Are You Following Jesus or Religion?

I have been on this kick of decolonizing and deconstructing my faith and what people in my country call “Christianity.” At the root is not a heart of judgement. It is a heart plagued with confusion. What we say we believe has not matched what we are demonstrating to the world. If I notice it, who else notices? I am running into more and more people completely over American Christianity and some have abandoned God altogether.

I will tell you 2020 opened the eyes of many people, myself included on how crazy Christianity is in America. I have never seen people go so insane over politics, vaccines, masks, conspiracy theories, etc…People dumped long term friends over things that will not matter in 5 years. People disgraced and dishonored the name of God for politics. I saw racism spring forth out of white church friends. There were Christians who made a mockery of God’s name.

I used to think using God’s name in vain was primarily about using swear words. It’s not. It’s also about assigning God’s name to things, ideas, and ideologies that have nothing to do with God or for selfish gain. The “God told me crowd ” are some of the greatest offenders when it comes to using God’s name in vain. What they say does not match the character, heart, or person of God.

It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for me since 2020. I have honestly been jaded by church (religious activities). I don’t want to go. I worship at home and fellowship with my biological family. The church I was attending was more focused on getting Trump re-elected than preaching the Gospel. There was more focus on trying to get people into church buildings than addressing the hurting and dying on the street. I recall going out to feed the homeless in lock down and the line to my car was unreal. There are people in my city who eat of the trash and sleep on the cold streets, yet the highest concern was getting back into a building or forcing God to make someone President.

I think I am strange because my main concerns when it comes to my faith are honoring God, helping the poor, sharing the Gospel. We are filling buildings with people who may still be on their way to hell. I am not sure we are teaching people how to have their own personal relationship with Jesus.

When I have tried to mentor or disciple people for Jesus there has normally been some form of conflict that arose with some people who wanted me to simply tell them they were amazing instead of teach what Jesus taught. They bucked any form of correction or anything that held them to a higher standard. Quite a few either left and abandoned the group or picked a fight with me or said God was calling them elsewhere. We have created in America a “Me-Centered gospel,” that promotes calling out the gold in people rather than teaching them they are accountable for their choices. It keeps people immature and carnal. The early apostles never changed the words of Jesus to make people feel good about themselves. Unfortunately we have a pendulum that has swung from intense judgement to anything goes (un-sanctified mercy).

Aside from the priorities, I have heard the most ridiculous conspiracy theories that make God seem like an incompetent loser. We tell people God is all powerful, all knowing, undefeated, cannot be sabotaged, and then pass around these theories on how the social elite can overthrow God’s plans. It is lunacy to me. Either God is who He says He is or we need to just all go home and sit down and be quiet. The same God who saved the life of Moses and Jesus from being murdered before their time, who delivered His people out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, raised up King Saul and then took him down is now powerless against secret societies and those pesky Democrats. It all came off as crazy and as manifested unbelief to me.

It’s puzzled me because I have thought, “Maybe I am following a different Jesus.” I truly have sat with the Gospels and studied the life of Jesus. I have read the bible cover to cover many times and even studied some texts in their original language. What I have struggled with most are the priorities of the modern Western Church vs the priorities of Jesus. The behavior part, well we are all still in process. God is still working on me and I do my best to yield to God. We can only expect perfection from God. The world (people who do not know God) should see something different in a person united with Jesus. Those are His words, not mine.

The Jesus I know is highly concerned about the poor, outcasts, the rejected by society, widows, orphans, human beings being sold as slaves, injustice, racism, sexism, all the isms that seek to subjugate or diminish His father’s creation, the broken hearted, the oppressed, those who are not reconciled to the Father (evangelism is a priority), revealing the Father’s heart, delivering the oppressed, truth telling, service to the world, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, bringing God’s hope to the hopeless.

I do not know self centered Jesus who is mostly concerned with Himself, His rights, pushing Himself on others, bullying, excessive rudeness, doing all He can to make Christians rich and comfortable while asking nothing from them.

I do not know political Jesus who rants and raves that you must support whatever political party He chooses or be doomed for hell.

I do not know Jesus of the patriarchy, because Jesus shocked the world by loving women, empowering women to speak for Him, listening to women, protecting women, cherishing women, honoring women, and healing women. Jesus came to serve, not be served.

I do not know white Jesus who mainly cares about white people and their desires. He cares nothing for the other 90% of the world’s population nor the billions of people of color who existed before there were any white people. I know brown Jesus from Nazareth who died for the entire world.

I do not know capitalist or American Jesus who values money and profits more than people. Money is not the highest goal of Jesus, it’s relationship with people. Jesus is not a consumer. Jesus does not treat people like commodities. He loved people enough to die for them.

I do not know the Jesus who quotes scripture at people without helping them to understand it or live it out. Jesus enters into the suffering and lives of flawed people to assist them, not harm them.

I do not know nationalist Jesus who only cares about certain nations. God so loved the world! The entire world.

I do not know the Jesus who hates Africans or black people, nor uses them as the scapegoat. God’s first humans were African. Their melanin rich skin was not called a curse. It was called a blessing.

I will keep inviting my heavenly Father to teach me who He is, and I will keep pursuing Jesus of Nazareth-Yahusha. I don’t know who others are following if it does not match the scriptures of who Jesus is. Cultural Jesus can save no one. He’s not real. He is the god made in human’s image, not the Son of God.

I know this post is long, yet I hope it helps someone. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus did not come to establish a religion. He did not come to form a political party. Jesus came to reconcile the entire world to the Father. He came for RELATIONSHIP and out of that relationship we are transformed. Transformed people transform cities. Jesus changed the world starting with 12 disciples. There are supposedly 2.2 billion Christians on this planet. What are we transforming? Loads of people are running away from Christians and it’s because the agenda of Christians does not match the agenda of Jesus. Our agenda needs to align with Jesus, not the current Christian culture.

I leave you with this note I sensed from Father God on New Years. I am not saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” I am sharing something you are invited to pray over and test/weigh against the full counsel of God, the character of God, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. God is not mocked. Claiming the name of Jesus is not a joke. He asks for our entire lives. Our lives are no longer our own, they were purchased with a high price.

What I sensed from the Father, certainly test and weigh it.

You will see a continued dividing line between those united to my heart and those united to their religion. Their festivals and conferences bring me no joy. They have set their faces to be like Israel was; honoring me with their lips while denying me with their actions. I will purify my true church, my people. You will see more clearly who is following my son and who is following their own agenda.

I am not mocked. I am calling those bearing the name of my son higher. I’m calling them into agreement with my son. Some will listen and grow; some will ignore my correction. Those who ignore my correction will notice a tension and struggle upon their lives. My grace abounds upon those yielded to my son. Your nation has polluted the other nations with her greed, sexual immorality, gluttony, perversion, and pride. She must be purified.

I have sown pockets of my remnant in your nation to pray, to preach, to model the precepts of my son. Those who do not have true unity with my son will see tension in the years to come. The idols of America will not save her. Her military will not save her. Her police state will not help her. Her economy will not save her. She will see that I alone am God.

Mankind has repeatedly played the role of desiring idols over my presence. I continually invite my people into relationship with me through my son and to live out of my presence. This is where they will find life, hope, peace, joy, goodness, identity, love and their purpose. Invite people into my presence.

I am tired of man’s religion and systems of oppression. I have watched pastor’s rob the flock while denying them any access to their presence, counsel, and love. I have watched my people in churches suffer in silence and it rips away at my heart. I will purify those who claim my name.

I have given many opportunities to the church to repent and they do not. They believe they are the “Untouchables” due to my promises of mercy and grace. They forget that I am just. I am the God of Perfect Justice.

Your world will continue to try to contain plagues environmental challenges and discord. They have collectively opened the doors to evil and partnered with the evil one. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The world, the earth, the environment responds to spiritual allegiances. Your world has given their allegiance to sin and idols. Behind those idols is bondage, death, destruction. I’m not punishing the world. The world is suffering because of mankind‘s allegiances. They are partnered with death.

Even amongst the people who call themselves the church there are idols. They play the harlot worse than Israel. They prop up their agenda, politicians, festivals, conferences, and services and then stamp my name on their agenda while neglecting what I actually told them to do!

I love my son instructed my people to love me with all of their being to honor me with their entire lives; to seek first my kingdom, to care for the poor, to fight for for holy justice; to make disciples, to add value, to preach the genuine good news of my son.

Your world must pursue my son to live; seek him and live. Come out of agreement with what does not align with the kingdom of heaven; come into alignment with what my son is doing. This requires those who are called by my name to seek my voice, know my voice, and follow. Lay aside personal and cultural agendas to pursue heavens agenda. We are calling your world to repentance and relationship.”

I am blessing you. May you and I pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

Love in Him,

Erin Lamb

Are We Different or Just Like the World?

Do we look, talk, or behave any differently than those who do not claim to know Jesus? I ask myself this question, so not picking on anyone else. I will say since 2016 I have encountered countless people who exited Christianity over the church’s obsession with a political party and candidate, over the blatant ignoring or horrible responses to racial unrest (our job is supposed to be justice and reconciliation, not throwing black on black crime stats at people (btw white on white crime is higher!)) or ignoring the pain of hurting people, over the nastiness, rebellion, and vileness that has come out of some Christians over face masks or not getting their way.

The primary allegiance is to be God for a believer, not the earthly country where we were born. Our greatest loyalty is to God, not a flag or nation. Our mandates first come from heaven, not the government. We are Ambassadors of Heaven on earth if we are truly united with God. We showcase who He is, His vision, His character and attributes. We are not our own! We live under the jurisdiction of a Higher Power, the highest power. We reverence God first!!! We worship God, not politicians, not political party, not ourselves, not ideologies, not the church, not ministers, not money, not pleasure, not youth, not marriage, not sex, not keeping up the Joneses, not miracles/signs/wonders, not material possessions. We worship GOD; the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

We are in this world, yet not of this world. We are children of the light, not traffickers of the darkness. We are royalty. We are are seated in heavenly places with Jesus, if we are truly united with Him. We are not led by our flesh or worldly passions. We are led by the Spirit of God who continually bears good fruit.

Those who do not have the Spirit of God in them are NOT the children of God, not heirs, and will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no condemnation (final judgement of God’s wrath) for those who are in Christ Jesus who LIVE according to the Spirit and NOT after the flesh. If you and live according to the flesh (the selfish, self centered, ego, me first, lustful pursuits) we are unwise to think God is going to slap a gold star on us and say, “Good job.” God corrects those He calls a son or daughter.

I ask God to deal with me more than anyone else. God change me from the inside out and allow that transformation to manifest in such a way that it glorifies your Son. He paid the highest price to pull me out of death and into the light. I am no longer a slave, I am God’s friend. I ask God to purge me of limiting beliefs, any false beliefs from growing up in church (some people meant well, yet they taught things the wrong way), and I ask God to help me crucify my flesh so it comes up into alignment with heaven. What does this mean. I ask God to help me to not live out of my ego, out of selfishness, out of the me-centric worldview. You know, the “God bless me and no one else,” mantra.

So my prayer for us today is we cast aside living like the world and live abiding (remaining intimately connected) to Jesus. May we know Jesus for ourselves, know God’s love, and then reveal who He is to the world. God cares far more where people spend eternity than for our comfort. Earth is our temporary assignment, heaven is our permanent home. We live from and for eternity!

God bless you! Seek first the precepts, presence, and knowledge of God.

Warmly,

Erin

Leaving American Christianity to Find Jesus

Happy New Year! I hope this year is an incredible year for you. God is good. God is incredibly good. One of my favorite verses has been out of the Psalms, it is Psalm 84: 11 and it is as follows:

 For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise!
    Wrapping himself around me like a shield,
    he is so generous with his gifts of grace and glory.
    Those who walk along his paths with integrity
    will never lack one thing they need, for he provides it all!

God withholds nothing good from those who walk uprightly. When I look over my life, even in my challenges I have seen the goodness of God. He is a sun and a shield. God is a strong tower. God is truth. God is faithful. God is kind. God is unlike anyone else I have ever met on this planet. God is my family.

The Bible states that those who believe in God are to be family to each other, safe, kind, loving, generous, helpful, servants, trustworthy, and forgiving. I have spent my life in churches and I would not call most Christians safe or loving. I would say my greatest betrayals in life came from people who still show up Sunday after Sunday saying they love God. I am not a perfect person. I have flaws, we all do. Yet I cannot think of one person I have betrayed. I cannot think of one person I knowingly worked against them or tried to harm them. My experiences with the collective called “Christians” or “Christianity” has not been this way. I will say there are a handful of professing Christians who have been amazing (outside biological family), yet they are few and I cherish them.

What is this good thing that Christians are offering to the world? How are we living that is so different than the world? Honestly, I have connections with people in the marketplace who do not even know Jesus who have treated me better than professing Christians.

I started examining what we teach people Christianity is in my country. This version of Christianity was okay with murdering Indigenous people, okay with raping/enslaving Africans, okay with subjugation of women, okay with violating the very nature of Christ. The version of Christianity I have seen the past 4-6 years is more concerned with who you vote for than whether you know Jesus. More concerned with building mega churches than helping the poor. Chanting for the rights of the unborn while ignoring loving the person in front of them. More concerned with whatever the current conspiracy theory is or being anti-vax or anti-facemask than loving thy neighbor. I don’t care where you stand on the face masks or vaccines, it’s the level of hatred, vile, and cruelty I have seen emerge from people when they encounter someone who does not agree with them.

I look at Christianity and go, “What is this? This is not the Jesus I read about in the Bible, nor the one I know from years of relationship.” Along with that, people add God’s name onto whatever unkind agenda they have. God is telling them to be unloving, unkind, cruel, brutal, or savage.

I thought that maybe we are dealing with something new, yet we are not. What we are seeing today is a manifestation of the version of Christianity that was sown on these shores in the 1400s, the “Me-Centered Gospel.” It’s the “God bless me and no one else.” It’s the “I will do whatever I need to do to get my way.” It is the “I will push you in the dirt if you don’t agree with me.”

I am not this type of Christian and ceased telling people I am a Christian at all. I tell people I am a follower of Jesus. I am not interested in America’s version of Christianity. I am not interested in worshiping a flag, political candidate, or political party. I am not interested in love of country and getting my way over love of the Kingdom of God.

The American church is not my family. Many times the collective is focused on things God is not even doing. However, they add His name to the agenda so that must be it right? Wrong, like ancient Israel my Nation has often missed the voice of God and traveled her own way after idols. I say as Jesus said, “My family are the ones who do the will of my Father.”

If you are not American, please do not follow our example. Look to Jesus. Follow Jesus. If you are American, please do not follow the example of other Christians. Follow Jesus. To those who say to me that I am cynical and God is pleased with the American church, I beg to differ. I sensed from the Lord in 2018 that a shaking was coming to the church and America. Many platform Christians said blessing was coming. Nope. 2020 shut the doors of many churches. While many blamed the devil or Democrats (which I have no party affiliation, so please do not send me a nasty message. I will throw it in the garbage), I rarely heard anyone saying maybe God was reprimanding the church. You see, I have been doing street ministry for almost a decade and one of the number reasons people want nothing to do with Jesus is because of Christians. God is NOT represented as He is or even well. It’s difficult to represent someone you don’t know! America’s version of Christianity is rooted in religion. Religion is not the same as relationship. We will NOT bear the fruit of Jesus through religion. Jesus stated “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me, you WILL bear good fruit.” The reason the fruit is bad in my Nation is because you and I cannot bear fruit from religion or a political spirit or nationalism or even pride.

In 2020 when I did not agree with all the prophetic words about who would be President I had Christians literally curse me out, tell me I was not saved, threaten me, harass me, and send me nasty messages. I have been talking about racism, sexism, and other things that go on in Christiandom that are not aligned with Jesus and have made more enemies and lost some connections. I truly don’t care about any loss for me. I am used to Christians being offended with me and then showing their butts. I know it’s a graphic phrase, yet church people have done things to me I would not do to my worst enemy. Some of them attach God’s name to their meanness and if their God is the one I am worshiping I question why. Jesus has never cursed me out then said the the Father told Him to do it.

I am sad for the world that has poor examples of what God is like. There is a MASS exodus from churches and it’s not because people hate God. They see the devil in the church and prefer the devil who knows he’s the devil. Or they are seeking house churches or online church.

The other day I cried for God. I shed tears for Him. I keep asking Him to make me a better person, not a bitter person. I do understand why people are deconstructing their faith, leaving organized church, and moving away from American Christianity. I hope I never walk away from Jesus. I do know the past few years have made me question greatly what American’s call Christianity. American Christianity is not for me. It does not look like Jesus to me. Jesus is my hope. The Kingdom of Heaven is my home. Following Jesus is what I desire to do. I am not into the other things people say is “Christian.”

I leave you with this dream I had a year or so ago. I was in this beautiful white church filled with people. I heard a commotion outside. People were screaming. I looked up and a man was standing next to me. He said, “You must get out now.” I told him I needed to help others and he said, “You must go now.” I got up and when I went outside there was a gigantic lion attacking people. They were being shredded to death. I still wanted to stop and help people. The man yelled loudly, “Get in the car and get out now. Don’t look back.” I drove off and did not look back. I sensed in 2020 there would be a major dividing line in churches, like two distinct camps emerging. I saw that transpire over politics. I sensed again in 2022 (last week) there would be an even deeper divide. There will be those who seek to follow Jesus and those who seek to keep going with religion.

I am not asking you to take my words and run with them. Talk to God for yourself. Pray. Fast and pray. Ask God what His heart is for what America calls “Christianity.” Is He pleased with it? Or have Christians just attached God’s name on the agenda and it’s not even worshiping the real God.

I have never seen people behave as poorly as what I have seen the past 4-6 years. I pray for my nation, yet as stated my heart is to simply follow Jesus. Even if I lose mother, father, sister, brother, church people, etc…they will never be more important than Him and completing the mission for Him. The church is not a building, it’s supposed to be a people. God did not send Jesus to build a religion or political party, He sent Him to build a family. My prayer is God continues to purge me and that I finish this race well. I hope that God changes the American Church so she resembles Jesus.

Leaving American Christianity in search of the real Jesus…

Love in Him,

Erin Lamb

Marry a Kingdom Person, Not a “Christian”

Being a Christian is a label in my country that can mean many things. It does not mean that person has a personal relationship with Jesus, obeys Jesus, nor that they even understand who Jesus is. Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God than anything else. Don’t let the prophets for profit convince you He talked most about money. He didn’t. I have met countless people who claim Jesus; they do not mirror any aspects of what He said would mark His followers. This includes clergy, pastors, platform ministers with millions of followers. 

Please don’t be fooled by a label, church attendance, and someone saying they are Christian. I had a lady tell me a guy brought his bible on a date. I asked, “Does he live anything in that bible?” It’s not what he says he is, it’s what he is living. 

I would not recommend for anyone desiring marriage to just seek out a Christian person. I have counseled countless people abused by Christians. Gosh, I have been treated like utter trash by quite a few professing Christians. 

A person who truly seeks first the Kingdom of God: 

1. Has a healthy view of the Lord so they will seek to honor God in their interactions with you, knowing they answer to God for their treatment of you. 

2. Will pursue honor, integrity, love, and mutual service and submission. It’s not one sided. 

3. Will repent when they sin and offer forgiveness to you when you sin. 

4. Will yield to God for pruning and godly growth. 

5. Pursues God and their own spiritual health with God. They do not expect you to be their god. 

6. Serves others, has the heart of a servant.

7. Walks in purity. They care about maintaining their purity with God and you. 

8. Builds God’s Kingdom and helps establish it on earth. 

9. Pursues unselfish love! 

10. Cares about the least, last, lost. They share the gospel and make disciples. 

11. Has regular communion with God and discipline of a disciple. 

12. Is a wise steward of what God has given, knowing they are accountable. Where much is given, much is required. 

13. Loves God more than they love you or anyone or anything else. 

14. Listens to God and wise counsel. 

15. Cares about what is best for you, unselfish love. 

16. Pursues you for the highest good, not their personal or lustful gain. 

17. Honesty, loyalty, commitment to do what they promise to do. 

18. Willing to confront you in love about sin or error. 

19. Talks to you to build connection not about you behind your back or so harshly its abusive. 

20. Views you as an equal, not a subordinate. 

21. Takes accountability for their own choices. 

22. Seeks to add value to your life. 

23. Seeks to obey God. 

24. Is passionate about God and their relationship is growing. 

25. Isn’t in love with marriage, a wedding, or the idea of marriage. They are fully in love with Jesus. 

A Kingdom person views life through God’s lens. They seek to do the will of God. They are sold out for Jesus. So, they are not trying to devour you, use you, get you into sin, get you into sexual immorality. They are pursuing God’s best for themselves and you. 

I will be honest that I have met more “Christians” than Kingdom people. It saddens me because Jesus is grossly misrepresented by the masses. My encouragement for those who want to marry is “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness.” Instead of, “God gimmie!!” Say, “God prepare me. Help me to be a Kingdom person. Help me to love you most and yield to your purposes. God make me a blessing so I can be a blessing. Give me discernment to know what’s just good and what’s God (you). Heal my brokenness. Fix the broken parts of me. Grow me up in you. Prune away non fruit bearing parts of me.” 

As someone with years of experience helping married couples piece the broken parts together, please consider working on putting God first, getting healed, and pursuing God. Marriage does not cure things. It amplifies whats broken. Seek God. Seek first the Kingdom of God, not religion. Honor God. If you won’t honor God, you won’t honor a spouse.

Warm Regards,

Erin Lamb

Christians vs Jesus (Why the Behaviors Differ)

Christian behavior vs the behavior of Jesus.

It comes up with street people and I have asked the same question of why “Christians” do not behave or love like Jesus. The answer is pretty simple, a person will bear the fruit of who and what they worship. “Christianity” can be rooted in going to church, giving money to a church, attending Christian events and reading Christian books, memorizing the Bible, singing Christian songs, belonging to a particular denomination or political party, pursuing marriage and raising Christian children, finding spiritual parents/mentors/priests/pastors or a Pope to follow, outward signs of piety, or in charismatic circles displays of miracles/signs/wonders. None of these things produce the fruit of God’s Spirit. None of these things mean a person is right with God, in relationship with God, following Jesus!

Jesus stated quite plainly, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you abide (remain, stay in close connection and relationship (intimacy)) with me, then you WILL bear good fruit.” This means relationship, personal relationship with Jesus on a daily and continual basis is what empowers a person to bear the fruit of God’s likeness. Whatever parts of our lives that are bearing fruit, God comes along and prunes to produce even more fruit.

Religion does NOT produce the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, reading the Bible and connecting with other people who believe in God does help with the journey. You can read the Bible, spend all your life in church, and end up in hell. God did not send Jesus to increase the roll number at churches. God sent Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself and expand His family.

I have encountered people more in love with their church than Jesus. More in love with their spouse than Jesus. More in love with their political party than Jesus. More in love with miracles, signs, and wonders than Jesus. More in love with money or power than Jesus. More in love with looking like a Christian than obeying Jesus. If a person does not abide in the real Jesus of Nazareth, they will NOT bear the fruit if His love, character, or likeness.

It’s not a pull yourself up by your bootstraps type of deal. It is a sink into knowing Jesus and pursue close relationship with God.

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons and daughters of God.” Those without the indwelling of God’s Spirit do not have the seal of God upon them.

I am not against Christian events and the outward expressions of celebrating God. I do know, as Jesus knew, with the Pharisees that you can spend your life thinking you know God because you’re religious and completely miss God. Jesus stood before the Pharisees and they rejected Him. They had their religious feasts and the Torah. They had the Law. They had their outward expressions of righteousness and piety. What they did not have was personal relationship with the Messiah.

Relationship with God is not complex. It is a conversation and yielding of one’s heart and life. It is choosing to say yes to the stirring of God on the heart. “Yes, God I long to follow you. I repent of my sins (the ways I have lived outside your holiness). I accept that apart from you I can do nothing. I want to know you for myself. I yield my life to you. Come live in my heart. I thank you for Jesus. He who knew no sin took on my sins. He is God’s Son. The sinless One who died and rose on the third day. He triumphed over life’s greatest enemy-death, for me. Jesus be Lord over my life. God fill me with your Spirit.” The next steps involve inviting God into each day. Yield to the nudging of God. Listen and follow. It’s about relationship.

The more we abide (sink into personal relationship with Jesus), the more we begin to think like Jesus, love like Jesus, and display the character traits of Jesus. When Christians place the real Jesus first, then their behavior shifts to be more like the Christ (anointed one). Sadly, when being religious replaces relationship, what manifests is behavior that does not mirror Jesus at all.

Let’s be ones who abide in Jesus and display His glory (reputation) on earth.

Love,

Erin Lamb

God Cares About Life Once Born

City Outreach to the poor & homeless last Saturday (homeless camp)

True Christianity (Following Jesus) Cares About the Poor, Hurting, & Life Once Born.

My life changed sitting with children where their parents sold them into sex slavery, one girl they chained in the yard like a dog, another sold for 5 dollars a sexual experience so they would have food to eat. I have seen children homeless on the streets of my city, living in cars or tents with their parents. I once saw a 4 year old in the freezing cold with her grandma with no coat (they were homeless). I cried myself to sleep that night. I had layers of clothes on, they had little to nothing.

I have talked to people of color terrified to have brown children due to racism in America and police brutality. So when people say they are pro life and they care nothing about the poor, nothing about human trafficking, nothing about child abuse, nothing about racism, it’s a lie. You are pro fetus.

In my years of service to the poor and people on the streets, I have heard countless “Christians” tell me they are not called by God to do anything for the poor, though Jesus specifically calls it out over and over and over. There are numerous bible verses about caring for the poor. God takes it seriously.

Sometimes in my view, American “Christianity” is about controlling others/forcing beliefs onto others that may not even be lived by the people trying to force it onto others. That’s what settlers did to natives and Africans. It’s what has continued in this culture. “I will say I am a ‘Christian’, force my beliefs on you by law, treat you quite poorly, not love you or care about you as God commanded. I will look down on you because obviously I am superior. I will live opposite of what Jesus lived. I will become angry if you do not wish to be like me.”

Cultural “Christianity” is a LIE! It’s not rooted in Jesus. It is not about loving thy neighbor, laying our lives down, dying to self, caring about the least/last/lost. It’s about appearing holy without living holy. Hence, I strongly dislike cultural “Christianity.” It is a false doctrine. It does not match what Jesus taught or lived.

“I was hungry, you did not feed me. Naked you did not clothe me. In prison, you did not visit me. What you have done to the least of them, you have done unto me.”~Jesus.

May we choose to follow Jesus, not culture.

Love in Christ,

Erin

Is This Who We Are? Addressing cruelty in cultural “Christianity“

Quote by Ghandi

This year has brought out the gold in some people and exceptional cruelty/the worst in others. I call it an unveiling year. We always had issues in my nation; now they are more visible.

I understand there has been stress, uncertainty, life changes, and for some they are living on the edge. We all need grace, kindness, the benefit of the doubt, and mercy is greater than judgement. Then there is a time to stand up, speak out, and set boundaries with people who are way out of line.

I do not know about you, yet I have witnessed things in cultural “Christianity” that do not align with God love (unselfish, sacrificial love).

Face Mask Mania:

I have witnessed grown adults having 2 year old tantrums over face masks. Some have cursed out store employees, destroyed property, and given others COVID. Wearing a mask to demonstrate to your neighbor you care about them is not being weak. It’s actually loving to consider other people.

I have heard people say, “Well, I am not afraid, and this is violating my rights.” Yet the same people wear clothes and shoes into the stores. Those are mandatory. The same people wear seat belts. Those are mandatory. The same people yield to traffic signs.

Sometimes loving our neighbors costs us something. I know of people who have died from COVID. My parents are much older (I came later in life). If someone could have prevented them from getting COVID and chose not to attesting their rights, and my parents died, I would be furious! Yes, God heals. Yes, God protects. God also considers people who are afraid, hurting, not healed, have no health insurance, etc.

I want to make a t-shirt for my merch site that says, “It’s not just about you. I looked at the center of the Universe and found God, not your photo.”

Jesus stated, “Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” I know this is challenging and can only be done by abiding in Jesus. I have to ask God to help me love some people and to walk in love. I am not perfect. I am still being refined. I try to let Him love through me.

Jesus could have been the biggest ego maniac as the Son of God. Meaning His status was and is King of kings. He chose humility. Humility involves lowering ourselves and considering others.

Degrading and Mocking:

I have been talked down to, mocked, and treated poorly by “Christians” because of my stance against racist things and posting about racism this year. I am accustomed to churchy people attacking me because I do not just go along with the crowd.

There are people degrading and mocking other human beings while claiming to be pro-life. I have seen “Christians” stand up and support a murderer aligned with their political party, yet claim to be pro-life. Some have celebrated the death of someone who was pro-choice. I have seen people using another person’s tragedy to promote their political agenda (using a miscarriage to drag a pro-choice person through the mud). I have heard racist comments from professing “Christians”, leaders, pastors, people claiming to represent Jesus. I have seen levels of dishonor from professing believers that was and is absolutely demonic. It’s not how Jesus behaves nor how He behaved. It is from the pit.

I want to say this clearly. The world watches the way Christians behave. They often see the hypocrisy of the church better than anyone in the church. I have spoken to quite a few people about their gross disappointment with the church especially in the areas of justice, addressing racism, politics (turning a blind eye to gross sin in their chosen political party or political leader while screaming “You’re evil,” at them, for not caring about those terrified about COVID, and noticing extreme arrogance in people claiming to be a Christian especially those who are in a leadership or government role.

I may lose followers for posts like these, yet my loyalty is to Jesus. Despite behaviors of pastors, leaders, other Christians, politicians, and even the President-we answer to God for ourselves! If we claim to be a Christian, Jesus is the standard. God looks at how we live, notes everything we say, and we will give an account for how we represented Him on earth.

I hear people say they would die for Jesus. No you wouldn’t if you won’t even put on a face mask to help those around you. I hear people say they want to lead millions into knowing Jesus. Well, that involves sacrifice and dying to self. Would anyone want to know Jesus by the lifestyle we live in front of them? I see people running away from God due to political and rude professing Christians.

This whole notion that we are the center of the Universe and not God, is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It is dangerous because we can think we are following Jesus when we are actually not following Jesus at all.

I am reading through the entire bible and right now I am in Matthew. The things Jesus said were radical. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” meaning we are responsible for our actions. He did not say, “Blame the other person and scream about your rights.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I could hear Jesus preaching this today and people screaming, “No Jesus! Blessed are ALL people. All people are blessed!!” There is something wrong when we make everything about us.

Something is wrong in a culture where there is zero consideration for others. Something is wrong when Christians are linked to cruelty rather than compassion. Something is wrong when the behavior of the church looks more like the world than Jesus.

I have ceased looking at my personal Facebook until I can clean it out due to the conflict “Christians” have caused on my page. No person should feel hostage or bullied on their own page. Why is this happening? People think my page is their territory to say whatever they like and quite a few love to make posts about them, especially the posts addressing racism. It’s funny the most vocal have not been recipients of racism. However, they show up to debate me or offer opinions regarding things they do not understand. They are harmful!!! I had to start a private, unseen group to discuss racism safely with people of color.

Who have been the ones causing strife on my page? Professing Christians. I ask this question, “Is this who we are?” Do we truly want to be lumped in the category of cruel, selfish, lacking compassion, mean spirited, narcissistic, uncaring, apathetic, mockers? I know Jesus is none of those things.

My encouragement to the world is “Let’s do better!” My encouragement to Christians is, “Please consider Jesus as the standard, not leaders of our time. Choose Jesus. Follow Jesus.” The same Jesus who flipped over tables and rebuked people to their faces was willing to die on a cross for them. I meet people who will not even endure 10 minutes of being uncomfortable to show love to someone else.

My hopes are people are pointed at the real Jesus! The Jesus who washed feet even though He was king. The Jesus who denied Himself and chose death to give us life. He put Himself in harms way to save our lives. Jesus who went out of His way to demonstrate unselfish, sacrificial love. Are we? Do people seen any hint of Jesus in us? Because we are walking billboards for Him. He wants the world to know Him. Jesus came to point the world to the Father. We have an incredible opportunity to do the same.

God gave the church copious opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate His love, compassion, selflessness, helping hand, and work for justice. Are we adding value anywhere other than our comfy Christian bubbles? The world around us is hurting.

Church buildings may have closed. Street corners did not. I have gone out on the streets almost every month this year; feeding people, clothing people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel, going to protest sites to love people, etc…Operation God is love paid for groceries for families laid off by COVID. One month we had a line of hungry people because no one was coming to feed them. Jesus does not stop being Jesus in a crisis. Jesus shows up with solutions. He invites His followers to do the same.

Taking Supplies to the Streets

May we sink into Jesus, follow Jesus, and represent Him well.

Warmly,

Erin

Which Jesus Are You Following?

I do not know the Jesus who does not care about the poor, injustice, the immigrant. That Jesus is not in the Bible.

I do not know racist/white supremacist Jesus because He is not in the Bible nor was Jesus white. He was brown, a middle eastern Jew.

I do not know political Jesus, who was pushing politics on people and in the ear of the political elite. Jesus focused on the Kingdom of heaven, an eternal Kingdom. Political Jesus is also not found in the Bible.

I do not know greedy Jesus who sought for people to give Him all their money and exploited the people. He came to serve, not be served.

I do not know dictator Jesus, nor law & order Jesus (the way humans portray law and order). Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us. He fulfilled the law and invited us into relationship to therefore help us gain righteousness with God through faith. When the Pharisees wanted to stone people, Jesus wanted to offer redemption.

I do not know snobbish Jesus who separated Himself from those society hated. That Jesus is not in the Bible.

I do not know bully or rude Jesus. His harshest words were for the self righteous religious people.

I do not know hypocrite Jesus who let the disciples get away with gross sin while chastising the world. Jesus was fair.

I do not know Jesus who lacked compassion and only cared about Himself and those who agreed with Him. He met with the most sinful and hated of society and offered them life.

I do not know sexist Jesus who mistreated, looked down upon, or displaced women. Sexist Jesus is not biblical. Jesus of the Bible was radical in His love, support, and protection of women.

I do not know the Jesus only interested in filling buildings or seeking to gain a fan club. That Jesus cannot be found in the Bible. Jesus went out to the people. He fed them spiritually and naturally. He preached repentance, and how to have everlasting life. He healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, and demonstrated how to have a relationship with the Father.

I do not know “Christian” Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. He was not Catholic nor Protestant. He was a Jew.

I do not know this Jesus that so many claim to follow. I do know Jesus of Nazareth. He is not like cultural Christianity Jesus at all. My encouragement is open a Bible and get to know the real Jesus.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Parable of the Four Sons

The Parable of the 4 Sons (What we see depends on where we are standing)

There were 4 sons who lived on a farm with their dad. They each loved to play and could get quite rowdy at times. They loved adventure, climbing trees, and throwing rocks down by the creek. Sometimes they would get dirty and their clothing would demonstrate how elaborate their adventure was for the day.

They would come home at days with dirt filled grins. Their father was a firm believer in cleanliness. He would stop them at the door and demand they take off their mud marked shoes before entering the house.

The one son he would brush the dirt off his face, give him at atta boy for being his son, offer him extra soap and towels and send to the shower.

The second son he send to the shower with no praise, no affection, and no extra soap.

The third son he completely ignored. That son was accustombed to simply following his brothers and showering after them.

The fourth son he took out back and beat him, called him names, and then sent him to shower.

Over the years the boys noticed that their joy in play diminished. Two of the brothers (the ones mistreated) did not enjoy their adventures as much any more. The fourth son seemed stressed, depressed, and had been slipping at school. He eventually skipped out on play all together to go be alone. He knew his punishment for play would be severe. He would slip into the house unnoticed. He simply wanted to survive his childhood.

As time moved on the boys grew up and left home. The fourth son was eager to leave. His body and his heart still had scars from the abuse he suffered as a child. He found there were safe places out in the world, yet there was still trauma in his soul.

He met a young lady who was a writer at university. She explained to him that writing was therapeutic. She encouraged writing his story. The fourth son knew his story would paint his father in a bad light. He pondered for months what to do. He decided telling the truth was the way to go. He wrote his book A Fractured Lens and it became a national best seller.

His family became enraged! How could he do such a thing. His father worked so hard to provide for them!! His father was an upstanding Christian man!!! His other brothers had no complaints. He had to be making it up and just venegful and ungrateful. If his father did whip him, he must have deserved it. The town turned on the fourth son and told him to never return. The first and second son came to their father’s defense. They said their father was the kindest man they knew. They tried to find stories to discredit their brother. The third son remained quiet. While he did not know the benevolent father the other two sons knew, he also did not know the extreme abuse the fourth son knew. So, he slid into his corner to bypass any confrontation.

Fortunately for the fourth son one neighbor saw his brutal whippings. She would sneak out of her home to tend to him with first aid. She saw the rage, the anger, the pain the fourth son suffered. She stood as an ally for him. The fourth son still had marks on his body from the abuse.

Teachers in the town after reading the book felt great sorrow because they failed to see the writing on the wall. The fourth son lost interest in play, constantly looked down, came to school sometimes bruised/looking defeated, and never liked going home. They could not fathom just one of four being abused and the father was so charming with everyone else. They did nothing to help.

The father read the book, knew what he had done, yet wanted to have the story removed from every bookstore. He should be forgiven and not have his dirty laundry out there. He wanted stories told of how he treated his other sons, the ones he loved. He wanted his church attendance on record. He wanted to be painted as a hero.

The fourth son refused to remove his book from shelves. He received countless letters from people with similar experiences finding healing in the book. They were too afraid to tell their stories, yet the fourth son told his. He began to fight against abuse of children.

When asked if he regretted telling his story, he replied, “No. I suffered greatly as a child and bearing my untold story has caused greater suffering. I am healing. Others are healing too because they recognize they are not alone.”

My take/why I wrote this:

The moral of the story is people can live in the same house or the same country and have different experiences. It is challenging to see a different perspective. I meet people who cannot see nor refuse to listen to someone else’s experiences. Especially if those experiences paint their beloved ideals or a person/place they love in a bad light.

Our vantage point and experiences matter. The neighbor who helped the fourth son saw the violence, she had a different response/perspective. The first and second brothers did not see the violence and because they were treated far better they were upset for any complaints. The father knew he was abusive, yet wanted to hide his sins instead of confess them and address them. The fourth son carried the story, scars, and the trauma. The third son did not see the abuse, yet knew his father treated the first and second son better than him. He remained silent.

I meet with clients who have been severely abused by people others put on a pedestal. They go to church and abuse their family. They have great jobs and abuse their family. You cannot tell an abuser just by looking at them and looking at how often they go to church.

There are people in America who are treated differently based on whether they are poor or rich, black or white, belong to certain groups or not. When I meet with the homeless, they are treated FAR worse than other people.

Pointing out issues in an area also does not mean that all is bad. It means there can be improvement. The neighbor could have reported the abuse, the father got help, and the family healed. The father could have read the book, confessed his sins, and reconciled with his son. He refused due to pride. The third son could have stepped up to say, “I am not an eye witness for abuse, yet my dad did not treat me well either.”

It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s an honor if God gives us the opportunity to do so.

Photo: bthornephotos (Flikr)

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Losing My Religion…

2020 has pushed me even further away from cultural Chrisianity, yet deeper into Jesus. I do not fit in the religious/political crowd that cares little to nothing about the poor, and more about things than people. I do not fit into the grid that ignores suffering, while judging experiences that they do not have to live. I do not fit there. I do not belong there. While I love people, we are not on the same page.

I see Jesus out in the world meeting with people some church people have said, “I do not agree with that, so I want no part of ‘those’ people.” Well, Jesus came to the world that was totally out of alignment with God. They thought they were righteous. They were clueless and on their way to hell. Jesus called the religious/political crowd white washed tombs. They looked good on the outside; they were mess on the inside. What if He said, “I do not agree with ‘those’ people, I refuse to go hang on a cross for them.”

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees (Matthew 23: 23-28)

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts!

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

I do not know where I fit in the grand scheme of what people call Christianity. I do know I love Jesus and want to follow Him, not the crowd. Maybe I will tap into my Jewish roots (it’s part of my ethnic identity) and choose to identify as a Messianic Jew. All I know for sure at this moment is I love Jesus, Jesus is Lord, Jesus cares about the poor/hurting/marginalized/outcasts of society/justice, and I want to follow Him.

Sincerely,

Erin Lamb