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Posted By Nan

"So, what is 'The School of Christ'?" she asked.

We were standing in line at the grocery store and I thought, that's a good question. What is The School of Christ? How would I describe it to someone in the "real world" who has never read or listened to any of our teachings? I'm not usually at a loss for words, but I was unprepared for the question and it took me a second to think it through.

"We work with people who don't go to church - especially those who have been hurt by church - and we help them get re-focused on their relationship with Christ, instead of religion." That was the best I could come up with on short notice, but I thought it was a pretty good synopsis.

She smiled knowingly and nodded her head. "Yes, there are lots of people who don't go to church. And I suppose there are some people who have been hurt by church. That's a really good thing you're doing."

I waited for the other shoe to drop.
"But... you DO try to get them to go BACK to church, don't you?"

I like answering a question with a question, so I asked, "Why would we do that?"

The smile on her face drooped a bit and now she was genuinely puzzled. "Well... because the church IS the Body of Christ..."

The conversation limped along from there. I gave her our website address, she promised to check it out, and we parted ways.Will she "check us out"? Maybe. Probably not. Do I care? Not so much anymore. Why? Because we're not called to help people who are still in church.

If you're happy with your church, happy with Sunday morning religion, happy with lukewarm preaching and Churchianity, happy to have your ears tickled once or twice a week, happy and content where you are, then far be it from me to tell you anything different.
To whom are we sent? We are sent to help the ones burned out on religion, fed up with Churchianity, despised, rejected, and cut off from the Institutional Church. We are sent to help those starving, battered and beaten sheep who have been abused by the goats, fleeced by the shepherds, and attacked by the wolves. We are sent to help the ones that the local church tries to get rid of - the troublemakers, the ones who ask too many questions, the ones who won't submit to the authority of their spiritually immature pastor. We are sent to help the ones who have had their eyes opened and have been led by God to "come out of Babylon" while the rest of their friends think they are crazy, rebellious, backslidden and "just hurt." We are sent to help the ones who have a gift, a calling, a heart, a burden for the Body of Christ - but see no way to pursue that calling because they've been misled into thinking that the only opportunities for serving God are in Church Land. We are sent to help the 1,000,000+ people every year who stop going to church, and to the untold millions of people who are searching for spiritual truth, and have an inkling that Jesus is that Truth, but have no intention of going to church to look for Him there.
The fields are white and ready to be harvested - and Churchianity has failed them. 

Continued in Part 2

In Him, Chip Brogden

THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST is dedicated to your spiritual growth and maturity through Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Scripture-based discipleship that focuses on relationship, not religion.  
To find out more about us, click here:
(c)2012 TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. Permission is granted for non-commercial (free) distribution provided this notice appears.
 
Posted By Nan

During our trip to Costa Rica in 2003, standing amidst the ramshackle huts where the poorest of the poor live as refugees, we saw a big purple monster of a church casting its grim shadow over us as we stood in the filth just across the street from it.

This "purple church" was supposed to represent royalty, I suppose. What a picture of the arrogance of Churchianity. Religion's response to Jesus' prayer for more workers to go into the harvest has been to build churches and expect that the harvest would just pick itself up and walk itself into their nice little buildings without them having to lift a finger. Well, the harvest didn't harvest itself. So the church buildings supposedly constructed to "reach the Lost" have become country clubs for born-again folk too self-absorbed and detached from the real world to have any meaningful impact - fortresses to shut the world out and keep the saints warm, dry, fed and comfortable.The only real church growth these days comes from Christians changing churches, and churches trying to be more attractive to other Christians.Quite frankly, ministries have also had to learn how to be more attractive to other Christians if they want to survive.I want no part of that.I'm tired of trying to be attractive to other Christians. I've never had a sinner ask for, or give two hoots about, my "doctrinal statement."I'm tired of trying to please church-going folk.The School of Christ is going to focus on pleasing God and helping people who need help.We're not starting a new movement. We are continuing in the same spirit of the original movement that Jesus started 2,000 years ago when He sent His disciples into all the world with a simple mandate: "Make disciples of all people."

Karla and I have a purpose to fulfill on this earth through The School Of Christ. After taking some time off to pray and refocus, the Lord has strongly reminded me to be about my Father's business and to concentrate on the ones "to whom we are sent." We have walked a long, hard, tiring road to come to the place that we are at now, but "the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord" - and this has been true with us, as I'm sure it has been true with you as well.Sufficiently rested, I am even more aware now that the time is short and the harvest is plentiful. In these days of darkness and confusion, when it seems like the world is falling apart and there is no hope, we have a wide open door and a wonderful opportunity to be a light and to bring hope to the world. I'll be sharing more about our purpose and specific direction in the weeks to come. In the meantime, thank you for your support of The School of Christ, and please let us know if we can serve you in any way.

n Him,

Chip Brogden
http://TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST is dedicated to your spiritual growth and maturity through Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Scripture-based discipleship that focuses on relationship, not religion.

To find out more about us, click here:
http://theschoolofchrist.org/about/welcome.html

You can also connect with us on...
Facebook - http://facebook.com/TheSchoolOfChristOrg
Twitter - http://twitter.com/schoolofchrist YouTube - http://youtube.com/chipbrogden


(c)2012 TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. Permission is granted for non-commercial (free) distribution provided this notice appears.

PO Box 552, Canandaigua, NY 14424, USA

 
Posted By Nan

Due to illness I am unable to post a blog today.

I just want to post a Bible verse that is very significant for me and maybe is what you need to hear today.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" NIV

 
Posted By Nan

In my last blog I talked about how we can take offense and cause trouble for ourselves, as well as sinning against God. I felt it was necessary to clarify this. When I say we should not take offense, I do not mean we should allow other people to do terrible things to us and never take them to task for that. Our Christian walk does not involve being doormats. There are many in churches who, in the interests of maintaining the peace, will pressure a person to put up with bad behaviour by others. Nowhere in the Bible are we told it is OK to accept being treated badly. Jesus accepting His place at the cross and the early Christians accepting martyrdom are different to a Christian being pressured to accept abuse or bad treatment from another Christian. My rule of thumb when someone does something that hurts me is to ask God what I should do about it. Sometimes He instructs me to hand it to Him, and others I hand it to Him and He instructs me to take action. The main point is for us to be willing to leave things in God’s hands, if that is what He has asked us to do, and to choose to forgive.
Our walk with God is always about making choices. We choose to follow Jesus, we choose to pray, we choose to read the Bible, we choose to not take offense, we choose to take responsibility for our actions, and we choose to forgive others.

 
Posted By Nan

I have been at a Christian crisis telephone line conference all day and will be again tomorrow. This has come at the end of an extremely busy week, so I have not had time to write a blog for today. As I have mentioned before, I like to spend time praying and sitting with the scriptures before I write. As I do not have the time to do that I am going to write about a wonderful talk I heard today at the conference.
The talk was titled “Understand Me Understand You” and was about not taking offence. Of course there are times when the appropriate way to approach a potential offense causing situation is to communicate with the other person with a view to clearing a misunderstanding. However, there are some times when God has other ideas and wants us to overlook the offence.
In Proverbs 9:10 we read that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” NIV. From the speaker’s perspective, far too much attention is paid to the first half of the verse and too little attention is paid to the second part. Her contention is that knowing God helps us to understand ourselves and others.
God is knowable and approachable. It is His nature to be loving and accepting when we go to Him. God is love and also loveable. He also loves us. God is forgiving and forgives us through the blood of Jesus. He wants us to change our attitude and be willing to forgive. God is honest and capable.
If we know God, then we can be all these things. If we are all these things we can approach the behaviour of others with a different attitude.
Remember much offence is causing by misunderstanding. Usually, the misunderstanding is from our sense of shame. If we see a friend and they do not pay full attention to us, we frequently take offense. “They don’t like me anymore”. Is that accurate? Have I done anything to upset her? No? Then her behaviour is nothing to do with me.
Frequently we take that offense on board and become angry. As Mark Twain said: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” When I become angry with another person, the one I damage is myself.
God gives us a choice to choose between light and darkness, blessing or curse. Taking offense is the darkness and curse. As Proverbs 19:11 says: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence” NIV.
So, the next time someone does something that could cause offence, CHOOSE not to take offence.
Be Patient. You feel offended, hurt and angry. Pray for patience. Godly wisdom helps you to have patience.
Watch what you say. In Isaiah 53:7 we are told that Jesus was oppressed and afflicted and led like a lamb to slaughter. “and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth” NIV. He watched what he said, and in that instance it was to be silent. Yet He did not do it in His own strength, He spent time in prayer asking God for help.
Look beyond the situation. Whatever you fix your eyes upon will multiply. As Jesus was led to His death He was not focused on the cross. Instead He focused on the joy set out before Him. May your focus be God. Psalm 8 is very pertinent here. Verse 1 praises God. Verse 2 states “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger” NIV.
Be a peacemaker. Choose to do that. Remember “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God” Matthew 5:9 NIV.
If we overlook an offense we are like the prudent man who overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16), we learn how to handle conflict and in the process we develop humility.
So forget the offense and determine not to recall it, nurse it and remember it.

 


 
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Nan
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