Monday, October 15, 2007

From Sick & Tired To Berean…Restoring the Early Church ~ Lesson 1

Sick and tired...all the time...is truly no way to live.

We have become very diligent about being trustworthy stewards of our physical health, in order to keep as far from the sick and tired state as possible. We stay fairly healthy most of the time, but have, for those times we do succumb to the sick and tired state, learned what to make as well as how to administer our own medicine to bring ourselves back to health and vitality.

For physical illness, we use physical medicine.

Oh, that sick and tired in the physical were the only type of sick and tired there was! Alas, Mr. Visionary and I have been far more sick and tired emotionally and spiritually than we have ever been physically. We have spent years in "traditional church", spinning wheels, going through the motions of all the acceptable church-sponsored activities, doing all that we were told would bring fulfillment and a sense of intimacy with Father...only to find it all lacking. In a very real sense we felt as if we were merely rearranging furniture on the deck of the Titanic. We have come home from more than a few church meetings to simply weep...feeling as spent and broken-down as we could be...only to have no answers.

No homemade tincture could ever fix this kind of sick and tired.

How we longed for some answers, for something to infuse the empty activity with meaning and change our listlessness to vigor. How we cried out to Jesus to show us what medicine would cure this longing! We had no idea how He would do this for us, but we were certain that if we continued seeking, He would answer us in some way.

Fast forward to a bad virus that hit our home this winter. Although Mr. Visionary and I were laid out flat on the Family Room floor, unable to move because of the nausea, we were able to do research on the computer. At the time our church was going through a restructuring process, and we were searching for information to help our pastor walk through it all. We "coincidentally" came across a study that later proved to be divinely inspired timing...and the answer for which we had been crying out to Father. Our life has been so profoundly impacted by this study, that I felt compelled to share it with a few friends.

Several friends and I have been going, individually, but simultaneously through this study. We have been blessed so tremendously in our discussion and sharing based on the study! Further, since I linked to this study before, I have gotten so much e-mail about it that I have prayed about doing the study on the blog, with whomever would like to join us.

If you have ever felt sick and tired of churchianity...and felt Father drawing you to something else...something more real...more intimate...more simple, then please pray and consider joining us in this study. We will have the comments open, and I believe several blogging friends will be joining in the discussion through the comments with us.

What He showed us through this study was that He had no desire to fill the empty activity, as He never desired it anyway. What He intended was to show us His heart for His people from the start...and how we left His original plan. Mike and Sue Dowgiewicz, especially anointed teachers, have a heart for taking us back to the beginning...to the church even before Acts, and walking us through history to see where things got off track. They teach the relational priorities from Scripture that Father intended for us, beginning with our relationship with Him, moving outward to the relationships within our own homes, and only then to our extended spiritual family and the rest of the world, as their diagram shows:

ResMinDia


 


 


 


 


Here is the Introduction to the study. Read through it, and pray about joining us. You do not need to start right when everyone else starts ~ if you find out about the study after we have begun, jump right in at the beginning, and start commenting wherever you are! Father knows all about the timing...and we can trust Him in that. So come...be a Berean with us.


P.S. I spoke with Sue Dowgiewicz, and have their full blessing for doing the study and using their files. Their ministry is 100% funded by donations, and they allow and encourage anyone to copy and share their PDF files, audio lessons, and DVDs. It is very refreshing considering all the $39.95 tape sets and encouragements to "buy my latest book" from the radio guys.


I'm just saying. Refreshing is good.


***EDIT***


We will be posting the first lesson for the study on Wednesday morning, October 17. We will then be posting one lesson per day until we are through, Lord willing. It should be about 50 lessons total, which at first, seems daunting, but that is to make the study manageable for all. If you happen to get behind…DON”T GIVE UP…just keep plugging along with us the best you can, and comment along your way. We will discuss each lesson in the comments of that particular lesson.


 


 


 


 


 

24 comments:

  1. WOW! We just came home from a 'sick and tired meeting' yesterday and were saying that the church is drying up and people don't seem to really be concerned. Count me in!

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  2. Thank you, thank you for posting this. I'm looking forward to reading through this info. We have been on the "sick and tired" churchianity train for a while too :) I LOVE seeing your posts! This is just what we need. We have been asking these same questions for months...what was the "early church"?...now thankfully we are learning about our rich hebrew roots...thanks to your blog and the wonderful hebraic education online community out there! Continue your great blogging! I try to pass along your blog to as many friends as possible. Maybe one day I'll start a blog!
    Amy

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  3. Almost a year ago now I was reading Acts and realised that I wanted THAT. I wanted to be a part of THAT church. I excitedly told my then pastor, and he responded by shaking his head and explaining that they had too many problems. I thought to myself "I want their problems! I want what they had! Their problems were the result of their love for the Word of God; because of their devotion to the Messiah, they were persecuted BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE FOR HIM OVER EVERYTHING ELSE! I'm not interested in the problems associated with running a program to get people to come to church where they may or may not receive the gospel by osmosis! I'm not interested in the problems of maintaining a building, paying staff, reaching out to the community with a lukewarm, wishy-washy Jesus- will-make- your- life- better FALSE gospel, and filling pews with people who are allowed to feel comfortable in their sins so long as they contribute financially to maintain this whole institution of apostasy!!!!!
    I want to do it His way. I want to be restored ready for His soon return.
    In His own words..... "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand".

    I'll get down from my soap box now.

    Julie, I'm doing the study with you :)

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  4. Count me in Julie...
    I would love to be a part of this group!
    ~Annette

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  5. Shalom Julie.
    I started to do this study before (really liked it) then got side tracked by the dailiness of life.
    I'd love to join in. Where are we now?
    Beth

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  6. Hi Julie- I read a lot off this website when you reommended it back at the end of August. I really, really enjoyed it. I look forward to having folks to study with!
    Thank you for sharing! - ali

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  7. I would really love to participate.

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  8. The timing for this is perfect. Thank you so much for doing this, Julie! I look forward to learning with others here.
    ~Kelli

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  9. I have printed off the introduction. Will you also be posting on the homestead blog? Thank you so much! I look forward to reading and following along.
    Laura

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  10. This looks very interesting indeed...thanks for sharing. I will try to do this too. Will share with hubby too...I think he will be interested too, though we have been on our similar path now for several years. We are always watching for materials that might help others better understand...am wondering if this is it....

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  11. Hi Julie,
    Now after reading your post and the introduction, my answer is still "YES", count me in :). I don't remember if I told you this before, but our family was part of a start-up home-based congregation for a year and loved it. Our group disbaned temporarily (?) following some leadership changes (moves, etc.) and I have been longing/praying for another fellowship - still praying.
    Love Restoration Ministries & looking forward to the study. Praying with you that the "technical problems" will be remedied quickly. In the meantime, I will like your post about the study on my blog, perhaps what the adversary meant for evil, our Father is allowing for the good to allow more time for others to join in at the start.
    Thanking our Father for you!!!
    Shalom, Jane

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  12. We really like the Dowgiewicz's book! I don't know if I've seen the study before. Sounds good! My DH and I have been out of the 'traditions of men' mindset for about 8 years now. We always get so excited when we meet those who are like-minded ...I must say it gets a bit lonely though. I've been praying for the Lord to bring us closer together to like-minded believers. I'm so happy that you are offering this online. I hope to pop in now and again to see how it's going. God bless you.

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  13. What really stuck out to me was, "The early Church would have understood 'doctrine' to be the message of Scriptural truth in Jesus for which one would be willing to die." I can now see the wisdom of my husband in refusing to get into doctrinal debates just for the intellectual pursuit of it. That is a very Hellenistic, or Greek, way of approaching things, and our family is instead searching for the Hebraic roots of our faith. We seek to make the last part of that paragraph apply to us, "To know someone's doctrine, you must observe his way of life."

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  14. I see where you are coming from, although if you feel like your church is filled with "churchianity", maybe you should consider changing churches. Too many churches today focus on programs and activities and entertaining the ears of attendees, instead of focusing on the preaching and teaching of God's word as its most important priority. I attend a large church that has it's focus on the message each week and have been very blessed. Family devotions are a major priority at home and we teach our children Biblical principals every chance we get each day, attend a small group Bible study, but get fed each sunday in a big group setting that does not get caught up in programs and activities.

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  15. oldpathsfamilyfarmOctober 18, 2007 at 6:16 AM

    Marcinda~

    Welcome to the study! I so appreciate your trying to give us a simple answer that it may have seemed we had all overlooked! But for the record, it is not *our* church that we are attempting to address, Collectively, the ladies in the study have attended hundreds of churches. We are addressing the *system* that we believe is flawed.

    If you read the lessons (what is written above is just my comments on a small portion of *one* lesson), you would likely agree that the church as a whole is ineffective as it stands now. Unfortunately, the figures do not lie, even if there are folks like you who are happy with where they are.

    I am thrilled that you are teaching your children biblical principles at home! That is a major step of responsibility. It would be a nice start if all families would do what you are doing.

    Thanks for jumping in with us, too! We look forward to your input as we go along.

    One more thing...may I humbly beg your assistance in finding the Scriptural basis for being *fed* at church? That is one that I have often wondered about, but never found anything concrete.

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  16. Let me add that I have read the 1st 2 lessons and whole heartedly agree that training of our children is of utmost importance, but sadly many families do not have family devotions, let alone private devotions. We are sinners so we can not teach our children perfectly. The church can reinforce what we have taught our children and they can watch us search the scriptures for the truth at home and at church.

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  17. Beth, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your blog last night but it took too long to load and my computer kept locking up. (we've got DSL) Same thing this morning. I tried to comment but got a "spammed" message. :-(
    I am glad you're here too. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

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  18. Since it doesn't look like anyone has answered the question you asked about being fed in church, I'll share my opinion. I guess I should start with my purpose in going to church...I go to worship God. Part of worshiping Him is growing in the "grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Getting to know Him more deeply is worship of Him. Under that pretext, my desire (and expectation) to be fed in a church service is that I will either 1). learn something more about Him that I had not already known/understood, 2). come to realize a sin in my life that is hampering my relationship with Him, or 3). spend time praising Him for who He is and what He has done in such a way that my relationship with Him grows.

    I'm curious how the restoration diagram is supposed to work in "everyday life," so to speak. If you lead someone to the Lord but are selective about whom you worship with, how does that person grow? Maybe this is something that is taught in a later lesson...it just jumped out at me. Many people do not have large enough homes to host a church service. I guess I'm looking at the practicality of it without understanding their whole idea of how it works. I suppose that will come in a later lesson.

    I agree that the home is the primary building block for Christian growth. I homeschool my children, as well as working with them on Bible memorization and reading their devotional books with them, when my husband isn't home (he works 12 hour night shifts, so we go for a few days without seeing him for more than supper and then he is home for a few days).

    I am puzzled by the alleged "anti-Semitism" in the church. Granted, I have only worshiped (on a regular basis) in a total of 5 different churches throughout my life, but I have never encountered anything that I would consider to be anti-Semitism in any way, shape, or form. I'd appreciate any enlightenment you can share :).

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  19. oldpathsfamilyfarmOctober 24, 2007 at 5:11 AM

    Hmmm...I don't have any definitive answers, just more questions, like you. About your 1,2,3 above...Are those all things that could happen outside of a church meeting?

    Another question that came up...how large do the Scriptures say a church service should be?

    We're all learning together. And hopefully we'll be changed by what we learn.

    Thanks for your comments! Let's see if some of these questions are addressed as we go further along in the study. :)

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  20. If I didn't think those things could happen outside a church meeting, I don't know if I would go to the effort of having personal (or family, for that matter) devotions. After all, if it is not going to worship God or draw me nearer to Him, why would I spend my time doing it when there are so many other demands upon my time? Your question was, more or less, is there a Scriptural basis for expecting to be "fed" in church, and I was responding that yes, I believe there is and here is why.

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  21. I was given the link for this study by my blogger friend Plain Jane, I have recently (ok ok over the weekend) been lead to dive into the learning of our Hebrew roots, and the origination of the first church before all pagen stuff was added into our now every day lives. I would be happy to join in with you if you are still open to newbies.

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  22. I think I have read the 'Covenant Gospel.." on "Chrissy's" blog. Our family home school's and 'home churches' (for want of a better name). We fellowship with other Christians who are like minded whenever we have opportunity on whatever day it may be, according to the scriptures. We were dissapointed with 'bible' churches, especially with the lack of discussion. The bible studies are just another 'preach at you' session, that is, there is no room for discussion at all. People are very complacent and unquestioning. They don't seem to seek out God's word on everything.

    I agree that it is the parent's responsibility to bring up their children in the knowledge of God, not someone else's. I also believe the family must be in order first.

    A lot of people have a head knowledge that the church is not a building but when you get talking you realise what the word church really means to them. The church is the true body of Christ, those who have denyed themselves to follow Him. Those who understand the cost to follow Him and that we were bought at a price, He gave His life for us, we are no longer 'our own'.

    I am afraid I am very attracted to the persecuted churches in communist countries and read a lot of books about them. I am always saddened when I come across a testimony that shows the curropt influence of the western churches.

    Just thought I'd briefly introduce myself. I think I missed your study. I'm from Australia.

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  23. oldpathsfamilyfarmJanuary 11, 2008 at 4:05 AM

    ILoveGod'sWisdom~

    It is certainly NOT too late. Go check the notes I left for Laurie in the comments of the RTEC Prayer List, and see.

    We'd love to have you join us at any point.

    ~Julie

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