Different Does Not Equal Bad

28 Jul

Back in the Spring we stopped attending a church we’d been at for many years. It wasn’t intentional at first, just a hodgepodge of events and illnesses that kept us away.  There were already some things going on in the church that we were uncertain about, but when we were gone for so long and only 3 people took the time to contact us to check on us and tell us we were missed (none of them being anyone in a leadership position), we decided maybe it was time to go elsewhere.  To us it was obvious the people we thought were friends were just being friendly all that time. 

I didn’t feel led to break away from our church, but I didn’t exactly get warm fuzzies at the thought of going back.  
There was a non-denominational church not too far away that had always intrigued me. I did some research and liked what I found.  The church has significant community involvement and is much larger with two youth groups (jr/sr high are split).  There are 2 Sunday morning services plus live streaming online, and a true Bible study/group discussion on Wednesday nights (plus dinner).  An added bonus is that the youth meetings are on the weekend so the kids aren’t missing the main services but still get the youth interaction they need. And they’re both decently sized youth groups.  Did I mention that?  An even extra bonus – the church runs a coffee shop and sells used books.
From the beginning my goal throughout this has been to be obedient to God.  I want His will for my life, for our life as a family. I want to follow where He leads. 

Since we started attending the new church, I’ve been struggling with whether this is the right church for us. I’ve been trying to focus on the “I likes” and not the “I dislikes” but, of course, I’m human and they creep in. My two biggest dislikes so far are the music and the preaching. I know church isn’t about the music, but I’m realizing how big of a role music makes in my own worship and by not knowing the music I find myself frequently distracted from my worship. Probably not the right way to be, but I’m trying.

I love the pastor’s teaching method on Wednesday night. He does a short breakdown discussion (we’re working on parables right now) and then we break up into little groups at our tables and discuss some follow-up questions based on the scriptures we studied. My struggle is where this method crosses over to Sunday mornings. From what I’ve experienced so far, he teaches, not preaches. I’ve been telling myself it isn’t bad, it’s just different. I think it’s wonderful that there are still pastors willing to give practical, apply this to your life Bible based, bullet point teachings; it’s just not what I’m used to coming from almost 8 years of Pentecostal style sermons. And so I keep reminding myself: different does not equal bad. Different is just different, and I just need to give myself time to adjust to the difference.

I know God has a plan for me, a vision for my life and how it will be used for His glory. I’m receptive to that plan and I don’t want to be held back by my own fear, something I’m extraordinarily good at doing.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7, NASB)

All day long yesterday I debated this issue with myself as I thought about how to best make this make sense blogged. I certainly didn’t want to come off as negative when I’m really just uncertain.  I thought maybe this time it’s not about me. Maybe it’s about what my boys need.  The Lord knows I’ve certainly been praying for them often enough this year.  (Side note: The next Warrior Prayers session starts in September. Go sign up!)  Either way, it’s still about being open and receptive and following where I’m led. 
However, it had been a long day and I was tired and not feeling very social.  As a last minute decision, I drug myself away from the computer and off to church. I admit – I only went b/c I wanted to know what parable we would be breaking down this week.   During dinner, I found out we had a guest speaker.  I sighed.  I typically dislike guest speakers and by then I was really doubting whether I should have even gone.  Had I known in advance we had a guest speaker, I’d have stayed home.  But then I’d have missed a wonderful message and an awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I’d also have missed receiving the confirmation that we are in the right place for this season of our life. There are people we need to meet, things we need to learn,   and growth that is needed to take us to the next level in our relationships with Him.  As I basked in the presence of the Holy Spirit, tears streaming down my face as I felt just how much He loves me, I was so thankful that obedience won out over flesh, and that different does not equal bad. Sometimes different can be a very good thing.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Faith



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