Here are some outtakes from our last family dinner before my parents move to Tennessee. Our family is getting so big!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I said I was going to post more about the new church we've been attending soon and since I have a few minutes today is the day!
This has been a very difficult journey for me. I grew up in a non-denominational church. The church grew and evolved over the years but I sat under leadership that desired relationship with the Lord more than anything else. I stepped away from that church when I was older to try and find my own footing in the Lord. It was a time of rebellion in my life where I really needed to find the Lord for myself and not just because my parents believed a certain way so therefore I would as well.
By the time I came back to the Lord my parents were involved in a house church with several other couples. There was a very real hunger for something real among everyone and a genuine desire to grow in the Lord. The housechurch was a place of great spiritual growth for me. Because there wasn't many of us we all had to contribute and be a part of the meeting. We were able to ask questions during the teaching time and were also challenged to share our own thoughts or understanding of things. My parents led the housechurch and I have never learned so much from my mom and dad as I have within the last four years of my life.
With their imminent move to Tennessee we decided the time had come for those of us left at the house church to seek new places of worship. It has been such a frustrating time for me. I really wanted to plug into a place that was desperately hungry for the Lord's moving in their midst. A place with annointed worship, real people and leadership open to the Lord's moving more than anyone elses. After weeks of trying different non-denominational churches and coming away very disappointed I did an online search and came across a church with this particular passage as part of their mission statement, "We are a different kind of Church! Our Sunday morning service is a unique blend of traditional hymns with contemporary worship music, believing that people of all ages and preferences have an important place in the church. Matthew 13:52 states, "every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old." We believe in the priesthood of all true believers in Jesus Christ. Therefore we encourage members of the congregation to share what God, led by the Holy Spirit, has put upon their hearts during the morning service. This inspires a flexable, dynamic service where the Holy Spirit can speak from whoever He chooses. We are a church that believes in all the spiritual gifts and hope to be able to use them all for the building up of the body.".
I got choked up with tears and felt a sense of excitement well up in me! I had been praying during this whole search that the Lord would lead me to the right church. Even if it was full of only old people I wanted to be there if they had the real thing and were on fire for God! I truly didn't want to go into any place and stay unless it was a place I was going to be challenged and encouraged to grow.
My parents had offered to attend churches with me and our kids so that they could help with childcare whenever needed and also be a sounding board for me. We went for the first time back in November I believe and I've pretty much been going there ever since. The people were as warm and welcoming as I remember our old Fellowship church being. The pastor is one of the most approachable people I have ever met in his position. He has a true pastoring spirit. The awesome thing is that he believes other members of the body have the gift of teaching and so he encourages these men to be the ones giving the messages on Sundays whenever they have a word to share. The worship time is awesome! There is definitely an annointing on the worship there and many times it has turned into spontaneous songs from different members of the congregation. Love that! Oh! Did I mention that about 70-80% of the church membership is in their late 60s or older! I have connected immediately with several of the women from the church and am hoping to have those relationships grow as time passes.
We are getting ready to bid my parents goodbye in a few, short weeks and these wonderful ladies continue to offer me support and encouragement. I am so grateful for finding this place. My parents have been coming with me all this time and they too have been blessed and in turn blessed others in the body. It feels like they (the church) are on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough into more freedom in their body and I hope to be part of it. I'm just thankful that for now this seems to be the place the Lord is planting me and the kids. Hopefully there will be more to share down the road!