This is a little long, but I need to get it out of my head.
So, we went to a different church this morning than our church we normally attend. This came about because we (Joe and I) have been having some issues with the right choice for us, for our family and we both think we are right. Imagine that huh, two sinners who think they knwo what's best.
We got into an argument this morning, when he asked why I didn't want to go back to this 'other church'. My first answer was, I don't want to discuss this right now because it always ends up in a fight and the conversation goes the same way every time. I should have left it alone this morning. Our conversation went nowhere, just like every other time we have it. I get loud and Joe doesn't and I was actually compared to the devil today.
In the end I gave in, gave up and we ended up going to this 'other church'. I don't want to go into all the details because I'm not really sure how to explain myself, but I really believe this is not the right place for myself, our children or our family. My salvation is important to me, as well as the salvation of my family and the thought of attending this other church scares me. In my opinion this church is not completely Biblical.
Joe did ask me what changed my mind about going and all I could say was I don't know. I think I was praying that something dramatic would happen that would make me sure of my feelings and be a lightbulb moment for him. We haven't attend this 'other church' for about 2 years, so I was interested to see if it was the same as I remembered.
The first thing I noticed was there were no Bibles in the pews. I thought odd, but I had brought mine along, so I figured I was ok. Then I looked around and saw that no one else seemed to have a Bible with them, again odd to me. This is maybe nitpicky on my part, but if your church is going to teach the Word of God, wouldn't it be appropriate to have Bibles available.
The second thing I noticed, one of the readings was not even out of the Bible. And when the readings were being read, the book of the Bible was referenced but the actual scripture verses was not. So, I had a hard time even finding the exact verses to follow along.
The gospel verses were read and I thought finally a great choice of scripture for a sermon. The verses were...
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
I'm thinking we are going to hear a sermon on putting Christ first and desiring Him more than anything else, even our family. And that being a Christ-follower may mean hrd times and rejection. I though great a sermon to reinforce what I was trying to get across this morning, but could not.
But instead, the preacher gets up to give his sermon and the first thing he says is..."there are more people here than I was expecting. I didn't prepare a very long sermon, thinking there wouldn't be many here." I thought, there can still be substance in a short sermon. I was wrong in this case.
He briefly mentioned the verses that had just been read and not in any important context of following Jesus is hard and not everyone will always be happy with you. It seemed out of context to me. And he tried to tie in an issue he had with another preacher who was older and making a big stink of about doing things a certain way and said something to the affect of this older priest was just being stubborn and was sinning with his tongue as he was totally bashing the guy from the pulpit.
He then moved on and 75-80% of his sermon was on how much he likes the tv show Glee and that you should watch it because it is fun, but also shows how the world is now. He referenced disabilities, homosexuality and bullying. Not that I don't think we should be aware of the times we live in or what is going on in the world, but I think as believers we need to strive to be Christ-like and not of this world. And I thought the pulpit was not the place at all for a tv endorsement. I want to be fed the Word of God when I go to service.
The whole experience seemed odd and unfulfilling to me. I really tried to go into it with an open mind, but left feeling sick to my stomach and more sure that this 'other church' is not for our family.
The one good take-away, I did need to hear the Luke scripture from above today. It was/is a great reminder that following Jesus is hard, but that I need to keep doing what's right in Christ's eyes. I can't look for the easy way out. I won't always be comfortable. After all if I could do it all on my own and if it was easy, Christ would not have had to die on the Cross for my sins.
This has also reminded me that I need to share my testimony (I'm thinking another post later this week) and to be more open about sharing the Gospel especially with my family and friends. The thought of hell scares me and I sure wouldn't want someone I love to end up there.
I was reading in Matthew this morning also and was reminded of a few other great pieces of God's Word.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Both reinforce my current feelings, following Christ is hard. And it is not what we do, but our relationship with Him. We need to know Him for Him to know us!
Somewhat related note, Perry Noble has been doing a wonderful series over the last few weeks. Take some time and listen to his sermons. He always blows me away. Click here and you will go to the page were you can listen or watch all them.