About Jesus Steve Sweetman
My Journey Through The Ecclesiastical Maze
Move To The Free
carry on with my story, but I’d like to explain something first.
If you think that pointing out negatives in our churches isn’t
constructive, I’d suggest you consider how negative God was when He
spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament.
If you were an Israeli and took His words to heart, you‘d feel
pretty bad, which was His intention.
In 2 Cor. 7:8-10 Paul said, “if I brought you sorrow …
I am glad … because your sorrow led you to repentance … as
God intended. Godly sorrow
brings repentance that leads to salvation”. It
is clear to me that God does speak negatively at times, causing us
sorrow that should lead us to repentance. Jesus
was negative at times too. Just
ask any Pharisee and he’ll tell you that.
said that “it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God. (1
Pet. 4:17) Paul told the
Corinthians to “examine themselves”. (2 Cor. 13:5) If
we can bring about change because
of self examination, God’s judgment towards us will be less severe.
Such examination forces us to deal with our negatives.
write these words out of bitterness. I
have many fond memories as I think of my journey through the
ecclesiastical maze, yet the truths of Scripture often conflict with our
traditions. Many don’t
feel this conflict because they don’t take Biblical truth seriously.
to my story. For some reason
my mom left the Standard Church to be a part of the Free Methodist
Church that actually met in the basement of a house at the time.
I know why the word “Free” precedes the word “Methodist”,
and it’s not because members didn’t have to tithe.
It’s because you didn’t have to pay for your pew as was the
practice with some other Methodist churches. Paul
could have been very rich if he had made pews instead of tents.
about pews, I found myself jumping over some pews along with scores of
others at a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting in
basement of a house these Free Methodist people built a little platform
about six inches off the floor and
covered it with a dark red carpet. Along
the edge of the platform was a railing that they used as an altar.
As a child I recall the word altar from Bible stories. It was a
place where animals were set on fire, but I don’t recall any burning
animals on this altar. A
pulpit was placed on the platform to preach from.
I soon learned that a platform, an altar, and a pulpit were a
necessity to be a real church. I’ll
keep looking, but I’ve yet to find supporting Scripture for that one,
but it must be there.
Meets Us In The Basement
married my father who wasn’t a Christian at the time. I don’t know
why a Christian would marry a non-Christian. Well, maybe I do know why.
Hormones or desperation might be two reasons. Paul told us not to
be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” as the King James Bible puts
it. (2 Cor. 6:14) One Sunday
school teacher told us that meant a white man couldn’t marry a black
woman. That never sounded right
to me. I know now that Paul
was speaking of not being
united with unbelievers, as he specifically stated in the text. He
said nothing about white men and black women. Examples of such a union
would be a marriage relationship or possibly a business relationship.
This example from my Sunday school teacher illustrates why James
says that there shouldn’t be many teachers among us. (James 3:1)
my life I ate lots of sweets, something I can’t seem to do now that
I’m over 55 years old. I
used to take cookies to bed with me and drink lots of water, resulting
in many visits to the bathroom, and many knocks
on the bathroom door asking if I was finished yet.
Doctors told my parents I had Juvenile Diabetes and I ended up in
Sick Children’s Hospital in
age of five I can recall staying at Sick Children’s Hospital.
I remember the sickening sweet taste of glucose they made me
drink. I recall them taking
blood from my thumbs, the kids play-room, and looking out the window
from many floors up at the street below.
would have ended at the age of five if not for Jesus visiting us in the
basement one Sunday morning. I
vividly recall that day. My
dad was told ahead of time to be there because I was going to be prayed
for. He saw me kneel at the
altar where never a lamb was set on fire.
Our lady pastor laid her hand on my head and put this oily stuff
on my forehead, something the Bible says to do when people get sick.
(James 5:14) I don’t
recall feeling anything special except for the pastor’s hand and the
oily stuff, but that’s beside the point.
evident that I wasn’t eating as many cookies and drinking as much
water, and subsequently there were fewer knocks on the bathroom door. My
dad got curious so he took me to our local doctor who suggested that we
go back to Sick Children’s Hospital again.
that’s what I call church – meeting Jesus in the basement of a
house. I really like that. I
met up with this precious pastor some 45 years later when she told me
that those were the good old days of the
left the sand-box in the
Jesus visit us that morning? Besides
the fact that He obviously wanted to visit us and what I’ve already
said about our pastor, I think our hearts were set on Jesus without any
distractions. But as it’s
been since the