All of us at some point have struggled with things in the Christian walk. Some are struggling right now as they read this blog. Struggling with sin–struggling with the world–struggling with the church–struggling with family, and the list could go on and on.
We all have passion for the struggler no matter what he or she is struggling with. But lately God has inundated my life with people struggling with the church in various ways. People have come to me in their battle with churches–churches who just don’t get it when it comes to the real reasons God created the church in the first place. The people God has placed in my path have especially been struggling with the battle between traditionalism and real world ministry. There are other ways of putting that, but for now I hope you understand what I’m talking about.
There are many who read this blog who have struggled in and through this same struggle (boy I’m using the word “struggle” a lot). I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I don’t even know all the questions yet, but I have tried to help these wonderful people through it because I’ve struggled through it. I can’t tell you how much of a blessing it has been to come out of that flavor of legalism and judgemental conservativism and I want to help others get there too.
I have found that one of the scary things about coming out of this kind of thinking has been the fear of losing “fellowship” with the church we’ve always known. It’s been tough to lose friendships and brothers and sisters in this battle. It was the hardest thing. I don’t mean that people, for the most part, have been cruel to me, but I just miss the friendship things we use to do.
Even harder than this is the family (I mean blood kin) struggles. There are family members who put such pressure on anyone who wants to leave that way of thinking that many of the strugglers would rather spend their lives in the old way than fight it.
I mentioned the idea that churches didn’t even know the real reasons we exist and were created in the first place. I believe that the church exists to Love God, Love Others, and Serve. That was the mission of Jesus. Most, if not all, of the things we fight over have very little to do with these three issues. “Love God, Love Others, and Serve” has become out motto at Creekside. Now we don’t even pretend that we’ve got it all figured out, but as we let God lead us down this path, it’s been awesome to see the love that exists in this place. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in 2008 with us.
I just pray for the struggler. I pray for relief that is only found in trusting Jesus and His way. You may be one of those strugglers today. You may have struggled through it. No matter where you are, as you comment on this blog, give us your insights on where the church ought to be. How is God leading your church family? I what ways could you offer hope to the strugglers? How are you struggling?
As I end this blog I want to thank all of you who have helped me see the way of the Lord through grace and mercy rather than rules and regulations. What a freedom you have given me and a hope that is not based in my abilities, but His!! For those of you at Creekside who read this, thanks for your allowing me and Ellen to struggle through it and learn. It’s been a wonderful ride so far. Just think what God can do through us. God bless you all.