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Introductions and Testimonies Please tell everybody something about yourself. Tell us a little. Tell us a lot. Its up to you!

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Old 01-05-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
NeitherFirstnorLast
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 351
Default My Journey to the Local Church, and beyond...

Saints, I have only recently found this site, but surely it has been the Lord's provision. As of today, January 5th 2010, still participatory in the LSM trade-marked Church Life here in my locality; but I do not know how much longer this will continue. I've been wrestling for two and a half years over the unique ministry we have, certain that the issue was with me and not with the ministry... and I don't feel that way anymore. You will forgive me if I don't yet post my proper name, to protect my family from any practical prosecution as many of you have unfortunately already experienced by the LSM leadership.

I was born in Canada 39 years ago, to loving parents both of whom emigrated from Germany as children with their own families. My parents had themselves been raised in only nominally Christian (specifically Lutheran) homes, and were not themselves Saved Believers - but they determined that my younger sister and I would have "more than they had", as my father would later put it. Seeking to build a faith in me which they themselves lacked, they saw to it that I made the habit of saying my prayers at night, and spent my Sundays in a Sunday School at our local Lutheran church. The Lutheran Church I attended from approximately age 8-14 was where I learned more about the dogma and doctrine of the Lutheran Church, and about Christendom - but if I am to be honest, then I must confess that I learned very little about the Person of Christ.

I attended classes, I memorized the orders of the books of the Bible, I colored pictures of Jesus, I even visited a Synagogue and celebrated Passover, but I do not remember hearing the gospel message spoken, I do not recall anyone who put the Name of ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘Lord’ together. In fact, I can testify that it wasn't until I had already gone through my confirmation classes and participated in my first communion and began serving as an Acolyte that I began to realize that after all of this study, I still did not feel as though I knew what it meant to be a Christian.

The "Christianity" I saw in my own home was about Christmas trees, Easter eggs, and Highway to Heaven episodes. There was a superficiality about it that I could clearly see, and it left me unfulfilled.... I had been given a Bible by my church, and I knew that everyone said it was the Word of God. That being the case, I knew It had the authority to teach me what I wanted to know, and so I determined to read it to find out what it really meant to be a Christian.

Saints, I probably don't need to tell you that to one who is unsaved, the Bible can be a very mysterious thing - our eyes are closed and the truth is veiled. I can tell you honestly that I plainly did not understand much of what I read - and I read faithfully, determined to know the Truth. When I stumbled at a difficult passage, I would go first to my parents ("Mom, WHY would the Angel of God wrestle with Jacob and hurt him? Why would God demand that babies be circumcised - that's mutilation!" etc.) - but since they had never read the Bible nor received the Lord as their Saviour, they couldn't answer my questions. As I made my way through the Bible, my confusion grew - I did not have the discernment to understand what I was reading, and by the time I reached the Book of Revelation, I was terrified. I grew up sensitive to the precarious condition of the world around me - during the Cold War, the Iran Contra affair, during the height of tensions between East and West. I had long been horrified by the prospect of a third world war - and here in the these last pages those fears seemed borne out. Looking for answers, I went to my Pastor.

My Pastor was a dear man, and I've no doubt that he would have answered me if he could. Sadly, when I asked him what the Book of Revelation meant, he said only "We don't ever preach from that book." He was being honest. Most of the sermons in our church building were about church finances and good works. I was completely shattered. His admonition confirmed my worst fears - Christianity (what I knew of it at the time), was a sham - a make-believe religion where everyone claimed to believe the Bible was the Word of God, but nobody cared enough about it to read it. Where everyone said nice things to eachother's faces, but spoke gossip behind their backs. Where those who did read the Bible didn't understand it any better than I did. I determined that I was done with Christianity.... but Praise the Lord, Christ wasn't done with me.

How many believers did the Lord gain by their simply getting in the Word? The Living Word of God, breathed out by Him, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to divide soul from spirit? He knew that I was honestly seeking Him, and though my eyes were not yet unveiled, He knew the time and place to gain me.

At 17 years of age I had drifted from the church I used to attend and the company I used to keep. I was not mixed up in a bad crowd, but I wasn't mixed with a God crowd either. There were events in my life going on (though strangely, none I can honestly particularly recall), that the Lord would use to bring me to my knees. One night, lying in my bed and considering my miserable condition, I wept and cried out to the Lord for hours. The gospel message I'd read and re-read in the Gospels had been etched in my heart, and I turned now to it for solace and cried out to the Lord Jesus for Salvation. Saints, it seemed I wept for hours - but when I called, He came. That night I felt the Holy Spirit touch me, and I knew Jesus Christ was real!

Saints, I wish I could say my story ends there - and from 17 on I marched on as a confident and conquering man of Christ. But I cannot. The truth of it is, while my Salvation that night was very real, it was also about to put me directly in the line of fire. The Lord was faithful. Although I was Saved not through the prompting or fellowship of a brother or sister in Christ, He put true believers in my path. Sadly, my past experience with many so-called Christians made me distrustful of them - and the Enemy used this as a tool against me. I rejected fellowship with others, thinking my own relationship with the Lord was not only enough but more real than anything they could offer. I was the sheep who rejected the fold - and my wandering would leave me easy prey for the wolves. Within a year I was 18, and well on the way to making a real mess of my life.

As the years passed, one hurtful episode after another followed me. The Enemy seemed ever to whisper in my ear, and I wandered further and further from the Lord. I was convinced in my heart that the Lord had come to Save me, but I wasn't worthy of that Salvation. I believed I had no right to speak to Him anymore - He could not possibly want a filthy wretch like me. Outwardly, I denied Him - but inwardly - I would quietly mumble my thanks for the mercy He showed me. I remember the day after my first child was born, crying and calling out to Him on the way to the hospital. "Thank You Lord," I wept "thank You for giving me my baby! I am so sorry Lord!". I was blessed, saints. I was blessed with a wife, and children, and a comfortable house to live in. Always He worked to Shepherd me, it seemed. I'd been working in a bar for a while, when I met my wife - but He saw to it that my environment was changed - and somehow I found a new job cooking at a Mennonite Bible College. We moved out to the country, and He provided us a house at an incredibly low rent that a Hutterite colony owned... and again I saw the testimony of other believers.... Always He was moving and working. Oh Lord Jesus, thank You for never giving up on me! We began to attend a church again - this time at a Lutheran/Anglican church. The fact that it was Lutheran was what drew me, as it seemed at the least a familiar name... but alas, it would also have a familiar spirit.

This church, the first I'd attended regularly since my teens, was a church made up of a mix of Lutheran and Anglican adherents. The two groups were too small to be independent, and so they had pooled their limited resources and met together at the Anglican building. Both groups had their own Pastor, and my wife and I really hit it off with the Lutheran Pastor. He was a fine man, seemed devoted to his congregation, and we were drawn in and participated. I cooked for pot-luck dinners, my wife helped downstairs with the children in Sunday School, and we listened to sermons on good works and how to treat your fellow man. When the Anglican Priest spoke, he would speak quietly, not meeting our eyes. We heard him say things like "You will be surprised who you see in heaven. There will be Christians, but there will also be Jews and Muslims and Buddhists - and even atheists will be there. It doesn't matter if you come to church or don't... it's about a loving God..." Or things like "homosexuality is just another type of love - and God IS love." This Priest looked more uncomfortable saying these things than I did hearing them, but it didn't stop him.... and we started skipping the Sundays we knew he'd be speaking.

Some of the church elders, enjoying our fellowship, asked if I'd be interested in joining the church board at that time. I was flattered, but surprised. I was by far one of the youngest attendants - save only the children - and I reasoned within myself that I couldn't possibly accept such a position - although I felt truly called to it. I remember that well. I was very conflicted. I couldn't believe I could do it, but I felt I should - even I felt I had to... but I didn't. I didn't, and time ran out.

A month after I rejected the offer to join the board, we received the news that our Lutheran Pastor was going to be moving to Saskatchewan to join his wife - who had been elected as Bishop. I was distraught, as he was a man I at least felt comfortable 'exploring' my faith with. His departure would effectively terminate the agreement between the two churches, and it would mean that we would have to vote on our fate. Our options were three: Consolidate as a single congregation under the remaining Anglican Priest, migrate as a group to a liberal United Church down the street, or open the church to the application of new Pastors, be they Anglican or Lutheran. I knew what I had to vote to do, but I was surprised by the outcome. Perhaps I shouldn't have been.

When the time to cast our secret vote came, it was decided that it ought to be unanimous. I discussed my vote with no one other than my wife, who spent her time with the children in any case, and hadn't been upstairs to hear the sermons I'd heard. I felt it would be as clear a vote to the rest of the congregation as it was to me. I voted as I felt lead - to open the congregation to a new Pastor - and my wife, following my headship, did the same. Only one other in the whole congregation voted likewise. The other thirty votes were to keep the Anglican Priest who seemed so... lost, as our leader. It's heart-breaking, really. Had I listened to that still, small voice and joined the board, perhaps I could have fellowshipped with others about the state of this man's faith. This Priest needed our prayers and help - and no one reached out to him to give it, because he was the one elected and paid to help us... but he couldn't. I don't think he even knew what he believed.... A second vote was cast, and again I prayed that more people would have the courage to stand, seeing as three of us did, on the side of Truth... but the 3rd vote was recanted, and my wife and I stood alone. It was the last time my family went to that church.

Two more years passed. By now the Lord had blessed us with a house of our own, on a beautiful achreage in the woods - a one hundred and ten year old rectory set beside a preserved, but closed, Catholic church in a true ghost town. It was our dream home. Oh, Lord Jesus, how generous You are Lord. You are the everlasting God, and we love You Lord! At this time of my life, I still did pray in thanks to Him - and I felt ever called to do and be more for Him... I prayed with my children, and I read them some Bible stories... and I had been reading from His Word again myself, and listening to the likes of Dr. Woodrow Kroll of Back to the Bible on the radio, and very occasionally Dr. Charles Stanley - although I felt convicted when I listened to him, often... still living a very worldly life. Oh, Lord Jesus.

I worked as a salesman, and the Lord blessed my work. My success fed my ego, and when the conditions at my workplace began to deteriorate, I began to believe that I could do better. I began to actively seek employment working directly for a manufacturer as a product rep - and I approached the company I believed to the best in the industry. Without fellowship or a prayer, I contacted them and began to write answers to questions on their on-line end-user Q&A forum. After the first three answers, they began to publish my responses. By my fifth answer, they contacted me and asked me if I wanted a job - offering me positions in Long Beach, Richmond, or Houston. My wife loved our house and her horses, and did not want to leave for the States, so I asked about a position in Canada. The next day I received a job offer, as Regional Manager.

Saints, how many people do you know who are smart enough to pray to the Lord before taking a job, and then stupid enough to disobey His clear speaking on the matter? If you've never met one before, you have today. I am the one. I prayed to Him "Lord, should I take this job?". You know what He said? He said "DO NOT TAKE THAT JOB.", and He said it so loudly that I jumped. I literally jumped. I could not believe that I heard the voice of God so clearly! "God doesn't speak to people like that!" I thought, but you know what? EVERYTIME I prayed about it, I got the same response. And everytime, I thought "Naw, it's got to be me.... I must just be nervous.... I can do this job! This is gonna pay great!" Oh what a fool I was.

The job would require travel - I would cover Thunder Bay Ontario through to Vancouver Island - four time zones. I would travel 2-3 weeks a month, and I would have to pick up our family and move us to Alberta. I had always loved Alberta, and the idea of being responsible fed my pride. I accepted the job. Saints, let me spare you the details. The Lord, I learned, never meant that I couldn't do that job. He never meant that I wouldn't receive money or respect or power. He meant that I could never afford to pay the price of those things. My taking that job nearly destroyed my entire family. For a year and half I worked for that company, traveling - while my wife and I drifted apart. My children wept when I left, and I wept while I was away - missing so much - and no longer desired at home. I was trapped - and it was trap of my own making. I had begged for people, like my mother, who was battling with breast cancer, to ask me to quit the job "Just tell me to quit, and I will!" I would say... but she wouldn't. "You have to do what's right for your family." she said. I wouldn't do what was right for my family - because I was worried what people would say if I told them that I was giving up so lucrative a job just because God told me to.

The Lord was merciful. My daughter, who was only six years old at the time, came in one morning to tell me I had to go to Montreal "to tell my Boss that you have a little a girl at home, who can't take it anymore." Oh Lord Jesus, it nearly broke my heart. My wife was miserable, and I was feeling more trapped than ever. We were spending the money I was making, and I didn't have a quick fix. How could I leave the job now? The Lord made a way...

While we were "home" on holidays, in the summer of 2006, my mother very suddenly took a turn for the worse, and went into the hospital. By the Lord's grace, I was there that day - and was finally able to have the conversation with her that she'd always wanted to have, and that I'd always put off. I got to say goodbye. I got to tell her how much I would miss her, and how empty our family would be without her. My mother, through her 14 year battle with breast cancer, through out-surviving three support groups, through the mercy and grace of our Lord and Saviour - the author and perfector of our faith, had come to know Jesus Christ as Lord. In August my mom died, but she had been Saved. I promised to return to take care of my dad. I promised her, and I kept that promise as best I could. I contacted my old employer, and they were happy to take me back, as soon as I was able to come.

In November of 2006 my family returned home, still broken - but I believed ready to heal. I bought my wife's ramshackle childhood home in her hometown. My wife was happy, and my kids ecstatic. I remember standing on the street in front of the house that day, and praying "Thank You Lord, for restoring us. Thank You Lord, for bringing us home! Thank You Lord!" I remember what I heard Him say in response, in that still, small voice. He said "It isn't over yet." Oh, Lord Jesus. The Lord forgives us, if we are faithful to confess our sins. But forgiveness isn't the same as wiping out the consequences of deliberate sin. In taking the job He was faithful to tell me not to take, I was guilty of deliberate disobedience. The consequences of that would not be wiped out....

Going back to my old job was like coming home, and spending time with family we’d long left behind felt good… but we weren’t back long before my wife started returning to see old friends, and things between the two of us still were not the same. The Lord’s speaking was not lost on me, and I prayed fervently for His guidance and His care. I prayed with my children, and we read the Bible together. I started with my daughter in Matthew, and went on to read from the Acts of the Apostles, and even later, at her prompting, from Revelation. My youngest son was the first to get Saved. He asked me to pray with him one night, and together we prayed – and he received the Lord as Saviour. Within a month, his older sister followed, again asking herself for help in receiving the Lord.

Together my two children and I began to seek a church to belong to. I had been listening to radio ministry long enough, now faithfully following the teachings of Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch more than any other. I knew I needed a local church to belong to, I needed prayer and support and I had no idea where to find it, but I was going to try. We lived in a French Catholic town, so to the French Catholic church we went. I don’t speak French, but I prayed throughout the service. I could sense the Lord’s presence, but I couldn’t fellowship with anyone. I tried an Evangelical Mennonite church in a neighbouring town, but found that I’d arrived just when a guest Pastor was coming in to tell the congregation they had no right to fire the last Pastor – and it didn’t feel right. I tried my old Lutheran/Anglican church and found a new lady Pastor there… she resigned during the service, telling us her husband had just accepted a job in New Brunswick. I tried a very small Baptist church, and there the believers were very open and friendly – and I believe absolutely sincere. Their message was one of financial struggle – as they were very small – but thankfully they did also preach from the Word of God.

I tried Presbyterian (they were mostly away on a fishing trip that Sunday, and the group left behind seemed very tight knit bunch. They talked about golf and camping a lot), an English speaking Catholic church (I actually helped a young boy up from over my pew when he fainted, and no one said a word to me – even filing out, we were jostled and pushed…. No one wanted to speak to me); Saints, I just went everywhere; and nowhere felt like home.

Everything at work was going well – financially speaking, and we were comfortable… but there was no blessing in our house. My kids prayed with me for our family; knowing all too well the condition of it. The Lord bore a strong testimony to them in those days. Time went fast, and soon I had worked a full year back home, finishing at double my quota. I had my job review, which curiously did not go well despite my success, and then left for holidays – going on a cruise with my wife and father and sister, to scatter my mother’s ashes on her favourite island. I left work behind, and tried to enjoy the cruise with my wife – but although we were in an idyllic place, there was no romance between us. I was rebuffed and felt alone. I returned home with my wife more disheartened than ever, having placed some hope in this cruise being a kind of therapy for our relationship that it turned out not to be. At home, there was a message on my answering machine. The message was from a company I had worked alongside the year before – a distributor for the product I’d been managing. They wanted me to call them. They wanted to offer me a job. I didn’t know what to think.

Although my review had gone sideways, I was not at all unhappy where I was. Further, I felt I owed them my loyalty – they’d actually hired me back twice already, and I didn’t feel I should leave them again. Nevertheless an unsolicited job offer is something that shouldn’t be ignored, so I went to the Lord in prayer. This time He said very clearly, “Take that job.” I struggled with that; a lot actually, but the Lord was faithful – He was patient with me, and accomplished for me what I was reluctant to do myself. He ensured the owners of that other company wanted me enough that they wouldn’t take no for an answer. I gave my two weeks notice again, for the third time, and left for the new company.

Here my story turns, because here the Lord was moving – very suddenly, as He often does. We wait and we pray, and He says “wait”. Now He would reveal something to me. I had been at my new work for maybe two weeks, when I was given a road trip assignment with one of our technicians who we had just hired back after a two-year long sabbatical. I remember that day so clearly. I was driving the van, and picked him up at work. He stepped into my van with a muffin in one hand, and a slim book in the other. We exchanged greetings and hellos, and then I noticed the book a little more, and saw it wasn’t the manual I thought he might be reading. “What’s the book,” I asked. “Well,” he replied (showing me the cover of a HWMR), “I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not…” and that is as far as I let him get. The Lord caused the flood gates inside me to open in that instant, and for over an hour, as I drove, I gave my full tear-filled testimony to this brother in Christ. I had searched for so long to find a soul with whom to share, and here, where I had never thought to look for one, the Lord had placed him right before me! I knew, I knew absolutely that he was the reason the Lord told me to take that job. This was the sovereign arrangement of the Lord, and I embraced him fully as a brother. I hid none of my sins from him, I fully disclosed everything – and we became fast friends, enjoying together in prayer, in reading, in fellowship, in sharing the gospel.

I knew I needed fellowship at this point in my life – but I didn’t know how badly I would need it. Shortly after meeting this brother at work, I received from my wife a letter. It wasn’t the kind of letter any husband wants to receive. It was a letter that said, “I don’t love you anymore.”, and “I don’t consider myself to be your wife anymore.”, and “We will live together, but you will leave me alone. I will do whatever I want.” It was a letter that nearly broke me. I remember calling my father when I found that letter, which my wife had snuck into my bag before I left for work. I was in tears and distraught, parked at a Home Depot because I couldn’t drive. My dad was busy though, and even in that condition didn’t have time to come and see me. I called my brother in Christ, and he made time. We met, and we prayed together for my wife.

Saints, I will spare you the details – they have become a part of my wife’s Testimony – but suffice it to say that over the next eight months I turned more and more to the Lord – seeking Him at all times, spending time in His Word, listening to the speaking of His people, praying and calling on Him. I testified to my wife when I could, when I felt moved to – and even sometimes when I didn’t (which never proved fruitful). I fellowshipped with my Christian Brother and another brother who was hired on at our work, but did not go to attend their church with them. When I asked about their church, this brother would only say “The church isn’t a building. We are the Church – every believer everywhere; there is only one Church.” I was always welcomed to have supper at his house, or to meet with them on the Lord’s day, but I didn’t go… I didn’t want to rock the boat with my wife… who was very opposed to my growing faith.

Yes, over those eight months I prayed for my wife – and the Lord would correct me and lead me to pray properly for her. At first I prayed, “Lord, restore my wife to me!” – but the Lord said “No, you need to pray that I restore your wife to Me.”, Amen Lord! So I would pray that, and then He would say “I cannot reach her because of what she is doing, you need to pray for her to stop.”, and so I would pray for that….. Lord Jesus! My wife grew furious. She began to hate me, but at His prompting I took the headship and insisted that the things she was doing stop. She was caught in a rough place, and had to acquiesce – but she vowed to get revenge. I only told her I loved her, and kept loving her, as I spoke Christ to her.

Three months later, after a brief week’s holiday from work, my wife made good on her threat. I came home to find my wife and children gone. When I called her on her cell phone, not suspecting a thing, I learned what she’d done. She took the children, and threatened to never let me see them again if I didn’t leave the house so she could take her things from it. “I have all those letters you wrote to me,” she said – the ones in which I’d witnessed to her. “I’ve shown them to (some old friends of ours), and they think you’re crazy too! I’ll show them to a judge!” “Oh,” I said, “of course they think I’m crazy, they’re not Saved! I saved those letters too, and you are welcome to share them with anyone you want.” I tearfully spoke to my children, and told them I loved them. I told them people were going to say a lot of things to them that weren’t true – but they would know what the truth was. When my wife wanted to speak to me again, I told her there was nothing left to say. That stunned her. She threatened to get a restraining order against me if I wouldn’t leave the house. I told her I wouldn’t leave, and soon after that I hung up.

My wife made good on her threat, and I had no contact with her for six weeks. During that time, I found a lawyer (who, it would turn out, was a sister in Christ), and sought custody of my children. I gave copies of all the letters I’d written to my wife to the lawyer as well, so that she could see exactly what I’d said, and to ensure that Judge would get my full testimony. I stood steadfast in prayer with the brothers at work, and at last the Lord opened my eyes to my need of baptism (I’d only been christened as a baby, in the Lutheran church) – and I sought a Baptist church for that (Dr. Stanley’s ministry, with which the Lord spoke to me so often then, being itself Baptist). I went to a large Baptist Church and seminary, and was baptized there by the Pastor after sharing some of my testimony. I still did not meet with the brother and his friends, as they (I reasoned) lived quite far away from my home in the country. The Lord carried me through this tough time, He was so sweet and dear to me. He was my rock and my strength, and I leaned on Him heavily.

Four weeks in, my wife began to text me. She opened by saying she went to “our” church – by which I presumed she meant the church in which we were married. She was seeking, it seemed, but I didn’t know if I could trust that to be true. I tested her somewhat, and felt she might be being deceptive – although I certainly prayed she was being real. In that sixth week, my wife contrived to have me pick up the children for a visit directly from her house – which was not allowed with the restraining order still standing – but I picked them up there anyway. Before leaving that night, I told her: “We should talk, before court on Thursday.” Her face lit up, she nodded that yes, she would like to do that. “Come over tomorrow,” she said – “I’ll make you lunch.” I promised I would, and I left her there waving me goodbye.

Saints, I tell you truly that what I meant to say to my wife was “I don’t hate you. I wish you all the best. I won’t fight you for anything. You can have it all. I will hold nothing back. I just want to move on.” I had peace, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.” 1 Cor 7:15. Fortunately for me, the Lord had other plans.

I went to see my wife that day, and she was crying in the kitchen, preparing for me a meal. The Lord, I would see, was faithful. Though at times we are faithless, yet still is He faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Lord Jesus! My wife had spent that night searching the In Touch website forum, where I had been fellowshipping with fellow believers for months prior to her departure, and during – sharing our trials in the quest for fellowship. Perhaps the Lord used some of that testimony, but in reality it was all Him. That day in my wife’s kitchen, she said to me: “I don’t blame you if you never forgive me for what I did to you. But please, I need Jesus Christ in my life, and I don’t know how to get Him. Can you help me with just that? Please? Then you can go, and I won’t hold you back.” My heart, Oh Lord – How great is thy faithfulness! I had prayed for months, and when I had stopped trying to do – You did! I held my wife, and told her that I not only could but had already forgiven – absolutely – and we held hands at her kitchen table, and we prayed together. She called on the name of the Lord that day, and I was given a new wife!

The next day, the brother came into my office, and I gave him the news. He wept in my office, for joy. “The Lord is SOOO good.. sooo amazing!” Amen. He is. The brother said immediately that we had to come to his house for a dinner, the whole family – “Now she won’t object,” he reminded me – and the last of my excuses fell away. “No,” I said, “I suppose she won’t.” In all honesty, my wife was terrified of the prospect of meeting these people. “They’ll hate me!” she said, “they know everything I’ve done!” “No,” I told her, “they are over-joyed for you. These people are real believers – these people have been praying for you for months. These people need to meet you. You are a new creation in Christ.” We went that night, and that is where we met our Church.

Saints, you already know exactly what manner of Believers we met with that night, although we did not. The brother had never espoused anything particular about the practices of the group with whom he met. He knew all about the ‘churches’ I’d been too, and never spoke a word against them. I knew nothing really of the group with whom he met – but I started to learn that night.

Two weeks later we went to our first Home Meeting - a night that consisted of a number of young couples and teenagers, all of whom seemed anxious to meet us. We were fed, we talked, my wife played with the babies. We sang, we prayed… and we felt richer for it. The books on everyone's shelf were entirely written by Nee or Lee. That made me nervous. My Brother spoke of Crystallizations, but he also is a Bible Believing Saint, so while he reads from a Recovery Version, he likewise has other versions on his shelf from which he reads. I asked him about the Recovery Version, and he suggested I buy a copy to see for myself… He’d given me a New Testament at one point, but I enjoyed my KJV and hadn’t really looked at it. After some prayer, I stepped up and bought a full Recovery Version to enjoy… although I’ve always checked it against others at Bible Gateway or against my own NIV and KJV at home….

My wife and I continued to attend the Home Meetings, but we spent our Sundays looking for a right Church for us. Since I’d been baptized at a Baptist Church, we went back to one. I took her the church in which I’d been Baptized, but she felt awkward – and as large a church as it was, she felt a little lost, I think. We tried small Baptist churches in the city, but I found the message was always the same…. A call to repentence, to the acceptance of Christ as Saviour, which was good…. But the message seemed to end there. We were hungry, and really needed more. My Brother watched my church hopping without comment for many weeks, and only after I confessed that I wasn’t finding what I was looking for did he suggest that I might want to come to meet with them on Sundays. “You have to be careful, church hopping with your wife.” He said, “She’s still so new, and it can really confuse her.” I had to admit confusion was exactly what I was feeling, so after speaking to my wife, we decided to meet with the saints.

That first Lord's Table Meeting, we walked into a hall to see all of the chairs facing eachother, and no place for a Pastor to stand, and cast a side long look at my wife… ‘what have we walked into here?’ I think I might have mouthed….Saints, after that first meeting, I again saw something I’d been looking for for a very long time. I saw genuine love for Christ. I saw a passion to know Him in a deeper and more meaningful way than I had seen anywhere else before. We found ourselves welcomed in, in a real way…. Not just at the meeting, but at the homes and into the lives of the saints at that church. I had never had that experience before. There was no call for money – there was only a mutual caring.

It wasn’t perfect; the Bride is not ready yet. I really wrestled with some things, more and more each day. I felt uncomfortable at the exclusivism of the book shelves; and I have still not made it my practice to read exclusively from the ministry. In fact, the first ministry book I read (no wait, the second – my first was Christ vs Religion) – but my second was Watchman Nee’s “The Orthodoxy of the Church”. Have you read that book? In it, Watchman Nee testifies that the Church in Philadelphia must surely be the Plymouth Brethren… and from them he gained so much he passed on… but it was his description of the Church in Laodicea that really opened my eyes. I have been reading from the books of the Brethren, who seem to have fallen away from what their ancestors had gained. I am reading WTP Wolston’s “Behold the Bridegroom”, and just a few weeks back I picked up a nearly complete set of JN Darby’s “Collective Writings”.

If I am to be honest, many times I thought I just couldn’t meet with the local church. As much as I had grown to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, I saw them as being too narrow-minded to really have the Truth. I felt that while they said the Church was composed of all believers everywhere, they had a smaller experience than that. I occasionally had the boldness to speak this, and was never shut down… never shut up. In fact, there were occasions when even the elder members would seem abashed, or confess afterward that there was an improper practice and that Christ needed to gain more in them…

Watchman Nee said, in his book “Revive Thy Work”:

"Because there are so few Pauls, we must not wait for such spiritual giants to appear. We believe that the time has come for the whole church to work, to save, and to preach the gospel. THE WAY OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS OVER. Indeed, this is the day to follow the way of the body. We must be one heart with God. We criticize denominations (but not the saints in the denominations), and rightly so, denouncing their brand of sacerdotalism; but we are no different in principle from them if the service of the church is monopolized by a worker plus a few elders in the place of all of the brothers and sisters laboring together."

This is beautiful, and wonderfully true - but I do not see this practice put in place. It is not merely that there are many who come to the meetings who do not stand and speak. I for one do not believe that it is either practical or possible for all to prophesy - for prophesying is a gift of the Holy Spirit - and not a gift we are all given. Each is promised at least one gift, but this one need not be it. No, the issue is the nature of what is shared - it is largely a regurgitation of the words and experiences of one man - and that is not the Normal Christian Church Life; it is most definitely Abnormal.

Did not the Lord Himself say (Matthew 23:8-12) “But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Watchman Nee was, from what I have read of him, a meek and humble man. He died for Christ, and I see Christ in his living. Brother Lee, on the other hand, was a man who seems to testify concerning himself a great deal. He often spoke of the wonderful things Watchman Nee might have said about him, or speak of how he stands on Nee's shoulders... which positionally would place him above Nee, in a clear demonstration of a hierarchy which we theoretically reject.

“And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” – Colossians 1:18

We saints are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and are given the gift of discernment. Children of God, we are to trust in Him and no other. The veil is torn, we have access to the very Throne of God!

“one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” - Ephesians 4:5

The Lord spoke through Peter, and said to the Believers
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

We believe these things, and yet we practice a trademarked Church Life that still puts elders in positions of authority and lets the writings of Lee dominate to the exclusion of all else. How does this make any sense at all?

In the 1500's, the Lord raised up a man named Martin Luther to recover "Saved by Grace through Faith". Martin Luther was convicted by the Lord to nail his 95 thesis to the church doors in Wittenburgh. Many were gained for the Lord in those days, and the Recovery was begun in this Reformation.... but the church that was born out of that was not the Church who already had won her crown, the Church in Philadelphia - but the Church who had a name but was dead, the Church in Sardis. Why? Because although Martin Luther recovered so much, he failed to understand that he didn't have a choice. He needed to break clean from Thyatira; from clergy, from hierarchy... and he was scared of doing that. The Church in Sardis was born by default, because Luther was tossed out of the Catholic church.

Two kinds of people followed Luther. Many saw Luther as a man they should learn from, and others saw Luther as a man they could learn with. There is a vast distinction between the two. Those who learned from Luther followed his footsteps to where they ended - in an occupied grave. They went no further than Luther did in the Lord's Recovery. Those who learned with Luther though, realized that it wasn't Luther they were to follow - but Christ... and these ones pressed on for the Lord, and recovered MORE.

“The pressing issue before us is that everyone must serve. Unless all serve, there is no church. Here, then is today's way: the work must be done by the entire church; it is the church and not just a few individuals, that preaches the gospel. No matter how well you each work, you become a Nicolaitan if you are a substitute for other people in the body of Christ. You may have a ministry but do not, as a consequence, have the church in reality.”


In Christ,

Neither First nor Last
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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Saints, I have only recently found this site, but surely it has been the Lord's provision. As of today, January 5th 2010, still participatory in the LSM trade-marked Church Life here in my locality; but I do not know how much longer this will continue. I've been wrestling for two and a half years over the unique ministry we have, certain that the issue was with me and not with the ministry... and I don't feel that way anymore. You will forgive me if I don't yet post my proper name, to protect my family from any practical prosecution as many of you have unfortunately already experienced by the LSM leadership.
Dear brother NFnL,

Welcome to the forum! What are marvelous testimony of the Lord's care, and His moving to save your family.

As I was reading, a few thoughts came to me. I know many on these forums will tell you to run from the LC's as fast as you can, but I will not. Each church varies from place to place, and being connected to other brothers and sisters is a gift from God. LSM is a ministry based in SoCal, but the church is the believers, the children of God. They have embraced you and your family, through the high and the low, and that is priceless.

I first contacted the Recovery in 1973, and in my heart I knew of their genuine love and desire for Christ, and only Christ. These precious ones had just uprooted and migrated to Cleveland, and as sinful and worldly and unsaved as I was, I could tell that there was light and joy shining from their hearts. They had something I did not, and I wanted what they had.

Over time WL thrust his ministry and his control upon all the LC's. That was the cause of much decline, but still many precious ones have decided to make the Lord and His Word their first love. I know many saints who are very lukewarm towards LSM, rarely attending any of their gatherings or videos, yet love the Lord and His people dearly.

It seems the Lord connected you with these dear saints because He felt this was the best place for Him to shepherd you and your family. Obviously no church is perfect, and all churches have their share of man-made traditions, but I can assure you that nearly all saints will embrace you even if you hold LSM at a distance.

For years in the LC's, I got the HWFMR only for the verses. Sometimes, I would have to share in the meetings from the HWFMR, but the teaching was so stale and tasteless, and it was not until I prayed over the verses in the HWFMR that I was anointed and inspired, and that's what I shared.

Grace to you brother and peace from God. Please continue to seek the Lord for your family as you have done until now. You mentioned Philadelphia in Revelation ch. 3. They were never praised by the Lord for being "one with the LSM."
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:01 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum NeitherFirstnorLast, love the name!

Please take a look around at the various boards and threads and participate in the ones that interest you.

As far as your situation, I think you should do what is best for your wife and children. I don't know how old your kids are now, but if they are older you should allow them the freedom to meet and befriend young Christians from the various fellowships in your area. The Lord will lead them.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:55 AM   #4
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Thank you Ohio.... Thank you.

I was writing a follow up to my first post here last night, and somehow it got dumped off the system before I was able to post it. Praise the Lord, there was some bitterness in it that needn't be spoken.

You are right, of course - the Lord did place me here to shepherd me and my family; and I love the saints in Christ dearly. They have become our family in every sense of the word. After being Saved, my wife completely lost her family; they rejected her utterly. Funny, they didn't mind her when she lived in sin, but now as a new creation in Christ the Enemy has really put a hate in their hearts for her. If it weren't for the Saints in our Local Church, we would likely never have made it.

And yet I struggle, as so many of you did.

Maybe my issue is, I have always seen 'problems' in the Church, and my response has ALWAYS been to leave, because "my relationship with the Lord was greater". When I've had a chance to stand for the Lord, I've sat down, and said nothing. This isn't humility, as I sometimes like to think, it's cowardice. It has no place. We are all to speak as we feel lead, and I need to give Him the headship to speak as He would.

Saints still in the Local Church, Stop regarding man, whose life breath is in his nostrils. For of what value is he considered to be? Isaiah 2:22

Saints, Watchman Nee - whose work we regard and whose work we publish, said "Anything that comes from the hand of man is dead, it is finished and it cannot give life. Only the Word of God can give life."

As much as we can enjoy a life study, a message, it is no different from a sermon, is it? It is something that may be good, but it is not the Word of God.

Will you be like the Lutherans, who followed Luther - or the Christians, who followed Christ?

Saints, if you a consider a brother to be wise, and admire him, and want to grow to be like him, then you need to consider how you can honestly achieve that. The wisest men among us did not come to such wisdom by self-contemplation, studying their own thoughts and works. No, by their own testimony they grew up in Christ through the Word. When we speak of eating and drinking Christ, we do not mean that we fall upon His person as ghouls to consume Him - we mean that we drink the pure, guileless milk of the Word! We eat the meat of the Word! Christ is the Living Word! This is no mystery!

If a brother grows up in Christ, and gains some maturity by feasting at the Lord's Table, should we who wish to also gain not want to feast at that same Table with Him? We are called to, Christ wants to YOU to know Him so well as that too! Do not settle instead to lie beneath the chair of the brother who is feeding, and to eat only what he has already processed and digested. Saints, please - Christ is calling: Will you be an Overcomer? There is no such thing as an exclusive club of Overcomers... only a remnant will make it.

The Church in Philadelphia was warned, because they might lose the crown they had already gained. That is not an idle warning. The Church in Laodicea resembles Philadelphia in many ways...

If you haven't read Watchman Nee's "The Orthodoxy of the Church", published by LSM, then I encourage you to. See how Nee identified the characteristics of the final Church to appear before the Lord's return... the Church (which He still calls His Church) at the end of the age. Ask yourself, who is Nee describing here?

http://www.ministrybooks.org/books.c...2%2BI%20%20%0A


There are overcomers from each of the seven Churches, Saints; and there are also a lot of tares sown in with the wheat. We cannot judge who is who, because the Lord told us that we might tear out the wheat with the tares if we do not let them first mature; and only then will the tares be gathered and burned.

Only Jesus Christ is Lord!

In Christ,

Neither First nor Last
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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Dear NeitherfirstnorLast,

I would not encourage you to leave the LRC, I agree with you that to leave because you see things you disagree with could certainly be cowardice, and if that is your sense in your spirit then I agree with your spirit on this.

I would also counsel you not to "preach" at the saints. The Lord tells us to judge ourselves, not others.

Rather I would encourage you to speak the truth in all boldness and in love, building up the saints. Be fearless, be a man. For example, rather than "preaching" that there are overcomers in all the lampstands, why not share a testimony about fellowship and help you may have received from a brother or sisters fellowship that doesn't meet with the LRC. That conveys the point more powerfully, without the taint of preaching, and requires quite a bit of boldness. And if you do get asked to leave, remember, there are overcomers in all of the lampstands. You can then walk out with a clear conscience knowing you spoke the truth in love.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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Thank you Ohio.... Thank you.

You are right, of course - the Lord did place me here to shepherd me and my family; and I love the saints in Christ dearly. They have become our family in every sense of the word. After being Saved, my wife completely lost her family; they rejected her utterly. Funny, they didn't mind her when she lived in sin, but now as a new creation in Christ the Enemy has really put a hate in their hearts for her. If it weren't for the Saints in our Local Church, we would likely never have made it.

Maybe my issue is, I have always seen 'problems' in the Church, and my response has ALWAYS been to leave, because "my relationship with the Lord was greater". When I've had a chance to stand for the Lord, I've sat down, and said nothing. This isn't humility, as I sometimes like to think, it's cowardice. It has no place. We are all to speak as we feel lead, and I need to give Him the headship to speak as He would.

Saints, please - Christ is calling: Will you be an Overcomer? There is no such thing as an exclusive club of Overcomers... only a remnant will make it. If you haven't read Watchman Nee's "The Orthodoxy of the Church", published by LSM, then I encourage you to.
Dear brother NFnL,

I have read Orthodoxy of the Church by Nee, in fact, I read it during finals week, and couldn't put it down. While I still treasure the book, I have moderated my eschatological views somewhat after reading Nigel Tomes article, EXAMINING LSM’s ESCHATOLOGY—REVELATION’S 7 CHURCHES -- here --

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...read.php?t=758

I also find the discussion of "overcomers" to be a hindrance to fellowship, and in many cases a real source of discouragement to the saints, i.e. "I could never be an overcomer." Revelation says, "to him who overcomes," identifying actions rather than identifying a class of believers. The Recovery is great at saying we have no hierarchy, and we are all brothers without a pastor, and then create new classes such as overcomer, full-timer, and coworker.

It's so wonderful to hear about your wife's salvation, yet so sad to hear about her family's reaction. Please do not fuel the flames by "arming" yourself with judgments as I did towards my parents. After the Revelations training, I "unloaded" all that I was taught about the Great Whore, Babylon, idolatry, Catholicism, etc. Looking back, it seems the saints were far more interested in my "coming out of her" (Rev 18.4) and into the LC, than they were concerned about the salvation of my family. Please do your best to help your wife have a kind, loving, prayerful, and longsuffering attitude towards her family. This will bring more grace to her, and eventually conviction to her family.

Concerning the LSM, they love to do stupid things like lawsuits, strange teachings, etc. and then force all their member churches to side with them unreservedly. We have no allegiance to a ministry. Our connection is with the Head. Do your best to keep the church as people, believers in Christ, and children of God. They are your family. Your family is not some organization called "the church in blank-blank, which is affiliated with the ministry of WN and WL," as many LC websites declare.

If you can stay connected to the Lord in fellowship and to the saints in a spiritual friendship, you will be saved from the trappings of organizational structures.

Much grace to you brother.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:42 AM   #7
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Good morning Ohio,

There's been a snow storm up here this weekend, so we find ourselves not making the trip for the Lord's Table meeting today, but instead getting together with the some of the saints to continue with the Video training messages.

When it comes to LSM's eschatological views, I must confess that I do not fully embrace everything that has been professed either; however, I take the Word given to Daniel literally: "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." Daniel 12:9b

The Lord's ways are higher than our ways, His thought higher than our thoughts: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Mark 13:32

What I wrote, about checking out what was written by Nee in the Orthodoxy of the Church, I wrote not to the saints who have left LSM - but to those who remain.

What Nigel wrote is perhaps not incorrect, however - to ask the saints to embrace this is to ask them to drastically shift their paradigm. This is difficult for them to do, especially for those raised in LSM churches - those who know ONLY LSM's particular brand of Christianity. LSM teaches that Nee was the "Seer of the Divine Revelation", and that Lee "Stands of the Shoulders of Nee." In essence, they are saying that these two men were infallible. That what they wrote was as divinely inspired as the gospel. If the saints come to believe that something written by one of these two could be wrong, it topples not only their belief in LSM; but may well topple their belief in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This statement may sound strong, but I can testify to it's validity. I myself, when I saw the true condition of the Lutheran church I attended as a child, had my faith shaken to its core.... and haven't many who have been cast aside or left behind after the turmoil likewise had this experience? The faith of the saints in the LSM churches has been misplaced - they hope not only in Christ, but also in the ministry. In fact, they are taught to believe that Christ CANNOT return until LSM gets it right - that the Lord is waiting for a mature Bride, and since we fellowship with no one else outside the LSM churches, then surely we believe by default that WE are the Bride working towards maturity, and we can only attain it alone. There is no room in this theology for God to cause the growth. We speak of the "Lord's Recovery" - but this term by definition acknowledges that the Recovery is being done by the Lord - and not by a man-made organization called Living Stream Ministries. We need to not only profess that, but to live that out. The Lord IS Recovering much, but He isn't doing among LSM churches alone. In fact, if what Nee wrote in "The Orthodoxy of the Church" is to be believed, then He isn't Recovering anything any more in the Local Churches.

If you read what Nee wrote about Laodicea, you will have to admit that the church that fits this description is the LSM local church, and no other. If saints within the LSM churches read this book, they surely must see this. Nee paints the perfect picture of our church. That is why I ask the saints to please read it.

There is hope: the Lord still calls Laodicea His church - although He says that it is says it is rich but is poor and blind and naked. Although He says that He will not use it anymore.

Saints, I am a late comer to the Church life, who only hears tales of the glory days. I have come to know a remnant, who are bruised and battered by the turmoil. Who can no longer stand and function in any meetings because they have been stumbled by the LSM leadership (and it is a leadership saints - but call it eldership if it soothes your concience). I have heard saints say "I never thought that could happen in the Lord's Recovery." These dear ones, who still come to the Lord's Table meetings and hold out some hope for a return to what was, have not seen what caused us to lose the blessing... and we've surely lost the blessing.

Brother Willy Wise gave a conference in Calgary this past fall, and therein he asked the saints in attendance: "How many of you are new to the church life, just here brought in this year?". Not a single hand was raised. "Well then, how many of you have only been here for two years?" Again, no one rose from their seat. "Huh, well... for how many here is this their first conference?" One sister raised a hand, only one.

"You shall know a tree by it's fruit." Where is the fruit? Brother Lee asked this as well. If we abide in Him, He will abide in us. We cannot bear fruit alone, for we are but branches. If there is no fruit, can we really not understand why?

With Love in Christ to all the saints in all the churches,

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Old 01-09-2011, 08:28 PM   #8
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LSM teaches that Nee was the "Seer of the Divine Revelation", and that Lee "Stands of the Shoulders of Nee." In essence, they are saying that these two men were infallible. That what they wrote was as divinely inspired as the gospel. If the saints come to believe that something written by one of these two could be wrong, it topples not only their belief in LSM; but may well topple their belief in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The faith of the saints in the LSM churches has been misplaced - they hope not only in Christ, but also in the ministry. In fact, they are taught to believe that Christ CANNOT return until LSM gets it right.

The Lord IS Recovering much, but He isn't doing among LSM churches alone. In fact, if what Nee wrote in "The Orthodoxy of the Church" is to be believed, then He isn't Recovering anything any more in the Local Churches.

If you read what Nee wrote about Laodicea, you will have to admit that the church that fits this description is the LSM local church, and no other.

I have come to know a remnant, who are bruised and battered by the turmoil. Who can no longer stand and function in any meetings because they have been stumbled by the LSM leadership (and it is a leadership saints - but call it eldership if it soothes your conscience). I have heard saints say "I never thought that could happen in the Lord's Recovery."
NFNL, you have made some incredible observations, having been there only a few years. What LSM has recently done violates the "vision" which many saints have held dearly for years.

WN says that Laodicea speaks of the exclusive brethren who became degraded. You are right that it applies to the LC's as well.

The Lord says He will "shake that which can be shaken," and His shaking in the LC's have brought many back to Christ.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:44 PM   #9
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Good evening Saints,

I enjoyed my time with the saints today - and the video training message was good; we are working on Isaiah 53.

I was soothed today, because within the speaking there was no talk of condemnation against those on the outside of our group - those who we must confess are still one with us in Christ. I want to reiterate that same declaration. Saints, when I sound off so strongly against the hierarchy of the ministry, it is not against the individuals that I stand. Rather, it is, I hope, against hypocrisy itself... and I do not do so because I think I am better, or have a superior understanding of scripture, but because I long to see the Body built up in Christ. Are we not commanded to admonish our brothers and sisters, just for the sake of that building?

I do see the fruit of the Spirit in the brothers and sisters who have embraced me in the Local Church. I am shown sincere love, experience joy, feel the peace, am treated with long-suffering kindness, and feel richer for the goodness and faithfulness of the dear saints who have become my friends. Lord Jesus!

I enjoy my time with many Christians, and have been blessed to have time for fellowship with many different groups... and I agree with you ZNP: I ought not preach at the saints, but demonstrate to them the Oneness we all have in Christ by sharing with them my experiences with those outside of our division... even my experience with you all. Untohim; you are right - and I would love for our children to experience fellowship outside of our sphere in order that they would taste more fully the Body.... that is not always easy to do and discern... but as the Spirit leads.

Lord, thank You for the fellowship You have provided me here. Lord, I want to pray that You continue Your work in all of us. Gain what You are after, and build us all up into Your Church.

In Jesus Precious Name I Pray,

Amen
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:45 AM   #10
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Good evening Saints,

I enjoyed my time with the saints today - and the video training message was good; we are working on Isaiah 53.

I was soothed today, because within the speaking there was no talk of condemnation against those on the outside of our group - those who we must confess are still one with us in Christ. I want to reiterate that same declaration. Saints, when I sound off so strongly against the hierarchy of the ministry, it is not against the individuals that I stand. Rather, it is, I hope, against hypocrisy itself... and I do not do so because I think I am better, or have a superior understanding of scripture, but because I long to see the Body built up in Christ. Are we not commanded to admonish our brothers and sisters, just for the sake of that building?

I do see the fruit of the Spirit in the brothers and sisters who have embraced me in the Local Church. I am shown sincere love, experience joy, feel the peace, am treated with long-suffering kindness, and feel richer for the goodness and faithfulness of the dear saints who have become my friends. Lord Jesus!

I enjoy my time with many Christians, and have been blessed to have time for fellowship with many different groups... and I agree with you ZNP: I ought not preach at the saints, but demonstrate to them the Oneness we all have in Christ by sharing with them my experiences with those outside of our division... even my experience with you all. Untohim; you are right - and I would love for our children to experience fellowship outside of our sphere in order that they would taste more fully the Body.... that is not always easy to do and discern... but as the Spirit leads.

Lord, thank You for the fellowship You have provided me here. Lord, I want to pray that You continue Your work in all of us. Gain what You are after, and build us all up into Your Church.

In Jesus Precious Name I Pray,

Amen
Amen! .
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:48 AM   #11
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NFL,

Of late I have become weary with long posts on these forums and tend to skip over them. But I printed out all your posts last night (still an old fashioned, hard copy in my hand kind of guy) and read them. Enjoyed it very much.

When Ohio talked about those who would tell you to run as fast as you can out of the Local Church, I'm sure I was one of those he had in mind. But I can't say that to you. Clearly your testimony of the Lord's speaking to you is very real, and you have been able to maintain that throughout your Living Stream Church experience.

More often than not people check their discernment at the door of the LSM Church, and pick up the corporate, Witness Lee fashioned conscience instead. I am so happy to see that you have not done that.

Not that my admonition would make any difference, but I encourage you to continue to stay where you are with eyes wide open. Surely persecution will come; especially once you show up on the radar of national leadership. But I feel good about your walk before the Lord and your willingness to obey His voice.

Welcome to the forum, and the Lord be with you.

Roger
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #12
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I was soothed today, because within the speaking there was no talk of condemnation against those on the outside of our group - those who we must confess are still one with us in Christ. I want to reiterate that same declaration. Saints, when I sound off so strongly against the hierarchy of the ministry, it is not against the individuals that I stand. Rather, it is, I hope, against hypocrisy itself... and I do not do so because I think I am better, or have a superior understanding of scripture, but because I long to see the Body built up in Christ. Are we not commanded to admonish our brothers and sisters, just for the sake of that building?
Amen, I am encouraged by your post. It is disheartening when there is talk of condemnation in any setting; Lord's Day meeting or home meeting. Not only because of condemning words to saints meeting outside the local churches, but also because no words of correction are spoken. We are all one Body....no matter where we meet.

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Old 01-15-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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I was ....I don't know if admonished is the right word, or attacked, by a sister last night. It wasn't the first time it's happened really, with this one. Somehow she makes assertions and, when I offer a different word, she gets very... agressive. I don't think I come across as offensive, and yet she seems very offended. Then she goes away and comes back and apologizes. Lord help me, I don't mean to speak anything but what I have seen; and if I am the one who is wrong, won't You show me that, Lord? Lord Jesus, I've asked You... begged You, to keep me in the Truth. Lord, I need You to wash me and preserve me and to convict me where I am wrong. Lord, I need You to silence me where I must be silence, and give me words to speak where You would have me speak. Please Lord, I feel so isolated from these others. You I enjoy, but where is Your Bride of Worth? Where is the fellowship I want so much to enjoy? What is going on?
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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Lord, I need You to silence me where I must be silence, and give me words to speak where You would have me speak. Please Lord, I feel so isolated from these others. You I enjoy, but where is Your Bride of Worth? Where is the fellowship I want so much to enjoy? What is going on?
"Thanks [be] to God for his UNSPEAKABLE free gift." (2Cor. 9:15)

The fellowship you seek was preserved here: Galatians 2:9. Sealed among the nations for the day of redemption. Paul's work in the apostolic age produced seven golden lampstands appearing to John in Revelation 1-3. From Ephesus to Laodicea now conditions manifest. It is difficult to doubt condition of LSM is Laodicea, even in your report. But the Lord rebukes and disciplines as many as He loves. Behold, He stands at the door and is knocking!
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:48 PM   #15
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I was ....I don't know if admonished is the right word, or attacked, by a sister last night. It wasn't the first time it's happened really, with this one. Somehow she makes assertions and, when I offer a different word, she gets very... agressive. I don't think I come across as offensive, and yet she seems very offended. Then she goes away and comes back and apologizes. Lord help me, I don't mean to speak anything but what I have seen; and if I am the one who is wrong, won't You show me that, Lord? Lord Jesus, I've asked You... begged You, to keep me in the Truth. Lord, I need You to wash me and preserve me and to convict me where I am wrong. Lord, I need You to silence me where I must be silence, and give me words to speak where You would have me speak. Please Lord, I feel so isolated from these others. You I enjoy, but where is Your Bride of Worth? Where is the fellowship I want so much to enjoy? What is going on?
The one thing that I enjoy when attacked like this, and I don't mean to sound harsh, is the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. Many verses come alive "father forgive them, for they know not what they do", or the verse in Galatians where Paul says he did not waiver for even an hour so that the truth of the gospel could remain with us. I will say from experience that while under the attack I read the Bible more, and with more prayer. One habit I had was to start reading Galatians chapter 1, sometimes by the time I finished the book I would feel better, if not I would continue, and usually by the time I finished Ephesians I would feel better. If not, I would continue, the worst it ever got I went through Colossians. But, these incidents turn you to the word and prayer more than anything else can.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:56 PM   #16
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... I will say from experience that while under the attack I read the Bible more, and with more prayer... these incidents turn you to the word and prayer more than anything else can.
Amen!

I came before the Lord this morning in prayer, and, wanting to read and enjoy from His Word, asked Him where to turn. He lead me, curiously, to 1 Kings, Chapter 12 - and this is what I read:

"Thus says Jehovah, You shall not go up and wage war with your brothers the children of Israel. Every man return to his house; for this matter is of Me." Amen Lord. This matter of division is of YOU, and we are not to war with our brothers.

Seeing this, I went back to the beginning of 1 Kings, as I must confess I have not yet opened this book in my RcV (although I have read it before in my KJV). I wanted to read through the context in which the Lord spoke this to Rehoboam. So much did the Lord open up to me this morning, and I want to share what I saw here, because this is the very first time I have ever seen this:

At the beginning of 1st Kings, we see again David - weak with old age, and bed ridden. To warm his bones, a young virgin is brought to him; Abishag the Shunammite (whose name in Hebrew, means "My father strays" - what significance in this name...). Through plotting, David's son Adonijah begins his bid for the throne... and in doing so slights both Solomon and Nathan, God's prophet.... but through plotting, Nathan and Bath-Sheba likewise work together to accomplish the succession for Solomon. God's will in the matter of succession is not consulted, but it appears rather, sides are chosen based on each mans will to gain the most for himself...

Nathan, in dealing with the King, pays homage to him - even by placing his face upon the ground (1 Kings 1:23-24) and calls him "lord". Is this the position a man who manipulates his king ought to take? Should Nathan, as a prophet of God, actually prostrate himself like that to another man - or address another man as "lord"? I don't feel clear to answer that question, but it arises....

David is successfully manipulated by Nathan and Bath-Sheba, and he calls for his son Solomon, and gives him the kingdom of Judah and of Israel. He goes on to instruct Solomon in the things he ought to do first: And here we get to see what is really on David's heart these days.... because he strays:

David's first instructions are good: "Keep the commandment of Jehovah your God by walking in His ways...." (1 Kings 2:3)... but he doesn't ask this for God or for God's children, the people of Israel, but rather for himself: "That Jehovah may establish His word which he spoke concerning me..." (1 Kings 2:4)

David follows this commandment, which is laced with more than questionable motives, with another; a call for vengeance on an old enemy (is not vengeance the Lord's?) "...you know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me... do not let his grey hairedhead go down to Sheol in peace." (1 Kings 2:5-6)

Finally, David tells Solomon of the situation with Shimei the son of Gera, to whom David openly acknowledges that he swore an oath to him by Jehovah saying "I shall not kill you with a sword."... Nevertheless, David harbors resentment and unforgiveness in his heart for this one, and so he urges Solomon by his wisdom to find a way around this agreement; and to "not hold him guiltless... bring his grey-haired head down to Sheol with blood."

What a dark legacy to leave your son.

Solomon is instituted as King while David lives, and immediately we see the truth in the Word of God: "The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son, yea unto the seventh generation."

Solomon's first act as King is not to Praise God, or seek His will and counsel. No, it is to establish his own authority, and consolidate his power.

First, he tells his mother that she may ask what she will ask; "I will not refuse you." But this is a lie, for when she asks for Abishag on behalf of Adonijah, Solomon breaks his promises and flies into a temper: In wrath, he commits fratricide in order to establish to any other siblings he may have - that he will tolerate no contenders. (1 Kings 2:20-25).

Unwilling to tolerate competition isn't limited to his own brothers. Next, Solomon immediately sets his sights on the priest Abiathar - a man of whom Solomon says "you bore the Ark of the Lord Jehovah before David my father and you suffered affliction in all that my father suffered."... and yet Solomon excommunicates him, and places him under house arrest under penalty of death... a sentence he will execute three years later, although he would lay the blame for it on Abiathar's own head.

Finally, Joab hears of what's going on and realizes that he's going to be in the way too... so he flees to the Altar of God and lays hands on it's horns; seeking forgiveness and absolution. It is denied. Solomon sends Benaniah to kill Joab. Benaniah is unwilling to profane the Tent of Jehovah, and asks Joab to come out so that his sentence can be executed, but Joab refuses, saying "No; I will rather die here". Benaniah returns to Solomon, not knowing what to do; but he is only sent back. Solomon has no qualms about profaning the Tent of Jehovah: "Do as he has spoken, and strike him down..." Solomon says.

God is silent throughout all of this; and no one asks Him about any of it.

In Chapter three, we see that the first thing that Solomon does after consolidating his power is to take for himself a wife from a daughter of Pharoah in Egypt, and not from among his own people. Why does he do this, in clear violation of God's law? Again, he wishes to secure his own power, by forging an alliance with a nation that in all typology typifies the sinful world itself.

Next, Solomon goes up to the high places and sacrifices 1,000 burnt offerings to the Lord. Why does he do this? We are not told. Why does he go to the high places to do it, instead of to the Altar in the Tent of Jehovah? Solomon is not a priest, does he have the right to do this? Saul certainly didn't, and was punished for that foolishness. What is going on here? The high places are where the pagan Canaanites sacrificed to their 'gods'. (1 Kings 3:1-4).

At last, we hear from God; here is what he says to Solomon in a dream: "Ask what I should give to you." That's it. Not, "Solomon, this is what I would have you do." Not, "Here my servant, what I would say:" No. What the Lord speaks here is not an offer of a pleased Father, it is a test; and in Solomon's case, I have come to see, it is a trap. "Ask what I should give to you."

Now, I have always been taught that Solomon gave a great answer to this question. I myself have prayed the prayer of Solomon many times, and today the Lord caused me to repent of it; because He has opened my eyes to what Solomon really was asking for here:

"...Give therefore to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil." (1 Kings 3:9).

Do you see that? Sounds good, doesn't it? What's he really asking for here though? He's asking to be a judge over God's people... but isn't it God's place to judge? Further, he isn't asking for God to lead him, he's asking to eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so that he can DECIDE FOR HIMSELF. He is REJECTING God as his judge, as the light to his feet and lamp to his path, but wants instead the wisdom/knowledge to make it all on his own. I believe what Solomon should have asked for, was faith like Abrahams. If he had that kind of faith, he could have been used of God to do some tremendous works....

God honors his prayer; and tops it off with more wealth than Solomon could imagine. Curious blessing, considering "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven". Lord, preserve us. Lord, when we pray foolishly - forgive us; I do not want my foolish prayers answered.

So what happens next? Well, according to everything I've ever heard or read, what happens next is a tremendous blessing to Israel and even later to us: Solomon was chosen to build the Temple of God.... right?

Well, consider what Scripture tells us; and consider who Solomon sounds like when he says "I intend to build a house for the name of Jehovah my God according to what Jehovah spoke to David my father, saying, 'Your son, whom I will put on your throne in your place, he will build a house for My name.'"

Wow.

Solomon, true to form - usurps a word God spoke to David for himself. Was he right to do so? Tell me, do the Psalms of David prophecy of his son Solomon, or his 'son', Christ? Was not Christ called the "Son of David"? To whom was promised David's throne forever and forever? Not Solomon, but to CHRIST! Solomon doesn't ask God whether he should build him a "house" or not, nor does he ask what form such a house should take, or of what material to build it, or where to locate it. He simply usurps a promise and begins to plan construction all on his own.

Read what is recorded, Solomon planned the whole design and constructon of the temple on his own. He fills it with graven images, and hand-cut stones (against the clear dictates of God who always wanted natural stone, not man-carved stone on His altars). What does God say about this, well - He says nothing until construction is at least half-way complete - then he says this:

"As for this house that you are building, IF you walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments, by walking in them, THEN I will establish My word with you, which I spoke to David your father; And I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel, and I will not forsake My people Israel."

Listen to that! First, the Lord refers to the Temple NOT as HIS house, but as "this" house. Secondly, He offers Solomon not a promise but an ultimatum: IF you do this, I will do that. But Solomon hasn't been keeping all of God's commandments; we've already seen that... and he's not about to change his ways. So the implication is that God will NOT do His part either. Further, even if Solomon DID walking in God's ways, He never says He will live in this house that Solomon is building - rather, that He will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel. God rejected the Temple from BEFORE day one.

...to be continued...

In Christ,

Neither First nor Last
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:44 PM   #17
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Well that was an enjoyable read, thank you.

I think to understand what is truly very confusing we need to consider a few principles. The Lord said "if you have known me you have seen my father". The children express the father. David has a spiritual, soulish and fleshly side. We can see this in his children. All the children involved in the rebellion were the fleshly expression. Solomon, the "wisest man on Earth" was the soulish expression. Finally, it is Nathan, who represents David's spiritual side. It is through Nathan that the prophecy to David is fulfilled (Mary is descended from Nathan). The soul is supposed to let the spirit take the lead, but as you have so clearly pointed out repeatedly Solomon usurps God's authority. As you have pointed out Solomon assumes that the prophecy will be fulfilled through him, but he is mistaken and his lineage is cut off from the promise. However, Joseph is descended from Solomon and so through marriage it is reunited with God's purpose.

Although there is nothing that will specifically tell you that Nathan the prophet is David's son, there is compelling evidence. First, the Bible tells us that all of David's other sons were caught up in rebellion, I would expect that would have disqualified all of them from the promise. Second, the first time we hear of Nathan the prophet he has direct access to the king (we don't know why). Read that story again and imagine it is a young son of David talking to his father. Third, we hear a lot about many of David's sons, if Nathan the prophet is not David's son then why don't we hear about his son Nathan who is a more important figure than Solomon (why would Jesus be descended through him rather than the other sons?)
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:27 PM   #18
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Praise the Lord, brother! I hadn't considered this Nathan as that Nathan! Perhaps the evidence is not concrete, but it is very compelling. I always thought it odd that a commoner - even a prophet of God - would dare to speak to King David as Nathan did. I really found it surprising that he didn't even seem to consider he might lose his head for that. It certainly seems as though this relationship might be why... it also illustrates the significance of Nathan being left out of the counsel of Adonijah as well (1 Kings 1:10), for why else would Nathan be so concerned with the possible succession of this particular son of David?
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:06 PM   #19
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Praise the Lord, brother! I hadn't considered this Nathan as that Nathan! Perhaps the evidence is not concrete, but it is very compelling. I always thought it odd that a commoner - even a prophet of God - would dare to speak to King David as Nathan did. I really found it surprising that he didn't even seem to consider he might lose his head for that. It certainly seems as though this relationship might be why... it also illustrates the significance of Nathan being left out of the counsel of Adonijah as well (1 Kings 1:10), for why else would Nathan be so concerned with the possible succession of this particular son of David?
King David's seed was not through Solomon, it was through Nathan to Mary to Jesus. So, it was the guy that spoke the word of God, not the "wise" son.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:18 AM   #20
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Default ...And Beyond...

Lord Jesus.

Last week I drove eight hours north east and visited with the dear brother who first introduced me to LSM. The brother who had always made time for me, cared for me and my family, prayed for us and with us, and who has been as much family to me or more than many blood relatives. He has heard that I have been "struggling with the ministry", and knows that I have been hear - speaking to the ones who left. As you all know, this is taboo - absolutely forbidden - and of course, he had genuine concern.

This brother grew up in the Recovery.... to him, this is THE Church. There is nothing here that is not good for consumption, and there is nothing worth regarding outside of it... "too much leaven in Christianity", he'd always say. Lord Jesus.

He never mentioned anything about what I was doing online while I was there, but I know the saints I've been meeting with here have discussed it with him. They've come to believe that I've been corrupted... "You have to be careful where you draw your water from!" I've been warned.

I left this brother's house the next day, and on the return trip he decided to pry a little - so he texted me and asked why I had been so quiet... why I seemed somewhat distant. I prayed about answering that.

You see, for two and half years I've struggled with the ministry. So much of what I read of Nee I enjoy - but I see no similarity between Lee and Nee, honestly. In Nee I see humility - a genuine Christian man on a genuine walk with God... but not so with Lee. ...Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5... Only if we humble ourselves before the Lord, will He lift us up in joy and honor (James 4:10)

In any case, I came before the Lord in prayer - and felt lead that it was time. I read that night the story in 1 Kings 13, and saw what the Lord was saying. It was time. I was to eat and drink no more in this land, and go back another way. So be it, Lord.

I wrote to the brother a simple, brief letter of repentance. I had to go to work, and didn't have time to do more than confess there were a lot of things very wrong - and that I hadn't been faithful to follow the leading of the Spirit. I had become a hypocrite and I needed to repent of that. I promised to write him in detail on the Saturday, and I asked him not to respond yet to my brief letter....

He texted me back, and I will quote this dear brother because I found his texted response absolutely prophetic of the Lord's own speaking - although I think this brother would not see it so; he wrote:

"If we do not say that we have this power, we rebel against the word of our Father. Our Father cannot lie; whatever He says is true. Hence, we must take His Word and believe it.
Forget your feelings, your condition, and your situation. Do not say that a certain difficult situation cannot be put under your feet. The truth is that we are far above all and that the divine power has subjected all things, including every difficult situation, under our feet. Do not be distracted by your environment, and do not believe your situation. Forget everything and simply take the word, believe the word, and declare the word."

Amen.

I took the Word, I believed the Word, and I declared the Word. I spoke the Truth in Love.

On Saturday night I spent hours wrestling with God - and He touched me and I had no hope of success... but I hung on until He blessed me. I wrote my brother as the Spirit lead - and confessed all. I won't go into it here - believe me brothers and sisters when I tell you that I plead with him to see certain things - reminding him of things he himself says he believes that the actions and traditions of LSM so clearly demonstrate against. I told him that I do not reject the Church Life as it is written by Nee... but that we are not practicing the Church Life. We have become a division, a sect with even higher walls than any denomination ever built. Walls that not only keep other members of the Body out, but also walls that keep us in - and prevent us from moving forth as the Body to serve the Lord and fulfill His Father's Will. I spoke to him of the testimony of our own functioning - the lack of growth, the loss of the blessings, the turmoils and the mistreatment of the brothers and sisters who have left - how we have been told to utterly reject them; but they are still Saved Children of God for whom Christ Himself suffered on the Cross. Held in His hands, He promised that nothing would ever snatch them away... and yet we cast them aside and call them "evil tailed ones"... Where is the love of Christ in our hearts for them? We don't have it.... Where is the fruit of the Spirit? How can we say we are abiding in Him and He in us if the fruit isn't here?

Lord Jesus. I told him that I would not reject the Church Life - but I would seek it. I would live it. I would fellowship as we were meant to - receiving all believers in Christ and submitting myself to Him who made me; that His will might be done. Lord Jesus! I told him I had had a wonderful fellowship the day before when we (my family and I) went to go and see a horse. The people we met with there were genuine believers, and we shared our testimony with them - we ate with them and enjoyed with them... and that Lord's Day we went to enjoy Christ with them. We went to a church building on a farm in the country... Three Hills, Alberta. It's a small place, saints. There were maybe all of 40 or us there; 41 with the Lord. He was there too. You could FEEL Him.

The Saints who came were from all walks of life. There were spanish folks, asian folks, and caucasians. Who would have thought, outside of LSM? There was no Pastor, but many who came up to speak... and the message was perfect; it was about Grace... about the fallacy of Anemic Grace and the lie of a Grace for Liberty. It was about the true meaning of Christ's all sufficient atoning work - and the work to which we are now called. Not to sit and sing and learn but to stand, proclaim, and minister Christ to all! If we are all a nation of Priests, then do we imagine that Priests simply sit and here what other brothers have to say? No. They received the Word with all humility, and prayed fervently on their knees before God for His ministration - so that they might comfort others with the comfort with which they themselves were then comforted.

I found a miracle in that place to which the Lord lead me; because amongst the brothers and sisters there a man presented himself to me: His name was David, and he came from China more than thirty years ago. He met the Lord in the Little Flock.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the Sound! Here in the middle of nowhere I meet a man who has been sent out by the Lord as a missionary... a man who left the Little Flock more than thirty years ago (and was condemned for it), but who followed the Lord to preach His Word. He has travelled all over the World, and he is here only until June before he must leave again. This man is well read of Nee, of Darby, of Stephen Kaung, and others of whom I haven't heard. He didn't know much of anything about Lee, and nothing at all about LSM.. but that's not the point: the point is this Brother followed the Leading of the Spirit. He was sent out, and he went - in spite of the condemnation.

Brothers and sisters, no where in Revelation does Christ call His overcomers from one of the seven churches into another. He doesn't seek for them to abolish their buildings and to meet together in a single place. The Lord has placed each member of His Body where He will - for His purpose; and the overcomers are those who know His voice and who Obey His voice, and do as He leads - wherever that might be.

There is One Body, One Bride of Christ - but He hasn't revealed her yet. He will gather them on the day that He appears - and no sooner. Saints, if you want to see Him sooner, live Him sooner. Let Him live through you... and do not expect that it will be easy. The World hated Him, and the servant is not greater than the Master.

It has been five days now, and I have not heard a word from my brother. The silence is deafening. Lord Jesus, I have Your peace - but I want to ask for Your peace for my brother. Lord Jesus, give him ears to hear, Lord. Let him hear Your voice.

PS: I wanted to title this post "Leper, Outcast, Unclean". If you're familiar with it, this is the mantra recited by Stephen R. Donaldson's character Thomas Covenant in a fantasy series I enjoyed very much as a child. Sometimes saints, we are treated as Lepers for declaring the Word of the Lord... but do not be dismayed. Christ ministered to the lepers. When they asked it of Him, he healed them... and sent them to the priests to testify concerning Himself.

Preach the Word Saints, and listen for His voice. Jesus Christ is still my Lord, and always will be.

Amen
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:36 PM   #21
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Brothers and sisters, no where in Revelation does Christ call His overcomers from one of the seven churches into another. He doesn't seek for them to abolish their buildings and to meet together in a single place. The Lord has placed each member of His Body where He will - for His purpose; and the overcomers are those who know His voice and who Obey His voice, and do as He leads - wherever that might be.

There is One Body, One Bride of Christ - but He hasn't revealed her yet. He will gather them on the day that He appears - and no sooner. Saints, if you want to see Him sooner, live Him sooner. Let Him live through you... and do not expect that it will be easy. The World hated Him, and the servant is not greater than the Master.

It has been five days now, and I have not heard a word from my brother. The silence is deafening. Lord Jesus, I have Your peace - but I want to ask for Your peace for my brother. Lord Jesus, give him ears to hear, Lord. Let him hear Your voice.
Amen! I hear and feel with my spirit your words. I haven't been to a LD meeting since early September. My spirit is bothered and saddened by negative prophesying I've witnessed. I spoke to one elder in my locality, but he brushed it aside as it being one person's feeling. I cannot subject my spirit to that type of speaking. It's best to depart and find a healthy fellowship to take the Lord's Table with.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:59 PM   #22
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Lord Jesus.

Last week I drove eight hours north east and visited with the dear brother who first introduced me to LSM. The brother who had always made time for me, cared for me and my family, prayed for us and with us, and who has been as much family to me or more than many blood relatives. He has heard that I have been "struggling with the ministry", and knows that I have been hear - speaking to the ones who left. As you all know, this is taboo - absolutely forbidden - and of course, he had genuine concern.

This brother grew up in the Recovery.... to him, this is THE Church. There is nothing here that is not good for consumption, and there is nothing worth regarding outside of it... "too much leaven in Christianity", he'd always say. Lord Jesus.

He never mentioned anything about what I was doing online while I was there, but I know the saints I've been meeting with here have discussed it with him. They've come to believe that I've been corrupted... "You have to be careful where you draw your water from!" I've been warned.

I left this brother's house the next day, and on the return trip he decided to pry a little - so he texted me and asked why I had been so quiet... why I seemed somewhat distant. I prayed about answering that.

You see, for two and half years I've struggled with the ministry. So much of what I read of Nee I enjoy - but I see no similarity between Lee and Nee, honestly. In Nee I see humility - a genuine Christian man on a genuine walk with God... but not so with Lee. ...Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5... Only if we humble ourselves before the Lord, will He lift us up in joy and honor (James 4:10)

In any case, I came before the Lord in prayer - and felt lead that it was time. I read that night the story in 1 Kings 13, and saw what the Lord was saying. It was time. I was to eat and drink no more in this land, and go back another way. So be it, Lord.

I wrote to the brother a simple, brief letter of repentance. I had to go to work, and didn't have time to do more than confess there were a lot of things very wrong - and that I hadn't been faithful to follow the leading of the Spirit. I had become a hypocrite and I needed to repent of that. I promised to write him in detail on the Saturday, and I asked him not to respond yet to my brief letter....

He texted me back, and I will quote this dear brother because I found his texted response absolutely prophetic of the Lord's own speaking - although I think this brother would not see it so; he wrote:

"If we do not say that we have this power, we rebel against the word of our Father. Our Father cannot lie; whatever He says is true. Hence, we must take His Word and believe it.
Forget your feelings, your condition, and your situation. Do not say that a certain difficult situation cannot be put under your feet. The truth is that we are far above all and that the divine power has subjected all things, including every difficult situation, under our feet. Do not be distracted by your environment, and do not believe your situation. Forget everything and simply take the word, believe the word, and declare the word."

Amen.

I took the Word, I believed the Word, and I declared the Word. I spoke the Truth in Love.

On Saturday night I spent hours wrestling with God - and He touched me and I had no hope of success... but I hung on until He blessed me. I wrote my brother as the Spirit lead - and confessed all. I won't go into it here - believe me brothers and sisters when I tell you that I plead with him to see certain things - reminding him of things he himself says he believes that the actions and traditions of LSM so clearly demonstrate against. I told him that I do not reject the Church Life as it is written by Nee... but that we are not practicing the Church Life. We have become a division, a sect with even higher walls than any denomination ever built. Walls that not only keep other members of the Body out, but also walls that keep us in - and prevent us from moving forth as the Body to serve the Lord and fulfill His Father's Will. I spoke to him of the testimony of our own functioning - the lack of growth, the loss of the blessings, the turmoils and the mistreatment of the brothers and sisters who have left - how we have been told to utterly reject them; but they are still Saved Children of God for whom Christ Himself suffered on the Cross. Held in His hands, He promised that nothing would ever snatch them away... and yet we cast them aside and call them "evil tailed ones"... Where is the love of Christ in our hearts for them? We don't have it.... Where is the fruit of the Spirit? How can we say we are abiding in Him and He in us if the fruit isn't here?

Lord Jesus. I told him that I would not reject the Church Life - but I would seek it. I would live it. I would fellowship as we were meant to - receiving all believers in Christ and submitting myself to Him who made me; that His will might be done. Lord Jesus! I told him I had had a wonderful fellowship the day before when we (my family and I) went to go and see a horse. The people we met with there were genuine believers, and we shared our testimony with them - we ate with them and enjoyed with them... and that Lord's Day we went to enjoy Christ with them. We went to a church building on a farm in the country... Three Hills, Alberta. It's a small place, saints. There were maybe all of 40 or us there; 41 with the Lord. He was there too. You could FEEL Him.

The Saints who came were from all walks of life. There were spanish folks, asian folks, and caucasians. Who would have thought, outside of LSM? There was no Pastor, but many who came up to speak... and the message was perfect; it was about Grace... about the fallacy of Anemic Grace and the lie of a Grace for Liberty. It was about the true meaning of Christ's all sufficient atoning work - and the work to which we are now called. Not to sit and sing and learn but to stand, proclaim, and minister Christ to all! If we are all a nation of Priests, then do we imagine that Priests simply sit and here what other brothers have to say? No. They received the Word with all humility, and prayed fervently on their knees before God for His ministration - so that they might comfort others with the comfort with which they themselves were then comforted.

I found a miracle in that place to which the Lord lead me; because amongst the brothers and sisters there a man presented himself to me: His name was David, and he came from China more than thirty years ago. He met the Lord in the Little Flock.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the Sound! Here in the middle of nowhere I meet a man who has been sent out by the Lord as a missionary... a man who left the Little Flock more than thirty years ago (and was condemned for it), but who followed the Lord to preach His Word. He has travelled all over the World, and he is here only until June before he must leave again. This man is well read of Nee, of Darby, of Stephen Kaung, and others of whom I haven't heard. He didn't know much of anything about Lee, and nothing at all about LSM.. but that's not the point: the point is this Brother followed the Leading of the Spirit. He was sent out, and he went - in spite of the condemnation.

Brothers and sisters, no where in Revelation does Christ call His overcomers from one of the seven churches into another. He doesn't seek for them to abolish their buildings and to meet together in a single place. The Lord has placed each member of His Body where He will - for His purpose; and the overcomers are those who know His voice and who Obey His voice, and do as He leads - wherever that might be.

There is One Body, One Bride of Christ - but He hasn't revealed her yet. He will gather them on the day that He appears - and no sooner. Saints, if you want to see Him sooner, live Him sooner. Let Him live through you... and do not expect that it will be easy. The World hated Him, and the servant is not greater than the Master.

It has been five days now, and I have not heard a word from my brother. The silence is deafening. Lord Jesus, I have Your peace - but I want to ask for Your peace for my brother. Lord Jesus, give him ears to hear, Lord. Let him hear Your voice.

PS: I wanted to title this post "Leper, Outcast, Unclean". If you're familiar with it, this is the mantra recited by Stephen R. Donaldson's character Thomas Covenant in a fantasy series I enjoyed very much as a child. Sometimes saints, we are treated as Lepers for declaring the Word of the Lord... but do not be dismayed. Christ ministered to the lepers. When they asked it of Him, he healed them... and sent them to the priests to testify concerning Himself.

Preach the Word Saints, and listen for His voice. Jesus Christ is still my Lord, and always will be.

Amen
Brother this letter if full of the personal experience of the Lord and the Lord's working in your life. It is far better to be wrestling with the Lord and true to your spirit than it is to be complacent. The Lord be with you and with your spirit.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:18 PM   #23
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Thank you brother,

ZN, I read your testimony after I made that last post. Thank you for what you expressed there - for it being real - for how you felt. I feel that. On the one hand, I know I followed His leading. Finally. I have wrestled for so long a time... And I still love my brothers and sisters left behind. They were so much a part of our lives... I don't know almost what to do. Lord, I leave it all to You.

I've been reading "The Church Divided", this week. There's a lot of good speaking there, from brothers and sisters throughout the churches, about what the "ground of Oneness" is really supposed to look like; and about what it isn't.

Thanks so much to all of you, for being here for those of us who wrestle to know Him more fully. You have a purpose in the Body, and you've helped this member more than you know.

In Christ,

Ray.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:50 PM   #24
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Wow, am I broken.

I prayerfully considered a move from my locality, with my family, back in August. In October, with the Lord's blessing, I made the move - and my family stayed behind for a month while I made ready to move.

In November, I moved my family 1400 kilometers from home (840 miles) from our house to a new place the Lord provided - three acres and a beautiful house to rent... although it's an hour and a half drive from the office.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. My office was supposed to be close - but it didn't work out... the acquisition of the office from which I was supposed to be working didn't work out... and won't - until October 2011. For now, I drive.

My job doesn't mean to me what it used to. I knew I moved out here not for this job, but for something else - but what? I have applied for other jobs, but nothing has worked out. I want to use what I have been given for Christ, but how? I am in sales - and the two Christian radio stations I've applied with have not had positions to offer me.

The business with which I took a job is losing money - a lot of money - and unless things turn around by the end of this month, there will be serious consequences. We are renting this beautiful house, and the landlord now wants to put this house on the market.

I can lose my job, and I can lose my home, and Praise the Lord He is in control. I Praise the God who gives, and takes away.

Today I lost my son. He is our eldest. He is charged with a very serious crime, and I can't talk about that. I love him, and we've prayed for him for a long time. Yesterday he spoke to a lawyer, and she told him to plead not guilty to the crime of which he is accused, because if we all lie for him, he might get off. Lord Jesus, how can he just get off? He has admitted in a video taped confession to his crime. His victim has given video-taped testimony against him. He has counsellors to whom he has confessed, and there is no chance - no chance whatsoever, of escaping the consequences of his sins. I told him that, and he was enraged. I told him to lie is a sin, and that he needs to stand for Christ. He is 15, and he is furiously angry. He wants to escape the consequences of what he's done - and by telling him there's really no way out - that he needs to face what's he's done and place his trust in the Lord - he reacts with seething anger. He hates me. He threathens me. He will not listen.

I don't know what to pray for anymore. I really feel like this time, I've lost him. For the first time, I feel like I don't know what the Lord has in mind for him. I don't know where this is going - and I need prayer.

We aren't much with the saints in LSM anymore - and they were our family. Our own family are unbelievers, and we cannot turn to them. Even if we did, they would revile our son for what he did - they would welcome his demise. We've met with a few other believers out here, but not enough to really trust them with this in prayer.

Please, pray for us. Pray for my son. He needs to see whom he can trust - the Lord. He needs to know he must stand as a man to answer for what he has done. Lying is no way out for him.

Please pray for us.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:57 AM   #25
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We aren't much with the saints in LSM anymore - and they were our family.
Please, pray for us. Pray for my son. He needs to see whom he can trust - the Lord. He needs to know he must stand as a man to answer for what he has done. Lying is no way out for him.

Please pray for us.
They still are our family, even if the scope of receiving is narrower. We as the Body of Christ are family regardless.
Amen!
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:45 AM   #26
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

NeitherFirstnorLast,

I thought of this verse when reading of your dilemma. There are many Psalms that you will find helpful in troubled times as well. David referred to God as his "rock", especially when the world around him seemed to be shaken. As for your son's situation I can give you some advise which comes from personal experience. I have a child who was seeing a professional counselor, and when the counselor contacted me, upon my child's insistence, I was not totally forthcoming with information about the situation/history. I now regret that because it just made the situation worse.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:58 PM   #27
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I was troubled by this testimony. I do not have any of the details, but it seems to me that no one would counsel you to lie if this was a case of a serious felony. Second, being guilty is one thing, deciding what the proper punishment or judgement is another. I think you are in a position to help guide the judgement side as much as possible. I will share my own personal experience which may or may not be relevant, you didn't give us enough information to know.

I was called to my son's school when he was a senior in HS. He was accused of threatening a girl and the dean's made it clear that this could hold the penalty of a superintendent suspension, which in turn could threaten his scholarship which was valued at about $130,000.

Prior to going I read through the manual on how to deal with various issues among students, it is available to parents on the internet, but I am a teacher and was already familiar with it.

After the Dean's made their presentation I asked to see my son's file. This is your right accorded by the Chancellor. They responded that he didn't have a file, this was the first incident in four years. I then asked if it was common tactic at this school to make a "superintendent's suspension" the first step in disciplining a student. The manual makes it very clear that it is to be a last step. That caused them to immediately back pedal and apologize. I then asked if the girl in question had been advised of a safety transfer. (the school system transfers students who feel threatened to other schools). They were outraged over this suggestion (the girl in question was the saledictorian and graduation was in a few months, my son was the valedictorian, this was a cat fight between two prima donnas). I stood my ground, I pointed out that if anything happened they have already warned me that my son could face a suspension and that could cost me $130,000. I told them that in an event like that I would surely sue the school. My son also has the right to walk the halls and feel safe, not like he could lose $130,000 at any moment. I literally demanded that they call the parents in and advise them of the right to have their daughter get a safety transfer. This was done, and everyone agreed that it was a big deal over nothing. This girl tried to intimidate my son and was put in her place. My son was upset with me initially, but when he realized everyone is a big boy and can handle it he then came to appreciate the hard nosed approach.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:28 PM   #28
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They still are our family, even if the scope of receiving is narrower. We as the Body of Christ are family regardless.
Amen!
Amen, yes they are. We should not fire with fire, and treat these saints as any less than the Children of God that we are. We would tell them this about other born again Believers who might come from a denomination - and we must say it also of them.

I am still in contact with my friends here in these churches - I had not posted that yet, but I have not been rejected! My family and I no longer meet on Lord's Day with them, as we go elsewhere to fellowship with different members of the Body - but we talk, we pray, we even had the Home Meeting with saints from the LC at our house last Friday. I will speak to them as He leads - and I have certainly told them in no uncertain terms on what ground I will stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

These Saints are watching. Some want to know more about where I stand. Some are looking for help themselves, as they are confused. Some have confessed that they feel no joy in the meetings, and they don't know why. Had I simply abandoned them, I do not believe I would have been doing them the service they deserve... nor following His will in this matter.

Lord, Your will be done.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:31 PM   #29
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
Amen, thank you brother. We spent the last few nights watching some home movies my Dad took years ago. Back when I was truly back-slidden. Lord Jesus. I love my son, I believe he knows that. I really do need to show him that love in a more tangible way.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:34 PM   #30
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I was troubled by this testimony. I do not have any of the details, but it seems to me that no one would counsel you to lie if this was a case of a serious felony.
I do not understand the reasoning of the lawyer either brother - other than to say that it seems to me that lawyers typically make names for themselves by trying cases - and not by pleading them out. This is a case where a "not guilty" plea would go infinitely worse than a guilty one would; and the guilty plea is the honest one (even by his own admission).
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:47 PM   #31
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Dear Brother in Christ, Neitherfirstnorlast,

There is surely no deeper heartbreak than when a child goes astray. You are in my prayers and as is your son and family.

For this kind of situation you need the support of believers who may be close to you. Seek them out.

Do not spend a lot of time in introspection as to what you may have done wrong. We do have an enemy. Adam and Eve had the creator God as their father and due to the work of the subtle enemy they were deceived and sinned. One aspect of your current dilemma is the need to fight the spiritual warfare and bind the devil’s work.

Another aspect of the situation which surely needs the wisdom from above is how you should react to your son. Consider the story of the prodigal son. Or we could call the passage in Luke 15 the story of the “loving father.” The father did not go to the pig sty to rescue the boy. But you can see he must have been praying for him because while the boy was still a great way off he ran to him. Here we can see many principles. The most outstanding one as regards the wayward son is that the last chapter had not been written when he left home. Believe that God has prepared good works for your son to walk in. Believe and pray according to God’s plan for him.

For the parents there is a warning in the story of David’s son Absalom. (In First Kings, there is a verse that reveals a huge flaw in David’s dealings with his children. 1 Kings 1:6a, And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? KJV )

In love and concern, I urge you not to fear displeasing your son. Absalom came very close to destroying his father and his family. Even at the end, David was overwhelmed with concern for Absalom. 2 Sam 18:33, Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus:"O my son Absalom — my son, my son Absalom — if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!" NKJV

May the Lord comfort you and give you strength and courage.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

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Old 02-16-2011, 11:09 PM   #32
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Amen brother, and thank you. These words I will take to heart!
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:07 PM   #33
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This weekend, the weekend of March 19th, there is a conference being held in Calgary.

I am home alone. My wife and my children, they are at the conference - and I blessed their going - I've no issue with their attendance. For my wife, it is a time to spend with our eldest son... who travelled here with some of the others from our old locality to be here at the conference. For my younger children, it is time to spend with friends and see many of the members of the Body we have grown to love dearly over the past few years. Many asked me to come also... but I had no peace to go.

I love many of those people, and in many ways (forgive me Lord), I wish I was duller of senses. I almost wish that I could simply mindlessly follow and sing and cheer. Almost. Lord, I know You kept me open to see more... I know You love me, and them... Lord, I just pray I'm standing on the proper ground. I pray You open me further to what You would have me do, say, live. Lord, I just want to be one who is wholly for You. I need You Lord... please Lord Jesus.

Amen
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:28 PM   #34
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NeitherFirstnorLast,

Unfortunately for me, I can relate to your situation. Sometimes it can feel like you are in between a rock and a hard place. I think you can be assured, eventually, that it was God that put you in this place. Doesn't seem so pleasant right now, but time has a tendency to clarify things. In the mean time there is some frustration and some hurting to go through. My suggestion would be to turn to the Psalms. King David had enemies - some from without (the nations) and some from within (his own family). Some of the opposition and troubles came from the devil, some of the troubles came of his own doing. So many of the Psalms express both sides of the coin, so to speak. I am NOT saying that what is happening with you fits so neat and tidy into a form, or that what is written their in the Palms is the cure-all to your situation, only that they may give you some needed perspective or insight.

Back a number of years ago, as I was looking back at some similar things the Lord was putting me through, I wrote the following. I really wrote it to myself more than to anyone else, or any group of people.


Please don’t rush right through this, there’s something to this story,
in the end you may find that it’s God Who gets the glory.
The theme of this is not so new, in fact it’s rather old,
you may have heard it once before; all that glitters is not gold.

You need not wonder much for whom this is intended,
for the answer will depend upon who is the most offended.
So you’ll know just who you are if indeed you fit the mold,
of one who has not yet seen; all that glitters is not gold.

Once upon a time our God revealed Himself right to you,
it seemed He cast away your sin and then made all things new.
Praise Him! For this really did take place just as it’s told,
but while we’re still on this earth; all that glitters is not gold.

So the promises of God are unshakable as earth,
but the promises of man, just take them for what their worth.
The words of man are just words, even spoken loud and bold;
Volume only counts with God; all that glitters is not gold.

Oh never be mistaken not all things are from above,
so be wise as a serpent not just harmless as a dove.
Oh dear saints take careful stock, for the wood and hey you’re sold
will not make it through the fire; all that glitters is not gold

Prophets rise and prophets fall of this we can be sure,
but only time can tell us if their prophecies endure.
Some will build their own kingdom and then leave you in the cold,
take it from someone who knows; all that glitters is not gold.

As prideful as we people are no one thinks they’ve been deceived,
yet His Word says test the spirits, not just any to receive.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing may have brought you to his fold,
better find out late then never; all that glitters is not gold.

So don’t be surprised to learn that you’re under such a spell,
and come to find “the gospel truth” is really just The Gospel!
Now you cannot say to me you’ve never once been told,
the plain and simple truth is; all that glitters is not gold.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #35
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Amen sister,

I got up this morning to prepare breakfast for everyone. One of our dear friends, an older sister from our old locality, was staying with us this weekend...

This morning, I opened up to her. I always thought of her as one I could count on to receive... you see, our old locality was different from many in America. Our old locality (Winnipeg) started after the turmoil in the late 80's, I believe.... I don't know, there isn't a lot of history sharing there...
Regardless, the saints who meet in Winnipeg all came in to the locality about the same time, from the same place, from the same families... They were former Mennonites from Belize; very large families, lots of kids...

I don't know which turmoil it was that tore the church in Winnipeg apart, but because the church in Winnipeg was composed of one very large extended family with lots of intermarriages, the separation that occured (I think 2/3rds left, 1/3rd stayed) was incomplete. No divorces came out of that separation, praise the Lord - fathers and mothers who stayed to meet with the local church counselled their daughters to follow their husbands, even if their husbands chose to leave. While the church was broken, the families largely remained intact... but it seemed that what was born out of this was a conspiracy of silence, in order to maintain the truce (that's my sense of it anyway, since no one on either side ever wished to talk)... and we met with both at large family gatherings, as we were welcomed in as family by those who met in the lc.

Oh Lord, in any case, I did open up today. The reason I opened up is, due to finances and also to fellowship, we need to consider a move - again - and this time to a place where no local church is... to meet with the Christians who we've been fellowshipping with in Three Hills. I'm struggling to choose the right and proper path for my family - seeking the Lord's leading...

I was surprised by this sister, because as I said, I thought she would be open to hear from me due to her own experiences with family who have left... but I was wrong. Very wrong. She told me she "doesn't want to receive this from me", that she sees Christ in me, but she doesn't want anything else. I talked to her about Anaheim, about the speaking about the light going out all across the midwest, about the liberal use of the word 'opposers', about the Fermentation of the Present Rebellion, about John Ingalls, about Bill Mallon, about John So... about genuine saints who love the Lord... about Watchman Nee's true vision of a local church vs what is practiced today, about deputy authority, about building walls, about rejecting members of the Body... actually, in review I said a lot more than I thought I did...

Her take was that I wouldn't be rejected so long as I was open to receive.

Receive what?

Receive what elders would say.

Could we go into the history of the local church?

Why would we go there, the Lord moved on and so should we.

Because the belief within the local church is that Lee's word on the matter is right, that his footnotes are all right, that he is above being questioned, that he is infallible, but he was sinful man.

No one said he was infallible, but what he wrote was divinely inspired. Paul was just a man who wrote letters to the churches, Paul had been a sinful man, but we receive Pau'ls word as the Word of God.

But Paul's word is inspired - God Himself placed it in the Bible. The canon of Scripture is finished. Have you read "The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion?"

I might have. I think I have.

Who was accused of rebelling? Who are we calling opposers? What is it we are saying these people oppose?

Christ. They oppose Christ.

No, they do not, they were not opposed to Christ or the Church, they were opposed to usurped authority.

If you talk to those people on-line they will poison you, that poison will get into you.

No, I didn't see these things after I spoke with them, I saw them before... I finally went on line because I needed to know if it was just me who saw these things.. but it wasn't! I could have written "the Truth in Love", it was exactly my experience. I can't share that, because the only thing we are allowed to share is the ministry word. I had a closer walk with the Lord before I came to the local church than now, when I submit to the authority of others over my own inner speaking.

I choose to receive Lee's word as the Word of God.

But that is my issue - this is what we do and Nee warned us very specifically against this kind of thinking - we're taught that Nee and Lee were one, but they most definitely are not.

What do you mean, give me an example? Ok....

...and I did, I proceeded to outline the very things I've outlined here, from the Orthodoxy of the Church, from the Normal Christian Church Life...

I am afraid for you. Very afraid. I don't want to receive this, sorry. I will receive Christ in you, but I don't want to receive this. All I know is I came out of division, and I'm not going back in. I'm afraid you're going back in.

But how do we differ from a divisive denomination? We are a division. How many times have we divided in the turmoils? We've built high walls, and don't let others in.

We don't have walls, other Christian are welcome to come worship with us.

But they would say the same thing to you. This is not the vision. We have divided on the basis of locality, travelling long distances to meet with those who speak the same thing - that's a division. That is a sect. Have you read the Normal Christian Church Life? Have you seen what it says about what it's supposed to be like... There isn't supposed to be a meeting of saints who speak the same thing. There isn't supposed to be an organized structure or a training center or...

There's not supposed to be a training center? I won't receive that.
...and she left the room.

Even a sister I dearly love, and she closed the matter. Again, like the others to whom I've opened up, she had no scripture to back her way of thinking, her only answer was to receive what the elders would say and reject everything else absolutely (boiling it down, anyway). Don't dig into the past, accept Lee's word as The Word, and move on for the Lord. Eat and enjoy; that's it that's all.

I guess I am too dangerous to talk to. I am infected with a preoccupation for the truth. I always thought the truth would set you free.

It's as you say, sister: All that glitters is not Gold.

Lord, build up Your Church. Lord, we all need You. Preserve us all.

Amen
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:26 PM   #36
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She told me she "doesn't want to receive this from me", that she sees Christ in me, but she doesn't want anything else..
Of all the disturbing things here, this one disturbed me the most. This notion that we can only "receive Christ" from each other is neither realistic nor healthy. After all, how much of what we are is "Christ", and how much is still human? This is what I meant by "while we're still on this earth all that glitters is not gold". The apostle Paul made it clear that we are still made up of flesh and blood. Our bodies will be the last thing to be redeemed. For now, it must be enough for God to be life to our souls...our hearts and minds. To not "want anything else" (but Christ) in our fellow believers is to be disingenuous at the very least, and in fact is discounting what the Lord commanded and the apostles taught. "By this shall all men know you are my disciples" - What, that we only see "Christ" in each other? No, that "if you have love one to another". There will be plenty of time to see Christ in each other in the Kingdom to come - for now we are to love one another. This is the "new commandment". Christ is easy to love, He is holy, He is righteous, He is wise, He is beautiful and so lovable... we can always love the "Christ" in each other, no problem. But what about the rest, you know, the %99 percent of us that is not Christ? THIS is the part the the Lord commanded us to love in each other.

Ok, I got off in a tangent again, as I'm want to do.

Oh, by the way, I'm a brudder not a seeestar
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:22 PM   #37
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Oh, by the way, I'm a brudder not a seeestar
So sorry! Your user name is taken on the Berean's site, and belongs to Jessica Rapoport... Max and Sandee's daughter....

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Old 03-21-2011, 06:23 AM   #38
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Dear Neitherfirstnorlast,

Qoute:

"Regardless, the saints who meet in Winnipeg all came in to the locality about the same time, from the same place, from the same families... They were former Mennonites from Belize; very large families, lots of kids..."

I have been reading your post for a while. I went to Belize along with John So in the early-mid 80s. Have we ever met?

I chose Hope for my forum name. There is great hope and a bright future for us in the Lord.

May the Lord lead you as you seek Him.


A brother in Christ Jesus

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #39
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I can honestly say, Hope, that I wish we had met - but I don't think so. I only was introduced to LSM in 2008, and I've never been to Belize. My family was the only fruit brought into that locality in many many years - the remainder there was either born into the LSM church or had come into it decades before... and a few migrated from other places, or married in from other localities....

...Many "accused" me of being ex-Mennonite though, or same as, 'cause of my German heritage - but nope - no blood relation (other than by His blood) to any of those others in Winnipeg!

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Old 03-21-2011, 12:45 PM   #40
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She told me she "doesn't want to receive this from me", that she sees Christ in me, but she doesn't want anything else.
This really struck a chord with me. If you read through my testimony of my time in the LRC, you will find that this is, rephrased, one of the main reasons we left. My wife and I were having difficulties. And when the whole of the system is based on "know no man in the flesh" and "going to more meetings will fix everything" when it proves to be a pile of rotting wood, you get out. Since the open statements by the leadership in Irving (whether really the whole story or not is irrelevant) said they didn't want to hear about your marital problems, or troubles with your kids, or whatever, then you were on your own. It actually has proven fortunate that even if they would have counseled us that we believed otherwise and got out.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:55 PM   #41
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I am troubled today, because my eldest daughter (age 11) lost a friend.

Friday night is "Home Meeting" night, and my children have enjoyed going because there are many other children there. I have not chosen to attend in some time, but my wife has still gone some lately. Tonight my daughter found out they were no longer invited. Tonight she discovered that her friends aren't allowed to associate with her anymore because we no longer meet with the LSM church. Her friends were told we go to a "Catholic church in Three Hills now", which we do not (not that it matters, really). My daughter told her friend that we don't, and "what does it matter where we go? We're Christians, what does it matter if we don't want Witness Lee as our divine deputy - we can still be friends!" Her friend (also age 11) agreed, but her parents don't feel the same way.

Praise the Lord, it is completely over at last. We are delivered whole from a religious system that lost its way if ever it had found it. How sad though, that children would be cast aside and friendships destroyed over such things as this.

Matthew 18:5-6 "And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. "

Lord, have mercy on them. Open their eyes to the full knowledge of the truth. Lord, forgive them - for they know not what they do.

In Christ,

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Old 04-08-2011, 10:17 PM   #42
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Your experience grieves my spirit. I'm not much different from you. Not having met with the local church since last September, but still participating with Friday night home meetings. I've not been received in such a narrow manner your family has been received. Your experience I denote as sectarianism. Receiving which is far narrower that God's receiving of us.
Lord, open their eyes!
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:00 PM   #43
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Your experience grieves my spirit. I'm not much different from you. Not having met with the local church since last September, but still participating with Friday night home meetings. I've not been received in such a narrow manner your family has been received. Your experience I denote as sectarianism. Receiving which is far narrower that God's receiving of us.
Lord, open their eyes!
Thank you for your prayers. If I may, let me say that my story is far from unique; as you yourself know. The LSM church divides not on matters of Christ, but on matters of 'deputy authority' - making it another division and one which grieves the Lord's heart. Only Christ has authority; and here Christ's authority is usurped by men who would claim His glory for themselves.

There are many people who come here, to this forum, to read what we have to say. Brothers and Sisters, do not be ashamed to post here - even anonymously. Share your testimony - whatever it may be. Share your experience. Don't do it for spite, or for vengeance, or for offense - but for the Lord. Have the courage to share what He has really put on your heart.

If you come here regularly but don't post, then why do you come? Have you come seeking, as I did, to find others who are of like mind and heart; who have seen or heard or felt something corrupt where we were told no corruption could possibly exist? Do not be afraid.

The Lord loves you. He died for you. He rose that you might have everlasting life. He told us "upon this Rock I will build My Church" Matthew 16:18. Do you see that? HE is building His Church; He hasn't subcontracted that job to anyone else.

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Old 04-12-2011, 07:03 AM   #44
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I am troubled today, because my eldest daughter (age 11) lost a friend.

Friday night is "Home Meeting" night, and my children have enjoyed going because there are many other children there. I have not chosen to attend in some time, but my wife has still gone some lately. Tonight my daughter found out they were no longer invited. Tonight she discovered that her friends aren't allowed to associate with her anymore because we no longer meet with the LSM church. Her friends were told we go to a "Catholic church in Three Hills now", which we do not (not that it matters, really). My daughter told her friend that we don't, and "what does it matter where we go? We're Christians, what does it matter if we don't want Witness Lee as our divine deputy - we can still be friends!" Her friend (also age 11) agreed, but her parents don't feel the same way.
It sure is a shame to see our fellow Christians become so blind and superstitious that their affiliation and relationship to a ministry alone decides who is "true and faithful." Even more heart-wrenching is to see children suffer because their parents desire only to be followers of the Lamb.

Right now I am reading Myer's short booklet --

http://www.grandviewchristianassembl...s%20_book_.pdf

It's actually quite encouraging, which I need a double portion of. He only makes a passing reference to his time in the LC's on pp 23-24.

Quote:
My wife and I were with a difficult and often odd gathering of Christians for decades. From the beginning we felt that the group looked reasonably like the New Testament church in terms of core beliefs and devotional practices. We decided to stick around and make it work, learning the lessons of how to love and how to forgive. We learned to overlook group eccentricities and deal with problem people, serving together with them and following Jesus.

And, of course, they had to tolerate our faults. Whether or not the group was the perfect fit for us was immaterial. We learned things at another level of the Christian life. Eventually we did leave, but not over personal hostilities. When the group started to display cult-like attitudes and definite signs of a disturbing sectarian trend, we separated from it. But for so very long, we made a home in the middle of these quirky folks with an attitude that we were in it for the long haul. And we were. I’d like to challenge all the rest of you to do the same thing.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:37 PM   #45
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Thank you for sharing that Ohio, I haven't finished reading it yet - but it's very enjoyable and perceptive. I also enjoyed this passage:

"If Jesus really wants the church to work as a setting
where people grow, then it seems logical that He would
make sure it is perfect. Otherwise, new impressionable
believers will grow up warped by flawed mentors and
companions. A lot of Christians actually harbor this
thought. They are on a constant quest for the perfect
church, but they may as well be searching for the lost
continent of Atlantis. On this earth, a church has never
existed that is the perfect blend of love, inner life, activity,
social awareness, belief, consistent Christian living, and
everything else that makes for a really impressive resume.
It was not found even among the churches recorded in the
New Testament. Every time we read an epistle or the
record in Acts, we get glimpses of the ideal church and then
just as quickly they go away, eclipsed by various problems.
If we are all assembling as disciples, learners, then by
definition it means we’re a group of people who haven’t got
it all figured out. Even the Apostle Paul said, “Not that I
have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I
press on to make it my own” (Phil. 3:12). He had the solid,
sound foundation of the faith and a great deal of maturity
upon it, but never left the definition of a learner.
So, put a bunch of self-confessed learners together and
you are virtually guaranteed to have an imperfect church.
Beware of the illusion of an ideal, know-it-all church. Such
groups are typically on their best behavior in order to gain
potential members. Later, the other side of the story
becomes apparent in a sick church culture that could
contain elements like hyper-legalism or heresy. By then, it
is often emotionally difficult for a new member to
withdraw."
- John Myer, The Momentum of Togetherness.


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Old 04-13-2011, 05:09 PM   #46
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Beware of the illusion of an ideal, know-it-all church. Such
groups are typically on their best behavior in order to gain
potential members. Later, the other side of the story
becomes apparent in a sick church culture that could
contain elements like hyper-legalism or heresy. By then, it
is often emotionally difficult for a new member to
withdraw."
- John Myer, The Momentum of Togetherness.

I related to the notion of making an emotional commitment to an idealization. Then, when reality begins to intrude, the emotionally vested person "explains away", downplays, or ignores all the red flags. The intellect has become clouded, and perception dulled, because the heart over-rode common sense, and the actualities experience in this imperfect world.

The only ideal is Jesus Christ.

Yes, I know; Christ is the head of the church. And yes, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Yes, the church is His body. Yes, Christ is building the Church. Yes, the church is the Bride, Christ the bridegroom.

But notice in all those statements it is Christ who is tending affairs, not us. We are to love Him, try to respect(love) our neighbor, and follow and obey the Spirit which comes in His name.

If we try to take on "the church", we really are overstepping our allotted portion; this is my current impression. Our allotted portion is rather to tend to our knitting, and try to be pleasant to the person next to us, and let Christ build His church. Much beyond that, and I suspect Babylon comes rather hard and fast.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:27 PM   #47
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... it is Christ who is tending affairs, not us. We are to love Him, try to respect(love) our neighbor, and follow and obey the Spirit which comes in His name.
I used to have a kind of operating principle, back in the day, which I was pleased with because it was fairly simple and easy to remember (always a plus for me).

When I met an unbeliever, I tried to tell them about Jesus. When I met a believer, I tried to tell them about the church.

Today, I would simplify, drastically: when I meet an unbeliever, tell them about Jesus. And when I meet a believer, continue to tell them about Jesus.

Number one, our Jesus is inexhaustible. I daresay I've barely scratched the surface. Number two, when we are there, meeting in His name, He promised that He would be there in our midst. Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? Their doctrine was quite deficient, but they had His name, and eventually they had His presence (parousiea).

There is no higher reality than that. To have His name, and His presence.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:21 AM   #48
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Thank you for sharing that Ohio, I haven't finished reading it yet - but it's very enjoyable and perceptive. I also enjoyed this passage:
Hey NFNL,

I'm not sure if you have seen Myer's other online book ....

http://www.assemblylife.com/

which was quite helpful to many of us in the GLA departing from LSM. Check out the picture on the cover! For a while he was writing a chapter a month, and it was posted on the websites.

Myer served full-time in the GLA since the mid-80's until he became too "radical" for even TC. Those two parted ways last year. Unfortunately, the church leadership in Columbus sided with TC and thus ... we have another LC splinter group.

I thought it was quite hypocritical that TC and company were crying tolerance and a "return" to the Bible in their struggle with the BB's, and then forgot all that when dealing with Myer.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #49
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I used to have a kind of operating principle, back in the day, which I was pleased with because it was fairly simple and easy to remember (always a plus for me).

When I met an unbeliever, I tried to tell them about Jesus. When I met a believer, I tried to tell them about the church.
There you go mate ...

Of course, it was us who always had better things to say than anyone else we would meet.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:03 AM   #50
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... it was us who always had better things to say than anyone else we would meet.
I used to carry around the "Mystery of human life" for the unbelievers, and the "Rainbow booklets" (pastel-colored adaptations of Lee's NT messages) for the believers. Compared to the "Chick Cartoon Tracts" I thought I was doing quite well.

Eventually I realized that everybody has something to say. And I also realilzed that when I began to listen to the unbelievers, I noticed that they began to pay more attention to me, as well. Then, whatever word was in my heart came out, and could be just as living (gasp!) as Lee's carefully polished messages.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:06 AM   #51
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I thought it was quite hypocritical that TC and company were crying tolerance and a "return" to the Bible in their struggle with the BB's, and then forgot all that when dealing with Myer.
It's the old christian dodge. "When I slap you, it's a correction, and a rebuke. When you slap me, it's a malicious attack."
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:26 PM   #52
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Oh Lord, I want to speak something here that is very likely going to offend some members. While I do not wish to offend, neither can I be responsible for how what I feel I need to share will be received. You told me that Father, and I will be faithful to You. I don't want anyone to think I am 'coming after them' - that's never been my intent; and while I'm certain many Corinthians felt the same about Paul's first letter to them - yet he (Paul) never regretted offering them the Truth in Love. After all, did Christ not say: "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets" Luke 6:26

Let me start by saying that I value you all, and have appreciated the fellowship I have received these past eight months. Over the course of these months I have learned many things - but in truth, I haven't grown in my faith or my walk with God because of anything I've read here: and that, I believe, is equally applicable to my time in the so-called Local Church.

Brothers and sisters, it seems to me that for those of us who come here who are no longer members of LSM, there ought to be agreement that we made it out of that system for a reason. We may have different reasons for leaving (or being removed from fellowship, if that is the case), but regardless of what the particularities of those reasons are, we ought to be in agreement that we are in a better place now than we were then. If we don't feel that way, then surely we ought to follow our conscience and make whatever concessions we must in order to be 'restored to fellowship' with LSM.

We - and by “we” I don't mean myself and anyone else in my life outside of this Forum - I mean us: those of us who come to this website: we have spent time going through the sordid details that fill the unpublished annals of LSM history. We have broken through the false teachings of the man who called himself the Minister of the Age, and agreed, have we not? - that this man and his ministry was WRONG. Seeing how wrong LSM was should put us on a path to righteousness – back to the narrow way to and through Christ Jesus our Lord, but I do not see that happening here: and I don’t believe that any current members of LSM who come here will see it either.

This place has become an infirmary for the wounded, but one without a Physician. A kind of counselling centre without the Wise Counsellor Himself. Friends, do you not see we need to “look intently at the perfect law that gives freedom” James 1:25, for “His Word will not return to Him void” Isaiah 55:11. Where is the preaching of that precious Word here? No friends, too much time is spent here re-living the past, that there can be no Living in Full, as Christ promised us (‘I have come that you might have Life in Full, and have it more abundantly!’) John 10:10. Friends, we reap what we sow… and too much of what is sown here is pain. Pain, heart-ache, regret, anger, despair… but no hope, no truth, and no life. Our eyes are turned inward, not upward. Seeing that Lee was wrong has not lead all of us to see that we too were wrong. For some it has become a pick-and-choose of Lee’s theology, without the realization that the entire ministry was built upon false pretences and is therefore corrupt.

Lee taught that learning his interpretation was our highest call. Eat, drink, enjoy Christ – breathe deeply the pneumatic Christ and sing a hymn of Lee’s about what Godmen we are to become… for He came to serve us, didn’t He?

How could Lee not see that Christ came to serve us to give us an example while He was among us… and not to serve us throughout the ages. Christ is God in the flesh – and while He came as the meek lamb over 2,000 years ago, the time draws nigh when He will come again in Glory – and I think we gravely underestimate the lateness of the hour.

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not DO what I say?” He asked (Luke 6:46). Are not those who come to hear His Word and do them likened unto a man who digs a deep foundation to build his house upon a Rock. Built on that rock so that even when the storms come – as they inevitably do, they cannot shake a house on so firm a foundation.

Have you been shaken my friends? Where then did you build your house? In whom did you trust? When the night is dark and you find yourself in the valley of the shadow of death. What do you fear? The Lord is with you.

Have you not heard that you are to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?” Philippians 2:12. Have you considered what that means? You went through what you did for a purpose – and Praise the Lord He called you out of that… now TRUST HIM. FOLLOW HIM.

Who is it that came to raise the dead? Who gave sight to the blind and caused the lame to walk? Who healed the leper and embraced him? It was our Christ, our King who did this. Do you not know enough to seek Him for the healing you now need? Have you become so blinded by anger, resentment, and self-pity that you have forgotten Him? If you want to walk, friends, then take up your mat and walk! Why do you lie here where there are only the rest of the wounded, and no Physician to heal you? He loves you still, and is only waiting for you to turn to Him!

Do you think the wisdom of this age ought to apply to your circumstance? Do you think that support groups, and psychologists, and self-help gurus and ‘getting it off your chest’ will get you back on the narrow way? That is foolishness, and that is the foolishness I’ve been hearing here lately.

Friends, imagine you were alive in the age when Christ walked in the flesh. Imagine you were the Pharisee called Nicodemus. Here was a man who came to Christ seeking answers, answers that would tell him that where he thought he was right with God, in truth he was on the wrong side and needed to be born again. Leaving the Sanhedrin, abandoning his friends and the beliefs he'd been taught as a Pharisee, that must have been a tremendously difficult task for him (for he certainly didn’t do it... at least, not right away, if at all) but the Lord didn't give Nicodemus an easy out. He didn't say, 'listen.... you've learned a lot of good things too, in your time in the Sanhedrin. Take your time with this, it's going to be tough. Therapy might be the answer – perhaps a support group with fellow ex-Pharisees here.' No my friends, that's the worldly foolishness I’m talking about, and where it might work with psychological issues, it doesn't work with Spiritual ones. Christ's call was clear: 'Come out of her, My people.'

Imagine the Jehovah's Witness who comes to cling to Christ’s rugged cross. Born into a Kingdom Hall, he learned their own New World Translation backwards and forwards... but suddenly, Christ gained him... and transformed, he realized that he no longer belonged in a Kingdom Hall. Imagine how tough that is. If anyone can imagine it, you can. The lifestyle and the teaching methods of JW's don't differ so much from LSM's. Now, could you, as a Christian, tell this former JW that 'you learned a lot of good things with the JW's, and since leaving is hard, then please continue to work through the pain and hurt - and try to sift out the good from the bad so that the abruptness of the change isn't so difficult for you?’

Imagine you were a Mormon, who is suddenly born again! You walked the streets in the white shirt and black tie, and vainly tried to gain followers for your movement rather than followers for Christ. You had learned a lot of good things from the Book of Mormon, and laying it down now is painful. It means you need to admit that you were wrong - that you followed the false prophet Joseph Smith - and lead people not to salvation but to damnation. Could any of us, as Christians, tell this former Mormon that he need not abandon the Book of Mormon? That he could reconcile the true Faith with a false one, and thereby escape the pain of leaving. Could we?

Too close to home? Imagine you were a Hindu - a good man, even one like Gandhi. Have you ever read the Baghavad Gita? A beautiful book that teaches many intellectual 'truths'. Perhaps you would be okay with telling a Hindu who embraced Christ as his Saviour that he needn't abandon the intellectual wisdoms of this book in favour of the Truth and the Way?

I hoped dear ones, that you couldn't. But that’s what you’re doing here.

I have spent time outlining that according to Scripture, Lee was not just wrong - not JUST a misguided minister of another color, who erred on some points or with whom we might disagree on the finer points of doctrine - rather he, Lee, was something more: A False Apostle. A False Prophet.

Scripture is clear, and I've quoted it many times: we are to turn from such False Apostles and leave their teaching.

Matthew 7:15-23 (the Sermon on the Mount):
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

From 2nd Peter we read: "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping"

and from 1st John: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

Now, if you disagree that Lee was a False prophet, then I have nothing more to say to you here. It has been expounded long enough – the evidence which we’ve ALL contributed is absolutely overwhelming. If you don’t believe it, then perhaps you don’t really believe there is such a thing as a false prophet. Perhaps you don’t even really believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. If the only nourishment you got from God’s Word came from LSM, then perhaps that wouldn’t even be surprising. This is hard speaking – but so is our Lord: We are to stand to defend the Faith. Did He not say, “You think I came to bring peace? I tell you not peace, but the Sword.” Matthew 10:34
Saints, have you noticed the conspicuous absence of certain men here? Where is John Ingalls? Where is this brother who saw so much and could have revealed to us sooner the folly of the path we were on? Do you know where that Brother is? He’s out pursuing the Lord. He took up his mat, and he walked.
Should we not do likewise?

I will.

Mike, in a recent post you said (and I paraphrase) that we can either stay here or we can leave and leave our ‘cave paintings’ behind us. That, brother, is the wiser of the two choices. Christian living is about living first – and that is something that LSM never taught. It is about faith IN ACTION – We are Saved b y Grace through Faith, it’s true – but True Faith produces work, and Faith without works is dead - and where here is the action, where are the works? Where in LSM was the action and the works? Have you heard that ‘God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong’ 1st Corinthians 1:27. I would rather be foolish for Christ than ‘wise’ in the Word as those in LSM and those who hold to their teachings believe they were. Consider Saints, ‘and a little child shall lead them.’… ‘of such is the Kingdom of Heaven made’.

I pray for us all. I pray that we grow and that one day we really can be One as Christ and the Father are one. I pray His will be done, I pray that you choose to follow Him and take the healing He offers. I pray for those still in LSM, that eyes and ears be opened and hearts softened to the Truth. I pray, brothers and sisters, that you can finally move on too… I pray you do not forsake the physical and spiritual gathering together with fellow believers. I pray you do not despise ‘lesser’ learned members of the Body, and thereby miss their portion of grace. I pray you learn to hear the words of the saints who’ve come before us throughout the ages… for God is the same yesterday, today and forever . I pray that even as I was not the first to come here, neither will I be the last to leave – and that those who do leave do so to follow Him. Be overcomers.

Your brother in Christ,
Ray Krohn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDd7XvmvtOM
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #53
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Hear! Hear! The preacher preacheth to us. Sounds like the LRC, cuz we're all poor, poor, poor, Christians to him. But at least he cares about us ... us mindless doofuses.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:14 PM   #54
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Hear! Hear! The preacher preacheth to us. Sounds like the LRC, cuz we're all poor, poor, poor, Christians to him. But at least he cares about us ... us mindless doofuses.
Well bro, you got to appreciate when another brother shares from his heart. I really don't think he was talking down at us. His message is challenging, something we all have to consider.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:00 AM   #55
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Well, there you have it. Someone said it in a different way. And maybe in a way that will get at the minds of those who think that it is safe to retain Lee while thinking through what of his might have been error.

Paul said to reject certain kinds of teachers. Not to do the "separate the meat from the bones and feathers" thing. That doesn't always work. And that kind of exhortation presumes that we have everything we need to discern the difference. Maybe as a group we do. But as individuals we don't. And the smaller the group, the closer it is to being no more resourceful than one.

That is the reason there are teachers. That is the reason they went to the Temple for the Apostles' teaching. That is the reason Timothy was left in Ephesus while they did not yet have sufficient resources of their own.

It has been only about a day ago that I agreed with Ohio that it might be wise for him to retain Lee since he had nothing before. But given the permeating nature of Lee's errors, I might revise that sentiment now. He knows the core of the faith. He has been able to read for himself for many years, going all the way back to the time just before the Revelation training. (And I was there as well.)

The better advice might be as follows. Don't intentionally retain Lee. If it is not something necessary at the moment or something you are looking into, don't so much retain it as just not consider it. Once it is forefront for whatever reason — sermon series, small group study, covered in some book you are reading — intentionally presume Lee was wrong. That does not mean intentionally presume the other source is right. But no matter how hard you try, the result will probably be no better than lowering Lee to one of two or more viable readings. Take in what you see, not what you were taught to see. Allow the competing interpretation(s) at least equal standing or consideration.

How do you decide what to analyze in this manner? Anything where you find yourself questioning those fine Christians around you simply because it was not the way you learned it in the LRC. I'll be honest to admit that I have not always ended out in complete agreement with those fine Christians. (But neither have I found my way back to Lee in those situations.) But I realize that I can continue with them anyway. You really can be one with people you don't agree with 100 percent on all issues.

Have a problem with there being a preacher, or even a team of preachers? Read the Word. It actually seems to indicate that there are those who should teach the rest of us. Think that means we are just too stupid? Remember that we all have an anointing and at some level we do know. Think Babylon was something to simply flee from back to Jerusalem (and is a type of Christianity v the LRC)? Discover that at least one of the significant figures in the rebuilding of Jerusalem went there for a while, then returned to serve the king of Persia. And it would seem that God was ordaining that it was time to scatter the Jews throughout the world as the start of the blessing of the Gentiles that would be fully realized when Jesus sent the disciples "into all the world." No special status for those who returned to Jerusalem and deficient status for those who did not.

According to Paul, Lee did not qualify to be a teacher. He (Lee, not Paul) should be rejected as a source of truth. Why simply rejected? Because you really can't tell the meat from the bones. We have been conditioned to accept Lee's teachings as meat and everything else as bones. We were taught that this was the Spirit. You can't even rely on what you simply think is your sense of the Spirit. The Spirit may instead lead you to take the rowboat or the helicopter with a well-educated preacher rowing/flying rather than just remain on the roof while the waters rise around you waiting for that direct, "I can sense it directly from God" kind of speaking. If we just need the sense of the Spirit, then we don't really even need each other. And Christianity will truly become the chaos and anarchy of churches of one.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:28 AM   #56
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It has been only about a day ago that I agreed with Ohio that it might be wise for him to retain Lee since he had nothing before. But given the permeating nature of Lee's errors, I might revise that sentiment now. He knows the core of the faith. He has been able to read for himself for many years, going all the way back to the time just before the Revelation training. (And I was there as well.)
Who is "retaining Lee?" My only point, which I have already made in far too many posts by now, is not to throw out the good (our faith in Jesus and the Bible) with the bad (our past acceptance of Lee's errant teachings), as some ex-members have done and have become shipwrecked regarding the faith. We need some healthy discernment as the Spirit also tells the Hebrews (in v.5.14) who similarly were having much difficulty with their own past history, vis-a-vis the Jewish teachings and traditions that hindered them from pursuing Christ.

And in this regard, the forum can be helpful. It is a place, albeit toxic at times, where we can interface with other departing members concerning the teachings and practices of LSM and the LC's to become better educated and, in effect, "sort things out."

Hey folks, I seemed to have prompted a firestorm of sorts with this specific view of mine. If enough others feel the same way as OBW and NFNL, I would be glad to leave the forum, no hard feelings and all that. Better brothers than I have reached a similar point and moved on. Perhaps my time has also come.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:15 AM   #57
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Hey folks, I seemed to have prompted a firestorm of sorts with this specific view of mine. If enough others feel the same way as OBW and NFNL, I would be glad to leave the forum, no hard feelings and all that. Better brothers than I have reached a similar point and moved on. Perhaps my time has also come.
You mistake the pointed issue of not retaining Lee with acceptance of not retaining the faith. I only commented on that. And you are probably getting angrier with me right now as you read my post on the other thread.

Don't bother leaving. I'll do it for you. But it was not your "specific view" concerning rejecting both Lee and the faith that got any feedback from me. It was the advisability of retaining Lee. Only that. While I admit that you could find some difficulty in rejecting Lee, are you saying that you do not now have a non-LRC, non-Lee source for filling in the blanks? I bet you do. You just continue (presumably) to be hesitant to accept it because you have not rejected Lee. Have faith. There is a firm foundation outside the LRC. It just uses those terms and ways that we were taught so strongly to reject. Makes it hard to let go.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:43 AM   #58
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Who is "retaining Lee?" My only point, which I have already made in far too many posts by now, is not to throw out the good (our faith in Jesus and the Bible) with the bad (our past acceptance of Lee's errant teachings), as some ex-members have done and have become shipwrecked regarding the faith. We need some healthy discernment as the Spirit also tells the Hebrews (in v.5.14) who similarly were having much difficulty with their own past history, vis-a-vis the Jewish teachings and traditions that hindered them from pursuing Christ.

And in this regard, the forum can be helpful. It is a place, albeit toxic at times, where we can interface with other departing members concerning the teachings and practices of LSM and the LC's to become better educated and, in effect, "sort things out."

Hey folks, I seemed to have prompted a firestorm of sorts with this specific view of mine. If enough others feel the same way as OBW and NFNL, I would be glad to leave the forum, no hard feelings and all that. Better brothers than I have reached a similar point and moved on. Perhaps my time has also come.
I haven't read everything in this thread yet, but don't leave. Who says we have to agree about anything to particpate here? We're just talking.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:54 PM   #59
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Brothers and sisters, it seems to me that for those of us who come here who are no longer members of LSM, there ought to be agreement that we made it out of that system for a reason. We may have different reasons for leaving (or being removed from fellowship, if that is the case), but regardless of what the particularities of those reasons are, we ought to be in agreement that we are in a better place now than we were then. If we don't feel that way, then surely we ought to follow our conscience and make whatever concessions we must in order to be 'restored to fellowship' with LSM.
You take a very complicated issue and boil it down to a yes/no answer, and that is where some of us are taking exception.

1. What do you mean "no longer members of LSM"? I served in the LSM but never considered myself a "member of the LSM". That sounds like the Nazi party or something. I always considered myself a member of the Body of Christ. So is this a typo, did you mean LRC (or some other abbreviation) or did you mean LSM?

2. "a better place" is very troubling to me. We talk about how exclusive and elitist the LRC was, if that was a key component of their error, and I believe it was, why would I want to leave that "country club" and go to "a better place"? I feel condemned for even swallowing that "we are God's move on earth" spiel, why would I then want to take up a new "better place"?

I feel that I am under God's sovereignty. I feel I am where He wants me to be. I feel I am where I am today as a result of answered prayer and the Lord's leading. But I also feel that 30 years ago it was His sovereignty that I met with the LRC, it was His sovereignty that I served in the LSM, it was His sovereignty that I was a missionary in Taiwan, etc. I feel I have learned from my experiences, hallelujah! Amen. Because I have learned from them hopefully I won't repeat them! That is why I want to dissect the LRC history, so that I don't repeat the error again.

I do not have the slightest inclination to discard 30 years of experience in the Lord, 20 with the LRC. Nor do I intend to forget the experiences, answered prayers, or revelations that the Lord gave to me. The fact that WL was a charlatan does not shake my faith in the slightest, my faith wasn't based on WL.

But I am very interested in purging out the old leaven of the LSM teachings. I use the term leaven to indicate something that has spread and become totally pervasive, not necessarily something that is evil, malicious, or sinful. I equate leaven simply with something that becomes pervasive. That is one reason I find this forum very interesting and truly enjoy the words of MikeH, or OBW, or Awareness. Without their help I would not be able to examine these teachings. Sometimes I may play devil's advocate, but there was far too much rubber stamp acceptance of WL, which I think was another cause for the error.

On the other hand I could not tolerate this forum without the fellowship of Ohio or Igzy or others with a view that more closely aligns with my own. That said I don't want us to fall into camps or "parties".

But I find some of this discussion on WL to be somewhat absurd. Some of these brothers that seem so antagonistic towards him appear to have come into the LRC after he died, or at the very least at the very end of his life. [I was around from 78-85 which I would consider 8 of his strongest and most influential years, I was in Houston and Irving and attended the trainings (so I met WL on numerous occasions and did have some first hand experience of him) and I was in the FTTT when WL was there in Hall 1. Yet even so, I consider him to only be a small percent of my LRC experience, honestly, 10% is the most I could give him, and to be real it is probably more like 5%. To discard his teachings is no effort, I never had any use for the LSM books. I never used them. I treated the Life Studies as a springboard. Now I realize my approach was diametrically opposite others like EM that was a brother that also entered the LRC about the same year as myself also in Houston. So if WL was 5% of my LRC experience from 78 to 85 and after that he wasn't any of it, that would make his total impact closer to 2%.] Now if that is my case, how much of an impact could he really have on these brothers who are making such a big deal about him? (Of course I am not referring to Awareness who did have personal experience.)
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:37 PM   #60
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"So I say to her, 'What version of the Bible do you read?' And she says: "The Recovery version." It is Wednesday evening, and I've just come home from Bible study with my wife. The voice on the phone, that greeted me with this odd snippet of conversation, is that of a dear friend and brother in Christ - the very one, in fact, with whom I'd first met for Bible Study here in Three Hills, Alberta.

This brother knows my testimony, I've shared with him the very things I've shared here with you all - and then some. He has heard of the RcV... I brought mine to his house a number of times, and carried it to our Sunday worship services for a number of months, before finally setting it on our bookshelf to start fresh with a new wide-margin NASB. While I have mentioned our time in the LSM church (and I call it that because that is what it is today - simply another denomination run by a business group for the marketing of it's products, rather than an honest 'Recovery' of the Lords or even a simple 'Local' church of believers who hold only to a common faith in Christ) - no, I've mentioned it, but I have not dwelt on it. The Lord is faithful. I have carried on with Him, lead by His grace and mercy - so why should I look back?

"This woman followed me out to my truck," my brother goes on to say. "She asked if I was a believer, and when I told her I was she was so happy. She was an older lady, very sweet...." He asked me if I knew her (from his description, perhaps), he asked me about the RcV, if it was something 'I would read'. He asked me about this group, as he never had before...

I have returned to write because I genuinely feel concern for this brother. If he comes here and reads this, then I pray he knows my heart in this. By his own testimony, this brother has been seeking. He is disenfranchised with the, I think he would call it, lack of genuine zeal and repentance before Almighty God. This brother watches men like Paul Washer and listens to the likes of Adrian Rogers - reads from books by men like Dave Wilkerson.... He longs to see the Church of Jesus Christ become what we know it one day will - when finally our Beloved comes for us. This is exactly the kind of saint LSM seeks.

Those who are dissatisfied.
Those who want something more spiritual.
Those who want to be "all in"

But what does LSM offer such as these?

Fellowship? Yes, but based on Christ AND Lees doctrine. Or perhaps THROUGH Lees doctrine.
Separation from the World? Yes, but also from other believers (the Body of Christ).

A chance to be "all in" without years of seminary or time in a foreign mission field? Yes, but "all in" an organization that encourages it's members not to go out and preach the "low gospel" which Christ commanded and commissioned us to preach - but rather to preach "another gospel" - and to seek genuine believrrs and turn them against their local bodies by presenting them with a false or doctored image of your own.

Oh Lord Jesus, open eyes and hearts to the Truth, Lord. I know too well that you cannot go to Living Streams website, read their "Statement of Faith", and think you've got all of it. Wha is preached to new comers is mosr especially editted - is it not? I seem to recall hearing something to that effect, but whether in Anaheim or Winnipeg, I cannot rightly recall.

I wanted to come back to say I was wrong. Brothers and Sisters, you do have a purpose here. You bring to light things hidden in darkness, and for that, I am grateful. Continue to speak the truth - and always in love.

Yours in Christ,

NeitherFirstnorLast

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Old 10-08-2012, 08:00 AM   #61
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I wanted to come back to say I was wrong. Brothers and Sisters, you do have a purpose here. You bring to light things hidden in darkness, and for that, I am grateful. Continue to speak the truth - and always in love.
Thank you, brother. Your encouragement is appreciated. Blessings to you.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:19 AM   #62
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Thank you, brother. Your encouragement is appreciated. Blessings to you.
Amen to that. NeitherFirstnorLast, just be honest with God and with your self ... and all will be well ...
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:34 PM   #63
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Hello everyone..

I am popping in because I received a pm from someone here on the very day I had erie flashbacks today of the adulation of Witness Lee.

A close friend called me last night to tell me she was having the Mormon missionaries return to her house today. She had been taken off guard by them yesterday. They can be very persistent as we all know. I have had many encounters with Mormons and thus far I have not met one who has a relationship with the "Living WORD of God"---Jesus Christ.

I also know that the bible they use for reference purposes is the KJ. So off I went today to give my friend spiritual and moral support.

They did not know I was going to be there with the SWORD of the SPIRIT. The Mormon missionaries also brought an older married couple. The target was my friend who is born again and growing in Christ. She is solid but knew nothing of Mormonism.

Here is where it gets Erie: They could not stop talking about Joseph Smith. I was reminded of how frustrated I was becoming in my last couple of years in the LC, with everyone talking about Brother Lee. It still drives me nuts when I hear people talk about Lee's greatness.

They also kept talking about the book of Mormon. This reminded me of "bibles for America" RCV with the emphasis on Lee's footnotes.

After they left, my friend said to me "Joseph Smith is their religion.

We had a very pleasant time and there was no strife although the poor guys had to be frustrated because I stumped them over and over.

Their goal was to introduce Joseph Smith to us. My goal was to introduce the Lord Jesus to them!! Whenever I could I planted the SEED of Love, Truth and Life.

Blessings to all!

Shalom.

Carol G
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:58 AM   #64
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Thanks for this word and warning and mostly for joining in with the Mormons to speak the truth in their presence. I met with Mormon teachers in 2010. I appreciated their persons, their character, in handling difficult questions; we actually liked and enjoyed one another. It was a real contrast to my experience with the blended brothers who have not yet been able to impress with human civility when challenged in the light of truth.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:45 PM   #65
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Thanks for this word and warning and mostly for joining in with the Mormons to speak the truth in their presence. I met with Mormon teachers in 2010. I appreciated their persons, their character, in handling difficult questions; we actually liked and enjoyed one another. It was a real contrast to my experience with the blended brothers who have not yet been able to impress with human civility when challenged in the light of truth.
Your welcome Indie,

Sometimes, more often than not, I find it very difficult to fellowship with very knowledgeable and "churched" Christians. I have found that those in the LRC are the most difficult to fellowship with.

For instance, they talk the same especially when they read scriptures, messages or footnotes. And how about the way they call on the Lord together. Do they really they believe there is something special, even magical in their tone?

They think that is how they are walking/talking "in spirit".

Like Mormons, the LCrs, prefer Lee's writings to the Word of God. They tely on the footnotes and life dtdy messages or the morning revivals

The Mormons did not even bother to explain what is in the book of Mormon. They simply wanted you to believe Joseph Smith was/is "the prophet" to whom God revealed himself to not to join a church but to start a "new" one. The "elders" had memorized their schpeel. But they had nothing over the --Sword of the Spirit, which is the Living Word of God. God gets all the Glory and Praise.

They believe Jesus is "a god" NOT GOD and Lucifer is his brother. I very kindly with much Patience referred them to Isaiah 9:6 and John chapter 1..
In the KJ which is the only bible translation they use.

Only once did I challenge them. They said something like this: If you ask God to tell you if Joseph Smith is/was a true prophet who was given the book of Mormon, he will tell you it is!". I then asked, and if He says No, it is not. ?????

They were stumped and changed lanes right away with a light hearted joke. I was not out to pulverize them though I sure wanted to!!!! I knew they need to sense the pure Love of God. They needed to see some of us truly have an intimate relationship with our Creator. That we KNOW Him. They need to see they do not have one and desire to have a relationship with the True Messiah.

Now if I have a choice of having a discussion with Mormons or LCrs, I choose Mormons hands down!!! :-D

Blessings Indie and everyone!!

Carolina G
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:28 PM   #66
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I posted this morning (on the "Praising Him in Song") thread, that this "was a week where God made His Word real to me in a way it hadn't been before." I told you part of that story, on that thread, related to the song the Lord brought back to my mind. That was only part of the story, but not the deeply personal part. Not the part I was hesitant to share. Not the part about where God answered my prayer that He humble me. That He humiliate me. This is that part, and I'm sharing it because I want you all to know the depths of His perfect Love, which casts out all fear. Lord, give me the courage to share, if this is Your will.

This week my wife and kids are gone visiting family. I am alone in the house, and while I've had a few days off from work, the "holiday season" just past, I've mostly been working.

My plan had been, while my wife and kids were gone, to spend the time off I had with the Lord... but I haven't done that. I've come home tired and miserable, and I've felt sorry for myself, all alone here. When I am alone, I sometimes have real demons to battle.

Netflix hasn't been working on TV lately, and the movies we have are ones I've seen - I don't need to see them again. I look for things to watch online, and that's when the sins of my past come back to haunt me. Sins I thought I had put behind me. Sins I thought I had conquered... but lonely and miserable, I am easy prey. I step away from the computer. I leave the room. I find work to do. I pray. I go to look for sermons. I take a shower. I pray more. Still I find thoughts and images in my head I can't shake. Still I find fleshly desires that I thought were no longer a part of me rising up and arguing with me. Making their case. Demanding. I pray MORE. I ask God to forgive me. I ask God to take them from me. The demands waiver, but they do not go away... and I fall.

Disgusted with myself, I determine that I have failed God again. I am not worthy of anything, even His love and forgiveness. Images of Divine Justice dance in my head, and I fear for what I might bring down on myself. I turn to prayer, I beg for wisdom. I plead for strength. Why Lord, I asked You to do it. I didn't try to do it in my own strength, did I not trust You enough? Is my faith too weak? That's when He answered me. He said, "My Grace is sufficient for you."

You know that quote, don't you? I did too. It's 2nd Corinthians 12:19.

The context of that verse is that Paul is talking about visions he's been given - which he feels he ought to share but he is loathe to claim credit for them. He doesn't want to claim credit, because he doesn't want to appear to be boasting. Paul has a weakness for spiritual pride; it's an old sin for Paul, a failing he had as a Pharisee. In fact, Paul confesses, in order to ensure that Paul cannot be a prideful man and boast, God has sent him a messenger of Satan. A thorn in the flesh. Paul prays three times that God remove it; whatever it is. God won't. God says "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness".

I have heard it said by some that Grace is something that God gives you in order for you to live out the righteous requirements of the Law through His strength rather than your own... but I read this passage again. That's not what this passage teaches at all. Paul doesn't say that the Grace of God gave him the ability to tear out the thorn from his flesh and to carry on as a god-man. Paul says he pleaded with God to remove it (whatever it was), and God wouldn't.

Some have speculated that the "thorn in the flesh" is physical. Maybe Paul was talking about failing eye sight, or maybe about arthritis, or maybe a disfiguring disease. But what do any of those things have to do with God's Grace?

Of himself, Paul tells us that he does things he hates - things he doesn't want to do but can't seem to help. His hating of those things, which are evidentially against the Law (and therefore sin) proves that the Law is real. His doing them despite his own desire to NOT do them, proves that the real culprit isn't Paul's willing spirit, but his weak flesh. Paul is confessing here that despite being mightily used by God and being Saved and being a far more mature believer than I might even hope to be, that he is still a sinner. (see Romans 7:15-20)

Paul isn't talking about a physical ailment in 2nd Corinthians. I believe he's talking about sins of the flesh. Can this be?

I had originally learned that Grace is the "unmerited favor of God", that it can be contrasted with Mercy - as Mercy is "NOT giving the sinner what he deserves", and Grace is "Giving the sinner what he doesn't deserve." That definition seems to fit...

...I look up the word for "Grace" at www.blueletterbible.org I look at the original Greek for that word, what it is and what it means. The word is χάρις (charis). It appears 159 times in the New Testament. I start to go through the verses, and I try substituting the word "Grace" for the words "the ability to fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law through God's strength". I know, it's a wordy substitution - but you understand the principle. That definition doesn't fit. I look back at "Charis", and I look at how it is translated in the verses. It's translated not only as "Grace", but also as "favor", "credit", "thank(s)", and "pleasure". I look up the root word for Charis, and it's χαίρω (chairo). It appears 74 times in the New Testament, and it means "to rejoice", "to rejoice exceedingly", "to be exceedingly glad", it's both a greeting and a farewell... it's nothing at all to do with God's strength.

"Lord", I say "what do You mean "Your Grace is sufficient"? I don't understand. You wouldn't allow me to sin? You hate sin."

He does hate sin, friends. My sin is spiritual pride. Pride proceeds the fall. Pride is the greatest stink of all to Him. My sin boils down to wanting the glory, God's glory, for myself. My sin is thinking that I can perfect in the flesh what He began in the spirit. God didn't do something new here. He did something He's done before. He didn't remove the thorn. He proved to me that I can do nothing (apart from Christ, who strengthens me). He proved to me what Grace really means. Unmerited Undeserved Credit. But Lord, I cannot go on sinning. I know it is an abomination in Your sight. What am I to do, if You won't remove this thorn, and I can't do it alone?

"Where sin abounds, Grace abounds much more." Romans 5:20

I don't have a license to sin. No one does. But this week God showed me what Grace means in a real way. He showed me I have a debt I can't repay. He showed me He gets the glory by showing us Grace:

"...the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15b

*******************
Amen Lord, Yours is the Glory. Thank You Lord!
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:18 AM   #67
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A lot of people who leave LCs or become disillusioned with it often spiral into a spiritual pit and become worse than before. People within the LCs use this as evidence to warn others against leaving (this happened to me personally), however the word of God helped me greatly overcome many pitfalls after I left.

A verse the Lord gave me today was Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

If we just stay where we are and try to overcome the world and sin it will be hard and the results may not be much different from asceticism. If you study the apostles and disciples of the early church, they lived a life driven by a vision to serve God and were willing to follow the Holy Spirit wherever He took them. Because of the vision that carried them, they simply didn't have time to get caught in the affairs of the world that entangle so many of us living in the Laodiciean church age today.

For myself this vision has been the realization that this world is passing away with its desires (1 John 2:17) and the only thing that really matters is my eternal home. I want to do my best to impact people's eternities today so I can see them in heaven. With this vision, I haven't waited around for leaders in my church to give me a job, but I've simply asked God how I can use my gifts to best serve Him. Back in the LCs when folks including myself served, we often looked for some form of credit or praise for giving up our time. With my new vision in mind I care little about the praise of others-- and that is really *FREEING* when you start working to only please God, because he sees everything and is the best boss anyone could ask for.

All this is being made possible through faith in our heavenly home which God has prepared for us (Hebrews 11:16). I used to use Christianity as fire insurance to make sure my eternity was secure while getting the most I could from the world in the most likely chance that God was real. But when I started to take Jesus seriously I realized he was 100% real and I was dealing with a true and living God.

Going back to having a vision, in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to take on the whole armor of God. It's interesting that he includes in this list, the sandals of the Gospel of peace, which many Christians tend to overlook. When we live our lives in pursuit of a vision God gives us concerning the gospel, we're better equipped in spiritual warfare. God knows it's much harder to hit a moving target than one that is standing still.

Yet no matter how equipped we'll be, like in any war many of us will stumble because of the enemy's attacks, but God's grace empowers us to get back up to rejoin the battle. The only thing that should worry us is when we give up and surrender.

And because we're in a spiritual battle we should expect persecution, including those from the LC. Jesus told us to expect it and he even said we'll be blessed in eternity when we do receive hate (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus told us to expect trouble in this world (John 16:33) but not to worry because he's got it all taken care of in eternity so we can have peace. Therefore there's no reason for us to ever become bitter or hate our enemies because we *ALWAYS* have a reason to rejoice and unceasingly pray for the reward God has prepared for us (1 Thess 5:16-18)! And when we do so the reality of heaven will invade our lives and empower us because we'll be living in agreement with the way God sees things.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:47 AM   #68
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I have come to see grace as more active in our lives and demanding activity at some level. Consider Titus 2:11-14. It provides a slightly different view of grace.

It teaches us to refuse unrighteousness and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. The result is that we are eager to do what is good.

Does anyone know what the gold-bar ministry says about that? Is that simply redefined as Christ, and if you are not eager to do good then you just need to wait for more dispensing of Christ?

Does it argue with Peter who says that you have everything you need?
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:00 AM   #69
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:06 AM   #70
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I have come to see grace as more active in our lives and demanding activity at some level. Consider Titus 2:11-14. It provides a slightly different view of grace.

It teaches us to refuse unrighteousness and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. The result is that we are eager to do what is good.
To me God's grace is everything he does for us to make sure we become his children in eternity, and the bride of his son Jesus short of violating our free will. So the amount of activity required would be exercising our free will to turn from our sins and obey and follow Him through faith. In other words "desiring God" Faith is implied because God is invisible and we can't see him, yet we choose to desire him above all the things that we can see in this world. (Abraham believed in God and it was counted to him as righteousness)

God's grace works on a legal level by providing the sacrifice for our sins by which He can blot out our transgressions and remember them no more, but it also works tangibly when God gives us his Holy Spirit when we obey him.

Acts 5:32
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

Ezekiel 36:26-27
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

(Side note: this was the passage Jesus was probably holding Nicodemus accountable for when he quizzed him about the need for his spirit to be "born again")

Although we have his Holy Spirit, God still cannot violate our free will, so we still have to live according to the leading of the Spirit, which we are able to when God gave us a new heart after we were born again.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Yesterday as I was reciting Psalms 23, I meditated on the verse "He leads us in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." and realized it's a reference to God not being able to deny himself and thereby remaining faithful to us even when we are shamelessly unfaithful (2 Tim 2). We're like these hopeless sheep who always go astray, fully at the mercy of our Shepherd who leads us on the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Without God's grace we would be totally lost not knowing where to go and our desire to come to Him would be in vain.

Ezekiel 36 is also a good OT chapter to read on this subject. It gives a wonderful picture of the plan of God's grace proving that the NT doesn't have a monopoly on the revelation of grace.

Ezekiel 36:32 "But remember says the Sovereign Lord, I am not doing this because you deserve it..."

Grace is grace because we don't deserve it. Hence spiritual pride doesn't make sense in this context but only humility. So God gives grace to the humble, whilst resisting the proud (James 4:6)
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:18 AM   #71
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I, too, had the idea that perhaps when Paul wrote in Romans seven about "The things that I don't want to do, I still do" he wasn't speaking hypothetically, but from real experience. Perhaps.

The alternative would be that Paul, post-conversion, never struggled with the issue of sin. Which I argue WL wanted us to believe, because WL supposedly "inherited the mantle of Paul" as holding the so-called ministry of the age, and thus also was de facto without error, or sin.

I suspect that Paul was probably like the rest of us, a person like Peter whose failures, even post-resurrection, were amply documented. But either way it isn't critical.

On the other side, about grace, I remember singing Psalm 136, and it kept saying over and over again, that the sure mercies of God endured forever. At some point it hit me: no matter how stubborn the sin might cling to me, even more stubborn was the endurance of God's love. God's mercy really does endure forever.

That, to me, was a moment of grace. No matter how big and tough the sin which confronts me in the world, in my soul, in my flesh, so much bigger and tougher and stronger is the love of God, the saving love of God in Jesus Christ. This love endures forever. Suddenly, instead of being confronted by the accusation of my failure, I was confronted with the revelation of God's eternal love. What a moment of grace that was!

WL of course made fun of Psalm 136, and mocked the saints who were 'enjoying' it... It was too "low" for him. As usual, I think he completely missed the boat.

Peter failed, but Jesus' prayer for Peter did not fail (Luke 22:32). We have such a high priest interceding for us (Heb 4:14 - 10:18). Who would not be encouraged to try and obey, when they see such a one standing in the breech on their behalf! Should we not struggle to strengthen our feeble flesh and follow (Heb 12)?
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:30 AM   #72
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I, too, had the idea that perhaps when Paul wrote in Romans seven about "The things that I don't want to do, I still do" he wasn't speaking hypothetically, but from real [post-conversion] experience. Perhaps.
Also this view casts the following Romans 8 quotes from Paul more in the "grace" category than the "works" one:

"What shall then separate us from the love of God?" and "Who then accuses us when God has chosen us for His own?"

Etc etc. Paul, even, could fail. God would not fail. God had chosen Paul and God's mercy endures forever.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #73
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Also this view casts the following Romans 8 quotes from Paul more in the "grace" category than the "works" one:

"What shall then separate us from the love of God?"
There you go! Darkness, religion, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, blame, adultery, fornication, idolatry, etc... all these things seperate us from the LOVE of GOD. But if our hearts are truly filled with LOVE, God's LOVE 'cause our earthly love ain't worth beans, then He will help us get rid of all that junk in us. We focus on Loving Him, and the more we thank Him for Loving us and pour out our alabaster box on HIM, He takes away those things that weigh us down. He takes away our pain and hurt. If we do not LOVE GOD, then we are going to live a miserable life. Once we begin focusing on Loving our Creator, our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Lord and King, THEN we will be able to love one another and help those who are downtrodden.

So we remember 1 JOHN 4:8
He WHO DOES NOT LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:12 PM   #74
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There you go! Darkness, religion, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, blame, adultery, fornication, idolatry, etc... all these things seperate us from the LOVE of GOD. But if our hearts are truly filled with LOVE, God's LOVE 'cause our earthly love ain't worth beans, then He will help us get rid of all that junk in us. We focus on Loving Him, and the more we thank Him for Loving us and pour out our alabaster box on HIM, He takes away those things that weigh us down. He takes away our pain and hurt. If we do not LOVE GOD, then we are going to live a miserable life. Once we begin focusing on Loving our Creator, our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Lord and King, THEN we will be able to love one another and help those who are downtrodden.

So we remember 1 JOHN 4:8
He WHO DOES NOT LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE.
"I declare WAR!!!!"

...

"I declare A LOVE WAR!!!!"

(In the best of timing, Patricia King yelled this out on Sid Roth today)

http://youtu.be/q1Yr_8l_4Ww
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:07 AM   #75
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So we remember 1 JOHN 4:8
He WHO DOES NOT LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE.
When you see RG, RK, BP, DYL, TC and other leaders separating themselves from each other you realize that they had no love for one another; or conversely that they loved their doctrines, teachings, and organizations more than the actual human being next to them (i.e. their 'neighbor').

All of which is fine: they've got their respective journeys and I've got mine. And mine has been filled with failure enough for me to realize that stone-throwing probably isn't on my agenda any time soon.

You know that place where it says, simply, "Jesus wept"? Sometimes I think the whole awful predicament of the human race just hit Him all at once and overwhelmed Him, like a tidal wave of anguish and despair. I used to weep with bitter frustration, confusion, and shame, with the sorrow of both my own and the world's failures weighing on me like a massive stone.

I still feel that way, sometimes, but I always remember what Jesus said about the mountain. One word from God and it is gone. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:49 AM   #76
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I had a really good day yesterday, and just wanted to share it here.

We had some very dear friends from our old "church in Winnipeg" and Home meeting group in-province here for a family reunion, and my family and I (though not related by marriage or blood) were invited. To be honest, I have been leery of going to meet with them, although my wife has always kept in touch. It's not that I am afraid that they will try to convince me to return to the group, it's that I have worried that they might start asking why we left; and asked, I will have to honestly answer. I tried that, once before, and it lead to offense and abject fear. The sister I was addressing that time literally ran from the room and closed the door. I don't want to hurt these people. I love them, and yesterday brought that home again.

I enjoyed seeing them, I enjoyed their welcome. We talked, caught up on where we're at in life, played games, ate some food and watched our kids play together. There was no agenda on either side, and that was encouraging.

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again - there are some very dear saints in the local churches. The fact that there are some genuine Christians there doesn't mean the teachings in the local churches are all good - I think there are genuine Christians in the Roman Catholic church too, after all, and the faults I see in the teachings of that church.... well, you know what I mean. Anyway, knowing that there are real brothers and sisters in an LSM fellowship should keep our tone and our handling of those ones on the level of loving family (and I'm reminding myself of that as much as any of you).

As Paul wrote, we should "be prepared in season and out of season; (to) correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction..." 2 Timothy 4:2. But in writing that, Paul was speaking specifically of Preaching the Word - not of preaching the unrighteous sins of a sinister false-apostle. I think, if our heart is really for the brothers and sisters left behind in the "fog" (to borrow a term of Mike's), we will see that the best thing we can do for them is to live out our faith in a real way for them to see; and do that with all honesty and sincerity, confessing our own failings and trials as well as the victories and encouragements. In short, love them: for Christ said "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35.
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Old 02-11-2017, 08:38 AM   #77
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Hello all,

I have been meaning to write for over a year now, but everytime I thought to I had a sense of dread soon follow... and I never overcame it, not until now.

It has been over two years since I have written, or even visited this site. So much has happened in that time. I want to share some of that, I have to, I just don't know where to start.... well, maybe I do.

It was the summer of 2015. My wife, who has always kept in contact with a number of the sisters from the Church, heard early one morning that there had been a horrible incident back home. A dear sister, who had been like a mother to my wife, and like a grandmother to our children, had an aneurysm. Her family rushed her to the hospital, she was overwhelmed with pain - screaming, she passed out. The likelihood of her survival was in doubt. There were calls for prayer, and when I heard the news, I was overwhelmed with grief and I prayed like I hadn't prayed in years. Not in power, not in eloquence, but in tears and through sobs I prayed for her. I loved her - do love her - but not in my own self. It is Christ's love for her that poured out of me.

Christ worked a miracle. Saints from around the world prayed for her; and although the doctor's prognosis was grim (it was at first highly unlikely she would live, and when miraculously she survived, the doctor said she would never be the same), but Christ proved him wrong. She not only survived, she presses on in the Lord - her first day of consciousness she sang a hymn to Him from her bed. She shares in the meetings to this day with the same love (can it be greater?) that she always has. There is no slowness of mind, no change in her personality, no withering of her being. She is entirely whole. A miracle. Her miracle. My miracle was the love of Christ pouring out of me.

I have a friend in Three Hills, I have mentioned him before. He is someone I pursue the Lord with. It was a day or two later, and our families were together for dinner. As we were talking about these miracles, our love for the saints, he seemed to search himself for words, and then:

"everything you’ve ever told me about these people (the Saints)…I don’t understand.* I have to ask… WHY did you ever leave them?** Did you see Christ in them?* Wasn’t their living a real testimony to Christ’s work in them?* I’ve never even SEEN that in a Christian….”*

That stopped me. I had a reply and it died on my lips, because what that brother saw, through all of the stories I had told over the years, was something so simple that I don't know how I didn't see it. The answer to his question, which I came to after some fumbling, was an honest one:

"Yes... I saw Christ in them. And I... I don't know anymore."

I can write to you about our trials in Three Hills. I could write about the lack of fellowship we had through a lot of those trials. I could write about the storm at the church we attended, dear members leaving and personal tragedies. But that's not why I am writing.

We suffered, and as we suffered we prayed. There were events and there were miracles...a phone call, a job offer, a chance to move home when the economy had turned and my employer had lost his mind. It was no easy move, we had a house to sell when the housing market was upside down... but the Saints opened their homes. I moved back, as welcome as I ever had been. Loved as I always was. I left my family behind, for a number of months; and the saints cared for me.

We are all back now; even my prodigals. Our house in Three Hills never sold; but the Lord provided renters who care for it well. For a year we have been back, enjoying the Lord together with the saints.

....Wherever you are, dear reader, just keep it simple. Seek fellowship with those who genuinely love the Lord. Those in whom you see Him.

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Neither first, nor last.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:27 AM   #78
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"everything you’ve ever told me about these people (the Saints)…I don’t understand.* I have to ask… WHY did you ever leave them?** Did you see Christ in them?* Wasn’t their living a real testimony to Christ’s work in them?* I’ve never even SEEN that in a Christian….”*

That stopped me. I had a reply and it died on my lips, because what that brother saw, through all of the stories I had told over the years, was something so simple that I don't know how I didn't see it. The answer to his question, which I came to after some fumbling, was an honest one:

"Yes... I saw Christ in them. And I... I don't know anymore."
While there is much to be said concerning the peculiar and marginal (even marginally heretical) doctrines that are in their theology, they did not create it, nor are they of the character of the ones who hold them within that marginality. It was something in them seeking Christ that was unfortunately fooled by the outward display of spirituality of Nee, Lee, and or their teachings that captured them. But more than that, it was a lot of people like themselves.

Do no confuse the people With the system that ensnares them. That has so much magnetism and façade to keep them from realizing what is behind the curtain. Cherish them. If they will continue to have meals with you, keep doing it. But be prepared that if (more like when) the conversation turns to the beliefs and practices, they will assume that you are still on board, just having some other issue. Like when my sister asked me something like "You agree with Brother Lee about [I can't remember what these 9 years later]?" I thought about that particular item for a moment and said "No, I do not." It was not a dig at the LRC no matter what the point. It was an honest disagreement on doctrine or practice.

And since then there has not been a single mention of the LRC. If she and her family were not just that — family — I doubt we would be getting together later this month for my 62nd birthday. It may be no more than dinner at a restaurant on the nearest Sunday. But we are not strangers.

But without that connection, the desire to keep in touch will fade. Or they will be warned-off by the leadership saying you are lepers or opposers. and being dutifully followers of the "brothers," they will comply.

But the entirety of those in the so-called Church in Irving ceased to exist when we left so many years ago. One call from someone that I considered at least a little more real in his walk with Christ rather than his following of LRC traditions. But that was it. I do not see any of them anywhere (unless one of them happens to be at my sister's house when we visit there).

Once you are seen as beyond "recovery" even the more genuine ones will tend to let you go. Have excuses for not having dinner together. What is right about them is captured in a closed society and answers to its call or order, not what they would naturally feel inside. You may find some exceptions. But do not be surprised when it is pretty much as I describe here.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:24 PM   #79
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NFNL, the church is people, real people, the people near to us, the people with God in Christ as the Spirit living in their hearts, the people we love, and the people who love us. Of course, you knew that.

No ministry or denomination can replace that. When some human ministry demands an allegiance which interferes with our love for the Lord and for His children, then, and only then, must we leave that ministry. That's what happened to us when we left.

I rejoice because you are in a better place, filled with the love of God. He loves you and has blessed your family. Praise Him! His love is not dependent upon some ministry. That love is only dependent upon God and His children.

Great post, thanks for writing.
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Old 02-12-2017, 09:51 AM   #80
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What was good about the LCM is that it taught us to seek Christ and only Christ.

What was bad about it is that it went on to insist that could define for us what was Christ and what wasn't, even to the point of saying it was Christ and little else was.

This is the CONFUSING DICHOTOMY of the LCM. That it mixed crucial truths with crucial lies.

Seek only Christ! YES!!

We only are Christ! NO!!

For some the best experience of Christ they ever had was in the LCM. But also some of the worst spiritual abuses were there too. How can this be? I don't know, that is the essense of the CONFUSING DICHOTOMY.

For some, their recognition of the negative things about the LCM caused them to deny their good experiences. This caused a dissonance within themselves, because they know they experienced good things. This causes inner conflict and, if pressed, unhealthy denial.

The other side of this is the good experiences caused some to deny the negative aspects because of the question raised their minds: "How can something that seems so good be bad?" This also causes inner conflict and, if pressed, unhealthy denial.

Well, it's not a matter of good or bad. It's a matter of how some good things fell into the hands of some people who abused them, who used them in the service of the mistaken idea that they and they alone could dispense the experience of these things and had franchise rights to them.

It's not the organization, it's the organism. The problem is the LCM has equated the organization with the organism. THEY are IT, they think. Well they are, but not to the point of denying it to anyone else. We are all IT.

The Church is the people, the true worshipers who worship in spirit and truth. If you begin to think too much of yourself just remember that Jesus told the proud Jews God could raise up worshipers from stones on the ground. Enjoy the blessings of your full citizenship in the Kingdom of God, even enjoy them in your own way and the way of the culture of your group. But never think anything is proprietary to you or your group or that you control or define others' access to them.

THAT is the FUNDAMENTAL ERROR which leads to the CONFUSING DICHOTOMY, where the devil uses the good things of God against God's own people.
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Old 02-12-2017, 12:57 PM   #81
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[COLOR="Blue"][I]"everything you’ve ever told me about these people (the Saints)…I don’t understand.* I have to ask… WHY did you ever leave them?** Did you see Christ in them?* Wasn’t their living a real testimony to Christ’s work in them?* I’ve never even SEEN that in a Christian….”*

[I]"Yes... I saw Christ in them. And I... I don't know anymore."
When you're considered positive for the ministry LSM publishes, you see Christ in them. As soon as you question, have concerns, etc, you don't know anymore because the Christ you saw in them before are replaced as what OBW posted, "they will be warned-off by the leadership saying you are lepers or opposers. and being dutifully followers of the "brothers," they will comply."
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:15 PM   #82
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Hi again everyone,
I had an unusual call this week and this post prompted me to share it with you all.

First a quick background of my LC life. I was 21 when I got saved through the sharing of the gospel by the LC saints in 1975. I quickly moved into a sister's house.

I was very active and committed to the Lord and the church life. But by 1978, as we know the church life was murky. So I left.

Fast forward, in 2005, I visited my old church locality where a few of the saints from 1975 I knew well were still there. We had a nice 'family reunion' and truth be told, I was contemplating and praying as to return to the 'LC'. But it did not sit well even though I still loved the saints and felt a connection with them.

Btw, I live in a total different state from my church 'roots'. I was in the church life in California and have not lived in California since 1978!

We did not stay in touch after my visit but we exchanged telephone numbers.

NOW... to what transpired this week. I got a call from a sister I lived with back in the day. Boy. Was I surprised! She called to tell me that a sister we knew had recently passed away and wondered if I had lived in her household. I had not but of course I knew her. We were in the same 'locality' back then.

What was even stranger is that this sister and I briefly corresponded through this forum several years ago. She and her parents and siblings had left the LC in the 80s I think.. but a few years ago, her parents went back and there was a huge fallout between them as she was upset they returned.

I was told the mom had been caring for her daughter while she was stricken with cancer and that made me feel good knowing there was reconciliation in the family.

But why would I need to be contacted ? I have not had any contact with anyone since 1978/79 except for the brief visit to Cali in 2005.

I truly believe the Holy Spirit led my sister/friend to call me. We had good fellowship and fun reminiscing of our days when the church life in our locality was fun, good and healthy.

We did not talk much about the 'church life' as it is now. We prayed for the family of our sister / friend who is no longer suffering and is now in the Arms of the Lord.

And so... I now have it in my spirit to pray for my LC friends. But as the old song we used to sing:
NO..NO.. No, no. no. I'll never go back anymore.

Blessings to all..
God is GOOD. Jesus is our King and Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Friend, and Lover of our souls. Praise His Holy Name forevermore. Amen.




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I had a really good day yesterday, and just wanted to share it here.

We had some very dear friends from our old "church in Winnipeg" and Home meeting group in-province here for a family reunion, and my family and I (though not related by marriage or blood) were invited. To be honest, I have been leery of going to meet with them, although my wife has always kept in touch. It's not that I am afraid that they will try to convince me to return to the group, it's that I have worried that they might start asking why we left; and asked, I will have to honestly answer. I tried that, once before, and it lead to offense and abject fear. The sister I was addressing that time literally ran from the room and closed the door. I don't want to hurt these people. I love them, and yesterday brought that home again.

I enjoyed seeing them, I enjoyed their welcome. We talked, caught up on where we're at in life, played games, ate some food and watched our kids play together. There was no agenda on either side, and that was encouraging.

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again - there are some very dear saints in the local churches. The fact that there are some genuine Christians there doesn't mean the teachings in the local churches are all good - I think there are genuine Christians in the Roman Catholic church too, after all, and the faults I see in the teachings of that church.... well, you know what I mean. Anyway, knowing that there are real brothers and sisters in an LSM fellowship should keep our tone and our handling of those ones on the level of loving family (and I'm reminding myself of that as much as any of you).

As Paul wrote, we should "be prepared in season and out of season; (to) correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction..." 2 Timothy 4:2. But in writing that, Paul was speaking specifically of Preaching the Word - not of preaching the unrighteous sins of a sinister false-apostle. I think, if our heart is really for the brothers and sisters left behind in the "fog" (to borrow a term of Mike's), we will see that the best thing we can do for them is to live out our faith in a real way for them to see; and do that with all honesty and sincerity, confessing our own failings and trials as well as the victories and encouragements. In short, love them: for Christ said "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:25 PM   #83
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God is GOOD. Jesus is our King and Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Friend, and Lover of our souls. Praise His Holy Name forevermore. Amen.

The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
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Old 11-24-2018, 03:01 PM   #84
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Default Re: My Journey to the Local Church, and beyond...

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As I made my way through the Bible, my confusion grew - I did not have the discernment to understand what I was reading, and by the time I reached the Book of Revelation, I was terrified. I grew up sensitive to the precarious condition of the world around me - during the Cold War, the Iran Contra affair, during the height of tensions between East and West. I had long been horrified by the prospect of a third world war - and here in the these last pages those fears seemed borne out. Looking for answers, I went to my Pastor.

My Pastor was a dear man, and I've no doubt that he would have answered me if he could. Sadly, when I asked him what the Book of Revelation meant, he said only "We don't ever preach from that book." He was being honest. Most of the sermons in our church building were about church finances and good works. I was completely shattered. His admonition confirmed my worst fears - Christianity (what I knew of it at the time), was a sham - a make-believe religion where everyone claimed to believe the Bible was the Word of God, but nobody cared enough about it to read it.
I love this testimony because it highlights the dilemma of the "seeking Christian" today. The LC initially looks attractive because: 1) you compare it to experiences like this; and 2) the LC does a good job of hiding their own aberrations.

My point is this: Yes, "Christianity" is arguably a mess, and this allows sketchy groups like the LC to do business. But the answer is not to leave a group or join a group or start a group or give up on finding a group. The answer is to boil down the gospel message into its indissoluble core, at which point we can function in any group the Lord Jesus puts us in, whether on a street corner with unbelievers or invited to the Big City Anglican Church where the dude is up front with a mitred cap and a curved staff, and he's waving at us like he's the pope. You know, that slow, spiritual benediction wave.

Or wherever. The gospel is real, it doesn't change. Jesus said, "Seek and you will find." It is not only a promise but a command; it doesn't change.

Anyway, this was a great testimony & I'm so very glad nfnl put it down. Everyone has a journey and the journey is better when we share.
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