An institution of religion is established by religious leaders for religious rituals.
When Americans "go to church," we wrongly think that the building we enter is "the church."
We also wrongly say that we are "attending church."
But you can't attend His Church if you are His Church.What every follower of Jesus is doing on Sunday is attending a local non-profit religious institution that conducts religious and social services.
You are Christ's Church.
That's why any pastor who tells you he is God's representative on earth, with spiritual authority over you, is practicing fraudulent authority and has confused the 501-C3 non-profit he leads with Christ Church.
Christ alone has spiritual authority over His people, and every Christian is called to minister to others according to the gifts He has given each of us.
Christ's Church has no building, needs no budget, and possesses no boundaries, local or global.But we've grown comfortable with a social custom in the United States of calling the religious rituals we attend on Sunday "church." The buildings and the leaders of those religious non-profits (including me) are actually part of 501-C3 religious non-profits that are registered with the secretary of state. Your local "church" is vested with "tax-exempt" status by the state and falls under the state guidelines under which it is registered.
Therefore, the state can rightfully order the closure of all 501-C3 non-profits, remove its tax-exempt status, and otherwise jail non-compliant leaders of any non-profit that refuses to abide by state law. Not one person who draws a salary from a religious non-profit should complain.
Any religious institution that has received tax-free money signed up for that benefit with the state.
The Babylon Bee
|Photo: The Babylon Bee|
An anonymous insider of religious institutions has been "poking fun" of American churches for a long time. He's called The Babylon Bee.
This week he wrote an article entitled "Nations Churches Provide Fog Machines for Families Worshiping at Home."
I laughed out loud when I saw the picture.
I knew what The Bee was doing. He was poking fun at churches who use "fog machines," by pointing out when the church buildings are closed, Christ's people will have to read Scripture, sing songs, and pray in their homes without the aid of fog machines.
Well, of course!
But I think the Babylon Bee has made the same mistake everyone else makes.
The Babylon Bee is confusing the 501-C3 non-profits with Christ's Church.
Emmanuel Enid (Oklahoma) is the 501-C3 non-profit that I lead. Members of Christ's Church support the non-profit called Emmanuel Enid and the staff of this non-profit seeks to empower members of Christ's Church to minister.
The non-profit called Emmanuel Enid uses a fog machine. In fact, Emmanuel Enid uses two of them. In a moment I'll tell you why, but be patient with me.
I've taught the people who attend corporate gatherings at Emmanuel Enid to never confuse what we do as a non-profit with Christ's Church.
Christ's people - men and women - are to minister to others as Christ gifts us. Christ alone is our authority.
Emmanuel Enid is a non-profit that exists to helps Christ's Church to fulfill our call of ministering to others.
Our non-profit staff does work that is difficult for others in Christ's Church to do because members of Christ's Church hold other full-time jobs. However, our non-profit expects its staff to not only do the work of ministry, but they are to train and empower all members of Christ's Church to be ministers, Every Christian is a minister and a shepherd, and there's a world out there full of lost sheep.
Any separation of Christ's Church into "clergy" and "laypeople" is following the unbiblical practice of confusing Christ's Church with the religious institution (non-profit) that clergymen lead.
preparing Christ's Church in Enid to move out into the streets, following CDC guidelines of separation and contact, delivering food, medicine, and personal hygiene products to the elderly.
We'll not have a choir this Sunday. We'll not have Children's Church on Sunday. We'll not have any Youth Events. We'll not have any Small Groups in the building this Sunday either.
But we will broadcast some great worship and teaching to your home and ask you to join in! We will also give extensive updates on what Emmanuel Enid is doing during this global pandemic and how you are needed to help us reach out to our community.
We've established a phone bank hotline that anyone can call beginning Monday (580) 548-1678 with requests for assistance for themselves or a loved one. A host of volunteers with EMT badges (Emergency Management Team) will be going out of our buildings to assist people who live in our city.
I've received at least half a dozen emails from our members, and they've informed me that they are already walking their neighborhoods, checking on people.
Christ's Church is His Church at all times, whether or not anybody can enter a non-profit building.
Why would a religious non-profit like Emmanuel Enid use fog machines?
A good question with an easy answer.
For nearly 20 years we have broadcast our corporate gatherings to the homebound, the physically disabled, and others who watch from home. Some who watch us regularly have been burned by religious institutions and are recovering from their wounds at home.
We use fog machines because they enhance the lighting of digital broadcasts.
Fog machines give a much better visual presentation on digital receptors, including televisions, I-Phones, computer monitors, I-Pads, and tablets.
We only use "fog machines" for one of our three services (REFUGE) because the other two corporate worship services are attended by predominately senior citizens, and they don't like "the smoke in the room." It looks like a dozen Winston Churchills are puffing on cigars doing the worship service.
So we accommodate our senior adults and only use the two fog machines during our 11:15 REFUGE service. Which service do you think we typically broadcast via digital medium?
That's right, the one with fog. There's a Kingdom reason for using fog machines. The electronic broadcast is sharper, clearer, and significantly more enhanced with fog and lights. It's a more professional broadcast.
I understand some followers of Jesus don't understand why fog machines may be necessary. But like the old saying goes, "Never criticize the way another man walks until you've walked a mile in his shoes."
The following two "snips" were taken the same Sunday, February 23, 2020, from two separate LIVE broadcast services at Emmanuel Enid, one with fog, the other without. Which one do you think we archived and used electronically for future broadcasts on television and independent websites?
|Service without fog|
|Broadcast Service with Fog|
Sunday, March 22, 2020
The state of Oklahoma has closed the religious 501-C3 non-profit called Emmanuel Enid for corporate worship gatherings until further notice.
Our non-profit staff will enter the building this Sunday to operate cameras, sound equipment, switchers, lights, and our worship leaders and I will give some encouraging words from songs and Scripture, as well as updates on how we will be ministering to the city of Enid in the coming weeks. My encouragement from Scripture is entitled "Personal Blessings from a Global Pandemic."
Emmanuel Enid has never confused our non-profit with Christ's Church.
Christ's Church - you, His people - don't need a fog machine in your living rooms.
But this non-profit will use two of them as we empower Christ's Church to minister to others through this global pandemic.
If you would like to join us online, we will be broadcasting two different worship services, one at 9:00 am on Sunday (Bridge) and one at 11:15 am on Sunday (Refuge). You may watch on Emmanuel's YouTube channel, Emmanuel's Facebook page, or at Emmanuel Enid LIVE.
Since nobody will be in the room except the production staff, Winston Churchill will be smoking his cigars in both.
Monday, March 23, 2020.
We also will be broadcasting LIVE from our HUB at 10:00 am Monday as we send out our Emergency Management Teams to assist senior adults and others throughout our community. If you'd like to volunteer for one of our EMT teams as a volunteer or be available to work our phone bank (open at 8:30 am Monday and open every day), please email us at:
ENDCOVID19@EMMANUELENID.ORGHope to see you on the computer screen from your living room tomorrow morning at 9:00 or 11:15 am!
It's a great time to be alive and to be Christ's Church in a world in need of Light.