I'm all for belonging to a church or fellowship, wherever God leads, and that's the key. "Where God leads..." I'm going to get honest right now so buckle your seat belts as they say, it may be a bumpy ride. Please don't email me any sermons on the importance of church attendance. I know them all and I totally agree. So hopefully you'll just listen to what I'm saying without feeling the need to lecture me, fair enough?
I've been to a lot of churches in my time for one reason or another. I'm not here to discuss them all, I could write a book about all my experiences...good and bad. My point today is to be doing what God is calling you to at this time. I want to be about God's "business", and my prayer is to do what He asks; where and when. Right now, even though I'm totally open and agreeable to be in a church fellowship, we just have not been led to be there. Many reasons why. I'm not fooling myself on this subject.
Having said all that, these passages in Luke 4 hold a lot of insight and "mystery" for me concerning this subject.
Luke 4:1 "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan (after being baptized) and was led by the Spirit in(to) the desert... and Luke 4:14 "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit..."
Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us in a time of separation. That may mean many things, but it's different with different people. Maybe God is calling us apart for preparation, for emotional healing, for physical reasons, or just to rest and be with Him. The thing I've learned over the years is not to say "Well, God just doesn't DO that". (in my best "Church Lady" voice) Judging how God works in our lives and the lives of others is a no no. God works with people in various ways, many times it's contrary to "popular opinion". So I've learned to "zip it". If I have a question about someone's experience I try to take it to the Lord for clarification instead.
I don't want to lose sight of the point of this post and that is the scripture from Luke. Jesus was "filled with the Spirit" after his baptism, and was led out for a time of separation, but when He returned He came back in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. Time apart, listening to God alone, can result in being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So if God has you in a time of "separation" or you feel like you're in the wilderness, don't let the devil have a field day making you feel guilty. Isn't that funny, the devil doesn't want us in church, but if God is doing something "different" with us, then the enemy will use "guilt" instead. Just be with God every day. Ask for His leading and guidance. Ask for His plan to become clear and savor every moment you have with Him. Because we never know when things will change in life. Who knows... things might change tomorrow.
love in Jesus,
Debra, I understand this very well. Joe and I were not in a church fellowship for quite a while and in fact had never really been fully active in a church before now. We joined , as members, our church about three weeks ago. We are committed and involved and after prayer feel so joyful about this. Neither of us have ever "joined" a church before so it was a big step for us. It is easy to feel guilty but as you said that is not what God wants for us when we are in the decision and looking process. ♥OReplyDelete
you will get no argument from me, sister. i have tried toReplyDelete
follow the Lord in constant fellowship for 40 years. there
are certainly seasons to 'come apart.' i pray that this time
will be sweet and satisfying for you.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. As one's who chooses at this time to be obedient and NOT become part of the fellowships in our area, my husband and I are also out of a church at this time. We no longer tell people that we're in between churches - but instead tell them that we'd rather BE the church than simply attend one of the church buildings in our area. We don't blame God for the paths that these rural churches are taking, and we don't accept blame or condemnation when church-going Christians point their fingers at us. We simply rest in being obedient and in serving Jesus with our whole hearts every moment of every day, where ever our feet land.ReplyDelete
Great blog my friend!!
Sending my prayers- I feel blessed to have found your blog :) Peace be with you~ReplyDelete
I have never joined a church in my life and I'm 58. In fact, I only attended church a little bit as a child. In the 90's, I started wanting to get close to the Lord and I have done so slowly over the years. I have been to a few churches in the last 10 years but I stopped going after a few months. I desire to go yet I don't. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because of it, and your post makes me realize that I need to stop it! I don't know what church I am meant to be in but I pray the time will come when I do. Your post and the comments make me realize that I'm not the only one in this boat even folks who have attended church regularly stop going sometimes. The scripture makes me realize that I am in a time of separation and I know that He is definitely showing me some things!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this post!
Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
Blessings and prayers,
Debra, so happy I found this blog too! Very wise you are in trying to find God's way and not the culture's way which often times gets mistaken for what God wants. Enjoyed very much reading this!!ReplyDelete
What a sweet, sincere post. Be at peace where God has you right now. I have found that sometimes we grow even deeper in Him during our time apart...and sometimes we need to do that to be our best spiritual selves because healing takes time. I have so much to share on this subject that I have written a book about my experience. It should be on Amazon in the next few weeks. I have waited 6 years to share it because I needed healing first.
Hugs to you,
My husband and I have not attended a, 'regular' church in several years and we are the happiest we have ever been. We currently belong to a, 'House of Prayer'. There is no, 'traditional' sermon. We model ourselves after the Kansas City IHOP. We both have learned so much and grown closer to the Lord now that we have left the social club atmosphere most churches seem to have these days. Our HOP does not have a childrens' program, singles' program or small group network. We do not have a, 'church growth' plan nor do we wish to be a 'mega' church. We number at about 10 of us, on a good night (with most of us on stage singing or playing an instrument), and welcome newcomers with open arms.ReplyDelete
I get it when people say they are taking a break from organized church which at times seems to have more issues than people, 'in the world' so-to-speak. Staying connected with Christian brothers and sisters does not necessarily always mean going to formal church. Inviting people over for a cup of tea or a meal can be a rewarding time of fellowship and blogs can be a ministry. Your sweet spirit pours out of your blogs and I appreciate that. Sometimes the love of God can be found in the most odd places and in unexpected ways and does not always involve formal church. I'll be praying for your clarification to come and to be recognized when you see it.
Blessings to you and your family.
p.s. I hope what I wrote came out as encouraging as it sounded in my head!ReplyDelete
I appreciate that you shared this! I've recently been in my own "desert" experience, and feel that I'm growing through it. I don't know where God is leading, only that He is leading. Bless you!ReplyDelete
Debra, I haven't been to our church since June. I have Lupus so I just don't feel like getting up and going out on Sunday if I don't have to, but yet I will go to early estate sales on Saturday even if I am really sick. The difference is that I go in my slouchy clothes with no make-up and then I go right home and relax. Getting up and getting the family for church is a big ordeal, showers, breakfast, ironing clothes, then 2 hours sitting in a pew, standing for singing, etc. It just wears me out and I would rather sit and watch Charles Stanley. Yet I feel this guilt for not going. Its a battle. The guilt isn't from the Holy Spirit, its more of feeling like I should go because its what I am supposed to do and stressing over the witness is is to others if I don't go. I will be honest, I just don't want to, I enjoy slow Sundays.ReplyDelete
Debra, I am so glad I found your blog today, it was just what I needed. My husband and I have been going through this desert now for over a year. The church we had been attending broke apart and we just needed time to recoup. People keep telling us we need to get back in a church, and we have recently started to look for a church family again. It is sad that every church we have tried the people are not very welcoming. It was refreshing to find your words of encouragement. Thank you.ReplyDelete