Is There Anyone Out There?
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Q: I began my Christian journey in October 1999. I got saved in a 
local church and attended there for a few months. As time went 
on I became really hungry for the things of God and went to 
church all the time where ever I could; I even had them 
regularly in my home.

I have prayed often for guidance from the Lord, and asked Him to 
lead me into a local church in order to live according to the 
Word. I am being pulled in every direction from various 
churches, telling me that their doctrine is right.

Here's the problem: I know that the answer to my problem is in 
the Word, and that is why the Lord tells me often to study the 
Word . . . but, until I learn the Word and know that I know that 
I know...I am not sure who I can trust with my soul. 

Every Pastor I speak to can make their way seem to be the right 
way; they have scriptures to back up their beliefs. The only 
problem is, if there is only one God, one Word, one truth that 
is revealed through the Holy Spirit, shouldn't everyone who is 
truly seeking God, seeking righteousness, seeking holiness... 
shouldn't the Holy Spirit be revealing the same truth to them 
all? 

Am I just being ignorant to the ways of God? 

I truly love the Lord and I try to have fellowship in my home 
three times a week, but that's not enough. I still am not 
fulfilling what God has called me to be. I need to sit under 
someone filled with the love of God who practices what 
they preach and who is a doer of the word.

Is there anyone out there who wants to truly be an extension of 
the life of Jesus Christ, who wants to move with compassion to 
reach the needy, open blinded eyes and heal the sick, or am I 
just a visionary with goals too high to reach?

Sincerely seeking some advice.

Thanks
(In case you are wondering why I left the church that I was 
saved in, the pastor and a member of the congregation were 
involved in some sort of situation that was not appropriate and 
there was no desire from either of them to change the situation)

From the Mountain:

Your quest is not an unusual one. Not only is it common, I also 
went through something very similar. There are several 
phenomena at work. You need to understand something of the 
nature of the situation to clearly see the solution.

1. Churches have a tendency to take on the spirit and view of 
the leader. 

Even in groups where each speaker preaches the same message of 
the group of churches, still, that group takes on the spirit of 
the leader. That is natural and virtually unavoidable.

No matter what the religion, all scripture allows for 
interpretation. All religious writing is usually written on 
several levels of understanding. You can take virtually any 
event and pull from it a multitude of interpretations. How 
those interpretations are presented will depend upon the 
interpreter.

2. Each denomination has its own belief structure. 

There are over 70 different denominations of Christianity. 
Of all of the major religions of the world, NONE have just ONE 
belief. Even though they all use the same book or set of 
writings, time and size will create varying interpretations or 
points of emphasis. That is true with all religions.

You may think Catholicism is an exception since they are 
governed by one central body with one message but where do you 
think Protestants came from?

When you know history, you will find that as each religion 
grows, it produces varying opinions from the same text. Even 
religions that appear to be unified from the outside, when you 
know inside structure, you often find great variation of opinion 
and doctrine.

Which belief structure is right?

I am a Christian so naturally I am inclined to say Christianity. 

So which of the over 70 denominations is right?

Whoa? See what I mean.

We are stuck with differences of doctrine.

Why?

Because of three words that will generally never be said.

Those three words are, "I was wrong."

You won't hear any group say that. 
Even if they see it, they won't say it.
No one is ever going to say that the viewpoint that they have 
been espousing all these years is not the best way. It just 
won't be done, even if it's seen.

So, we are stuck with an ever increasing number of "absolutely 
right" ways.

Does it make any difference?
All of the minute details?
Does it matter in the saving of your soul?

That's another never-ending discussion. But be advised we are 
stuck with many different ways and opinions all from the same 
book.

3. No leader of a group will be perfect.

You couldn't find perfection in the Bible. From Moses to the 
disciples, men were filled with doubt, fear, lack of faith and 
disobedience, even among the best of the best. Jesus said why 
call him good, there is only one good, that is God. 
Matthew 19:17

The only reason people think certain leaders are perfect is that 
they don't know all of the details. If they did, they would 
find out that leaders have major flaws as we all do.

4. Find a leader that you would want to model your life after. 

Although no one is perfect, some are undoubtedly better than 
others. For you to be elevated, you need someone on a higher 
plane than you are. Find that person.

All leaders are not for everyone. Different people need 
different things spiritually. Some need emotionalism, some need 
logic, some need great singing, some need great demonstrations 
of the gifts of the spirit, some need a calming environment, 
etc.

If you understand that churches take on the spirit of the leader 
and that all leaders and groups are imperfect, then what you 
need to find is a leader that has the CLOSEST spirit and 
direction to where you want to go.

Let me give you a brief history of my own search and maybe that 
will help you understand your own.

I grew up in a Baptist church. The minister was one of the most 
well-respected and renown in the city. He was awesome and laid 
much of my spiritual foundation.

He grew old. He was nearly 80 and still in the pulpit. I 
stopped receiving any growth from his messages. I was in my 
early 20's. My family was attending there.

I informed my parents that I was no longer being fed, and I had 
to go somewhere else. I had no idea where, I just knew it was 
somewhere other than where I was.

I went to another large church. The pastor was again a well-
renown minister. He was awesome and perhaps is still the best 
preacher that I have ever heard. I left in about a year. 

Why?

He was flamboyant. Big rings on his fingers, a reputation of 
extramarital affairs, he was a character larger than life. 
That wasn't where I wanted to go.

Though I was young and single, I instinctively understood that 
who stood over me would impart an anointing on me. I would have 
a tendency to take on their mantle. Simply put, I didn't want 
his mantle. He was a great speaker. I just didn't want his 
lifestyle for my family and future.

I went from church to church seeking a proper spiritual leader.

Understand that there was nothing necessarily wrong with each 
church. I just knew it wasn't for me. How? I just knew.

Also, understand that during my search I did not stop seeking. 
Many will have a negative experience at a church and it will 
poison their view on all churches.

There are crooks in ministry. 
More than I care to admit, for I have met some. 
There are those who play on the congregation's emotions and 
fears for monetary or power purposes. Yes, there are 
counterfeits and there are those who have just fallen for one 
reason or another.

There is a possibility that you may get counterfeit money. 
If you do, you discard the fake and keep the real. Many in a 
spiritual search run across the counterfeit and assume that it's 
all counterfeit and discard it all. 

Discard the counterfeit, keep the real. 

Even if there is only one righteous in your city, find that one. 
When God looked over the world, he only found one righteous man, 
Noah. When you look over your world, you may only find one 
righteous. One was all that God needed to get done what He had 
to get done.

One righteous is all that you need for a spiritual leader.

In most of the churches that I visited, I did not sense anything 
wrong. I just didn't sense that they were for me. 
So, I kept looking.

Don't get into a state where you stop looking. 
That's a fatal mistake in any quest.

A friend and I were out at a restaurant late one night and a 
group of girls came into the restaurant. They sold us tickets 
to a Christian play and invited us to attend their church. 
We went to the play and the church.

The minute that I walked in, I got a feeling that this was the 
place for me.

It was small, the roof leaked; it had metal chairs and plastic 
over the windows.

When I heard the minister, I knew that was the place for me for 
that time.

The friend that went with me didn't like the minister or the 
church. One church or leader doesn't fit every person.

A couple of years later my younger brother became pastor of a 
church. He had been teaching a Bible study each week in my 
parent's home for 13 years. I also had been attending there 
each week.

Now I had two churches and I actually split my time between the 
two. I tithed to each of them, so I actually double tithed.

I trusted the leadership of both churches, but I never joined 
either. I knew within my spirit that they were the places for 
me at the time. I also knew they were not my final destination.

I had a hunger to learn that I had never experienced before. 
Even the two churches were not enough. I went to Sunday morning 
service, Bible study on Thursday, Bible study on Friday, and 
Sunday night service at a THIRD church.

For me, the logical scientist, attending church services four 
times per week was something that no one could have told me that 
I would ever do voluntarily.

Five years later, another of my younger brothers began pastoring 
a church. He asked me to be his Co-Pastor. I immediately 
joined that church. Not because I was Co-Pastor (I was very 
active in both churches), but because I knew that was where I 
was destined to be.

Five years later, my brother and I agreed to exchange places 
because I was the more experienced leader. I became Pastor and 
he became Co-Pastor.

That is a condensed version of my own search for a church home.

You are confused now about the different doctrines. The vast 
majority of the differences are on minutiae and not really major 
spiritual differences. Remember the Pharisees and the 
Sadducees? They had a split over the belief of life after 
death. They had a difference of opinion of something that the 
law didn't clearly address. Thus were two denominations from 
the same text.

Jesus put it this way. . . (Mat 22:37-40 NIV) Jesus replied: 
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your 
soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest 
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as 
yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two 
commandments."

Within each church will be a full range of spirits, no matter 
where you go.

You will find good and bad, peaceful and tumultuous, self-
sacrificing and self-serving, all within each church.

I know from experience as a Pastor, there are two types of 
seekers.

1. The true seekers they are searching for truth as close as 
they can find it.
2. The reflection viewers they think they are seeking truth, 
but in reality are constantly seeing a reflection of themselves 
wherever they go. Wherever they go, they find flaws and fault 
and the pattern continues.

This is a LONG answer that has in reality not given you the 
answer. 

I have not given you the answer because I can't. 

You asked: Is there anyone out there who wants to truly be an 
extension of the life of Jesus Christ, who wants to move with 
compassion to reach the needy, open blinded eyes, and heal the 
sick...

Yes there is. 

They are there but you must also be ready when He appears.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Many times the quest itself is a part of the answer and the 
lesson.

A MountainWings Original

from MountainWings.com

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