Going to Church

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Going to Church

Copyright © April 2011 by Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

Well, I guess it was inevitable. Soon enough we would leave again. Some are going to say it was God’s way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Maybe that is true to an extent. Maybe the chaff is people being removed. Then again, maybe it is God’s way of removing the chaff in our own lives.

Going to Church should not be just a routine we go through. Neither should we take lightly the church with whom we fellowship. It is important that we have a safe haven in our church environment. Church should be a shelter from the storms that rage outside its walls. I don’t refer to literal walls. I mean the protective walls of other believing Christians; people who have our back when we are in the battle.

Hopefully, the pastor of your church is someone you can trust. You can place intimate secrets in his hands and know that you will be dealt fairly. If others in the church are contradicting the character of Christ, violating other members, or damaging you, the pastor will be the one correcting the nasty situation. If he sweeps it under the rug he’s not doing his job. If he makes the victim the bad person, re-victimizing him or her, he fails his calling, at least at that point. He fails your trust. His place in your life has become seriously flawed. Repairing that damage is possibly as difficult as putting a marriage back together that is on the precipice of divorce.

So, again, I guess it was inevitable. Sooner or later we would be on the outside looking in. We’ve been there before. In the thirty-two years that my wife and I have been married, we have been in and out of Charismatic Faith Assembly (11 years), Harvest Christian Fellowship (5 years under one pastor), Mercy Seat (2 years), Harvest again (2 years under another pastor), and Eagles Nest Church (8 years). That’s five churches in 32 years including a few years on our own. We learned a lot and were blessed in many ways in all those churches.

It is easy to think the problem is with us when we have to leave. Somehow the victim always internalizes the pain and starts questioning themselves. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should just get along better. Play nice. Be quiet. Go along to get along. Accept the standards even though you think there is a problem. Compromise your convictions for the sake of the whole.

So again, maybe this was inevitable. Sooner or later we would realize that maintaining our convictions meant we were at odds with someone else’s. It meant that there were irreconcilable differences, and there had to be a parting of ways like Paul and Barnabus.

Sooner or later we would have to make up our minds as to whom we would serve. “Choose this day whom you will serve: Yahweh or Baal.” Christ or Belial. God or Mammon. Our convictions about the truth or our desire and need for the comfort of friends. Sooner or later we would find the camp grounds were getting uncomfortable because we were being pushed further away from the fire. The comfort was not nearly so heartwarming. The friendship seemed to have a questioning glance in its eye. It was getting cold, and night time was closing in.

We are not the first people on the outer edges of the camp who have heard the voice of the LORD saying “It’s time to move”. Abraham is the original pilgrim having left his family and homeland in search of a better place. His descendents, the Hebrew nation, were comfortable in Egypt for 400+ years until God removed the comfort zone. Then they wandered the deserts as nomads for 40+ years. After settling in “Canaan’s fair and happy land” they grew complacent, and the LORD chastened them in the Babylonian Captivity.

After the exile and return, there was yet another 400+ years of trouble even though the people were dwelling in their land. Messiah Jesus came and was misunderstood by His own people. Then in 70AD came the final destruction and dispersion of the seed of Abraham amongst the nations. Paul says their return to the Lord will be life from the dead and fullness of blessing to the whole world (Romans 11:12 & 15). Apparently God has a purpose in all of that dispersion that will ultimately bring good to the whole human race!

In the New Testament, we are reminded more than once that we should not get to comfortable, because God may want to move us to new ground, to other territories. We, like Abraham, are strangers and pilgrims passing through. The persecution that raged against the first church in Jerusalem drove them out into the whole world with the Gospel. We are called at times to suffer with Christ outside the gate. We are even beckoned to “Come out of Babylon” if that is where we are.

I’m not implying that the churches we have been associated with are or were Babylon. I am merely recording the fact that Scripture makes much about the concepts of coming and going. We should not think it strange if God unsettles us and tells us to move. Our purpose for being where we were (whoever we are) is over now, and it is time to follow the cloud. There will be a new encampment. We ought not think it strange that our bed has become uncomfortable. It is just time to get up and go to work. The fields are white and ready for harvest, and we are required in the field. Like the “colt, the foal of an ass”, “the Lord hath need of thee” bringing in the King.

While we are on this earth we have no certain dwelling place. Get used to it. It’s the way it always will be for God’s people. The American church may soon find this out when we start holding church in the gulags and insane asylums. If it can happen in Russia and China and Cuba, it can happen here. If we are so complacent that we find ourselves on the spiritual welfare rolls, maybe we should expect God to shake out the rug to get us moving.

So, again! Maybe this was inevitable. I am sure it was! Sooner or later God was going to move us on. It doesn’t mean the Churches we left were bad churches, or the people or pastors are bad people. It also does not mean that we are bad people. It does mean God has further ministry for us in a new location. The shaking up and shaking out brings forth seed for the sower and grain for the eater. God has a purpose in our dispersion just as He did with Israel and with the early church. It is part of the fullness of blessing and “life from the dead” for the whole human race.


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at dje@newedisongazette.com.


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