Sunday, June 11, 2006

Religion vs The Church

According to the dictionary the following applies:

Religion: the service and worship of God or the supernatural 2 devotion to a religious faith 3 a personal set or institutionalized system of religious beliefs, attitudes and practices 4 a cause, principle, or belief held to with faith and ardor

Church: 1 a building esp for Christian public worship 2 the whole body of Christians 3 Denomination 4 congregation 5 a public divine worship

here's another interesting one: Christianity: the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture and professed by Christians. (There goes the argument that you can be a Christian without Christ)

Ohhhhhhh this is going to be a longy, I can tell......LOL.

First, let me explain where I don't have misgivings or confusion. I do believe we all NEED a "church family" (that is what I prefer to call it). I believe we should be committed to this church family. I believe in tithing and to me it's makes sense. In order to have an effective church family, you have to pay the bills. If everyone does not put in their share of the costs (which God made it easy, 10% off the top for everyone) then bills will not be paid and the poor can not be helped and the staff to run things won't get their pay. So tithing to me is a very common sense issue. Belonging to a church family is a very common sense issue too because we NEED that support for very, very various reasons. God warns us in many places about the sheep that wanders from the flock and what can happen. The prodigal Son is another story. And the thing is, the church family just like the one in Acts which started it all, should be that, a family. A family made up of families.......all of one mind and heart. Coming together to be refreshed so that in these times we can go out to the missions fields which is right outside our door.

Now comes the battle I am fighting this morning. It's church time and here I am. I have been sick and my excuse was I want to give myself another day to recover. Truth. But what bothers me, why am I not disappointed? I love my pastor, I love my church family........well, those I know now. See, we went from 50 people to over 300 in like a year or so. Big new sanctuary. Fancy service. Love the music. I'm proud that it is sooooooo geared towards the teen agers. I mean a good fourth of our congregation is young......well, if you count the children.......more than half is 18 and below. Wonderful. Important. So why am I like not getting it? Why do I feel like it's become more of a "business" or something along that line? We must have an hour and half of must then listen to the pastor for at least an hour. Oh gosh, I just don't know.......perhaps the ole Devil is trying to lure me away. I just long for a smaller church family where there is a closeness. I wish there wasn't such rituals. If you aren't there, you are back sliding......which could be. If you don't go everytime the door opens and be a part of every function.....well, you just aren't as good a "Christian"........that one doesn't get me, my Pastor knows exactly where I am with all that. I understand what they are doing, I'm a business woman......I understand. But THAT's what is bothering me. What if instead of a big old church meeting, a group of us met at a home and had a meal and worship and lesson........would that be church? Is that not what they did in Acts? What is the point of having day and night services? What if you can't make it on Wednesday night? I miss that "closeness" I use to have with brothers and sisters of the Lord. I go in now to my church family and I'm treated like the newbie, which is always sweet and shame on me. This has been bothering me for some time now. Not sure where it is going but I know one thing, I am and will be on my knees asking God for help and direction. When you change churches you are considered a "church hopper" and I don't think I fall under that title. I have changed but it would be years between and always felt led. Don't count my youth because I was seeking Jesus then but I thank God for every lesson and every Christian He set in my path. This is a different Season in my life and I want to find His Guidance and forgiveness if I have caused anyone to stumble. Should I decide to seek another church family, I won't want to fall back into same thing. And it will have to be a Christian (Jesus is Lord and Savior, Bible is God's Word, the Holy Spirit is our Helper.....The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit......One God, three persons) If this is an attack of the Enemy, then I ask my brothers and sisters to pray for me.......and I call upon my Father, my Lord and my Comforter to protect me from evil and help me see Truth. Oh I told y'all it would be a sorry.....but then, no one is reading but me.....LOL


Blogger mistyforeverlost said...

Not that you asked for my advice, but here's something to think about. Going to church should not be an obligation, it should be a desire.

Once the desire turns to feelings of obligation, then you need to examine why they are no longer fulfilling your spiritual needs and your desire to go is no longer there.

I think you already touched on it in this post. It's grown, it's no longer the spiritual place it once was and it's full of requirements and judgements. (if you don't go to all the functions, your not a good Christian/everything is very scheduled, etc.).

Maybe it is time you found a new one?

12:50 PM  
Blogger Auntie D said...

I appreciate your advice and yes it is something I am seriously considering. I am in prayer about it and have been reading a Charles Stanley book, which I just so happen to get to the part where he mentioned God would give him a "restless" spirit right before he would have change in parsonage. I'm not saying my church family isn't great, but as you have said, there has to be a reason I'm not feeling a part anymore. Ever since I can remember, my prayer has always been for God to show me the Truth and that I wanted more than anything to be sincere and honest with Him. He has always been faithful to me. But when "church" becomes a place of "requirements" and more stress than relaxation, something isn't right. It's not them, it's me but it may be that God has some place else for me to be. I don't read anywhere in the Bible where it says, you must be faithful totally to ONE church family as we know it to be today. It says "do not forsake the gathering together of yourselves" meaning the Body of Christ. I agree with you and most likely will be doing just that, seeking where I can once again feel "at home". There's different seasons for us all. Thank you again for posting your thoughts and ideas. I truly appreciate your kindness.

4:56 PM  
Blogger mistyforeverlost said...

Good luck Auntied. I know this is very important to you. I just went through this with my 9YO and helped her find a wonderful church that is very small and peaceful for her. It's located on a farm in a church that hadn't been used for about 50 years. They cleaned it up and worship there on Sundays. They even allow me to come and listen if I want ;O).

I hope you find what you are looking for and your right...there is nothing that says your not allowed to move to another church family. Maybe there are other families within the church who are not happy as well.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Wadical said...

We're reading.

You go where your spirit gets fed. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.

I believe that commandment is for ALL things including worship. The Bible also says that if you seek Him you will find Him. If he is not where you are...look somewhere else. You'll do well to keep Him in your focus when you make these decisions.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Perhaps there is a person...just one person somewhere in another Church body who needs you...just you. Who knows why your spirit is restless? Only he who lives there. Listen to the Holy Spirit. And follow where He leads.

Your plea for prayer has been heard. I've sent one up with your name on it.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Wadical said...

By the way, that prayer had attached to it your real name.

I guess the secret was just too juicy for her to keep. :)

9:40 PM  
Blogger Auntie D said...

LMBO well, she kept longer than I thought she would, or has led me to believe she has. I thank you for your prayer. You make me proud to be kin. Just got back and I'm exhausted but wanted to thank you for the chuckle I got and the prayer.

3:58 PM  
Blogger mistyforeverlost said...

Have you figured out what your going to do yet? I've been thinking about you and hoping you were able to work it out.

(do you mind if I link to you?)

4:39 AM  
Blogger Auntie D said...

You honor me by linking to me, thank you so much! I'm still learning and not sure how to do that kind of thing but once I do,perhaps I can do the same with you. As for the other, I am still in prayer and studying the Word. I have to make sure. BUT I am feeling better and am sorting my thoughts. God is always faithful, or at least He has always been to me. So I am no longer tormented by it all, just waiting on the Lord and moving day by day. I know it is too much for me to go on Wednesday nights because of my work. I refuse to be pressured, that kind of pressure does not come from God. I do get cds of the study and listen to them on my way to work and I am getting much out of them.I do not want to be swayed by the devil but I do believe we the "Body of Christ" have taken things further than what was meant to be and thus Revelations talk to the seven churches. I intend to do a study on Acts myself and see where God leads me. But the "burden" is not so heavy because I'm trusting God with it all. I do plan to attend my home church family this Sunday and observe, are my feelings because I've gotten lazy or is it the Holy Spirit trying to move me on? Thank you for your sweet concern. It means a lot. All will be well.

7:59 AM  

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