[anzac] A PASTOR'S WIFE WRITES...

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 12:03:01 -0600
From:    <hizgateway@...>

"Church Exit"
-by Trish Woelk. (Feb 25, 2004)

Since the early days of my Christianity, I have been
praying for revival. Coming into the Kingdom at the end
of the Charismatic Movement in l975, I went to Aglow
and Full Gospel meetings, but the glory had departed
and religion, politics and factions were moving in.  My
longing for the presence of the Lord was fed by writings
and biographies of revivalists.

Studying Evans and Finney made my heart ache for the
church. She was being overtaken by her enemies, the
gods of this world. Ten years ago, while studying the
33rd chapter of Exodus, the Lord began showing me the
state of the church.

Exodus 33:3- "Go up to a land flowing with milk and
honey; for I will not go up in your midst…"

I saw the church. No cloud. No pillar of fire. No
Presence.  No manifestation. No miracles, signs, or
wonders. He was not with us.

We were wandering around in the desert, being over-
taken by our enemies. There was a terrible shallowness
everywhere. We said things about Jesus that were
blasphemous: “Just ask Him into your heart and you will
be saved”. Unbelief was common: “Can you really know
if you are saved?” The most simple teachings of the Bible -
repentance, holiness, sacrifice, faith, love, were ignored
or misunderstood. Almost the entire church followed
denominational hierarchies who used sheep, rather than
caring for them.

Propagation was rare, something we studied, like math.
Righteousness, peace, and joy? Testimonies? Baptisms?
He was not with us.

"…lest I consume you on the way for you are a stiff-
necked people.”

One who is stiff-necked is one whose vision is restricted.
Eventually, left untreated, the stiff-necked person’s head
will not be able to turn.

Stubbornly holding to a form, the Institutional Church
refuses to admit His glory has departed. Stiff-necked,
she insists on carrying an ark that does not give
evidence of His presence. Declaring she is a place of
covering and protection, she is being overrun by her enemy.

Insisting she is the place of nurture, she is using hungry
baby lambs to feed herself. Declaring herself a place of
freedom, she uses the Bible to bind sheep to herself.
She is led by a board of elders rather than a pillar of fire,
and she is ruled by a pastor, rather than a King. “Bring
them in so they can be saved!” she cries, while her
sheep trudge through the desert full of unbelief, fear and
timidity, unforgiveness and bitterness, ambition, vanity
and sexual impurity, strife. Stiffly, with no more passion
than the building she so proudly meets in, she drives
her congregation through the motions of sustaining
“church life”, which generally consists of a schedule
(somehow thought to be hallowed) of weekly meetings.

She teaches her sheep to fight their battles in the "IC"
[Institutional Church], spend their money in the IC, give
their gifts to the IC, and dedicate their lives to the IC.
She tells them that if the IC is flourishing, they have
God’s blessing.

Tragically, her differentiation from the world is not always
discernable. She is stiff-necked, refusing to admit what
everyone knows but her - her strength is in her numbers
and her money, not her God.

v 4-6: "And when the people heard this bad news, they
mourned, and no one put on his ornaments.  For the
LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the children of Israel,
'You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your
midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore,
take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to
you.'  So the children of Israel stripped themselves of
their ornaments by Mount Horeb."

God told the people to lay down their jewelry, their
glitter, and their pretense. He wanted them to see
themselves as He saw them; blind, naked and poor,
desperately in need of Him.

Oblivious to the fact that they were trudging around in
a dangerous place in dire need of His protection and
guidance, they retained their Egyptian (worldly)
perception of Him. They found it difficult to relate to
this strange, demanding God, so they let Moses
represent them to Him.

Then, not knowing Him for themselves, they did not
trust Him to get them safely through the desert, so
they brought Egyptian gods (worldly philosophies)
and jewelry (security) with them on their journey. He
refused to go.

For these past ten years, seeing that God was so
obviously not with us, my prayer has been that He
would reveal to us our ornaments. What are those
things that we cling to that have caused Him to withdraw?

We get our ornaments from many places and we may
wear them privately or corporately, but, for the sake of
this writing, I am going to talk only about those
ornaments we get from the Institutional Church.

The Ornaments

Please remember, as you read this, I am talking about
ornaments, not people. For example, some of the
Israelite ornaments were gold. Gold has no soul. The
person wearing it has the soul. They may use the gold
to build a calf, or to cover an ark.

Pastor:
This ornament is the most valuable one you can get at
IC. It says you are the most important person at every
function. You have a special inside with God, and those
closest to you are the most important people after you
in IC. Since the size of your ornament depends on the
number of people who follow you, and the amount of
dollars they generate, it helps if you are good at PR
and can administrate. If you don’t have these skills, it
is important to get people to follow you who have them.
Another plus of this ornament is it comes with a salary.
The requirement for this ornament is the ability to get
people to follow you.

Elder
This ornament goes to those who have that wonderful
combination of dedication to the IC and success in the
world. A willingness to spend time with needy sheep
and having the gifts of the Spirit of God add luster to
this ornament, but are not necessary.

Deacon
This ornament goes to those new members of IC who
are willing to sacrifice everything they have to fulfill the
demands of the Pastors and Elders. Being a team
player (this is called being “faithful” in IC language) really
adds value to this garb. Requirements? Voluntary
enslavement at the expense of your family, relationship
with the Lord, and common sense.

Worship Leader
Don’t get this confused with a worshipper, one whose
heart hallows the Lord. This ornament goes to those
who stand before the IC and lead singalongs with the
intention that everyone will enjoy it to the point of going
up to the mountain of experience. IC membership will
reflect the skill of the Worship Leader, so Pastors are
always on the lookout for skilled musicians. In a
progressive IC, a Pastor may even use those who
have no relationship with God to take his sheep into
the Holy of Holies.

There are pitfalls with this jewel: nobody wants to
confront a Worship Leader if they have sin (called
“artistic temperament” in IC language) because they
may stop singing if they are offended. Since the songs
are usually about Jesus, and He is a God of fire,
Worship Leaders take the chance of getting burned.

Tither (10%, an Old Testament term not advocated in
the New Testament). Everybody who gives money to the
IC gets a version of this ornament. The size and value
of the ornament depend on the quantity of money. Extra
weight is given to the jewel if it is given when common
sense says it should have gone for bills or other needs,
because then the money was given by “faith”, an IC term
used to identify a gift given with the hope that it will be
reciprocated.

Member
Jewels that go to those who, whether or not they agree
with everything the IC is all about, are willing to sign a
paper or make a public vow promising to support the IC
by frequenting their hallowed meetings, volunteering for
IC maintenance jobs, and giving money to support the
IC. This is called “commitment” in IC language. Most
IC's won’t allow Christians to serve freely in their group
unless they have this ornament. IC has developed many
teachings to persuade Christians that there is some-
thing wrong with them if they refuse to wear this jewel.
Requirement? Sign a paper or make a vow.

Special Speaker
This ornament is for those who sell their thoughts.
Whether the speaker is a Prophet or a comedian, sheep
will spend time and money on them because: They are
hungry and hope to get something to eat, or Pastor
says go, or they feel guilty for not being “faithful”, or
they like being around people (enjoy “fellowship” in IC
language). The beauty of the ornament is reflected in
the amount of money the speaker gets for speaking,
because sheep give more money to speakers they
enjoy listening to. The qualifications are that you think
sellable thoughts, and the confidence to express them
publicly.
------------

The ornaments were gifts given to the Israelites when
they left Egypt. God gave them. IC demands those
ornaments be displayed, which chillingly reminds me
of the Israelites demand that their ornaments be turned
into a god they could see, and therefore trust.

v 7- "Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the
camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of
meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought
the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which
was outside the camp."

My journey outside the camp started with the revelation
that, after being a Christian for 20 years, I had to do
things differently if I was going to get different results.
I wanted Kingdom reality. God. I wanted to be with Him,
even (oh Jesus) to see His face. I changed the way I
read the Bible—let it read me. I changed the way I
prayed—let Him tell me what to pray. I changed the
way I worshipped—turn off the electricity and bow. I
learned what repentance meant.  I begged God to give
me the grace to not move on until I would follow Him.

My perception of the institution of church became more
and more despondent. I started with the intention of
Mike [her husband - the pastor] and me and our
“congregation” having a church group that He could
inhabit. But, as time went on, I became convinced that
the structure of the traditional church would not
accommodate a God like Jehovah, because HE would
not accommodate anything.

We must accommodate HIM, and the structure we were
in would not allow that. It had to have a head with a crew
around it that could sustain the structure itself. It had to
be maintained, and God doesn’t maintain, He births. If
we were stiff-necked and insisted on keeping the
structure, He would send an angel in to keep us from
destruction, as he told Moses He would do for the
Israelites, but He wasn’t going along. Agonizing over
these things one day, I cried, “Lord, are you with us!?”.
He cried back, “Are YOU with ME!!?”

We knew we had problems with sin, both intentional and
unintentional. There has been and will continue to be
repentance. We had problems with doctrine, which has
been and will continue to be corrected. We worked on
structure for years. We beseeched God over church
structure, begging Him for the “new wineskin”, trying this,
trying that. But, no matter how we fought it, IC continued
to dictate to us how we treated one another and spent
our money and devoted our time, and, worst of all, it
deprived us of Him.  Scriptures like: “Be silent, all flesh,
before the Lord” and “Let no flesh glory in His presence”
were impossible to realize in a setting that demanded
we work in the flesh, maintaining buildings and meetings
and hierarchies of authority. Finally, we stripped ourselves of it.

v 9- "And it came to pass, when Moses entered the
tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and
stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord
talked with Moses."

Moses stayed there for a year. He stayed until God
changed His mind and promised to go with them.

I go to the tent. I sit there. I read. I sing. I talk. He talks.
I sit there. He shows me ornaments. He is quiet. I repent.
I sit there. By His grace and mercy, I will not move on
without Him.
--------------------
[-Mike & Trish Woelk pastored for years in Pentecostal
churches. They are still very active for God and are still
recognized leaders amongst the Christians in their
community. But it is all very different from before].
************************************