Church is not a physical building, but an Ekklesia.

I know that it’s time to blog about Faith when I get emails from readers about a post.

Since the time in 2014 that I blog about the topic of Church, namely this post, The Search for a Church. There have been some personal updates on my end.

I have stopped searching since September 2015, after being in a new church for one year. Not that I have found the church where I finally feel that I belong but rather, I have decided to move on (again).

There is this disconnect that I feel from churches, all churches that I have attended so far. With this latest one, the people are nice, the leadership in church are genuine, the sermons from the Pastor are good.

But there is something deeper that I hope to get from church, in terms of deeper fellowship amongst Christians, and I am not getting it from church, any church.

After being a veteran of Church-search the last couple of years, I have decided to throw in the towel from January 2016, to be officially free from attending ‘Institutionalised Church’.

I have decided that I rather not be tied to the cultural or religious stigma of belonging to any church.

It’s ok for you reading this to assume I am now less Christian or have fallen away from the faith, just because I choose not to attend church weekly on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t mind being judged 😛

Church is still a good thing, I never said it was bad.

Just that it’s not working out for some people…and I believe I am not the only one. I truly believe there are more people who are feeling the same disconnect from church as I do. Indicated through a random post that I wrote in 2014, which started a conversation with a fellow sister of Christ whom I don’t know personally, who shared with me that she feels the same disconnect from church. And she is courageous to acknowledge it.

Would getting involved in some ministry or a cell group in church help to ease that disconnect?

When we get busy enough with activity, getting into the motion of doing things does help to convince one that you are a key part of a group or gathering of fellow believers, make most feel good about yourself, believe that you are doing good and feeling that you are contributing to the Kingdom, all through the activities of a church.

That’s not a bad thing.

I have tried attending cell groups over the course of the churches I have attending the last 15 years. Coming together with the same subset of the people whom I am meeting on Sunday, just don’t cut it for me.

In some gatherings, it becomes about the potluck or the spread of food that the host generously provided for the gathering. Maybe I am just the weird one out, who struggle with having to be open and vulnerable to share my current challenges in my life to that few people in the group I just can’t seem to be comfortable with, for the fear of being judged.

So does all that activity, bring true Ekklesia amongst a group of believers? Maybe. It might work for some people. Just not for me, or this other lady who I have been conversing with.

So what does people like me feeling this disconnect do?

Quitting church temporary then seeking God fervently on your own helps. It’s crucial to come to a point to ask yourself, ‘What do I really want from attending Church?’

Some people attend church to listen to sermons. While some others attend church to ensure that their spouse or their child get some exposure on the ways of God.

Another young lady wrote to me recently to share that attending church for her was necessary, as she feels that it helps her to be more aware not be sinful or fall into the world’s ways of doing things. I think attending church is beneficial when it brings about conviction for a change of heart and a change of ways to be walking closely with God.

Have we asked ourselves, is that truly working out for me? I did. And I realised church-going doesn’t make me a better person. The conviction of the change of heart only lasts for a few days after listening to a sermon, and after a week, I am back to my rotten old self.

What made the difference for me was the time I set aside seeking God daily on my own. Reading the bible, listening to sermons online, meditating on the word from the bible, spending time in quiet reflection and in prayer.

Having an accountability partner, also made a difference. Someone that you can meet weekly to share about your spiritual walk, life struggles and being there for one another for constant edification and encouragement.

 

 

Church = Ekklesia

Have we asked ‘What does God want for me?’ or Christians knowing what is God’s will for us, when it comes to church.

The best way to find out what is God’s will for Christians, is to read the bible. So what is church exactly?

In New Testament, church actually means Ekklesia. So what is Ekklesia anyway?

Ekklesia is a Greek word which definition is “a called-out assembly or congregation”. In the New Testament, Ekklesia is translated as “church”. Ekklesia is definitely not defined as a membership to a physical church, but a called-out assembly of people.

What does it mean by ‘called-out’?

Does attending a specific church or calling yourself a Christian automatically makes a person part of the ‘called-out’ assembly?

This verse from 1 Peter 2:9 gives a very good explanation of what God called us out from;

1Pet29

‘Called out of darkness into His marvelous light,’ what this means, is that being ‘Called-out’ ones have to be different from the world.

If you belong to a church or a gathering, that looks to the world, or encourage you to embrace worldly principals. Then in order to walk with God truly, you need to run, run far far away from this church or gathering.

Tozer

This site have addressed this to-the-point, ‘God has called the church to be separate from sin (1 Peter 1:16), to embrace fellowship with other believers (acts 2:42) and to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). God has called us unto Himself, “Come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

So Ekklesia can mean any form of gathering of people who are called to be separate from sin, embrace fellowship with one another and be a light unto the world.  Not just a gathering of people who believes in God, who are gathered weekly in a physical building which is commonly known as ‘a church’, and then go on to behave like a non Christian on a regular day when there is no church to attend.

There is a common assumption amongst Christians these days, that one has reach a certain level of maturity spiritually, if you are actively involved in some ministry in a specific church, or even better, be some kind of leader at church.

Learning about the definition of Ekklesia has changed my paradigm of what I used to think church was about.

Ekk

One can find Ekklesia beyond the walls of a physical church and definitely need to be walking the Christian life daily to be a light unto the world. Christians are called to be the Church, and not just religiously go to a church weekly, or keep ourselves busy with church activities.

Ekklesia can be found anywhere, even in coffee shops, where 2 or more believers gather together to have coffee and just talk about God, share their walk with the Lord and encourage each other in the faith. Or it can be even found in homes, something that I have been doing with a dear friend for some time now. While Ministry or Kingdom work can be found beyond the walls of a church.

 

Is church truly working out for you?

If you are already finding that deep connection and fellowship with a fellow believer in your church who can consistently encourage you to walk closely with God and can give constant spiritual support, and someone whom you can openly share your heart with. Then I am glad for you. Keep at what you are doing.

But if you have experienced the same disconnect from church.

Maybe looking for another church and getting to know other believers in a different church gathering might solve the issue. But once you feel the disconnect, you will find that the deeper fellowship that you may be looking for cannot be found in churches, and have to be sought after some place else.

If you are one of those who feel the disconnect. Could it be time to acknowledge it? Is it time to take that courageous step to find that deeper fellowship amongst Christians and support for a deeper walk with God that you are looking for.

Stop being focus on just going to Church and keeping yourself busy with activities in church, but BE the church, everyday of your life.

Church

Share it:

Related posts:

You May Say I am a Dreamer

I have been able to recall my dreams every other night. It started when I prayed, “God, please filter out those dreams that are not from you, and speak to me through dreams.”

Usually I know when the dreams are from God, is when I wake up immediately after the dream ends, and that’s when I jot it down in my dream journal.

Yes. I have started keeping a journal to jot down all of my dreams, and dreams and visions are part of my spiritual walk with God.

So why do people dream?

Since most of the readers reading this post tend to lean towards logical and rational answers. I went to google ‘Why do people dream?’ and ended up on this post. Even researchers cannot agree on the reasons why we dream but there are plenty of theories. Some say that dreams have physical, mental, emotional or spiritual reasons and some think that is just a result of a big meal.

So then, articles that reveal how scientific discoveries were made, as a result of a sleeping dream will befuddle the most logical minds. Mendeleev found the solution to the Periodic Table, August Kekule discovered the structure of the Benzene and Aromatic Chemistry, Rene Descartes discovered the Scientific method, Albert Einstein discovered the principle of relativity after having a vivid dream.

Screen Shot 2015 08 24 at 2 02 33 pm

Many people will say that they do not dream. But the reality is we dream every night, as dreaming occurs at the end of every sleep cycle. Just that most cannot remember their dreams.

There are different sources of dreams, some are from your soul, some can be from God and some can be from the devil or the demonic realm (Yes I do believe in the Devil, if there is a God, there is the Devil or Satan. Just like when there light, there will be darkness).

There are many ways to identify the source of the dream, some of the key ways are;

1) Voice of the soul or flesh – dream will be self seeking, promoting your personal ego, self exalting and full of insecurity and fear

2) Voice of God – dream will be righteous, loving, full of mercy, humble, without condemnation, truth (will agree with scriptures in the Bible), life giving and encouraging

3) Voice of satan – condemning, twists concept from scriptures of the bible, leads people away from righteousness, appealing to the flesh, brings death, destruction and fear

 

My Thoughts on Dreams

I do believe that the examples of dreams that I have mentioned above about scientific discoveries through dreams are from God, as God is a creative creator.

Screen Shot 2015 08 24 at 1 49 18 pm

Although I am certain that the ego of a ‘self-made’ man or woman will beg to differ.

I will not be likely inventing something brilliant after discovering something in a dream, however my dreams seems to have been focused on fulfilling a different purpose.

I have had dreams of a predictive nature, or with information that I would not have an ability to know on my own.

I dreamt that I will be separated physically with my hb the week before he told me about his interview with the current company held overseas. Through this dream, I was prepared by God on the outcome, that the family will be separated geographically or a season. This dream also confirmed that hb’s move was according to God’s will.

And last year, I had a dream of an old friend whom I have not spoken to for some time. In the dream, I was revealed symbolic parallels that she has a physical ailment at a specific part of her body. I contacted her to ask her about it, and she was shocked that I knew about it and we met to pray for her healing together.

Since I started being serious about understanding what is God saying through my dreams. I have been having dreams with revelatory insight on a personal situation or about specific people. All which I have sought God about on the interpretation.

Some people attribute this to intuition, but I don’t, as I don’t think my intuition is so brilliant to start with. My conviction towards dreams is this, I believe God speaks to individuals through dreams and visions, by drawing parallels in everyday life. Dreams are often filled with symbolisms, like parables.

All of us are created to have fellowship with God, to learn to hear His voice and experience Him. God longs to speak to us and for us to know Him, not just know about Him! And showing us pictures through dreams and visions are just one of His ways.

Screen Shot 2015 08 24 at 2 10 41 pm

As for those who are Christians reading this and getting slightly riled up by this post, “This woman is into new age practices or she is misleading people into the ways of God!” or there will be some who might say, “The Holy Spirit gifting have cease to exist and this is strange fire.”

Take note that dreams or visions is an area that if you are not interested to read the Word of God daily or spend time in prayer, and spend the time to seek the Lord for interpretation to the dreams, this is not for you. You will be better off listening to what your Pastors in church tell you every Sunday.

We may not be the modern day Daniel or Joseph, but I believe that when we seek God consistently and go into the deeper things of God, God will speak to each of us personally about our lives and possibly even on things to come.

Job 33:14-18

For God may speak in one way, or in another, 

Yet man does not perceive it.

In a dream, in a vision of the night,

When deep sleep falls upon men,

While slumbering on their beds,

Then He opens the ears of men, 

And seals their instruction.

In order to turn man from his deed, 

And conceal pride from man,

He keeps back his soul from the Pit,

And his life from perishing by the sword. 

Read here for a previous post on a prophetic dream that I had. I might continue about dreams and interpretation of dreams in upcoming posts, will see how the Holy Spirit leads. 

Share it:

Related posts:

The Rise of ‘I don’t want to go to Church Anymore’.

I chanced upon this article early this week from Thom Schultz ’The Rise of the Dones’and this phenomenon of people leaving Church in America as they are tired of the systems.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 10 20 pmSource

I don’t think we are seeing this happening yet in Singapore, but I do know of friends who have already started contemplating this path.

Maybe over time, with more opening their eyes and ears to the stark truths. More who will be willing to listen to the prompting by the Holy Spirit in their hearts and seek the Word of God, and not only depend on the Mega-church charlatans who are preaching behind the pulpits now.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 13 32 pmSource

The exodus might happen then.

Until then, people are feeling something, something that they can’t quite put their finger to right now. But not uncomfortable enough to leave the walls of these organisations just yet. There would probably be many who have to suppress their thoughts of wanting to ‘burn me at the stake’ 😛 for opening this can of worms.

But with the previous posts that I have written on faith and churchanity, you would have some inkling that I am not a conventional Christian. I am not afraid to ask questions and look for the answers.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 11 40 pmSource 

Whether we like to admit it or not, we are beginning to see the beginning stages of a new reformation happening for church internationally.

 

So why are people leaving the church?

One common reason is this; ’The sermons don’t speak to me’. There is this consumer mindset that has come into the church, where ‘I contribute (pay tithe), I expect to be fed’.

Why is it that we are expecting pastors and church leadership to feed us, when spiritual growth is our responsibility?

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 42 11 pmSource

I think in a place like Singapore, of fairly well-educated individuals, we have have gone through our years of lectures in primary and secondary school and university, most of us have no problems sitting for like 30-40 minutes each Sunday and absorbing information.

But how many times do we need to hear Christianity 1.0 on the same subject of the grace of God? Hearing the ‘We are the righteousness through Christ’ preached Sunday after Sunday in different permutations, was the key reason why I left a mega church in 2008.

It was this very reason I once encountered that motivated me to study further what was taught, ask the questions and then discovered the inconsistencies. I didn’t even realised what were the inconsistencies until I was determined to seek God for the truth that was written in the Word.

After all the preacher or pastor is just a man, who is capable of making mistakes while teaching on an infallible God.

It is this very thing, the unwillingness of many who do not want to make that consistent effort to read the bible and know God personally for themselves, make themselves out to be victims of the deception that is being preached in some mega churches.

I think Christians need to ask ourselves if God will want His children to be seating passively on pews, just accepting everything that is shared, without searching out the bible for the truth for themselves. Or be reserved and not want to seek Him directly for the confirmation for these things, or press in to have an intimate relationship with God.

So is passive Christianity a trend in Christen-dom these days? Sadly, I am beginning that it is.

Christianity that is being practiced amongst a big group of Christians are focused on being just hearers of the Word (knowing the Word very well intellectually), and for some, ‘having the knowledge of God, but denying the power’ (2 Timothy 3:5)

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 48 25 pmSource

Like what Francis Chan has wisely said, “God wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.”

What is Christianity 2.0 or 3.0?

The reason of ’The sermons don’t speak to me’ then sounds like an easy excuse, when Christians should start living out Christianity 2.0 or 3.0 instead.

Christianity has never meant to be a religion.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 49 44 pmSource

It is all about a relationship with the Creator. Where the focus is to embrace a personal relationship with God, centred on Jesus.

If you a Christian, and Christianity is a religion for you, likely it’s time to stop finding purpose and meaning within the walls of a church building, and start living out what is written in the pages of the Word of God.

The true Church, are Christians living out their lives daily as disciples of Christ.

Not a denomination or the building or church that they attend regularly or have membership with. Or to take any pride in these things like ‘Our church has a great worship team’, ‘Our church has a great Children’s or Youth ministry’ or ‘Our church has a great pastor,’ or the ultimate, ‘Our church has a nice building.’

True Christianity is this; “If you love me, keep my word (commandments)” John 14:15.

We humans make it all so complicated with the systems, structures, and the fancy stage lights and effects that are in some churches, or even the concept of tithing. Attending church service once a week will not automatically make a person a true Christian.

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am anti-church or the assembling of Christians. I believe the assembly of Christians do not need to be limited to the 4 walls of a church, two or more Christians can meet to talk about God, at a cafe, in their homes or even a park anytime. True Christianity means living out our daily lives as a ‘Disciple of Christ’.

Walk the talk, be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22) and start living out Christianity that is listed out in the Bible 24/7, not just every Sundays at Church.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 2 57 16 pmSource

Stop focusing on what on what the Church can do for you. Start being the Church.

And the proverbial question which I always like to ask, “Do you truly know God. Or do you just know all about Him?”

—-

If this post has ruffled your feathers, then I would recommend reading this guy’s blog for more of your Christian feathers to be ruffled.

And if this post got you wondering, I am still attending a small church and do intend to continue attending weekly. I am appreciative of the fellowship and teaching in church, but NOT dependent on church for my spiritual walk, growth or even the ministries in church to serve.

**Also, if you have this verse at the back of your mind, ‘Judge not, that you be judged,’ while reading this, do read this post

Share it:

Related posts: