For some time now, we have been without a church home. We were originally part of a church plant, and hopeful that that church would be our home for years to come- a place where our children would grow and eventually get married, even. But this little plant was slow to grow, and required a lot of tending to stay active. We struggled with doubts of its survival after a few years of trying everything in our “Start a Church God’s Way” bag of tricks, then the unthinkable happened. Our pastor died. Some of us still wanted to see if this plant would take root, even without its pastor, so we kept watering and feeding it for a few more months. But it was not to be. We all decided to disband and go elsewhere.
This ‘elsewhere’ is what Luke and I are still trying to find, nearly ten months after our church plant closing up shop. We put the house up for sale, thinking that maybe God wanted us to move, but here we still sit, with no buyer. We visited a couple churches, but I can say for myself that none of them felt right. We settled into two churches of different friends and family for a time, really wanting some time to rest and relax from our church search:). But after a few weeks in each one, we knew that this wasn’t where we were supposed to be. Luke even candidated at a church to be their worship leader, but that, too, ended up being a closed door. So what does a church-seeker do when he has exhausted every option he sees available to him, with no other leads? This past Sunday, we took a hike, visited the ‘church of the woods’, you might say, instead of visiting a church. But that isn’t gonna cut it every week.
I feel a need to start thinking outside of the box. A devotional I read last week by Elisabeth Elliot sparked my interest in doing something this week that just might turn this church-seeking standstill around. At the very least, I would grow closer to the Lord, so any effort yields a win-win situation. Worth a try. First, some quotes from that devotional:
…in any case the thing to do is pray–first, confession of sin which is known; second, asking to be shown sin which has not been acknowledged; third, prayer for deliverance in God’s way and in God’s time.
When the people of Israel were in great trouble and disgrace and the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down, Nehemiah sat down and wept. Then he mourned and fasted and prayed “for some days” before the God of heaven.
It is not required that we sort out all the possibilities–“Is this God?” or “Is this Satan?”–it is required that we confess our sins and put our whole trust in the God who is in charge.
During our church-planting days, Don, our pastor, would organize prayer walks and prayer drives around our town. We would do just what the name indicates- pray for the people and homes we passed, blessing them and asking for their salvation. Now, my pretty blue house isn’t in need of salvation, but it is in need of God’s blessing. I view the house as a sort of obstacle in our path to our future, or better, a catalyst. If it sells, we know God is planning for us what we thought He was. If not, we have to figure out what He’s got planned for us in Marion. I want to focus my energies right here, on this house.
For the next seven days, I will be taking a kind of ‘Jericho’ approach to this. Things that I can do that come to mind are: prayer walks around our house daily, or many times a day; deep cleaning a room a day, all the while praying for wisdom and guidance in our lives and our future; acting like we have an open house planned and getting this place, and my life, spic and span, ready for what God has next. This will require some fasting of the bloggy variety, so you won’t be seeing me this week. But you have plenty to read in my archives, and even the places I’ve linked to in this post will take you some time to read.
Here goes. Gotta go dust off my marching shoes.