Passion for the Strugglers

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.

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7 responses to “Passion for the Strugglers

  • Greg England

    Keith, we went through that ostracization (is that a word?) with friends and family as we let go of so many of those all-important “issues” that seem to difine churches. We went to the point of actually worshipping with the Christian Church now after a lifetime of generational church of Christ affiliation. I still feel I am in fellowship, but many of my former friends and some family members would deny any fellowship with me. What I have found, though, is that God’s love and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is never disappointing. Creekside is doing so many things right, so “soldier on” as Leroy Garrett would say!

  • Donna

    What a great motto for a church. I have and continue to struggle…with a lot of the same old things and it is good to know others who have emerged on the other side. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • cwinwc

    As you know so well I’m right there with you. The struggle at times is not so much what you’re struggling from but rather what you’re struggling towards. Hang in there Bro.

  • Meowmix

    At this point, all I could point others and myself toward is Christ. He is the answer to all struggles. I am very close emotionally to those on both sides of this struggle, as well as some in the middle (which is where I am), and all I feel I know right now is that none of us will ever have it ALL right. That’s why God gave us Jesus. He got it right.

    My church family is a very traditional one. Even so, I can honestly say I feel more love surrounding me there than anywhere I’ve ever been, including the church I grew up in. And in recent years, I have become very appreciative and involved emotionally and spiritually with those who represent the opposite of “extremely traditional.” The love and support flowing between us is a great blessing in my life.

    The biggest struggle, for me, is when those I love so much who are at opposite ends of the spectrum, cannot find something about each other to appreciate……………..

  • Bill

    As we turn our hearts toward family and friends during the Christmas holiday, I wanted to let you to know that I am thankful for blessing of many new friends I’ve come to “know” here in blogland. The tie that binds us is our shared love for and devotion to the Savior whose birth we remember during this special time of the year. May your days be full of holiday blessings; and, may your heart be filled with the warmth of His presence.

    Blessings,
    -bill
    Spiritual Oasis Blog

  • Neva

    Struggling is a big part of growth! It just works that way!

    Peace
    Neva

  • Greg

    Keith, I agree that we need to teach God’s love for us, our responsibility to return that love to him and others. These are the greatest commands according to Christ himself, but we also need to be concerned with the other side of God that is not being preached to much of the world today. We should be glad for the grace and mercy of God and the fact that he loved us enough to send his Son to suffer and die that we might have hope of salvation. But God is a just and righteous God who expects obedience to the commands we are given. Jesus himself was obedient to God and are we not to follow his example? Many want to omit any restrictions in the way we are to live and the way we are to worship. These must be taught as well, but many want to ostercize the “conservative” Church of Christ for doing so. Jesus said the path of righteousness was a narrow one. We all need to be careful not to swing too far to the left or the right in our worship, service, and teachings.

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