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
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
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