We have been “in between” churches for the better part of this year. We have been attending one church consistently for the past month or so and will likely make this our church home. Interestingly, this is the church we went to when we first moved to Texas, but left to help plant another church in our area about 14 years ago. As we have visited different churches this year, and this one in particular, I really feel the Lord has impressed on me more and more to focus on what we can offer rather than what we can receive. I know this sounds basic, but when we first arrived in Texas, we really NEEDED the love, support and community of a local church! The pastor of the church my daughter attends when she is at her college wrote the below message regarding this very thing.
“You can be under the best preaching, teaching, ministries, and service and still have an issue with your church. I have known those who have traveled from church to church trying to find a way to fit in, but could never, because they were trying to find a church that thought just like them, and if they didn’t quite think like them, they tried to change the church to their way of thinking. But consider this message I saw on a post: Judas had the best Pastor, the best Leader, the best Adviser, and the best Counselor, yet he failed. You see, the problem may not be the leadership, and may not even be the Christ-preaching church you are going to. The problem may be your attitude or your character that doesn’t change or your heart that isn’t transformed by the surrender to Christ fully for all that you have or are. Romans reminds us: “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 This is an honest time of reflection on why you go to church. Do you go to hear a good message? Do you go for the Worship music? Do you go for the social engagement of the people? Do you go because God expects you to, so therefore you go to “get your ticket punched?” We all want to hear a good message, and we all like the sound of good worship music, and we all need fellowship, but what about going to have our heart changed? What about going to become more like Christ, through the association of others just like us, trying to make it through the week. The life we live as a believer, should be a life dedicated to serve the One who saved us. It should be a desire in every one of us to put the desire to honor Christ above all else. The desire to have our minds transformed by the word, and our hearts conformed to the character of Christ in us. Can you take a moment to think about who it is you live for? Is it family, work, your own satisfaction of completion of goals? For that matter, what is your goal? Has it changed to become the goal of the pursuit of Christ like Paul would say: “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:12-14 What an opportunity to be a part of such a great journey heavenward, walking with others seeking the same pursuit. Now that makes for a great day!”