When I logged onto Facebook this morning, I found myself scrolling down the friends of a friend…..people we used to attend a local church with.
It stirred up this feeling of being on the outside looking in….
I felt like a little boy standing outside a store window @ Christmas time, with my nose pressed against the glass, watching people shop.
If you sense a hint of bitterness toward that church (small c) or the people in it, you would be wrong. I’m not.
What I was (and still am) turned off by, is the spiritual climate, the spiritual apathy, served there on a week to week basis….
“There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware there is in there ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.
I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed.” It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table….”
It all started in 1998 my wife asked me a few harmless questions (or so I thought)…
“Where have you felt the most refreshed spiritually?
”Think of the times when you were most encouraged spiritually? “
I remember saying things like…
“At that lay ministry weekend retreat back in 1981.”
”Not always but on occasion in a small group get together.”
“That “body life service “we used to attend in New Jersey @ Gilgal.”
“Sometimes AFTER church when we are hanging around catching up with Leslie, or Lance, or Thomas…..”
Then we tried to identify what was it about those times that made them stand out?
Having a genuine sense of connectedness both to people and to God.
Masks were down.
people really listening to where each other was at.
God’s word was talked about as it practically applied in our current situation.
Then she asked: “How can we get more of that in our lives?”
and the rest is history
At this point, we are part of a small house church.
As much as I miss those people we used to attend church (small c) with, I would never go back.
I have no idea who might @ some point read this…but just so you know….
I’ve spent years…literally years in three different local churches thinking we could/ should ”reform” them from the inside out.
Finally came to the realization that the pastor and leadership in a local church casts a long, long shadow spiritually.
I only have one life to live… Do I spend it settling for second best just so I have lots of friends or is there a point where I ”take the road less traveled”?
If you get a chance, pick up a copy of John Fischer’s Dark Horse.