I am wondering how many people out there are like me and struggle with church?

Yea I said that and no I didn’t say I’m struggling with God because that is no where close to the truth.

In the last few weeks God has spoken to me a very familiar scripture in John 21:15-17 He asked Peter if He loved Him? Not once, not twice but three times?

I don’t know about you but the first time I would have been all full of myself and replied “Oh yea I love You” but by the third time He asked me I would be extremely uncomfortable.

I can’t imagine being asked that three times and by the Lord no less. He already knew the answer but HE was making a point that I believe is very appropiate to us today.

So, I will ask you what He is asking me? Do you love Him?

Being the deep thinker I am I have been pondering this and I find it amazing that after all this time I haven’t heard what Jesus was really trying to say to me.  It really isn’t a hard conclusion to draw.

Do we love Him?

Jesus didn’t ask him do you love my sheep, do you feel called to ministry, do you feel qualified or even motivated. He just simply ask him “do you love Me?”

So often we look to thrilling aspects of ministry and we forget the one thing that is the absolute greatest thing we could ever do. Love Jesus.

I know what you’re thinking… You say “I love Jesus” and I would say to you, really? Really and truly can you say that, would you say that to Him? Honestly I don’t think I can. Just keeping it real. If I loved Him wouldn’t others around me want to know what it is that is so different about me?

Examining your life would the proof be in the pudding so to speak?

It’s remarkable and really saddening how we tie what we “do” for God as proof of our “love” for God. Yet in the simplest things we fall miserably short of the mark.

I am preaching to choir so don’t think I’m picking on you exclusively. I don’t have any answer at this point. I find it maddening that as believers we have very little effect or affect on the world around us.

That’s not the case everywhere. I know there are some who are living out their faith and are maddeningly in love with Jesus. The sad thing is we tend to shy away from them and label them fanatics. Would to God I wore that label. Sadly enough I don’t and that is what is bothering me most.

If I loved Jesus as I say I do then I would be as Peter or John or Paul and lives would be changing.

I think that if we truly loved Jesus as we say we do, then all the war on the culture would be almost non existent. Simply because if the true light shines in darkness, darkness must flee. I think we hide it under a bushel far to often. Only letting it shine where we think it’s apropiate to do so.

Again, I’m preaching to the choir.

Case in point:

My husband and I are currently without a church home. We were going to a church that was over an hour away and it was nearly impossible to get involved the way we wanted to. So, we made the decision after much prayer to find a church closer to home where we could really connect.

Yesterday was our first attempt at visiting.

It was disappointing to say the least. Not only were the “saints” unfriendly, there was no prayer ever spoken. Oh the worship team was phenomenal (I would buy a CD if they had one) but they went straight from there to 20 minutes of announcements then finally he opened his computer (yep I said computer) to preach.

Some of you would say that’s no big deal really and I am being judgmental, maybe so.

Are we so consumed with our perfect worship, our perfect preaching, or awesome ministries to many genres within the church that there is no room to greet a stranger in our midst?

Am I the only one that finds this troubling? Troubling that we have turned so in house we can’t accept those out of the house?

Let me ask you a question? How can I really love my neighbor as myself if don’t even attempt to speak to them?

Are we so consumed inwardly we can’t extend the right hand of Christian fellowship to strangers in our midst?

We have church so finely tuned and everything so perfectly choreographed that we have forgotten the true meaning of the word. I just wonder if Jesus even comes to most churches anymore. He certainly wasn’t needed where I attended yesterday.

He wasn’t mentioned by name in worship or prayer. This is baffling to me because it is supposed to be His house and yet He’s never brought up.

I was really trying to pray through this entire experience and really examine my heart to see if it was me. Maybe I somehow missed Jesus in church that day. I don’t know I just think when His presence fills the room everyone knows He’s there.

When is the last time Jesus’ presence came and filled the room?

Oh we shouted and danced and hooped and hollered at Him, but we never really worshipped Him as He is. We were pumped about what He does. We never said I love You , I thank You! I need You because of who You are not what You do.

I don’t want to be misunderstood here as being needy because we aren’t but Jack nor I would be comfortable inviting a hurting or broken person there because honestly I don’t think they would have been accepted or loved. The bruised, the blind or the broken wouldn’t have fit there.

Maybe I’m being fanatical but isn’t church supposed to be about Him? Shouldn’t we at least give Him the courtesy of an invitation?

This is my point when Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him if He loved Him, He then went on to give him instructions on how to carry that out.

If you have read your bible you know that Peter went on to turn the known world upside down. So radical was the change that Peter and John and many others spread the good news of Christ throughout the entire world.

Yet, we “bible thumping, pew jumpers” won’t even extend the same to a stranger who came to us to be fed. This blows my mind. I wasn’t raised this way and it’s foreign to me.

How can I cry over starving children in third world countries and not even care that my neighbor is going to hell? I could have been they didn’t know.

So it bears repeating “Do I love Jesus or not?”

If I really love Him don’t you think the world around me would be different? It was for Peter, it was for John and Paul and so many others.

Are you comfortable with how your living out church? Are you satisfied knowing you are making a difference in the world around you? If you really are “Praise God” I am humbled by your genuine love of God.

If you are like me and are tired of church that doesn’t function correctly. I challenge you to join me in falling in love with Jesus all over again. Not in love with church or anything else “ministry” wise. I mean a radical falling in love with Jesus because in doing so you will love others and you will change the culture around you guaranteed.

You may suffer for it, but who isn’t willing to go to the end of the earth for those they love? Why not fall in love with Jesus and see what awesome things come of it.

He said to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. In doing so you will change not only those around you but yourself as well.

As always I’m hid with Christ!

Shawn

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Written by Patriot48

I am a wife in love with her man. A mom trying to love and raise my children for God. A daughter that is passionately pursuing my Heavenly Father! With Christ I'm hid (Col. 3:3) Shawn

11 comments

  1. I find it sad that we look to a church body comprised of sinners to be perfect in all aspects. I belong to and attend worship at a church body that is certainly imperfect but yet teaches the infallible, inspired truth of the Word. We read Scripture, we worship, we pray, we welcome, we call on the Lord, we serve–all imperfectly, but in a true desire to extend God’s grace underscored by His truth.

    There are a few aspects of this church I am uncertain about, and certainly there are people who attend who only do so out of obligation. But ever since the apostles formed the first church homes, the church has been made up of sinners. We will never find one that is a perfect embodiment of Jesus.

    That doesn’t mean we should avoid organized church. It means that we should search for one that walks most near the heart of the Lord as revealed through Scripture. And as we receive the gifts of love, grace, and mercy in Divine worship, we should pass those on to others and help transform the church from the inside out to be a better reflection of Christ to the hurting world.

    I pray you find a church home where you can receive the gifts of the Lord and continue to grow in your faith while reaching out with the saving grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I appreciate your vulnerability and insight. May the Lord exceedingly bless you as you encourage others to pursue an intimate walk with Him.

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    1. Thank you for the response. However please, please don’t misunderstand the point of my post. I am not looking for that “perfect church” it doesn’t exist this side of the fall. I’m not perfect by any means so if I were to find one I certainly wouldn’t fit in. My observation is from many years in church more of them on the leadership side than the member side. It is an interesting point of view to have. I’m not trying to pluck a thistle out of an eye either. The beam in my own is already driving me crazy. I don’t have the time nor inclination to pluck at others. I only used our experience Sunday morning as a basis for the thought I was in at the time of writing the post. I will say they were even unfriendly toward each other. Beside the point entirely. There is one thing I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on and that is the “church being filled with sinners” While I understand the terminology the literal truth is different according to the Word. In Christ we are a brand new creation old things pass away and all things are new. We have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light. Our life is dead and hidden with Christ in God. So it’s literally impossible to continue to carry the label of a sinner. Either Christ’s death and resurrection paid for all sin or it didn’t. Do we mess up?, absolutely, but to say I’m a sinner is to say that Christ wasn’t capable of fully paying the price and fully redeeming me. This is just one of the catch phrases we pick up in church. I believe it to be one of the reasons the church continues to falter and stumble. We continue to call ourselves by what we were instead of what we are and we continue to believe we are sick when in fact we belong to the Great Physician and have been made completely whole in Christ. I do understand what you are saying so don’t think I’m trying to correct you because I see your heart and I know exactly where you are coming from. My heart sis is to see the church, the bride of Christ function as she should and to do that we are going to have to fall out love with our own selves and fall in love with Him.

      Again thank you for the response it blessed my heart~

      I’m hid with Christ!
      Shawn

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      1. Dear Shawn,

        I didn’t mean to imply that you were giving up on the church. I’ve just seen/heard/experienced people who feel the church has nothing to offer and therefore there is no reason to participate in corporate worship, which I think is a mistake. I wanted to encourage those who were leaning in that direction.

        I love to study the nuances of church language and learn how to present truth and grace in a clearer manner, so I appreciate your insight in that. I will definitely be praying/studying more about using “sinner” versus “mistakes,” etc.

        However, I do believe we need to understand/recognize the depravity of our flesh and its seriousness to fully appreciate the incredible mercy and grace found in Jesus Christ. Christ did not come to throw out the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). We need not be afraid to speak the law as long as we reveal how it/we is/are covered by grace. That’s the hope and promise of the Cross.

        This is a refreshing dialogue. I appreciate your heart and desire to encourage others in their faith.

        Bless you.
        Julie

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      2. I agree and understand exactly where you are coming from. I was only pointing out that in Christ we are free from the law of sin and death. However most days I feel a ragamuffin at best, so I try to remember that my life is now dead and hidden in Christ with God. He showed me a vision of the cross one day and all my sins past present and future passing onto Him and it radically changed my view on how He now sees me. He sees us Holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight. It’s me who struggles with the sin that’s already paid for. It changes your perspective. I’m like you in studying church dynamics having been raised a preachers kid and having been in church leadership I tend to ponder more from the pulpit rather than the pew. So it was a different view I experienced Sunday to say the least. I think it starts at the top and works its way down to the pew. If we fall in love with Jesus everyone around either will join us or leave us!

        Love the dialogue as well.

        Thank you so much!

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      3. “I think it starts at the top and works its way down to the pew. If we fall in love with Jesus everyone around either will join us or leave us!” I agree Shawn.

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  2. I completely understand where you are coming from. I would encourage you to remember that within every church there are people who believe and are part of that obscure true body of Christ. We have to be careful not to judge every person by the whole. Many people want to go to church and many people like us are having a difficult time finding where to plug in that is real. But there is always a remnant within the whole. We may have to look for that remnant and plug into that. As I said in my post if “we” meaning all believers would fall in love with Jesus the problem of “church” would be solved. The sad truth is that even now the wheat is being divided from the tares and it breaks my heart at the broad spectrum of deceit rampant within the churches. So lets pray and intercede for Christ’s true church and fall in love with Him all over again in the process!

    Thank you for commenting.

    I’m hid with Christ!
    Shawn

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  3. My wife and I won’t go to a compromised Church, and that’s mostly what is out there. In our area we have found no church to go to after looking at about 100 of them closely. Only two of them read from the KJV, and all of them except the Adventist believe in the Pre-Trib. The real Church is the body of believers and the temple of God is us. These are the last days and most churches have been infiltrated and leavened by the world.

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  4. I feel for you, Shawn. We are having to go to a different church for the summer because our church doesn’t have Sunday School for this season and our younger kids can’t sit through a service. I feel disconnected and when I went to the new church (a megachurch in our area), we met a lady in the pew behind us, who was new and didn’t know anyone either. By her comments, I could tell that she too was intimidated by such a large church. I encouraged her that I have found that the best way to connect right away in a new church is not through the service, but through Bible study groups. The service definitely matters, but it’s really hard to meet people there. Praying you’ll find your new church home, soon!

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    1. Thank you sis~ Normally I would agree with you but this church was no where near Mega church status. Less than a hundred people actually, there really is no excuse for a visitor to have to initiate a conversation with people who should have already reached out in a Godly embrace. Even my son who is 7 came out of their Children’s Church and made the comment that no one even played with him or talked to him, asking me to tell him why? Normally my son isn’t shy at all but this confused him and will be the first time ever he said he didn’t want to go back somewhere. My little man is a people person so not talking is foreign to him as well.

      Have a Blessedly Happy Summer Day~

      I’m hid with Christ!
      Shawn

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