Last updated on January 19, 2023
To My Readers,
My good friend, Michael Jack Webb, sent me the following email a couple of days after I posted my blog post of 5/24/2021, “Is It Time to Leave Your Church? Why I left Mine,” and his insights were so good, I received permission from him to post his words here in a follow-up post.
First, let me say my former church did not like what I wrote. I received this text, “Your blog post was very hurtful to quite a few people who read it,” and in the same text message, I was told, “Please do not come to the One Another Group dinner tonight,” which was the last prayer group meeting until the fall.
These are my final comments (this blog post) on leaving my church of thirty years. I posted the May 24thblog post not to make my church angry, but because many people had asked why I left. I had been at my church for decades, and I didn’t want to have to speak about it anymore. Just rehashing the events that led to my departure was painful.
As the days before the Lord’s return draw near, I believe God will bring new people into our lives, and He will remove some friends that we always thought would be life-long friends.
I would urge readers to commit all their relationships to God. The time we have left might be so short that we should surround ourselves with friends passionate about sharing their faith with the unsaved. Associate with those who are unyielding in their commitment to Jesus Christ. Be prepared to lose friendships. It’s part of the upside-down world now in which we live.
As Michael Webb says below, leaving my former church was painful. Lymphedema from my cancer surgery three years earlier flared up. I was sick in bed for two days running a fever, so I went to the emergency room. They discovered I had a UTI and put me on antibiotics.
In the midst of what I can only describe as a crisis, I cried out to God, “Where should I go to church, Lord?” We were in the middle of the pandemic, and most churches were closed. It’s not an easy thing to leave a church you’ve attended for over thirty years and start new relationships at 65 years old in an unfamiliar church. I felt broken and alone.
As I’m crying out to God with these thoughts racking my brain, God immediately answered, “Kol Simcha.”
God’s swift answer shocked me: I hadn’t thought about Kol Simcha in decades. However, I knew the rabbi and his wife who founded it.
We had met at the Jewish Center at The University of Florida in the early 1990s. I remembered the first time they came. I had been dancing with the Jewish students for about a year when they showed up looking for Jewish dance classes. They had brought their two young children with them. I had stepped outside momentarily, right as they approached.
It was a divine appointment as we made quick introductions. How often do you run into Christians at a Jewish worship center on a university campus?
Now, thirty years later, we renewed our friendship. As I started attending, I discovered other friends I’d lost touch with that are members at Kol Simcha. Some were people I knew not just superficially but deeply.
Some have asked me questions about what worship is like in a Messianic congregation, including my mother. She asked, “Do they believe Jesus is the Messiah?”
I think as we near the Lord’s return, we will see the convergence of Jews and Christians in worship. True, undefiled worship is going to become increasingly complex, especially for large churches. Now I’ve found a passion for Yeshua in the Messianic congregation unparalleled in the traditional Christian church.
Yes, Messianic congregations do believe Jesus is the Messiah. For the curious, I will write a follow-up blog post that will focus on the similarities and differences between Messianic congregations and Christian churches. I’m still learning. I will say here, my understanding of the Old Testament has magnified as I’ve discovered more of the Old Testament in the New Testament. I am growing in my faith and my love for Yeshua Hamashiach, and I’m thankful to be surrounded by others who share my passion and love for the Messiah.
Please read my friend’s email below. I believe God meant these powerful words not only for me but for other Christians who find themselves in a similar situation. Take heart. God has overcome the world and will not leave you or forsake you.
I know it must have cost you a great deal to leave and post your article.
I’m praying for you. (Phil. 6-9)
We are in the season of the Great Falling Away. (2Thess. 2:3)
You can’t “fall away” from something you were never part of.
So, even though many disagree, large numbers of “Believers” are indeed falling away from Christianity and embracing “another gospel.” (2 Cor. 11:3-4, Gal. 1:5-7).
It’s both a troublesome and exciting time, for it is Scripture unfolding before our eyes. (Ezek. 39:21)
God is truly winnowing His “church” identifying and separating the sheep from the goats. (Ps. 77:13-14, 78:65-72).
He is identifying His Remnant. (Heb. 5:5-11).
In days to come there will be much weeping, gnashing of teeth, and tearing of garments as Holy Spirit moves in power across the Earth.
We are at the beginning of the birth pangs of Christ’s return (Matt. 24:7-9).
God is giving the Faithful an opportunity to draw night to Him in intimacy in preparation for what is racing upon us like a speeding freight train (Heb. 11:6).
There will be persecution for those who remain steadfast (Phil. 3:9-11).
Our comfort is that those who persecute us today, we who do not bow to other gods, are of the same spirit as those who persecute(d) Jesus.
Stay strong, my friend (Eph. 6:10).
God has given you a powerful voice – His Voice – and a platform.
Continue to use it wisely as Holy Spirit guides you in all things.
Blessings, and shalom,
Michael Jack Webb
Bestselling and Award-winning Author
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