random observations, convictions, epiphanies and more
Thanks so much for the link!I do hope you find the time to keep tuning in to my blog. I'm definitely adding yours to my reader [smile]. ~Luke
Georgia,Good link. This is something that is on everyone's mind lately it seems. How different should we be? Should we look similar to fit in and share our faith or should we look different and hopefully attract others by being different. To a certain extent, I think we have to look/act different. If we blend in so well that we cannot be recognized as followers of Christ, we have missed the boat. I think it all comes down to matters of the heart. The "L" word gets tossed around so much these days. Legalism is a nasty topic capable of tearing apart many a congregation. For us personally, we saw it first-hand. We made the decision to leave a church in search of expository preaching and family integrated services. We wanted to avoid youth groups and tons of programs which eat up our family time. How did our brothers and sisters in Christ react -- badly! To this day there are people who will not return our wave or be friends with us over our decision. Add to that the fact that we changed our dressing habits and oh my goodness the Millers have fallen off the deep end:-) People talk about us and the choices we've made and dismiss us as righteous zealots. Here's the thing, when we choose to homechurch and dress conservatively are we being legalistic? Well, if we said that everyone had to do that - Yes! However, we don't feel that way. To each his own. We are following the path we feel God has led us down as a family. God uses different families in different ways. Perhaps a Christian t-shirt worn to school would give a child the chance to share his faith. Likewise, perhaps my 13 year old, dressed like a lady helping to care for 5 younger brothers and sisters will give her an opportunity to share her faith with others(it has many times). Different situations, same intent. I think we have to be so careful when it comes to labeling others. We are all on the same team. We all want to share Jesus with a lost and dying world. Sometimes, as Christians, we give ourselves a bad name. We are so busy pointing fingers within our own group that we totally lose focus on our purpose for being here. Case in point -- do you know that we get better reactions from unbelievers than church-goers regarding our family size (and intent to have more if God allows)? Isn't that crazy? I don't have all the answers. I just know that this very topic is close to my heart and it's complex on so many different levels. Some days, I just shake my head and think - Lord, I just want to love you and live my life according to your purpose - why is that so hard??Cathy
Cathy,I always love how you bring strong, valid points to these discussions with a realness I greatly appreciate.It's all such murky water. I can understand why members of your former church would act like that. By leaving, what you are saying about their church, their lives? They're taking your personal decision and making it a judgment against them even though it's not. I know that. And it's hard to explain that to someone who feels you may be condemning them for taking their kids to Awana. What I am learning about the Lord's voice in my life is that He's quiet. I don't feel burdened with one more thing to do or feel anxious. I feel unrest until I concede and then I feel peace...especially when I am choosing something "weird". Because that's when it's the hardest part for me. I guess that makes it easy to tell what to do. I felt such heaviness in my heart when I would internally judge others for not doing the things I was doing or making the choices that I was doing (things I felt I'd been told by the Lord to do), that I had to stop. (Or at least try.) I decided that I could not possibly know all the ins and outs of everyone's life to know what they should be doing. And I certainly couldn't know what the Lord Himself has told them to do. Nor is any of it my concern. All I can do is what you said: examine the motives of my heart and put that up against what I've heard from the Lord. I'm not worrying about the Millers. Believe me, I have my hands full worrying about the Welches. I do think the Lord uses people to get us to the next step/level/place with Him, and I am open to that, but I'm not going to immediately accept something as good or right because someone else is doing it. And I was doing that. I was not trusting Him to lead me, and I have been strongly convicted in that area.
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