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|WHO AND WHAT IS THE AWAKENING CHURCH?|
|Written by Christopher Dubois|
|Sunday, 10 May 2009 02:39|
The Awakening Church is a group of sincere Christians (followers of Jesus Christ) who meet together weekly with the main purpose of loving God with all their heart and loving one another. The Awakening Church meets weekly for a Sunday morning service at 10:30 AM on 66 Third Street, Suite 205, in Dover, NH and throughout the week in people's homes. Our purpose in gathering is to worship God, grow up spiritually, and to serve and love one another. The title "the Awakening" is a title we have placed on ourselves to identify our heart and vision - to experience a spiritual awakening in our hearts and lives.
For those of you who are not Christians, yes we are a church, but do not let the word "church" scare you for we might not be what you think. Maybe you have tried "church" or the "Jesus thing" before, only to be burnt by church or a person who claimed to be a Christian. Or maybe you found a group of people who were hypocritically judgmental, stuck up, religious (in the bad sense of the word), arrogant, insensitive to others, ignorant and sheltered, and rude. Or maybe you were part of a church that was irrelevant and not practical to your life, but out of touch with reality, predictable, and boring. So now the word "church" brings up all these negative thoughts, feelings, wounds, fears, and images. But don't let that stop you from checking out an Awakening Church service for this is not who we are. Although we are not 100% sinlessly perfect, we do try our very best, with God's help, to represent Jesus Christ in all that we do both during the Sunday morning church service and outside of the church service 24/7 with our lives. We are not into hype, putting on a "religious show or performance," and promoting the church, but rather promoting the God and head of the church - Jesus Christ.
At the Awakening Church, our first and foremost passion is the Gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ and His kingdom (His rule and reign), and second people. The Awakening Church is all about relationships, first with our creator God, and second with one another. We do not proclaim religion (in the negative sense of empty rituals and lip service with no heart), but a relationship with Jesus for He is our Lord (or master), Savior and best friend. And we strive to make a significant positive change in our community, family, church, govenrment, work, in all our relationships, and wherever we go. We do our best, by God's grace, not to be hypocritically judgmental, mean, religious, or arrogant, but instead loving, honest, kind, real (no plastic smiles allowed), and humble. We are also passionate for having exciting services where God manifests His presence and power in real and life changing ways each week, rather than having services that are boring, predictable, and stale. So come just as you are and experience through faith in Jesus the forgiveness of sins, salvation, love, joy, peace, hope, security, and true meaning and purpose found only in Jesus Christ.
For those who are Christians, if you are spiritually hungry and thirsty for more of God and to go deeper in Him, than you will fit right in with the Awakening Church. The Holy Spirit is creating a spiritual dissatisfaction in many Christians who are longing for something more that they have not yet known. Here, at the Awakening Church we long to receive so much more that God desires and provided for us to walk in experientially. We long for the very fullness of God and to connect with His heart intimately. We desire to see the ideal of the Scriptures become a practical reality and experience in our lives 24/7. Our vision is to see the New Testament book of Acts church in the 21st century. We are desperate to see another Pentecost-like outpouring of the Holy Spirit as was seen in the book of Acts. Our heart's cry is to experience a spiritual awakening, revival, reformation, renewal, restoration, and revolution that would begin in our hearts in the local church and then spread throughout our community and nation, and ultimately to the ends of the earth. As holy radicals (radical in a biblical way that God sees as normal), we want to see a Jesus revolution (not in violence or with arms but with the Word and prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit) as we take the Gospel to both the lost and the least (the poor and needy).
The aim of our church services is to first and foremost worship God and to give glory to Him. Second we seek to encounter God's manifest presence and see His kingdom advance on earth so that we will be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We long to grow spiritually and live holy lives in obedience to God in all that we do. We plan our services and everything we do in such a way where Jesus, not man, truly is the head of His local church not just in theory, but also in practice. The services have order but in the end, all of man's plans are open to being changed as the Holy Spirit is given full freedom to move as He wills. We do not want to "play church" but rather be the church. We resolve to be the triumphant and victorious church that Jesus called, equipped, enabled, and gave up His life for us to be.
Perhaps you are frustrated with the status quo and much of the American church that has so often preached a watered down, fruitless, spineless, and powerless Gospel, that has compromised with lukewarm and worldly living, and where truth is set aside for entertainment and amusement. If so, then the Awakening Church might just be what you have been praying and looking for. We do not believe the solution in seeing the American church today being so dry, predictable, and spiritually dead, is to stop going to a local church (see Hebrews 10:25), but rather to experience church the way God intended biblically as is seen in the New Testament. We see there local churches that loved and feared God, experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit, were connected and united, truly loved and served one another, gave glory to God in all things, lifted up Jesus, advanced and manifested the Kingdom of God on earth, were agents of change and healing, displayed God's grace and freedom, were bold in their witness, lived pure and holy lives, and walked in victory and miraculous power and authority. This is our heart's desire for the Awakening Church. So come out and visit one of our services (we recommend you visit at least three of our services) and meet our church family. Our style is non-religious, non-hyped (but passionate), and real/authentic. At the Awakening Church you will hear the whole counsel of God's word preached with anointing, power, and conviction, find the Holy Spirit moving freely, passionate praise and worship, all the gifts of the Spirit encouraged and exercised, one big loving family (all ages are welcomed) that truly loves and connects with one another (where no one stands alone), the name of Jesus lifted up, and God's supernatural power in operation! We look forward to seeing you and hope you find a group of ordinary people who truly love an extraordinary God and one another.
Chris, Nicole, Josiah and Jonathan Dubois
For more information on what Christianity is all about and what we believe, CLICK ON "read more" below.
If you are not a Christian but are perhaps curious about Jesus or are seeking for truth, come check out one of our services and ask God to reveal and prove Himself to you. What we believe is not some man made organized religion and empty rituals that bring no freedom and life to mankind, but rather a God who brings real and lasting life transformation. Come just as you are and with an open heart and mind. And if you want to become a Christian, it is as simple and costly (Jesus wants you to surrender your all and give up your heart and life to Him) as praying a sincere prayer (simply talking to God like you would any person) to God such as the following: "Heavenly Father please forgive me of all my sins. I choose to place my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as both my Lord (master) and savior and to follow Jesus the rest of my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising from the dead on the third day. In Jesus' name amen."
Now if you mean business with God and if you have fully surrendered your heart and life to Him, you will try, by God's grace (or empowerment), to follow Jesus and His commands as revealed in the New Testament of the Bible for the rest of your life. You are on a journey now to grow in this new relationship with Jesus and to know Him more intimately and become more like Him in your life (your speech, actions, thoughts, motives, etc.). But you cannot follow Jesus in your own strength and willpower, for you will need to surrender to Christ daily asking for His grace, help, and strength and He will then live His life through you. That's the great thing about Christianity, it is not a religion (in the negative sense of empty rituals and lip service with no heart), but a relationship with the Creator of the world.
Christianity is different from every other religion in the world because first of all, Jesus was and is 100% sinlessly perfect. Jesus never sinned once, whereas Budha, Mohammad, Gandi, etc. did sin and admitted to it. Therefore, when we become saved (from our sin and God's wrath and judgment) or "born again" (when we spiritually become a new person), we receive Jesus and He comes to live within us, making us 100% sinlessly perfect before God because He is 100% sinlessly perfect. When God sees us at our death on judgment day, He won't see us and all our sin, but Jesus living in us (if we are Christians) who is perfection and heaven (a literal place of perfection and bliss with no suffering, sickness, or death) will await for us to enjoy for all eternity. Jesus took our place on the cross when He died for us and took what we deserve (God's wrath and judgment) for our sin and gave us what we did not deserve - eternal life for all those who place their faith in Him. Jesus became spiritually poor so that we could become spiritually rich. Jesus bore our sin on the cross so that we could become the righteousness of God through faith in Him. What great news for it truly is the best kept secret and the best deal on this planet.
Second, Christianity is different from every other religion in the world, because Jesus rose from the dead. Budha, Gandi, and Mohammad are still under the ground dead, but Jesus rose again. No one ever has, nor ever will find His body. Some might say that the Jews stole Jesus' body, but all they would have to do is uncover it to disprove all of Christianity and they never have. Some say that the disciples of Jesus stole Jesus' body, but that is not logical either. The disciples would have had to get past a group of armed and trained soldiers who would have easily been able to defend the tomb Jesus was placed in. Not only that, but Jesus' body was sealed by a huge rock and it would have taken an army to move it. Plus, even if the discples could have stolen the body, they would not have made up a lie to the point of being tortured to death for their lie. Ten out of the twelve disciples, according to tradition, were all tortured and died a horrific death for their faith in Jesus Christ. Others make the excuse that Jesus truly never died, but science confirms what the Bible teaches, that Jesus in fact truly died (the debate is not whether Jesus died or not, for history attests that a man named Jesus truly died, but the debate is over His body and where it is). The reality is, Jesus rose from the dead and no one will ever find His body and no one ever has for almost 2000 years!
The third distinction that separates Christianity from every other religion in the world, is the fact that Christianity is primarily all about a heart relationship with God that comes through faith. Other religions are all about works and doing certain things to gain access to their paradise and to please their god, but in Christianity we get saved by simply receiving Jesus Christ through faith (or complete trust) in Him. Faith is not a work, but a receiving of a gift (in this case the best gift in the world). It is purely a heart issue. We cannot earn our salvation by our good works (after all how good is good enough to a holy and perfect God that demands perfection in order to get into heaven?), for if we have sinned even once (which we all have according to Romans 3:23), than that makes us sinners. The truth is, we cannot save ourselves because we are sinful and depraved in the core of our being. With Christianity, we simply come before God as sinners broken and in need of salvation. We realize we are not worthy and that we cannot merrit or earn our salvation due to all our sin. But the good news is that Jesus has earned and merited our salvation through His good works and performance if we just receive it through faith. Therefore we come to God as we are and then God saves us. In religion man attempts to save himself by his own performance and good works, whereas in Christianity only God can save a person because of his inability due to his sin. Then, as a result of man's salvation, God transforms his heart little by little making him more and more like Jesus as he grows in his relationship with Him. It is a process and we choose to obey Jesus because we want to due to being so in love with Him. And as we continue to perservere through faith by God's grace to the end, we can gaurantee our salvation to the very end.
So if you have sincerely chosen to place your faith in Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you of all your sins and made Jesus both your Lord (master) and Savior, the Bible now declares you to be a Christian. Now out of your love for God, read the Bible, pray, be committed to a healthy and Bible believing church, and tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ.
This is the Gospel in a nut shell: None of us are accidents and we did not come from dust particles in outer space. Rather we were created by a self-existent, eternal, and all intelligent being named God who created us to know Him and to have a relationship with Him. See approximately 2000 years ago, a man named Jesus walked this earth and lived a normal human life just like you and me. But he was more than just a human, he was also God and lived a perfect and sinless life. He ended up being tortured and executed by dying a criminal's death upon a cross but rose again from the dead on the third day and now lives in heaven. Jesus died because of His love for you and to save you from your sins, hell, God's wrath and judgment.
The BAD NEWS is that according to Romans 3:23, "... all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." For example, according to the Bible (God's inspired word) if we have ever told a lie we are liars, and if we have ever stolen anything we are thiefs. If we have ever hated anyone we are murderers at heart, and if we have ever lusted toward another we are adulterers at heart. What happened is that our first parents on this earth Adam and Eve chose to sin with the freewill God had given to them and thus rebelled against God and His authority. God could have created man with no freewill and thus make him a robot or puppet. But instead God chose to give man a freewill so that they could choose willingly to either receive a love relationship with Him or reject Him. What God always wanted with mankind was a relationship just as the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) had with one another for all of eternity. So God created an earth and people to enjoy this love, fellowship, and unity that He had always experienced among the Trinity. But in order for a relationship to be genuine and sincere, it must require a freewill on the part of the recipitent to freely choose to want to love another rather than being forced or coerced to do so. Unfortunately, with the good that comes with the freewill God put within us, there is also a bad side to it when it leads a person to make bad choices such as the choice to sin and murder another, etc.
So with freewill comes the ability to love but also to hate. So as a result of Adam and Eve freely choosing to sin against God's command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin and its consequences came upon the earth and upon all of mankind to this day (Read Genesis 2 and 3 in the Bible). This is why all humans are born with a sin nature and are thus by nature and choice, sinners who are depraved, twisted, and lost and in need of a savior to forgive, free, and rescue them from the control and bondage of sin. Romans 3:10 states, "...None is righteous, no, not one..." compared to the righteousness and perfect holiness of God. Because God is good, he is also just and must punish sin. Just as a man who was found guilty of raping and murdering a woman should be punished by a just and thus good judge due to his sinful actions, so sinful humanity must (and will be) punished by a just and thus good judge named God due to their sinful actions. The punishment must fit the crime! Because God is just, He is also good.
God is holy and perfect and will not let any sinful rebel in heaven where only perfection resides. The Bible declares that when we die we will all face judgment and at that point, there will be no second chances. God will not let liars, thiefs, murderers, and adulterers into heaven for He is too good, holy, perfect, and just. Our only hope is to have Jesus living in us because Jesus is the ONLY perfect person that ever existed (Mohammed, Gandi, Budha and other people were not). The Bible declares that Jesus is the one and only way to heaven in John 14:6 - "Jesus said to them, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" and in Acts 4:12 states, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Jesus is the only way to heaven because He was the only perfect sacrifice and substitute for our sin.
The Gospel (i.e. good news) of Jesus Christ is this, that according to Romans 5:8, "but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." When we did not deserve God's forgiveness due to all our sin, Jesus still chose to die a spiritually and physically painful death to save our souls and free us from sin. Not only were we undeserving of this selfless and sacrificial love shown by Jesus, but we were actually ill deserving. The Bible states in Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." It also states in Romans 5:10, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life." What the Bible declares is that everyone who is not saved by Jesus through faith in Him, are enemies of God and therefore under His wrath, judgment, and condemnation. Therefore men without God must be afraid for God will one day unleash His anger and wrath for their sin upon them. As Jesus states in Luke 12:4 in the Bible, "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear Him who after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him."
God will judge all of us either on the day of judgement or He will judge His Son Jesus for all those who placed their faith in Him. In the end God is just the punishment (judgment) will fit the crime (sin). Either we can take the judgment or Jesus can take it for us if we place our faith in Him. For this is God's grace (God's unmerited and undeserved favor) toward us who believe in Jesus, that we can be saved from our sin and therefore the wrath, judgement, and condemnation from God. Our sins are taken away and replaced with Jesus' perfection, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, and commendation! This is the best deal on the planet and is a free gift of God. And not only that, but God the Father adopts us as spiritual orphans into His spiritual family and we become sons and daughters of God. We can now call God the creator our heavenly daddy or papa and have an intimate relationship with Him heart to heart enjoying His covenant selfless love. Romans 8:15 states, "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry out 'Abba Father!'"
But we must do our part to be forgiven of our sins. We must be willing to choose to receive this free gift of salvation through faith alone in Jesus alone. But what is biblical faith? It is not merely an intellectual assent where you believe intellectually that Jesus lived and died on the cross for your sins and rose again. For according to James 2:19-20, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?" Even demons and satan believe in God intellectually. What God is looking for is a faith that is genuine and wholehearted to the point where one will make a wholehearted commitment to follow Jesus as Lord (i.e. master) and this commitment is evidenced by the good works and obedience in one's life. In essence, it is to be God's slave (in a good sense for Jesus is the best master in the world - much better than the master of sin and satan) or servant, and to choose to live for and obey Him forever. It is a choice to surrender your will to God's will and to lose your life for Him (which in return you will gain true life both now and for all of eternity).
The cost of the Gospel according to Jesus is clearly stated by Jesus Himself in Luke 9:23-24, "And He (Jesus) said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would saved his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'" But when one counts the cost and makes the wise decision to wholeheartedly believe in Jesus, not only will Jesus forgive all his sins, but also credit to him His own righteousness and perfection and thus make him brand new. When we get saved, God changes a person's heart whereby they were spiritually dead but now they are spiritually alive. Religion can help a good person be better, but only Jesus can make a dead person (spiritually speaking) alive. We get a brand new heart with a brand new nature, thoughts, motives, and desires that now want to please and live for God. For the first time in your life you become trully free from sin and a brand new person. The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come." In John 3:3 Jesus calls the act and process of salvation being "born again" - one is spiritually born all over again and made a completely new and different person. Then on judgment day God will see Jesus in us and His perfection, and therefore let us into heaven.
But if we do not have Jesus living in us, than we will have to face the punishment for our sin - hell. Hell is a literal place that the Bible describes in terms of darkness and as a lake of fire that torments a person for all of eternity. It is a horrible and torturous place that God created for the devil and not for people. But people choose to go to hell with their free will when they choose to sin in rebellion against God by refusing to believe in Jesus Christ to save them from their sins and live a life independent of Him. They think their own good works will save them but they won't because all it takes is for us to sin once to throw off all our good works. We need a perfect savior to save us from our sins!
And here is the GOOD NEWS. If you sincerely ask God to forgive you of all of your sins and choose to place your faith (a sincere belief and trust in God to the point of surrendering your will to His will and control) in Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of all your sins (no matter how much you sinned or how bad the sin was) and make you a new person. Jesus states in the Bible in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Again in the Bible Romans 10:9 states, "For if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Not only will you experience true joy, life, peace, meaning, contentment, hope, and love that can only be found in knowing Jesus, but you will also experience heaven for all of eternity. God created you for you to receive His love and than to give that love back to Him and others. We speak of a relationship with Jesus at the Awakening and not religion, for it is only in Jesus that one will find true meaning, purpose, and hope in life. If you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to forgive you of all your sins, do it today. It is the best and most important decision you will ever make for you never know when you will die. Once you die it is too late and there are no more second chances. So choose today to place your faith in Jesus Christ for it will be the wisest decision you will ever make.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 21:07|