Giving thought to religion and religious practices, causes me to really understand the secular world's disdain for organized religion. There are hundreds of branches in Christianity, many claiming to be the only right one. Two or three claim to be the first, or oldest followers of Christ, and many have become mainly places of political ideology, trying to convince the people to vote for people they deem to be within their sphere of spiritual understanding. I get it. I certainly like the idea of having moral leadership. As the king goes, so goes the people, historically correct. The problem is, the people, (that is the nation of people), are left confused, not sure of what to believe. They have a department store of choices if they even give thought to attending church. So they pick the ones who are the closest to their thinking of what is right; let me see... I want a church that has short services, not too much kneeling, I don't think I want to tell the priest my personal sins, hold it, I'm not sure what sin really is? I don't want to make commitments, I just want to go to heaven, brother...which do I pick?
Can anyone tell me why the fastest growing Church in America is the home groups formed in nearly every major city and in college campuses? Many are began by some disgruntled church goers, some attend because their is no confusion to what they're to do, except believe in Jesus. There isn't anything wrong with structured services, nor with the majority of churches doctrines. Most churches have doctrines that are biblically based on making a decision to follow Christ, and believe He is Savior and Lord of all. But something is missing, something keeps people away, even if they really want to find a place to belong.
So how did it all begin? I would go to a conversation Jesus had with Peter. In Matt. 16:15 ,16 Jesus asks Peter, who do you say I am? Peter says "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." In the book of John, nearly everyone knows 3:16, For God so loved the world...but few know vs.17, that tells us God didn't send Jesus to condemn us, but to save us. We only must believe! John 3:3 becomes reality when we believe. (born-again) Then in Mark 16:15, Jesus said, now tell everybody, let everyone come. When the church came into existence in Acts 2, here's what the Word says about them, Acts 2:44, "All who believed were TOGETHER, and had ALL things in common." It continues to say they shared their possessions, were glad, were in the temple daily in ONE accord, and had favor with ALL the people. Now if you were looking for a group that is based on what Jesus said, I just eliminated about 243 of the hundreds from the mix. No seriously, for centuries, we the followers of Christ have often made it difficult for people to follow Jesus, with man-made doctrines. We try to clean them up and form them into our image, how we feel they should live. God just wants us to present Christ, He will do the cleaning, changing, and fixing.
When people come into AA, NA, and other programs to recover from addictions, they come for help to be free of their chains. We don't put them into a new bondage and add to their burdens. We merely show them the program works. We present the program. People get well, they find God, become people minded and start serving others, giving away what they've been given. That's all we're supposed to do as believers, just present Christ, the Holy Spirit does the rest. I know, there are people reading this ready to throw their computer through the window, Keith, they have to live a holy life....you forgot babtism...they must take church catechisms, you're teaching error! Listen, let God fix them, you just give away yourself to them, Jesus is living in you. I hope if you're really considering being a follower Christ, you take a moment and ask God to direct you as to the way. He will. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.