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Archive for September, 2014

Over the years of our Christian lives, my wife and I have gone through many times of new growth. It is a normal process to grow, bloom, become dormant, and then have new growth again.

If we never had new growth, our Christian life would eventually wither and die. It is not wrong to re-think and question and have times of new interpretations and new inspirations.

We grew up in the traditional church and have many good and happy memories over the years of being involved. We were taught many things over the years, most of which we never questioned. We accepted what we were taught and considered it to be the truth. As time went by, we began to let some of the questions we had in the back of our minds come forward. Some things we had always accepted just didn’t make sense.

We’ve found that so many times in church, people just take what they are told and don’t question it. Most people feel questioning is a lack of faith or a lack of trust in the pastor. After all, didn’t the pastor go to college and get all the training necessary to understand the Bible? Doesn’t the pastor have the inside track on hearing from God?

We began questioning why one person has the right to have the authority to tell everyone else what God is saying. We read that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we have no need of anyone else to teach us. There were so many different views and interpretations. There were so many denominations that seemed to cause division among Christians. Yet we read we were to be one as Jesus and the Father are one. We read that everyone should have a word, a song, a praise, yet we sat in a service week after week just looking at the back of someone’s head, never getting to talk or discuss or have true fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All of this brought us to our most recent time of dormancy and questions, which actually lasted over several years. Of course time is not something that God worries about, since a day with Him is like a thousand years. So when I say we were going through this dormant, questioning stage for nine or ten years, it was not a big thing.

Having grown up in the typical, modern day church, we had come to a place where we really questioned some of the doctrines and ways of ‘doing church’. Some things just didn’t make sense anymore, others seemed different from what we read of the believers in the New Testament.

Over the years, we continued to attend a few different churches thinking the answer was in finding the right church. After several years of that process and still having the same feelings, we realized that there was something more than finding a church.

After some time, we both started meeting people who were having the same thoughts, the same questions, and the same uneasiness. We met people at a local cafe and started talking, hearing them mention the same concerns we were going through. Many books and various websites started coming to our attention, and each were from people who were going through, or had gone through the same things we were going through.

It was amazing to us how we felt a time of new growth beginning. We are finding people who were going through the same things, and we are starting to find answers to some of our questions. We no longer feel alone, and we no longer feel guilty for the questions and feelings we are experiencing.

For us, it’s a time of new growth in the knowledge and understanding of grace. The grace we have in Christ, the freedom we have because of his grace. We no longer worry about the man-made denominations, doctrines and ways of ‘doing church’. We are free from the guilt of sin because of his grace. We are now learning to ‘be the church’, realizing we are one with Christ, and it is his spirit that lives and loves through us.

Article originally published on Faithful Bloggers ( http://www.faithfulbloggers.com/faithful-bloggers-new-growth.pdf ) on June 18, 2014.

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We all want to have friends. Have you ever heard the phrase, to make a friend you have to be a friend? Obviously, everyone wants to be liked and have friends that are likeable and easy to be around.

Thing is, I think it is important to also be yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and want to be friends. I’ve seen people work so hard to change and be someone they normally aren’t, just to be friends with someone they think would be fun to be around.

My thought is if you have to change who you are, why do you need that kind of friend?

There is another thing that bothers me about friendship. Have you ever met someone for the first time and they just seem so friendly and interested in you? I have been through this several times. I would run into someone in the store or out for a walk, and they are smiling and so interested in getting to know a little about me. I get kind of anxious to get to know them and see if a new friendship was starting. Then, I get a call or an email and get asked if we could meet for coffee and talk a while.

After the second time this happened, I started realizing that so far, each time this has happened, it was someone with an ulterior motive.

They really were not interested in me; they were interested in what I could do for them. Basically, they were selling something and looking for new people to join in under them doing the same thing.

I tell you, this was so disappointing each time it happened. I was thinking, wow, what a nice person. I would like to get to know them and get to be friends. Then, wham, the rug was pulled out from under me by finding out they only wanted to make a sell or add me to their sales network.

True friends are hard to find. Even among people who aren’t selling and do not have ulterior motives, it’s hard to find a true friend.

Most of the friends we have are friends as long as we have the same interests, or involved in the same activities, go to the same places or work together, but outside of that, we usually don’t see each other or talk.

True friends love us and accept us as just as we are. They aren’t waiting until we change and become more like them. They are actually interested in us. They want to see us succeed. They feel comfortable telling us things that aren’t popular or what we want to hear when they know we are getting into something that isn’t good for us.

A true friend will be there for you even when we are miles apart, or when we have different interests and activities. A true friend is one of the hardest things to find in this world.

Now as followers of Christ, we have the best and most true friend possible in Jesus. But let’s be real, we need a flesh and blood person right in front of us to discuss things, do things together, encourage and support each other, and cry with one another.

Jesus will never leave us, he will never forsake us. He is closer than a brother and the best friend we will ever have in life. Yet, in this life we need human friends. And those human friends, if you think about it, are almost like having Jesus right in front of you. Since we are now the temple of the Spirit, God living in us, we in a sense are Jesus to each other. Now I’m not saying we are God, but His Spirit lives within us and we can love and accept each other through that common truth more than anything.

So for those shallow people who are only looking for someone to use and get things from, I would rather not even start a friendship. We still love everyone through Christ, but we don’t have to be friends with everyone. Pray for the guidance of the Spirit to lead you to those God has to be true friends in your life, and see Christ in the brother and sisters he brings along.

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