Learning To See It For What It Is

I am often struck by how many people I know who have a bad taste in their mouth about Christians and the church. How sad. I used to wonder how so many people could be missing out on the great blessings that come with church membership. After all I was there ALL THE TIME. In addition to regular Sunday worship we were involved in children’s ministry, small groups, VBS planning, prayer meetings, missions lunches, and any other event that happened to pop up on the church schedule. There was so much involvement within the church we hardly had time to involve ourselves outside the church. The tragic part is that we didn’t really mind. It was convenient for my husband and I to show up on Sunday and clock in. We were proving to ourselves and our friends that we were good people, which at the time was very important to us. Plus it allowed us to be connected with people who thought just like us while preventing us from having to deal with people who were not lat all like us (incidentally, I am ashamed to admit that this was also important to me).  At that time I would have told you that I could be content to maintaining that easy, cheesy spiritual existence forever. 


That said, I was none the wiser until my husband and I had some serious real world problems come up that shook our little insulated church existence. I talked a little bit about this in a previous post so I’m not going to go into it. But we did realize through the experience that, despite our frequent church attendance, we were spiritually bankrupt. We had been so busy “doing church” that we missed God. Then I realized, this is it. This is what people are taking about when they told me they didn’t see any value in attending church. I was finally seeing for what it is. How sad indeed.


As my husband and I began to work through our stuff we started to really examine our relationships with each other and with God. After a while we began to improve our relationship and started to connect spiritually in ways we had never experienced before. As our faith grew our miracle of reconciliation grew too (Matthew 9:29). After a while we made the difficult decision to look for a new church. One where we would be able to continue our spiritual growth with people who were NOT like us/ In fact we wanted to be with people who were as screwed up as we now realized we were. We wanted a place were people understood that they didn’t have it all together, where we didn’t have to pretend we had it all together, and where people longed to bring new members into the group…new members who also didn’t have it together. 


When we started to look for a new church we had a lot of long talks about what we were really looking for. What we new we wanted is perfectly described in Matthew 10: 5 – 27. When Jesus sent out the twelve he commanded them to: seek out lost sheep, proclaim the message, heal the sick, raise the dead (spiritually or otherwise), cleanse the unclean, take action against evil, act fearlessly in faith, and take rest within the relationships that they develop. That is what we wanted! We wanted to make our home with others who believed in looking out rather than looking in. We needed to connect with others interested in developing deep relationships, relationships that we could count on when we needed an extra tunic. Most importantly a we wanted to find a place where the truths that are whispered by the still small voice of our Father are proclaimed from the rooftops…as in outside, where other people can hear.


So, here’s a quick shout out. If you are looking for Matthew 10 kind of place in the Detroit area check out The Woods (http://www.wwnazarene.org/). We’re glad to call it home. 


As a closing thought, I was really called into account reading Matthew 9:37 “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” There is a lot to harvest both within and outside of our church walls and I feel compassionate about it. I realized in reading today’s scriptures and doing some self reflection in preparation for this post that the pendulum may have swung the other way. I was doing too much church stuff in the wrong place, but now I’m not really doing enough kingdom stuff at the right place. In other words, I think I’m being prepared to go into the harvest. Hmmm, should be interesting.



Filed under Bible, blog, christianity, church, faith, inspiration, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Learning To See It For What It Is

  1. Anonymous

    OK, apparently I’m posting on the wrong chapters and have somehow gotten behind. But I’ll get back on track tomorrow because I can’t not post about the centurion. The centurion recognizes and has faith in Jesus’ power because he is also a “man under authority” (Matt. 8:9). Notice he says “under” authority, not “in” or “of” or “with” authority. The centurion’s authority over his men doesn’t really originate with himself, it comes from his rank; he has authority not in himself but as a representative of Caesar, which is where the power is. He recognizes that Jesus is executing the same kind of authority in the spiritual realm with power flowing from the Father. Now if Caesar’s battle plan called for the centurion and his men to perform some function and the centurion had a different idea, did he get to change plans? Of course not. His authority was part and parcel of his obedience to his superiors’ orders. Similarly, we receive authority and power as we submit to the Father’s will. I get the spiritual authority to deal with the issues that are in front of me from God to the extent that I have offered the results to Him. This passage is one I come back to often to be reminded of the source of everything I need.
    Wednesday, May 6, 2009 – 09:16 PM

  2. Anonymous

    I can relate to some of the experiences Nicole has had. Growing up my father was a very spiritual man and we attended church and sunday school every week, as I grew into a teenager I still went to church every week taught sunday school and VBS, sang in the choir… Then as a young adult I came to the conclusion that I was “doing” church. I never lost my faith, I talked with people outside of church about my beliefs and we shared our perspectives but I didn’t feel the spirit.Once I realized this I looked at things more closely I attended a church that really hadn’t ever changed things up, we used the green hymnal every sunday (any Lutherans out there probably are familiar with the green hymal) and I got to the point I didn’t need to open it for the responses used during the worship service cause I had them memorized so did many around me. I decided I needed to change things up. My kids attended pre-school and early elementary grades a a Luthern school so we began attedning church there hoping for a more spiritual experience and using the excuse it was easier to attend the church connected with their school. I never really felt the spirit there either sometimes it felt like a whose a better christian contest, so eventually we stopped going altogether. Recently my brother invited us to attend The Woods with him I’m so glad we did. I”m happy to say I feel the spirit every service I’ve attended. Now my job is to help my kids find the spirit that I don’t believe they’ve ever been around. They have the belief in a God and Jesus and all the bible teachings that they’ve learned but never truely experienced the spirit and therefore a true Worship service. Certain choices were made by my husband and I that seemed like the best choices available concerning our children’s spiritual learning that has damaged their opinion of “church” and worship. I’m hoping through this study and my continued involvement I can help remold my children’s opinion’s so they can have the tools to grow their faith and I think God placed The Woods in my path to help. I am getting a lot from this study about strengthing my faith so it can be passed to others. Our everyday actions need to reflect God’s plans for us not our own and the most important places to start are with ourselves and in our homes.
    Thursday, May 7, 2009 – 01:51 PM

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