1 Peter 2:5 (NLT) And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
Several years ago I took a detour to care for a very special elderly lady on Sundays. At the time, I missed going to church and my Sunday school class. But as months passed, my time with the Lord became more personal, more intense and very special.
I learned compassion and care-giving while taking care of my special friend, who had just lost her husband of many years. My primary role was to be her spiritual rock. We prayed. I listened. We watched birds bathe in the garden’s fountain. I decorated the family Christmas tree while she shared memories. For eight months, I learned how to care and minister. And, I grew my spiritual wings – those things that mattered to God for me.
Once I had Sundays free, I realized that I could not return to a church “building.” I had found an intimacy with Christ that I hadn't experienced in church, so it wasn't necessary that I return to a set time of week (I was already observing a Sabbath day of rest) or place to worship Him. Instead, the Lord became part of me and I share his love as part of my everyday life.
Oh, I love my “church” building family. But I don’t believe for a minute that I have to be in church to be part of the church or to worship the Lord. Instead I’m part of the Ekklesia, defined in Greek as part of the called, those that are called out. The Disciples were part of that group called out after Jesus ascended into heaven.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
The religious use the above Scripture to promote church going. But if you think about it, in those days they didn't have church buildings or religions. Christianity was in its infancy.
The Disciples were of the same mind as Jesus. They spread out to teach His word and to fulfill the Great Commission. That’s how I serve God – away from the trappings of religion.
The Lord is our cornerstone. He is all we need!
1 Peter 2:6-10 - The Voice
6 For it says in the words of the prophet Isaiah,
See here—I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious;
Whoever depends upon Him will never be disgraced.[a]
7 To you who believe and depend on Him, He is precious; but to you who don’t, remember the words of the psalmist:
The stone that the builders rejected
has been laid as the cornerstone—the very stone that holds together the entire foundation,[b]
8 and of Isaiah:
A stone that blocks their way,
a rock that trips them.[c]
They stumble because they don’t follow the word of God, as they were destined to do.
Today we have buildings, religions and traditions started by well-intentioned humans designed to bring glory to God. But that’s exactly what we have: building/people = church. If you or I don’t conform to their teachings, we fall out of favor. Also, how do you decide who is teaching the truth? I recall telling my church sisters that they needed to be doing ministry for the Lord. Oh Blanca, how mistaken I was.
Little did I know that I craved fellowship with people who were spiritually mature, people who could point me to a relationship with the Lord. I needed spiritual fellowship.
My entire life (beginning with life in the Catholic Church and later in the evangelical and protestant realms), I thought I could find God within the confines of church buildings, concert-like worship music, gatherings and among people who went to church.
I searched high and low, but it never happened until I discerned God’s calling for me. It’s then that I realized that He is all that I need. My challenge has been to share how our relationship is evolving and invite you to experience spiritual maturity.
Now my life is full of the things God wants for me instead of the things I wanted to do for God. I have a deep fellowship with Him and other believers who are called out of religion.
It was not enough for me to go hear a sermon on Sundays (now I listen to relevant teachings online and study the Bible). I wanted more – much more and I never got it by going to church. As Chip Brogden, a former Methodist pastor, says, “Most people are looking for social interaction with spiritual overtones.”
You will never find the right church and church friends until you have a deeply personal relationship with the Lord who created you. He wants your heart, mind and soul. A pastor, priest or preacher (or I) can’t give you what God can give you. It’s really that simple.
Now I know why so many people forsake Christianity. It’s because they are searching for God and they have been mistakenly led to believe by traditions and religious organizations that they must go to a church organization on a certain day to have that relationship.
I want God in all His glory.
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