life

ROOMTOBREATHE

We visited a new church today and Jesus was there.  Thank God.

This is what I liked about it:

First, I like the denomination’s motto:

“In essentials… unity. In non-essentials… liberty. In all things… charity.”

I hope that means that Jesus isn’t in a straightjacket there.  I hope it means the doctrine isn’t so locked-down, iron-clad and air-tight that the Holy Spirit has no room to breathe; no room to move.

I like that while we were standing in the lobby drinking coffee before the service an elder came over, introduced himself, asked us some questions and welcomed us to the church.

I liked that when that same elder prayed at the beginning of the service, he prayed for some of the specific needs of the individuals in the congregation (without naming names).  In other words, I liked that the church was small enough that its leaders actually know who their congregants are and the things with which they are struggling.

I liked that the worship was simple and sincere.  The words of the songs were on slides that had Jesus as the background, not moving geometric neon shapes.  The hub liked that there was no smoke and the amplifiers weren’t turned up to 8.  Maybe we’re just old.  I actually don’t mind loud, but I much prefer unpolished, heartfelt worship to a professionally produced production.

I liked that the worship leader sang a NEEDTOBREATHE song during the offering and got choked up as he introduced it.  He sang it from his heart an he did an excellent job.

My daughter and I are both NEEDTOBREATHE fans.  We have seen them in concert several times together.  My favorite time was a completely unplugged impromptu show that we had the privilege of attending.  I love acoustic performances because they allow the lyrics to shine.

Let me digress for a sec to do the mom thing:

226976_1054756329623_1757_n

Here's a fix for you Seth fans.

My daughter went to see NEEDTOBREATHE with some friends. When she showed me the picture taken with Bo, I said, “You two look really good together, you match. You should marry him.” (I don’t think he was married at the time, but if he was, my apologies to his wife.)

So as soon as the worship leader mentioned the NEEDTOBREATHE brothers, I turned to my daughter (who was worshipping with us today) and said, “Oh goody, your husband!”  (Again, my apologies to Bo’s wife.)

Anyway, the song fit the message very well.  Here’s a bit of what Bear Rinehart said about it in an interview:

“This song is my story of trying to understand my role in God’s plan. We were on tour with a secular artist, Taylor Swift, playing to 20,000 and even 50,000 people per night. We felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. Despite our efforts, I didn’t feel like we were having the impact we are called to have.

I think God was asking us at this time, “What are you doing this for? Are you doing it for Me?” And, I think that’s where this song was birthed. That confusion is almost a good thing. The bridge says “I am on the fence about nearly everything I’ve seen.” I meant that in how the whole band was going through a “we surrender to God” kind of way.

We don’t need to be concerned about what happens after we’ve given up this gift we have to God. That was really powerful for us. We had ambition and let that take too much of a priority in things that led us down a road that wasn’t good. I think that in trying to re-prioritize, God wants us to sacrifice those things, those idols in our lives. Some idols for us were wondering what the outcome was going to be, that we had the upper hand or maybe we were the best band out there, or we thought we were the most clever at it.

I feel like the beginning of the song is us asking ourselves are we really difference makers. How valuable are we, really? Towards the end of the song it comes around that God makes us a part of what He does, which is so crazy. It starts with us realizing that we don’t get to make the rules. We don’t control it, and we don’t get to say what the timing is. It’s not because of our talents. He doesn’t need that. He needs our willing hearts.”

You can read the full article here.

There’s a short “behind the story” clip here.

And here’s the song’s official video:

And that brings me to the last thing I liked about the service.  The pastor concluded by saying that we need to change our paradigm from thinking that our relationship with God is all about us to seeing His greater purposes and how we might fit in.  Then he added, “For those of you who are already operating out of that paradigm, I encourage you to continue to do so.  And then he gave examples of some of the ways various people in the congregation have entered into God’s purposes and are impacting the community.

AND THAT’S IT!

That’s what I have been longing for.  A simple balance.  A simple acknowledgement of growth; of maturing Christian hearts.  But that takes knowing something about the hearts and lives of the people you serve.  It’s much easier to just say, “We’re all a bunch of selfish sinners who are only looking at what’s in it for us” and call it a day.

I want to be inspired.  I want to be spurred on toward love and good deeds by seeing and hearing about the good deeds others are doing and perhaps joining in.  I don’t want to be browbeaten.

Amen.

Standard

2 thoughts on “ROOMTOBREATHE

  1. My husband and I moved across the country recently (ok, it’s been 7 months…) and have still been struggling to find a “church home.” We have one we’ve been attending mostly regularly, but we loved our church in our old home, so we just don’t feel that anything is measuring up to our standards. I feel pretty torn sometimes and get pretty hard on myself, though, because the components of church that I tend to be critical of are not the purpose of church. I do think we were justified in not sticking with the small (30-person) church where not a single person said hello to us or welcomed us.But being picky about worship style or the pastor’s speaking methods? Deep down, I know those things are so much less important than what the body of the church is doing for the community and the world. So, for now, we are settled in a church where we love the people and there are plenty of opportunities to serve. But do we get excited about services on Sunday morning? Not really. Do we leave the building after the service feeling a renewed conviction or feeling spirit “fed”? Rarely. I guess it’s tough to please everyone in every way, so my husband and I have been trying to accept that God can still have a purpose for us in a church community. I think for us it has been a God’s way of teaching us what the body of Christ is really about.

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing mrscoachwalk. It is really hard to find a church where all the elements come together perfectly. For most of my Christian life I have been very involved in para-church ministry – serving my community for Christ – so preaching that inspires me has been more important than opportunities to serve within the church. When we’ve attended churches that aren’t all that inspiring, I’ve gotten “fed” and inspired through para-church Bible studies like BSF. I guess there is rarely one stop shopping when it comes to finding a place where you can both take in and give out.
      The Lord bless you as you continue your search.

      Liked by 1 person

Comment here and have no fear. If you regret it or change your mind, just let me know. I will be happy to delete it. (Unless it's about how brilliant I am, then it stays.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s