I lept out of the van, running away. My dad called after me and I tore the tie off my throat and yelled over my shoulder "I'm never going to church again!!!" some religious lady started walking towards me in her dowdy, yellow flower dress hoping to snag her brainwashing ways into me, instead, I ran away from her as well, jumped in the sky and flew away... and woke up.
Reaching for what we've Already Been Given
One of the craziest things the human race does is not taking God at his word. I mean... he's God. If he says it, well then it must be true. Unfortunately, it's been the pattern since Genesis for mankind to not take God at his word.
27 So Elohim created humanity in His image; in the image of Elohim He created it: male and female He created them.
Right after this the very first lie Adam and Eve fell for;
4 But the serpent said to the woman: Not to die shall you be dying;
5 for Elohim knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be unclosed, and you will become like Elohim, knowing good and evil.
Isn't that unbelievable? They were already LIKE GOD! But that wasn't enough, Satan spread doubt in them and they had to achieve what God has already given.
Then a little while later in Gensis 11;
4 And they said: Grant attention! Let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with it's top in the heavens. Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the surface of the entire earth.
Again, mankind sought to usurp God, or at the very least, be like him. This has been the pattern of mankind down through the ages. Regardless of religion, or culture.
It is also significant, every time men seek to contest God and either usurp him or be like him, they build high places. The Israelites did it during their times of rebellion. Continuously, their prophets had to destroy the high places and burn them. The Egyptians built high places of their pyramids. The Celts did it with their stone works, Stonehenge as an example.
The Aztecs did it with their temples, and I'm sure if you continue to look through history there are always high places when it comes to religion. Look at Islam, Mormonism and even Christianity with their high steeples and beliefs that seek to force open the gates of heaven by their own righteousness, and power.
Guess what people? God has already opened the gates of heaven to you.
In fact, we are still doing the same thing Adam and Eve did, attempting to achieve for ourselves what GOD has already given us.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 how that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the conciliation.
Let's stop trying to achieve what God has already done and rest in his grace.
Counting Heads - The Gentile Way
One thing that drove me absolutely batshit when I was in the ICOC was their obsession with numbers.
How many did you reach out to this week?
How many Bible studies are you doing?
How many did you baptize/How fruitful are you?
In the religious world numbers are the measure of how true your gospel is. The more true your gospel must be.
It is contradictory to note, God has operated completely the opposite in principle though. When he created mankind, he began with TWO people. Not group of 10s or 100s.
When the world was deluged in the flood, he saved Noah's family. Out of 8 billion (possibly) people in the world, he saved 8.
When Gideon went up against the middianites, he faced a countless army with only 300 men.
When David took down Goliath, he sent one lonely little boy to face down a giant and his army.
When Jesus came to save the world, he sent one lone savior to a cross, deserted by all his friends. Only his mother and a whore at the foot of the cross mourning his death. Rather than an army overthrowing the world by storm and demanding obeisance.
In every situation, and in every case, God has worked against the metrics of humanity and used the few, the weak, and insignificant.
And we measure the accuracy of our religion by the multitude, the wise and the esteemed?
The ICOC, and others in Christendom point out how THOUSANDs were baptised in the early days of Christianity, as the apostles preached.
Two numbers in particular are quoted
41 Those indeed, then, who welcome his word, are baptized, and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.
4 Now many of those who hear the word, believe, and the number of men became about five thousand.
Indeed this seems miraculous. However, when you stop to consider, they were preaching to the entire nation of Israel as present in Jerusalem at that time. A nation that needed to repent, and only a few thousand did?
Consider - Canada alone has a population of 34.48 million, and Calgary one of it's major Cities has a population of just over a million.
An entire nation and only 3,000-5,000 repented? The number becomes a shaming indictment against a nation that eagerly awaited it's messiah.