Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

 "Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."  Psalms 51:7

Amid a life of many transitions, I rejoice that Jesus, my Lord and Savior never changes. Nor does His Word.

One of those transitions for me recently has been searching for a home church.  Anyone who has experienced this may know that it is not an easy process.  Especially in this day and age when many churches have dramatically changed the manner in which they worship the Lord.

I am having quite the struggle with some churches who seem to have become more like the secular world.  In Romans 12, Paul tells us "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think."  

Some may call me old fashioned and I don't mind if they do. I don't think I should be entertained when I go to worship the Lord.  And I desire a time of reverence and quiet reflection to confess my sins - on my knees, if possible. Following one service I attended recently, I came home, lit a candle and read my Bible to have a quiet time with God. There was just no time at the service to do so.  Not that I am saying worship services should be completely quiet! 

The balance of joyfulness and reflection seemed to be off at this particular church and in others I have visited. I have asked myself, are some churches seemingly becoming like the world to reach people for Christ?  If so, is He, Himself, the living Christ, not sufficient?  Did he not warn us not to do this?  In the book of Matthew, Jesus said "You are the world's seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavor what will happen to the world?"

There's always been some differences among bodies of Christian believers - how they want to worship and what they believe.  I respect those differences.  Therefore, we do have a number of denominations across the United States. The various interpretations of the Holy Scriptures seems to have been a contributing factor.  But the basic truths of God's Word still remained a common thread.

However, during the last three or four decades, that thread is weakening. Some Christian churches have went through extreme change -not only in the way they worship the Lord but in their doctrine. Some are turning from the truth of God's Word and bringing worldly ways into their sanctuaries. This brings great sadness to my soul and concern for the future of the chruch.  And thus, I struggle to find my spot.  Where does God want me?

Sometimes I wish I could walk into a country church along the prairie in the 1800's where the Old, Old Story is being told including some reference to that word.  That word that seems to be missing in many churches today. Sin. Yes, that word that is mentioned in the Scripture many times over.  I asked some Sunday School children about sin recently and they did not know what it meant.  That was an eye-opener.   

It is true that God hates sin. People never have liked to hear about it and still don't, me included. So, in order to keep people filling the churches, could it be that some pastors and leaders are choosing not to mention it much? It appears we all want to feel good, have an uplifting worship service, experience the wonderful love of God and fellowship with one another.  

That is all well and good but does not cover all the bases.  Now days, it takes a very brave pastor to preach about what they used to call "hell and brimstone."  But if your pastor does, it is because He loves and cares for his sheep as Christ cares for you.  Rejoice!!!

If you really think about the core of Christianity -if we had never sinned there would be no Christian faith.  Yes, God is a God of love but He is also a God of justice and guidance.

  As I reflect upon the Ten Commandments, each is related to a sin that God warns us not to do.  Why?  Because He loves us.  He wants our lives to reflect His guidance and for us to experience abundant life only He can provide. 

Ultimately, He knew we would fail and sin.  Sinful people cannot have eternal life. But God loved us so much He made a way for us to become holy (or without sin) so we can enter heaven and live forever.  Thank you Father!

He sent Jesus to earth as a man. Jesus taught people about love but He also made it plain that all of us are sinners. He spoke about true repentance, telling us how we could be born again. How struggling with sin would be a never ending battle while on earth and to expect it. But, assuring us that He would be here  to help us through the power of the Holy Spirit and we could be forgiven when we sin.

But we have to do our part. We have to believe Jesus died for our sins, and accept Him as our personal Savior. To repent and confess our sins and to accept His merciful forgiveness. And we have to be willing to change our sinful habits and live as Christ would want us to for we have been made clean through the blood of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. It is that plain and that simple.

I started to read and study the book of Acts in my quest for a body of believers that are Bibilcally solid and where I can serve and worship the Lord.  It has really been a blessing.

I am reading about how they often met in small groups in homes, took communion together and were filled with the Holy Spirit. I am learning about the boldness the apostles had when they shared the message of Christ.  It took courage. Stephen was remarkable.(Acts 7) He told it like it was. And he died for it.  As I reflected about his experience I had to ask myself, would I be willing to die for the sake of Christ and the Gospel?  Would you? 

Where can I serve the Lord with the gifts He has given me?  Where can I worship Him in a way that is respectful, reverent, honorable and gives me the opportunity to lift my hands in praise but also kneel to confess my sins?

God knows and I am trusting Him to show me:-)

Blessing to you, thank you for visiting my blog.:-)

How about you, do you have a home church? 
        How do you worship the Lord?


Terri Tiffany said...

When we moved to Texas a few months back we had to start that search again for a church,
"I don't think I should be entertained when I go to worship the Lord."
This is exactly how we feel and yet so many are in the business of entertaining and not worshiping. We have been fortunate though, by the fifth church, we found a home. Traditional, loving people who only want to hear God's word. There are still those churches out there and I pray you find one soon!

Melissa Marsh said...

I'm very concerned about the direction the church is taking, too. They don't want to deal with the reality of Christianity - that there is sin and there is a penalty for it. I pray you find a church home soon, Mom - God has one in mind!

Carole said...

Terri - I so appreciate your comment - sometimes I feel like I am the only one out here who feels this way. Thank you so much for your prayers.
Melissa - Thanks for your prayers as well and for reading my blog today:-) I need to find a church very similar to the one you attend in Lincoln.