I was raised Catholic in Southern California… actually old-school Roman-Catholic where the Priest still spoke Latin, and his back faced you for most of the service. I went to Catechism, and was confirmed, and went through the whole nine yards of my “church training.”
When I grew up, I had a lot of questions, and I really was not getting any answers. So I drifted away from the church. I had some experiences of varying degrees with different churches after that. These would later help form my belief system. However, one’s belief system is not necessarily grounded in truth… thus my journey.
I ended up spending 5 years in seminary in New Orleans at NOBTS. Through a series of events in my life I came to realize that the traditions often integrated into church life were the very things that people were running away from! I decided to take a little church in Addis, LA. You may have heard of it or saw it there on Hwy 1 (There is a big white tent in the front of the property). You see, we simply ran out of room!
Let me share with you why I believe we ran out of room. After years of traditionalism and man’s added rules to church, I decided to look at the Bible as it is written and teach ONLY what it says and not add anything to it, nor take anything away from it. We also decided to follow the commands Jesus gave us…
Matthew 22:37-39 says; “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Let me break this down a little further…. What Jesus was telling us was; make sure you are right with God, and make sure you are right with mankind. Now this might seem simple, but the key to those verses is the word “love” which is the Greek word “agape” and agape means “unconditional love.” This would indicate we love God wholeheartedly, and we forgive our neighbors (mankind) loving them unconditionally as well, expecting nothing in return.
That means as a church body… we love the people coming in, just as they are, and we expect nothing in return, but we give love to them freely and openly. In service, and deed, in any way we can. This was the first century church, before Catholicism, Lutheranism, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodist, Baptist etc…
The 1st Century church, took everybody in, and their only concern, was that people really understood that salvation occurs in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and if it is real in a persons life, they too would love others like Jesus did… unconditionally.
So we decided, one does not have to wear a suit, or be free of tattoos, or belong to a certain social class… One just needs to understand what God purposed to do with His son Jesus Christ… That HE (God) so loved the world (You), that He gave His only Son (Jesus), that whosoever (anyone at all) believes in Him (Would choose to make Him Lord) would not perish, (be eternally separated from God) but have everlasting life. (Be with God for eternity forever). John 3:16
So come check out the Tent on Hwy 1 south… have a donut and some coffee, and find out how “Truth” can really set you free… come see.