I’m sure part of the problem was me. As in any relationship, it’s never really the “fault” of one side or the other. Maybe I didn’t choose “right” at the start- maybe I didn’t know myself, maybe I simply outgrew what I had, maybe I just told myself that this was the way it was supposed to be and that’s why I never went looking for a better “fit. ” Things got stale, I kept going through the motions until I began pulling back a bit, then a bit more- rationalizing, making excuses, telling myself it was just a phase..until I completely disconnected… then we moved..and then, in His timing, the good Lord led me outside of my comfort zone to a home for my heart and soul. I’m in love again..I really am.
I’m in love with our new church.
We had been “church shopping” since we moved to Charlotte and we of course went back to what we knew..older, more traditional with “contemporary” services built in. It felt recognizable, and I thought that was probably good enough.
Then one Sunday we walked to a brand new place I discovered near our home. Honestly, I thought it was a nursing home it was so far off the street I never paid much attention to it. It’s non denominational, much bigger than we’re used to, much younger, much more stage stuff, much more of everything I thought I wasn’t interested in. I was totally ready to not like it, I was ready to pass judgement.
What’s the magic here? It’s not just the energy coming from the younger people, although it is. It’s not just the FANTASTIC music, although it is that too…It’s the relevance of the messages. When Charlotte convulsed with racial tension a few months back, the pastor took the topic right to the pulpit…ditto with the whole gender neutral bathroom saga and other touchy issues such as the country’s division over the election-and then how we should handle the results. This man is fearless when it comes to tackling tough stuff, and you know what? I love it! I’m tired of the PC fog that surrounds so many of the issues of our time. I want a clear message from my church- I want a pastor who puts today’s problems into biblical and eternal, context. I don’t go to church to have my feelings and opinions affirmed, I go to hear what God says about life -I’m a big girl, I can handle it.
This church is ACTIVE in the community- reaching out in relevant ways that have an immediate impact. There have been three sessions since the riots bringing the citizens together with law enforcement to discuss and start solving the complex problems between them; hundreds of people showed up each time. This church has a global reach as well. This past Sunday our guest pastor was from Cairo and he discussed how the Christian church was growing in Egypt amongst a people who are so completely trapped in darkness. It was fascinating, challenging, hopeful..and relevant.
This church exudes God’s love. We are so hard on ourselves..really. And while this pastor challenges us to live up to the example Jesus set, he also smothers his message with reminders of God’s grace. I don’t even know how to explain it, but there is tremendous hope in our heavenly father’s willingness to forgive us.
I had no idea I could ever feel this way about going to church..
I can’t wait for Sundays!
I’m in love again.