“Gimme a Bottle of anything and a Glazed Donut…to go!”

I am trying to let some crap in my life go. I’ve been thinking about all the crap that are just huge boulders in my life. I have obstacles in my life and I, for the most part put them there.

My last post revolved around family issues and frustrations. Even my wife wondered why I am still not over this stuff. I am stuck in a rut and seem programmed to want everyone to see it “my way” but with my family there was never an outlet to discuss my opinions or thoughts about things that bothered me…like the book that caused me to stumble and falter in my faith…a tiny blasphemous volume of contradiction called: “The Prayer of Jabez.”

I questioned the book the minute my mother gave me a copy. It had “just wrong” all over it…it was a shade of the ass backward doctrine being preached out there called “The Prosperity Gospel” which claims God wants to bless you so just “name it and claim it” …BULL SHIT.

My parents were so Hook, Line and Sinker in the pentecostal church they either didn’t see it because they were blind or ignored it because “Good Christians don’t question”….Ponderous!

I questioned it. I brought my argument to my father, a Deacon in the church at the time. He blew me off and told me I was old enough to make my own decisions. I knew the scripture. …his exact words. I swear.

I did know the scriptures and this book was full of shit. The entire Assemblies of God church embraced this book and like the lemmings they are rushed off the cliff together.

I walked in the other direction. I might have run, in the other direction.

I saw elements of elitism in the AG church we went to and as a Deacon’s kid (just as bad as a Pastor’s Kid I suppose) saw too much behind the curtain. I appeared to be the only one in my family who had the smarts to question his leaders and doubt what needed to be doubted…just like Peter.

Peter doubted Jesus right on the waves. Peter ate with Jesus, traveled with Jesus and witnessed his miracles first hand. And yet while they both stood on the water, Peter doubted Jesus right in front of him.

Peter began to sink beneath the waves….even with this demonstration of doubt Jesus built his church on Peter. If Peter could doubt Jesus in his literal life time…how much more was required of me as a believer. Doubt was a given and Jesus rewarded Peter for the faith he did have.

I question and I doubt. Thats what I do.

I doubted the validity of The Prayer of Jabez and watched my foundation in the AG church erode away into nothing.

It was never about the church. The “church”  was the problem. My faith was shaky to begin with and this little book shook it loose. My faith and belief in God coming to earth as a child to live a sinless life and die a horrible death for our sins thereby bridging the gap between himself and his creation should have been the focus to begin with. But from the age of 10 until about 30 I was in over my head in church doctrine.

Doctrine (Latin: doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system.

I am certain like everything else man has touched, he has tainted the truth of the gospel and shaped it into a way of living and judging others. The doctrine being preached at Valley Chapel was politically influenced by the AG church and monitored by district leaders with their own agenda.

These district leaders with the AG church had a hand in excommunicating my father after he pursued a license in the Assemblies. They blamed the collapse of the congregation long-suffering after the poor handling of a changing of the Senior Pastors on my father.

So much hypocrisy.

About a decade earlier…on Monday January 16th 1998 I had a sleepless night. I was restless all night. I was 28 years old. Just took a position at Ramada’s Corporate office and still living in our first apartment.

Dawn and I were fairly involved with activities in the church at this time. Good friends with the Youth Pastor and his wife and another couple.  We were “leaders” in the youth group and I was a Sunday School teacher at the time.

My sleepless night was troublesome enough to force me out of bed. I had heard growing up in the church sometimes it’s God waking you up to pray about something…you may not know what for, just pray.

I did. And I fell right to sleep soon afterward.

For the next 3 months I had this “nagging” feeling in my stomach. Not like a pain but a sense or a feeling of some urgency. For 90 straight days I tried ignoring it. But it would not go away.

I approached Pastor AL (youth pastor) about it at lunch one day and eventually our Senior Pastor, Pastor D’angelo. After careful consideration and a short meeting and prayer with Pastor D’angelo…I realized I was being “called into the ministry”

“Let me get this straight” Pastor D’angelo said “you feel the call of God on your life to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

…”apparently”  I said humbly.

He and I prayed about it…and the feeling in my stomach went away. ????????????????????

I know that it was not the audible voice of God calling me, but it was God. I know that much. When the urge went away, I got nervous…was I wrong? The questions started immediately…my uncertainty was nerve racking. But I didn’t rule it out.

Two years later The Prayer Of Jabez was published and I questioned it…and the cracks that were developing all those years inside the doors of Valley Chapel crumbled under the weight of my disgust.

When my father was jumping thru hoops to appease the AG church to acquire his license a few years later circa 2002-2004 or 2005, something I didn’t agree with because the Apostle Paul didn’t answer to a group of people in order to preach the good news, God called him and equipped him and Paul hit the road. The AG church needed my father to fit a profile and meet certain requirements (ie: school) and then play politics.

I was so aggravated by the process this group of self-appointed board of regents determined one man’s ability to preach the Gospel that I jumped on the internet and acquired in a matter of minutes my own license to minister.

I found an organization: “St Luke Evangelical Christian Ministries” who offered ordination for the asking. So on December 16th 2004 I was certified as “Reverend Scott Ebisch” ordained as an independent Christian clergy, authorized by St Luke’s to perform any and all Christian religious services, ministries and evangelical duties.

My point was (mostly to myself) that there are more ways to skin a cat. My father was doing hand stands to keep the Assemblies happy to get permission to do what Apostle Paul just went out and did because he was called by God to do so. Basically all believers are called to spread the Good News…so who needs to jump thru hoops?

I never liked playing politics and if it were me I would have told the Assemblies to shove their license up their ass and started my own church because God called me to preach the Gospel. So be it, why play games? My parents as usual wouldnt push the envelope and sucked it up only to have it all unravel because the district needed a scapegoat to blame lack of attendance and lack of church funds on.

To date I have not done anything with God’s calling. It’s been 12 years since that sleepless night and while we are back inside church doors, we have found a small unassuming church in nearby Vernon that “feels just right”

I am still reminded of the call on my life and maybe I wonder if some of my misfortunes in the last 10 years are because of my disobedience. But I am not saying God gave me cancer…but since he and I haven’t always been on speaking terms he might have looked the other way when Death was walking around my neighborhood….

I’m not sure if my life’s experiences since my call that sleepless night in 1998 will serve me down the road but if God has a plan, maybe the 12 years since he woke me up that night will all make sense one day.

Only he knows for sure.

Until then, I am still trying to purge my demons and this is one of them.  My upbringing in the AG church and my current status as a recovering Pentecostal.

I am a believer.

I am a doubter.

I am okay with it, and I think God is too.

Be well.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing more of your spiritual journey. So many people have experienced similar hurts within churches. It’s so important for us to realize that’s not God. That’s not what it’s all about. I think you most definitely know that. People are fallible. We must have our faith in the right thing – Jesus. Our Bible is the guidebook by which we determine false teachings and turn away from them.

    I’m excited about how you might find a place in ministry in the future. Perhaps you will do something that ministers to other people and their families as they face cancer.


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