Greetings and Welcome,
This post is part 2 of my initial expose ‘Relationship vs Religion – The Church’.
If you haven’t read part 1, please do, also a reminder to those who have visited this Blog before and insight for first-time visitors.
Mine has never been to write in order to ‘shove my views’ down the readers throat.
Admittedly my writing style can be a little ‘strong’ at times but please look at that as a sign of my passion for the particular subject covered.
My objective is to share, the acquired knowledge and information gathered, through my physical research/reading as well as my God-given spiritual inspiration/insights and human experiences with others.
It would obviously be nice (there would be less arguments in the world) if we all believed the same things…but that’s not realistic.
As uniquely created individuals, with choice, whether it be on the spiritual faith based matters or the male/female relationship matters, people are free to agree or disagree, and I respect that.
Whatever your beliefs and background, as with all my posts, I ask that you give the subject matter a chance, by reading to the end of any post.
Thereafter, you are obviously free to move onto something else or stop and share your ‘respectful’ thoughts.
Whether or not a commenter agrees with me, I will always allow their comments to be cleared, for others to read them.
From my personal experiences (no matter what my relatives may say) I can say that we were brought up with a mixture of beliefs, mainly pick-n-mix ‘religious Christianity’.
In our particular part of the family, as children, we had some Rastafarian beliefs shared with us as well as the historical teachings of all things Black related.
Those teachings were a very light version (minus the worship of ancestors, the we are gods thinking etc.) of the nowadays more extreme “Nubian type” religions.
Growing up, I also had a Rastafarian step-family, friends from Somalian, Bangladeshi and Turkish Muslim backgrounds as well as Pakistani Sikh, Orthodox Greek Christian and Jewish backgrounds.
We all shared our taught beliefs and spoke about the existence of God with ease as teenagers/young adults, sometimes it would be heated but other times it would be open, calm and informative.
As I said in part one, religion has always been around all of us and as I have said in other posts on this Blog. Religion takes on many cult forms, which also includes politics, the supporting of sports teams/individual athletes, belief in science/technology as well as the MM push for the promotion and following of idol celebrity worship within the showbiz and entertainment industry.
In order for you to understand my level of experience and ability to both differentiate and share my findings for this series of posts, I have to give you additional background information.
Adult Baptism and the start of the awakening
As a teen and young adult, I was always open to all things God related, as I had a deep knowing, from my upbringing, that God/Jesus was real.
That internal ‘God-spark’ as I like to call it, once caused me to have a serious argument with a religious education teacher at school, who claimed not to believe in God.
Her argument was that she believed there was ‘something there’ to which I argued, how can she teach R.E. and not believe in the existence of God?
At that time I thought I was a believer, not realising my real status was an ‘acknowledger’ and (like many today) I did not realise there is a big difference between the two.
In my acknowledger hypocrisy I (like most) would claim a belief in God, while doing things contrary to His word.
I became awake and alive to that truth, after a bed-side prayer in which I asked God to reveal himself to me, in all His truth.
As I no longer wanted to be hypocritical, doing things one way while claiming to believe things totally opposite to my actions.
Between 1992 – ‘93 I began to visit Church assemblies more often, 3 in particular.
I visited an assembly which a friend of my mum attended, as well as both assemblies my maternal and paternal grandmothers attended.
I just didn’t feel the pull to want to regularly attend (fellowship) or be baptised at any of them; there was something missing.
I was talking to my then girlfriends sister (now sister-in-law) concerning knowing that I needed to be baptised, the strong pull of sex and knowing that I needed to be married to continue to be ‘spiritually legal’ to continue to do what I enjoyed doing.
I also mentioned visiting a few assemblies and she mentioned a congregation near the area where I grew up.
I let that information simmer for a little while, I didn’t visit immediately.
Sunday May 9th 1993, I got up that morning and felt the need to honour a promise I made to God at the start of that year.
As a 22 years young, still with his girlfriend (yeah I know) I went into a Bible Way assembly, called Built On The Rock.
I heard a message about individuals needing to make up their minds and stop sitting on the fence and knew God was speaking directly to me.
At the end of service, there was alter call, I found myself going up there, for what I thought was just to pray, with an intention to come back the following Sunday.
One of the senior ‘prayer warrior’ sisters came and prayed for and with me, I then found myself saying in the prayer, “Jesus if you are really here, reveal yourself to me”.
Immediately afterwards, there was a surge of unexplainable loving energy and power which surged throughout my whole body and I found myself speaking in tongues.
I will never forget that day, it was even more strange to me, as I would make jokes about those who did speak in tongues, who attended my Grans assemblies and now there I was, with the infilling of Yeshua’s Holy Spirit.
It was no joke, the Holy Spirit of Adonai Yeshua Hamashiach, is very real and powerful.
The sister initially, actually thought I was already baptised and wisely asked me to confirm, to which I replied no, but I wanted to be.
I surprised myself, as I thought I would come back another time to do it, with my girlfriend and a few others.
However, I was willingly arrested by Yeshua on the spot and got Baptised that afternoon after morning service, in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ (Adonai Yeshua Hamashiach) just as the disciples/apostles were and did, recorded throughout the Book of Acts, especially Acts chapter 2 verses 37-39.
That was the start of my awakening.
As you can imagine, I was so zealous and on fire, but there was still so much the Lord had to do with me, which I would later find out.
I just described my personal journey of acceptance of God made public, much to the surprise of my then girlfriend (now born-again wife) and she realised what that would mean, concerning her decisions she had to make and our relationship.
I cemented the start of a blossoming relationship with God in a very religious setup and that religion rubbed off and influenced me.
Everything thereafter was about me having a drive to get everyone I knew, loved and cared about, to experience God as I did.
My speech, evangelism, encouragement etc. was, as it is for most religious people, very much organisation, building, pastor and assembly focused.
I believed you ‘went to Church’ even after becoming a believer, I didn’t initially realise the difference between going and being.
I believed in the restrictive adherence to the specific days of the week and church assembly timetables etc.
Some relatives and friends, didn’t see a need for me to go ‘that far and deep’, some hoped it would just be a religious phase that I was going through.
I was, in their words, “already a good person”.
Like most people are today, they were under a great deception, based on the sliding-scale, hypocritical world standards, as to what constitutes as being ‘good’.
Although I could be extremely harsh with my honesty (back then) I treated people fairly and didn’t back-stab or talk behind peoples backs, without being prepared to tell them to their face.
I hardly ever swore, I didn’t take or sell drugs, wasn’t involved in gangs or violent behaviour, didn’t get in trouble with the police or hang around on the streets, wasn’t mugging anyone or doing small or large scale robberies.
As far as alcohol was concerned, I drank occasionally but have only ever been drunk once (when I was 20) in my life.
I was a hard worker, both academically and in jobs, working part-time since I was 13.
I had one girlfriend at a time, didn’t have any children before I got married etc.
Us “good sinners” can be the hardest for Yeshua to reach, as we are so self-righteous and good in our own eyes, looking down on others who are worse, not realising we need to repent and be baptised just as much as the worst sinners.
Us human beings may ‘grade’ sin but to Yeshua, a violation of His word is a violation.
In the main, to Him, sin is sin and needs to be sincerely repented of, so that He can grant forgiveness, with the purpose of that individual accepting Him and His name (His salvation), in water baptism, for the removal of sin.
I told occasional lies, I played inappropriate touchy-feely “doctors and nurses games” with the wrong girls at the start of my teens.
I got inappropriately physically intimate with my 2nd girlfriend extremely quickly.
I masturbated regularly in my mid to late teens before having my 3rd (1st serious) girlfriend.
At 19, I wrongly gave away my virginity to that girlfriend/fiancee (before being married) and later in that relationship, unbeknown to me at the time, I got my ex-fiancee pregnant, resulting in her having an abortion without telling me…I’ll share more on that, in my book.
I was a promise breaker, I said I would marry her and I later broke it off with her.
I was disrespectful to her parents, they were/are xenophobic Cream Arabs, who didn’t want their only daughter and youngest child to be with an African-Caribbean Black young man and we continued seeing each other in secret…more lies.
I swore when I was extremely angry, exercised my high drive again, before being married, with my then girlfriend (now wife) and later learned the hard way about the repercussions of not exercising sexual self-control.
I also mixed prayer and righteousness in reading the Word of God (Bible) with the above sinful actions.
Oh, I was a sinner alright…read the following verses .
(1 Corinthians chapter 6 : verses 8-11)
I needed Yeshua, I heard Him knocking since I was 13, it took some time but I’m so glad I finally answered the door and allowed Him to come in at the age of 22.
From waking up to being fully awake
From 1993 to 2004 The religious journey wasn’t a complete piece of cake for me.
However, I had some great spiritual awakenings.
It was only after being baptised that I realised what that previous ability was, that I had.
As far back as I could remember, I exercised an ability to pre-warn others of what was round the corner, later hearing about it actually happening.
I would hear about it directly or indirectly from the individual or people connected to the individual, a gift that was definitely active before becoming a believer.
Within the first few months of being saved, one Sunday, when I was doing the ‘religiously unpopular’ thing, of taking some time out with Yeshua, as opposed to religiously “being in church”.
I was in prayer when I heard Adonai Yeshua speak to me and tell me what He had called and chosen me to be and do for Him, confirmed in these verses of scriptures.
I had not previously read or understood them, until then.
I have mentioned elsewhere on this site that I was never fully convinced about the religious setup and my subsequent years were a roller-coaster ride, as I just couldn’t fully piece together the reasons why.
Unbeknown to me at the time, I was being taken on a journey, of growth, discovery, evidence building and revelation.
All of which helped me to understand what was or was not necessary, in a believers walk.
When Lois and I moved into our first home after getting married, we had a neighbour who was also a believer.
He would say things to us about fellowship and what is Church etc. and due to our religious programming at the time, we just couldn’t fully understand him.
Little did I know I would be in a similar position later, trying to teach and show others the route to ‘relationship with Yeshua’.
That route to experience led us to attending a total of 4 assemblies and a house group between 1993 to 2005.
We tried to submit to religious rule but as I said, something just wasn’t right.
The mix of lows and highs continued, in the spring of 1997 Lois and I took some time to pray and contemplate what our next move would be and we also just got really busy with our first and most important ministry, bringing up our children and being a family.
My friend Lucas started to fellowship at a new and radical assembly and in November 1997 he invited us to attend, so we went to see if we could find more liberty in the Spirit of Yeshua, by attending.
The Pastor was the same brother who preached the message which I heard 4 years previous and he took some time to really get to know Lois and myself and we shared all of our previous experiences with him, both the good and bad.
As time went on, the original assistant pastor’s wife became ill and he was understandably drawn to spend more time looking after her and his family as well as managing his job.
Yeshua promoted me and I eventually became assistant pastor after being a minister.
The senior pastor tried to move away from the old religious formats and it was refreshing to finally be in a nearly non-religious assembly/environment.
We grew together, had conventions, meetings and seminars with other members of the Body of Christ and learned about our ministry gifts in the process.
It was confirmed that mine, in addition to Prophecy, were Exhortation (counselling), servant Leadership (Pastoring) and Teaching.
A whole lot happened between 1997 and 2004 the people in the assembly became a bit stagnant, everyone was trying to live life in a more freer environment but it affected the growth in numbers etc. which frustrated my then good friend and senior pastor.
We once had a meeting where he shared how he understood why the religious rules were in place because (in his opinion) the organisations and assemblies who exercised them, ‘got more done’.
I distinctly remember telling him that he would always have my support but the moment I saw him taking any garden paths I would protect my young family and leave.
Throughout 2004 it was evident that, as much as I sacrificed a lot of my time for the brethren, I was torn, as I was also trying to run my own business and be present for my family.
My family and I had also experienced house repossession in 2000, so we were trying to make sure that we put enough time in our business to ensure we wouldn’t go through that again.
The senior pastor went back to what was easier, obviously feeling let down by myself and the other members of the leadership team whom, he felt were not doing enough to support him.
He went back to what he knew, invited other people to come in from different assemblies and the religious routines (I’ll explain in the next post) began to surface.
In the summer of 2004, I had a strange experience in my bathroom whilst brushing my teeth.
I put my hands over my eyes and I began to remove what looked and felt like fish scales, from my eyes.
I did this about 3 times and every time I rubbed my fingers, they disappeared, on the third time of rubbing my fingers together, they completely vanished.
I then heard that still small voice, Adonai spoke to me and said, I have removed the scales from your eyes. I was immediately reminded of what happened to Paul the Apostle.
It was an event which, at the time, I only shared with Lois and Lucas, as it was so strange.
After that event, I began to see things differently, my studies into the Authorised Word of Yeshua went deeper, I also got hold of the Apocrypha and studied that alongside the authorised Bible.
Yeshua began to open His word up to me and show me the differences of what He requires and expects, as opposed to the imposed man-made rules of religion.
I was totally liberated, as things I was struggling with concerning religious organisational routines and the behaviour of titled individuals in various assemblies, began to become crystal clear.
I had a last-ditch attempt for change meeting, in December 2004, sharing with my friend and senior pastor the Word and things Yeshua had showed me concerning religion.
While it was clear he understood what I was saying, it went against a lot of religious protocol for him and understandably, he was torn.
I gave situations a few more months to see if things would be sorted out and change for the better, not just for me but for others who were struggling with the changed religious direction.
When I could clearly see that there was no change, after obviously praying about things, Lois and I left our last official religious organisational setup, in the summer of 2005.
I wrote to the church to explain the reasons why, so they could hear it, directly from me.
I have been sharing my message of this way of life, being about a ‘relationship with Yeshua’ and not ‘religion’, since 2005.
Over the years, I’ve even created the short-hand abbreviated hashtag #iarnr which stands for ‘It’s about relationship not religion’.
As I said in one of my recent VLOGS, since then, I have been ostracised, spoken about, ridiculed and also avoided by many of the people I once broke bread with, served and called friends.
Only a faithful few exceptions, who received their own personal revelation of #iarnr down the line, have remained good friends.
Some received their revelation, within a few years after I/we did, the others, only over the last few years, nether-the-less, their eyes have been opened and relationships have been resumed.
If you haven’t already experienced it, you would be surprised to know how free and how much less stress your walk with Yeshua can be, when you let go of the things which are not necessary.
In the journey I/we have made since 2005, I have visited a few assemblies as and when I’m led and seen the emancipation in places, while the unnecessary bondage of religion still looms in most organisations and assemblies.
What has given me some encouragement is, over the years many music artistes have shared the message of relationship not religion, as well as some well-known brothers and sisters, i.e. Church assembly leaders.
They’ve shared the message (in part) but when you listen closely to many of their teachings, preachings and treachings, the religious routines and doctrines still remains strong.
In the next post I will share the differences between religion and relationship and as usual.
All I ask is that you get your Bibles out, read them carefully, pray and fast if you need to.
Ask Adonai Yeshua Hamashiach, to remove your fear, open your eyes and your understanding to what it is He wants of you in your walk and relationship with Him.
A reminder…I have shared in other parts on this site, that I/we didn’t throw the baby (our relationship with Abba Yeshua) out with the dirty bath water (religion).
We kept hold of our faith and belief, even more so.
Please remember this important note: – No wolf in sheep’s clothing, false teacher or false prophet, is going to tell you to go deeper in prayer and fasting.
To take the time to read the Word and to better follow, what Yeshua said to everyone in the Gospels and what the Disciples/Apostles (by the leading of Yeshua’s Spirit) instructed the Church to do, in the Book of Acts and the Epistles. It would be counter productive.
Please take a ‘Selah moment’ to think about what I just said.
An enemy agent would want you to follow what your are told by religious organisations and man-led authority leadership, through fear and not wanting to seem different.
If you can hear the call of Adonai Yeshua Hamashiach to come close and have an intimate relationship with Him, you are already different.
Have no fear, He paid it all for you and as long as you’re obedient to His word, He will be there right with you.
The big difference between relationship and religion, warrants a serious investigation.
Hopefully you’ll come back for the third and final part of this post, see the difference and (if you haven’t already) make the changes necessary to be emancipated in your walk with Adonai Yeshua Hamashiach.
Watiwa Mtoto wa Yeshua