This dedicated to my niece Tammy Loftis and all those I ever asked to come to church..
Someone said, Tell your Mom you went to church that will make her happy (or something close to that). And it hit me. I and others have sent out the wrong message to our family and friends. Sure we want them to "go to church". But just going to church doesn't give them relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Just like walking into someone else's house doesn't make you their family.
See, what I really want for people is that they begin a journey to know the Lord. That they begin. Because it is a never ending adventure to know Him. He is so deep, so amazing! His love for us is deeper than the ocean, wider than the sky. His love is more overwhelming than a tsunami wave. Walking with Him is the adventure of a lifetime. There is the deepest peace you will ever know. He loves us so so much. I want for you to begin your journey walking and talking with the one who created the universe, who calls you by name. He isn't a God who is indifferent, distant. One of His names is Jehovah Shammah. It means the God who is there. I want you to become aware that that our Lord is right there with you. A Savior. Yes. But also a companion. You can talk with him just like you do your best friend.
I don't want you to come to church and just hear the words of the preacher like you were hearing a nice lecture. If the preacher is serving God at all, he has asked God to give him what to preach. And if he is preaching the Bible than he has words of life to help you, encourage you, help you to grow in your walk with God, to help you know the Lord better.
Just think if you wanted to be a nurse. You would need to go to school and learn all about it. You would need to know all the bones of the body, the systems, how to give shots, bedside manner ideas, etc, etc. The preaching and teaching of good teachers is your learning place except God is involved and many times the sermon or lesson will hit right what you need. It will seem personal like he was peeking in your life. He isn't but God is. That's why it seems that way. Other times you are just learning things you will need on down the line. Like packing a backpack for a hiking trip. You don't need a bug repellent now but on the trail you might. Or a granola bar. But when you get hungry you will. Sermons are like that. Come Tuesday morning when everything in the world goes wrong, the words of the pastor that were "God will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him" will come back to you to help you stay calm and carry on.
Also I want you to know of God's love for you. It's a great romance this love between God and us. There is deep mysteries and great adventures waiting in our relationship with him. He loves you so deeply. He thinks you are beautiful! He has these awesome plans for you. I don't want you to come warm a pew. Just come and "check that duty off my list". I want you to know God personally.
Oh for the right words to tell you... the whole purpose of Jesus coming was to reconcile us to Father God. To forgive our sins and give us a meaningful life. Not all people will do big, huge things. But all, if they follow him and fall in love with Him, will find a fulfilling life. You might just be a light shinning to your children and husband. You might just make your workplace a better place. You might just bring a smile to others. But to a child whose mom or dad was super that will make a difference. To a friend who is struggling with depression, your prayers and kind words will be like cool water on an August day. You, having the light of Jesus in you will make the world better. And he will thrill you like nothing else.
I want you to learn how to know God and in that everything will change. He doesn't want you to be anyone but you. But be the best you. He will take your talents, your desires and use them to change your world if you let him. And in that pouring out your life for Him you will find purpose, contentment, satisfaction and joy.
For instance, at one point in my life my friend talked me into working in a four year old class at church. I was terrified and it was hard because I wasn't used to working with others. But the sweet little children and their pure, innocent love touched me. And sharing simple lessons was fun and doing art with them I enjoyed. And a bonus I didn't even know would be there I made lifelong friendships with the other workers in the class. Sweet friendships that I cherish, that changed my life. But God steered me into doing something I wouldn't have tried on my own. This is just a simple example of an adventure He took me on. I learned new things. I grew as a person, as a Christian. I received love through the children and through my fellow workers. Church gave me these opportunities.
You may not ever work with children. Because your talent might be different. You may not even work at the church you might just be a part and take what you learn out into your life. What I'm trying to say is that God will use your talent. I work well with children, I love art, I love people. Those were MY talents and needs and God fulfilled them there for that season. I want for you to serve God and use your life in service to him so you can feel that satisfaction and contentment, find encouragement.
Church or a small group or a Bible study group..whatever you find...become a family. Not to replace yours but a church family. People who love on you, have your back, pray for and with you, walk through dark times with you, rejoice with you when you have good things happen. Real, amazing friendships. That is what you are missing.
Mostly I want you to know deep down in your heart the most profound truth in the world: That Jesus loves you and he knows you and died just for you. He wants to be your closest friend. To walk with you daily, all day long. He wants you to belong to him, to grow as a person and to live well and love your life. He wants to give you a clean slate. Wash away all your sins. A new beginning. I want you to begin that journey. It will have ups and downs and curves and twists. But it will be the adventure of a lifetime. That is what I want for you! Not ever "to just go to church". NO NEVER!!! But walk with the one who laid down His life for you. To KNOW Him. That is what I want for you!!! For you to dance through this life with the one who formed the universe. To KNOW HIM! to really know him....
This song above tells how I feel and how I would love for you to come to feel too. If you ever get to know him you will feel the same I'm sure. He will capture your heart if you let Him..