Friday, December 8, 2006

Consequence Free

So in case anyone was wondering what kinds of things I'd like to do without consequence as hinted at yesterday, let me clarify. I was not talking about wanting to rob a bank and not get caught; nor was I wanting to gorge myself at Christmas and not gain any weight (although that would be nice). No, one of the things I was thinking about was making 'simple' decisions like which church to attend.

Ah, the million dollar question. For 3 years now our family has been trying to settle into a new church home after having moved out of the city of our 'home church' for the better part of 2 decades. Does it matter which church you go to? Are there 'consequences' attached to which one you choose? Believe me, we have swung to both extremes of the pendulum in our search. And yes, I would say there are things that will effect our family dramatically based on which body of believers we join.

For example, at one church our children would grow up thinking that the Holy Spirit doesn't function in the gifts today the way He did in the New Testament. I would have to unteach that at home, and they would not get to exercise their spiritual gifts in the Body.

At another, our children would grow up thinking that God overlooks all kinds of sin because the Ten Commandments don't really apply to Christians today. So again, I would have to unteach that at home, and they would have to close their eyes to all kinds of moral neutrality and depravity within the Body, and wonder why we have a higher standard for them than the other kids have.

At another, our children would grow up thinking that what you do is more important than why you do it. At home I would have to teach that although God really looks at the heart, man looks at the outward appearance so we kind of have to play along with tradition to 'fit in'.

At still another, they would might learn that being busy 'doing church' is the same as being fruitful in the Kingdom, and that church activity = spiritual success.

My husband's Uncle once asked why people find it so hard to find a church when there are "lots of good churches" by which he meant many that have right theology, even if your heart is not engaged.

Why can't we just pick a church, some church, any church, without wondering what effect it might have on us? I don't want to have to worry about what my kids will learn, be influenced by, worry about. I just kind of want to be Joe Christian going to a 'good Church' without stressing over whether or not it is the right church. Don't get me wrong, we have enjoyed parts of every church we've visited, and enjoyed getting to know the people we've met. There have been things to learn at each church too, and we've been grateful for those nuggets of new thought. I am not implying that those churches are "wrong" and we are "right". Others would thrive in these places. They are full of people who love the Lord and want to do His will, just like us. But because I do believe there are 'consequences' to our choices, I have to believe that there is a church for us to join that will come with God's great blessings, an overflow of His love and pleasure for us. That's what I want. Pick one church and just be 'okay'. Pick another and really grow and blossom in the Lord's place for us.

Psalm 38:6-10 speaks very accurately of my experience these last many months: "I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning; and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee. and my sighing is not hidden from Thee. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me."

We long to find our new church home so we can finally dig in to what the Lord has planned for our family. We are longing for the community of believers that we've been missing. I am longing for my experience to stop being like Ps.38:6-10 and start being like Ps. 40:1-3.

Come Lord and show us Your plan. Speak clearly, because it seems like we are not quite getting it.

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