I've attended the same small close knit church for 30 years. I was a young single mom when I first started attending this small fellowship that started out meeting in a home. Here I learned the practical walking out of the gospel and was mentored by several different families and sometimes by those even younger but more mature than I was. As a young Christian the Lord drew me to this group who loved me and my young son unconditionally. I knew I was at the place God wanted me to be and I was content because I had found a family who not only loved me but who loved God and served Him with their whole hearts.
This past week I attended the funeral for the wife of one couple that was so instrumental in the early days of my Christian walk. It fills me with sadness on one hand to see these men and women who gave so much of their time and energy and wisdom to a group of us that so needed their help pass on. But then I remember how much rejoicing must be going on in heaven today as loved ones are reunited and for the first time in a long time are feeling no pain. You may be gone Bud and Ruth and Bud and June but your memory lives on in our hearts. And we are eternally grateful for your giving of yourself to a younger generation that included myself.
Today, I am no longer attending that small fellowship as over time what we started out as has changed into something unrecognizable. Sometimes in the process of growth, we forget the Lord is the head of the House and I believe when that happens the Lord just steps back and waits. Why? Maybe to see how long we can continue on without Him? Maybe to bring us back to a place of simplicity. Back to where we first started at. Because when I first started this walk, I knew how desperately I needed Him in my life. How desperately I needed His love and mercy and forgiveness and mostly how desperately I needed His Presence with me. And I knew how important it was to surround myself with brothers and sisters who would love me even when I messed up and who would always be there for me but who would also love me enough to hold me accountable to changing those things in me that were displeasing to the Lord. What was different about me in the early days of my walk with the Lord? I was desperate.
This morning as I sat in a new church I was thinking how I have now come full circle. Am I happy about it? No, but I have matured over the years enough to realize God will begin to cause us to become discontent with our life when we begin to put other things ahead of making Him the Head of all things. That includes our personal lives and our church life both. Sometimes God brings us back full circle and it is for our own good. I feel like for the past several weeks and months I have drifted. Drifted from one church to another trying to find something elusive. Feeling like I never really fit in. Like I was missing something. I believe God was allowing me to come once again to the place I was at 30 years ago. To a place where I allowed myself to wait upon Him and allow Him to lead me where He wanted me to go. To once again become desperate.
This morning I realized what coming full circle really means. God is bringing me back to what I once had. Bringing me back to the simplicity of the gospel. It's not about the place you worship in. It's not how big or how many people attend there. It's not the kind of music you play. It's not about the denomination you attend. It's not about how wonderful a youth program you can build. It's not about things. And too many times we forget that.
It is all about having a relationship with the Creator of the universe on a personal level. It is all about walking out that relationship with others who want more than anything else to serve a living God. It is about love. About loving one another and loving the lost and the hurting just as our Heavenly Father loves. It is about realizing time is short, the harvest is ready and the workers are few. It is about praying Thy Kingdom Come , Thy will be done.....
Remember the first Bible verse you ever memorized? Mine was "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
Oh, to get back to the simplicity of the gospel. I'm on a journey and that's where I'm headed!