Thank you for sharing this. I remember hearing about all of this as a child. I remember thinking that all denominational Christians were going to take the mark of the beast and would be lost. I remember having nightmares about all the terrible things that might happen to me and my loved ones if any of us “missed the rapture”. Ridiculous! Hogwash! What began my awakening and eventually leaving the Message was something that came to me as I was preparing to preach a sermon to the youth group at my church. the Scripture says “There is no fear in love.” From that time on, the fear I heard became louder and louder until I could no longer align myself with it. Yes, I was a minister, a trustee, a song leader, a musician and a member of a message church. For 38 years of my life, I learned and taught those teachings. Then, around 2006 I began to notice how the teachings were not consistent with my own personal beliefs. At first I thought it was that the church I was attending had gotten away from the “pure Message” so I went to another Message church for 3 years. Then in 2009 I made the choice to leave the message. It has been an enormous personal challenge. I have over 200 relatives still in the message, including my parents, siblings, former wife, my sons, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. I love them and I want them to have the freedom I experience. I know they each have their own journeys and they get to choose their own path to God. I just wish we could find a way to accept and love each other, especially when we don’t agree. Unfortunately, the “message” comes with such a strong context of right and wrong, good and evil, life and death and separation. We were taught to separate ourselves from “unbelief” and that it was sin. I am so very grateful to be free and serving God the way His Spirit and my heart leads me. I am looking forward to the day when my loved ones experience that same Freedom.

The Bitter Belly

“If there is only one person that makes it into the rapture, you believe you will be that one.”

I sat with wide eyes as a child listening to that statement.  I squirmed in my chair looking around to count all the spiritual people that would make it before me.  How could the minister not make it?  His wife certainly would have to, and surely the song leader and the deacon.  It was going to be such a small number, how would there ever be enough room for me?

Nightmares of coming home to an empty house with no mommy or daddy met me night after night.  Vivid images of hideous beasts and demons haunted me.  The sermons of concentration camps and the terrors of the tribulation made their way into my little thoughts as I drifted off to sleep.

Tribulation.  Hell on earth.  The bride was to be such…

View original post 1,783 more words