Is That A Rock in Your Hand?

Is That A Rock In Your Handclip_image001?

For most of my adult life I have attended church.  I have run across so much Haterade among Christians. I understand why so many people refuse to go to church on Sunday mornings.   Is that a rock in your hand? They throw big rocks now days.  I am an “underground Christian”  because of some of the things I have witnessed in church  among Christians. The way we treat each other is unacceptable. The way we treat people who are notof our faith is even worse. Where is the love?

Okay, so has this ever happened to you? I have attended churches where the ushers push you into the seats to make sure when they film the show the audience looks full of people. It doesn’t matter whether you want to sit in the back or the front, just sit  where they say sit! I’ve had my son and daughter shoved into pews by ushers that insisted we sit near the front for filming. I like sitting in the back. I always  try to sit in the back. I  give the ushers some slack because they are just following someone’s orders. However they can push really really hard!  The hatred comes in when you say something to them, they give you that, “I wish you would look!” The first thing that kicks in is my street. Next thing you know… Jesushas left the building.

I hate the confrontations that come from just trying to go to church. At one  church I attended we prayed for a lady who sat next to us and was sick. When I looked up the church’s bodyguards were standing around us. They said no one is allowed to pray unless the pastor does it. Wow. Those dudes were really big. So she stopped praying for us and we stopped praying for her. Why do churches need bodyguards? It’s that Haterade again. This church had about 10,000 members. I hope the pastor has time to get around to them all. I thought that’s why the Bible said we are to pray for each other. I was in the army for several years. I understand authority and rank. But when it comes to the church it seems like it is  made up to just keep the hierarchy in tack. I believe we all can pray for one another  The pastor  does not have Jesus on lock down however them dudes were tooooo big to  tangle with.

clip_image002There are churches I have attended that you have to know the right time to shout and praise in.  If you shout or cry out of turn you just look plain stupid. They stare  at you with  hate-filled  eyes. Your timing  must be on key.  People have  stuff to do and are trying to get out on time. A Black church is usually a good 4-6 hour shift on a good Sunday. I have a tendency to dance and shout when I praise God. There  is a cut-off time for the dance  and praise  that is worked into the program. If they don’t  know you and you pass the  cut off time  the greeters and ushers  are sent over to you to get you to settle down. They hug you tight while they slowly seat you. Good looking out.

Up front is where the star shouters are. There are usually 2-4 who  are always upfront. They are regulars.  Even if a wig flies off, they are guaranteed a spot next Sunday up front.  There’s a  seven-step minimum to the dance.  More steps than that and you lose your following. So you think you can dance on Sunday morning can  quickly turn into  a Soul Train line.  If you shout, make sure you at least have been to that service a few Sundays before, so they know you. Otherwise  your shouting  can be seen as demonic possession. You’re not familiar. Haterade.

clip_image003“When Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, 2 Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate, which was by the house of the LORD. 3 On the next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “Pashhur is not the name the LORD has called you, but rather Magor-missabib.(That name means Terror on Every Side.) Jeremiah 20:1-3

“8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me  insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word  or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. 10 I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived;   then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.” Jeremiah 20:8-10

Jeremiah was given a word by God to speak in Jeremiah 18 & 19. The word he spoke was so hard  that Pashhur  had him beaten and put him  in the stocks in Chapter 20. Pashhur’s response to the word was so intense that God  changed his name to  Magor-missabib. That name means “Terror on Every Side”. That’s some real Haterade! I have  heard the phrase “A fire shut up in my bones” many times before in church. I have sung and danced so many times to Pentecostal songs with that phrase. I have been studying the book of Jeremiah  this year  so I am running across many new revelations. I was very surprised to find thatphrase in Chapter 20 after he was beaten.

He was beaten for speaking what God has told him to speak. He  said that he could not hold himself. It was like a fire shut up in his bones. There is something to this truth as a believer that God’s word  and praise can  be put in you so strong that it is like a fire shut up in your bones. The truth of the matter also is that you can be persecuted and beaten for having  such zeal to speak what God has placed in you. You can be ostracized by other believers for speaking the truth. Your gifts and calling will be called into question when you speak God’s truth. If you don’ have the right recognizedtitles, you will be dealt with for speaking the truth.

To speak God’s words in the church there are religious rules  then there is  God’s way. Jeremiah broke all the so-called rules because it was a fire shut up in his bones burning  him to be obedient to God. I have paid the price in lost friendships, in church, in ministry, and among believers for speaking  God’s word. I don’t carry the right credentials in the eyes of the church system to even have a right to speak.  I have been a believer for over 32 years.  I am called by God to be  myself.  I know the call on my life. I have had  commissioning , elders, apostles, pastors, and prophets confirm  it many times over. I don’t walk around with a business card announcing my call. I am just trying to live it.

The freedom I have in Christ to love and be who he  says is more important to me than trying to convince  others. Many times  the things required  of you in the church structure have nothing to do with the word of God.  It seems like we are in a season where people are just comfortable making stuff up to keep order. I have found every time a church starts to expand they tighten up on the ministers and programs they consider to be loose  ends. Those people are treated with  a harsh  heavy hand and disrespect: dance ministries, drama,clip_image004ministries, new choir singers, and outreach ministers to name a few. The new complex they are building has become more important than the people that got the church to that point of expansion. They are outcast. I have seen this shift so many times that I prefer not to go through it again unless called by God. It is very painful to watch people who truly love and serve God be broken like bricks. Haterade.

It seems like church growth has often been considered more important than the people of God. Jeremiah was not  concerned with Pashhur’s kingdom. He was focused on saying  what God had placed in him.  Pashhur’s name was changed because  he did not  deal with Jeremiah correctly. I wonder how many churches  have dealt with people called by God  with such heavy hands? Their new  vision is suffering from their Haterade. God uses the least to do his will some times. It is not about  the PhDs or being ordained by a religious order that qualifies you for being used by God.  God can use anyone. Just ask Jeremiah, Ruth, Ezekiel , Mary, Paul, or John.

The Haterade in the church is troubling. Especially for me. I am not a baby Christian so I can‘t go into churches and pretend to just do whatever I am told without question. What scriptures are they getting this from anyway? I  study the word of God  for myself and pray.  I do not know everything. I have a lot to learn. But I  discern what is truth and what is a lie. When they see me coming they seem to get upset. The authorities  in church will  usually ignore my requests to get involved or to work with their established programs.

I have had pastors roll their eyes at me and stare me down just for showing up. Time out. No more games for me. I take the word of God for what it says. We all have gifts and talents  from God  to use in the body of Christ. I preached 15 years ago about what would begin to happen to the church when the new world order began to slide in. I am seeing prophecy fulfilled. I will leave it at that.

I am by no way bitter either. I totally understand the need to stay in control at all times over the sheep. I pray  for all the churches across America that God will use them. However just as Jeremiah said it is like fire shut up in his  bones, I can not be silent. I use my art, blogs, books, films, and designs to tell the good news of Jesus Christ.

There is no need for the Haterade in the church. Where is the love? I see believers treat each other with meanness, hate, heartlessness, disrespect, and turning on each other quickly. There are days I want to scream  from the roof tops “Let me be myself!”

Jeremiah was beaten for speaking God’s words. Many  believers everyday  are  beaten emotionally for doing and saying what God says. Sadly enough by those who claim to know God. Haterade is  like being a Christian bully. Bullies  will do everything they can to make you submit to them or they ostracize you from the group. There are so many Christians walking around with rocks in their hands. They are waiting to hurt another brother or sister in the Lord for not being what they think they should be. Throw your rock down.

We talk so harshly to each other and then apologize. The character of Christ is missing in our tone. We justify Haterade. Many Christians act like Pashhur and are a ”Terror on every side”.  The Haterade causes some Christians to be  fake and phony about what they really think about  other believers. We should look for Christ in each other. We are to give grace and mercy to each other. We are to love. They will know us by our love.

clip_image005I hope the body of Christ will lift its eyes to God and start to really love each other with true, unconditional love. Love is missing sometimes in the sermons. Love is missing on the pews  on Sunday mornings. Love is missing in the way we are approaching  serving one another. Love is missing in the way we treat each other when in pain. Love is missing in the way we respect each other’s gifts and talents. Love is missing in just loving one another the way Christ does.

I promised myself a long time ago that I would not allow hate to fill my heart. I am on a journey to love.  I miss it many times myself. But love is my destiny in this life. I do things for others, serve, and love as God leads where I can. I have  learned to remove myself from churches, people, haters, and mean spirited saints in love. I don’t allow myself to be abused by believers anymore. I just love them and hope to do better myself.  I am on a journey to love and give whether I get  it back or not. Quoting  scriptures does not mean  you have the character of Christ  or his image in your heart.  It is loving others like Jesus would love. If there is a rock in your hand… throw it down. Stand on the real Rock that is Jesus. Let others be  who they are in Christ. Let their fire and your fire burn with the love of God. It is a fire shut up in your bones that can’t be silenced. It is the Holy Spirit  in you! Throw down your rocks!

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