Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family is More ...

A man was stranded on a deserted Pacific island for years. Finally one day a boat comes sailing into view, and the man frantically waves and draws the skipper’s attention. The boat comes near the island and the sailor gets out and greets the stranded man.  After a while the sailor asks, “What are those three huts you have here?” “Well, that’s my house there.” “What’s that next hut?” asks the sailor. “I built that hut to be my church.” “What about the other hut?” “Oh, that’s where I used to go to church.”

Laugh if you want, I did the first time I heard it, but isn't that the sad truth?

The reason I bring this up is that I find it interesting the responses that I am getting from others regarding my upcoming move. Some have simply asked if I plan to continue coming to Grace Community Church, some have suggested local churches in the area I will be moving to, and some have just assumed I'm leaving Grace regardless. Don't get me wrong, with a larger family the thought has crossed my mind when it comes to being able to stay involved, yet it never crossed my mind without pain. If God decides He wants my family elsewhere I'll let Him direct that, much like He orchestrated this opportunity. However until then, I'm staying put.

I reflect back on when we walked into our current church for the first time; feeling Him calling us there. Since that time He has helped me forge friendships, brought me opportunities for spiritual and relational growth, honed my leadership skills, and created a passion for what Grace is doing on the very unique corner of Detroit, Grosse Pointe, and Harper Woods (as well as globally). Most importantly though, along with quenching the thirst of my Soul, He has begun to give me new eyes, ears, mind, and a heart. Rather than never seeing opportunities to act on, I now feel His pain when I fail to act and miss those precious opportunities.

Relationally it's been incredible. As an example, the last three times I walked into my church in the past week, I shook hands and gave hugs to at least 15-20 different people that I could comfortably pull aside and share my personal issues with. In return, I know I would have a confidential ear, heart, and advice if wanted. While a vast majority of those individuals I don't see much outside church or meetings, through the years we have still forged trusting relationships.

There is no way, unless I am called, that I want to leave that behind.

My prayer is for you; for the 3 or 300 that read this post. I pray you begin to or continue to see your church as your family as well. Invest in it, serve in it, give to it, pray for it, and love it. If your church doesn't have that culture, then maybe He placed you there to start that culture. Don't let the distractions from a human run institution disenchant you; you will never agree with everything or everyone that attends your church. However if my guess is correct, I'm not the only imperfect one out there. Make your local church part of your immediate family; and never leave it unless prayerfully released.

God loves you, and so do I


Pat Wright said...

Very well said Matt.

Tina Marie said...

I think this is very lovingly written and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you. :)

StrongNHim said...

Easy said than done. Sometimes I feel so welcomed and loved at my church... other times not so much. Thanks for the uplift though... good stuff.

Ellen - SkoMomma said...

I think it is God's hand for sure that you posted this on the same day that I had to tell the Board of Directors at my church that we would have to suspend children's Sunday school until further notice. No staff, no interest. Wesley and I have really been struggling to continue supporting the church that I've been a member of for over 25 years. I'm praying for some clear direction but I'm thinking that it's time for us to find another church home. thanks for the post.

Julianne said...

Matt--I love that you say you arent the only imperfect one at your church. It is too bad some others dont realize this as well. Anyway, as usual, very well said and I love your neverending faith!

Anna Sponenburgh-Schelli said...

Hi, Matt. We completed a small group study at church on the book "Stop Dating the Church and Fall in Love with the Family of God" by Josh Harris. Well put! Thank you for loving your church - Jesus is pleased.

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