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  • I'm going (back) to Church

    Ten years ago this June I talked to the Lord, and He permitted me to stop going to Church. Deciding to start attending again is not a decision that came lightly. I imagine most of you will not think this to be a very big accomplishment, I'm counting on that. I'd like to hear from those of you who are regular Church attenders. No doubt that I've developed some thoughts that are useful and not so useful when it comes to parishioner-hood. So, I'd like to hear different thoughts.

    About 13-14 years ago, I had a conversation with a friend. The topic was, "What would Church be like if the people who attended were only the ones who really wanted to be there?" The other side of the argument (his) was that we need a certain level of feeling religious obligation, otherwise we may have a difficult time keeping the Church open. He might say that is an oversimplification of his position.

    My wife and I have chosen a nice little Lutheran Church. We already know a few people who attend there, so we've joined them on occasion. I would greatly appreciate your prayers, and be able to bounce some more thoughts off you all as I go.

    In Christ,
    Kevin

    The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

  • #2
    Hey Kevin,

    I read your discussion on this on the KJVO thread. This is a big accomplishment for you and I realize that. I'm glad to see you partaking in a local fellowship. I understand people's desires and reasons to stay away, but I don't think that's the right approach. I have prayed for you and would be glad to do so more.

    For five years I tried starting a Calvary Chapel where I live because there isn't one that is local to this area in which I have moved. My attempt never grew beyond a very small home Bible study. For a while my wife and I traveled for long distances (1-1/2 hours or more) to stay in Calvary Chapels. However, with the continuing rise of gas prices, in 2005 we decided to find something closer. We became members of a church 20 miles from us (which in farm land is 20 minutes) that is very close in all our theological views - identical in most points.

    I gather with local saints not looking for what I can get out of it. I've been a Christian for 22 years. I've read the Old Testament 20 + times. The New Testament 40+ times. However, each of us has gifts Jesus has given us to use for others. I see that as my primary reason. I have a responsibility to help those along who are newer to the faith than I. It is more blessed to give than receive. I hope and pray you find the same joy in giving back to local people some of what Jesus has given you.

    Grace & peace to you, Kevin.

    Joe

    In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

    Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

    If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post

      I gather with local saints not looking for what I can get out of it. I've been a Christian for 22 years. I've read the Old Testament 20 + times. The New Testament 40+ times. However, each of us has gifts Jesus has given us to use for others. I see that as my primary reason. I have a responsibility to help those along who are newer to the faith than I. It is more blessed to give than receive. I hope and pray you find the same joy in giving back to local people some of what Jesus has given you.

      Aloha, from the sunny tropics, Joe!

      Thanks for your response. I would never turn down an offer for prayer. And, I would want to encourage any believer to spend more time in God's presence, even if it's about me. Humbling as that may feel.

      Hope you don't mind if I respond to your response with a question. When you read that I received permission from God to stop attending church, where did your mind go with that? Did you hear me say that God gave me permission to abandon my faith? Because that would be apostasy, and heresy. I don't want to set myself up by saying that such sins are beyond me or anyone, but that wasn't where I was coming from. I hope! I'm willing to be wrong. Please say so if you believe that.

      "that which is not done in faith, is sin." I think that's in Rom 14. I attended church because I assumed that that was what I was suppose to do. If you love the Lord, you must attend a local church. That was it. Just because that's what Christians do. As time went on, I found that "Sunday morning guilt" was more the motive that pushed me to continue attending church. I didn't imagine that that was very pleasing to the Lord.

      I felt moved to find out for myself if the Lord was "out there" as well as "in here". A passage that spoke to me was when the Lord told Isiah that he was wrong to think that all the prophets had been killed, and now he was the next target. In fact, God had many more believers that Isiah never knew about, and He would reveal them as he went. And, on a less spiritual note, I just wanted to stop working so hard. "If the Lord has set you free, you are free indeed!" was just completely missing me. I agree with you that we need to offer the gifts that the Spirit has given us. But, if there doesn't seem to be room for the gifts you have to offer, then demanding they be received does not open the door for living in peace. There had to be more!

      Kevin

      The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

      Comment


      • #4
        You gotta go where God can teach/train you if only to poke your nose in to see what's going on.

        Sometimes its a big church, lots of fun and a feeling a part of something.

        Sometimes a home fellowship easier to be yourself and you don't get lost in the sauce.

        Sometimes taking a break to figure some things out and find a new direction.

        It's a man's personal walk with his very personal God.


        (Elijah not Isaiah by the way 1Kings 19:18)
        Christianity is a leap of faith, not the abandonment of logic.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am guessing that by "stop going to church" you mean attending a formal service?
          I would be interested in hearing what you did in place of...?

          I am a member of a small Lutheran Church that sits on a hill next to a berry farm ten miles from the nearest small town.
          I had tried a few other churches and for whatever reason never made any sort of bond or connection. Mostly I think it felt like most were there just to be going through the motions. I honestly think I had no idea what I expected to get out of going to church, but I did know it was not so I could pin a label on my lapel saying, "Look I go to church every Sunday"

          Your post made me ask myself just why do I go to church every Sunday now. My Pastor has also become my friend and has helped me through some very difficult times. It was after meeting with him for several weeks that he baptized my daughter and myself on Pentecost (his idea which I thought was way cool) But that is not the reason. The people of the congregation are real and humble folk who have also been so very supportive in time of need. Although I have few if any relations with any of them outside of the church. So that is not the reason. My daughter and I stand up as Lector regularly, we serve as greeters along with my wife. My wife and daughter both sing in the choir. My wife and I are both on the church council, but those are not the reasons I go to church every Sunday.
          Matter of fact when I take a look at myself now and the role I have in my church, I can almost see someone who is just going through the motions, or at least how that may appear to someone.
          Since my becoming a member of this church there was a period where my attendance starting becoming sporadic and I noticed things starting to change in my life, and not for the better.
          The answer I came up with is that it is a place where I go to be with my Father. The give thanks and praise, to confess and pray. It is a sanctuary for me, safe from the world where I feel complete comfort in worshiping the way the spirit leads me to. I also think its all the things I mentioned earlier that let me feel this way. I don't really feel that I do all that much as far as works for the Lord there, but for me, not being very much a social creature, I hope I am making myself available to do so. It is also very uplifting to be with others who I know have the same feelings as I do and believe as I do, and that are genuinely happy to see me there to worship and pray with them.
          Sorry to have carried on so but I must really thank you for the opportunity you provided me.

          Peace and Prayers

          Comment


          • #6
            I attended "church" regularly for years and then I didn't for years.

            I never really felt comfortable in church, but thought it was a commandment so I went. When I started reading the bible, way back when, I realized that it wasn't.

            Regarding "church" the New Testament says, "Do not forsake assembling yourselves together."

            If you find a church that builds you up, ect. that's great, go to church I say.
            If you are uncomfortable in church, either stay home and read the bible or look for a different one.

            WE are the church, so fellowshipping with other believers is going to "church," not going into a particular building.

            Jesus said "where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I Am, in their midst." So just two people can break bread together and share a cup of wine, doing this as the Lord said, "in remembrance of Me" and be in the Lord's presence. Nice!
            Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held it's ground.
            ********************************************
            MAY WE IN EVIL'S HOUR, TRUTH'S SWORD WITH BOLDNESS WIELD

            Comment


            • #7
              May take time...

              Just wanna add to what others have posted here that it is good to give this new church plenty of time. We moved and settled in the city (after country living and traveling for several years) last year and so have been in our new church only about 15 months. It is never easy getting to know folks. It takes time. Getting into a small group has helped since our congregation is very large with four weekend services. Hopefully this will work well for both of you and you won't get discouraged. Praying for that for you.

              In Christ,

              owl
              "The flowers appear on the earth,
              the time of singing has come,
              and the voice of the turtledove
              is heard in our land
              ." SofS 2:12 (RSV)

              Comment


              • #8
                Church is ment to be a place and time to worship, to grow, to be encouraged, to be convicted, and if it is none of thoes things then why would you go?
                My little church once went through a very tough transition, we lost our bible preaching pastor and were sent a temp. who wasn't even a Christian. Talk about trying to find water in the desert. It shook the church big time. we had people leave just because they wernt getting fed anymore. And trust me i thought about it myself. But my whole family kept going. WHY? Because we didn't want Satan to close down our church. We didn't know how long the temp would be there or even when we got a pastor if that one would be a Christian but we stayed to encourage our brothers and sisters through the dry time. Sometimes you need to think of not just what you can get out of it but what you can put into it.

                Oh and to finish the story, the temp went away we got a missionary/gospel preaching pastor and our church has grown and become so much better than even before. Praise God!
                sigpic
                "Be still and know that i am God" Psalm 46:10a

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                  For five years I tried starting a Calvary Chapel where I live because there isn't one that is local to this area in which I have moved. My attempt never grew beyond a very small home Bible study.
                  Joe,
                  One quick question. What happened to the small home Bible study?

                  Kevin

                  The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Back in church

                    It is always good to hear someone is back in church. I agree with others that it is giving back what God has given us and sharing His love with them that truly makes it worthwhile to attend a local fellowship.
                    I have been blessed to find a new church and feel as much 'at home' there as in the church I attended for the first 40+ years of my life. I have wonderful friends and our pastor preaches messages that challenge me and others to be more for Christ than just 'bench warmers'. I have been on vacation for about 3 weeks and it feels so good to be back in my own church on Sunday!!

                    g
                    "Gripped in the Hand of God"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 1of7000 View Post
                      You gotta go where God can teach/train you if only to poke your nose in to see what's going on.

                      Sometimes its a big church, lots of fun and a feeling a part of something.

                      Sometimes a home fellowship easier to be yourself and you don't get lost in the sauce.

                      Sometimes taking a break to figure some things out and find a new direction.

                      It's a man's personal walk with his very personal God.


                      (Elijah not Isaiah by the way 1Kings 19:18)
                      Thanks for your words, 1. I'm glad you caught the Elijah reference. I was just testing you.

                      I read your post and started humming the song "In every thing, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn." Do you think it is surprising for most Christians to hear that the Lord can also be found outside of church? I can't help but get the feeling that Christendom in general believes there is only room for a season of growth.

                      Dude

                      The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There have been so may good posts, I wish I typed faster than my hunt-and-peck style would allow. But, let me try to address what I think I hear many of you saying.

                        Yes! We are going to give this church and ourselves plenty of time to get use to each other. Point well taken. We were in no rush to attend a church, and we aren't going to be in any rush to 'see results', what ever that would look like. The desire to see results always sounded a bit too demanding, IMO.

                        Some of you have said or suggested that you fell on hard times spiritually as a result of not attending church, or not having a good church to attend with a good spiritual leader. Are you saying that these hard times were not good and only served to strengthen your conviction that you cannot make it without being a part of a church congregation? That's what it sounds like you are saying. If I'm riding your wave, that concerns me.

                        Dude

                        The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Still in One Peace View Post
                          Church is meant to be a place and time to worship, to grow, to be encouraged, to be convicted, and if it is none of those things then why would you go?
                          Yup! Why would you want to go? Positive pier pressure is still pressure, even though we call it positive. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give. Not halfheartedly in response to pressure. When you have something to give that no one is asking you for, what then? Know anyone who might feel that way in your church?
                          Last edited by Scubadude; May 29th 2008, 01:07 AM.

                          The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TexasBeliever View Post

                            Jesus said "where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I Am, in their midst." So just two people can break bread together and share a cup of wine, doing this as the Lord said, "in remembrance of Me" and be in the Lord's presence. Nice!

                            Nice!!


                            In the absence of all other voices, opinions, demands, manipulations, church boards, and frightened believers, my wife and I keep coming back to what you said. Our strength is in the Lord.

                            And, I'll bet that where only one is gathered in His name, He is there in your midst, too.

                            The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by evrgreenjhawk View Post
                              I am guessing that by "stop going to church" you mean attending a formal service?
                              I would be interested in hearing what you did in place of...?
                              Partially. I also meant that I stopped spending any energy trying to answer the question, "What does it mean to be a good Christian?" It's akin to the question, "How can I improve my Christian witness?" I don't think they're good questions.

                              When you say "In place of...?" I'm assuming you mean what did I do with the extra time I had on my hands? How did I fill in the gap of lack of Christian input?

                              BTW: Even though you say that all those things you and your family do at church aren't your reasons for attending church, they are really the reasons you are attending church. Wright? I think they are beautiful reasons.

                              The Antichrist will be taught and raised by the christian church. He will come from your own, not from the "outsiders". "Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ."

                              Comment

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