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June 17, 2007

Assembling Of Ourselves Together

"I have come to believe that I need to search out true Biblical likemindedness ó and that has all to do with Jesus and with gospel essentials. If I am separating over choir robes or three point sermons or music styles or what the pastor wears or whether one uses humor or not, then I have put these things before Jesus. I love my preferences more than I love His people.

"Is it hard to find a church home? I can tell you that it is a struggle that I absolutely despise. I am being forced to repent daily. The only thing that is keeping me going in this struggle, in this literal heartbreak, is my family. On my own, I am sorry to confess, I would simply tell God that His command not to forsake the assembling together, and all His instructions about how Christians are to minister to one another, and His commission to us to make disciples ó well, I would tell Him that this is all simply too much for me to bear. It is beyond me. It is a burden I cannot carry.

"But if I love Him, I will obey Him. And I will love His Body. Whether or not they wear choir robes. Even if they sing songs I donít like. Even if they conduct church services that arenít my personal cup of tea. Even if they disagree with me over the Lordís Supper. Even if they donít share my pet doctrines or practices. In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity. I am beginning to see the wisdom in that. Finally. But it is such a hard, difficult lesson.

"I can call myself a perfectionist curmudgeonette, but thatís simply a humorous way of saying that Iím lacking in love.

--Rebecca, who muses

Because of the value we see God places on the local church body, at various times we have been part of a church planting team, we've driven 2 hours one way each Sunday, we've submitted to guidance from local elders--and we've struggled to even make it to church.

What I've quoted above cuts to my heart and exposes it, and I find it oddly comforting. So much struggle, more than I could imagine. "On my own, I am sorry to confess, I would simply tell God that His command not to forsake the assembling together. . . I would tell Him that this is all simply too much for me to bear."

Now it seems as if the Lord has provided for us a local church body with which to worship, a pastor who proclaims the Gospel in the preaching of the Word--and even share my preferences in a way that doesn't distract me from worship. Yet, I am still struggling.

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Comments

Hi friend - thanks for the honest wrestling with this and for sharing Rebecca's thoughts. It always amazes me that God has chosen the local church to be one of the primary places where He works - it all seems so broken, so often (probably because we're so broken, so often). I'm glad He's given you a place where you're beginning to feel comfortable, even if it is still hard. That's reality... but it sounds like you're in a good place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Miss you!

Posted by: Laura at June 19, 2007 11:07 AM

Hi, I think I've seen you in blogging circles before, but not sure where. Anyway, I ended up here because of a flyer on 10 reasons to breastfeed from the NYC health department from the early 1900s.
Anyway, I don't know your background with regard to your struggles,but meditate on John 4:20-24.
God's grace to you,
Renata

Posted by: Renata at June 19, 2007 10:29 PM

This is one that I have been thinking about for a long time. For me, I covet the company of my brothers and sisters and the experience of corporate worship too much to live long without church. But lately I have had to, and now I am so grateful that I have found a place to worship that offers me most of what I am looking for in the church.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 19, 2007 10:42 PM

This quote echoes my own heart. Thanks for sharing. I too find it "oddly comforting." Thanks for the encouragement to love.

Posted by: Lisa writes... at June 20, 2007 02:29 PM

This really, really hits home. We have been part of a church plant for the past 3 years, and it has been the greatest joy and over the past year a great struggle for various reasons. We are in the process of moving, so in some ways the struggle will no longer be ours personally, while on the other hand it will remain ours because our brothers and sisters in Christ will still be here. It takes constant vigilance to maintain unity and not become bitter when things are not going the way you'd like them to, or think that they should. Constant.Vigilance.

Posted by: Rebekah at June 20, 2007 10:01 PM

Thank you for posting this. Just knowing that other people struggle with the same thing makes the struggle more bearable. Maybe we're never supposed to feel fully "at home" because there is a Heavenly home where all will be settled...
Still, doesn't the heart ache for a place where it isn't so easily distracted?...

Posted by: Carole at June 23, 2007 09:55 PM

You might want to check out the article that I posted on my blog today: http://lifeacademy.homeschooljournal.net/2007/06/29/detoxing-from-church/

Sometimes we need to detox from church.

Posted by: lesa at June 29, 2007 09:39 PM

I am truly amazed at the number of responses to such a hot subject in such a time as this. I too, feel that it was just me, the constant struggle to know that we're missing something or rather we've deviated so far from the purpose of what "Church" was intended for that it seems void. I am searching for a church home as we speak. It's a decision one must make, whether you get the unadulterated word of God from a bible base church or you get entertainment with leaders possessing an enormous amount of charisma that your addicted to, however, the word is hit and miss. Pray for us on this journey. As mentioned before, we're strangers passing through.

Posted by: Shamika at August 21, 2007 01:44 PM


 
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