The summer of 1963 was a summer to remember. I had my call into ministry, participated in the Civil Rights March to DC, and heard Martin Luther King, Jr. give his famous “I have A Dream “ speech and get my first job. Which by the way was as a dish washer making $35 a week. I would give my mother $20 and pay my tithes of $3.50 to my dad’s church and use the rest for myself. I was not permitted to minister outside our local church yet that would come later.
So for the next few years, all that sticks out to me was a pattern of work and attending church every opportunity that arose. Raised in a church environment where everything was sin, from the music you listened to – to killing the infestation of roaches that filled our home, it was difficult distinguishing what sin really was. All I can remember is that we could do nothing right and beat ourselves into an emotional frenzy in church to kill the flesh. While any form of entertainment or enjoyment outside of attending some church event was opening up to the devil. Children were not permitted to have fun.
We were small in number because we had the “Truth,” and any form of “large” church activity was viewed as not preaching the truth. No church was right except the “Apostolic” churches we fellowshipped with and other churches who did not believe in the Oneness of the God head or the right baptism in Jesus name were in error. The word “Trinity” was a dirty word in our circles and anyone who used it was referred to as “Three God people.” I got the impression from Sunday School that there were the bible days and then there is the present times. No link between history and the scripture. All I knew was from the pages of scripture to every day life today. So by the time I was drafted in the Army and entered Basic training, I was a mixed up young man.
This is Part 6 of a series entitled “My Personal Journey”
You can read Part 1 at:
Or continue on to Part 7 at – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/08/02/cultural-shock-my-personal-journey/
Even though I was only fifteen, going to church for me meant a lot more than the music, the preaching, the devotions, and the activities. I wanted so much to gain an understanding of what I believed and why. I had no mentors or spiritual fathers to guide me, so with a hunger that was eating at my insides and a poem that filled my mind, my spiritual journey began. It wasn’t so much the peer pressure that made me leave school as the need to not socialize and be alone that was consuming me.
Learning to navigate around the bible was instilled in me early. I learned the books of the bible, the divisions, the authors, and any basic bible knowledge I could retain. My mother taught me the importance of prayer and that it was those private times with God that were more important than the information I was trying to ingest.
I haven’t spoken much about my spiritual encounters that I guess began as early as when I was 8 years old. I would have strange dreams of the future and see ghostly figures come to my room at night. It was not the normal nightmares of children because with most of these I was fully awake. They didn’t frighten me just disturbed me. For the next few years I got used to nightly visitors to my room. But by the time I was twelve, they suddenly stopped. Now before you think I am crazy, let me interject that my childhood development sat the stage for my later spiritual maturity.
This is Part 4 of a series. Part 1 can be found at –
Or you can move on to Part 5 at
Jesus pointed out three misconceptions regarding worship to the woman at the well in John 4:21-24.
(1) KNOWLEDGE– Jesus began with the woman’s comprehension of what she practiced or knew (knowledge) as “worship.” That is the problem, many of us are trapped in traditions that were never fully explained or validated as scriptural or biblical. It is because we don’t take the time to study and research for ourselves that we come up with wrong conclusions to right ideas. Relearning what God really wants from us in worship must be sought and not imagined.
(2) LOCATION – Jesus then redefined the location of worship (the place) from a geographical structure to a supernatural reality. His attempt was to release one from the visible reality of a manifestation of God’s Glory; and then transport them to a faith-walk imprinting the presence of God in our minds. We have gotten so accustomed to physical structures that reflect worship (i.e. tabernacles, temples, sanctuaries, and churches); and mark time and space to capture the Glory, we are in essence lost in our own inventions. So we never journey to the supernatural because we see too much in the natural.
(3) PATTERN – Jesus then moved to the pattern of worship (Spirit and Truth). We must journey between the visible to the invisible and back again. In other words, our worship must invoke the presence of God as we assure ourselves that our prayer language is reaching the Throne Room. We really can’t have one without the other. The Holy Spirit is activated by the personification of Truth in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The need for Jesus Christ to become Truth, not just give truth. We are too factual and not focused on essence of truth because the wisdom of truth has not invaded our knowledge of truth.
The pattern of worship is (Spirit and Truth). We must journey between the visible to the invisible and back again. In other words, our worship must invoke the presence of God as we assure ourselves that our prayer language is reaching the Throne Room. We really can’t have one without the other. The Holy Spirit is activated by the personification of Truth in the person and work of Jesus Christ. What we know has to supersede what we comprehend with our human senses. That is the problem, many of us are trapped in traditions that were never fully explained or validated as scriptural or biblical. But it is because we don’t take the time to study and research for ourselves. So in an effort to release one from the visible reality to an invisible reality of a image of God’s Glory; and then transporting them on a faith-walk imprinting the presence of God in one’s mind. We have gotten so accustomed to physical structures that reflect worship (i.e. tabernacles, temples, sanctuaries, and churches); we then mark time and space to capture the Glory, we are in essence lost in our own inventions. So between our own selfish natures and demonic influences we are struggling to maintain a worship atmosphere. An atmosphere of power that must propel us beyond icons and monuments that trap us into the now; to the freshness of God’s Glory filling the earth with the fragrance of the Holy Spirit.
When I researched what we term, “The early or primitive church,” I was amazed at the amount of cautions and warnings regarding false teachers. They were constantly commanded to guard their faith and salvation. We are also challenged to build ourselves up through prayer and discernment. Jude v20, “but you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit” (Net Bible). Jude v3 suggests that we should contend for the Faith – this means we should fight, question, and stand firm against heresies that arise in opposition to the faith of the Church. Jude states, “ Dear friends, although I was eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write to you and urge you to continue your vigorous defense of the faith that was passed down to the saints once and for all.” (ISV) The Apostles expected believers to be able to discipline themselves in doctrine and maintain strong Christian values. However, it became evident quickly that this was not going to happen without teachers and prophets (Acts 13:1). The lack of strong Christian conviction continues today. We can not make people confess what they don’t believe, and we can not live what we don’t confess. I believe the defense today should not be on the principle of sin, but the activity of sin, not by sinners , but by believers.
Oddly stated, but profoundly true when we view the development of Christian thought and practice. A lot of what we accept or believe is not a sole background of scripture, but a combination of traditional history and acceptable scripture. In today’s social climate the relationship between Scripture and tradition clash with our need to defend individual liberties. But neither can be studied in isolation. They interact with one another if only through a third party: the church visible. It might help to define the two terms. The term, scripture refers to the canonical writings of both testaments. “Tradition”, most times, refer solely to extra-scriptural or even un-scriptural traditions. But tradition is needed to supplement what we know about Scripture, to provide historical teaching not found in Scripture. Apostolic tradition as a supplement to Scripture was a constant guide to Christian lifestyles very early in church history. However, theologians were slow to defend beliefs which they acknowledged not to be in Scripture. Most Christian can’t comprehend the relationship between Tradition and Scripture today. Even though, all religious groups have some form of tradition. No matter how liberal a group tries to alienate itself from the modern church, they still have some authority structure, some standards of what is and is not “Christian.”
Welcome to the New Gospel Church of the people. Meeting needs and feeding egos. You remember, the Old gospel, getting into the presence of God. Where we sought the righteousness of God.; The New gospel is liberation from low self-esteem, emptiness, and loneliness. In fact, the New gospel is entirely about what one can get out of it, not what one brings to it. The Old gospel was about God, his holiness and love. The New gospel is about loving one’s self and meeting one’s needs. The New Gospel is very ego-centric; the Old gospel was Theo-centric.
The point is “church” has really become selfish and more about our needs than what is required. Yes, the Lord will supply all our deficiencies in time. But the real truth is we present to God what He requires before we get what we desire. In the midst of this great need to get our needs met, have we forgotten the principle of sacrifice and commitment before reward and benefits? So do we allow the New to replace the Old? Do we continue this selfish trend or break these new habits and return to worship as outlined in the scripture?
This modern era of believers are putting more confidence in faith as a verb than faith as a noun. In the Greek, the word for faith, “pistis” is both a noun and a verb. More emphasis has been put on the verb usage that the noun. We want to see faith in action rather have confidence in the assurance of faith. The proper idea is that we have “Faith.” That is we have confidence, assurance, hope in someone or something we can trust in (I Cor 15:58). The real test of Faith is not just in what you know about scripture, but how much of scripture knows you. The faithful have to know that healings, deliverance, miracles, and power are not always the word of the day. Sometime in spite of it all, patience, hope, and love have to sustain us even when it seems there is no light at the end of a long tunnel.
Doctrinal differences and not doctrinal clarity are what define the diversity in the Protestant community. Along with that, what started out in the 1500s as an attack on the organized church to reform its practices and return to the scriptures, has in fact become a rebellion. So I ask who then can properly interpret scripture and bring truth to light? Over 600 years ago, the Protestant Reformation cried foul and offered every person the opportunity to read the scriptures for themselves and do their own interpretation. They suggested the bible be printed in the language of the people and let it be the sole interpreter of itself. What a disaster this has been. Countless messiahs and numerous cults later, the problems still have not been solved. Jesus stated when he returns will He find faith on the earth (Luke 18:8). I wonder does this means faith in God or faith in one another?
When 120 people emerged from a secret prayer meeting and announced a new move of God, and converted over 3,000, it was not received with great elation. In fact, persecution, discord, and confusion of the new Faith began immediately. Although miracles were common and the Apostles were charismatic, culture, religion, and government has hindered the growth of the church. If judgment is going to begin with God’s house, then we are viewing the beginning of the end. Fallen leaders and spiritually bankrupt churches are a constant reminder that something is out of sync. Is it God not caring or the church not commanding? Revival is needed.