Matthew 16:18 “…upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
It’s very seldom that I say that I am feeling directly impressed by God with an urgency to impart something to you but this is one of those rare times. So, whether you agree with me or not, I pray that you will prayerfully consider what I am writing you and take it to heart. If you feel it is God speaking to you, please respond in obedience asking God to direct your steps.
As I was getting ready to go to bed last night, I felt the Lord engaging me in a conversation that was for the purpose of stirring me up to write to you today. This was the conversation: “Tim, where do you think you would be one year from today spiritually if you stopped going to church?” “What do you think you would change in your life based on what you know and have learned through experience?” As I heard these questions, my mind started spinning immediately. I responded: “Lord, I know that within one year my spiritual fire would cool off. I’d probably engage in more carnal thought, activity, and behavior. And the devil would work to discourage me and convince me that Fresh Manna was a waste of time leading me to quit writing it.” “The devil would lie to me, accuse me, and discourage me and because I didn’t have that additional level of the presence of your Spirit that I receive in church to offset those negative forces.“ “I know I’d start to feel overwhelmed and back slide to some degree.” “From there, unless I made some changes and got into a church that vigorously taught your Word and challenged me to be involved and be used of you, I’d slide back even more – to what degree I do not know.”
In giving this response to the Lord, please understand that I am not a wimpy Christian. I have a strong walk and relationship with the Lord. I know what to do and try to live it. But I have also watched hundreds of Christians back slide first from church and then in their Christian walk over my 26 years of service to the Lord. (Get ready for a potentially offensive statement) First of all, I have NEVER and I mean NEVER seen a strong, rooted and grounded Christian that really understand God’s will and how has lived a purpose-filled life that didn’t go to a good Bible teaching church – NEVER! (That will probably unsubscribe a few readers.) Secondly, I have NEVER seen a strong Christian stop going to church that remained focused on living for God with a STRONG purpose-filled WALK – NEVER!
Because I know these things, I am not so stupid or prideful as to think that I could somehow survive what I have never seen others survive. That would be pride – something I hate. If I stopped going to church, the loss of the presence of God from the pulpit and the touch of God that comes through the interaction of those in the church would contribute to a deteriorating spiritual walk.
The question might arise, “Pastor Tim, are you saying that church is the only place that the Presence of God can touch my life?” The answer is absolutely not! I hope and pray that those that take the time to read Fresh Manna are touched by the Presence of God through it. I hope that you are touched by the Presence of God in your time you spend reading the Bible. That usually happens in varying degrees with people. I hope that you are touched by the Presence of God in your prayer time with the Lord. That happens in varying degrees with people. There are other ways God touches our lives with His Presence. All those contribute to our heart being touched and trained by the Holy Spirit. Those times contribute to being challenged to change personally and challenged to reach others for Him. They are all a part of what help us become strong Christians living a vigorous Christian life. But, the loss of being in a good church is too great a loss for us to survive. It would be like a hole in the boat that is bigger and allowing more water in than we can keep up from bailing back out.
The Church corporately and locally is God’s idea. It needs you and you need it. Just because a building is called a church, doesn’t mean it is. All churches aren’t created equal. A church consists of a Pastor that is “born again” (read John chapter 3) that knows and teaches the Word of God, that brings people to a revelation of eternal life through Jesus Christ alone, that ushers the congregation together to worship the Lord sincerely from the heart, and that are continuously challenged to influence others for Him. The people are the church and they work together to serve one another, give of their time and resources to help the church and one another thrive in God. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “… upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” The rock Jesus referred to is the ability to grow in revelation of Jesus and His will in your heart. Jesus said that it was upon this He would build His church and Satan couldn’t stop it or us!
There is something that happens in a good church that helps us to change and become more Christ-like. It helps us to learn and grow in Him. It helps us to become strong and purposeful. It helps us to walk out our walk with God being an influence in a dark world. Without it, we struggle to walk in this life as Christians the way we should.
I know that some of those that read this haven’t been able to find a church that seems alive in God like this. I exhort you today to try and find one. Pray and ask God to help you and direct you.
If you can’t find one or attend one for whatever reason, then you better find touches of God through vehicles like Fresh Manna that you treat like your church until you can find one. Read with the greatest level of expectation to hear from God. Apply what you hear like you were hearing from your Pastor. This is the first thing to do to begin to establish a stronger walk with God.
One last thought. I am not speaking to people that are disabled or shut in for whatever reason. I will address that in writing. More to come…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.