Just Breathe

Church isn’t an action, but an identity.  
Therefore, we need to seek our identity, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord: we need to seek Jesus; and in Him, we will find ourselves, the true selves He created us to be.
God  said, “I Am that I Am.”
We  say, “I am the church; we are the church.”
“Follow me,” Jesus said.   He wanted us to understand that He was calling us to be like Him.  
Whatever Jesus did, we need to do too!
Someone asks, “Why are you doing this?”
“Because Jesus did it!” we respond.
That is enough to know.
We don’t ask children why they are acting like their father because that is natural, even expected.
We should naturally expect each other to act like [follow] God.
The traditional church misses out on Who Jesus is because they are practicing church; they have reduced worship to a form, a structure, a highly refined and rigidly reproduced practice.  Church is not something we do!
The pew people follow a practice instead of being themselves, instead of learning who they are in Christ.  They think, “Jesus called me to sit on this pew.”  
They’ve been brainwashed to believe that, if they don’t go through particular physical motions and routines, that they are not close to God.  They really do think church is something you do:  “We’re going to church!” they say proudly.  They think church is a holy place instead of a holy people.  They don’t understand that being the church is no more difficult than breathing.
Breathing takes no effort, is never planned or rehearsed, and takes no thought to do.  How ridiculous would it be if we told somebody–“We’re practicing to breathe!”–wouldn’t that be silly?
You know how you can tell if someone is relying upon the Holy Spirit?
They’re loose. They feel no pressure. Nothing is planned. [It may be prophetically foreseen, of course.]
Believers who rely upon the Holy Spirit don’t practice church anymore than they would practice breathing.
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
–Acts 17:28

6 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. This was on my heart last night as I laid down to bed brother. Church is most certainly not a building – like we just added a new rec room onto the church. Church is not even the gathering you go to (the assembling of the local Church). We are the Church. I am thinking about writing a little tract called “Better than church”. When lead I make tracts and go stand outside places where professing christians gather (conferences, acquire the fire, etc) to try and get truth into the hands of the teenagers. Part of my heart for this is because my wife grew up in a terrible religious home, born and bred in the captivity of the system, and I know the pain and trouble it caused her. I know God has a few sheep scattered among the young goats that are in desperate need of hearing the truth. Then it is an easy work for the Holy Spirit to peel away all the religious garbage, allowing them to receive the simple word of God, the simplicity of Jesus Christ, and find much joy in Him. Many unconverted youth group kids could be saved too. They need to know that the kingdom of God is not just in word but in the powerful reality of Christ working within us individually and when we gather as His saints.

    God bless you guys Mark. Plan to see you tonight. -Jim

  2. Mark said, “Therefore, we need to seek our identity, which is in Christ Jesus or Lord.”

    Even when I attended church, there were those encouraging to do this very thing. We would make lists of all the things God says about His children and that was an encouragement. It was part of discovering what He has accomplished in a finished work.

    You also said, “We need to seek Jesus.”

    Even in this there were some people encouraging me although this usually amounted to a list of things I was supposed to do like read the Bible and pray etc.

    Then you said, as if a conclusion to the above, “We will find ourselves, the true selves He created us to be. Have you ever noticed all the people that think by just seeking God and going through the religious routines that they fill finally discover where they belong in the midst of the people of God? And how is it that the majority of the these people never do discover this- they are continually asking for and never discovering God’s specific will for them.

    It is a wonderful thing to discover who we are in Christ, and to praise our Father for all He has done through Jesus. Combine this with an active abiding relationship with Christ, and we get all filled with truth and love and then find ourselves at out wits ends in knowing how to express this with others. We invent ministries, we open our own doors and we push and pull hard to make what we believe to be God’s will happen. WHY? What is the missing ingredient?

    Sadly, when all those people were pointing me to my identity in Christ they forgot one thing- you. My identity is not an isolated thing, its would up and spiritually joined with all of you- with one another. My identity in Christ includes you- it necessitates you. Even if spend my days seeking God, praying and reading and writing and sharing, what good is that without you too? I’m not performing a function for nothing, am I not approaching Him on your behalf as well? Can I find where I belong in the dark without my hands, legs or eyes?

    The church system and those who lead it can lead the saints into some truth, but that truth can never be lived and experienced effortlessly because it takes work to keep that system going. It is only when the rug gets pulled out from under what men have erected that the people of God are free to see, free to live and free to experience Jesus one with another. Where the system is gone or never existed, the saints congregate naturally, no effort, no pleading or convincing is required. It’s merely the result of the first two things above Mark mentioned.

    On the other hand, where the saints fail to discover what the system can never provide, more and more bizzare “answers” will arise such as Rob Bell’s nooma video called Breathe. Sorry Mark, but man’s religion has far surpassed ridiculous already.

  3. Teaching true doctrine in an artificially contrived context is better than no truth; but it is not better than teaching truth in a relational, Holy Spirit inspired and ordered lifestyle.

    And yes, we cannot be spiritually healthy while living in isolation: we must participate in body life.

    Thanks for all that, Michael. Missed speaking with you tonight. Peace

  4. I haven’t yet gone to a church that stands on the apostles doctrine (true doctrine which was given to them by Christ)? Simple though it is – feminism has crept in and attacked the order of the church (1cor11) which in turn has had an adverse effect on true doctrine. If we look at this order the way God taught from the beginning then we see the love of Christ.

    The apostles didn’t ask people to jump through hoops or perform death defying actions. It was simple and built around family life and love of God through the family and the extended family (Gods people) meeting together and loving one another having knowledge of the forgiveness given to us by Christ.

    Apply the teaching of 1 cor 11 today and people get all up in arms about it. But the fact is – it is the order ordained by God. The man was ordained the head of the household not to be a despot and bully everyone into submission but to lead. The biblical way of leading is to “lead by example” – If you want your family to be loving, then you are to be loving, if you want your children to grow up hard working then you are to be an example of someone who loves his work…Task masters get other people to do the hard work, leadership is done by those who have also done and are doing the hard work. It is about being a servant. It is also about submission to Christ. If man represents the head of a house and his wife does not want to submit to him then how can she submit to Christ. If we don’t want to submit to those we can see and have been placed there by God then how can we submit to God who we cannot see.

    And the other way round is this – do we love our wives as Christ loves the church? Church order in 1 corinthians 11 is something that we don’t want to talk above into todays “churches” but when followed the way Christ ordained then we have the order given by Christ. Today this order is what is attacked and today we see chaos all over the place because the family unit is attacked by society and the world. This teaching needs to be taught clearly to all of the people of God. Look at the importance placed upon this teaching – in the following verses God teaches us of the Lords supper – do we do one and ignore the other? What does it mean to be a loving husband and a loving wife…clear teaching on these will help us move forward.

    I don’t agree with the sunday meetings in denominations today but I do think that we have to be firmly grounded in the word of God but grab back the love that the early churches had. This seems to be lost today – The Sunday service just seems so dead to me!? I don’t see the love, joy and peace of the people of God but instead I see caged, spirit quenched and depressed people who are crying out for true fellowship…

    Lord, hear our prayer? Forgive us for our bemoaning?

  5. Ccsaxton, I couldn’t agree more …

    I was asked to speak to a local assembly about a year ago, so I went. I spoke to them about headship and submission [as it applies to all of us] and also the individual responsibilities that husbands and wives have to one another and the body of Christ [God’s order among His people].

    3 months later, they made a local, elderly lady their ‘official leader.’

    Apparently, I was pretty persuasive [toothy grin]!

    [Yeah, I know; it’s not funny, but sad.]

    It was a confirmation to me that I spoke on the right topic, however …

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