Why Christians Won’t Go to Church

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   How many of you grew up thinking that the only way to get people to get to church was by fancy programs and flashy lights? These churches were deemed shallow and not a “good solid church”. Then you have the little church on the corner where the only way their numbers grow is if someone has a baby, but the preaching is sound. Which church is better? Honestly neither of them.

   What? I know. I just popped everyone’s bubbles in each court. This is the crazy part – I have played on each team so I know how each one thinks and plays. I have been to small churches were you maybe hit fifty people on Christmas and Easter and there was a reason for that. They were not friendly, nor loving Christians. Now not all of them but the ones who ran the church (yes pretty much one family would run these churches) were like that. I haven’t been around these people lately so I hope that they have changed and that their churches are growing by leaps and bounds, but, when I was there, they were not. They were neither hot nor cold. They were luke warm and everyone knows what God thinks about luke warm churches.

   Then on the flip side, I have been in big churches where they have the lights and shows and programs coming out of their ears. But here is the crazy part! They also were unfriendly and not loving Christians. Huh? Wait. I thought there was only one group who were the problem. “They” are the bad Christians, not my church. But that isn’t true either.

   So is there middle ground? Can you have a church with solid preaching that doesn’t tickle ears but also has a growing membership? The answer is yes and you don’t need anything flashy to do it.

   My church building regularly has 5000 people come through its doors each week. I have a HUGE church family and I have not even come close to meeting them all in my seven years of attending, but that isn’t the point. I have some really great relationships with others in my church but it’s not the end of the world for those who I don’t know. They are still in my prayers and are covered in my love when I hear about things the church is doing with missions or baptism. They have a cool family member in their corner and they don’t totally realize it. I think that is actually kind of cool and I am sure I am in someone else’s prayers who hasn’t met me yet either. That is what being a church family is all about.

   You might be thinking ‘well of course she is bias since she attends the church’. Really? This church is church number 6 for me in my short 25 years of life and I just found it 7 years ago. Before this church, the longest I had been at a church was 6 years. So I have seen many types of churches in my short life time. And my church is the most balanced church I have ever seen.

  Yes, I said balanced because everything requires balance and that is especially true for churches. I have been to churches who only preach about God’s wrath but never His grace and I have been to churches who only preach grace and never wrath. You need both or you will never see the full picture of God, and my church gets that.

   Now, we have some programs, but there were some that had to be set aside for awhile since we did just a big move to a new building, but we have the basics of ministry like Sunday school and out reaches. I would say that for a “big” church though we don’t have as much as people would think we should right now. There are things in the works, but the move required things to be set aside but not the preaching of God’s word.

   Our Pastor is such a strong and wise man of God that I feel privileged to sit under every week and not obligated. I can’t wait to go to church because I feel like I won’t be leaving with whispers behind my back. My daughter has a safe Sunday school program to go to where I know they have sound teaching so I can enjoy church and then they have VBS in the summer. The ministries out number the flashy programs and they are all about community and bringing people back to church who have left or never returned after being hurt.

   So with all that said, let’s recap. My church on Sunday offers Sunday school, worship, teaching and the option for prayer. Sounds like a good basic little church right? But remember that my church’s attendance regularly runs around 5000. So here is my question. Not that my church is perfect, trust me it has had its ups and downs but God has seen us through to only be better, but my point is that why do people think that there is only two ways a church can go?

   If you want to have your church grow, it has to be inviting, but not cheesy. You have to have good applicable music (not necessarily a rock band but something more than Count Your Many Blessing each week) to help people really engage with their Savior. And you have to have good solid preaching that is true but with love. My Pastor is the only pastor I have ever sat under where he has laid the hammer down on somethings going on in the church that he isn’t happy with or isn’t biblical and I still walk away feeling like he and God love me.

   I want more churches to have that same experience. I want more people to know that feeling of going to church because they crave to be near their Jesus and are bummed when they miss it. I don’t think it is good for people to go to ANY church where they feel oppressed when they are there and punished when they are not. It’s not how God wants  for His church.

   So if you have been hurt by a church and don’t know if you ever want to go back, take heart. There are good churches out there who are not like the one you came from. There are churches out there who do show the love of Christ without making you feel like a worse Christian when you leave. Don’t believe me? Check out this link. I have not been paid or anything for this post. I just want everyone to know and love Jesus how I have learned I can these past seven years.

Blessings!

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Fellow Christians, We Need to Stand Together

I have to say something that has really gotten me sad is how the church has reacted to the election. I have seen brothers and sisters in Christ just attack and hate on each other like never before. Satan is just having so much fun since he knew that there were cracks to begin with and he has used lie after lie to wedge a dagger right in between. I makes me sad and heartbroken that, instead of loving and accepting one another, we have turned on each other. This has to stop! We are the salt on the this earth and we are losing our saltiness.

If we don’t get our act together soon and actually act like Christians, then we won’t be able to do our part to make this country great again. We need to be the example of what we want the world to do. The world shouldn’t be held accountable because they don’t know any better. They are going to cry and scream because that is what their master is doing.

I believe that God has some really awesome things left for America so he is freaking out, but he has figured out a way to make God’s work less noticeable. I didn’t say that God still won’t work but it won’t be as noticeable or impactful as long as His kids are fighting just as bad as the world is. I can just see God shaking His head going “what are you guys doing? Don’t you trust me? I don’t think you do because you are not bending to MY will”. If Hillary had won then I would have had to accept it and know that was God’s will. I wouldn’t go crying the streets and breaking everything in my path. I didn’t do it for Obama either. But now the church is doing the same as the world with their response. How is protesting and making a mess showing the love of Jesus?

We are all still children of God and we need to start acting like it! Myself included because I know that I have said things that really didn’t help the situation, but that is enough. I wish someone would just appear and be like the emperor on Mulan and scream “THAT IS ENOUGH!” I know I personally don’t want God to be the one because I don’t want to have the smack down session that usually comes with that. Think about the Old Testament. Does anyone want to end up like Sodom and Gamora? I don’t. I want someone to say that America is a righteous nation who follows God fully and with obedience not only have a handful to be spared.

We are so much more powerful then we give ourselves credit for! WE have the Holy Spirit inside us and we can stop this ugliness going on across our country. We just need to be the ones to make it happen. We are can start rebuilding the bridges that Satan wants to destroy because he knows that his days are short. He is going to do everything he can to ruin things for God and I don’t want to have to explain to God why I didn’t do anything to help. I don’t want to be a supporter in Destroying America 2017.

I want 2017 to be a year of peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. If your are a believer, these are the fruits that you should be putting off. I know that my tree needs to be trimmed so that these fruits will grow because I have fallen for the same trap the devil has set out for this country. The only difference is that I want to get out and crush him under my heel. He might have gotten me down but he hasn’t gotten out. And you can do the same.

So will you stand with me in the direction of standing together to heal our nation? I hope so because it’s the only way things are going to get better.

Listening to Good Music

This is just a fun post. There is nothing about infertility or mold or anything. Just a fun little post about how good it feels to know that you are not alone in the world.

I was on my way to the gym this morning and a car had their radio up rather loudly. Normally that is not something I enjoy since the lyrics are normally crass and something I don’t want to listen to but this time it was different because it was a Christian radio station. I had to smile because it brought up a thought that it was good to know that I was not the only Christian on the road.

I know that sounds silly but let me explain. See I attend a rather large church and everyone there for the most part are nice. Our Pastor is one of those who doesn’t like seat warmers and his heart is to train us to be disciples out in our community. So we tend to not have wishy washy Christians in our church. Any way, even so, I wonder where those people are on the roads and in my daily life. Even though I sit with a lot of people in church, they seem to disappear every where else I go.

You see the fish on the back of car as they cut you off and people speed past you be the first one in line at a red light. I wonder sometimes if people really think about their Christianity when they are away from church. So when I heard the Christian music playing from the car next to me it was good to see I am not the only one on the road who listens to Christian music. Maybe they are ones who are wanting to make the world a better place by living out Christ wherever they go.

If you are a Christian, do you even take a second thought to how Christ fits into your every day life? I know there are days where I just go about my day and Jesus hasn’t come up once in my conversation. how do I treat people on the road? Do they see Christ in me? I would like to think so. It was a nice reminder to keep running the race and being the love of Jesus everywhere 🙂

Have a great day!

Ps. And I am happy to report they were a very nice driver.

Breathing is Optional… Right?

It is allergy season here in Nor Cal and that means danger for me. I have allergy induced asthma so, for me, I dread the sniffles of allergies. I end up having an asthma attack twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), and last night was my spring attack. I tried to keep it at bay with all my home care but nothing was working so, finally at 9:30pm, I went to the ER to get a breathing treatment.

The ER was packed! I have never seen an ER so packed. I thought that telling them that I was having an asthma attack and was having trouble breathing they would have taken me back somewhat soon. Nope, 1 hour in the main waiting room, 10 minutes to be triaged, and then 20 minutes to be seen by a doctor who told me that it would be a 3 hour wait for room. I was shocked! Here is someone with breathing issues and you tell them there is a 3 hour wait when they have already been there an 1.5 hours! I thought that was crazy. He then told me my other option was to take 8 puffs within the next hour of my inhaler and he would order a steroid. All well and good if my rescue inhaler had been working. If it had, I wouldn’t be in the ER!

So I tried calling family to see if anyone was able to take my daughter the next day if I waited to actually get a breathing treatment and no one was available. So I had to make the choice to leave and try again at home or have about 3 hours sleep by the time I got a room, the breathing treatment and discharged. I took the 8 puffs (which I was never told I could. It even says on the box to only take 2 puffs every 4 hours) and waited.

For anyone who has asthma, you understand the frustration I felt. When you are having an asthma attack, it feel like the air is being sucked out of you. You can’t take a deep breath, you get light headed, dizzy, you can’t talk (or at least the volume in my voice almost disappears), your blood pressure spikes, your heart rate spikes, you can’t think straight and, if it gets bad enough, you start to lose your ability to even answer simple questions like “what’s your name?”

Here I am asking for help because the stuff I was doing at home wasn’t helping and they turn around and say “sorry but you really aren’t that important”. I hate hospitals and I do everything I can to avoid going to one so if I actually walk through the door it means I actually need help. Unfortunately, if you don’t have asthma, you can’t relate to how serious it can be. My attack I had last fall got so bad that, by the time I got to the doctor, I had 40% lung capacity. I didn’t want that to happen again so I went before it got there. I guess I should have waited and come in on an oxygen tank :/

So I waited to see if the puffs would work. Praise the Lord! I was feeling my ability to think return and my headache diminish a little. I would actually talk and my breathing did get better. It wasn’t like it would be if I was able to get a breathing treatment was it was way better than when I walked through the door. The doctor was happy too since I believe that he wanted to give me the treatment but they can only perform them in a room and there wasn’t one in the whole ER available. Of course I just thought in the back of my head “all I need is the nebulizer and an outlet. I’ll do it in the bathroom if I have to” but rules are rules. He discharged me and I went and got my meds from the pharmacy before going home.

I still didn’t get home until 1:00am but it was better than 3:00am or 4:00am. I took my steroid and prayed I would be able to still breathe in the morning. Thankfully I was and attack had lessened. The steroid had begun to kick in and I took 4 more puffs as soon as I woke up. Now I am just tired. When you go hours without proper oxygen levels it feels like you have just run a marathon. I just pray that the steroid keeps working and the inflammation goes down quickly. I don’t like being stuck in bed and my two year old thinks it’s really not a lot of fun either. I am busy mommy who wants to have fun. And I have my favorite gym class tomorrow morning. Can’t miss Pilates! 🙂

I Wish I had Grace Like My Husband

I know that title is a bit long and odd but it will make sense in a minute. First, I know as a child of God I have grace but that isn’t what I am talking about. I am talking about being able to give grace or I guess mercy to people. I have a dark side and, if I am offended, it can be hard for me to come back into the light with that particular person. Right now the person I am not a fan of is the man who got the promotion I think my husband deserves. I have never met him face to face but what I hear about him and how he looks (I do see him since I pick up my husband from work sometimes) it makes me mad that he got the position and my husband didn’t. I husband looks and acts more worthy of the position but I wasn’t on the board that made the decision… Any way, see what I mean?

I hate to admit that I struggle in this area but I am human. Grudges go back as far as Cain and Able. Thank the Lord I have never wanted to kill anyone but still, isn’t any type of hatred murder in God’s eyes? Ouch. After I have a fight with the person I don’t like in my head (like that would make a difference any way), I then remember that I could have used those couple minutes in a more God loving way. I mean, would I really say the things that were in my head right to the guy’s face? Maybe… Ok no I wouldn’t but then why do I have these conversations in my head?

The answer? (drum roll) I am a sinner saved by grace. Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean that I will be perfect. God doesn’t expect that of me. He wants a canvas to work on. There is no fun in painting a picture on a canvas that is already painted on. He wants to paint me into the picture that he wants to see. I am different than all the other paintings in His gallery. This is where my husband comes in.

I married pretty much the most laid back, roll it off your shoulders guy you have ever met. It takes a lot for him to become angry and hold any type of grudge. I have no idea how he does it. I still can remember the feeling of the guy that cut me off on the freeway two days ago and my husband seems to forget it a second after the occurrence. How does he do it? He is painted different than me. He has this gift of mercy and grace that I have never seen before. And I am very grateful he has it since that means he gives me the grace and mercy I need when I mess up and maybe say something that was hurtful. I am better about it since I am really trying hard to be a more gracious person and give people more slack, but it’s hard and I appreciate my husband being that example for me. He loves me even when I am not so lovable at that moment, he encourages me when I don’t want to see the bright side in something, and he leads me to know when to finally let something go.

I wish I had his gift of grace. God’s not done with my painting yet so there is still time. In the mean time, I just need to pay attention to the example set before me in my wonderful leader of a husband.

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Love you babe! Thank you for loving me!

God’s Not Done With Me Yet

I have always been told that unless it’s your time to die, nothing can happen to you. That God has Hid hand of protection over you and He won’t let anything happen to you unless He is done with you. Is this true? Well the apostles would surely say so. They went through hell and back with the many times that people tried to kill them. I mean John was boiled in oil! How do you survive being boiled in oil unless God had His hand over you and still has work for you to do?

So then I started thinking about my life (since I have been through a good amount but not as much as others) and about all the times that should have died. I almost wasn’t born that is how much satan has tried to bump me off. Then I almost died from liver failure as an infant, I was diagnosed (I should say misdiagnosed) with spinal meningitis when I was 9, suffered from many falls from horses, was abused by a boyfriend,  was misdiagnosed with leukemia, and would have died in child birth if it wasn’t for our awesome first world medical treatment. Hmmm… Why does satan want me dead so badly? He has tried many times and failed. I am just a lowly human who has no power right?

Oh you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, I am human and yes I have no power in myself, but I have power through Jesus Christ to do things that simply scare the crap out of the devil. Me waking up every morning puts fear into his heart because I can mess up his plans with just the slightest act of kindness to a stranger. I am spreading to the love of Jesus everywhere I go and satan hates that.

He doesn’t want to have the love of God spread and preached throughout the world. He wants the world to stay in darkness and chaos. It a chess match that he shifted the weight too much to his side and he thinks we can’t win. But we can keep our king alive through the power of our King – Jesus Christ.

It is kind of like a game of chess. Jesus is the ultimate chess piece that trumps all the pieces. He can come in a wipe satan off the board and claim victory, but He uses little pawns and rooks and his knights to do it instead so at the very end end He will have the victory. Jesus is coming but right now his little pawns are out there with a few rooks coming in help the pawns and the knights to help them and the queen (Holy Spirit) to help with all. Yes each pawn will perish but the King has the final say.

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So if you are going through some hard stuff, see it as a blessing and not a curse. It just means  that satan is really afraid of you because you are meant to do great things for God, and I can’t think of anything better than to have little old satan afraid of me.

When the Day Goes Right

How often can we say that? I haven’t been able to say a day wen as planned I think since my daughter was born. But today seemed to go just right 🙂 We got up, had breakfast, my daughter was in a good mood, went to my candy store (the fabric store), Costco where I got some herbs and strawberries for my garden, and then home again.

Once home, I planted my herbs and strawberries, my daughter was ready for a nap, I sewed a shirt extension that someone had ordered and then I made a maxi skirt. I thought my daughter would be up by then so I sat down with my computer to do some admin work with my book and my Etsy Shop but she still gave me another hour of nap time! I couldn’t believe it! Must be growing time for her. The only time she sleeps more than two hours is when she is going through a growth spurt.

So now I am just sitting here waiting for her to wake up and my husband to get home for us to eat dinner and have a relaxing night. Like I said, these kind of days are not normal but, when they happen, I am very grateful 🙂

But it got me thinking, that God really does look out for us and we do have the mountain moments when things are going right. It just means that I need to enjoy the moment that I have and prepare myself for what will be coming in the future. Maybe if I am little bit prepared, no matter what is, I will be able to handle it the way that God would want instead of me running around like Chicken Little yelling “The sky is falling!” when really it might just be a simple change in direction and not a complete tragedy.

So here’s to the blessing of good days and may God be with us all when the days get hard. He is control of both and both are for our good.