Sunday, May 23, 2010

So long.. farewell... auf wiedersehen... adieu

My heart fell, and I cannot fathom why. This evening, my son came home from his church extremely early.  Before eight o'clock tonight, he was home. I, of course, immediately jumped to conclusions and wondered what was wrong. "Ain't nuttin' wrong. Bro. Mark only preached for about 30 minutes" my son tried to reassure me. Only 30 minutes? No way. This was a pentecostal type church. No preacher ever preaches for under 30 minutes, then of course you've got to have the traditional "slain in the spirit" stuff. Only 30 minutes? Hogwash. I was then told that the preacher has stopped 'preaching' for a while, and has started 'teaching'. The attendance has dropped off considerably, and there's not much life going on anymore. For some reason, this news hurt. To drive the knife in a little deeper, I was told that the attendance started dropping off when the last of the live music left.
Great. Now I feel like I was partly responsible for the demise of this congregation. Of course that was silly thinking. One, if a church is only held together because of the musicians, then that's a sorry reason for it being held together. What happened to all the other members? Who was I to wonder? I, too, left that church eons ago. Too many conflicting doctrines coming from the pulpit. None of them assured me of my salvation. None of them pointed me towards the New Covenant, or explained the difference between the Old and New Covenant. No, it was time for me to leave back when I left. Traveling down memory lane, I know God led me in the direction that I took, and it was His wisdom that directed my path. There was no mistaking that God was in control of my scattered, torn, troubled life. He led me to His rest. He led me to His truth. In order to do that, I had to be away from everything familiar and comfortable.

Now what? Now that God has taught me for years--is it time to go back into 'battle'? Is it time to start visiting the local congregations again? It was suggested that other people might have learned the truth as well, and were led elsewhere. I suppose it's possible. For a congregation that could seat 500, there were seldom more than 20 people there on any given night service, and plenty of leg room during the Sunday service. Learning this was as if my best friend had died. Why? The church I knew and loved was really no longer there. The elders have since passed on, the children that were in my church groups were now parents themselves, and some almost grandparents. Still, it was like a part of my past had died.

Might I visit there again on Sunday nights, to see how things are? Could it be time for the Gospel teaching to come in? Would God send someone to share truth with them? Would it be someone they would listen to? I don't know. This I do know, though. God loves my old church--the people within. Jesus died for their sins as well. They, too, have been reconciled by the death of Jesus. How much more, then, will they be saved by His life? I've no clue what the future holds, I just know Who holds the future.  The One Who holds the future loves everyone, and He'll see to it that the Gospel message is preached to those ready to receive it. We're just that important to Him.

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