Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Journey Of Searching For A New Church

Do you ever feel the Lord calling you to move? As in move churches? I have been the member of the same church for twenty years. This is the church that grew our family. Our children were baptised in this church. My husband was baptised here when he was only thirteen years old. I was baptised here after my husband began bringing me to church for the first time in my life. Our oldest daughter was married in our church. This is the church that holds such memories for us. Sweet memories that have helped create who we are today.

I have served for almost twenty years in our church. This is the church where I made new friendships and was mentored by grace filled women. If you were to ask me my favorite place to be, I would have shared with you that church was it. My heart was changed forevermore in this church. 

So, when I heard the Lord calling me to move, this was terrifying. I began praying months ago. I began to see that my heart was becoming stagnant. I had become comfortable in the pew that held our family for years. Too comfortable. It was no longer home. It was no longer my favorite place to be. I knew something was wrong when my family was no longer excited when Sunday morning came. I did a lot of praying. A lot of waiting. I can tell you, the Lord is teaching me patience through this process. It is definitely a journey I never quite thought we would be on. But here we are searching. Isn't that what it's all about? Searching? I am to be where the Lord is calling me to be. Many times that means moving out of the comfort of our circle of friends and out of our comfort zone. Way out.

For almost nine months we have been visiting churches in our area. I must be honest and tell you, no church feels like home yet. I find myself comparing every church to our church of twenty years. I must stop this. Comparing churches is definetly going to hold me back from seeing the new the Lord wants me to grasp. I am learning each church is unique in it's own way. Each church responds to the Holy Spirit differently and well, it's not easy walking into a new church. You feel awkward. You almost feel out of place. I think the scariest thing is opening yourself up again. Building trust with new people. Allowing others to see you for who you are. But most importantly, letting go of all your inadequacies and allowing the Lord to move your feet in the direction He is calling.

Why am I sharing this with you today? Because I know there are many out there who are on the same journey. It's important to be part of a church. To have a home church. We are to be in fellowship with other believers. We are to attend church to worship, but we too are to serve. This is an area that I am so passionate about. I want to serve. I want to teach and be a part of women's ministry. I want to see our community grow and come to have a sweet relationship with the Lord. Jesus changes everything. He brings people together. Hearts change and love seems to spring forth when we are focused on Jesus.

It would be easy to simply find a church and worship. But this isn't what the Lord is calling me to do. He is calling me to serve. To be active in my communtity and to reach out to others. I want to be used of God. I want to be His vessel. I want to be part of group of ladies inspired and moved.  I want to be surrounded by people passionate about His Word. A place where I can dive in with others who are studying the Word. I want to belong to a body of believers. These are things that God has instilled in me. A church body should encourage one another. We should inspire one another. I totally want to be in a church who accepts me.  A church where I feel the love of Christ. What about you?

I want to see the Lord move. Most of all in my heart. I want to be challenged and motivated. Our walk with Him is a continual journey. It's a season of growth. It's learning more about Him and as we do we learn more about ourselves. It's using the gifts He has given. It's feeling as though you are a part of a body.

A wise woman once told me, "Rob, you must get to the place where you can just come to church and worship and forget all the junk." These were words that touched me greatly. Is it easy to go to church and forget all the junk? No, it sure isn't. But this is all about where our focus is. It shouldn't be on anything except worshiping Christ. It's all about Him. It's letting go of all the junk. Yes, those hurts that come, we are to let them go. We must remember, no church is perfect. Every church has issues. We are an imperfect people. That perfect church does not exist. If we are not careful we can allow those hurts to turn to bitterness and cloud our view of the church. This isn't what the Lord intends. He wants His people to gather and fellowship.

I'm not looking for that perfect church. I am searching for the church the Lord wants me to attend. I am looking for that church home to add to my journey with the Lord. I must say, I'm not looking for a church to so much fit my needs. I am searching for the church the Lord is calling me to. I know when that time comes I will know without a doubt this is the one. This is where He is calling me to be for now.

I love the church I have attended for the last twenty years. But I don't want to live a content life just going through the motions. I want to be on fire for Christ. I want to be surrounded by others who are not focused on the junk, but focused on the One who is calling us to serve. We are to bloom where we are planted. I just want to bloom. My heart is searching and I know the Lord will send my feet in the direction I am to go. It's been a challenge to follow Him. It would be easy to just remain where I am or to simply not go at all. But that's not what He is calling His believers to do. He wants us to be so on fire for Him nothing else gets in the way.

Friends, Satan doesn't check himself at the church door. He walks right on in. Sits down in the pew next to us and tries every way he can to distract us. This is the place where he can attack and win a great many battles if we are not careful. We must be on watch and on guard. We must protect ourselves by being aware and keeping our focus on Jesus. When He is our focus the junk doesn't get in the way.

Are you on this same journey? Search your heart. Seek the Lord. Don't grow content in your pew. If your finding yourself going through the motions maybe it's time to do a heart search. God has so much for us. He instilled big dreams in us for a reason. In faith we can step out of the pew and know that where He sends us is where we are going to make an impact for Him. Stay on course. Keep your feet grounded in the Word and follow His calling. This is an adventure where I am learning so much about my relationship with Christ. I'm learning to surrender to self and open up every part of me to be used of Him.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Hebrews 10:19-25

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

"For you were called to be free, brothers, only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love." Galatians 5:13

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths." Proverbs 3:5-6


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