“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;” ~1 Peter 2:9

We live in a day in time where church attendance recently has been on the decline. Our nation has gone through a “Woe unto Pastors for scattering the sheep” season. People have been hurt in church because of the constraints of religion. Many people just don’t want to “go there” and put up with all of the “do’s and don’ts” that often come with church attendance. Or maybe church just doesn’t offer what you need?  Maybe you are single parent?  Going to church and watching all of the “happily married couples” is just too depressing. Maybe your church expects too much of your participation and you just don’t have it to give so you quit going completely? Maybe you can’t find a church where you feel like you “fit”. Or maybe you are in a position where you really can’t go to church for whatever reason. Technology has solved these problems for many people. You now can attend church online from the comfort of your home.  Many religious believe that technology, specifically the “web”, is not of God but is from the enemy.  I am not here to argue that, rather to point out the good God has used the internet for.  The four walls of the church may be decaying, but the reach of the church in this day is astronomical and prophesied revival is truly spreading. God’s presence in worshiping together online is traveling across the globe and literally penetrating every corner.  With the availability of the internet and social media, even the smallest of churches have the ability to reach the nations for Christ with nothing but a hand held device. It is a glorious thing to behold seeing salvation being preached this way so effortlessly. I personally I have come to realize that, for many of us, the internet is in fact our calling.  We, a royal priesthood, have to “go into the world and preach the gospel”.  We, as pastors, have to be willing to go where the people are if we want to bring them back into the fold. Especially when it comes to reaching the youth.

But, as with anything, there are pitfalls. Traps designed by the enemy that serve as stumbling blocks to our personal growth. The ease of the internet can make it justifiable for us to forsake God ordained fellowship. If we are not careful, we can have a variety of pastors shepherding us, each with a different message. We can become “tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine”. The kingdom of heaven on earth is built upon relationships. Relationships with Christ and relationships with each other. Recently, Pastor Clyde Oliver of Marantha Christian Center in Melbourne, Florida preached on “Walking in the Supernatural”.  He specifically said “If you have no Pastor, you are out of order”.  Pastor Oliver is so very right. Ephesians 4:11 states “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” Many churches have justified not “needing a Pastor” and interwoven this into their very doctrine.  The truth of the matter, however, is that a Pastor is given by God, through His Son Jesus Christ, as a gift.  The meaning of the word Pastor is “a spiritual parent to many”.  In the physical realm, we do not choose our parents, God does. God hand selects them and prepares them to parent us as individuals with unique callings and missions.  In the spiritual realm, the same holds true for our Pastors. God assigns them to us and us to them.  The more we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, the more we need them. We may outgrow an individual Pastor’s teachings, but we never out grow the need for having a Pastor completely.

1 John 1:3 explains the very reason for preaching, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” We are created for fellowship. Fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus through His Holy Spirit. In other words, salvation.  And for fellowship together.  In Acts 2:42-49, after Pentecost, the original church followed the teachings of the Apostle Peter God had raised up. The book of Acts provides a clear example of what the Lord expects of us today.  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.An Apostle is “a Pastor’s Pastor”. In other words , “one who is sent to be a witness to the life of Jesus Christ.” A spiritual grandparent, if you will, raised up by God to go out and raise up more spiritual parents (Pastors). While some denominations give more power to the role of an Apostle than others, we can’t ignore the value God has placed in them. Notice this passage doesn’t refer to favor of the Lord for just one person. They all had the favor of God through following Peter’s teachings, through their relationships with one other, and through providing for the needy. If we forsake the value of having a Pastor, no matter where we are in our spiritual maturity, or we forsake the fellowship of having relationships with each other and/or helping those who need us, we are forsaking the favor of God from being active in our lives. It is just that easy. 

Also in Pastor Clyde Oliver’s teachings he stated, “We have arrived when we do what is at hand.”  Many times we have the mindset that we are awaiting our destiny when, in fact, our Lord is merely awaiting our obedience. Just as the Bible tells us to “honor our father and mother” with a promise to live long in the land God is giving us (symbolism for our Kingdom inheritance, Exodus 20:12) attached to our obedience, the book of Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 10, teaches us the benefits of receiving instruction from those who have gone before us spiritually.  “Hear, my son, and accept my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.”. Accepting instruction and guidance form a Pastor is wisdom that comes with temporal and eternal benefits. God will reveal to us the Pastor He has chosen for us if we look to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit in them that we have already come to know. “The sheep know the voice of the shepherd and follow.”  We can’t ignore the parts of the Holy Spirit’s voice that we don’t want to hear strictly because the church, or another Pastor, has hurt us. Perhaps God has raised up a new Pastor for you that can bring healing to that wound?  Regardless of why we choose to not have a Pastor, we can’t argue that not having one altogether is biblical. Jesus Himself was a Pastor in that He was THE Shepherd. Denying ourselves the gift of having one is the same as denying Christ Himself. In answer to the question, Do I need a Pastor? Do I need a church?  Yes, beloved, friend. You really do. Especially if you are a Pastor, too. It might not be a conventional Pastor or a brick and mortar church you need right now. Technology has provided us with many options these days. But, as the scripture says, you are chosen. If you are in a position to be able to attend a church and submit to a Pastor’s teachings in person, you need to know that it is a tremendous blessing to be directly in the presence of the Lord with fellow believers with a common mission that should not be taken for granted. In fact, it helps us to find and operate in our own callings. The need for instruction, fellowship, and purpose in any believer’s life never leaves. If able, we should never forsake an opportunity to shake a brother or sister in Christ’s hand or break bread with them. In fact, as a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, we are called to walk in the light with other believers such as this.  Church is not the building. It is an opportunity to “be among our people”. In fact, it is where we will always fit best.  The outcome the Lord has shown me He wants to accomplish through this revival we are currently experiencing, beyond salvation, is to heal the church and get His people to a place where they are willing to attend our churches in person again. And, you never know.  You might just be the one God is calling to help the “statistically decaying church”. God might just have “raised you to life” and given you one of the missing pieces needed to help Him breathe His resurrection life back into it. Another thing, this is a new season in the church. A lot of times when we step away from things and return, we find that God has already been busy in correcting and healing hurts and it is the perfect time for us to enter back in. You may just find that, just like the internet, the church is where the supernatural presence of God and His Glory already lives.

To learn more about Pastor Clyde Oliver or Marantha Christian Center go here: http://www.mccmelbourne.org/

Pastor Clyde Oliver’s sermon “Walking in the Supernatural” given on 6/3/2018

Maranatha Christian Center LIVE: Give: www.mccmelbourne.org/donateMeeting at Sherwood Elementary SchoolVISIT IN PERSON – 10:00 am TUNE IN ONLINE – 11:15 amStarting April 15, 2018 2:30 PM – MCC South in Fellsmere! Come & worship with us 12285 County Rd. 512 Fellsmere, FL 32948

Posted by Clyde Oliver on Sunday, June 3, 2018

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"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

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