Friday, 25 July 2008

Where is the Lord Taking Us?

Where is the Lord Taking Us?

Some years ago, as I was seeking to understand and praying about what the Lord was doing with us in separating us from the institutional church, I got the picture above. It may help some of you, as it enlightened me, as to the direction in which Father was taking us.

The upper part of the first section of the picture represents the existing situation where churches are enclosed in denominational walls and divided from each other. In the lower part I tried to illustrate the word from the Lord which initiated our move out. As I explain in the first part of “My Search for the Church” that word was that if we wanted Church Father’s way our ways would have to die and be buried so that He might resurrect it according to His will. Perhaps now I would add a picture of some simply escaping over the walls to look for a better way.

In the second section is reflected what is the experience of many when they come out. They find themselves very alone and isolated. Why should this be? In Hosea 2:14-20 is the key. In that passage the prophet describes a wilderness experience in which he acts with great compassion and love to win the soul to a deep intimacy with Himself. It concludes with the moving words, “And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” With that threefold vow the believer is bound to His Lord in love and is drawn to know Him in an experience deeper and more real than ever before. We must not fear that wilderness, but gladly permit the Lord to have his way.

In the third section I see little groups, twos and threes of these wooed believers informally coming together to interact in fellowship together whether in homes, around the meal table or somewhere in the open air or a restaurant. They are not in any religious organization. As expressed by Zechariah they are “Villages without walls.” When they are together their conversation is about the Lord. The prophet Malachi pictures such groups in 3:16-17, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another; the Lord heeded and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and thought on His name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act.”

In the fourth section we see God’s ultimate purpose as all these villages are bound together, not with the ties of institutions, but in a living body. No humanly devised walls now separate. The only wall is the presence of God around the whole as expressed again in Zechariah 2:5.and He alone has the glory within.


Blogger Mark said...

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29 September 2008 at 5:20 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

I love this visualization of the "coming out" process. when I left the institutional church I found that I derived a lot of my comfort in Christ and a lot of my spiritual "self worth" from my actions within the church: that I played drums on the praise team, worked with the youth, etc. I had to learn to accept that Christ loved me regardless of what i did, and that doing those things did not give me more or less favor with him. Walking in that "desert" forced me to learn that. As I am now in a geographical area where fellowship with like-minded Christians is difficult to find, I have not had much fellowship with other Christians, in a meaninful way. I have friends in a city 2 hours away, and meet with them when I can, but even then there is lacking the expression of the greater community of believers. We see that community beginning to be built, which will result in the last stage in the drawing. Again, a wonderful visualization of what seems to have been the road the Lord has taken me.

29 September 2008 at 5:22 pm  

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