Why should we Congregate?
The people of every free government, from the beginning of man's history, have congregated together in Free Assemblies to help maintain their mutual liberty. The greatest threat to a free society comes from within, not from without. A free society is bound by Social Virtues like love and honor and not by Contracts, covenants and constitutions which limit freedom of choice.
Historically, small groups gathered together in these social networks to protect individual liberty, sacred under a fundamental moral code. People functioned in a free society and cared about their neighbors and their neighbors' rights as much as their own.
This is, and was, what early Israel and early Rome were doing, and what the early Church did because the people were willing to repent and think and act in a different way. It has been said that there is strength in numbers, but the manner in which society establishes those bands that connect them with one another are many fold.
The method and manner used to bind society determines the fruit of that society but the why for His Church is because Jesus as the Christ commanded that His disciples make the people organize themselves in by companies in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties...
Man is gregarious by nature
There is a natural emotional need in mankind to gather with others like themselves. Gathering together in fellowships offers individuals emotional and even psychological support to their purposes and satisfaction. However, the emotional dependence upon a group can become a form of bondage. Your intent or spirit for gathering can either facilitate that bondage or protect you from it.
The question you must ask should answer why are you gathering.
While what would qualify as a cult might cultivate a welcomed emotional dependence, it also may go so far as to completely remove a member from their support systems of friends and family. A cult may even be a means of making income, thus causing a person to become physically and financially dependent upon the group, and therefore its leaders.
There are other, more subtle, ways of creating an emotional dependency.
For example, Modern Churches will try to fill a natural emotional need for community and fellowship. Their attempt to feed or satisfy an emotional dependency in the congregant can also cultivate the quality of loyalty in attending congregants. Such churches may use guilt or even fear of condemnation if a congregant stops going to church.
This type of church may be catering to an individual's existing emotional weakness. Their weakness manifests itself by granting power to leaders as seen with Saul in 1 Samuel 8, opening a door to a leader's controlling spirit. He will secure his leadership position of loaned power using various methods as seen the case of Saul. Banning members from meeting, communing with others outside the Church congregation, or an over-shadowing denominational loyalty are all signs of the syndrome.
Of course loyalty is a virtue and therefore is a good thing. Yet it is the intent and motivation behind that loyalty which leads to the production of good fruit. Thieves and robbers have loyalty too. Loyalty for the wrong reason or compelled (forced) loyalty are both forms of bondage.
Loyalty in a true congregation of Christ is loyalty to the the righteousness of God which is what we are to be seeking. Loyalty to individuals by virtue of their office or to the symbols of that office are forms of Idolatry.
When the people looked to Peter as a leader of the Church to dictate commands his response was clear:
- "Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Acts 10:34-35
People who need
"People who need people" may not be the luckiest people in the world.
Society needs people because there is no society of "one." Again, it is the motivating intent or spirit behind this normal need that makes the difference as to the resulting fruit.
The People song by Merrill and Styne goes onto say that "Lovers are very special people, They're the luckiest people In the world."
But there are at least two kinds of love. There is the love that consumes the life of others and the love that gives life to others. Lovers in a consuming relationship are not lucky but are doomed.
If there is "A feeling deep in your soul Says you were half, Now you're whole." what gave you that feeling of fulfillment?
Christ spoke of "No more hunger and thirst."
Over a hundred years ago Easton said worship is homage which is "Ceremonial acknowledgment by a vassal of allegiance to his lord under feudal law."
When Jesus said he would build His Church upon the rock he was talking about the divine revelation of the individual like Simon. The rock or peter in the Greek was an inner knowing and faith expressed by Simon Bar Jona which was the result of a personal revelation by God and not revealed by the actions of flesh and blood. So we do not want to be dependent upon our leaders nor upon the emotional support of the congregation upon The Holy Spirit of God himself.
The value of the congregation is more in the opportunity of serving and forgiving others rather in being served or forgiven by others. This is essential in the purpose of our gathering if we are to be blessed by God.
The truth is we need an unselfish guiding force/light in our life to truly bless others in our life. According to the scriptures that guidance is to be supplied by the Holy Spirit who should be our comforter.
Need to give and forgive
Christ came to give and forgive, to serve and to sacrifice himself for others. We must gather with people not because we need them to sacrifice for us but because we need to sacrifice and serve others so we may also come in the name of Christ, and for His purposes.
If we break this down into the psychology of the individual we can see that people who have trouble with neediness often get involved with very dependent partners so they don’t have to feel their own neediness. Their neediness subjects them to control by others, which they resent. In turn, their resentment draws them stealthily to want to control others in the same way others controlled them.
We become a reflection of that which we will not forgive. Such unforgiveness gets projected into our partner, friends or congregants as an expression of "neediness." Looking deeper, you may also find that supposedly dependent and helpless people are extremely controlling and manipulative once they become dependent on others for support.
When people put leaders and associates on pedestals [princes, presidents, pastors or fellow pirates] they leave members to appear as mere subordinates. This is a father-child type relationship, that taken to the extreme, leads to abuse. On a grander scale it can lead to tyranny.
Fellowship of lies
Dependence and being needy carry a charge negativity in our culture but we can cover that over with words like fellowship. We have to realize that much of this is not consciously done. But just searching for a church or congregation that makes you "feel comfortable" especially if it takes you away from others you have called friend or brothers brings a possible dependence vulnerability or personal neediness into question.
Individuals who take on a roll of dependence or appear helpless often have an unhealthy desire of controlling their partners or fellow congregants for personal emotional gain. This commonly arises in male female relationships where there is an unconscious resentment for previous authority exercised earlier in their life. In the case of physical abuse victims you will often find a woman escaping from one abusive relationship only to enter the arms of another individual who eventually abuses them.
Society and community and therefore the church congregation may repeat this pattern.
Some may force or entice others to assume the role of emotional caretaker [guide or guru, mentor or master, pastor or pope, president or prime-minister] so they may manipulate their emotional protagonist [leader, preacher, pastor] into giving what is wanted, be it emotional or eventual financial support.
We may have all seen how children will try to get their way by nagging and fussing. There are also children who get their way by softly and meekly pleading for what they want in a sort of projected false humility or helplessness, while in fact they are merely pulling the strings like a professional puppeteer.
Both play the same role of controller from a different fantasy or imagined dependence. Psychologists call the role playing needy as “Omnipotent babies” who like to appear helpless and childlike but secretly want to pull the strings of their pastors or partners like the puppets they secretly imagine them to be.
The natural structure of the kingdom of God expressed in the practices ( Rituals and Ceremonies ) of early Israel and the early Church guard against the emotional dependency that creeps into any social structure or gathering. But there is no structure that can give total immunity without the Spirit of God dwelling in the hearts and minds of the people.
Forgiveness and giving in the Spirit of Christ is essential.
People who demonstrate emotional dependency and helplessness often have little tolerance or real love and patience for the pastor or person who seems needless.
They are both in denial about their real needs but are compensating in different ways.
Christ is sufficient, but you have to accept and love the real Christ who says you should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. You should not be denying and projecting your needs.
Matthew 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Being a little child to what Father?
We are to call no man on earth Father. Not our Pastor or preacher or any leader and certainly not any ruler who exercises authority. We are not to put men on pedestals of power or influence, but look to our Father in heaven.
So, how do we avoid the addiction to an emotional dependency that comes with a cell congregation. In the article Emotional Dependency in Cells How to identify and break the bondage of dependent relationships by Steve Prokopchak we see a clear case of emotional dependency. How do we set the dependent free while remaining free of their natural trap of co dependence.
Prokopchak asks "A primary function of the cell group is to lend itself to closer, more intimate relationships. But, what happens when these relationships become ingrown or dependent and a destructive bondage develops?"
First we must accept that a dysfunctional home is the product of a disconnection with God and His Holy Spirit and dysfunction is a product of an unhealthy relationship with two or more disconnected souls or persons.
In other words two souls have been disconnected from the righteousness of God and they are trying to compensate in some form of social relationship.
They are both needy and are not helping but often making the situation worse. An illusion of aid is given at the price of more dependency and an inevitable return to a cyclical process. People learn to manage the problem but never overcome it.
Like modern medicine we are only dealing with the symptom and not the source.
We may try to list off things that lead to emotional dependency, such as Feelings of Insecurity. The truth is feelings of security are just as dangerous because they are feelings and may have nothing to do with the real us.
Just like having low self esteem, being very self confident and self assured may only be a product of personal pride and arrogance.
Certainly having a dysfunctional family background can contribute to these things. However the bible says "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children" it does not say we are condemned to repeat the same sins done to us.
The need to criticize others and even ourselves is judging, not forgiving. Also forgiveness is not absolution it is only forgiving from our personal position as a victim or perpetrator of unrighteousness and letting God judge. Any judgment or condemnation of ourselves or others is simply us playing the roll of God which takes us all back to the original sin.
Fear is a symptom of a lack of faith and faith is gift. Faith, probity and allegiance are similar terms. Seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness is about doing something to return to your Fathers house where your first allegiance should lie. If you want to live in your Father's house you must seek to serve your Father.
We often realize our lack of faith and forgiveness and our selfish nature. Rather than repenting and changing our thinking and ways, we play the role of the devout martyr, wearing our proverbial sackcloth, donning the garb of the ascetic, fasting and denying natural relationships and joy, even sabotaging the very relationships we claim to seek.
We are continuously pulled back to commune and fellowship as if we need that connection to recharge our batteries. That is sure evidence we are not connecting with God because we are constantly needing others to renew our comfort level. If we are not sincerely seeking to connect with God on His terms it is us that is blocking that connection of faith. That is usually because we will not repent.
People learn to think a certain way as children. Their way of thinking is really "hard" wired into their Mind from their youth. The work it takes to "unlearn" and "relearn" to think a different way, is like riding a backwards bike, it takes a long time.
In the video the man mentioned for him it took eight months, while for his young son it only took two weeks or so. The Israelites spent forty years in the desert learning to think and act a different way than they did when they lived in Egypt.
This is where the seeking of the kingdom and the striving spoken of by Christ is important. The human desire for "easy" and "quick" to feel justified already, and a lack of humility keeps the people "hard wired".
They may also want to get other people to learn to ride "their own bike" like they ride theirs. Because they want to believe that their "bike" is "God's bike", and that they are right in what they are doing. They will oppose anyone who seeks to do things a different way, and if deep down they know they are doing it wrong they may refuse to admit it because of pride and arrogance, so they are likely going to want to force people to do it their way.
We have been told since we were children and are being told today that it is okay to desire benefits at the expense of our neighbor. This of course is coveting our neighbors goods which is against the law of God written down by Moses and is published above the door of the supreme Court.
Yet, everyone is coveting their neighbor's goods who desires benefits from men who call themselves Benefactors but have the benefactors force their neighbors to contribute to their own Welfare, as well as their free public schools and even their Social Security. We have been taught and have learned to do things opposite of what Christ and the early Church were doing and that is now the only way we know or even think that we can care for the needy of society.
There is no Daily ministration done by the Church today. The Church has become a social institution where visiting the sick is just chatting with them or maybe driving them to the doctor paid for by those Benefactors who exercise authority. There is no Pure Religion in the Modern Churches today but only a supposed semblance of one. Many want to imagine that they do not have to daily give up their life for others because Christ did it all for us. The truth is if Christ is within us we will be like Christ and feed His sheep and not seek the Free Bread and circuses of the Fathers of the earth. Remember Christ means anointing and anointing refers to the presence of the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ.
Repenting and seeking the kingdom is like riding a backwards bike or learning to ride the righteous bike of Christ after learning to ride the backwards bike of the World.
We are actually trained to think in covetous ways counter to the ways of the Kingdom of God and repenting is not only learning to think kingdom aspects while unlearning what we have already accepted as true.
This is why Humility is so important in Kingdom thinking.
In this life we are told to accumulate and become wealthy and secure for ourselves. But what did Christ say and think?
- "Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him." 1 John 3:16
We have become Aid Addicts. We need or think we need the assistance of the public, self proclaimed Benefactors of the World and those Fathers of the earth. There are steps that you can take within congregations that will help all within a larger community come closer to the ways of the kingdom and draw us nearer to Christ.
This is laid out in Aid Addicts like the twelve step plans so popular today. There are other pages like First to do List and Doers of the Word along with many articles and audio files to help you in this process.
Long distant congregations
We generally do not know what we are to repent of but it is simple. We are still trying to play a god, seeking to control others, rather than serve god by seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The Kingdom of God is where God rules us so that we seek to come together not to get something from someone else but to serve like Christ did. We gather to give and forgive not to get recharged or a sense of fellowship and comradery. That is one reason long distant congregations are a place to start.
In long distant congregations we are not as easily tempted by the emotional dependence. Like a field of grain or garden the seeds are scattered to give each plant room to grow in the light of day.
While in many cults, members may live with other members in a group living environment and become financially dependent upon the group, kingdom living encourages financial independence. Should a cult member decide to leave the group, it becomes physically difficult or even impossible to sustain oneself outside of that dependency that has been cultivated in the individual.
Winston Churchill wrote that: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” but isolated independence is the road to poverty of the spirit because of the need for charitable practices which includes sacrifice.
Society, free or bond, with its product of virtue or vice determines the destiny of the people, for the power and precepts will be born first in their hearts and in their minds.
Reasons to congregate
There are many reasons to congregate together and those reasons are an expression of intent. Intent is the seed of all action in your life and determines the fruit of your life. Intent is the spirit that move us.
Your reasons for congregating should be the purposes of Christ.
You should gather:
- To save others
- To serve others
- To forgive others
- To love God and one another
- To bear witness to the truth.
- To bring sight to the blind
Intent is a child of the heart and action is the offspring of the soul. According to Paulo Coelho “There is always a gap between intention and action..” and the distance between the two is the inverse measure of your sincerity.
Reasons you should not come together:
- Save your self
- Make life easier for you
- Feel good or even just feel better
- Look good or better or righteous
- Lord it over others as if you are right and they are wrong
Without love and humility there can be no liberty.
Most of what we see or experience of our spirit is perceived through or mind and our feelings. Spirit giveth life. But if you want life more abundant you must lay down your life. Most of what draws us to the Holy Spirit is Sacrifice.
The World and False religion has delivered us into bondage through our Covetous Practices and Sloth. Your bondage to the systems of the world, your surety for debt which makes you merchandise, are merely a symptom of your spiritual bondage.
By forming Congregations of Record you may began to reverse the process that brought you into Bondage in Spirit and Truth. By the ministers you choose gathering in true Congregations of Ministers and continuing this pattern of service with dedication a living network of 10's, 100's, 1000's may continue to form drawing the Holy Spirit and preparing a place for that spirit in each of us.
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- Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
- John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
- Songwriters: MERRILL, BOB/STYNE, JULE People lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
- John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
- John 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
- Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
- Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
- a.k.a Tree of life
- John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
- John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
- John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
- John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
- Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1 ¶ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,
- Luke 6:37 ¶ Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
- Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
- Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
- Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
- Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
- Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
- Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
- Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
- Comradery is the spirit of friendship and community in a group, like the comradery of soldiers at war who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances.
- John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 1 Timothy 1:15 This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
- Luke 22:27 For whether [is] greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? [is] not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
- Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 2 John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
- John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
- John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
- John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
- Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
- Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
- 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
- Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
- Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
- John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
- 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.: Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
To read more go to "His Holy Church" (HHC) http://www.hisholychurch.org/