Kind Of Like A First Date

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Credit for Drawing: Audrey McCray

This summer, I did something that I have never done before: I visited a different church each Sunday. Living between two metropolitan areas, I had often wondered about the many churches that I pass by in my normal routine.

Choosing a church to visit has kind of felt like preparing for a first date. With today’s technology, I narrowed down the churches by going online first. Would we be a good match? What do they look like on the inside? I put names and faces together so I wasn’t walking in blind. It gave me a sense of their history and their future before we officially met.

On the day of, I fretted over what to wear. I didn’t want to be overdressed or underdressed for the occasion or the location of our meeting. I thought about conversation starters and prepared my answers. Would we hit it off? Would the first impression lead to a long-term relationship? The pressure was on.

And the result? There is a church for everyone. I don’t buy the excuse that people aren’t in church because they can’t find the right church. I visited a church where animals were welcomed. (I missed the week that the miniature donkey was present.) I visited a church where the stained glass windows and extra-high cathedral ceilings transported me to another era. At  one church, the only decoration was a rough-hewn cross at the front and it was enough.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well in our churches. Together with the congregations, I rejoiced over baptisms, mourned for the death of their loved ones, and prayed for God’s glory to be revealed through their ministries. Each church was a family that genuinely cared for people inside and outside of the church.

I was filled with hope for the future. There was a dizzying array of opportunities for the next generation to know, to grow, and to sow for Jesus: Children’s Moments, overnight “lock-ins,” and weekly programs. I’m not sure when I became part of the older crowd, but I was excited to be alongside the next generation in church.

I heard God-inspired messages from many different pastors with many different personalities. I am encouraged that God can and does use each one of us to bless others. We have the freedom to be who we are in Christ.

From the very first date, Jesus Christ was my soulmate. Church is the place where I can celebrate that perfect match made in heaven. .

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

Ephesians 2:19

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,

 

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6 thoughts on “Kind Of Like A First Date

  1. I just love this post. Even though I love my home church, part of me envies your opportunity to visit, observe and find the Holy Spirit thriving in so many different churches in this summer adventure. It goes to show and confirm that the Lord made us with all kinds of personalities and preferences and He dwells among us whenever we call on His name. By the way, beautiful illustration by your lovely DIL.

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  2. Thank you Debbie for sharing your experiences with the Churches you visited for a short time and like you I praise God you feel they were walking with Jesus on the right road but some are not so faithful as I experienced but yes like you I went through the same lead up as you did, I like to color coordinate don’t you.

    But I do agree in all the Churches I have visited over the last 6 years there are those who Love The Lord greatly and serve Him with all their heart and also offer Love, hospitality and help to His Children in the Church and out of it.

    But sadly I also found what is Prophesied in Scripture for the end times, that some Churches were in darkness and the Shepherds were leading their sheep astray, especially in their understanding of Scripture, I will condense but I’m willing to share in more detail if wanted but you can be sure Debbie it won’t be sugar coated.

    One Church after I had been attending it for 3 months, I was asked to come to their Bible Study by the Minister and his wife who lead it, they told me during the Study that my 7 Babies who had died at birth or during gestation had gone to Hell, this is not confirmed in Scripture the opposite is True.

    They said also that God did evil to bring good out of it, which the Scriptures tell us is slander to even say this about Believers and they also said that regardless if we repented or not, if God chose us we would go to Heaven which is also reading Scripture without understanding . This Minister condemned me to other Ministers in the area claiming I was unteachable and so I was asked to leave the New Church I was attending without being given a chance to explain and that Church and no doubt some others still believe what this Minister claimed as I found out recently by a very unloving member of a Church.

    Another Church whose Minister and wife were friends of this Minister although they agreed he was wrong still allowed him to continue preaching these errors without correcting him and also made it clear I was not wanted because they didn’t want to loose his friendship.

    Another Church I was part of were teaching the Children that they had evolved in their Sunday School and this Churches Minister also lied to cover up an Elders sin and knowingly put the blame onto someone else by telling a lie about them too.

    Another Minister preached that it was alright to accept course joking , to deceive even our Mothers and to tell white lies if needed and to also accept places that offer gambling as a blessing, believe me he said it because they gave free drinks to his friends Mother with her dinner and helped him deceive her that she was not in a Casino.

    Another Church were worshiping Mother God the Creator and another agreed this was OK as long as they were helping people but this is Spiritual Adultery and if works are done for a Pagan god or goddess, they are filthy rags.

    Another Minister Married people who were living in Adultery if they said they believed in God.

    Another Church accepted practicing Homosexuals long term without rebuking their sin and gave them Leadership positions too.

    At a Bible Study with woman I attended, when we were asked if we needed prayer or support, I shared fighting back the tears about a recent heartache that I was enduring which I knew cold not be resolved easily and one woman coldly said to me in front of the others and not one of them including the leader came to my defense, that I was just feeling sorry for myself and should get over it and yes I have heard this response has been given to others that no longer go to Church having felt unloved when they too have shared their pain.

    Another woman Bible study Leader sent a derogatory joke about Marriage to at least 20 other people by e-mail and claimed I was wrong because I corrected her for doing so.

    Another Church were Woman were in Authority over Men which God warns us about, went against their Ministers decision to have Sunday School when he was away on holidays, causing hurt to others including the children and even though the Minister agreed they were wrong when he returned and that it wouldn’t have happened if he had been there, he didn’t put things right because he was retiring in the next 6 mths and didn’t want any problems to worry about.

    Another Evangelistic Minister visiting a Church spoke loudly in tongues and there was no interpreter which means it was not from God and he also prayed over the top of the regular Minister as he was praying, which meant there was no order in the service and yes there was more that this Minister did and said that caused hurt to the Body of Christ and showed lack of Love for them.

    Another Bible Study I was asked to go to which was lead by a Minister and an elder said; if you could not speak in tongues you were not saved, they had completely misread the Scriptures concerning speaking in tongues and so you were not welcomed at their Church if you couldn’t speak in tongues.

    At another Church, woman had to have long hair or a hat even though Jesus or our husbands if we are Married are our covering and woman were in error unless they accepted everything said by the Minister even though it was not Scriptural and just his understanding, At another Church, woman were not allowed to pray in the morning Service only the men were.

    Another Church banned Music claiming it was all ungodly and not for New Testament Churches.

    At another Church I was told by an Elder not to talk about Jesus because it made people feel uncomfortable and not to to put my hands up when I was singing.

    More than one Minister in the Churches I attended claimed we would continue to sin until we die but this is OK because we are under grace. But the Scriptures tell us that when we are Born Again of God’s seed we no longer sin. (1John3:(9) how can we if Christ indwells us. We need to aim to be Perfected in Love putting our Carnal flesh to death as we choose to walk in the Fruit of The Spirit by His empowering, we don’t just excuse our sin, it is not heart repentance to do so, yes Jesus is our Advocate and will intercede for us but it shows we are still in darkness as confirmed in the Scriptures.

    There is more I could share in regards to what I encountered in the Churches I visited Debbie, with some it was for much more than a few weeks but I will do a Post when lead to by The Lord and fill in the gaps and also confirm more fully with Scripture why they were in error but you can be sure Debbie these type of things and worse are happening in Churches, Bible Studies and Home Churches all over the World, including in America as confirmed with the teaching and sharing on some Blogs and Websites and by the actions of those who Author them and I’m not referring to known Cults.

    And yes it is Prophesied in Scripture as I shared before even if they are misunderstood by those who read them because they do so without asking for and believing they have received God’s wisdom and empowering and not Trusting Jesus our only Teacher to lead them into all understanding, but instead accepting fleshy man’s worldly wisdom, logic and reasoning even though it is not confirmed in Scripture when in context with all God’s inspired Scripture.

    How did I handle all of what I encountered even though at times I was very hurt, I moved on as God tells us to do when His Truth is ignored and error is not resolved or correction is not accepted but I would be willing to help anyone from these Churches if needed. including the Ministers and I have done so with some of them already, I ask God to help me forgive so I can move on in Love…. Was I looking for the Perfect Church…, I’m looking for one aiming to be Perfect as God tells us to do, we are His Church!

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.

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    • Hi Annie,
      Sorry about my slow response. Between gearing up for BSF each week (& teaching 13- to 20-month olds) and enjoying the fall harvest of apples (& making apple butter, cider, and dehydrated apples), blogging isn’t getting as much attention as I would like to devote to it!

      I am sorry for your experiences with the Church that is supposed to be the family of God and the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. Obviously, my blog was about first impressions as I only visited each church once.

      Your comments reminded me of several Scriptures. 2 Corinthians 11:14: “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Sometimes, we have to dig deeper to discern where Satan has roots, even in the church.

      Secondly, I did not know that you had lost so many babies. I can’t imagine the grief over loss like that. I have always been drawn to David’s words after the death of his son with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 12:22-23: He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This passage tells us that David would see his son again in heaven. What a comfort for those who have lost babies. Another reason to look forward to heaven (as if we need more! :))

      I look forward to your post on churches and hearing more of your insight!

      Christ’s Blessings, Debbie

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  3. God also tells us Debbie that until Children are of an age of understanding they are under Grace and they are not punished for the sins of their parents including the sin of omission, Jesus also said such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

    I feel that this Pastor and his wife misunderstood what Sanctification means in regards to Children when we are Christians, so with me not being a Christian when I conceived them they said it was why they went to Hell.

    I asked them do they believe that our God of Love would send a young child regardless of age or gestation to suffer eternally because they couldn’t understand about Salvation but they did not answer.

    I give thanks Debbie now that my Children have only ever known Joy, they never suffered in anyway, yes I grieved, I will leave a link to a poem I wrote about them, although you may have already read it.

    One thing I have no doubts about Debbie and this includes David’s child, God does not kill babies, when He created the Womb and Sperm, they like everything else were very good but sickness came with the fall, I believe now that my babies would have suffered if they had lived from constant health problems perhaps Davids would have too and so God in His mercy and compassion didn’t intervene to continue their lives, another reason was both my first husband and myself were very damaged by our childhoods and hurt people hurt people and children too, as Parents we would have been very lacking.

    Blessings – Anne.

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