As a Pastor, I confess that the church can be very different, weird, if one does not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Holly and I went to several different church services as visitors for the past few weeks and we tried to place ourselves in the shoes of someone off the street with no knowledge of Jesus Christ or the church. What we found caused us to walk away frightened by the fact that God wants us to be a part of the church and worse yet for me to Pastor a church.
We walk in off the street and were meet by secret-service at the door forcefully encouraging us to drop our children off in some classes. What for? Are they going to re-educate my kids or worse brainwash my kids? We go to a child processing place with computers and are asked to fill out triplicate information on my kids to receive our labels to place on the back of my kids for these classes. They split them up and then told us to deliver them to these three, unknown, all different, classes; however, one was full and we were told to go back to the child processing place and find another class–We decided to take our youngest with us rather than go back to have our youngest reprocessed. We arrived late to the service because of the child re-education class directions of rights and lefts and were ushered to the front of the church because there were no seats in the back during the time the pastor was telling us all the great things you can be a part. Holly was mortified as everyone watched us escorted by the secret service to the front. I felt like saying there was no room in the back because you all are sitting there. You must know something I don’t and it must be that your pastor has a huge spitting problem. It was like Sea World where the first four rows are the wet zone. So there we were escorted to the wet zone with our 10 month old on display. People were singing songs to Jesus and during that emotionally charged time we felt God. Raising hands by the people during singing reminded me somewhat of a Metallica concert I went to, except they were holding lighters or cell phones. Our daughter fell asleep on our lap while the pastor spoke, as did a band member sitting behind the teaching pastor. The Pastor shared some real stories and opened the Bible. After the service, I waited with my sleeping daughter while everyone ran out leaving us with the crickets. My wife went to get the kids while I waited in the empty sanctuary. We walked outside and saw a line of cars moving out of the parking lot like they were giving away free gas right after a hurricane. We got in our car and drove away.
Statistics tell us that 7 out of 10 people do not go to church on the weekend and after visiting 5 different churches in 5 weeks I can see why. I am sure everyone has their own stories about the church.
No matter how great of a communicator I think I am, I have so much to learn. Just last night I told my wife I cleaned the garage and that her craft stuff had reclaimed all I had cleaned. She told me that the garage was never that clean and that we need to clean it. So, I repeated to her that I had cleaned it and that her craft crap had reclaimed it, only louder this time. Well, then all her defense mechanisms went up, like Megatron of the Transformers and the battle over the garage is on. All this while I am sitting up in my attic putting our seasonal stuff away. But before the battle between the autobot and the decepticon got started, she told me she was not talking to me and then went into the house.
I was angry, right, and ready to get peace after we fought. The problem was if peace was the goal and the end all was to love my wife, then being right really didn’t matter. I was ready to jump down through the attic into the house and win. Just as I was ready to take action the Holy Spirit ceased my soul and stopped me cold in my tracks. Do you love your wife? Of course I do, but first I want to win. Does God want to win with me? NO! The mental ping pong was started to annoy me and I went straight to the Bible, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church.” My prayer then became, God change me so that I will love my wife, and I give her fully to you. As I went inside, I noticed that she had transformed back to my beautiful wife as she told me that she was trying so hard to get settled and she recognized all my hard work. I think the transformation that took place was not her as much as me and the way I see her. She is my wife, the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend, confidant and the mother to our children and not an argument to win.
Well, well, well. God has given us a new home; not one we would have chosen ourselves, mind you, but a home nonetheless. We were totally set on moving to Lake Mary to start this church, but after 5 unsuccessful bids we began to wonder. “Something” just kept pulling us toward the Dr. Philips area of Orlando. Andrew found this one house, I cried when he said he wanted to put a bid on it. We started looking at a few other homes in the nearby area and then stumbled on the one we purchased. We signed the papers and closed within 10 days. It all happened so fast. I guess that is how God works sometimes.
When God called Saul to wait for Samuel to sacrifice, Saul grew impatient and jumped into a decission that led to his rejection as king of Israel. I (Andrew) feel God has called us to wait for Him in this process of beginning a church, a movement of Christ. After reading some of the story of Bill and Vonette Bright, we are encouraged that God is going to reveal His supernatural power. I am waiting for the Big Bang, or the still small voice.
You know when your five and you go out to the ocean and the waves are too big and the current is too strong? That was today. Getting pounded by the waves and pulled by the ocean without any firm footing; Prov 3:5-6 is the only thing we can stand on right now. No peace about where to relocte, lots of great churches in the area, beginning to question God’s purpose and God’s call on our lives. Please keep praying…..
wow! we looked at so many home today; at least 30! We found a new area we like, up in the historic distric of Sanford ~ we both like old homes and something near water (its hard to give up being so close to the Ocean ~not that we were that close back in WPB). The only sad part is that we will be quite far from our friends Brent and Chris. Now they just need to move north! 🙂 The frustration part is that now there is a new area we like; so do we forget about it and stay in Lake Mary, or do we move there? Ahhhh….. too many choices. I wish God would just say “move ____________”. But where would the risk be in that? As John Piper says; we take risks because God can’t.” There is a lot of comfort in that. Please keep praying!
Well, we drove around Orlando for HOURS! We drove by 18 homes and only realy liked two of them; however, Andrew is not sure if they are in the area he wants to start the church in. So…. tomorrow we are going to go more up north to look at some more homes. I have to be honest, this is a bit frustrating. I wish God could just tell Andrew where in Orlando He wants us to live and then I could find the “perfect” house for us in that area. For now, I am just trusting God and picking out my favorite house in each area and praying it is still there when we are all done with the “looking” at all the different areas. Please keep praying for us; we both so desparately want to be in the very house God has planned out for us.