When was the last time that God was standing right in front of you telling you something and reassuring you. How did you react? Did you even notice? Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. 5 9 26
In high school, I went to a different church from the one that I grew up in and just loved it. I was close to many different friends; including peers, leaders, and the pastors. I was a teenager and made my fair amount of mistakes, and one day after a truly troubling time I went to my preacher, the youth minister to talk to him about it. He was my good friend, and he was friends with other people that were involved in my life. I went to him in tears and barely able to speak, it was a tough decision for me to admit I was wrong in some things and to go talk to him about it all. Before I even said a word, he told me that I was a "bad influence to the younger youth," and he said that "should leave the church because I was doing no good for anybody."
Needless to say, that was not helpful at all during my time of trial. Stupid man. Since that day I have seen him once, about five or six years later and he had the nerve to hug me. *shivers*
After leaving that church, I bounced from place to place and then in college continued to bounce with not much of a church home. Much of my high school experience after that is a blur, I was just too depressed to really care or put much into my memory bank.
What I'm getting at, is to tell you that after eight years of really just bouncing around with no church home, DH and I have finally found a place that fits. We have been attending for about two months straight and really like the people. We haven't made close friends yet, but we have made many great acquaintances that I could definitely see becoming really good friends. With all of this bouncing around, I have gotten pretty far out of the habit of talking to any preacher, outside of my professors. And now the feeling to talk to Pastor is a hesitant one. I know who he is, I know he is a representative of Christ, but I just am not comfortable with that yet.
Most conversations that I've witnessed and had in a group setting with him, it is shocking that he has all of the answers. Well, it seems that way, and when he does not have an answer, his reply could not be more appropriate. He always says, "Well what does Scripture tell us?" He is obviously a very wise man, and individually I have no reason not to trust him. So why do I hesitate?
A couple weeks ago, we had a study and one of the things that we talked about was other denominations. Long story short, I was raised in one, attended a different one in college, and now this church is a different one all together (FYI I have a BA in Religious Studies). One of the things that we were talking about was worshiping with Christians of other denominations... meaning having a joint service with three or more denominations present. He said this was wrong. (My brain goes *huh?*) In more detail, his point did make sense, I guess. In talking about how sharing a worship service with the others condoned and endorsed their beliefs and how as a Bible believing Christian you should be careful of that because you do not want to enable someone to teach things that are not based in Scripture. Okay, I can see that...
But, I'm not comfortable with it.
Jesus talks to us about wanting all souls to love and follow him. How one day all voices will rejoice in his name. I understand that there are variances in doctrine, but I do not see how just when someone disagrees with slight things that can put them off limits? I know you're suppose to be cautious and keep a sharp eye to things that are not of the Lord. But I cannot see two hundred people singing praise songs in the name of Jesus Christ as being wrong. I just cannot comprehend that.
Now, back to God standing in front of me...
Today, I was thinking about this "discomfort" about mass worship (mass as in massive, not as in Mass service). I was thinking I really should talk to the Pastor more about this, to see if I can understand and find a comfort level. The thought had barely left it's neuron transmitters before the phone rang... It was Pastor... Pastor has my number???? "Uh, hello?"
He was checking on the house, he knew we were suppose to close on Friday and wanted to see if it went through. Now that is cool. We are not even members yet. We're "return visitors". We want to become members, it just has not happened yet. Well, we talked for a bit. My heart rate was racing, because I was just thinking of speaking to him and then he called. Too bad I completely dropped the ball and did not mention my issue...
I'm just not comfortable. I just could not do it. I felt my heart rate go up, and started sweating, and pacing. It was really kinda pathetic.
God was standing right in front of me, saying here, ask your questions, attempt to get some answers. He got the Pastor to call me, instead of my having to dial him. But still, I screwed it up. Sure, I could pick up the phone and call him, but will I? Probably not. Why? Because I'm a scared little chicken.
So God was standing in front of me. Then I start beating myself up about it. Thinking, "Great! God, I'm sorry. I'm messed up." Then what does he do? HE DOES IT AGAIN! No, the Pastor did not call back, but I went to relax and read some of my Bible and there it is right in front of me!
January 27, 1997 in Covington, GA at the FFA/FHA camp while on a retreat called In the Vine '97, I acknowledged Christ, and I would say that was when I truly devoted my life to become a Christian. Over the years, when I've switched churches and places, that verse is always the one that tells me, "it's okay, I still love you". Example: I'd attend a church, thinking there was nowhere else for me to go. The preacher stands up to give the sermon and says, "I had something prepared today, but it's going to wait until next week. For today, the Lord has really put it on my heart to talk about..." AND ITS THAT VERSE! It never falls.
DH suggested we try this church (the one we're attending now), it's in the denomination of his youth, and every time we've attended other ones of this denomination they ended up being out right scary. IE: The preacher introduces their "partner". Or number two, the preacher preaches about how God gave us abortion and stem cell research and we are suppose to use them. Or other crazy examples. One of my least favorite, is the ones where the congregation does not know anything about the "founder" of the church and thinks it is someone else. (sorry ranting here). The point being, I was so-not excited about going. We went and low and beyond, what was the sermon. IT WAS THAT VERSE AGAIN!! Then the next week, great sermon, and again and again. Everything fits about this church. I love the people. The messages are good. Everything I'm finding is scriptural and not bizarre. So, why am I so frightened? What's the worst that can happen? I just do not know what's wrong with me.
So, anyway... I open my Bible to read my section for September 17th. And it reads:
John 15-16:4 (New Living Translation)
Jesus, the True Vine
The World’s Hatred 18
This is my verse. This is the one where he speaks to me and assures me, all is okay. Wow, two God moments in less than 20 minutes. Imagine if I paid even more attention to him...
Enough of my rambles... Just a little bit of testimony, but tell me, when has God stood right in front of you with something? Did you listen? Did you just walk away and miss the chance? Will you go back? Tell me just anything.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.