Hebrews 10: 24 Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, 25 not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.26 If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice 27 and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be
I once read a book entitled, “Finding Jesus.” It seems the author, a non-Christian, went on a year’s journey visiting churches of all kinds all over this country. As you can imagine the book was very entertaining as he described his experiences. The friendliest of people, and the lack thereof; music so loud that he could not hear himself think, and so quite he took a few naps; ornate decor to the simple with everything in between were all subject matter of his book. In my own travels in the last three years, I have too experienced many different things in churches.
Yet, the more each church is different, the more it is the same in some ways. There has been the traditional, the modern, the out there, the way out there, the light and the dark. Many times I grow weary but force myself to continue the search for the place God would have me to be. Just when I find the place I think that is, something always seems to go berserk in one way or the other. I remain open-minded and expectant as much as possible, but some Sundays it is hard to find the strength to do that.
As I sat beside my son on Mother’s Day in a church service, my mind wandered to the book I had read of one’s man quest to find Jesus in the church. I had gotten up early, rushed to eat breakfast, gotten dressed, driven twenty minutes, and arrived on time. I had been directed to parking by attendants wearing safety vests in the huge parking lot. I was greeted at the sidewalk, at the door, and at the sanctuary doors. I had walked through a huge crowd and past tables with signs in the foyer saying, “Bake Sale, Silent Auction.” Inside the doors men with flashlights asked if they could help me find someone. It was pitch black dark. I could see nothing. I went back out into the hallway and thankfully found my son who led me into our seats.
The music was jumping. The lights were strobing. The crowd was visible only as shadows swaying. After the music, a few dim lights came on…YES! it was time for the preacher to present the message. Just then the pastor came on a screen and said, “Good Morning.” At first, I thought it was a prerecorded sermon, but turns out it was streaming live from another “campus.” I then thought to myself, “I could have watched a TV sermon from my couch at home without even getting dressed.”
The text - Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ironically it seemed to me, this message came to the big screen live stream preached by a preacher wearing blue jeans with holes, a red plaid lined jean jacket (sleeves rolled ¾ length to show the lining), and a black t-shirt with a huge gold cross necklace, all topped off with spiked hair on his fifty-something year old head. The main point that stuck with me for obvious reasons was, “Get your Word from the Word.” I thought, “I shall.”
The downside to this experience is now down in the books. The upside to this experience for one thing was I got to sit beside my son in a church service on Mother’s Day. One day I know I will grow weary of traveling and searching for something near to what I once had in my church that is no more. Then again I may find something completely different in the place God wants me to be.
And what exactly is it that I am looking for? Jesus has got to be there. In God’s house, His Son is always home. Even in the darkest place, I know He can shine. Even where the people are going ten thousand miles to the left of what He had in mind for His church to be, He can still be there drawing all men unto Himself.
What do I plan to do now? The Word God gave me Sunday through His Word was to search His Word and read about what God intends the church to be like. I believe I should read and study, then pray for God to lead me to the place that is as near to that as I can find. Even in the darkness, God speaks. I know because He spoke to me.