Lesson learned...maybe not.

Again, thank you all for your comments on my lonely post, they were so encouraging and helpful. Carrie's questions about the purpose of church really got me thinking and while I still don't know how I would answer them, I do know it has to be more than just a place to sit on Sunday morning to listen to a sermon. I could do that on my couch in my jammies.

I think what I learned most from writing that post and thinking about it and the comments was that, for better or for worse, I am still emotionally attached to "the old church." At to be honest, whether we go back there or not, I agree with Rachel that is has been for the better. Would I rather have gone to that church for three years and only a little more than a year later, feel no attachment to it and the people that had meant so much to me? That may have been easier, but not better. The idea of church, at it's core, has to do with relationships. You can't take the relationship part out of it and be left with anything like what the bible describes the church:

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Acts 2:42 - They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.


Acts 2: 46-47
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I see a few purposes for the church listed there - encouragement, instruction, worship, and accountability and breaking bread together. And for any of those to happen, with the possible exception of instruction, there has to be relationships. A potluck with one person is really just a pan of brownies and that is not healthy.

Now it isn't just relationships. I want to be encouraged toward love and good deeds but if my fellow Christians are "encouraging" my unbiblical behavior, I'm not gaining much. And if I am being instructed in lies, again, not really a big help.

Part of the trouble I had moving on from "t.o.c" came not from the events that lead to the initial decision but instead the feeling that I had been forced to leave (or more accurately, not go back) because of them.

And it was that way of thinking that had me feeling bitter. That's was a big problem - I do not go to a church or not go to a church because of any man. I go because of God. And when it becomes a matter of following God's lead, there is no reason for me to be bitter. I could justify being bitter about someone forcing me out of my church, I can't justify being bitter about God wanting me to be used somewhere else.

And I can't be unloving to the people of God. No matter what building they go to on Sunday morning, they are a part of God's church. And God loves His Church. Jesus loved them so much that he laid down his life for His church so I don't think he will take kindly to me not loving them.

1 John 4:19-20
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

Yep, I was right. He's not a fan of that. After praying and pondering and praying some more, I asked God to help me forgive. And he did, I no longer have that bitterness.

I will confess, I kinda thought that since I had learned the lesson God wanted me to learn, he would instantaneous make it easier for us to find a church home. I feel ridiculous admitting that, but I did. Saturday night, I was like, "Okay, God, now I know what the problem was and why this has been so difficult and we talked about it, you fixed it so now you can just show us your path, make it nice and clear." That didn't quite happen.

In the last few weeks, I've have also learned that I am way emotional about it and so I'm backing off and letting Craig make some of the decisions about what places to check out and keep considering and I know that we will find someplace eventually.

And to be honest, as uncomfortable as church shopping can be, I have gotten something out of every single service we have been too. At least one phrase has popped out at me from each sermon and really convicted me, and that is unusual for me. So, while I wouldn't recommend spending 10 weeks find a church, you can't put limitations on how God work in your life.

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