Music Monday - 20091012 and church search conclusion (?)

My family and i continue to search for a new church. It had come down to two. One is relatively near by, while the other one is about 25 minutes away. Yesterday tipped the scales to the one further away. Why is it that i continue to find one of two 'types' of churches. On one 'side' we find a church that has good teaching BUT we find several legalistic people, people who do not seem to practice what is preached outside of the pew (personal experiences with said people), child care (pre-school/elementary/youth) not very friendly, and not much in the way for families to fellowship together. Then on the 'other side' we find a slightly 'watered down' message but the people seem more genuine. The teachers in the youth are friendly and helpful, there are things for the family and youth to do. Do i come across as self righteous in these blogs? Do i seem stubborn or elitist? Because i desire in-depth teaching and accountability am i doing the things that we are seeing? I deeply desire a church home that desires to continually teach the gospel, that encourages grace filled accountability, that encourages the meeting together of the saints not just in teaching situations but relationship building ones AND service (i.e. ministry) opportunities. I am fully aware that a 'perfect church' does not exist out there, and yet... why do i struggle to find one that i am comfortable to bring my family too? The more i think about it the more i am inclined to think it is me. When i listen, read, or watch things about/by about men like CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Allister Begg, John Stott, RC Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile, and John MacArthur, my spirit's hunger gnaws at me. I recently listened to an interview with one of these men and i remember this because i remember my spirit crying out to know God more... to be more passionate for Him. And there was a line that went like this, "Someone once asked me, 'how can i be as passionate as you are'? and (he) replied, if you want to be passionate you have to spend time with God. You have to study His word. (He suggested to) start with the gospels and the seven sayings of Christ on the cross." (off of memory, but hopefully just as accurate) So, what i am taking away from this is that i need to stop seeking to have my hunger satisfied from a pulpit and i have to take a more personal approach to feeding this desire. I'm not saying that i don't need to attend a local church, quite the opposite, but i need to stop seeking to have my hunger and thirst quenched strictly from the pulpit. I need to be more directly involved in the satiating of such hunger pains. I also want to guard my heart against the very things that we've been seeing in "deep" churches around us of late.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10, ESV) This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, [1] for the servant [2] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:12-17, ESV)
To be honest i have leaned more towards spiritual slothfulness than becoming a marathon runner. I read the following from a facebook friend over the weekend, "Once an overweight couch potato with a glut of bad habits, including smoking and drinking, at the age of 43 John Bingham looked mid-life in the face—and started running. Since then, he has completed 40 marathons and hundreds of 5K and 10K races... —and developed a whole new outlook." Famous quote: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." (Thanks for sharing that Linda!) I am praying in Jesus' name that i may have the courage to start... OK... enough rambling. Last week, again on facebook, the I LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC♥ page shared the song below and it moved me. I know many of you may think that it was just because that it is in both English and Japanese that this is the case but i truly believe that it was more than that. I love hearing the praises of God sung in other languages. There is something moving that is hard to explain. Before i was a Christian there was a Chinese family that lived next door to me. Whenever i would get sick my friend's mother would make me dumplings. My mouth still waters... well, they also took me to church a couple of times, but the sermons and singing were always in Chinese. But even then it caught my attention. So, without further delay...
Found in You Written by Lisa Davidson Translated by Emi Shirasaya 救いの神様が 変えてくれたよ この人生を 救いの十字架が 永遠の命 与えてくれる 捧げよう すべて あなたを愛してるから イエスだけが 満たす魂 歌おう あなた讃えて イエス Salvation belongs to our God Nothing else could ever change My life the way You did Salvation belongs to the cross By the perfect blood You shed I live eternally My life is forfeit to You 'Cause I have fallen in love with the Saviour Jesus alone can satisfy my soul I'll sing Your praises forever My life is forfeit to You 'Cause I have fallen in love with the Saviour Jesus alone can satisfy my soul I'll sing Your praises forever Jesus すべては あなたの 中にある すべては あなたの 中にある すべては あなたの 中にある すべては あなたの 中にある All that I want All that I need I've found in You All that I want All that I need I've found in You All that I want All that I need I've found in You All that I want All that I need I've found in Your Love My life is forfeit to You 'Cause I have fallen in love with the Saviour Jesus alone can satisfy my soul I'll sing Your praises forever 捧げよう すべて あなたを愛してるから イエスだけが 満たす魂 歌おう あなた讃えて 歌おう あなた讃えて 歌おう あなた讃えてイエス


Anonymous said...

john, i LOVE that song! thanks for sharing.

i will continue to pray for wisdom as you are deciding on a church... i'm kind of in the same process myself. its difficult, because I love my church family but believe God may be calling me to another body (for many reasons). since my church is all i've ever known as a Christian, this is a new and at times uncomfortable process for me.

but God is SO faithful to lead and guide. I'm confident He will direct each of your steps.

Susan said...

Finding a church that meets your needs may be one of the biggest challenges out there. I find that I am drawn to places that I know will feed my kids...spiritually that is. It's important. I don't know if people would walk into our church and think of it as "watered down" or not.

Here's what I know. We have three ways of thinking about people in our midst. We call the Sunday morning experience "big circle". They are people who may be at all different levels of spiritual maturity and journeys. Then we have the "middle circle" which includes our small groups/relationship building opportunities. Our communitya nd global missions fit here as well.

Finally, we have written a discipleship program that is the smallest circle. IT is designed for two people to walk through together as they deepen their relationship with Christ.

I love that picture. It's what I think Jesus did in his ministry.

I love that song, too!

Hey, I am really beginning to give up on my Bucs. They are really going through some horrible stuff right now. Coaching seems to be at the top of the list!

I hear ya' about NYG...BUT I really like Eli Manning.

Hope you have a great week.

:-) Susan

skoots1mom said...

enjoyed your post and site...jumped over from '2nd cup'...
praying your decision in a church home...it's out there and it needs you :)