Seems like everyday I am confronted with disciples who are experiencing hindrances to Organic Life. Organic life is simply a Christ life without the institutional programs. It is a life fully surrendered to Christ alone and under the organic direction of the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt the years in the religious system and the pressure from our peers can have its toll on us. In my observation, I am amazed how much of our past is hindering us going forward in the future. It is in the transitional phase from bondage to total freedom that the following things can hinder our growth in Christ, or our daily Christ-Life. For the sake of understanding, I will call this transitional place the desert. Not only does it feel like a desert with its loneliness, the withdrawals and the feeling of need, but it’s where we cling to things that do not bring us to The Life the Lord Jesus Himself. Rest assured the desert has a purpose. The Lord doesn’t play with His children. Everything He does or permits has a purpose, and it’s in His plan for our good.
Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?
Song of Solomon 8:5
Drawing us closer to Him is always behind everything the Father does. I have been taught by the Lord to extend grace to my new organic brothers because “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Time and patience will bring forth the Lord’s fruit in each one of us. Let’s look at some of the hindrances the Lord has revealed to me that keep us from walking in the fullness of an Organic Church Life.
In this transition time we need to move:
- From the need for weekly services or meetings to being aware of His daily divine appointments.
At first, while attending the institutional church, I became more and more uncomfortable with those things did not line up with the Way. Then, one day I had enough. I simply could not continue to attend without causing a stir. I knew in my Spirit that wasn’t the nature of Christ. In the following weeks and what seemed for a long time, I went through what I call “religious withdrawal.” On Sundays I would sit in my living room alone with my Bible in hand. Sixteen years pastoring and being considered quite a citywide intercessor, I was lost without participating in some kind of service. I remember putting on some Christian songs and trying to “worship” with them by myself. But even with the music on, I felt something was missing. What was missing was revealing what was lacking in my relationship with the Lord. I didn’t like what I saw in myself, but I certainly couldn’t stomach returning to the Sunday morning religious calisthenics of which I was so accustomed. There I sat Sunday after Sunday, the Father loving on me even though I didn’t know how to love Him back without my religious props. I learned a new appreciation for those who quit drugs cold turkey. Through this process I have learned there is no such thing as Spiritual time and Secular time. Sunday now is like everyday and its no longer one of the hindrances in my life. Today, I am fully satisfied in the daily opportunities I have to gather wherever two or three of His saints come together.
2. From conjuring up His presence to learning to abide in His Presence.
I don’t know how I could have gotten so confused. I understood that His presence was with me all the time. After all, I was raised Baptist and believed in eternal security. I wasn’t one of those living in daily-doubt kind of Pentecostals! Yet during the services and in my study time, I found myself listening to men’s teachings on how to make sure I knew how to get into His presence. My ego fueled the dualism and pushed me to study how to be in Christ’s presence “in order to see the miracles, signs, and wonders flow.” Surely, we wanted those. We played special music during the invitation and had intercessors praying during the sermon to make sure the Presence of God would not leave and to do our bidding when we needed Him. (How stupid can you be and still breathe?) Well, hey, everybody who was anybody was doing it, so swimming with the majority downstream felt like the right thing to do! What freedom it was to understand that His presence was a guarantee that I didn’t have to work for or deserve. No more working to get God to come near!
- From talking about Christ to learning to model the character of Christ.
I suspect in 17 years I preached well our 3,000 sermons, wore out six Bibles in Spanish and English and probably heard another 1000 sermons from other speakers. I say this to help you understand I knew the Bible and could talk about Christ via Bible verses. Scripture says “knowledge puffs up” and it was one of the hindrances holding me back. What didn’t seem to be working to the same proportions as my study was my ability to model the nature and be an example of the Christ, I knew so much about. WWJD — I could tell you what Jesus would do in every situation, but I could not tell you what I would do in the same situation. The desert/wilderness became my place to see the difference between the great holy man people thought I was and the lump of clay that still needed the Master Potter to get the residual pesky kinks out of my lifestyle. I haven’t arrived, but I am on the journey. One thing that brings me joy is that people today are talking more about me as an example of Christ, than about my ability to preach and teach the gospel. All glory to the Lord. He has and is doing a great work in my life so He can do a great work through my life.
- From a reliance on Bible verses to learning to know and hear His Voice.
In the beginning of my Christian walk if I needed to hear from the Lord I would reach for my Bible. Why not, I need a word from the Lord; why not reach for the word of the Lord. I did this from 1982 to 2009. Little by little, I found myself reading less and talking with Him more. One day in my usual Bible study I read, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord.” Boom! It hit me. I said to Him, “Lord, how could the first century believers have faith if they couldn’t read and had no Bibles? “He said, “They had me.” I looked it up in the Greek, and there it was hidden by 500 years of religious traditions. The translation was faith comes by hearing and hearing by the RHEMA of God. I knew Rhema was not necessarily scripture, but a fresh new word from God.
I was called into ministry by a Rhema word with no man anywhere around, so I knew what a Rhema was. My continued study showed that in Ephesian 6 the Sword of the Spirit is the Rhema of God. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we bragged in seminary about how we carried our sword and pointed to the Bible. Wow, this was revelation to me! I now understood one of the main hindrances making the church so ineffective after so much reading, memorizing, and repeating of bible verses. After this, for what seem years, I had no desire for Bible reading but was experiencing some of the deepest times with Him. More importantly, my life was beginning to release the fragrance of Christ.Please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating that people stop reading their bibles. I am advocating that people need to have a relationship with the Author more than with the book. I haven’t arrived, but today I can say with the Psalmist in Israel that before I knew the works of the Lord; but now like Moses, I am beginning to know His ways.
- From using our gifts inside a building to allowing the Lord to use them anywhere and everywhere.
In our congregation, I never use to understand the phenomenon that occurred on Sunday with everybody wanting the microphone. All week long, many of them were dead, inefficient, or at best disconnected Christians, but once inside the church walls, it was as if someone connected a dead phone to a charger. Most of them wanted to use their gift and use them right then. I can understand that if you have spent an entire week all bottled up with nowhere or no one to share your gift, it would cause them to anxiously wait for the doors of the “church” to open. It’s literally part of the problem with the Religious System where 10% or less participate while the rest spectate and can never practice and grow in their gifts.
So now many of those not allowed to minister are taking their gifts outside the Sunday service, but without the approval of the leadership. If they are allowed, it has to carry the church name. Otherwise, they are in rebellion and need to be blacklisted. Even though I am glad for an expansion of the Lord’s work, I have watched immaturity reign without direction and teaching from those who are more mature in the faith. Many of these young people have their identity tied into their gifting, and egos are running wild creating hindrances to their spiritual growth. The need for a Father’s voice and an example of humility is greatly needed. Here is some free wisdom if you are still introducing yourself with numbers saved and/or healed. Gifting comes from the Lord and is free but having Christ’s character will cost you dearly. May the Lord raise up examples for this generation to follow. May those less mature be willing to follow mature believers as they follow Christ.
- From a doctrinal foundation to a Love foundation for everything we do in His Church.
I can’t tell you when it began, but I was brought up in my Christian walk to believe that if people were taught THE truth, they would act right. I was told in seminary to study to show myself approved. The voices around me said if you can teach it right, the world will straighten up. What a lie! What a huge deception! Sunday after Sunday, well-meaning godly men and women are preaching their hearts out and still America is in need of a septic tank clean-out. Darkness pervades over the land as the religious system continues to lose its grip on people’s life. American Religious Christianity prides itself with the words, “We know doctrine, and we know what’s right.” It doesn’t work! The religious system continues to shine the brass on the Titanic hoping it will make the ship float again. It will not!
Press Release: The Lord is not in Heaven anxious, worried and frustrated!
He doesn’t have a new plan. He has the same original plan; For God so loved… He is raising up a new people that will not just doctrinally talk it, but will walk it out before this generation, for His glory. Love is not a strategy for the Lord’s Church, but love is the actual foundation. God is Love! Christ is the cornerstone! Nothing else and nothing less. You can’t add it to your present mess! A life fueled by His love will demolish, destroy, and dismantle anything built by men before its wake. Only the Love of God demonstrated by broken men and women with no egos and no agenda can heal what the enemy has done in the lives of this generation. Demonstrated Love is the Cure! The problem is the religious system doesn’t have the ability to run the “love” download in its hard drive. They can buy a Pastor of Community affairs, they can hire love liaisons, relationship experts and maybe even begin to preach about love, but the system will not read it. It’s in another language, a language of authentic love. Love with an agenda is no love at all!
- From Religious Marshal Law to trusting the Lord to be the Holy Spirit to His People.
I have left this one for last because it’s the number one accusation from the leadership of the Religious system. They say, “People can’t be trusted to participate properly. WE must protect the ministry and the meeting. We don’t want someone to mess up and cause some rich member to leave the church.” Protecting the Sunday morning show and protecting the ministry has now been equated with protecting God.
The service then literally becomes a demilitarized no-fly zone with every elder, deacon, greeter, and usher ready to pounce upon and escort out anyone who without leadership permission so much as makes a peep. Before you think I am just throwing rocks at the institutional church, I want you to know that house churches are not exempt from this.
What we have failed to understand with the ungodly Clergy-Laity divide is that the power of the church is in that “Laity” or 80% of the congregation. They turned the world upside down! Funny the Bible should have mentioned the celebrity preachers’ names, but they did not. Ever wonder why not one book of the New testament was addressed to a pastor, an elder, a bishop or an apostle? Chew on that for a while…If as leaders we cannot make the transition and destroy the religious class divisions invented by men, then make plans now to begin taking out chairs and pews so you won’t look so empty when the people begin to leave.
We will either flow with the Lord, or we will be left to our own demise. It’s in your hands. Trust God’s people to God, and you will see the Lord begin to use the young, the new, the unworthy, and the weak to bring forth a spiritual revolution that will shake the kingdom of darkness in all our countries.
Detoxing from our past religious mindsets and practices takes time. Don’t try to circumvent the process and purpose of your desert experience by trying to start something without waiting for the Lord to finish His work in you. If you do, the hindrances will remain. The undealt with religious system baggage will affect the future of whatever you try to build. I don’t recommend it.
As you read this article, did the Lord speak to you about these hindrances? Did you hear the Holy Spirit? If so, will you seek His face and obey Him? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to make you a soft and pliable wineskin for the Master’s use? Being teachable is the #1 gift of 21st century disciples! May you be included in the number of the teachable!
Hindrances to Organic Life