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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: August 07, 2012 08:13AM

Thanks for posting, squareone and blackwatch. Yes, Squareone, this Forum does go quiet from time to time, but, like a sleeping lion, it wakes up, has a big yawn and stretch, and then it springs into life again with full force. We are glad that the Forum has been helpful to you both, as it has been to many of us and to others we know about.

Blackwatch, you have recognised, as many of us did aswell, that there are wonderful Christian teachers and preachers out there in other churches, who base their teaching on the Bible and who study the Word and explain what it is saying. Don't be afraid to leave Struthers if you are unhappy with what is being taught there. As many who have posted here have said, there IS life after Struthers. Yes, you may lose friends but you will make new ones. Yes, you will be leaving the familiar and comfortable zone behind, but you'll find freedom and new life in Christ outside of Struthers. There are many lovely Christian people out there who will help you and befriend you and let you be "you" as God designed you to be. Please be careful, Blackwatch, because I believe that SMC can be very damaging to a person, both spiritually and emotionally, and perhaps mentally aswell. Many of us on here can testify to that. But healing and recovery is attainable.

Praying for both of you. I agree, Squareone, it is SO important to keep reading the Scriptures in order to know what is correct teaching and what is error.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: August 08, 2012 12:37AM

Hi folks

Just reading a few posts again and I was drawn to the post by the Petitor...

Quote: “If someone is criticised for leaving a church to join one where they see God is moving, they should wipe the dust from off their feet and not look back.”


I remember this quote well (Mr. Black DID actually say this!) However, as I remember it, the statement was made about a new member of the church who had been criticised for leaving their own denomination to join SMC and that the statement was never used in the other direction. Quite the opposite, people were and still are thoroughly criticised, ostracised and apparently completely doomed if they dare to leave SMC.

This is just another example of the confusing messages which SMC put across. The leaders will contradict even their own statements if it happens to suit their purpose at the time. Perhaps they forget what they've said before and expect the congregation to do the same and just 'take their word for it'.

I have to say that I have never been in any church since which twists and rearrranges the text of the bible to suit themselves to the point that speakers actually make-up what they think the bible is teaching and set themselves up as being so special that they actually have an insight into the bible which no one else has.

I find this all very sad because, for the first 18 years of my life, I probably spent more time in the church than I spent at home and my conviction that the church was right led to extreme bullying at school and I had only two friends during my whole school life. The effect of this on my life in general was really bad and influenced some of the worst decisions I ever made and regret. I now know, without question, that my life would have been far richer if my family hadn't attended any church at all never mind one like SMC.

The good thing is that my folks did eventually leave the church and have had a much more fulfilling and enjoyable life since they decided to make the move and, contrary to what SMC leaders have said about them, they are the most loving, caring and 'holy' people you could meet and I would certainly listen to what they have to say about the bible, God and living a godly life before I would give any of the Struthers present leaders the time of day.

To all those still in SMC (if you are reading this), there IS LIFE after SMC. Real life in the arms of a loving God who is so vast that SMC is no more than a 'mote of dust in his eye'. God loves every single person on the face of this planet and has a place reserved for each one of us if we want to occupy it.

Just ask yourself: Would a God who created all of the universe and every living thing in it only want to welcome home around 300 members of SMC and no one else? The answer has to be a resounding "No!". There are billions of good people on this planet who live good lives and never do harm to their neighbours, do you think God will turn them away when they die? I don't think so.

SMC do not have a monopoly, just the same as no other cult has a monopoly, on God although they will try to dupe you into thinking that they have. Don't let them fool you this way. We all have an in-built connection to God, through prayer, and no church leader can tell you what God's will is for you only God can tell you that. Sure, church leaders can give advice, if asked for it, but their word is not the letter of God's will and shouldn't be taken as such unless God actually speaks to you and tells you that this advice should be followed.

Church leaders should never be in a position of so much control that they can actually influence who you marry, where you live, what school you attend, where you go on holiday or even when you go on holiday. Don't just be sheep and follow the leader, be Lions and TAKE the lead and responsibility for your own walk with God. Only the individual can make their walk with God because God looks on us as individuals and caters to our needs as individuals. God knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows what's right for one isn't necessarily what's right for another, in his eyes one person is just as important as the next person regardless of their religious background.

I got a real heads-up recently when I watched a video my Mum sent me and I would recommend it to anyone. It's a video of a speaker called Louie Giglio and it features some of the pictures sent back to earth by the Hubble. One particular picture will take your breath away; just before the telescope went out of range of being able to send earth any more data, the controllers programmed it to turn it's camera around and look back at the earth.... that picture alone will put everything into perspective for you and shows you just how small and insignificant we really are in this vast universe which God made. I can tell you that I have never experienced anything so humbling in my life and I would highly recommend that you grab a copy of this video for yourselves. The video is called "Indescribable" by Louie Giglio and is the most enlightening video I have seen in a long time.

As always, love to you all and God bless you all richly (in or out of SMC) xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: August 08, 2012 02:07AM

Hi everyone.
Really - thank you for the comments.

I feel like I'm in a good place mentally and spiritually right now - it's what i would describe as an 'awakening'. I'm in no rush to leave as I'm considering the idea that perhaps God can use me where I am, who knows.
I've found a couple of really fantastic sources online for listening to great teaching and I honestly feel like I'm being fed the proper meat of the word. If you've never heard someone who can atually preach and teach, I guess you'll never know what you're missing and that's certainly the posistion I've obviously been in. Looking back now, i'm amazed at just how much of the preaching at SMC is pretty mean-spirited and oppressive. HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS? Also, in comparison to what I've been listening to, a lot of what is said is actually fairly poorly delivered. In the context of a 'good meeting', people might feel that the preaching is decent but listening back to a recording and examining individual points is a great exercise. It's so much easier to separate the wheat from the chaff and frankly, most of what you're left with, a lot of the time, is chaff. I've been able to share these resouces with 2 other people so far and it's up to them I guess to come to their own conclusions.

A very close friend of mine (not in SMC) has been something of a confidante and a support to me over the last 18 months. Even talking about some of my doubts and fears has been a huge step. This friend has close connections with a family who were recently considering sending a child to Cedars. Our mutual friend asked if I would be willing to talk which I subsequently did. I should stress that THEY asked to talk to me. Guess what? They had some misgivings as a result of reading info on this thread and in fact, that is how I know about it! Praise God for Google!I gave a very fair and balanced account of my experiences at SMC (hey - there is some good stuff in there you know) but in the end, they chose not to go with Cedars.

It's great that people are sharing their knowledge and experience on here. You just never know how and when you are helping someone else.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 08, 2012 03:05AM

have seen Indescribable, cbarb, well worth watching, you're so right. Great big world out there and lots to be learned! Kind of ended up gazing at my navel,so to speak, after a while at Struthers. Maybe that was my fault but it's good to have my head up again anyway


love to all

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 08, 2012 05:40AM

love your posts blackwatch, just seen your last one. Agree there are good things at
Struthers, some lovely people for a start and the singing!..I loved the singing so
much. Totally agree God can use you there and I pray for many more awakenings :o)
Would be happy to know your online sources for bible teaching by the way.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Merciful7 ()
Date: August 09, 2012 12:12AM

Hi all, it feels strange to be actually posting on this forum after over a year of observing the postings of those formerly involved in SMC or, like me, someone who grew up in SMC. I have felt many times that I wanted to post, if only to agree with so many of the comments that have been made. Cbarb’s recent postings have inspired me to write as, I think, we share very similar experiences, although I was an 80s-90s SMC child. Thankfully my experience of Struthers ended around the late 90s/early noughties so the more recent stories I have read with great interest, although my own experience was a little longer ago. I have been reflecting on my SMC upbringing (in the Inverclyde churches) in recent months because I came back to God within the last year or so. This has been life-changing and fulfilling in ways I could never have imagined. However it has also caused me to re-open memories of SMC and caused me to think about my past in more detail than perhaps I have been comfortable with. Truthfully the realisation of the impact of being ‘brought up’ within SMC is only really hitting me now and it is hurtful and painful to think of it all. I am amazed at the human brain’s ability to package things up and bury them deep. However, I am now at a point where I need to make sense of it all as I know that my constant measuring of my current experience against previous SMC experiences can be consuming and unhelpful. There is an anger at having been polluted in this way by this church, no matter how much I don’t want to feel angry or dwell upon it. I might add that, similarly to Cbarb, none of my family is still involved in SMC, some are happy in churches elsewhere and some are not Christians – a big part of this is down to SMC I am sure.

Through recent conversations with my parents, they are regretful in retrospect that we did not move to another church at some point. However, I want to underline that there is no blame from me to my parents for this, who always did, and still do, exactly what they believe to be right for us as a family. Although we have spoken about it recently, I feel that it upsets them to do so and I have no wish to cause them upset at all.

Yes there were good times at wiston lodge and there were good people and good friends within Struthers. My overriding memories however are of being ranted at, particularly on Saturday nights, and being made to feel like the lowest of the low. I don’t have any specific anecdotes, my prevailing memory is of being told that you are unclean and unworthy and that every aspect of you needs to change in order for you to be acceptable to God. Maybe that doesn’t sound very terrible in itself, but as a child getting that message several times a week for more than 16 years is destructive. I am now realising exactly how destructive although I am getting through this slowly. I am part of a church now, which is proving to be a good experience. However, I really relate to Cbarb’s comments about having a personal relationship with God and focussing on that. There is a lot be said for time alone with God.

I cant comment on the present day workings of SMC, however it doesn’t sound healthy at all. Personally I wish I could just blank the whole experience from my mind, but failing that I need to continue to deal with it and ask God to help shape my mind and my thoughts away from it all.

No doubt I will know many of the posters on here. Cbarb, I certainly know your family and you mine, as you say there were good people at SMC and your parents are unquestionably among these.

In contrast to those on this forum with more recent experience of SMC, I don’t feel like I need answers to questions or to understand why SMC operates the way it does. I totally understand others needing answers but all I really feel is sad about the whole thing. Sad that I grew up in the SMC environment and simultaneously amazed that I now have a relationship with God again despite this upbringing.

One thing that has really struck me since returning to God and attending another church. Until now I had never understood the concept of grace. Grace is the foundation of Christianity, the foundation of our relationship with God and yet I spent the first 17-18 years of my life attending a church which did not communicate this message to me. Like I said, it makes me very sad to realise this now.

There is definitely something cathartic about finally posting my own experience and it brings me a lot of comfort to realise that I am in good company on this forum. Thanks everyone else for sharing your stories too.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 09, 2012 06:39PM

I hear what you're saying about anger, Merciful7 and how thinking it all through can consume and not help. I don't want to live my life angry either but I'm finding it more helpful and healthier to at least direct my anger in the right direction and not inward as I've been doing where it turns into either rage or depression, neither of which I want in my life either. Not to be vengeful or anything like that but to simply acknowledge that the blame lies where it lies.

I'm very glad you have found God as He is despite all the bad stuff you've been through. It's amazing... and you are so right when you say that grace is the key. Grace is what saved me and my prayer is that grace is what turns this awful situation around.


I didn't say Rensil, but thank you for praying for me, that means a lot to me.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: August 09, 2012 09:18PM

Quote
cbarb

I got a real heads-up recently when I watched a video my Mum sent me and I would recommend it to anyone. It's a video of a speaker called Louie Giglio and it features some of the pictures sent back to earth by the Hubble. One particular picture will take your breath away; just before the telescope went out of range of being able to send earth any more data, the controllers programmed it to turn it's camera around and look back at the earth..

Hi all,

And in particular, Blackwatch, who recently informed us that at least one person is making recordings of SMC sermons, which is encouraging. Maybe once the person has gotten enough of these together they could be sent to Latigo so everyone can examine them. Wonder how long it will be before the SMC "stasi" put out a warning that anyone caught making recordings will be shunned. Thing is, if they have nothing to hide why discourage recordings ? Or are they afraid that one of their pastors will make some statement considered outrageous and bigoted by most sane people but not by the "inner circles" - i.e. like Pat Robertson does all the time ?.

Just one small correction however regarding the pictures of the "pale blue dot" - they were not made by Hubble, but by Voyager as it left the solar system. Hubble is very much still in use and in orbit around our little blue planet :)

Regardless though, the picture is a classic.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2012 09:22PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: August 11, 2012 01:58AM

Hi folks

Sorry for the mistake and thanks for the correction Clive :-) the film is well worth watching and some of the other pictures are equally breath-taking.

Also, Hi Merciful7 it's so wonderful that you have found some peace in the assurance that God walks with you no matter where you are. I too find the whole church upbringing sad because I never felt good enough for God and it has been a very painful journey back to the acceptance that we were never meant to be perfect ... that's why we need to walk with God so that he can guide us and help us to learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we even NEED to make certain mistakes in order to learn a valuable life-lesson.

Once you understand that God doesn't want us to wear sack-cloth and ashes and beat ourselves into perfection, he wants to love us into his perfect creation (warts and all!). That knowledge alone frees us to live the life He really wants for us and he wants us to be HAPPY and JOYFUL in Him and, as you so rightly point out, that is the grace of God. Isn't it fantastic!

I've finally found peace but I spent far too many years with anger and confusion in my heart and it caused even more heartache so I would say to you, don't let your hurt and anger take up too much of your time. It's easy to dwell on these things but there is light at the end of the tunnel and if you turn to God when your thoughts are straying, he will give you the strength to push them aside. It's a complete life experience that we've been through, our whole upbringing was founded on SMC and it's seems like the hardest thing in the world to let go of the skewed teaching ingrained in us from childhood. Our parents are not to blame and, praise God, they left when they did, but they did what they believed God wanted from them in our up-bringing. God did move at various times in SMC but very often his work was stiffled by the main leaders of the church who refused to listen to people who were truly walking with God.

Time is great healer though, you don't ever forget about it but God makes it easier to come to terms with and, as time goes on, it will become less and less important because God will give you more important things to be thinking about.

God bless you richly, I'm so glad you have finally written your thoughts here, that alone is a great start to the healing process and we'll all be praying for you and supporting you in the exciting new times ahead.

Biiiig love xxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: August 12, 2012 06:24AM

It has been a while since I posted and I am so very glad to catch up on recent news from new posters. It is encouraging that people are questioning. I am also delighted that good memories and good people are remembered. I suppose it depends on how and why one came upon Struthers. I have no good memories. Only negatives. Still I try to understand and follow what was actually going on. In my 50s now I know that my way of thinking, of being a person, was dreadfully affected.I was not brought up in Struthers. I was a reasonably ok catholic... back then. In Struthers I became a nobody. Nothing of me was good enough for them. The Cumbernauld leader made that clear.
Somehow... I have coped.
I suppose it depends on what kind of individual one is. The characteristics we have inherited . I still struggle when I consider my Struthers experience. However I inherited strength of character. What do the SMC leaders think about inheritance....? genetics? in their quest for the selfless life?. Funny how the leaders support their own..jobs in the school? salaries e.t.c.?
None of it will ever add up for me.
All they took was time, money and enjoyment of life. I believe that nothing has changed. How can that be allowed to happen?

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