Oh, did I type that outloud?
Nails on a chalkboard…
It’s like those bandages we had when we were little… You know the ones that would stick to the wound and when you went to take it off, it would rip the scab off right along with it…
Do you feel it? That nauseous, new-experience-in-pain feeling in your gut…as the waves of woozy dances up and down your throat.
Well, that’s the feeling I have had every Sunday and Wednesday walking into church since it all went down…
The mourning…. Over a past wound… a blistering scab that they just can’t keep picking at.
“We just need to heal….”
“Maybe now we’ll heal…”
I’m really thinking about buying a whole new wardrobe – all black, “mourning” attire.
Black pantsuit, black hosiery, black dress, black gloves, black overcoat… maybe even some new black boots – so when I walk through all the muddy tears, I won’t get my feet wet.
“Take courage and be men… or you will become slaves to the Hebrews… Therefore, be men and fight.” (1 Sam. 4:9).
What has happened is that we are experiencing something that David and I have been through before … and will go through again – a church split.
A group of people didn’t like something, they tried a coup, then a meeting, then a group meeting, then a church “forum” … And then like two-year old’s who lost the game, they took their marbles from the playground when they didn’t get their way – and they left.
Good for them.
And frankly, David and I thought, “good for us! Let’s move on!”
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
But we have not forgotten what lies behind… nor are we pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…
It’s more like nails on a chalkboard, we’re still talking about it… Often bringing tears over the loss of their former congregants…
“But the kids… what’s going to happen to them?”
Uhm. They’re going to a new church with their parents. That’s what’s happening to them. Their parents …. the people that God put in charge of them are parenting them…. Maybe they’ll do it right… or maybe they’ll end up like Cain and Abel… Or maybe they’ll be like my very own prodigals.
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that this is no shock to God.
This is no surprise to Him.
God is sovereign… God is all powerful… God is holy, righteous, and just…
God is God and we are not.
Mourning over our perceived loss… is not holy and it most certainly does not bring God glory.
What about those who remain? The men, women, and children that are in our midst… shouldn’t we focus on them?
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So, Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”” (Jn. 6:66-67).
When our egos get in the way of God’s precepts – sometimes we can lose our focus on who God is:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9).
When we do this, we give Satan a foothold and although he is not a god – he can and will take a hold of that opportunity and temporarily stunt our growth by taking our eyes off of “the prize,” by causing us to look in the rearview mirror of what we thought, could have … should have been.
It puts us into bondage. We become slaves to the actions of those who left the church… because now their actions control us and how we act and behave. Before long, we forget we are on mission… straining for what lies ahead.
But what has made matters worse is that the Band-Aid that was put over the scab gets ripped off every-single-day… We have continued to conciliate those, who continue to stir up strife… those who have chosen to step away from God’s rule of authority over His ordained… and we have kept them on staff because we are afraid to invoke church discipline. By doing this, we only keep the wounds open, bleeding, and festering.
Perhaps it is time to replace the (dissenting staff) and sackcloth and ashes and put on the full armor of God and fight like the warriors we were called to be – and straining forward, preach the Gospel of Christ… press on towards evangelizing to the lost… Just like Jesus did… Just like the Bible commands us to do.
I don’t mean to minimize the void that was left when many of these people were leaders of programs that will more than likely be shut down… why they were in those positions of authority is a blog for another day… so, maybe that’s okay too…
Maybe it is time for the church to get herself dressed and ready for the wedding… And show the world what the church, as God designed it, is supposed to look like.
Maybe we should quit talking about the past altogether.
“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God” (Rev. 3:2).
Maybe it’s time we bring our children into the sanctuary and teach them what worship looks like – and train them up in the way they should go, so they learn to behave and be reverent – from birth.
Maybe it’s time to work with existing Christian ministries, join with other churches who have MOPs and a day care, a thriving AWANA group, GA and RA’s.
Maybe it’s time to work with and support Christian organizations that are working as the hands and feet of Christ – rather than trying to reinvent the wheel or be the leader –
Maybe we should start following our leader. Maybe it’s time for us all to be the church.