Unsettled? Moi?

message in a bottleHaving made a journey in space and time, an article first published in May 2005 'washed up' on the shores of New Zealand and has now been returned to the author's inbox in the Scottish Highlands.
 


Ed preface: A Christian brother in England received a message from New Zealand and e-mailed me a question: "Is this you?" I had to dig around on an old blog-syle internet group message list which pre-dated the Christians Together website in order to find the answer. Indeed it 'was me'. I copy it below (as my English brother believes it has a continuing relevance).


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HIGHLAND CHRISTIAN NEWS
Inverness








To Whom it May Concern
Message Dateline: 2 May 2005
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Preface:
The following letter may have no relevance for you and, if so, I would not wish that you waste your time by continuing to read any further than the next paragraph. However, if you feel that it may apply to you please read on. What I say is based on what I have been experiencing amidst the body of Christ where I am over a period of years.
 
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Dear Christian believer,
 
For a considerable time now you have been strangely unsettled in your spirit. This has perplexed you - as you have just been getting on with your Christian walk and participating in the general life of the church. But you have been disturbed in yourself. You have re-read the pages of the Bible relating to the dynamic works of the apostles and the early disciples; and then compared these with what you have been experiencing in your own life and fellowship setting. And you have perceived a huge "mis-match"; a yawning gap between where (spiritually-speaking) things are now, and where the early followers of Christ were in their day. (Note: I am not suggesting that Pentecost is to be repeated; but rather continued..( Eph 5:18.)
 
In different times and circumstances you may have felt that it was time to "move on to a new situation" in your journey with Christ, but in a strange way you have not felt any clear direction regarding which way to go. You have not felt called to "re-locate"; indeed you may have been feeling and continuing to feel that you need strive to indentify more closely with your immediate neighbours and that section of society (neighbourhood/workplace, etc.) in your immediate orbit.
 
In a strange way, any striving that you have done to draw closer to Christ, and to be more committed to His calling and God's word, has increased rather than reduced the dis-satisfaction and unrest that you have been feeling. And you have felt lonely even when surrounded by other Christians who do not seem to be disturbed in spirit in the way that you are. Most other Christians in fact seem to be just happily getting on with their lives. And this adds to your perplexity. "Is it just me? Why am I feeling this way? There must be something wrong with me; as most others seem to be getting along OK."
 
You have been concerned that you might be getting cynical and critical over what you see as the increasing worldliness in the church. And you long for fellowship with others whom you feel might understand - in some measure at least - "where you are". But as you cautiously yet honestly open up to others whom you sense may be walking the same path, you find that they too in their heart of hearts have been going through exactly the same inner spiritual processes and turmoil as yourself.
 
If you have been sensing or experiencing any of these things take heart dear child of God. I believe that what you have been going through is a God-given unsettledness, a Holy dissatisfaction with "what is"; and what He has been creating in you is to prepare you for the days to come.
 
I believe a great crisis lies ahead - for society, its peoples and the religious system which many would call "the church"; and God needs those who have been weaned away from dependency on the structures, programmes and other facets of organised churchianity. He is looking for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; and long to be filled with the life-giving Spirit of God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is searching for those who are - and will seek to be - Kingdom-builders (as opposed to empire-builders). He is desiring and preparing  those who will seek to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified; those who will find no satisfaction in the trinkets of this world and who will spurn the carnal methods, the fixation with "success" and the worldly measurements of "spirituality" and "commitment" that have invaded the church.
 
But, if you have not done so already, please consider some questions. Are you a believer who is prepared to "abandon all" in the cause of Christ and His Great Commission to reach the lost? Have you considered the cost, and are you prepared to pay that price in the context of the measure of grace that has been shown to you? Indeed, in your spirit, you realise that nothing short of total submission will slake your thirst for God and satisfy the desires of your heart.
The way ahead could involve great sacrifice; and you may face rejection and much criticism - even from those around you and close to you in the "church",  but it is this type of sacrifice in which the Lord delights (Matt 5:11&12). And indeed the cost of turning away from His calling upon your life would be even greater.
 
Take heart dear follower of "the Way", you are not alone. Many others are being spoken to in exactly the same way as God is speaking to you. If it is not apparent to you yet, time will reveal those who will stand with you. Meanwhile equip yourself with (a knowledge of) His Word and abandon yourself to (the leading of) His Spirit, that He might use you to the extent that He would, as the God of all ages works out His purposes in our fallen and needy world; both now and forever.
 
Your God and my God has clearly stated through His Son Jesus Christ:
>>> 
Blessed and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, because they shall be filled.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
(Matt 5: 6 - 10)
<<< 
 
Your brother,
 
Colin
Footnote: See also a later 'Open Letter' (27/06/2012) which lists some symptoms and suggests some remedies relating to the above

The Editor, 22/07/2016

Feedback:
(page   1   2)
Editor 07/08/2016 17:56
Donald, please read again what I wrote. And it entirely Scriptural to 'test' the character of those who profess to be Christians.
When I wrote about 'hyper-Calvinism' I was speaking (generally) about the problems (and time-wasting) I have had dealing with matters relating to same.
But my biggest problem is with those who continually 'post' without the courtesy of either (a) identifying themselves to me and/or (b) registering with the site.

If you want to discuss the background to all of this and editorial policy, I am happy to communicate with you privately. Otherwise this thread get's 'cluttered up' with administrative matters. Thank you.
John Smith 31/08/2016 11:45
Guest, I haven't responded to your post of 28/7/16 because I have only today picked up this discussion.

You can't judge a book till you have read it. Nowhere in his book, does Stan Firth suggest that we should be building the Kingdom of God on earth ourselves. Quite the opposite.

But we do have to overcome ourselves, but by stepping inside His victory on the Cross. An example is a favourite verse of mine, Revelation 2:17:

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

John Smith 31/08/2016 11:54
As for the book by Stan Firth, this is just my opinion, but I consider it to be a modern Christian classic and fit to be beside the likes of Pilgrim's Progress and the unabridged 2-volume biography of James Hudson Taylor. I think Christians should buy it, because in a few years, they might need it! (It would also help the author who is a servant of God and quite old, so could probably do with the cash, although it is available as an ebook)

I think I have commented on it on other forum discussions on this site.

It is written with great humility, not pontificating at all. It could stand on it's own as a manual of how to live the Christian Life, even though that was not the purpose of it. It is so completely free of any kind of denominationalism.
John Smith 31/08/2016 12:20
Dale M, what Stan Firth talks about rings so utterly true to me. But I believe there are lots of reasons for Christians to find themselves outside of the churches. Some, like yourselves, feel called out. (Ha – called out – which is the meaning of Ecclesia / Church!) but others find themselves on the outside without quite knowing why, but yes, I believe that God has a purpose for us.

“Churchianity” has been around since I’ve been on this planet. I am not necessarily against the human institutions of the churches, but I am amazed at their arrogance – almost as though they think God is only moving at their say-so! So many control freaks. And when they encounter lone Christians they refuse to accept them as brothers or sisters. Why build a wall when you could build a bridge? Well, that’s a bit of a rant.

It is pretty obvious that if God wants to achieve His purposes through His Body, He can’t do it through the institutional churches (and even little independent churches become institutions). I don’t think He will shun those churches – He will still work where He can. But in a way, it’s Gideon’s army through whom He will save the day. (Guest, notice how carefully I worded that so as not to offend you!). And we can provide encouragement for church Christians who are beginning to feel that everything is collapsing. We know that Jesus can keep us with or without the help of the churches, and pastors, and vicars.

Still, it is very important to guard against arrogance ourselves, and not to think we are better than those who are in with the church in-crowd. Because basically, we aren’t.

I was in a train once, near Willesden Junction in London. In the foreground were all these railway lines, and a junk yard. In the distance, skyscrapers: clean, gleaming and proud in the sun. And I was watching the bulldozers piling up all the twisted and rusty pieces of scrap metal. And I felt God was saying to me: I build MY kingdom out of all the twisted and broken pieces of humanity; all the rejects; all the people who the world doesn’t want.

John Smith 31/08/2016 15:03
Sorry, maybe I'm posting too much, but I think it's worth looking at this prophecy of Dave Wilkerson's:
https://z3news.com/w/david-wilkerson-super-churches-arise/

Although he may not have been 100% correct, I still think Dave Wilkerson did receive some visions from God. I know many Christians like to put him down. But have a look at what he says here about the two churches. Especially as Pope Francis has made a move now, to take certain things into his own hands. (see Reuters). I am not anti-Catholic, or anti-Pope, because Jesus has people in all the official churches. But this prophecy and this news about the Pope made me wonder...
John Smith 31/08/2016 19:29
Sorry, maybe I'm posting too much, but I think it's worth looking at this prophecy of Dave Wilkerson's:
https://z3news.com/w/david-wilkerson-super-churches-arise/

Although he may not have been 100% correct, I still think Dave Wilkerson did receive some visions from God. I know many Christians like to put him down. But have a look at what he says here about the two churches. Especially as Pope Francis has made a move now, to take certain things into his own hands. (see Reuters). I am not anti-Catholic, or anti-Pope, because Jesus has people in all the official churches. But this prophecy and this news about the Pope made me wonder...
Dale M 31/08/2016 21:06
Mini, Your postings are interesting so don't feel you ought to stop!
It would be wrong to say that I am presently 'outside of the church' as you say. No, I regularly attend my church because I believe it would be wrong to isolate myself from the body of believers, imperfect as the church might be. In fact, I used to be heavily involved in the working structures of my church for several years. However, I have gradually begun to sense that churches are losing their way and have drifted to some extent from the truths of the Scriptures. Therefore I have increasingly loosened my attachment to the church as an institution and this has allowed me to devote my time and energy to draw closer to Him and to grow in my knowledge and obedience toward Christ. I believe that this is what God is really wanting from us – not our zealous works in the church organisation.
The ways in which the churches have drifted from the truth are very variable: Some are preaching a different gospel based legalism and works, or are programme and entertainment oriented, and others placing an emphasis on experiential worship. As a body of believers we need to grow in our knowledge of God and in our obedience toward Him. He has saved us by His grace through faith alone in Christ alone for His glory alone.
Perhaps God is calling out His Church from within the church.

John Smith 01/09/2016 09:46
That last line hits the nail on the head, Dale M !

I never used to mind churches not entirely teaching what I thought they ought to. But it's getting just, too extreme now. Steve Chalk teaching against salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, same sex marriage even in church...phew!

I think the genuine leaders and church pastors have not been teaching their "children" how to be independent of them. How to look past their own leadership to the leadership of Jesus. Just like some dysfunctional parents who want even their adult children not to be able to live without them. And how many "testimonies" have I heard where Christians stand up and say that it was their church who helped them, their church who is so wonderful? Where did Jesus come into it? Church can take the place of a personal daily relationship with God!

When I was a child, we had this Jewish Vicar to tea. I was very much in awe of him, but I only remember one thing he said: that the Israeli army could “wipe the floor with the Arabs” every time. The reason being, that each Israeli soldier was taught to be a leader, so if you kill the leader, another soldier can take his place. But with the Arab armies, if you kill the leader, the rest fall apart and can’t function anymore.

I never forgot it, and it seems a suitable parable for the Church. Even in the days of the early Church, leaders – even bishops – turned against their flocks and betrayed them. How much more now, when “The love of the many will grow cold”. Jesus said “the ONE” who endures to the end will be saved”. Christians need to be prepared for the time when they cannot be carried along by their church, or their leaders. We need to know how to survive in the wilderness. We need to know utterly, and for ourselves, that Jesus is above all faithful – not simply to His whole Church – but to the smallest believer who belongs to Him.

Many Christians have simply been lying when they taught that you cannot survive on your own as a Christian. It simply isn’t true. And having taught that for so long, some churches are now turning around and saying: oh, cheerio, we are pulling out of your area due to lack of funds (and we don’t care about you anyway). This has happened to the Methodist church in the Lizard Peninsular of Cornwall, among others. And, you know, that is such an area for being white and ready to harvest! It’s unbelievable. But God can work through the little people left behind by the churches. I pray that He will. And all the glory will be His because the vessels will be poor ones.

John Smith 01/09/2016 13:27
That last line hits the nail on the head, Dale M !

I never used to mind churches not entirely teaching what I thought they ought to. But it's getting just, too extreme now. Steve Chalk teaching against salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, same sex marriage even in church...phew!

I think the genuine leaders and church pastors have not been teaching their "children" how to be independent of them. How to look past their own leadership to the leadership of Jesus. Just like some dysfunctional parents who want even their adult children not to be able to live without them. And how many "testimonies" have I heard where Christians stand up and say that it was their church who helped them, their church who is so wonderful? Where did Jesus come into it? Church can take the place of a personal daily relationship with God!

When I was a child, we had this Jewish Vicar to tea. I was very much in awe of him, but I only remember one thing he said: that the Israeli army could “wipe the floor with the Arabs” every time. The reason being, that each Israeli soldier was taught to be a leader, so if you kill the leader, another soldier can take his place. But with the Arab armies, if you kill the leader, the rest fall apart and can’t function anymore.

I never forgot it, and it seems a suitable parable for the Church. Even in the days of the early Church, leaders – even bishops – turned against their flocks and betrayed them. How much more now, when “The love of the many will grow cold”. Jesus said “the ONE” who endures to the end will be saved”. Christians need to be prepared for the time when they cannot be carried along by their church, or their leaders. We need to know how to survive in the wilderness. We need to know utterly, and for ourselves, that Jesus is above all faithful – not simply to His whole Church – but to the smallest believer who belongs to Him.

Many Christians have simply been lying when they taught that you cannot survive on your own as a Christian. It simply isn’t true. And having taught that for so long, some churches are now turning around and saying: oh, cheerio, we are pulling out of your area due to lack of funds (and we don’t care about you anyway). This has happened to the Methodist church in the Lizard Peninsular of Cornwall, among others. And, you know, that is such an area for being white and ready to harvest! It’s unbelievable. But God can work through the little people left behind by the churches. I pray that He will. And all the glory will be His because the vessels will be poor ones.

John Smith 02/09/2016 15:38
That last line hits the nail on the head, Dale M !

I never used to mind churches not entirely teaching what I thought they ought to. But it's getting just, too extreme now. Steve Chalk teaching against salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, same sex marriage even in church...phew!

I think the genuine leaders and church pastors have not been teaching their "children" how to be independent of them. How to look past their own leadership to the leadership of Jesus. Just like some dysfunctional parents who want even their adult children not to be able to live without them. And how many "testimonies" have I heard where Christians stand up and say that it was their church who helped them, their church who is so wonderful? Where did Jesus come into it? Church can take the place of a personal daily relationship with God!

When I was a child, we had this Jewish Vicar to tea. I was very much in awe of him, but I only remember one thing he said: that the Israeli army could “wipe the floor with the Arabs” every time. The reason being, that each Israeli soldier was taught to be a leader, so if you kill the leader, another soldier can take his place. But with the Arab armies, if you kill the leader, the rest fall apart and can’t function anymore.

I never forgot it, and it seems a suitable parable for the Church. Even in the days of the early Church, leaders – even bishops – turned against their flocks and betrayed them. How much more now, when “The love of the many will grow cold”. Jesus said “the ONE” who endures to the end will be saved”. Christians need to be prepared for the time when they cannot be carried along by their church, or their leaders. We need to know how to survive in the wilderness. We need to know utterly, and for ourselves, that Jesus is above all faithful – not simply to His whole Church – but to the smallest believer who belongs to Him.

Many Christians have simply been lying when they taught that you cannot survive on your own as a Christian. It simply isn’t true. And having taught that for so long, some churches are now turning around and saying: oh, cheerio, we are pulling out of your area due to lack of funds (and we don’t care about you anyway). This has happened to the Methodist church in the Lizard Peninsular of Cornwall, among others. And, you know, that is such an area for being white and ready to harvest! It’s unbelievable. But God can work through the little people left behind by the churches. I pray that He will. And all the glory will be His because the vessels will be poor ones.

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