in a church. The last time I did, I cried and grieved, as I believe God does, over the void of what I feel in my heart is desperately missing.
As the days pass, I will share more of my heart. It is my intention that through dialogue with others of you, people of faith can wake up to a fresh vision of the pure and simple mission of Christ, and in doing so, become the world changers that His first century followers were.
I have a friend in the UK who talks about “dirty theology” — that we have a God who is always using dirt to bring life and healing and redemption, a God who shows up in the most unlikely and scandalous ways. After all, the whole story begins with God reaching down from heaven, picking up some dirt, and breathing life into it. At one point, Jesus takes some mud, spits in it, and wipes it on a blind man’s eyes to heal him. (The priests and producers of anointing oil were not happy that day.) – Shane Claiborne