1 Jan 2000

What are your denominational connections?

Submitted by theshovel
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As far as denominational connections, I haven't had any for years now. I was brought up in a Lutheran Church until I was 18, and then after we moved to Florida in 1971 we got involved in a youth ministry, a Coffee House outreach from the local First Baptist Church of Delray Beach, where my sister and I joined the youth choir, and then became members. During that time, I began attending another local youth evangelistic group that was connected with a Bible College to the south of me in Hollywood, Florida. I enrolled in the Bible College in January 1973 (much to the dismay of the Baptist preacher, and to my sister, as well) and I graduated in 1975. By 1979, I left the local church near me that was associated with the college. I left because of a lack of the real life we have in Christ in the relationships and in the teachings. I didn't fit with their programs ... they considered me too dangerous with my grace message.

In the years to follow I was involved in some small home groups. I am still considered dangerous by many ... I won't try to kid you about that. The last official church I was with basically told me that I was unbalanced because I preached too much of the grace of Christ. * Life in Christ is all about Christ in us ... and us in Christ because of what He did on the cross and through His resurrection. I will claim no institution of man ... religious or otherwise.

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“Life in Christ is all about Christ in us … and us in Christ because of what He did on the cross and through His resurrection. I will claim no institution of man … religious or otherwise.” LOL so many institutions of man claim to be institutions of god, and yet they teach, support and uphold anything and everything BUT the truth of god in christ jesus, who IS our life hidden with god in christ jesus. jesus christ himself is the very personification of god in us, and that is out and out heresy to most instead of the soothing balm to the soul that it is in reality.

Excellent Sher!

I certainly can't be definitive about your views on the local church because I've just come across your blogg page, but it seems to me that you have rejected the idea of the need to identify with a local church. Am I wrong? If it is true that you do not belong to a particular local church, how do you obey your elders as Paul said? I am one who would be pigeoned holed as a conservative evangelical believer with some odd-bod views, and there isn't a local church I've been associated with that I agree with totally. However, by belonging to a local church, I come under scrutiny. That is, I place myself under the oversight of elders, who whether I agree with them on all points or not, they keep me 'honest' so to speak, in the sense that they act as a responsible means of bouncing back what I believe and how I behave, enabling me to review things in the light of God's Word and in the light of Christ. Though elders of a local church are not infallible, they are people raised up to superintend the Christians under their care. And I am comfortable with that because I know I am not infallible either. Forgive me if I am mistaken, but by reading what you have about your background, it appears you can't fit in to a local church and so you are a wandering star. So, Jim, who keeps you honest?

theshovel's picture

Hello Jim Gibbon. Thanks for responding.

So, do you believe that scrutiny by any man actually keeps people honest? If history has taught us anything in this regard, it might rather suggest that man’s examination causes people to devise legal loopholes by which to appear honest. Are you comfortable with that kind of honesty? You mentioned Paul, and I think we both know that he rejected the scrutiny you think you need.

But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 NASB

The one who keeps me honest is the one who is my life. Do you not know this? Are you afraid that his life in you will cause you to become dishonest?


This discussion by you Jim and Jim was very helpful. Jim Gibbons, if you will notice you have been taught to live in a system set up by the church. The church thinks you have to have their system to keep you pleasing to God. I can tell you it was that very system that showed me the righteousness I thought I had because I was keeping all their rules was the very death I did not see. Christ alone showed me that death and that HE ALONE is LIFE. If you are looking at sins then I see the shovel giving great comment because you can devise every loophole to do what YOU want and YOU will think you are pleasing to God in your righteousness through law and believe me when I say that is the system the organized church has set up for you. This may be shocking but as long as you are depending on performance to be pleasing to God, in my opinion, you will miss the work Christ accomplished on the Cross, where any performance reigns. I find in performance law is always found whether unsaved or even saved as saved ones go back to confessing sins to keep themselves pleasing to God. To me this denies again what Christ did on the Cross. I am glad to be the New Creation and not depend on any performance but only the Life of Christ. My husband and I was in the local church for 40 years and church leaders for quite a period of time. So I do not speak from opinion. I did not find peace, rest, freedom or hope there. Thank you for your discussion that gave me opportunity to look again at the life that is given me. Vivi

My 2cents about this:
"However, by belonging to a local church, I come under scrutiny. That is, I place myself under the oversight of elders, who whether I agree with them on all points or not, they keep me 'honest' so to speak, in the sense that they act as a responsible means of bouncing back what I believe and how I behave, enabling me to review things in the light of God's Word and in the light of Christ."
I would say that Jim(aka the shovel) and many that call this site home keep each other "honest" in the same way any local body that calls itself a church does. We share the inherent life of Christ that resides in us with each other encouraging sometimes disagreeing sometimes all out no holds barred cage match fighting but coming back to the core of what Jim said "The one who keeps me honest is the one who is my life " and recognizing that that same life in each of us is doing its work. maybe this is an oversimplification but it states the reason some are able to survive without what the institutional church calls accountability. Jim G. poke around the site and at the shovelshack too and you will find a community of brothers and sisters that looks a lot like what you describe in your comments. I know jim would encourage you to jump in anywhere and share or ask questions.

The Shovel site is not like the local church. This site does not keep me honest and is not like the local church. The local church with it's systems and rules which come from law kept me in such fear that how would you think of doing anything against since you would be displeasing to a righteous God. In the local church I heard always how Christ died for me so now he could come help me be pleasing to God. In my local church I heard how Christ took away my sin but then I still need to confess everything I judge that I do wrong and feel guilty about. Do not hear me down on the local church I am down on the lies that were being taught that kept me in bondage but grateful God showed me the contrast so that I might KNOW HIM and in that the years spent there have been worth it. That was ALL death to me but the shovel site I hear and see Christ as Life not HIM helping me to live life. I don't need anyone to keep me honest or an accountability group but I do enjoy those who are honest where they are and sharing the life Christ is to them. The shovel wants each of us to have the Reality of Christ therefore we do not need him. I have heard him say this but a pastor knows more than you do because he has training or whatever credentials he uses to keep you thinking you can be more spiritual and that keeps you tied to man. Enough of my ramblins and anyone please weigh in. Vivi

theshovel's picture

It would be wonderful, though, to see local churches encourage all believers to stand in this living freedom of Christ … wherever they may be! :)

Vivian, your two cents worth is more like a million my dear!




At Vivian's invitation, I'm weighing in by adding my two cents worth to the pot.....mostly because I so appreciated all of your responses. I also appreciated Jim Gibbons post which Initiated all the responses.

Jim G, your opening sentence indicated to me a knee jerk reaction to Jim's blog without knowing anything about this website. Your concern seemed based on the fact of our "NEED" for a "LOCAL CHURCH". So many (as I was ) are caught up into the system of man's ideas, (as Vivi pointed out) of what the "church" is, and should be. When that system seems to be challenged in any way, we react as if threatened. So many of us here have gone through many years in that system and have been brought out of it, but none of us are threatened by those who are still in it, nor are we advising them to leave. We simply encourage each other as we share the amazing realities of Christ Himself being our total sufficiency for "all" of life. CHURCH, is not a building we must congregate in, but His body functioning as He wills, and provides, not necessarily by rules and regulations as men have come to insist is the only right way, but by His life of freedom that expresses itself in us, to the benefit of all of us who are His body.

I'm not here to debate these issues with you, but to simply suggest you read the responses given again, and to extend my invitation as Dave did to check the site out further................ Julie

theshovel's picture

I love reading such testimonies and expressions of life! :) Bring it on!!!! :)

Jim G., I attended church for years much like you described. I felt a sense of security, a sense in myself opening up to someone who I felt I can trust because I learned to respect them for how they preached or how they approached me with care. So I believe I understand what you are saying. However, after decades of becoming 'buddies' with several pastors in the churches I attended in my life, I found myself shaping my emotions and/or my intellectual prowess to actually get a response that I was somehow seeking. BUT, this is the disturbing part: This shaping of emotions and intellectual/mental ability was NOT something that I consciously planned out or schemed to set-up before I met with my pastor. This wretched natural ability was my nature that I naturally performed as I came to understand and realized as I was meeting with my pastors. It was spontaneous and it was wretched. For example, if in my conversation with a Pastor I sensed I needed him to "feel sorry for me, I felt depressed" then I would find myself being brutally honest about a weakness (internet pornography, lusting, covet things, not spending enough time with m wife or kids, not giving money to those in need or tithe regularly) I had or share how someone took advantage of me, or I was not treated fare at work, or how I gave so much of myself to my family or at the work place. In order to get a sympathy response so I could feel better then I could push those "buttons" so subtly. I was a natural. I came to actually know Christ for the first time in a real way through those pastor meetings. My"learning" was NOT from anything particular the pastor said to me. I was trying to gain acceptance and have a sense of belonging (to fit-in somewhere) and instead I realized the FREEDOM I had in Christ and the reality of Christ in my life. No more pretending. With a different 'twist', I feel like Paul sometimes: In Phillipians 3 Paul describes himself as full of confidence, a "top gun" Pharisee of Pharisees, full of zeal, a leader in the 'church'. Then he states how he counted "all things as rubbish" as he came to truly know Christ. Paul was enlightened beyond his religious roots, beyond his knowledge of the scrolls, and beyond his leadership in a religious organization. He gave it all up and called it 'rubbish'. Why would such a man who had so much authority, respected by his fellow religious leaders, he had great knowledge of scripture, and all his needs of life provided, THEN he gave all that authority and security up?? Why? Paul saw he was a wretch even with all the knowledge, authority, and security he had in his religion. It's amazing. Christ personalized Himself to Paul. Christ did the same for me. I still meet with a pastor but the spirit of our time together is mutual. We laugh together and cry together. He knows me and for the first time I am really getting to know him. We have a great relationship. After many meetings I will jokingly say, "I love my "pastor." :) -cp

Jim G. -Take some time and read the 13+ years of information shared on this web site. It took me a while to understand what Jim M. is saying. Many times I did not return to the theshovel because of frustration. He calls out of you the realization of the Life of Christ that is in you. Be a little more open minded. The love of Jim M. to others goes to the heart of the matter. There is no pretending, no religious system here. The never-ending revelations of the Grace and Freedom we have through Christ are available to us.

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Random Shovelquote: Dependency (view all shovelquotes)

If you are one who believes in Christ, then you have been made alive in Him AND YOU ARE DEPENDENT UPON HIM FOR YOUR VERY LIFE. source