Weekly Sabbath Survey
Loving The Carpenter — 4-21-2018
My Testimony and The Facts as I see them: Over a lifetime, starting at age 4 with Bible stories told while sitting in my Grandmother’s lap, I have learned, changed and come to a few startling conclusions. The first step was knowing the Gospel that Jesus is our Savior, the Savior of the world. I don’t remember when I first heard it. I have just always known. At age 13 at church camp, I received (accepted) Him as my Savior, was Born Again. I was now a true member of the Christian faith. I went on in the ‘normal’ course of life for that day and time. I attended church with my family and was a good girl. When grew up, I had my own family, and we continued with Sunday’s at the building. We even became very involved: I taught Sunday School, served as church treasurer, and my husband was a deacon.
Then, twenty years after being Born Again, I experienced a ‘second touch’ from Jesus. When that happened, I really put my hand in the hand of The Carpenter from Galilee. This radically changed my life. I began reading the Bible at home in private study. I joined a home Bible study with women from several churches, and learned even more! I was learning from the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher. As time went on I began to see other things in Christianity. I saw in church, mean people with money in leadership and good ordinary people left on the sidelines. I heard dull preaching, bad teaching, judgmental gossiping. I heard sermons without substance and saw ceremony without celebration. I found admiration for the way “Christianity” works among my friends, not in Sunday morning sessions, but in gatherings with others who had gotten the second touch like I did. We were all full of love, joy and excitement, and it was spreading all over town. It was a sovereign move of God.
A leader at my church board meeting was not amused at this. He opined concerning our new enthusiasm: “This laughing and chattering in the hallways before Sunday service, people hugging everybody they can get their hands on–is silly and irreverent. We need to put a stop to it!” My cheeks burned red and I wanted to cry. I had come to really love The Carpenter, and it made me want to love other people as I had never done in my life. I was just getting started in my new walk with Him and had a target on my back already!! In my OWN church.
Soon after that meeting, my family felt the Lord was moving us on in our new journey. We gave our resignations from our positions and Elvis-style, left the building by the back door. We went into a full-tilt Charismatic spiritual life with others around town of like mind. It was a glorious time. We were FREE and everybody was ‘kin by the blood of Jesus.’ Some of us were still in the denominational cradle, but attended the Charismatic meetings on the sly.
My family met on Sunday in my sister’s living room, and it wasn’t long before people began joining us—-leaving their various churches. Within a few months we acknowledged ourselves as a home church, going from house to house just like the Book of Acts. As time went along, our numbers grew. Instead of splitting up, having more than one group, we stuck together and rented a large house to meet in. We could fit everybody in and used bedrooms for counseling, classrooms and our weekly Saturday “Jesus & Me Club” meetings with the kids. Friday night was ‘prayer and share’ and just loving one another. Sunday morning was a worship (singing) service, a teaching or preaching, then we ate our noon covered dish meal together. Most of us stayed until about 3:00 PM.
But, within a few years, there was unrest among us. Strangers we did not know crept in among us. We received them gladly. But they sowed seeds of discord. These malcontents did not come openly to voice their concerns or opinions, nor did they speak up in our business meetings when we discussed plans, expenses and so forth. They worked quietly in secret, one on one, under-mining our fellowship, untying the cords of love. I was shocked when the death blow fell so hard. I was wounded by my brothers and sisters in the Lord. My heart was broken. I watched my friends drift back into their old denominations. The people who caused all the problems regrouped and started another church, which did not include those who were still my friends. My vision of a real family in God was a failure. I got lost in pain, remorse, guilt, and depression. The devil beat me senseless.
I made several bad decisions in a state which might be called ‘insane.” I moved from my home town, ran away from the shame of utter failure as a woman of God. It took me about 7 years to really find myself again, and finally stop having thoughts of, “This is what’s left of me, after what was done to me and what I did to myself.” When I woke up, I was alone and self-supporting for the first time at 50 years of age. Like the woman with the issue of blood, I grabbed the fringe of the Carpenter’s prayer shawl and hung on for dear life!
I had membership in 3 more churches as the years went by. One was small, one was medium and one was HUGE. All Charismatic. I met people and learned things at each place. In time I remarried, and Tony and I were leaders of a home group for about three years, before we moved from San Antonio. I came to see all three of those churches, no matter what size, as being about the same as most other denominational settings, but with a a sort of ‘holier’ twist. Denomination was the pattern we knew, and we just went with it. But it was/is wrong and the Lord confirmed that to me.
In time I saw these foundational truths: 1) The original Believers in Bible days were regarded by all, including themselves, to be a sect in Judaism. 2) It was necessary to have Gentile Believers in synagogue among the Jews because they were pagans with no background in God’s law. They needed a lot of instruction in the way of righteousness. 3) Jewish Believers in Jesus did not need to stop being Jews. 4) The Apostles wrote the testimony of Jesus (The Gospels) and letters that were passed around among Believers. These were abbreviated versions of God’s laws to help teach the Gentiles in their home meetings. 5) They called themselves “Believers in the Way”. The people were ALL Jewish: some by birth and the others by the Blood of Jesus.
Even today Jews do not need to stop being Jews to know Jesus. He was and is THEIR Messiah, THEIR King. Gentiles are supposed to be a part of them, not trying to make them become “Christians.” Paul taught this himself. He knew Jews had 6,000 years of worshiping God and learning His laws. Gentiles were steeped in ungodly traditions and pornographic rituals. I know of two people, one born Jewish and one born Gentile. They don’t know each other. Both came to follow Jesus, but neither was ever a Christian! They both had the Torah and a King James Bible. Both consider themselves to be Jews. One by birth and the other by The Blood of Jesus.
I believe this should be the norm for Believers as it was when this whole thing was new. I have shed the way of “Pagan Christianity” to become who I was called out to be. The Christian Religion will never cease to be. It will grow. Some churches will be as huge as ever. And, they will all participate in the One World Religion that is coming. It will include EVERYBODY so there is no right nor wrong any more. Pick Buddha, Mohammed, Wiccan, even God/Jesus. They are all teaching the right way to live. “There are many paths to God.”
But, before that happens, Jews and others are coming right now, to embrace a very Jewish Messiah Yeshua. These may be the ones God will call “The Remnant.” They will leave the name “Christian” and return to being just saying I am a Believer or “‘Believers in The Way” as it was in the beginning. Jesus is The Way, the Truth and the Life. Those End Time Believers will all really love each other, and the very Jewish Carpenter: The Nazarene.
Day by day the Believers were of the same mind (in one accord) as they shared the gospel in the temple. Breaking bread from house to house, they shared their meals together with joy, gladness and simplicity of heart. Acts 2:46
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright August 2017
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