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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:25 AM   #1
aron
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Default Go forth into the wilderness

In some sense I have been "wrecked" by my time in the Lord's Recovery movement in that I have not gotten similarly immersed in any other group since my departure. For a few years I think it was the "ground" that held a firm grip on my brain; I was posessed by the notion that there was a superior way with superior teachings and practices, and even though I was not "in it" and "sold out" as before I still held it as the standard and thus couldn't similarly give myself to any fellowship. So I met with groups sort of as a prolonged visitor, even formally joining one church because that was their m.o. for fellowship.

But in the last few years I have read about the Lord's Recovery from a critical perspective on this and other forums, and have begun to read other sources of biblical interpretation as having merit in their own rights (at least worth considering, if not agreeing uncritically). And eventually I moved away from my post-Lord's Recovery "home church", and once again became an occasional visitor. On friendly terms with everybody (I hope), yet fully committed to no organization. I cut mental/emotional ties with the Lord's Recovery, and don't see a pressing burden to pick up formal association with any other group.

Today I was reading a commentary on Galatians chapter 4, where the author says that Paul uses a rare composite verb "sent forth" in only this one place. God "sent forth" His Son, born of a woman, born under law. The greek root translated "sent forth" is the same as the word "apostle" in English. The author says that this composite greek verb is only used in one place in the OT LXX: in Leviticus 16:21,22, where Aaron "sends forth" the scapegoat into the wilderness.

So I thought maybe God laid hands on (anointed) the Christ, and sent Him forth into the wilderness of a fallen humanity (Galatians 4) similarly how Aaron sent forth the scapegoat in Leviticus 16. I never saw the word "apostle" in this light, as a reject, the "scum and offscouring of the world", as Paul put it (1 Cor 4:13). I always saw an apostle as sort of like what we would call a bishop; not only firmly entrenched in an organization but even rather high in it. Like a deputy authority, as some have termed it.

Today I feel like a "sent forth" one, but with no authority over anyone, just the command from my Lord to exercise self-control in all things, and to carefully make my way through a post-church wilderness. And in this wilderness I occasionally find myself in some interesting 'gatherings of the called-out ones'. So even in the wilderness the ekklesia lives on. Cf Acts 7:38
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Go forth into the wilderness

Great post aron! Lots to consider and dialog about here.

In the past we have touched on this matter of where have people gone for fellowship after leaving the LC Movement. I think many are hesitant to get into this because they don't want to offend others, or stir up bad memories, and who could blame them?

Personally, I am fascinated by the different stories of the paths that ex LC members have found themselves on since departing. Some do not wonder far, and spend years lingering just on the fringes, and it seems that they never actually leave the Local Church - their heart and minds are still there. This is in no way a criticism, for I think the great majority of people experience this dynamic, I know that I did for years. After a number of years I did begin to "dabble" about, checking out different churches. I searched far and wide for something that maybe looked a like the Local Church, but without the various obsessions and oddities, but of course none could compare.

And herein lies the rub. I think the Local Church became something to us that the Church was never meant to be. The Church was never meant to replace our family. It was never meant to replace our parents, or our siblings or our spouse. It was never meant to replace any of the natural things set in order by God. In fact I have come to see that the Church should be built upon and support these foundational human relationships, and not be a hindrance or challenge to them.

Lastly, I really feel the heartcry of those like aron who feel not to even attempt to be attached to any group of Christians. And this is one of the major reasons I started this forum and have kept it going for all these years. If nothing else it can serve as a "meeting place" in the wilderness.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Go forth into the wilderness

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I think the Local Church became something to us that the Church was never meant to be. The Church was never meant to replace our family. It was never meant to replace our parents, or our siblings or our spouse. It was never meant to replace any of the natural things set in order by God. In fact I have come to see that the Church should be built upon and support these foundational human relationships, and not be a hindrance or challenge to them.
Yes, the "Church" loomed so large on our psychic horizon that we couldn't see Christ without it. The organization, the fellowship, became the vehicle wherein we found God. As I wrote earlier today, it was full circle, back to the RCC dynamic: no salvation without the Local Church sacraments.

Post-LC I actually quit God for a while, then slowly began to feel my way back again. Eventually I decided that I was, in fact, a "committed" Christian, but the whole corporate aspect of it has been a lot harder to untangle. So at the moment I find myself in the wilderness. Could be worse. I meet some really neat people, in a kind of spontaneous fashion. A lot of people out there are happy to receive my Christ.

Today I don't have a brother telling me what to think or say or read or where to meet; so I have to follow the Holy Spirit. Could be worse.

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I really feel the heartcry of those like aron who feel not to even attempt to be attached to any group of Christians. And this is one of the major reasons I started this forum and have kept it going for all these years. If nothing else it can serve as a "meeting place" in the wilderness.
For me, the forum has provided a place to detoxify my thinking. When I was subject to only one set of information, accepted uncritically (despite protestations to the contrary), my thinking really wasn't functioning very well. I needed the give-and-take of contrary opinions to help me realize that not all the thoughts in my brain could be traced back directly to God, even though they seemed connected to Scripture. The interpretation that came along with the Scripture could render it to no effect. Look at the Pharisees with the words of Moses, for an example of this.

So I have found the proving fire of a forum to be most beneficial to my thinking process, and for that I am grateful.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Go forth into the wilderness

This is not entirely in line with the post aron started us with, but I think it fits.

When we finally left the LRC back in 1987, it was somewhat at my wife's urging. And for quite some time, she was adamant to say that no matter what happened, she never wanted to go back.

(Just realized that we could then sing "No, no, no, no, no, I'll never go back anymore" and mean the exact opposite of what the LRC means when they sing it.)

But recently it has begun to be clear to me that some of the trouble that she is having with the "community" aspects of our current fellowship is because she is comparing it to the community we had in the LRC. And if there is one thing that seemed quite impressive (as long as everything was going right) was the community. And I can still admit that this is true.

But I also realize that some of it was marred by the fact that it completely disappeared once you got out of sync with them. And she doesn't remember that the reasons we left were that nothing about the LRC, community, leadership, etc., really cared for more than the religious/spiritual stuff. So when we needed what would amount to counseling, there was nothing to be found, especially in Irving where you didn't exist if you weren't deep into volunteering at the LSM.

And if there really was this wonderful community, there would have been more than one phone call from someone who knew us less than most when we did leave. That one fact alone sort of shoots the "wonderful community" thinking in the foot for me.

It might be that the problem is that it really is a stench remaining in our nostrils. But we remember when we thought it was a sweet aroma, so we don't recognize it for what it was.

I will not say that there are no "community" issues with our current fellowship. But measuring it against the remembrance of the good times in the LRC is a formula for failure because there was always something unnatural underpinning it.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:53 PM   #5
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But recently it has begun to be clear to me that some of the trouble that she is having with the "community" aspects of our current fellowship is because she is comparing it to the community we had in the LRC. And if there is one thing that seemed quite impressive (as long as everything was going right) was the community. And I can still admit that this is true.

But I also realize that some of it was marred by the fact that it completely disappeared once you got out of sync with them.

And if there really was this wonderful community, there would have been more than one phone call from someone who knew us less than most when we did leave. That one fact alone sort of shoots the "wonderful community" thinking in the foot for me.

It might be that the problem is that it really is a stench remaining in our nostrils. But we remember when we thought it was a sweet aroma, so we don't recognize it for what it was.
IMHO a sense of true community is generally missing in many churches and especially larger ones which typically have most of their focus on Sunday mornings: herd em' in and herd em' out. The only solution I can think of is creating it in smaller home groups that get together during the week and build relationships over an extended period of time. Eventually these relationships can spill over into other areas of life. Doing sports together, grabbing a coffee or beer for a talk one-on-one, potlucks, out for dinner, etc. Someone in the group gets sick = visit, bring meals, send cards, clean their house, etc. Someone needs help financially take a collection,
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Go forth into the wilderness

I Am in the wilderness.

11 And a voice came out of the heavens: You are My Son, the Beloved; in You I have found My delight.

12 And immediately the Spirit thrust Him out into the wilderness.

Mark 1:13
13 And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted bySatan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels ministered to Him.

Luke 1:80
80 And the little child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his presentation to Israel.

Luke 5:16
16 But He Himself often withdrew in the wilderness and prayed.

John 11:54
54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went away from there to the region near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there He remained with the disciples.

Revelation 12:6
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place there prepared by God so that they might nourish her there a

Revelation 12:14
14 And to the woman there were given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness into her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time from the face of the serpent.

Revelation 17:3

3 And he carried me away in spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Names of blasphemy?
One definition of blasphemy is
Theology. the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.

Mathew 24:
27 For just as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 Wherever the corpse is, there will the vultures be gathered together.

These last two verses are about not chasing after false Christs,, whether in the wilderness or inner rooms.

Zechariah 2:6
6 Ho! Ho! Flee from the land of the north, declares Jehovah, for I have spread you out like the four winds of the heavens, declares Jehovah.

31 And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His chosen together from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other end.

My question is what is loud!

Related to LOUD

Synonyms: blaring, blasting, booming, clamorous, clangorous, deafening, earsplitting, piercing, plangent, resounding, ringing, roaring, slam-bang, sonorous, stentorian, thundering, thunderous

Revelation 21:3
3 And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:04 PM   #7
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And herein lies the rub. I think the Local Church became something to us that the Church was never meant to be. The Church was never meant to replace our family. It was never meant to replace our parents, or our siblings or our spouse. It was never meant to replace any of the natural things set in order by God. In fact I have come to see that the Church should be built upon and support these foundational human relationships, and not be a hindrance or challenge to them.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:17 AM   #8
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The only solution I can think of is creating it in smaller home groups that get together during the week and build relationships over an extended period of time.
The key words here are "relationships" and "time". If you are serious about pursuing Jesus Christ as the way to the Father, I warrant that you will find fellowship, and over time that fellowship will grow into relationships.

All of which does not preclude organizational structures (what usually comes up when we think 'church'), but it doesn't seem to necessitate it either.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:27 AM   #9
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The I Am in the wilderness.

Mark 1:11 And a voice came out of the heavens: You are My Son, the Beloved; in You I have found My delight.

12 And immediately the Spirit thrust Him out into the wilderness.
Yes, this "thrusting", this "sending forth" is actually a verb which roots the noun "apostle" in the original Greek.

So our Apostle, our High Priest, our Shepherd and Friend and Savior, was thrust into the wilderness, and there He stayed until He was raised and returned to the Father. Yes, He did pass through Jerusalem among other places, but the whole world (including Jerusalem) is under the Evil One's system, and is a wilderness to God.

So we are in Good Company. Desolate, afflicted, abandoned and alone, we sally forth (I am just waxing poetic here, for fun )

Seriously, though, "Home, home in the church/It is here that we ended our search"... is probably a misnomer. Our home is with our Father. This is the wilderness. Don't be deceived.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:43 AM   #10
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... when we needed what would amount to counseling, there was nothing to be found, especially in Irving where you didn't exist if you weren't deep into volunteering at the LSM.
Any system whose only response to negative feedback is "more of the same" isn't a very adaptive system.

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And if there really was this wonderful community, there would have been more than one phone call from someone who knew us less than most when we did leave. That one fact alone sort of shoots the "wonderful community" thinking in the foot for me.
Reminds me of the parable, where the storm comes and the house not built on a rock comes down with a crash. The only "ground" that can weather the storm is faith in Christ Jesus. A structure built on any other ground will ultimately collapse.

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I will not say that there are no "community" issues with our current fellowship. But measuring it against the remembrance of the good times in the LRC is a formula for failure because there was always something unnatural underpinning it.
I didn't mean to negatively contrast my current post-church experience against anyone else's. If you & UntoHim and others are locked in somewhere that surely is God's leading. But I would bet that most of us who made it out of the Local Church grinder no longer look to any organizational fellowship as the "end-all and be-all" of our christian journey, either.

When the euphoric thrill of being in the Local Church as the express elevator to the New Jerusalem wore off (and with the incessant "turmoils", "storms", "rebellions" and "quarantines" it is not shocking that this happens), and the unnatural underpinnings began to grate softly at our consciences, we might just think, "Hey, there is always the wilderness". And if we do in fact find ourselves "thrust out" into that wilderness, the original, exiled Scapegoat might just welcome us there. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Go forth into the wilderness

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And herein lies the rub. I think the Local Church became something to us that the Church was never meant to be. The Church was never meant to replace our family. It was never meant to replace our parents, or our siblings or our spouse. It was never meant to replace any of the natural things set in order by God. In fact I have come to see that the Church should be built upon and support these foundational human relationships, and not be a hindrance or challenge to them.
I think we should clearly state that LC leaders misused their authority to create a church environment which was neither beneficial to God or man. The real beneficiaries were the leaders. Borrowing from Chinese culture, the LC's manifest a top-down management mindset that left a trail of collateral damage with every new operation they embarked on.

In the long run, who really benefited when loyal members spent every holiday season with WL, and not with their families? What seemed so very spiritual, and gave the appearance of paying such a high price "to gain Christ," yet a decade or two later, what lasting fruit remains? Families are alienated, God was often despised, and children want nothing to do with their parents' church. Such it always was with the ministry -- short term gains, long term losses.

For 30 years I held LC leaders in high regard. The Bible and the ministry instructed me this way. Then the recent quarantines opened my eyes to see what really went on behind the scenes. I looked at leader actions without the smokescreen of super-spiritual talk. I looked at the so-called quarantines and rebellions of the past under the same honest viewpoint. The common thread in every so-called rebellion was evil workers fighting for the spoils in the LC's, lusting to lord it over the saints in ways which violated the designs of God in the Bible.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:26 AM   #12
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I didn't mean to negatively contrast my current post-church experience against anyone else's. If you & UntoHim and others are locked in somewhere that surely is God's leading. But I would bet that most of us who made it out of the Local Church grinder no longer look to any organizational fellowship as the "end-all and be-all" of our christian journey, either.
I agree. Let me give a little story . . .

In 2005 we connected with a vibrant nearby community church. We slowly befriended several couples which we met with in homes. Each had church-sponsored home-care-groups in their homes. At the time that congregation had many desirable features which appealed to us after leaving the LC. They served the community, they were autonomous, they emphasized relationships with one another rather than with the "ministry," they had a spirit of faith and love so missing in the Recovery, etc.

Couple years later, the minister started a TV ministry. He needed more money. The recession hit, building projects started, new staff hired -- eventually it seemed the word of God was being peddled for base gain. The minister was prominent on TV during "begathons," the TV fundraisers. People now had to "pay" to get healed, by sowing "seeds" at the altar. We left early on since we were more sensitive to leadership abuses. Just this year, the other families we connected with, have also left. Many more also besides the ones we knew.

Once again, ambitious leaders used God's flock for personal gain, in order to establish their own personal empire, "all for the glory of God." It seems this story is repeated every day all over the globe. So I surely understand Aron's comment that, "I would bet that most of us who made it out of the Local Church grinder no longer look to any organizational fellowship."
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:57 PM   #13
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The key words here are "relationships" and "time". If you are serious about pursuing Jesus Christ as the way to the Father, I warrant that you will find fellowship, and over time that fellowship will grow into relationships.

All of which does not preclude organizational structures (what usually comes up when we think 'church'), but it doesn't seem to necessitate it either.
I agree with you. It doesn't have to be either/or unless someone wants it to be that for themselves.

IMHO some people need "organizational structures" and it's programs otherwise they would never hear the word of God or associate with other Christians. But if someone belongs to (especially a large) church based on the formal organizational structure model and they want to grow as a Christian and enjoy community I would highly recommend they get plugged into some sort of home group or small group fellowship. Most Sunday morning church "programs" are not designed to grow Christians.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:26 AM   #14
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In 2005 we connected with a vibrant nearby community church. We slowly befriended several couples which we met with in homes. Each had church-sponsored home-care-groups in their homes. At the time that congregation had many desirable features which appealed to us after leaving the LC. They served the community, they were autonomous, they emphasized relationships with one another rather than with the "ministry," they had a spirit of faith and love so missing in the Recovery, etc.
It's nice to have such experiences. I "church-hopped" for a few years, and met some really neat christians, some of whose corporate expressions, especially with their children, put my Local Church experiences to shame.

But expressions and experiences here on earth are superficial and temporary. God doesn't want us to hang our hats on how things seem to be at any given moment. So He allows testimonies to be raised up, and He throws them down again (see Psa 102:10).

It is nice to have good "church" experiences, but my point is that God doesn't want us to look toward such. Remember that hymn "Once it was the blessing/Now it is the Lord?" It is appropriate, I think.

Once it was the Lord...

Then it became the Local Church, and the Body, and the Ministry, the New Way, and the Vital Groups, and the Move of God on the Earth, and One Publication, and One Trumpet...

...and now it (once again) is the Lord
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:10 AM   #15
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It's nice to have such experiences. I "church-hopped" for a few years, and met some really neat christians, some of whose corporate expressions, especially with their children, put my Local Church experiences to shame.

But expressions and experiences here on earth are superficial and temporary. God doesn't want us to hang our hats on how things seem to be at any given moment. So He allows testimonies to be raised up, and He throws them down again (see Psa 102:10).

It is nice to have good "church" experiences, but my point is that God doesn't want us to look toward such. Remember that hymn "Once it was the blessing/Now it is the Lord?" It is appropriate, I think.

Once it was the Lord...

Then it became the Local Church, and the Body, and the Ministry, the New Way, and the Vital Groups, and the Move of God on the Earth, and One Publication, and One Trumpet...

...and now it (once again) is the Lord
I very much agree. Thanks for this thread, Aron. Your posts made me think of these verses:

Rev 14:3-5 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Each believer has to learn to follow the Lamb, not to look to others for personal pathway direction. I have a very strong conviction that it is not my business to say, or to think I know, where or how another believer should be meeting or what they should be doing with respect to their walk with the Lord. (Of course, an exception to this statement would be a believer who falls into sin. If I see this, I do have a responsibility to pray for them and to be involved in trying to rescue them.)

It grieves me whenever I read things by anyone who talks authoritatively as if they know which kind of church practice or paths are good for other believers, and which are not. (It seems that the path or paths they approve of are usually similar to the one they are on.) I have heard some criticize, almost mock, any who meet with two or three or who don’t have some kind of regular church affiliation. To me this kind of talk shows disrespect for the One who is able to head up all things in Himself. Who are we to say how the Lord will lead another believer? Didn’t Jesus himself say to Peter when he turned his eyes onto another believer and asked what he would be doing, “…what is that to you? You follow me.”

As believers, we all have the same Lord, the One to whom we each will give account. He is able to lead us. He alone knows when we need a fold, when we need a pasture, and when we need the wilderness.

I treasure every step of my journey (looking back) because I see His hand in it all, even the hurtful things. I can see now that He was with me, with His rod and staff guiding me, without fail, even when it seemed to me at the time that He wasn’t. I think that the wilderness experiences have probably borne the most fruit in my walk with Jesus, though they have been the hardest. The truth is that all things have been good for me. Having said all that, the fact remains that my experience is just that: my experience. It is not a standard for others. If I follow Him, and if my path is different than others, that is perfectly okay.

Ultimately we are all headed to the same destination and it’s not some kind of church practice. I'm already a member of His Body, the church, and absolutely nothing can change that. The prime directive is to know Jesus and to love Him pre-eminently. As a line from a hymn says, “Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His,” and as Revelation records, those who reach the destination are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

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