For years now - God has been planting in us seeds about 'church' and how we think of it. What started as seeds of passion for people and to truly LOVE and LISTEN and CARE about those around us has turned into a passion to truly BE part of the ekklesia - the true ekklesia. His Body - growing because of the work of the Holy Spirit - an alive changing Body living life together being molded & knit together through His work. Learning through life experiences and being together ---- to get closer to God & each other.
When we have grown up understanding a concept to be one way - it truly is so hard to break down those traditions & mindsets even if the Truth smacks us in the face. I KNOW in my heart that church isn't something I can GO to. It's not something I can get dressed for. It's not a building. It's not a weekly gathering. It's not music & a sermon. But it's been a hard time convincing my head. I have been having Saturday night anguish for over 6 months now - knowing in my heart that I didn't have to GO to church on Sunday -- yet not being able to fully release that to my head.
Last night we met with some awesome new brothers & sister at home and I can say I was truly stretched & challenged for the first time in so long. It is so awesome to be with people soo different from us - yet so like-hearted in what God is doing. All so awakened to the gospel & the Spirit of God! I am so excited about what God is going to do through these new relationships and our faith to simply step out in faith/reach out to those He is putting in our paths.
But after they left - the holy anguish set in again. I love my church family - all parts of it! Even those that "do" church. I completely know that God uses all different venues, ways of doing things dependent on where people are on the walk. So that has made it even harder to be released from the traditional setting we are in. Many wouldn't call it traditional - but it is. It's dressed up in cooler louder music and jeans - but it's the same tradition & model.
But today something happened. Throughout the gathering - I once again did not feel peace in the presence of my family. I know it isn't because of torn relationships - I feel those have wounds have been healed and forgiveness is complete --- the peace is not there simply because God doesn't want to give me peace in that setting. He has called us to a new path and a new journey! :) He has done so much work in us -- no matter how hard I try - I can't go with the flow of the masses. One part of me just rolls my eyes at myself and says man just once in my life I'd like to be 'normal' and fit in and be able to be happy to go with the flow.... but I know the truth is - we are not normal and God has done too much in us.
In my own lack of courage and desire to people please and fear --- I haven't listened to God. I have tried to please man --- been worried about being more berated, belittled or judged and in doing so - have ignored the Spirit of God in me. I have tried to please everybody and it isn't working.
So throughout today's gathering - God made sure I felt no peace. Then through words spoken about the past year and what has gone on --- He made me realize that what has happened in the past year - was such a differnet experience for each of us going through it... It was like it wasn't even the same experience! God made it clear just how different each viewpoint was. People who were praised, I felt needed to be chastised. What was the beginning of the end for me -- they made clear was the beginning for them and what they were most excietd about. What I fought tooth and nail against - is the very thing they cherish the most. No right or wrong - simply different viewpoints for differnet passions & paths. Different things were shown to us from the Spirit.
It was enough for me to feel released finally --- but God went even further to make sure I heard loud and clear. Pastor Chris said simply -- if God is asking you to do something -- DO IT. Immediately and fearlessly. Pastor Chris went against the flow of the stream he was in in New York to come down here... and now it's our time to do the same.
Yes it will be hard to not gather where everybody gathers on that 1 day a week - especially knowing how social I am - but those who are our true friends we will still see! And quite frankly we can't do both. We can't be fence sitters anymore. We can't support something we clearly don't believe in... even if we support the people. I truly relate to the passage where Jesus teaches about giving up even family for Him. I feel like I am having to give up/leave family -- but HE is so much more important!!!
Just because we might be the sole pioneers in our current group of friends on this new path doesn't mean it's wrong. It's wrong for them. I am soo sick of 2nd guessing the Spirit of God in me. I won't let that doubt creep in again. I knew what God was speaking into me a year ago when I met this group and wasn't afraid to passionately share it.... and that hasn't changed... the passion hasn't changed - but I did allow it to be quieted. BUT I believe all the visions He gave us even more wholeheartedly now and I know what God has shown me. I'm just so thankful I was able to keep my mouth shut throughout the past months! I really don't think God wanted me to leave in a blaze of glory :) Let them go where they are going. and let me go where I'm going. As much as I want those paths to be the same.. they aren't.
I can not pretend to be content going with the flow of this current anymore. Thank you God for delivering me -- my Deliverer! Thank you for the FREEDOM!!! Thank you for this shift.
God don't let me go back & forth. I pray the best for Crosswinds and its leaders and for them to not lose their zeal and passion for the path they are on. I pray for the relationships there and for God to increase their love and commitment to each other and honor for each other.
I pray that God will give us boldness and courage. That He will turn my eyes away from others even those that will turn their back on us ... and that He will put my eyes on to Him alone. Help us GO God. Help us truly BE the change we want to see. Help us not be normal! Help us take this leap and take steps to truly living out how to BE your Church!
God let YOUR work be down. Help us not rely on any man made efforts or institutions: but instead let us trust in your Spirit!!
just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless Ephesians 5:25
Our role isn't striving/effort! but instead submission to allow Him to work!
God I am okay with being a faceless nameless part of the Body and letting YOU get all glory. I am okay with being a humble servant willing to do the "small" in our daily lives and not just trying with my own efforts for BIG BIG BIG. I know many times what we see as BIG... you see as small. You know our hearts God - what's truly going on in our hearts and not these outside happenings. What we see as small - you sometimes see as HUGE!
God for some reason I'm not blown away by what others are excited about. I used to be - when I was a business student and was all sold out for marketing... but at Southside you showed me that you didn't want me to apply my marketing skills to your Church. Numbers and money don't get me fired up... what is happening in hearts & behind the scenes is what gets me fired up. What is happening in relationships and community? What's the relational foundation that is being built on? What changes are you making in people's lives during the week? How are people being empowered and how is power being diffused amongst the Body? How are gifts being encouraged?
Just because there are numbers & money doesn't mean you wanted it done the way it was done. Without relational accountability & intimacy from the first core group and on - the Church will continue to hurt others without reconciliation -leaving just as many battered and bruised on the side of the road as the parade marches on -- as are brought in and introduced to God. We are not meant to operate outside of community and intimate relationships. We are saved individually by you --- but then we are brought into a faith that is not an individual faith. and that doesn't mean trying to have intimacy with strangers once a week.
What gets me fired up? YOU. The Gospel. Chains being broken. Outcasts being loved on and brought "in". The Power of the Spirit. Relationships! Intimacy with you and others! Your Body! Forgiveness. Humility. Zeal. Paradigm Shifts. Passion. The LIVING water that's never stagnant! Knowing that discipleship and growing doesn't need a PROGRAM to happen --- discipleship is simply a mix of the Holy Spirit and community -- just like Jesus did. Disciples were made by living in community with Jesus. 12 to go start a movement that would change history. No programs, no formal classes, no marketing .... LIFE together and the Spirit.
Praying together, proclaiming the gospel together, teaching of the Word together, helping those in need together, observing the Lord's supper together - the purposes of the Church. Fellowship occuring in all.
Give us wings as we leap God!
I Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?