Sunday morning I found myself in church. Not my normal small fellowship where members surround round tables and dialogue about the most recent lesson on being an effective intercessor. But an actual church service with a worship team ministering and a pastor preaching and a place where actual member’s classes are held (at our fellowship people seem to just appear and are seamlessly mended into the group almost effortlessly; no class needed.) Still, the church had elements of being non-traditional which is what drew me to it. My spiritual covering has ruined me from anything traditional and now I dread the typical styles of service one finds in today’s settings.
The service was held in a comedy club and members sat in booths facing the stage as the worship team lead us in worship. The lights were dim and it had a coffee shop feel to it. Indeed, there was a break in which members could grab coffee, tea, or water and mingle with the other attendees. There wasn’t much diversity in race and age but I didn’t expect much. I only expected to rub elbows with the different parts of the body. To see and hear what God was saying in other parts of His kingdom. I’m not going to lie, I was also thirsty for “ a word” from the Lord in the way He gives through a pastor. Because my covering is apostolic it does not minister to me in the way that the pastoral ministry does. Whereas the pastoral ministry is more focused on shepherding and caring for the sheep, the apostolic ministry is more about training and growing up children into becoming mature believers. Both are needed for the edification and maturing of the body however in this season Christ has saw fit to place me under the apostolic covering.
It was refreshing to hear the pastor minister the word and receive directly from him when I normally am required to give a response and release what I am hearing as well. So there I sat, listening attentively and even taking notes. He preached on Matthew 8:18-34. He was young, probably early 30’s and casually dressed in flannel and jeans. His red-brown beard framing his face, tauntingly suggested that he could be pushing mid 30’s.
And maybe his age was youthful, but his wisdom and knowledge of Christ was not; he understood eternal things.
He shared that Christ wants it all. He wants the very thing that we want to hold onto. When the man wanted to bury his father, Christ said let the dead bury the dead because he knew that the man’s father was the most important thing in that moment to him. That most important thing would be the hindrance to God’s kingdom if it was placed before choosing Him. When Christ was approached by the scribe who wanted to follow Him He told the scribe He “had no place to rest His head”. I suspect He said this because He knew that was the one thing the scribe would not want to give up; the comfort of a home. Yeshua knows the heart and will pick on that one thing that we are trying to cling so tightly to, even if we are unaware that our knuckles are turning white. He will ask us for that very thing to show us where our hearts lie. Where are treasure is our hearts will be also.
God wants our hearts.
When Yeshua cast out the legion of demons and allowed them to enter into the swine, I never understood why the demons wanted to enter in the swine. But the pastor preached that the swine were the people’s livelihood and when the demons caused several thousand pigs to kill themselves the people were outraged because they lost their livelihood. So outraged in fact they rejected Jesus and kicked him out of their city. Jesus allowed this event to once again show the people’s hearts. They chose money and earthly treasure over the eternal life He was offering them. How often do we do the same?
After the sermon we took communion. There was time for repentance and alone time with God before doing so. I haven’t taken communion in a long while. I sat there, soaking in this moment. Head bowed, eyes closed, just thanking Him for all that He’s done in my life. The tears were streaming and I was so glad I came to be in the presence of His people and be reminded that Jesus was both God and man. He walked the earth and faced the same trials and temptations I face. And yet He did not sin. Most times He was alone in His faith. More people walked away from Him during His time of ministry than those who stayed. As the bread touched my lips and the juice hit my throat I remembered and I thanked Him.
I am a mess. A walking, talking, mess. And He has taken so much time with me. Pruning me, teaching me, forgiving me, loving me. I fall and He picks me back up. He sticks closer than a brother. If my friends are not there and my family is not there, He is still there. My life is truly found in Him. And He is using everything in this life to remind me of that.