For some time now, I’ve been quite conflicted about my “religion”.
Now don’t get me wrong…I believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I know that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners like me. I think I memorized John 3:16 at age 5 or younger. I can still remember sitting down as a young child and reading the children’s bible that my Grandma W gave me.
My core beliefs are not what I’ve been conflicted about. It’s religion. The only church I’ve ever really known is a Baptist or Christian church. I’ve been to many churches over the years, but never felt like I really belonged anywhere. Most had congregations where they don’t really welcome new people. They say they do, but they don’t make new people FEEL welcome. Upon entering, I felt like a new kid on the first day at a new school. I gave it time…sat in the church for weeks and listened to the sermons, tried introducing myself to the members of the church, but never really felt like I belonged.
A few years ago, I said to myself, “Forget it! I don’t need to go to church to talk to God and to spend time with Him.” But, over time I realized that I wanted that fellowship. I wanted to find a place where I could learn & grow and have discussions with others who believe what I believe.
The main thing I was looking for is a good, Bible believing, Bible teaching church. That may sound odd, but many churches these days do a lot of singing, read a verse or two out of the bible and then tell a story that supposedly relates the verse to now. There is not really a lot of substance to the message. At least that’s what I observed.
A year or so ago, I found myself praying to find a good, Bible believing church where I could feel like I belonged and where I could deepen my relationship with the Lord.
A few months later, I noticed a steady decline in my home based business income. I had worked from home for the past 15 years or so and always made enough money to not have to worry about a lot. All of a sudden, we were struggling to make ends meet even though I was coaching clients and seeing their businesses thrive under my direction and help.
Looking back, I realize that God’s hand was guiding me right along the path He had chosen for me. My declining income forced me to begin looking for a “real” job. One where I could get out of the house and meet people. It just so happened that a friend of mine was looking for a caretaker for his wife. I knew her and we got along great, so I took the position. After about a month of working there, they began having Bible study with some people they knew. I sat in on the groups and was amazed at what I was hearing. Everything they were teaching was biblical fact. Nothing embellished, nothing added, nothing removed. They encouraged us to go ahead and read the surrounding verses of the chapters on our own so we would be sure we had the whole truth.
After a few weeks of Bible Study, I am happy to say that I have attended their church for two weeks in a row now and was met both times with people who all came up to me and welcomed me and introduced themselves. They made me feel like I belonged and not like a “visitor”.
In future blog posts, I will be sharing with you what I’m learning, insights I’ve had and many other things relating to my deepening relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you’ll stay tuned.