Archive | February 2012

What I Seek In A Church

I’m seeking a few things in a church that are musts.  Call me picky but I believe these are very important things.

Sinners – People who know that they are sinners, saved by grace, through nothing they did, it’s God’s gift, Christ’s work.  They are not holier than thou, looking down their nose with the “at least I never…” attitudes.  I am not seeking perfection in others, I’m seeking a body of believers that knows they fall short of the mark but know that because our Heavenly Father sees us through the blood of Christ, we are perfect.  Folks that don’t judge you, but grab you and give you a hand up back on the path, help brush you off, and wrap around you in love and support.

Bible – a church that teaches from it.  USES their bibles, applies the lessons right here where the rubber is meeting the road, but that the congregation members actually show up with their bible in hand and use it during services.  And that lessons are not based on a verse taken out of context but passages as a whole and some inductive study (associated passages) pulled together.  One verse sermons don’t cut it, I can prove Adam and Eve were blind if we are going to use a verse out of context (their eyes were opened blah blah blah).  I want to be with a congregation that can sit down, pull out their bibles and find those passages and discuss, apply, encourage and teach from God’s Word.  It’s fine to put it up on a screen for those that forgot, or don’t yet own a bible, but I don’t want to be where that is the only source of God’s Word being used by those listening is the words up on the screen and not in their laps.

Music – it can make or break worship.  I am all about music being joyful (make a joyful noise unto the Lord), rather than feeling I am sitting in a funeral.  Which, for my own way down the road, please make sure the music is upbeat! CELEBRATE my life don’t mourn it.  I love contemporary worship music, but I also love the hymns.  There is a lot of biblical truth in the hymns of old and they should not be forgotten but used each week along with more upbeat worship songs.

I have NO problem with a coffee bar or donut shop in the church building.  I love to see fellowship encouraged!  People actually sitting down talking and interacting with one another.  But I also want to see that the focus of that time together is a collective worship of the Lord, a time to be taught.

I don’t think I am asking too much.

This says it ALL as far as the music is concerned.

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Understand…

I really intended for 2012 to be the year I went back to church.  I boxed up all of my excuses at the end of 2011.  Here we are 6 Sundays passed and I have yet to attend.  I had planned to return to my old church and try it again, but then I didn’t.  I let another person’s judgmental attitude toward me become my excuse.

It isn’t that I do not wish to be in a body each Sunday and worship the Lord.  I know that I’m not there for me, I am there for the teaching, for the time of worship and for the fellowship with other believers.  But it is hard when people judge you.  Even if you did in fact do some not so godly things, in fact out and out sinful ones.

It did not help to be in the midst of my “crazy time” after the divorce.  I thought I was all healed up emotionally and mentally and ready to face the world and start over.  I could not have been more incorrect.  Echos of “you are a nut case, everyone thinks so” rattling through my head.  I was not and am not a nut case.  But yes I did act crazy, it is what the divorcing people do, especially those that do not want to be getting divorced.

I never wanted that divorce, I believe that anyone who calls themselves a believer cannot possibly justify a divorce anymore than they will be able to justify gay marriage.  Yet those that are believers have a tendency to only apply God’s Word as a menu to fit themselves.

I had to come to terms with the failed marriage and the many very sinful ways of life my ex and I led and going to church only made that harder when others there were looking down their noses and judging me for things I was doing now.  I don’t need anyone questioning my walk.  I’m a sinner, saved by God’s grace, but I am very much in need of my Savior.  I was before I was saved, I was before I walked off the path, I was as I was off the path and I am as a prodigal child trying to make my way back on that path.  Don’t expect sinners to act like something other than what we are, sinners.  But rather than being quick to judge, slip off those holier than thou  shoes and walk  a while in mine.  Come talk to me, know where I have been, see what I saw, hear what I heard, then perhaps you will understand and not be so fast to judge but instead walk out the love of Christ to me when I need it most.

Thankfully, my Lord and Savior doesn’t call the perfect, the ones in those holy shoes…He calls the ones  who are sick and dying in their sin to come to Him.  And out of a pit of hell and sin my hand was up and searching from the darkness to find my way back from the wilderness.

I don’t know how a believer can stumble so far down to where I was for years, but I know that I’m not there anymore.  And that when temptation dances past me to return it makes me sick to my stomach.  I know I cannot go back.  For now, I sit in the middle of the path and hope and pray to find a body of believers that can look past the outside and understand that I come back, a prodigal, that can offer much in the  way of ministering to others that fell from the path and rolled down the hill into the swamps of sin.

I do not know where that came from, I saw it on someone’s Facebook or Pinterest, but it expresses how I feel.

I’ll be in church this weekend, somewhere.  I haven’t  made a decision but I will go and keep going until I find the place I can call home.