Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This may burn yer eyes & make you feel uncomfortable, it will probably irritate you a bit, so consider yourself warned.
This heaviness on my heart must come out, so I can be done with it.
Our pastor preached on what a friend looks like at church this past Sunday. What you should look like and what they should look like when the word "friend" is used. Generally speaking a friend should lift you up in every way.
I can dig that.
It just got me to thinkin though. Sometimes you have a friend who doesn't do that. It isn't that they drag you down they just want to hold one to such a standard that it excludes instead of includes.
okay, stay with me....so quite a few of my friends, and I do mean friends, are church hopping. You know, checking out some other churches. Truth be told for a wide variety of reasons, not any certain one, though some would say differently.
I have this one friend who visited a church not to far from ours. The church is non denominational and their motto is something like this:
We are Christians, just not the only Christians
That really resonated with me because, presently I am a Baptist, Southern Baptist to be exact. They can be pretty exclusive from the inside out. I mean they genuinely want folks to be saved for sure, but once you have been there a while and yer serving tight neck and neck, your standard better match theirs or one might feel judged by those who need to be judged by themselves. Not necessarily at our church, cause I was a Baptist before I married D for a bit when I was younger, but I see it at ours also at times. I am pretty much right on the money with their beliefs so being a Baptist is really pretty easy for me. In my heart of hearts though I am convinced I am non denominational through and through.
**Organized religion is a hairy thing. Like we used to be Methodist. Methodist say its okay to drink wine. When we lived out west, I didn't know a single Methodist that didn't drink wine. Were they drunkards? NO! ! They were good people loving, serving, studying, and worshipping the Lord. I met some wonderful people who fed me well spiritually in the Methodist church, both in South Carolina and New Mexico. One of those Christ honoring men in New Mexico, introduced my husband to the Gideon ministry.
BUT.....if you are a Baptist by golly & you drink wine, yer goin to Hell fool! It's okay to smoke or dip a little, but do not drink the dang wine.....and whatever you do, do not buy a lottery ticket, you will go to Hell.......this is severe sarcasm of course, but this feeling is prominent.
I have done both before and my relationship with God is as strong as it ever was. Am I a drunkard? NO!! Do I gamble away our finances? NO!! God loves me just the same and he hears my prayers. His love fills me to capacity constantly. I can't breathe without Him and He lavishes me constantly for seeking Him and being obedient even when it is uncomfortable.
In some dark secret place in my mind, where no one can hear me think..... I am thankful for the lottery cause I am hoping that my kids will get help from the state of TN for college money. My sister became a nurse on the GA. lottery and I am so proud of her. My parents could have never afforded to send her to the wonderful school she got her nursing degree from. It had and still does have one of the best nursing programs in the south.
**Methodist......like to sprinkle water and call their children baptized......no baby can say with their mouth's that they know Christ and confess to the world they are sinners. John the Baptist submerged Jesus and God said it was good. Baptism by submersion makes Biblical sense every day of the week to me. Baptist submerge, I am about that. D had to be submerged to join our church. He was sprinkled as a child and so were May and Zac. Both of them had to be submerged to join also. D said he was glad he was submerged, it was special and really meant a lot to him. Like wise so did May. I made Z wait a bit even though he was saved so he could fully understand the statement he was making to the congregation. When I was confident he understood, he was submerged. Baptism is a statement that you are born again in Christ and it is not a task to be completed to get into heaven.
**Like Communion, The Lords Supper....I hate the way Baptist do it. They read the Bible all monotone with no emotion at all, everyone eats the wafer, read the Bible all monotone with no emotion at all, everyone drinks the juice, it's over, what's next on the agenda for the service. They only do it like twice a year or something, it's rare whatever it is.
The Methodist get this right, in my opinion. When we were Methodist taking Communion was special, it was exciting, and reflective. They do it by intinction, can you say that with me..........i n t i n c t i o n.
The congregation would get into a single file line row by row with the ushers guiding them to the alter up front. The folks step in front if the minister who is holding consecrated fresh bread prepared a certain way. You pull a small piece off and partly dip it into the cup of juice. He says the verse all ministers say at Communion. The thing is while you are taking the Communion the person behind you lays their hands on you to pray for you. It's special. It's meaningful.
I have also done it by way of kneeling at the alter with 10 or so other folks. The minister and some other helpers hand out the wafers and juice say some verses to you and you take the Communion. The whole time the group next in line behind you lays hands, one for one, to pray for the person receiving the Communion. When your group is through, you get up and they kneel and the people behind them pray for them and so forth. It's very nice and causes one to pause and think of Christ appropriately. They take Communion once a quarter I think.
When I take Communion with my children at church now, it feels more like a ritual than a meaningful event. I miss the specialness of that.
The Baptist have an alter call every Sunday, Methodist rarely if ever have an alter call. How can one make a decision for Christ when you are not given the opportunity right in the Lords house.
If one is in the Methodist church and feeling the spirit move in them to make a decision, and then they leave the building....I bet Satan attacks them ferociously to sway them back to the thought process of, "What was I thinking, do I really need Jesus like that?" Alter call is very important to me in a church.
I do believe that more times than not drinking is a stumbling block, playing lottery when you cannot afford groceries & pay bills properly is bad, to get dunked or not get dunked, to sing hymns from a hymn book or rock out with drums, to alter call or not to alter call........
........I believe if one isn't hung up on those stumbling blocks, they have their own stumbling block that isn't as high profile.
Satan seeks your weakness no matter what it is and he strokes it gently and attractively, so you won't avoid it easily. You can pick and choose the ones you like and don't like & stand on yer corner going on about it, but deep inside Satan is stroking your weakness too. Especially if you are steadfast for the Lord, cause you, Christian, are gonna do Satan the most eternal damage. Let us not forget to stand on the corner and preach to ourselves also.
As a friend, I am not sure this is uplifting, I apologize a little, but not fully, cause it's a truth for me.
We are Christians, just not the only Christians.......
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."...........Romans 12:4-5
To me, I am a part of a whole. I am 100% aware that my actions speak about Christ & I am accountable.
But, it is Christ who convicts me and not my religion.