Bibleend timesHeavenJesus Christ

Association

So, I am always curious and intrigued by the answers I hear from people when asked about their faith or what drives them. Typically when the answer of a person is a declarative membership to a specific denomination or organization, “I’m a Baptist…I’m a Presbyterian. I’m a Lutheran. I’m a Catholic. I’m a Mormon. I’m Unitarian. I’m non-denominational. I’m Charismatic. I’m New Age. I’m a follower of The Secret. I’m Christian Reformed. Dutch Reformed. Reformed Reformed. I’m Southern Baptist. I’m an Atheist. I’m Agnostic. I’m Muslim. I’m Jewish. I’m philanthropic. I’m Conservative Southern Baptist. I’m Evangelical Free. I’m Anglican. I’m Roman Catholic. I’m Orthodox. I’m Mennonite. I’m Republican. I’m Democrat. I’m Methodist…” I hesitate and wonder. I know the person desires to be associated with something bigger than themselves…kind of the point of religion and politics, ya know, but the fact that the first thing out of their mouths is the brand and type of their church or un-church, well, to me, it’s always a red flag.

Now, before you go postal on me, I’m not judging you for belonging to a specific denomination. A long time ago I used to say emphatically that I was Catholic. After that, I made sure everyone who met me knew I was a Born-Again, Charismatic Christian. If you asked me today, I’d tell you that I love God with my whole heart and am so grateful He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me. I will only live for Him and I will die for Him only. I do not pledge my life or loyalties to the Pope, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Hagin, Beth Moore, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Oprah, or any other big name ‘evangelist’ type, no matter their ‘faith’ or religion.

The only man that walked the earth that I would live and die for is Jesus Christ, who was 100% man and 100% God. The reason I am writing all this today is I feel strongly to encourage anyone reading to figure out Who or who you believe in and follow accordingly. The reason a denominational or organizational answer is a red flag to me is that some people associate more with their name brand church or community than they do with Christ, or whoever it is they believe in. Speaking specifically to people who associate themselves with the name “Christianity”, the reality is, some people don’t know jack squat about Jesus. They read more novels and watch more Oprah or ‘JesusTV’ than anything every written by the Creator of the Universe, ie the Bible and have no clue that this Jesus, the One way to God, made it possible to be free from the curse and live for eternity in Heaven, but they have no clue what Heaven is. “It’s a nice idea and nice people go there, but bad guys don’t…” Really? How do you know that? Did someone tell you or did you actually read it yourself? As a stay at home mom, some women find more comfort from reading whatever is on Oprah’s Book Club or on her ‘Favorite Things’ episode than dusting off the family Bible and finding the true keys to abundant life. I don’t hate Oprah, but she didn’t die on a cross for me or for anyone else (just thought I’d throw that out there…)

Jesus didn’t come to earth to say nice fluffy stuff that made people feel good and tingly. He didn’t blow sunshine at people and say, “I’m the son of god.” He said in response to this: “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God,” “Yes, it is as you say.” Jesus didn’t ever claim to be one way to God. He claimed to be the only way to God. He also never left God open for interpretation, meaning, whoever you think God is or who He is to you. This isn’t like which pair of jeans fits you best or if you like your spinach fresh or sauteed.

This message does not have to be offensive…we either follow Jesus Christ or we don’t. We know Jesus said He is coming soon. When that day arrives and we are asked about our faith, not our good intentions, our denomination or organizational membership, but our faith, what will our answer be?

13 thoughts on “Association

  1. P.S. I wanted to add that although my worth comes from Christ alone and conforming to Him….

    I also feel extremely extremely blessed to be an American and am very proud to identify myself as one. I believe this is the greatest nation God ever created and that were were called to spread the gospel like no other nation has been called before. He has blessed us tremendouly with resources and wealth and freedom and we’ve always thanked Him for it – which is why He gives more and more. We have allowed God to use us more than any other nation has before… and I believe we have a huge responsibility to continue to elect ‘right’ leadership that will keep our economy free and our people free and will continue to give honor to God for our blessings —- so that we can be used to bless the world – be His hands and feet.

    God could withdraw His protection and blessings from our nation at any point – and use a different nation to spread His gospel and be the light in the world if we don’t make good decisions. We have a lot of responsibility because of all the wealth and resources available to us just for being born into America – and I don’t take those blessings lightly. I am passionate about my political views and political association. But I do whatever I can to always check what is being told me to see if the viewpoints line up with the Bible. Just because a certain group says something – I don’t automatically beleive that – even if the majority of the time, what they say is biblically based — I always have to check the Word myself. Or seek godly advice from my husband, pastor friends when I don’t understand something.

    All that being said — these groups that we associate with….and our political views… like you said, should never be above our association with Christ.

    Above all else, I am a part of the body of Christ — with a new Spirit in me — and that is my most important and eternally distinctive association!

    Ironically, I was going to post about politics yesterday but got sidetracked and will be doing it later this week.

    Just felt the need to add all that in! 🙂

  2. I’ve followed your blog from when Noah was in the hospital…and I’ve never stopped being inspired.
    I know you probably hear it so much, but thank you for opening your life, your faith, your hurt, your love.
    I’ve never commented before (well, maybe I did…like over a year ago though!) but just know that I am following along with you and truly am inspired by what you are going through and how you lean on God.
    God Bless you and your family
    Hilary – MN

  3. Thank you for this post. I needed to hear what you had to say. After being practically born in a church pew, working in ministry after Bible college, and writing curriculum and a blog that seeks to share Jesus, I’ve suddenly been surprised by a strange sort of faith crisis. I want Jesus, but the whole church thing has thrown me for a loop, and I’m left wondering where I fit since the way we look is obviously not how He intended us to look. I cannot pigeonhole myself in any particular denomination with total gusto, but know I need to be in community with other folks. And yet, the community stinkin’ hurts sometimes, a lot of times, actually. So I’m on this journey, knowing without a doubt that I’ll end up with Jesus, but not knowing exactly how I’ll fit into His body/Bride. It’s at a messy point right now, but I’m trusting Him to get me through it, healing me of a lot of anger regarding this whole issue. I just never in a million years thought I’d be at a point where I would be “taking a break” from church. It’s no fun, and I look forward to getting through this time.

    I do have a blog where I write this journey process, but had to make it private because someone from my past found it two weeks ago, and it made my husband concerned for my safety. But my comment here should link to my email address.

  4. In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I am alone
    When I am alone
    When I am alone, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I come to die
    When I come to die
    When I come to die, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    ***********************************
    As I read your post, I kept hearing Jeremy Camp sing the above song. I feel the same way…you can have all this world, just give me Jesus.

  5. You have put into words how I have felt for YEARS. I, too, was raised Catholic and used to proclaim to any who would listen that I was a born-again Charismatic church-goer. Now-a-days when people ask me about my “religion”, I tell them I am a Believer. Thanks for a great post.

  6. this makes me think of the old song…”i am a C. i am a C-H. i am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. and i have C-H-I-R-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and i will L-I-V-E-E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y!”

    in most scenarios, just answering…“i am a Christian.” will be quickly followed by the question, “where do you go to church.”

    so, personally, i do not think that most people answer, “i am baptist, catholic, or e-free” because they trying to say that they are MORE associated with their religion than Christ, as much as they are answering what they know will be the next question.

    great post, as always.

  7. Thanks for this great post! I really sense that these are the times when people will and do come saying, “I am the Christ (meaning “anointed of God”)”, and Jesus said they would say to follow after their way….but Jesus said, “DON’T GO”. On the Mount of Transfiguration, God told the disciples who were there, “This is My Son, listen to Him.” We must put the word of God into our minds (hide His word in our hearts) and let the Holy Spirit teach and counsel us. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s all about knowing Him. The enemy of our souls has a new lie he is trying out in these times, just like he lied to Eve in the Garden….”Did God really say that the only way to the Father was through the Son?” Well, the answer is yes….and God hasn’t changed…..ever. When God sets up a covenant, we are not under it unless we live by its rules….God set them up….He’s still living by the rules. You don’t win unless you play by His rules….like it or not.

  8. P.S. (again) —- I wanted to apologize for posting that 2nd comment – I know it really wasn’t relevant to what you were saying – but I wanted to share what was on my heart hahaha sorry! 🙂 I didn’t mean to distract from your central point.

    BUT it’s awesome how God works – today I was compelled to read in Galatians for some reason – and then when I read Galatians 2, I was blown away that it was exactly about this same topic you posted about! GOd always does that to me. In this chapter it was talking about the gentiles and jews — and how the gentiles shouldn’t have to observe Jewish traditions. This is so so applicable to what you’re saying. We can’t continue to have divisions in the church and so many different branches focusing so much on laws. Jesus came so we could be ONE. (Ephesians 2:14-18) He reconciled all of us together to collectively be the body. We can follow ‘laws’/ ‘rituals’/ ‘religion’ and I believe that’s okay — they can be very honoring to Him when done with the right heart and intentions….. but we should never push our laws on others or have it be a ‘standard’ in any way shape or form!

    Great post as usual – it stayed with me today too!

  9. I’ve been several denominations in my life…and a pastor’s kid too, which somehow makes people think that you have a free ticket to eternity or are cursed to ‘fall away’.
    I like to say that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ…through Him I have redmeption and forgiveness of my sins. God is my Savior and King, and without the Bible and His words, I don’t know where I would be in this life nor would I want to imagine what I would believe in.
    I thank God every morning for saving me…for loving me…for His grace…for His mercy. I fall short and the more I get to know Him through His word, the more I see how far I’ve yet to go- yet I find His love to be that much more amazing!
    It’s sad to me, that growing up in churches I knew so much- yet missed so much at the same time. I give God all the praise and glory for ‘disciplining me’ and now in recent years, for ‘allowing me to suffer’ so that I may be more refined and look forward to eternity with ‘new eyes’.
    It is a journey and thankfully He has called me to it. There’s no other road I’d rather take than this one that leads me Home to Him.
    Thank you, Adrienne for being bold in your faith and encouraging so many others in theirs. Love and blessings to you and your family. As always.

  10. AMEN!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for stating what you just stated. I often think the same thoughts, and try to answer, “I’m a Christian – a follower of Jesus Christ.” But I totally understand the whole associating with the denomination thing. Anyway, a great reminder to follow the One, the Only…JESUS!!! Blessings, Sister.

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